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Dealing with Darkness


by finding the ancient light
Whether we like to admit it or not, we're all going to have to process our inner darkness at some point on the evolutionary journey - and almost certainly many times - it's an ongoing process. To me, darkness really relates to 'internal mis-representation of reality'. It happens as the soul forms a judgment - get's stuck in an opinion - about whether something is 'good' or 'bad', 'right' or 'wrong'. Every exploration is inspired by an original truth - what some call "ancient light". In helping people through darkness, I've discovered the key is to go fearlessly into the heart of it, not deny it, but let it wash over you, and then, at the height of the inner storm, look for this ancient light within it...

The journey of the soul

When we venture courageously into the depths of our soul, we ultimately realise its innate character is to explore every attachment we may have in order to initiate self realisation and thereby evolutionary growth. Early on in my journey, I had what (for me) was a very powerful realisation...

    "On the journey of the soul,
    when a crossroads is reached
    where one path leads to 'heaven' and the other to 'hell',
    a soul yearning for liberation makes no judgment or distinction
    about which one to choose.
    Attunement to either path happens due to one 'consideration' only...
    What can 'I' learn?"


At the time I found this immensely liberating and empowering. It explained why exactly I was experiencing so much darkness when I simply let go. Prior to this, I'd been temporarily caught in a 'spiritual identity' - an idea and opinion about "how spiritual people should be".

Spiritual identities

The opinion seems to be strongly prevalent within spiritual circles that a truly 'spiritual person' should be like this or that, they have certain behaviours and shine the light in particular ways. In this arena, I observe it often causes evolving people to ask..."how can it be right to experience such darkness?"

What can all-too-frequently happen next is denial! As the negative feelings and visions start welling up, the spiritual ego wants to either disown or suppress them. How often do you hear 'spiritual' people on facebook for example openly exploring their darkness? My observation is that there is a tendency to project only what 'wants' to be heard.

Such spiritual identities are strongly limiting - the soul yearns for completeness, but it cannot be that if it has not been forged in the crucible of life - the all of it. So the first key to dealing with darkness is not to deny it, but as the experiences begin to arise, fall fearlessly into the heart of it...

    "It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
    I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
    if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled
    and closed from fear of further pain!
    I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
    without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it."

    Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Blessings in disguise

All action in the physical plane, whether light or dark, subtle or intense arises from a higher co-creative (and mostly abstract) contemplation. So a group of souls may be drawn together to explore a question. For example: "what is the true meaning of compassion?"...

    If the purpose of each soul is to evolve beyond attachment,
    and to be truly liberated is to be liberated by all things,
    then everything 'I do to you' which causes the exposure and pain of attachment - our suffering,
    must ultimately be a blessing.


Yes I know this one can be pretty tough! To accept that some of the most horrendous perpetrations against us are actually blessings in disguise. But if in the heart of our suffering, we can keep remembering this one vital truth, then it becomes possible to realise that...

    "I must have created it by my very attachment to it.
    Otherwise there simply wouldn't be a need for me to experience it."

This is of course the Law of Attraction in operation - we draw exactly those circumstances to us through which we need to evolve and grow. Again, I have found this realisation to be immensely liberating whilst dwelling in the heart of darkness.

Looking for the ancient light

So souls come together to explore those areas that limit, contract and hold us back. We're here to expand the boundaries on physical and emotional expression: to walk the blade edge of life by continually realising we are not the experience itself, we are that which is beyond the experience.

So when darkness begins to happen and wants to draw us in, if we can feel the tightness of our own fear and non acceptance beginning to contract us down, then it's almost certainly a sign that we're being invited to let go and dive into what ever then comes up - however painful it may appear to be.

And when the experiences washes over us, I've observed it's vitally important to keep looking for the ancient light within it... "why is this happening? Why is it having such an effect? What is the outcome I'm either needing or resisting in this?"

    "And I found that I can do it if I choose to -
    I can stay awake and let the sorrows of the world tear me apart
    and then allow the joys to put me back together,
    different from before, but whole once again."

    Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Holding the pain

If we courageously explore our inner darkness in this way, then we will certainly find the reason why we're in it in the first place. At some point we'll notice our attachment. Take for example emotional pain. What happens when you're flooded by negative emotion? Are you owned by it? Do you give into it and react from that place? And if you do, does it serve you to do so?

Let's be clear, it is important to honour what wants to come up, but the point is to evolve beyond the attachment that causes such emotion. If we simply wallow in the emotion and let it define us, then it will keep recreating itself.

So in the case of excessive emotional release and external projection for example, it could be about bringing the centre of our attention into the heart and holding the negative energy within our field - as unpleasant as it may be - just holding that energy without immediate release can help us dissolve the attachment to it. In which case, a good part of the denseness may then simply ebb away.

    But this is far from a passive and suppressive approach.
    It takes the fearless application of the inner warrior
    to hold that energy and to work with it.
    It's all about feeling it, letting it wash through you,
    but then also finding a flow of light which is through it all -
    the original cause of the exploration.

