Finding Compassion & Hope in the Darkness

Finding Compassion & Hope in the Darkness

compassion and hope

There is a crack
in everything

That’s how the
light gets in.

Leonard Cohen
(excerpt from “Anthem”)


Twenty years ago, I was living in a country where widespread violence was part of the daily life. The nights were what we feared the most; people were regularly kidnapped or killed during that time and then it was even more difficult to know what had happened to those who had disappeared. So nobody would really sleep. We would wait, vigilant, and listen carefully to the sounds of the night – the rattle of automatic weapons fire, the shouts of men, the sounds of military trucks, the howling of dogs, the silence…

It is during that period that I developed a particular affection for this very moment of the night right before the dawn, when the night seems to be the darkest as it has lasted for so long. I would slip outside as silently as I could and just stare at the sky, watching for any sign of light in direction of the East. There was no electricity and there was no taking a flash as it could signal my presence to men in arms so I would just stay in the darkness and wait. In those moments, I would feel a very palpable intimacy and true compassion for all those people around me whom I knew to be awake at that very moment of the night, scared for themselves and their dear ones, their mind full of horrific scenes from their recent past. My mind and heart would also travel farther away, to other countries and continents, thinking about all those I knew to also be awake at that particular time of the night: kids who had been abused at night, people in hospitals, prisoners… For them also it was the darkest and probably longest time of the night. And while my heart would break open a little bit more, in that very moment, my rage and revolt for so much violence would leave place to a flow of pure love and compassion for humanity.

I would remain silent and still, eyes closed, just staying with that feeling, and waiting for dawn. And I remember that, invariably, before I would open my eyes, I would know, I would feel when the first imperceptible glimpse of light would have appeared at the horizon, that crack in the darkest of the darkness, a hope against all odds. I would feel it in my whole body, in my heart wide open. I knew that I would have to focus on that glimmer if I wanted to be able to go on with my work and be of any support to people around me – focus on the light, in every human being and every situation, not the darkness. And at that very moment, I would whisper a ‘thank you’ – I was not sure to whom, but I knew for what: a thank you for the possibility to see the light in the dark.

Since then, I have known many nights, and visited many places of darkness, including my own. And each time, I have had to remember (and sometimes learn again) the gifts from those dark nights:

  • My sorrows and pains are a doorway to being more compassionate. In the middle of my fears and sufferings, if I am able to open my heart just a little bit to others’ pain and sorrow, I can feel the flow of unconditional love in my heart running a little bit stronger and healing, deeply healing myself and others;
  • If I am able to focus on the light, as small and weak as it might be in the darkest circumstances, it just invariably becomes bigger and I get out of my darkness faster.

My wish for all of us for this Winter Solstice: to open to even more Compassion, Unconditional Love and Light in the darkness.

Béatrice | Contemporary Shamanic Healer

Béatrice Pouligny
Allowing The Light
December 2011


By |2018-06-19T11:26:34+00:00September 25th, 2012|Compassion, Hope, Inspiring Stories, Trauma healing|4 Comments


  1. Suzie Hurley December 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Absolutely beautiful Beatrice, thank you. May the Light of your own Being stay radiant and strong to be passed on to the many others that need uplifting and hope.

    • Beatrice1 December 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Suzie! May our Light stay radiant and communicative!

  2. Sharon Carter December 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Just what I needed to hear/read this morning. I look forward to experiencing the celebration of Winter Solstice during meditation tonight.

    • Beatrice1 December 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      Looking forward to seeing you there Sharon. Blessings to you!

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