Things in the world seem really grim right now. Many people feel like we are on the verge of World War III. These are clearly apocalyptic, end-times we are living in. Many people are hopelessly pessimistic about the state of human affairs, feeling like there is nothing we can do to make a difference. It feels to some like we are descending into hell. It feels to others like we are on the verge of global collapse. Something seems terribly wrong. It seems like we are creating a living nightmare for ourselves. It is as if our planet has fallen under a demon’s curse. It is crucial that we shed light on the nature of the darkness that has befallen our planet.
We need to understand the nature of the beast we are dealing with. One thing we can say for sure is that the darkness does not want us to become aware of it. To become conscious of how the darkness plays itself out in our world is the last thing the darkness wants, just like a vampire can’t stand the light of day. For to see the darkness is to take away its power over us, as it can no longer act itself out through our unconscious. Just like sunlight flooding into a room instantaneously evacuates the darkness in the room, when we shed the light of consciousness on the darkness that is both in our world and within ourselves, the power of the darkness is immediately dis-spelled.
The darkness that is appearing in the outer world is not separate from, but is co-related to, the darkness within ourselves. The darkness that is manifesting in the outside world is simultaneously triggering a resonant re-action deep inside of ourselves. To the extent we are unconscious of what the darkness is triggering inside of ourselves, it enlists us as one of its unwitting agents, as the darkness feeds on our unawareness of it.
If we become entranced by the very convincing display of outer darkness that is materializing in the world and fall prey to pessimism, we have fallen under the darkness’s spell and are then feeding, supporting and helping to create the very darkness in the world which we are reacting to pessimistically. Bewitched by our own darkness, we relate to it as if it is independent and outside of ourselves, thinking our pessimistic reaction is justified by the dark goings-on that are “objectively” happening in the outside world. In choosing to see pessimistically, we don’t realize that we are filtering our interpretation of events through a pessimistic lens which then provides us with overwhelming evidence to confirm our pessimism.
To become pessimistic about what is playing out on the world stage is to become an unwitting instrument through which the darkness further incarnates and extends itself into our world. To become caught in pessimism is to fall victim to an infinitely regressing feedback loop: we wouldn’t be so pessimistic if our world wasn’t manifesting so darkly, and our world wouldn’t be manifesting so darkly if we weren’t so pessimistic. To become fixated in the point of view of seeing things pessimistically is to unwittingly become an ally of the very darkness that is inspiring our pessimism. This is to have fallen into a self-generating, samsaric feedback loop that is self-fulfilling in nature and will undoubtedly destroy us.
Becoming pessimistic is a symptom that the darkness has insinuated itself into our very consciousness, and is manipulating our perceptions of the world so as to further propagate itself. Becoming depressed and pessimistic is what the darkness wants, as it thirsts for us to become seduced by its convincing display of seemingly overwhelming power so that we give up our own power to it as well and believe all is lost. Imagining ourselves dis-empowered, we dis-associate from our “True Self” as well as from each other, disconnecting from our individual and collective “brilliance” (which, interestingly, connotes “light”). To give up and believe there is nothing we can do is to unknowingly join forces with the darker power, becoming its secret agents, our secret being secret even to ourselves.
To be pessimistic is to be arguing for our own impotence and limitation. If we win an argument about the truth of our pessimism, the “prize” we win is that we are screwed. There is something wrong with this picture. There is clearly something flawed and even perverse about our logic if it leads to such a self-defeating result. This flaw is like a red flag that can inspire us to self-reflect and look at what we are actually doing when we invest in a pessimistic world-view. Pessimism is a symptom that we are investing in our own decline and ultimately our own suicide.
