Do you ever long to blossom into the fullness of yourself, to feel the scent of your own beauty and smile your inner radiance to the world? I know I do.
However I find that the more I experience life the more I come to the conclusion beauty is not perhaps what I have been taught to believe it is. Traditionally I have seen the beauty of the rose as being attributed to its petals, the blossom, the flower and its sweet smell while the less desirable parts of the plant – the roots, stem, leaves and thorns seem to have no place in my concept of beauty at all!
Today though I am beginning to realise (that is to make real in my own life) the truth that beauty is not just about the so called 'nice' things but is more about experiencing wholeness (holiness).
We cannot know our own beauty (holiness) with being whole, without embracing all aspects of the flowering life. In classical psychology this is referred to as integrating our shadow self. The shadow self is everything that we have deemed to be unacceptable about ourselves – it can include so called positive attributes of self (light shadows) as well as the so called negative (dark shadows). We humans have a tendency to want to run from the things we don’t like, to hide from them, to deny them, avoid them or at the very least minimise them. But the truth is we can never run from, or escape our shadows because our true nature is light and where there is light there is always a shadow – at least on this earthly plane! OUr shadows will follow us wherever we go so doesn't it make sense to at least try to make friends with them?
Jesus the Christ advised us to love our enemies yet learning to love that which we hate is a tall order. Returning to the idea of the rose again we might like to take note of the fact that a rose cannot blossom into its own fullness without the dark, messiness of the soil in which it is planted. It is the nutrients in the soil that feed the rose while the sunlight and water nurture and encourage its growth too. Without soil the plant cannot grow; without the sunlight it cannot grow either. Both are needed in order for the full beauty of the rose to be seen and experienced. So too it is for us. We need light and dark in order to shine. Look at the night sky – without the darkness how would we know the beauty of the stars?
If we want to shine, or blossom then we have to find a way to be open to the darkness of the soil. Being open means we are free to feel the soil around us and so take from it that which will nourish our own growth and maturation as human beings. If we close down then the soil becomes hard and compacted and we cannot feel our way through it. The organ of feeling is the heart so we need to cultivate an open heart – a heart that is fully functioning will allow itself to feel the full array of emotions available to us as human beings. When we are open we feel all our emotions, not just some of them, not just the ones that we have deemed acceptable.
All emotions are fuel and fodder for our own growth. Once we have felt them and taken from them what we need to take from them then they are free to move through us and pass away. Feelings, emotions are just energy (E) in motion; they are meant to come and go. When we don’t feel them, when we don’t give them room to be, then they hang around inside us. They become our unresolved issues. They fester and solidify in us. Our hearts harden in accordance with this and our growth is stunted. What we resist persists within us until we find the courage to soften our hearts enough to begin the feeling process. There is no way round this. We cannot know our own beauty without knowing our own ugliness. We cannot know our own divinity without knowing our humanity too. This is just the way it is – we are spirit beings (divine beings) that have chosen to become earthly, human (from humus/soil/earth) beings in order that we may experience our own nature. We need to live and breathe and grow in a world of relativity if we are to know ourselves at all. Accepting the limitations of being human without succumbing to them is the true meaning of being humble.
If we refuse to accept our own divinity them we flounder in a false humility. If we reach only for the divinity and what we deem to be good then we fall into arrogance and false pride. If we seek the light without the dark or vice versa we will never grow into the fullness of ourselves. Our growth will always be limited, partial and incomplete and based on very shaky foundations.
If we want to grow we must follow the middle way where both light and dark influence us. The middle way is not an easy path and it is not for the faint hearted. it seems that many are called to it but few choose to follow it! However if we don’t want to stay stuck in outdated modes of thinking, in traditions that no longer serve us, in beliefs that we no longer feel to be true, in jobs that no longer satisfy us, in relationships that no longer nurture us or in bodies that no longer work for us then we must reach deep into the pain and uncomfortable parts of our lives and reclaim what we find there.
There is no need to fear the dark - remember how the bible promised us that the darkness would never overcome the light? If we think about this we know it to be true. Shadows cannot exist without the light that created them – so darkness is always secondary to light. Darkness is our second nature; light our first nature. Knowing this we can learn to feel our way through the darkness like a blind person feels their way through life, trusting that the light is still there even if we can't see it at this particular time (just as we know that the sun is still shining even when it is obscured from our sight by clouds!). When we allow to feel without judging the feeling then we open ourselves to feel/sense/intuit/ and respond to the light that is always present within, around and before us.
Feeling the darkness rather than reacting to it enables us to respond to the light and when we respond to both we are whole and our own holiness blossoms as a radiant beauty for all to see.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.