One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
– Carl Jung
If we had been living in Germany during the Nazi uprising, we’d all be Nazi’s. There is nothing holy or divine about us which could protect us from our capacity to do harm to others and ourselves.
Nobody has to force us to do evil, we will do it willingly. It is part of our nature. The question is not if we can suppress it but if we can accept it as who we are. If we try to deny it while suppressing its influence then we fight an enemy we can’t see and that’s a losing battle. To really deal with it, we must bring it to the surface.
Our dark side is based on a simple fact: We are not logical creatures but emotional ones. We react and then we rationalize. We cannot decide what we feel or change it if it becomes unpleasant, we can only feel it. Emotions do not differentiate between crying when we are sad or killing when we are angry. Both are ways to avoid feeling the emotion. Both are ways of running away.
Our emotions are our dark side. They grab hold of us and change us from the inside out. Our decisions, views and actions are deeply rooted in what we feel. Emotions can be mild or increase the intensity to the maximum. Fear will make us more prejudiced and joy will make us more friendly. We think we are in control but we really aren’t.
If we break out in tears when we are sad or if we cannot stop laughing when we are excited then we will be unable to stay on track when the darkest emotions come to the surface.
The solution to this is a very practical one. We accept that we aren’t in control of the forces that guide us and focus on the direction we have to go. We will make plenty of mistakes and missteps along the way, that is out of the question. It is part of the human experience.
We are not the emotions itself, the joy, the anger, the sadness, …. – we are the intensity with which it comes. That’s it. The more intensity we feel, the more attention we must bring. The less intensity there is, the less attention will be necessary. Our emotional intensity is a gift because it gives us presence and surrender. It gives us something greater than ourselves to bow before.
Our dark side is our emotional side. It cannot be reasoned with. If we don’t pay attention, it will make us act in a certain way. If we pay attention it will give us the gift of surrender. It will allow us to express our emotions appropriately and not run away from them.