In the opening of Within Bliss, I joked about the ‘spiritually positive’. Some New Age and New Thought communities are rife with ‘Think Positivists’, the idea that if you think happy you’ll be happy.
Now, there is some truth to the idea. What you put your attention on grows stronger. Gratitude is a powerful tool as well. But if that positivity is a resistance or denial of how you really feel, then it is simply another illusion. Another mask. It is working against being OK, being present to what is, as it is.
Until we wake up to our true natures, all of us carry what I call the shadow story. A sub-conscious background agenda about what’s wrong. What’s not OK. It’s like a big, dark shadow that follows us around, like a boogey man under the bed. As long as we are unwilling to see it, we are caught in it’s drama, throttling our happiness.
“It’s not just to love the good but to love the dark as well.”
This may sound like a gross caricature and not how you experience life. But are you experiencing joy right now? If your life is not flowing on a background of ever-present happiness, you have a shadow or mask. A covering over your light. It’s that simple.
Most of the teachers on the spiritual talk circuit don’t talk too much about this. It’s considered a “downer” and people want peppy stuff to be inspired. But as long as we’re unwilling to see ourselves fully, that inspiration will fast fade. The shadow will rise again.
“Hello darkness my old friend, I come to talk to you again…”
(Yep, Simon And Garfunkel, Sound of Silence)
Today I got an email about a new film being released now by Debbie Ford called The Shadow Effect. Judging by the trailer it goes right into it, complete with black and white imagery and effects. They address the Shadow head on.
“A journey to your Dark Side” (shades of Star Wars).
It features Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Mark Victor Hansen, and more. They also have a 2 DVD version that includes 8 exercises. And it looks like there’s an on-line viewing option and a “Starter Kit”, workshops, and more.
I’ve not seen the film so can’t speak to it’s excellence. The trailer looks great but it’s hard to say what the approach is. If you are familiar with her earlier books (I’m not) like “Why Good People Do Bad Things” and “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers“, one would expect the film to be built on that.
Opening up to the story is an important part of the spiritual journey. But you need slightly different tools for it. Otherwise, you can be amplifying the drama, making it more real. The idea is NOT to wade into the muck but simply bring innocent attention to it, bring in the light. See it. In the seeing, it is diffused. The repressed feelings are allowed and released. The load is lifted. The mask removed. The vision cleared.
It can take some time and patience. Especially patience. And lots of self kindness. This is not a story of blame. There are no mistakes here, just resistance.
If you explore the journeys of a number of todays popular teachers, some of them speak openly of their own journey through the dark side – Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie come to mind. Those with a long meditation practice are more likely to diffuse the bulk of it over time. But even there, it must be faced.
“You can’t fight darkness with darkness but you can switch on the light.”
— all quotes from the film’s trailer
And in that is the key. When all the massive energy you’re using to keep it held down is released, not only do you regain your power, but you open channels that have been blocked. This is the story of kundalini, of both personal and spiritual awakening.
I look forward to seeing the film and seeing how well they did.