I’ve been seeing a young client who has become devastated by his inability to be happy, to uplift himself and those around him. To carry the light. Instead, he has recently found himself face-to-face with his own darkness. So today I’ve been thinking quite a lot about that what those two poles, the light and the dark, really are about.
I, myself, love to write, read, hear about what is inspirational. It’s the uplifting ideas I’m drawn to, the ones where, upon encountering them, my heart expands, I feel optimistic and open, and I want to go around hugging people. So–what about the darkness? What about contraction and density, the shame, hatred, despair, fear, grief, violence? Where does this go?
While I’d love to see myself as someone who only carries the light, that would be a very incomplete description of my inner, and outer self. Ask my partner–she gets to see my threatened animal self, the part of me I express when I’m in Reactive Brain. Authors and teachers refer to the Reactive Brain as the ego, and when humans are activated into it, we see the world from that place. There isn’t enough, others are enemies and competitors, and for the time we’re in RB, it makes sense to attack and defend.
My own work about being conscious is about loving both the darkness and the light. It’s about me embracing every single aspect of myself, be it the most divinely compassionate and generous, or the rabidly aggressive. I don’t like it when I behave from those more contracted places–I feel yucky and create consequences I don’t like–and yet I know the importance of loving myself anyway.
My invitation to my young client is to get to know all parts of himself, and even to love and appreciate them. The humility that arises when we know that every single one of us is capable of both enlightenment and atrocity forms the deepest bonds of human connection between us.