The Darkness and the Light

On any spiritual path, if it’s any good, we face the darkest sides of the psyche and consciousness.  I’ve never been much of a follower of dictates of “right” and “wrong” in “black” and “white.”  I’ve always seen life as a lot more nuanced than two shades.  When I am asked about an either/or or a neither/nor – I can seriously often justify the answer: “both.”

Perhaps Rumi summed it up best:  “Out beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.  And as our souls lie in this grass, even the words ‘each other’ seem strange.”  

And I have to say this is the answer I get a lot from my Gurus, my teachers: “Not really this.  Not really that.  Both.”  It’s interesting how a Guru can have an entire dialogue with a disciple, alone, in a crowded room that penetrates to the Heart of a question.  When you ask a Guru a question, you realize in their answer, the source of your own question in the first place.  

For example, I asked Shiva Rudra Balayogi once why we were more spiritual in the East.  And he essentially said that this sentiment wasn’t true.  He said in so many words – “Outwardly it seems we are more spiritual in the East, but there are a lot of people quietly doing their own sadhana in the West.”  And then he told me to continue teaching others to teach yoga and to bring people out to gather for bhajans and sadhana.  Ahem.  But Babaji,  I’m in a hermit period right now.   I have a lot of hermits in my family and we have intense hermit periods.  See how the question tells one a lot about one’s Self?

In today’s world of instant mass communications through social media and the Internet, we come face to face with the darkest sides of the psyche and in each other.  For some reason, the electronic page, a Tweet, Facebook, news sites brings out the worst in “trolling” and harassment.  It’s even encouraged in our current media age to have out-right battles of name-calling on all public sites.  The behavior is something that the masses have had to accept in the current president-elect of the United States.  Which brings me to the point of this post – given that his consciousness leans heavily on the dark side with hateful rhetoric against many people in the U.S. and throughout the world, the man has incited a lot of fear, negativity and terror.  And we light-workers, well, we can feel it as the densest darkness that threatens to engulf the light of the soul.
But there is something very positive about the exposure of all this darkness in the collective consciousness.  It is a way for all of us to look deeply at the suffering in the world in the eye and find sources that are of true help to everyone. 

What is true help?  What is true service?

I have had to work very hard at my own ego as a “helper,” a “rescuer,” a “giver of light,” a “yogini,” a “teacher.”  I’ve worked very much on the co-dependency triangle of victim-rescuer-perpetrator in my own psyche.  Co-dependency in a nutshell is the need for others to be helpless to justify one’s need to be of help.  It’s everywhere.  And then when the victim doesn’t seem to like the help, the co-dependent becomes the perpetrator and then the cycle continues on to the grave and into the next lifetime.  I have found the moment we cast someone else in the role of “darkness” or the “evil-one” (perpetrator) and we assume ourselves to be the purveyor of “light,” (rescuer)  well, there’s something incredibly patronizing (victimizing) in this dynamic, yes?  It’s not helpful.  Pity is another word for arrogance.

To act out of pity is to act out of sheer hubris at our own unabashed superiority.  To “feel bad” for another is to disavow our own feelings of darkness and throw it on another.  What I am saying is that rather than focusing on others’ issues, this Yogini has spent a good deal of time dissecting my own personal samskaras, demons, dramas.  And from the place where I can lay down any need to be better than, to push my own agenda forward, to need to be given the reward of Supreme Rescuer to all beings, then I know that perhaps there is some light I can provide just by simply being.  Energy precedes matter.  

And then perhaps the action of “help” can come from this place of truly being of service, not to win anything. Not to win any awards from God for being “better than,” “holier than,” “more spiritual than.”  You get it.  We live in a competitive world.  As Guruji has said in his booklet “Being and Becoming,” we seem to eternally grab hats to put on.  It’s not hot shit to be nothing.  We need to be known as the something that is nothing. Ha ha.  Makes sense?  Yes.  I did ask everyone to define the word “Swami” at the ashram recently and they all looked at me as I laughed and said – “Svaha ME.”  That’s a Swami.  I digress.

Desirelessness, even beyond the desire to be the most ridiculously BRIGHT purveyor of LIGHT across the Universe, is the ultimate quest for a seeker.

So back to why it is a good thing that all the darkness of the psyche is out and exposed for everyone?  Well, it means we can do something about it.  The disease is no longer festering under the surface, unnamed.  It is out, ready to be healed.  We can all be compassionate and loving in the knowledge that there is a tremendous amount of suffering in the world and understand why there is also a great need for tremendous amounts of healing and light.  I believe that all of this is a call for my favorite thing to sell: Sadhana.  More spiritual practice.  More true devotion.  More deep self-analysis and self-LOVE.

There is a light that never goes out.  It penetrates all darkness and is unafraid.  The greatest fears tremble and flee in this light.  It is the light of awareness.  The light of the Self.  May all beings know and live in this light even as we wade through the densest darkness.

Asat toma sat gamaya.

Tamas soma jyotir gamaya.

Mrtyorma amrtam gamaya.

Onward. Inward. Upward.

Om shantih om,


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