Dr. Zwig Premieres New Video: 'If You Don't Explore the Darkness, You'll Never Reach the Light'

Dr. Zwig tells PEOPLE his song "is about the hidden intelligence in our difficulties ... the sun that shines in the darkness before the dawn"

Dr. Zwig has a message for listeners: there's always light after the darkness, if you only know where to look.

On Friday, the musician (who is also a psychologist, author and educator) dropped a lyric video for his new song "Before the Dawn," an uplifting anthem that, as he describes to PEOPLE, "is about the hidden intelligence in our difficulties — the unseen, unknown, transformation in waiting, the sun that shines in the darkness before the dawn."

"We usually think of life problems as curses, but they're actually our personal-growth processes trying to come to awareness," he says. "We look down on our problems and assume that being our best self means always being happy. But our 'best self' is a process, not a fixed condition. A 'process' means change and growth."

"Making change," Dr. Zwig notes, can be a "scary" thing, "because it waits up around a bend we can't see — it's in the dark."

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Dr. Zwig
Dr. Zwig. Travis Shinn

"But dark times are meaningful and purposeful," he continues. "They occur to pull us out of what we know, create a swirl of pain and doubt and push us through the birth canal to a new life — a new awareness, mindset, identity and purpose."

Dr. Zwig, who has released seven albums and has more than 120 million views on YouTube, tells PEOPLE that he believes acknowledging the purpose of darkness in our lives "is the opposite of how the mental-health system treats our troubles."

"It wants to get rid of them, avoid them and give us mental numbing agents so that we don't have to encounter them," he says. "But if you don't explore the darkness, you'll never reach the light!"

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"Problems are your guides, your teachers," Dr. Zwig adds. "Hunt for their meaning and purpose in your life. Talk to them. Wrestle with them. Use them for your enlightenment!"

He also believes that "our troubles tend to have a dreamlike quality — intangible yet very real," as opposed to being "rational processes we can just think our way out of."

In fact, that was part of what led to the aesthetic of his lyric video. As Dr. Zwig explains, "To portray this sense of dreaming, I created an animated video that takes the viewer through the landscape of the song."

Dr. Zwig's next book, Music in the Mayhem: Tales of Total Transformation from a Rock n Roll Psychotherapist, is coming soon.

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