I am not saying that we should just put on a smiley-face and become “everything turns out for the best” optimists. To only identify, like some so-called “spiritual” people do, with the “celestial rainbow” point of view, believing that everything is perfect and not problematic is overly one-sided, as it is dis-associated from the part of our experience that is seemingly “damned,” “cursed,” and deeply problematic. To identify with only one side of a two-sided polarity like this is to be actively in denial of and contracting against its opposite. To only identify with the light in actuality supports and feeds the dark. Over-identifying only with the light, we marginalize the darkness, which secretly empowers it, as the darkness then becomes something of which we are afraid. We are then unwittingly investing our energy into the darkness by our one-sided identification with the light. We need to shed the light of awareness on how the darkness plays itself out both outside in the world as well as inside of ourselves, as the darkness can potentially seduce us to be either overly optimistic or pessimistic. To fall into an extreme view like this is to ultimately be part of the problem, rather than embodying the solution.
I am not spouting some new age gibberish when I am urging us to not be pessimistic. I am simply pointing out that pessimism is not only unnecessary, but is actually dangerous, as it will help to actively create a self-fulfilling prophecy that will ultimately justify our pessimism. When I am saying not to be pessimistic, I am not marginalizing the darkness and saying that everything will turn out peaches and cream. I’m not talking about pretending the darkness isn’t really dark, and trying to imagine it out of existence by mindlessly affirming that everything is really OK, that everyone will live happily ever after. From one point of view, things are genuinely fucked. It is important not to marginalize that.
Our situation is extremely dire, while at the same time there is nothing to become pessimistic about. Being able to hold this paradox is the “crux” of the matter. This involves being able to hold these seemingly contradictory opposites together as both being true simultaneously. Our apocalyptic situation is very dire, while at the same time it is (potentially) the highest blessing: If we recognize what the darkness is revealing to us, it can (potentially) wake us up. Interestingly, the inner meaning of the word “apocalypse” is something hidden being revealed.
Our universe is manifesting as a genuine “coincidentia oppositorum,” a co-incidence of opposites, an auspicious coming together of the opposites where the opposites paradoxically reveal themselves to be both opposite and united at the same time. This holistic vision makes no sense and seems like pure nonsense as long as we are rigidly clinging to only one point of view and marginalizing another part of our experience. And yet, this more inclusive vision is itself the very expansion of consciousness which transforms the nature of our situation and empowers us to become genuine agents of change in the world.
Instead of identifying with one of the opposites and projecting out the other (which is to “split”), if we recognize that both of the seemingly contradictory opposites are true simultaneously, we have re-joined ourselves and retrieved our soul. Healing our split with the outside world and within ourselves, we are an active and activating participant in the birth of consciousness into human form. Stepping into the open-ended, embodied form of our wholeness, we become an agent of healing for the universe.
Shadows are an expression that light is nearby. Shadows are never found without light, which is to say that light and shadows are inseparably united into a deeper, more all-embracing whole. Paradoxically, hidden, in-coded inside the darkness is a light which (potentially) awakens (and is inseparable from) consciousness. Not being separate from the light, the darkness itself is an unmediated expression of and indivisible from the “light of consciousness” itself. This self-luminous light of awareness is a higher-order of light which embraces, unites and transcends the duality of light vs. darkness.
How our universe will unfold from this moment on depends upon whether or not we “consciously” re-cognize what the darkness is revealing to us as it acts itself out through us. The darkness itself is the revelation of the light, as it is the light revealing itself in the hidden form of darkness.
Shedding light on the darkness within us is a form of illumination. Once we become intimately related to and engaged with our own darkness, we become fluent in its language, coming to know how it behaves and operates within ourselves. We are then able to translate this familiarity with our own darkness in such a way so as to creatively illumine the darkness in the outer world. Once enough of us have made acquaintance with the darkness that exists within us, we are then able, like sunlight melting the morning dew, to collectively dis-spell the darkness that has seemingly enveloped our planet.
Paradoxically, it is only by coming to terms with the darkness within ourselves that we are able to step out of our trance-like addiction to pessimism and become full-bodied representatives of the all-embracing light of consciousness. Uniting in collective “lucidity” (which, etymologically, refers to “light”), we reciprocally co-inspire each other as we empower ourselves to create a more grace-filled universe to co-inhabit. A radical, evolutionary idea whose time has truly come!
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. Paul is also a visionary artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,which is available on his website www.awakeninthedream.com. (See the first chapter, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis). Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2010