For me, as well as many people I know, the idea of what lurks in the darkness falls into two main categories: that which is within us, and that which is outside of us. The boogeyman can often exist inside your soul just as easily as under your bed.
The darkness that exists within you, as a part of you is sometimes the hardest to understand, accept and to work with. Internal shadow work, as I like to call it, is often much more demanding, and scary then working with the various external shadow forces that exist in the world.
It is not for the weak, or those who have a form of illusionary strength. It takes a lot of courage to face your darker nature and to learn from it. So the question becomes where does one begin.
The first step is to understand what internal darkness truly is. It’s not the base desires. It’s not unchecked emotion. It’s not depression. The darkness is not your past, nor is it your actions. All these things are merely the manifestations of your relationship with the darkness and light that exist simultaneously in you.
For me, this realization came after a lot of soul-searching and reflection. I have always had a bad temper, some would say even an explosive one. One that I did not understand, especially given my relatively calm nature otherwise. In some ways, I am the female version of Jekyll and Hyde. For a very long time, I tried my best to quell my temper, to push it down deep and to ignore it. And in doing so, I only made the eruption worse when it finally did break through the surface. I saw that temper not as a part of me, but rather as something to be controlled or caged. I saw it as the darker part of me that did not belong in the light of my existence.
But the truth of the matter was that my temper, my emotional instability was a tool, a lesson to be learned. The part of me that was the abyss, that existed in the darkness was trying to teach me a very important lesson. Unfortunately, it took me quite a while to realize what it was.
For much of my life before now, I have kept hidden the truth of who and what I was, even from myself. I lived the life that was expected of me, going through the motions, always being reliable, friendly, and trying to please those around me as best I could. Everyone, that is, except for myself. I did all these things, not because they were the right thing to do, but because I felt that they were expected of me, and I thought (wrongly) that they were necessary to be accepted by those around me. I put everyone and everything else before me, often sacrificing myself, and my well-being in the process.
And, honestly, I was too stupid and too blinded by the light to see the danger in doing such things.
So the parts of me, the darkness as well as the light that knew the truth of the situation used the tools available to them to try and help me realize the truth. The truth that if I continued to sacrifice myself for the sake of others, that there soon would be nothing left.
The more I tried to quell my temper, the more it rose up within me. The more I fought, the more confused and frustrated I became. My stubbornness and my unwillingness to face the truth kept me fighting until all hell broke loose, if you’ll pardon the cliche.
When everything was over, and trust me, it was a very long battle, I realized that my temper wasn’t necessarily something to be conquered, or shoved down into the base. It was something to listen to. Often, there is a reason for my anger, a cause that needs to be addressed. Once that cause is addressed — whatever it may be– my emotional turmoil will often subside, and tranquility will once return.
So now I still help people. I still try to live the good life. I’ll give to the poor, and make my husband dinner. I’ll call my parents when I get the chance, and I’ll be a good person whenever I can.
But these things I do, not out of a sense of obligation, or duty. I do all these things because I truly want to, and can do them without sacrificing who or what I am. I don’t have to.
The darkness within me taught me that.
© 2016 – 2017, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.