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Sunday, 16 April 2017

There Is No Light Without Darkness

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about the Beauty of Things, where I shared my perspective of where beauty can be seen in this world. A friend of mine commented on the blog, saying I have a great outlook on life, and that she enjoys the things I write about.

This was, of course, a very flattering compliment. But, knowing me better than she did, I had to think and reflect long and hard about how true this statement really was. Especially in a social media society where everybody only sees the best of everyone else, and none of the demons which even the best of us, including myself, have.

Truth be told, I had a pretty difficult winter, where I nearly fell into depression. And as much as I wanted to reach out to the FB world for support, it wasn't quite the right avenue for me (though I have seen other friends do this well with humility and vulnerability).

We all know the classic dualities in our universe - there is no light without dark, love without hate, good without evil, beauty without revulsion. I guess I see the beauty of this world because I am aware of the revulsion and ugliness that simultaneously exists.
Beauty in the dark. Fire spinning - Cherry picking, BC 2014

I grew up listening to emo rock music, and today most of the music I listen to is pretty dark in flavor. The way I describe my favorite song, a horrific mass of eerie sound effects, screeches, bangs, gurgles and bangs, goes like this: "All the chaos in this world, all that's wrong with humanity, which I can't explain, and which makes me want to cry - this song is that chaos put into sound, but in such a way that it is beautiful and makes sense of all the chaos. This song speaks to me, soothes me, tells me everything will be okay."

And indeed, I am painfully aware of all the hate and injustice that exists; the darkness that plagues this world. Anyone who would meet me in person during a discussion about global issues, would have a mightily different impression of me than if they simply read my blog, or scanned my FB page. I remember once getting to know someone while volunteering at a vipassana meditation course, and he stopped me, saying I was getting into very negative territory.

But if I weren't aware of that darkness, I wouldn't be able to see the light. Or if I just lived in a comfortable bubble, ignoring the darkness, I would also deny myself access to the light. Instead, I invite the dark stuff in, and deal with it. The process is similar to the five stages of grief and loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance (I think).
Eagerly awaiting the sunrise - Singalila trek, Nepal/India border, 2014

So I have come to acknowledge that there is darkness in my life, I process it, accept it, and swim through it, toward the light on the other side. And in the right situation, I am willing to share my darkness with others to create a sense of solidarity.

But I am also aware that there is a distinct difference between darkness and light, and negativity and positivity. Negativity is borne out of darkness. But while in some cases it is good to share your darkness with others, there is no good rationale for spreading negativity to others. Spreading negativity only creates a vicious circle that will spiral out of control, and there's already too much of that going around - social media is a big vicious circle of negative news.

Positivity, on the other hand, creates a virtuous circle which can start a chain reaction of positive energy.

So I invite you everyone to start their own virtuous circles, create positive energy for those around them. But all the while maintaining the awareness that no matter how positive we seem to others, and how positive others seem to us, that we all harbor a little darkness on the inside. We couldn't see the light without it. And that darkness will be shared when the time is right.
A little fun with friends - Vancouver, 2015
If you feel ready to share with me or the world, then I ask you, "What is the darkness in your life?"


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