Thursday, November 29, 2018

Dark Night of the Soul and the Season of Light

December 2018

We've made it to December. And if you are reading this,  I wonder if it's a safe bet to say that you, too, have made it through a most challenging year!!

I didn't write a Thanksgiving letter because honestly I was having a "dark night of the soul" experience. Not able to touch much appreciation or gratitude. That experience lingers like an undesirable taste on the tongue...

What do you do when you can't see the Light of your Awareness? When your own mind wrecks havoc on your heart? Betrays your best intentions and bullies your future plans into submission?

Tantric Yoga Philosophy teaches us to view and understand our whole life as a "play of consciousness" - where what we experience in the world around us is a reflection of what's going on deep inside of us...hidden below the surface.

As a loving wife, mother, teacher I strive to live life from values I hold dear - beauty, love, truth, freedom, light, duty, kindness, nature. Yet what I've just been through has broken my heart and opened my eyes! To say I've steeped in the darkness behind the Light is an understatement. Did I experience the Devil? Hell? My own Arjuna/Krishna moment? I can't say for sure. It was awful, and remnants linger still...

I discovered a tempest inside of me that is completely raw, undeveloped, uncensored, ungrateful - even hateful. It's what I call the Big White Powerful Man archetype (a cultural Trump-ism?) that lives inside of me. Was it learned? Inherited? Did it stem from childhood trauma? Old wounds? Is it a form of the Hindu Goddess Kali Durga?

I cannot say for certain. But I saw how it masterfully it revels in putting down the gentle feminine side of my psyche. How it's over-encoded masculine, left-brain, demanding nature blatantly disregards the counsel of it's twin flame - the divine feminine, right-brain, receptive nature.  It's an attitude that's so essentially ingrained, and so very askew. A nuanced thread of awareness that's typically obscured from view. A subversive attitude that flows in the background of my mind largely unnoticed. One that I believe stems from a culture that values the mind over the heart; material gain over spiritual growth, intellect over intuition...the male ever dominating the female.

I must affirm this for myself, and it hopes that it gives you perspective.
Until I WITNESS & OWN the ways my shadow acts out inside myself, then trickles into the world, I am still part of the problem that humanity currently faces: an ingrained attitude of privilege that, like a virus spreading far and wide, permeates every level of our culture - business, politics, health care, education, finance, agriculture, entertainment, environment, etc.

To own the power of hatred, narcissism, privilege, sabotage, negativity within one's self in the first step out of the dark abode of the dead and back into the Light. It's Shiva Nataraja's first step in the dance of life - to dance despite the horror - to dance with it in order to reclaim your sovereign power - and privilege to uphold the Light in whatever way you can.

Suffering has it's place - a powerful  place - when powerfully expressed - as we've seen in the Black Lives Matter and Me, Too movements. What does your deep dark feminine side have to offer the world at this time? What truth or knowing is arising within you as we witness continued disclosure of misdeeds and hatred designed to control and harm good people (and children) everywhere?

To participate fully in the struggle to create balance between the masculine and feminine aspects within yourself is, to say the least, the greatest achievement that any human being could undertake at this time, in their life.

As Mahatma Gandhi so wisely said:
"If you want to change the world, start with yourself."
And just in case you didn't know, the title "mahatma" means "great soul". It refers to one who lives in balance with their body-mind-heart, and who despite the travesties surrounding them, shines their Light into the world, as a beacon, for those who - even temporarily - have lost their way, have lost their Light.

In owning my own white American privilege, I can remove the veil of darkness and step cautiously, back into the Light, without ever forgetting this lesson: When the male archetype is permitted to rage and act without regard for its other half, only destruction will follow.

In the Spirit of the Holidays - I encourage you to claim both the dark and the light within yourself - then choose to express the Holy Light in all that you think, say and do.

In Deep Respect with Folded Hands,

Now on to "The Season of Light"...

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Lynne Paterson, E-RYT500
Founder/Director of Prakasa Yoga Studio