Monday, December 9, 2013

The Shadow and Dispelling the Darkness Phase

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I've been toying with a new way to discuss spiritual awakening and the arising of consciousness that emerges from that deep connection. Once again, I always like to remind people that I am using the term "awakening" in a very specific way. I don't use it as a verb that means to gradually become more aware. I refer to that as the path of consciousness. On the path of consciousness, we can become more aware. We can improve. We can see more. It is an important path of self growth, and one that also naturally arises from the awakened state when we no longer resist who and what we are.

So while awakening includes this, the individual who awakens feels almost carried along by some greater more intelligent and loving force that automatically rips down illusions while simultaneously revealing one's greatest light. In this space, gentleness and acceptance tend to be crucial, and the energy needs a little bit, but not much focusing inwards. This awareness abides, and it sees everything as perfect. Everything Is. That is enough, and yet from that Is-ness, there arise often dramatic changes, usually starting by clearing out illusions and the darkness resulting from those illusions.

For those on the conscious path, discipline, building up internally focused energy, and a host of other spiritual tools are important because otherwise the individual is still in their old habits and patterns and much prefers to roll along with those currents. The greater inner current has not been set loose, and much of the work is about how you learn to open that space so that inner intelligence naturally shaping your life in accordance to the divine plan.

With all of this said, you'll still find plenty of elements in this post that apply to you regardless of if you have awakened or if you're on the path of developing greater consciousness. While the latter happens naturally with the person in awakening, we all move through opportunities for greater clarity in our spiritual growth cycles for this lifetime. So if you do find yourself generally in a time of dispelling the darkness, I can only encourage you to persist and go deeper to pass through it instead of avoiding it.

The Dance of Light and Dark

The shadow and dispelling the darkness phase is an over-arching phase. When I use the term phase here, I'm talking in terms of months if not years. For me, it was years. There are all kinds of phases within phases, cycles within cycles, shifts within shifts upon awakening. While the bliss phase is fun, it's almost like a momentary gathering of energy that then pulls us more deeply inwards. It's like catching your breath before taking a deep dive into the ocean. However, the metaphor only goes so far because the more you clear out the darkness in the depths, the more light and the more "breathe-able" the space becomes. The darkness melts away.

Along with this phase is a simultaneous phase of embracing your light. In awakening, they are linked. They are happening together, but one tends to be more prominent than the other. At the start, it tends to be about facing the darkness while still clinging to old unconscious ego habits. Later on, people can make a choice to truly stand in their light because they no longer have any attachment or investment in the old unhealthy ways of living that caused so much suffering.

You may notice for those of you on the conscious path that you may be focusing on how to be a "good" person. Awakening does not do this. Instead it removes the illusion that covers up the truth that we are already beings of love, so how can you improve such a perfect and beautiful love? Without illusions in the way, we naturally behave from a deep love, integrity, and harmony with all those around us. Hurting others becomes more and more irrational and insane because we understand that when we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. Truths like this become clearer and clearer as bits of darkness dissolve and more of your inner light is revealed. With the greater light shining on everything, yet more darkness is illuminated. Deep levels of anger, shame, fear, and depressive sadness get illuminated, and a lot of inner turbulence becomes the norm in this particular phase. Each issue gets met in slightly different ways, but it all starts with acceptance and allowing. The awakened space will not tolerate ignorance and blindness, and so many of you may find yourself face down in the mud of your soul for quite some time depending on how much darkness you've carried and what your natural vibration is with which you're aligning.

Common Elements of the Shadow and Dispelling the Darkness Phase

The following are common elements I've noticed in this phase:

  • Old issues are brought to the light.
  • Many self revelations arise as we learn to see the entirety of us.
  • There's a tendency to fall back on old unhealthy habits.
  • There's a tendency to continue to identify with the old unconscious ego. Where this happens, we tend to create suffering and even physical pain in the awakening.
  • There's often a tendency to be scared or overwhelmed by your inner light and the gifts you have to share with yourself and the world. Even after awakening, we often avoid these abilities.
  • There's a tendency to continue to cling to and defend old relationships, jobs, skillsets, etc. that have outlived their usefulness or are unhealthy.
  • This can be a period of physical sickness as old pains are released into the system and healing arises.
  • This can be a period of low energy, especially if we cling to unhealthy habits because they are familiar.
  • There can be an element of trying to survive/make it through.


Deeper Cycles Within the Phases of Awakening

Because so many egos want to define themselves as "awakened," I can only say that you shouldn't get caught up in these definitions. The awakened person becomes less and less interested in explanations, but they are useful to give the mind some idea what is going on in this phase when it can feel so dark and confusing. It's the unconscious ego that is always trying "survive" in this phase anyway. Wherever you can let go of your attachments to who you think you are and how you think you should live, the easier this phase can be. Notice that I said "easier" and not "easy." I often use the metaphor of physical illness or ailment such as a broken bone to help people understand the spiritual path. Sometimes it can go like this:

Pre-op: You feel like you're immersed in darkness because you have so much other stuff in the way. Before you can actually be operated on, this junk has to be removed. So this can include healing from addictions and other external relationships and substances that muddy up your clarity.

