An exploration of Shadow, darkness, contraction and the hidden corners of the psyche
Living fully as a human being has neither been taught, nor encouraged in the politically-correct North American society, where positivism is like a blindly followed religion, and human beings are molded to fit into yet another mass-produced replicable good. You are not required to wear a uniform unless your profession demands it; but you are required to wear a happy face uniform, and speak in affirmations, with positive only sentences, at all times, avoid confrontation at all cost and – especially if you are a woman – be nice!
Expecting to express and experience only the light, bright, luminous and expansive side of your psyche without ever touching upon the dark, contracting, mysterious, low, deep side, is like trying to live your life breathing out without breathing in – impossible in this world of duality, which is the world of form that you and I are accustomed to call “reality”. You live in a world of duality because you want to: your soul chose to incarnate in this realm, and this is not in order to become someone that you are not – some kind of spiritual being who only breathes in but never out, only feels joy and never sorrow, only expands and never contracts; you are here to be all of who you are, fully, integrated, and become even more. There is no Yang without Yin, no day without night; there is no birth without death, no high without low, no positive without negative, no expansion without contraction, and you are both this-and that at all times: your cells are dying and others are born, even as you read these words; your chest and belly expand with each inhale, and then contracts with each exhale, right now, every minute – and you cannot, and do not want to change this.
If positivism worked, no-one would ever get sick, old, or die, or experience loss of love or loved ones, ever. Positivism works only for those who sell it packaged together with promises of happily-ever-after living, claiming that if you buy their book, program or workshop, you will always be healthy, wealthy and happy, no-one you love will ever die or leave you, and you’ll eternally breathe in. The commerce of always-sunny promises is as old as the birth of paradisiacal myth, and even though this doesn’t make sense to the rational mind, we want to believe it anyway: “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies!” because it feels good. And when feeling a certain way becomes our ultimate quest, at the expense of growth, creativity, clarity and connection, we sacrifice our growth, creativity, clarity and connection to avoid feeling pain, fear, sadness, or other ‘negative’ feelings.
Striving to be all positive but not negative is like striving to be only half of who you are, while the unexpressed fear, rage, grief and other emotions, qualities or traits, remain trapped inside your body and your energy field, stubbornly seeking to find expression even if it means it’s going to be outside of your volition. If you deny conscious expression to your anger, Anger goes dark, and gets a life of its own, showing up as rigidity or chaos in your body and behavior. The further you move away from it – anger, or any other kind of pain – the greater your fear of it, and thus your suffering from it and your restriction in movement in body, mind and life. Your worst enemy is not ‘negativity’ but repression, and your greatest liberator is not eternal bliss, but the courage, fierceness and willingness to go towards your pain, and embrace all of who you are, high and low, light and dark, expansion and contraction.
Moving consciously towards your pain, and exploring your dark side with awareness enables you to give a voice to each aspect and voice of your psyche in a wise and kind way, which is not possible when your dark side is forced to find expression outside of your volition. It takes enormous amounts of energy to avoid the dark alleys of your mind, and keep some voices of your psyche in hidden chambers, often taking time and efforts to deny or avoid painful memories, lifting your avoidance at the rank of principle “I don’t want to hash the past again”, which is what the positivism religion propagates. When you move towards your pain, touch upon the past memories for insight and growth, and explore your dark side, your tremendous energy is freed from being trapped ‘down in the basement’ and becomes available to you for an increased range of movement in body, mind and life.
Embracing, embodying and expressing your whole being, dark and light, pleasure and pain consciously could mean for you the difference between zombie numbness and vibrant aliveness, between mediocrity and excellence, and between dullness and genius.
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