Don't be Afraid of the Dark


By Caroline Knight

There are a lot of assumptions made in modern times about the meaning and/or necessity of darkness. Dark is frequently equated with ‘bad’ and we strive for the ‘light’ or ‘good’, rejecting anything external that we perceive as dark. Dark is evil; it’s not our orientation, so we reject it.

If you display anger in public, it better be righteous anger; for instance, anger related to global atrocities. Anger that confirms your orientation as a compassionate person who fights for the planet is more acceptable, apparently. Even then, this may be rejected by those so convinced that only light or positivity is acceptable.

The attitude is this: ‘God’ forbid you lose it publicly, and especially over something personal. Crying in public… well, that’s just too uncomfortable for most witnesses. Get angry in public over something personal, and you’re just plain wrong. It’s not spiritual, not the done thing. Consider this, then:

The ability to hold Light is directly proportional to the courage to see darkness. Choosing to see just one creates distortions and illusions. It amazes me that something so simple and common sense can be so difficult to even discuss with ‘spiritual’ people who insist on remaining ‘positive’. Actually, this avoidance is based on unacknowledged fear that their inner light might be somewhat ‘dispersed’ by seeing darkness and therefore not giving the light much credit at all. I think there’s also fear that they might somehow become ‘tainted’ or the darkness might ‘manifest’ in some form in their lives. But the opposite is true; it is the fear, especially unacknowledged, that has much more chance to manifest than darkness exposed to daylight and investigation. Just like we must be fearless about our own inner shadow, we must also be fearless about seeing this huge shadow of humanity. Or we will have the power to transform precisely nothing, within or without.
— Anis Springate

I’m not suggesting you yell at whoever annoys you. I’m not suggesting you become a tannoy-wielding human rights activist either; unless you want to. What I’m saying is that there is no harm in knowing your orientation. You feel positive, so you want to be positive in all areas of your life? That’s great. Positivity is certainly a lot more comfortable for all involved than negativity – provided that it is done from a place of awareness rather than denial.

Without bad, how do you know you’re good?

Were you born positive? Was every moment of your life shining with positivity? Probably not. Which were the most educational moments of your life? I would guess at the ones that provided context. Contrast. Without night, you have nothing to compare day to. Without ‘bad’, how do you even know that you’re ‘good’?

Before we reject that innate part of ourselves, that unhealed part that wants to scream at a parent, judge someone’s behaviour, say something mean to a colleague, cry in public, etc.; let’s remember that we have all possibilities within us. Everything from a murderer to a ‘saint’. The choice is ours. If you know you could never be a murderer, that’s because you are either certain of your orientation or you can’t imagine being subject to such circumstances – it doesn’t mean the possibility is not there.

What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to be literally anything you want. It’s all the things that you didn’t want to be, but found that you were (at some point in the past) that make you what it is you want to be today.

Spiritual growth most often comes through pain


Spiritual growth so often comes through pain and challenge. Yes, sometimes it comes through the clarity of a blissful, soul-touching experience. Yet if you’ve ever looked back at a painful experience and been grateful that you overcame it, perhaps even seen why you needed to go through it, you can admit that the part of you that was resentful, angry and sad was not ‘wrong’. You needed to feel that pain so that you could establish balance in your life by healing from it.

Our unconscious motivations can and do wreak havoc on our lives if we aren’t committed to uncovering and healing them. There is no shame in having felt socially unacceptable feelings or having committed socially unacceptable acts through lack of awareness.

We have the ability to cry for a reason

Whatever imprint these traumas have left on your spirit, you might come to plant medicines (as one of many healing modalities) to heal them. The plant medicine experience may reflect exactly the process of spiritual growth described above. Conversely, it may clear energetic blockages out without active thought on your part; the teacher plants like ayahuasca know what you need and what will work best. Sometimes all you need is to let go. 

There are times when you have to visit your pain, really feel it to stop rejecting it. The creator gave us the ability to cry tears and feel anger and confusion for a reason. These are tools. ‘Dark’ feelings are your biggest teachers, and if accepted can propel you much more quickly to where it is you want to be.

This cathartic healing experience is what facilitates your awareness of yourself as a ‘light being’. If you’re reading this, no doubt that’s what you already are… perhaps you just need to remember.