The dark half

I’m so glad N showed me to love the dark.

My common companions lately avoid horror films, steer clear of dub step, disapprove of organised fighting… all these things are fleeting, of little evidence. Yet I take them as so. My companions claim: why would I invite negative things into my life? Yet to me this attitude makes me think of a shying away, a closing of the eyes, a turning aside of the gaze. Allowing one’s gaze to slide over “negative things” without seeing them could be argued to be a gesture of not allowing them to take up your time, to remove one’s interest in a thing is to destroy it.  However I disagree with this analysis of “negative things”.  These things that are dark, that have a bad attitude, that are hateful or involve viiolence are not inherently “negative things”. To divide the world with a clear line between “good” and “bad” is not the behaviour of a long-thinking adult. Instead we might describe things by their utility. Is such-and-such a thing worth my attention?

By this definition, “negative things” seem to have incredible utility. I will leave you to ponder for a moment what useful attributes they might have.

But it is true, these things are frightening to look at. N helped me to stare unblinking at our common childhood experiences, many of them “bad”, to understand them, look through them and where useful, incorporate and wield them. He taught me to look unflinching into the way we express the dark, the buried, the hidden, the shameful, and the powerful in our culture. How we try to make sense of the Yin in conscious life. What that says about us.

It is staring into the fear that makes the fear retreat.

And incorporation. I do not mean to imply that an individual must be some kind of “complete whole”, particularly not of dark and light, because such a thing is overly simplistic, perhaps absurd, probably unnecessary. I simply mean that all emotions can be an ally. All things can be an avenue for play. An opportunity to connect.

Experiencing the dark without fear, rather as part of your power and the richness of your experience, is an integral part of life. To deny it, to avoid it, to slide over it, is to suffer a poverty, to lose a limb and to close down. How do you justify the loss? Because something is “negative”? Does it really have no worth? Because you are afraid? Is that an excuse you still use?

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