Embracing the Darkness
Embracing the Darkness
Over the past week, I have been experiencing some profound intensity in my life, manifesting as what some would call a “depression”. I have gone through waves of self doubt and reproach, deep fear, sadness, darkness of a deep, soulful kind.
Personally, I don’t like the label depression. It has so many negative connotations in our society. Depression is something to be avoided, to be treated, a label that creates a pathology of what can be (but by no means not always is) simply a part of the flux and flow of psychological, emotional and mental being.
I do not wish to invalidate those that are going through ongoing, deep and painful depression. I fully acknowledge that this is a heart-rending, strongly confronting journey of reflection and purging.
What I am talking about here are transient times of some kind of ‘misalignment’, most notably experienced in the emotional sphere. Dark days that consume us with our shadow side.
The experience I have had in the past week is not new to me. Every so often- maybe every few months- I go through about a week of darkness, where everything feels wrong, where I doubt myself (or more specifically, my ego’s construct of self), where I feel disconnected to those around me, where I find it so hard to remember the light that permeates my life the vast majority of the time.
This is a time where all those parts of myself I disown and disconnect from- again, those that challenge that fragile construct of ego- make themselves heard. I eat food that does not nourish me in volumes that is not wise. I watch television instead of working. I yell at my son and my partner.
And then, it passes. It always does. The beauty in this experience for me is that over the past few years I have come to be keenly aware of the pattern that this emotional experience flows in- I can completely trust that, as aching as these few days may be, they will pass.
Greater than that knowing, is the opening I have had to this experience, and what it in return has given me.
What has come to my awareness the last few times I have flowed with this experience (around the same time that I gave up trying to fight it, berating myself for taking what I felt were big steps backwards with my mental wellbeing) was that in the darkness, I come to see things with greater clarity.
I can now see that the pattern is this- for the first few days, I will feel and experience crap. But after that, things begin to shift. From this depth, comes a channeling of wisdom, insight and openness to change that is most intense and potent in my life during those times.
I find I have the courage to see past the ego, and past the most easily apparent levels of my being, into a deeper sense of who I really am.
I can see the wounds that lay bare in my soul, and with time, also attune to how I can heal them. I can cathartically let go of that does not serve me. I can be brutally honest with myself.
This morning, I experienced the shift from the yuckiness of the first few days, into the time of insight. I went for a long walk in the early morning sunshine and it occurred to me, as I was fully present with all that was my experience at that time- the carriage of my body, the emotional aches, the incessant noise of my mind, and the cries of my soul; all beginning to be interspersed with beauty and light and releasing- that it felt like an altered state of consciousness I was in.
The shades of green of the leaves above me were richer, the birdsong more striking…AT the same time, I was experiencing deep love not only for my being, but also for the pain I was feeling, allowing it it’s full voice, so I could listen, let it free but also to learn from it.
As I walked on, all of this body of pain, fear and lowness dropped away, and was released.
It then occurred to me that this experience was not an altered state of consciousness but a more true state of consciousness, closer to my authentic, spiritual reality. I was walking in love, in bliss, in balance, acceptance and growth. This I have known to be true for some time.
I won’t share what particular truths I discovered or re-discovered this time around. It is enough to write about the cathartic, painful beauty of a re-opening of soul over the past week.
I have come to see it this way- we live the majority of our lives at a certain level. Below that, within our subconscious, is the embodiment of pain and baggage we have taken on. And deeper still, is our collective authentic identities- that which is a pure, unified love and bliss and all that is our highest truth.
Sometimes, when we need to re-connect with this part of ourselves, the true and deep experience of being human- we need to delve down, and in delving, have to travel through that layer of pain. But by travelling through it, we are made aware of it, and, as I believe, also come to discover how to heal it.
We are a culture that is uncomfortable with discomfort. It is so easy to dissociate from our experience at times like the week I’ve just had- I know personally I do it often! We distract ourselves in so many ways; try to move ourselves through these moods rather than allowing our presence to transform them.
Even in darkness, there is a great universal gifting.