Operating to set the bone: Then your awakened self has enough energy and space to move more deeply. The bone gets set. Is this fun? No. Is it easier when you aren't fighting the doctor? You bet. This part of healing is where we really begin to see how we've caused our own suffering and we're coming back into the alignment with truth. Moving into this phase makes the Pre-op phase seem easier, but that phase at the time probably seemed like the hardest thing you have ever done.

Rehab: But are we running anywhere yet? Are we trying to save the world? No. We're in rehab. We're learning to move the leg with the healing bone. We're starting to figure out what our range of motion is when we're healthy, alive, and feeling instead of deadened and numb (which was why sex, alcohol, drugs, and other activities were used initially--so we wouldn't notice how much pain we were in with the broken bone).

Walking: Now we get to practice walking. We're doing simple things in life. It's not particularly spectacular. We're still coming up against our darkness and limitations at this point because we have never really been able to walk very far because of our broken leg. We may not even believe that we are really walking. This can be a metaphor for how amazing we are at listening, healing, teaching, building communities, leading, nourishing through food and kindness, and so many other traits that before were either disavowed, ignored, considered not good enough or worthwhile, or seemed to be too easy to be making a real contribution to society.

Running: This typically comes in the embracing the light phase, which I'll talk about in a subsequent blog post. But eventually, we do trust ourselves, and when we have an inner foundation (two stable legs), we can do a lot more. We start to see how vast and infinite we are, and while there are always limitations in the physical world, we start to see how many of the old limitations we used to believe in aren't real and see how far we can go and how much we grow into our greatness.

The Ominous and Deepening Gloom

But wherever you are is usually where you are; you can't see past it; and the rest sounds like hopeful fantasy. The unconscious ego has no perspective. That's the problem with most people; they have no perspective. They think life is as it is in a kind of self-defeating way or in a way that they think they need to dominate and control life. When an awakened person says, "Life is as it is" that means one thing. One someone who isn't awake says it, it means something else. The space from which we say things and do things has a tremendous influence on the world and what we perpetuate. In this shadow and darkness phase, we are seeing that. We are seeing all the muck and grime, and we can go through many cycles on the mind, heart, body, and subtle energies and karmic fields. It can seem never-ending, but this is not true. It will complete. It is also true that in awakening you don't need to do that much other than to let it keep arising. Find a safe space to be fully open and vulnerable and let it keep arising.

I remember a friend once saying how much work the spiritual path was and all the stuff he had to do, but that was never my experience after awakening. After awakening, the spiritual shift was always with me. I felt like I was energetically on fire at times. There was no way to get away from it. I could suppress it to some degree to interact in the physical world, but that felt HORRIBLE. Nonetheless, I made "mistakes" like that. I say "mistakes" loosely because consciousness uses this as a teaching tool too. It's like my awakened Self saw that I needed to see how truly awful it was to live and act in the old ways that I had, so I did that until I was so thoroughly sick of it that I wanted no part of that old life. I only wanted the love inside.

And yet, wanting and dedicating to that love is just the beginning.

Moving Out of the Dark Into the Light

There's this interesting fact that moving into the light actually can be the more intense of the two phases. There are qualities of greater ease when we turn to embrace our light, and where certain things were very difficult in the dark phase, they're much easier to be with in the light phase. But consider the metaphor of massage: after you've worked through upper layers and are really relaxing more deeply inward, now the massage therapist can go even deeper. Into these greater depths, embracing the light can pull up some of the most horrendously painful and debilitating junk--junk that has poisoned your who life if not lifetimes. Because you are relaxing into this space, you can see this deeply ingrained, hidden, and involuntary darkness with greater awareness. At this point, your light has really grown from the uncovering you've been doing--all that lovely polishing of your soul. That can make the differential (the "distance" in vibration) between the dark and the light even more extreme. It's like going from 100 degrees to subzero temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit, where before you were used to "temperature swings" of only a couple degrees in the early phase. So here even greater self-care and love is needed, but more on that in the next blog post.

Things to Remember in the Dark

Always bring a flashlight. Fortunately, you are that flashlight. Sure, spiritual teachers and communities can be helpful in initially helping to light your way, and during the initial phases, a community can be helpful because they're usually not that different in vibration. But as you awaken and go more deeply, you'll find that you need greater and greater purity around you to work with more subtle levels of dark. It's all very natural though, so you may find yourself drifting from spiritual communities and friends and teachers as it's time. Towards the end of my two phases of dark and light (I'm in my natural spiritual growth cycles for this lifetime now), it really was just me, God, and Mama Nature. It had nothing to do with other people being bad, impure, or not conscious-enough or whatever. It's just that certain subtle levels of operating require a super clean operating room, and generally speaking, God and Nature supply that space the best. In that way, they are the best lights to help you see through the gloom, and they are always here (Well, if nature isn't close by, it might be wise to move closer and get away from noisy, turbulent cities and their competing energies).

This dispelling the darkness phase is temporary though. It's all temporary, and this phase is also a gift. With so much naturally arising inner awareness, it's like the floodgates have opened. Now, it's time to tend the fields and pull away the weeds, brambles, and rocks so that one day lots of amazing and nourishing seeds can sprout seemingly all on their own in your life. In making this space, you move into the greater phase of embracing your light to find out just how beautiful, spacious, and loving you truly are and life truly is.
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