Welcome to ignorance
Since childhood I have been puzzled by consciousness. I have struggled with questions about meaning and the observable discrepancy between ideas and outcomes. What was possible to experience or achieve was often different than I imagined or worked for. I aimed high and I failed often.
There were times when things went totally off course, revolting my life upside down. I was overwhelmed by my ignorance and the lack of understanding of how life was supposed to develop. Many times I pushed in directions which seemed right, a perfect continuation of my efforts. Despite the initial successes, I later was often failing miserably on the path. Clearly, I missed something.
I desperately needed knowing but I could not put the pieces of the puzzle into a whole.
At times I felt lost in a deep abyss. Becoming a devoted Christian brought me light and additional understanding. It gave me hope when I focused on kindness. Yet, it did not fill all the holes and did not give all the answers I was looking for.
Prayers, affirmations and visualizations helped short term, but the abyss was always returning. Maintaining the positive or re-programming the beliefs were ineffective, even though I learned from professionals and practiced with devotion (I became a coach and have coached myself in the process.). I did hope that I could change the negative by focusing on the positive and following that path.
I was naive.
Years later I understood that I could not fight the unknown in me, neither focus only on the positive and pretend this was to be.
The only way forward in personal growth is to consciously participate in the positive and the negative, including the darkest nights. It is beyond my and your control to change the night into a day. It will happen naturally when the time is right. You cannot change the state of events in the majority of cases, only the attitude. This was a revelation for me.
I had to enter the night, be present in the abyss and experience it.
This is metaphorically described all over the world in fairy tales or legends, when a young or ignorant boy has to go through trails, following the track of the given jobs of increasing difficulty to finally face a dragon. The boy has to go through this alone, but he may be helped on the way. The dragon is defeated either in a direct fight or by a smart trick which the boy might have learned from an old sage. After such a journey, the boy is transformed into a man. He gets a reward: a princess and a kingdom. The reward represents what the man is missing from his Wholeness: a wife and material possession. It is metaphor for Spirit missing his/her Body to create an amazing union.
What is the night?
The night is the time when Spirit suffers from ignorance and blockages.
Spirit is pure Consciousness. It does not have a form. It desperately needs a form to realize his/her potential.
Body is Subconsciousness. It has the Form but is Spirit-less. It desperately needs a Spirit to become active.
Spirit fills the Body, to get a form and to make Body be Spirit-full. This is the ultimate union and the longing between male and female.
Ego and Soul
In my understanding, when we are born, Ego is the initial, immature union of Spirit and Body, limited in view and experience.
Ego has a single point of view starting from here and now. Just imagine the scope of light from a torch shone in the darkness. This is how little Ego is able to comprehend.
The challenge we experience is that Ego acts as a controller and is terrified when he/she lacks safety and predictability of what next. Ego likes the orderly chain of events, causes and effects. When the here and now foundations are shaken, Ego naturally panics.
The goal in life in the process of self-development, as I see it now, is a mature union of Spirit and Body, when Spirit and Body are opposing, complementing and nurturing each other. This continuously leads to a more and more transcended extension of Ego, which is Soul. Hopefully, at the end of life, Ego is fully extended to a mature Soul.
I realize that others would equate Soul and Body, but then you would need a word to capture the amazing co-creation of Body and Spirit, wouldn’t you? For me it is Soul, as it represents the active part of the Trinity: Spirit, Body and Soul.
Soul is not necessarily homogeneous. There are different aspects of Soul, which coexist in one Soul-soup. For instance, on the lowest level, Soul is animalistic and includes our basic instincts (the Chinese call it Po and link to breath and Lungs). On a higher level, it includes our intention, intellect and will. Perhaps on the highest level, it includes drive and ambition (which would be linked to Hun, the ethereal soul in the Chinese view).
The suffering comes, when Ego cannot control what is happening or plans go wrong way. This is usually the time when Consciousness is expending or we are asked to understand more. This means that our false assumptions will fall and the illusions will be exposed. It often coincides with misfortunes in life or a big crisis. We are to be cleansed from various locks and ties to which we adhere.
As in a metaphorical tale, the treasure is to be found at the bottom of the darkest den. In the time of darkest night, the New is there to be found. There are new mental and spiritual potentials ready for discovery and addition to the transforming Soul. With the earlier purge, the mental space has been prepared for new activities.
Day and Night are the basic polarity, the simplest development cycle of growing Consciousness toward a mature union with Body. Day is a metaphor for the light, the time of activity, confidence and courage, unleashed creation and sharing the knowledge.
