Encounters with Darkness

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” — Og Mandino

As the pilgrimage through life unfolds, none are spared from moments of darkness and disillusionment.  Most people have been indoctrinated into the shared belief that these moments are to be avoided at all cost.  It is not hard to understand why.  Moments of profound darkness are formidable encounters.  In extreme cases they can even shatter paradigms and crack our very identities.  Who wouldn’t want to avoid this dilemma?  The greater question most people battle with, however, is why is this necessary?  What purpose could it possibly serve?  Why shouldn’t it be completely avoided?  In response, I will paraphrase Leonard Cohen, “Everything has to crack… that’s how the light gets in!”

All this being said, it is true that loitering in darkness unnecessarily can be counterproductive, however there is a deeper truth that can be found through a healthy embrace of the darkness when it shows up in your life.  All to often we attempt to run from our darkness, or to push it back into the internal realm of shadows from whence it came.  The darker it is, the more we resist.  We resist, and then wonder why it is still chasing after us, or why it continues to reemerge from the depths of our inner worlds with even greater ferocity.

The Universe (both inner and outer) has its own agenda, and it is not personal.  It is unceasingly birthing new levels of awakened expression into everything that exists.  When old patterns become obsolete, and no longer serve, they are revealed and brought out of the shadows and into the light of transformation.  This is not always pretty, and very rarely are we able to move through this transformation gracefully.  More often than not, we have a hard time letting go, because we are still identifying with this darkness on some level.  We miss the truth that it has only shown up in our waking awareness because it is ready to be released.  It wants to be freed.  It wants to transform.  It just has a strange, dysfunctional way of communicating this.

The truth is, if you are a witness to this darkness, or are observing it at all, it means that another part of you is being born –the proverbial observer.  And this part of you has everything it needs to transcend the darkness it is witnessing.  It is capable of relinquishing the old limiting paradigm of the self, and it is also capable of giving birth to something new.  It will use the darkness to accomplish this.  This part of you is the light bringer, the revealer of deeper truth.  It can stand in the dark room of shadows and hold a candle of revelation.  And from its light, everything that was encountered in darkness will bestow its usefulness, and become wisdom to illuminate the new way.

I will leave you today with this quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

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