Thursday, December 22, 2011

Are you afraid of your dark?

The winter solstice is almost here. On this shortest day of the year we traditionally come together to face the darkness and to remind ourselves that the days will get longer, the sun will return. It seems an appropriate time to talk about darkness. Are you afraid of your dark?

Everything in our physical universe comes in balanced pairs. Just as species produce male and female plants and animals so must light always be balanced by an accompanying darkness. It is the perfect time of year to look at ourselves from this perspective. We all spend a great deal of time attempting to embrace the light. We want to find and bring forward all of the good and noble parts of our personalities. What about the less desirable qualities? Do we honour our darkness?

It seems to me that this darkness has its place. We all attempt to shove it down. We may shy away form it . It is there in all of us. This darkness serves to balance the light so that we can be whole. If we only have light we may be blinded, thinking that all of life is perfect. The light can make us complacent. It can also prevent us form seeing the injustice and cruelty in our world and thereby rob us of our desire to correct it. An over-focus on the light can also leave us vulnerable to those who have powerfully embraced the darker side of human nature. Our own dark side comes to the fore when it is time to defend ourselves against an attack. It is one of its most important functions.

So many of the myths that we remember at this time of year speak of epic battles between light and dark. Between good and evil. Perhaps it would serve us better to use this time to see the dark more clearly now that the light doesn’t stand in our way. To look into ourselves and see that in balance the darkness serves us as the light does and brings us to a place of power where both sides are used to forward our growth and express our good character.

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