Night is a metaphor for rest, inactivity, and the time of inward searching and understanding. It is the time to meet our fears and pains that ask for attention. Sensitive people can experience such a release by having nightmares or dealing with Shadows. Such Shadows can even take a form of Bad Spirits or Demons. There might be a threat of emptiness or death, as well as the lack of meaning.
Ego, with its limited perception, appreciates the stable situation, the continuity and the comfort zone. Ego forgets he/she is to be transformed into something New at times, and this happens all over again. Suffering that we experience is the expression of potential Spirit sparks trapped in the Subconsciousness (Body) and the fear of Ego for the jump in Consciousness that he/she has to make.
Relax into suffering
The key to help this process is to calm down and relax into suffering. As strange as it sounds, allowing and accepting it is the first step. It doesn’t mean we are to become victims of the events neither allow to be treated with respect or be torn by emotions.
No. No. No.
By allowing and accepting I mean becoming aware of what is happening and becoming a higher level observer of what is happening. The aim is not to fight it, neither to pretend it does not exist. The aim is to identify what is the potential which demands attention, understanding and release. Whatever we experience it is a part of ourselves. The suffering we feel is because a part of us needs attention and bringing to the light. Perhaps it is an “ugly” part of us. So what? Light represents knowledge and understanding, while true light represents knowing.
Because of our own ignorance and social conditioning, we experience Shadows from ourselves as something bad, alien and external. It is an illusion.
Shadows are real and represent a part of us, which we may negate in ourselves. Or, simply the parts which are new and we (i.e. Ego) are afraid of. Hence we want to hide them away or pretend they are not from us.
This is impossible however. The nature of life is to develop continuously which is against the Ego’s perspective pinned down to a given moment. The more comfort zone you want to protect, the less likely it will happen. As the sages have said through the ages “Everything is in a constant change, in a perpetuation of states.”.
In personal growth, our goal is the development Consciousness towards a more fulfilling union with Body (Subconsciousness). It is exactly the same in a relation – the development of a man and the release of fears by a woman to create a supportive-nurturing, always changing, co-creation.
We do not neglect, eliminate or push against the negative, but change the attitude towards it. We learn to journey through the negative, the crisis, the dark night, with calmness and understanding. The night will still be a night to be experienced. Yes, it’s true. We can make it less dark by shining some stars of relaxation.
When you enter the abyss as if it was your regular walk, calm and relaxed, the dragon will not be as fiercy as you have imagined. It is the understanding of the process that makes the dragon harmless. Knowledge that leads to understanding and intuition, becomes knowing, and power indeed. The treasure will be found, in the form of wisdom and inspiration, ready to be manifested in life as a new project, task or newly founded love towards others.
The dark night serves a purpose.
Of course, not everybody has to go through dark nights, as these represent the growth of Consciousness towards a new direction or towards a more mature Soul-Self. The dark nights often precede the change in vocation, for instance.
There are many people who do not need this experience as they are already mature Spirits well realizing their potentials in the Matter. These may be regular people, content with their lives, enjoying who they are what they they do. Just in peace with life, experiencing Flow. Or, they may be engineers, medical professionals, teachers or gardeners, fully embracing their paths and consciously working on making a difference.
Know yourself and appreciate
When you experience deep sadness, depression or the lack of sense of living, approach it with calmness and understanding. This is a part of you, yet hidden, asking for attention and recognition. Ignorance is not a bliss at all. Instead of suffering, choose to see the experience as an opportunity for happiness to emerge. There is a part of you ready to be born which is trapped inside because of your ignorance and fear of whom you are becoming.
Get to know yourself.
Understand what is shouting for your attention.
Ask yourself questions.
What is my fear now?
What makes me sad/depressed so deeply?
What is ready in me to be born?
How can I help it transformed into something new?
Get out of the darkness in your mind. It is up to you. The darkness you experience is the manifestation of the lack of knowledge about yourself. Whatever it is there, appreciate it.
The biochemical or neurological changes in your brain or your body are symptoms of your problems. They are not the cause, but the effects. Your physical body manifests what the trapped unexpressed Spirit perceives. She/he wants recognition and understanding.
From the darkest night in December, Light emerges as Jesus, the Son of God, to bring light to Consciousness. See it as a metaphor for your life.
Bless the Soul.
The Dawn is awaiting for a beautiful day to come.