In response to Monday’s blog, You Can Run But You Can’t Hide, Dennis Fuhr, a frequent commenter on this blog shared some profound observations and questions:
Your piece has led me to think a little more about the darkness, the shadows. One the one hand there is deep, impenetrable darkness alluded to in the parable of the eye being the lamp of the body. On the other hand, there seems to be a redemptive kind of darkness. It has a richness about it, almost a quieting feeling. We are forced to abandon our fretful, thrashing-about state and thereby regain some of our energy simply by being in a somewhat anesthetized mode.
Just as I have never thought about the shadows in the way that you mentioned, so I have not thought about darkness as having any redeeming qualities. Either you are in the light or not. There has been no middle ground, so to speak.
My final thought is that even the darkness that may seem to be so definitive for us, God’s grace and Presence can penetrate in ways that we do not fully understand. The shadows seem to be so real and discouraging yet God, who is all in all, has it covered.
First of all, thank you Dennis for speaking what we all long to know: What is this shadow world about anyway and what are we to do with it?
As you suggest, we cannot have light without darkness, brilliance without its shadow. As you also observe, for many (if not most) of us, we judge the darkness as “bad” and place it in direct opposition with the light.
But as the Psalmist once said:
In you, darkness and light are but one (Psalm 139)
We are the ones who judge the darkness as “bad,” forgetting, as you point out, the redemptive quality of darkness. As the sunflower full-well knows, the germinating seed is strengthened by its journey through the darkness – first by breaking through the shell of the seed, then finding its way through the density of the earth. The plant needs the resistance of the seed and then the soil so that it might become strong, becoming what it was meant to be.
The same can be said for each of us. It is through the challenges, darkness, difficulties, losses, betrayals, disappointments of our lives where we have the opportunity to find our strength. Without the challenges, we would never grow. As one of my teachers once said, “When we stop growing we die.” Amen sister amen!
As I understand it, from the perspective of the Divine, there is no judgment – no good or bad, light or dark. Everything simply “is” and as it is, it serves the purpose of our spiritual evolution. In our early stages of development, we perceive the “darkness” as an obstacle, we feel victimized, we allow the perceived darkness to cause us suffering, and if we are able we either run from the darkness or ignore/repress it and then it comes out sideways in our compulsive, non-loving behaviors.
As we awaken and move through our spiritual development, we come to understand what the “darkness” is simply another aspect of the light. Instead of running from it, we face it head on – recognizing in its appearance another opportunity for growth. “Thank you sir, may I have another!?”
What all of this means is that we decide. We decide what to do with the challenges that come forth in our lives. We decide what to do with the lost, suppressed, ignored, hidden rejected aspects of ourselves that want to come into the light. We decide if we allow the perceived darkness to destroy us or to serve as simply another tool in our journey toward (as you said) redemption. Salvation comes when we are able to find love in the midst of the now – no matter how that “now” might appear. In order to do this we have to be willing to go into our shadows, dive into the depths, confront and be with our fears. As every true master has shown us, the only way we can find our light is to learn how to be with our dark and in this we learn that our dark is not dark after all.
If you are interested in learning more about working with your own shadow, Lauri is available for one-on-one consulting/coaching. Email email@example.com to schedule your own private session today.