The human mind is a deep ocean of secrets—a whirling vortex of dark and light morphing together to create the peculiar living beings that we are.
In this fleeting moment of time that we are alive in the universe, one of the most exciting and fulfilling things we can do is to try and understand what is beyond our consciousness. Beyond the shallow waters. Beyond the light.
“Look, Simba: Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
But what about that “shadowy place?”, you ask.
“You must never go there, Simba”, your consciousness might tell you.
But let’s do, for a minute, shall we?
Let’s go there for a bit. (This is where the Lion King reference stops, just so you know.)
As long as we keep ignoring the existence of the darkness that resides in our minds, it is going to have an iron-clad control in everything we do. It is imbued with powerful energy that works like a default software program within us. We often let it steer our way in life calling it “fate”.
It takes really going there, acknowledging it, and unraveling that darkness to be free of that control. If and when we understand that nothing about our mind or existence is inherent or definite, it creates a huge shift in what we understand is to be human.
So, what is it to be human? Is it to just exist within a human body? To be a “good” human — generous and all? We humans have never managed to define humanness well. More often than not, we lightly brush over the parts that we are comfortable with and call it a day.
When we do not acknowledge the entirety of us, both the darkness and the light, we deprive ourselves of the true depth and complexity of humanness.
We say we are aware. We say we are in control. Constantly. But are we, really? We are often only aware of the light, the joy, things that are happening in favor of us, for us, if we are aware at all.
The rest, the darkness, we blissfully, and sometimes painfully, ignore.
Once we allow ourselves to sit with the excruciating pain of the darkness that is within our minds, as well as the light, we will start breaking our life up not by months and years, but by intense moments of deep awareness that we experience.
The only way we can take more control in our life, and the things that are happening in relation to us as well as for us is to constantly question ourselves why we do what we do. To acknowledge and dig deep into the darkest parts of us that we never reveal to others, and to ask ourselves why.
That is the only way we can elicit change. That is the only way we can evolve and grow. The only way we can shed light on that “shadowy place”.
Yes, it is difficult. It is painful. It is exhausting.
It is cathartic.
It is also healing. And illuminating.
It is not a one-and-done type of thing or an event that awakens us and changes us forever for the better. We are not going to be enlightened forever the moment we shed some light on the darkness within us.
We will keep shedding more and more light there, constantly, over and over again, until it illuminates enough for us so we can make peace with it all.
For many of us, this is a lifelong thing.
Moreover, this entire thing rarely works in a clear duality. It will be a complex mix of dark and light strings that we will have to carefully untangle in order to truly see where they come from. We will have to wade through oceans of denial in order to get to the shadowiest places in our minds.
“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?”
And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”.David Foster Wallace
The realities that are most obvious are often the hardest for us to see.
Ultimately, it all comes down to letting ourselves exist wholly and unrestrictedly human in this world while being consciously aware of both the light and the darkness within us.
The darkness within us often holds the most power and control over us.
Let us all be able to reclaim that darkness, and take back control by acknowledging it, approaching it, and by simply being aware.