Darkness gives you what you ask

We, as a society, are stuck on the concept that all darkness is bad. That’s what we call a “bias” in that it influences how we see the world. If we get stuck believing that all darkness is bad or evil, we end up unknowingly perpetuating a sense of self-loathing.  As humas, we all have a sense of darkness in all of us! The darkness, like the light, is both good and bad. It’s also the known (light) and the unknown (dark). When we honor, respect, and challenge both light and dark as equal yet opposite forces; we begin to recognize how much our intentions both influence and are influenced by our environment. When we can recognize both our own, as well as other’s contexts’, while clarifying the intention behind the interaction, we begin to feel what it means to be “awake”. When we are “awake”, we can recognize all the patterns we perpetuate and/or fall into. This can be both overwhelming and enlightening, particularly when one can recognize that seeing the patterns gives you an opportunity to create what you want to see and or be in the world. It also becomes clear what’s important to you as an individual and what obstacles you need to overcome to honor what you hold as important. I guarantee if you don’t honor what you hold as important, nobody else will. Honestly, nobody else can. Only you know what’s important to you – and what’s important to you, is not the same for anyone else. That is where our individuality meets the collective (and is a whole ‘other article I’ll eventually write).

On the opposite end of this dynamic, when we’re not awake, we aren’t sure what it is we want to be (or see). We’re pushed and pulled by the environment – sometimes in ways that help us find our own purpose; other times in ways that make us want to avoid thinking about anything. “Just let me watch Bugs Bunny and forget the world exists! Right?” (Counting flowers on the wall? hah)- Time can feel like a dream – and reality becomes what you surround yourself with or what you choose to emulate by way of the media we consume – television or the internet – both vast and confining in both good and bad ways. Think context!

So why do I say, the darkness gives you what you ask of it? Well, if we acknowledge that light and dark are equal, we can start to accept darkness for what it truly is. For instance, we might call something dark, when really what we mean is “unknown” or “ambiguous”. So where does our mind go when something is unknown? Often, if we are overly stressed, we rush to some nefarious corner because most of us are still stuck on the idea that you need to “always” prepare for the worst. Yet what we don’t realize is that in preparing for the worst, we are also, in a way, creating it. If we overly prepare or hold onto or keep in mind the disasters, we’ll be looking for any tiny indication that a disaster is looming, thus missing all the beauty that is unfolding around us. Do we want to focus on only beauty? I mean, who doesn’t? However, like my dad said to me, “too much of anything is not a good thing.” That’s what mania looks like. It’s neither fun nor pretty. It’s devastating and destructive in such a way that nobody can grow from it. The takeaway here is that any moment holds both disaster and beauty simultaneously. When you focus on one or the other, you miss what’s important – the present moment.

I don’t want to digress, but I do want to add here that being purely present moment focused isn’t always the best either. It’s just as equally important to recognize and learn from your past so that it will inform your future. Learn from your experiences. In other words – don’t just experience them and never think about them again.

Back to the topic… So, if the darkness is the unknown, and we all automatically think of darkness as “evil” or “bad”, and then the darkness gives us what we ask of it…. are you following me here?

What I’m alluding to is that this is what it means to be a creator. We create our own experience and tell the story in our own words every moment of every day. If, in your own darkness, you automatically assume the worst, you will look for it – and I guarantee you will find it. Every moment can simultaneously be amazing and horrific at the same time. If you look for and assume only the best, you will miss an opportunity to grow as well as the vast wisdom that comes from experiencing and processing one’s own horror. We can’t break a cycle of trauma without first acknowledging, confronting, and integrating our own experiences. So, embrace the horror! Dance with it, festoon it, notice it when it’s there. When we can own and notice our horror, we open ourselves up to owning and noticing our joy. Without horror, joy makes no sense – and can feel empty. The more horror we overcome, the more joy we allow ourselves to experience. Like Newton’s third law of motion states: when two bodies interact, they apply forces to one another that are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. If I were to apply that to human behavior and our experience of joy and horror, it implies that we have the same capacity to experience joy as we can experience the horror that precedes it.

The takeaway is this – in any given moment, acknowledge and accept the horror, accept the beauty and joy, accept our humanity, and trust that we overcome whatever obstacle comes our way – because if you’re reading this, I bet you have already overcome more than you are able to acknowledge! At this point, we all have! The fact that we are still breathing is a testament to our resiliency!