The only effective way out is through

I do observe it is often the case that without such a proactive approach to the darkness, people inadvertently subject themselves only to increased pain and suffering, by either resisting the darkness or getting lost in it and therefore being defined by it.

With a positive exploration however, fearlessly falling into it, looking for the ancient light, honouring our expression yes, but resisting projection onto others by holding the energy within, then the inner alchemy will cause the lost fragments of soul that are identifying with the event to reintegrate and the darkness will then wash away. We'll quickly find ourselves 'bobbing back up to the surface' once more.

For me then, dealing with darkness is something we'll all be invited to master. The amazing thing is, that when we summon the courage to work with it in this way, we find a natural aptitude for processing it. And ultimately, on the journey of the soul, the only effective way out is through.

For all those in darkness right now, my heart goes out to you.


Related postings:


Chris Bourne's picture

I get the sense from her lyrics, the artist Alanis Morisette must have confronted a good deal of difficulty and darkness in her life and yet courageously found the path through it. That's what this song "You live you learn" says to me.

At various times on my earlier journey, it often came to me in my hour of greatest trial. From my heart to yours...


Trinity's picture

Powerful article. I resonate with it in so many ways!

I see darkness as a passing friend sent to help me unveil a deeper gift of beingness. When it passes through I welcome it in 'my house' it until I feel absolute acceptance and non-judgement of it. I find quickly that it then has served it's purpose and it no longer needs to be there. It is released and vanishes, leaving only a divine gift of beingness behind.

If I give myself the space to truly feel the experience with every cell of my being (which I can't claim that I ALWAYS get perfectly right), the darkness dispels at super sonic speed - precisely because I had no need for it to be any other way.


    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.
    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of it's furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.
    The dark thought the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.
    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

The Other David's picture

Thank You Chris,

this is a very powerful article. And very helpful for me at the moment.


White Wolf's picture

Great article and perfect timing Chris. Thank you for reminding us once again. This is much needed right now, with the intensification that is going on (Volume turning up up up). I feel that we are individually dealing with similar energies (in this case our darkness) all over the globe at same time (Due to infusing cosmic energies). We so often tend o think that we are alone with it, without the notion that we are actually processing ENERGIES/VIBRATIONS more and more collectively as the WHOLE human race, as our evolution proceeds towards the completion of the cycle.

Don't get me wrong though, we have to take responsibility individually, even if we are "exposed" to the same energies collectively. An Individual "breakthrough" at ANY LEVEL will however effect the collective movement, making the REALIZATIONS slightly more accessible to others. Processing our individual darkness can and will have a huge effect on our collective journey on this planet.

Chris Bourne's picture

Indeed - well said Mehdi - yes it's a collective infusion and yet we must take personal responsibility.

Best wishes


kata's picture

Dear Trinity,

I feel the same, and I love the poem - thank you for it!
One of my fiends shared me how she deals with her negative emotions, and since then I do the same.
When a negative emotion arises I say,
'Hello, Anger/Fear(or whatever else), what do you want to show me?' And then I listen, and let it take me wherever it wants.
This happened also on Monday, so yes, the timing was perfect, Chris.

When I am with the children and have no chance to be alone for a while, it is harder not to identify myself with darkness while being in it, while experiencing it.
But at least I have the chance to practice it.. Wink

Trinity's picture

Delighted to see you here Kata :innocent:
You have such a soft, surrendered energy, yet also like a true spiritual warrior.
Keep finding ever greater depths of 'YOU'. It is often those who face the most darkness who seem to beam the brightest light.

Chris Bourne's picture

Hi Kata,

Yes indeed - welcome to Openhandweb - great that you've connected after Budapest and wonderful that the article worked for you.

Stay connected Wink


Yes I want to run a mile.
No I do not want to look it in the eye.
I am reacting from my inner child, unleashing a waterfall of emotions onto the person who pushes my buttons.

And then I think: Is this really the best I can do? Is this what my soul wants?

When I reach this point, I normally dive into the matter. When there is no more way out, I decide to explore what is making me feel so goddamn awful. I allow myself to flow through the murky darkness and I look, smell, feel - experience.
When I see it for what it is and I see what the invitation is that lies wrapped up in the mud, I open it and let the light emanating from it into my heart. And within that light lies the key, the information I need. The map to a renewed way of experiencing and dealing with things.

someone's picture

First of all, I agree with Meno about a collective state - there's something in the air, something very intense, and I can see many people around me who are dealing with the darkness.

I myself am going through some full on laundry recently and now.

I have only a couple of things to 'sharpen' and 'stress':

For me there are steps of dealing with it:

1. Step 1 - owning the darkness. (Ray 1 step) We kind of know what's owning the experience is, but the phrase 'owning the darkness' in particular is rarely used, while I found it really helpful.

But instead of saying - I wouldn't create this, to me it is very efficient to remind myself that it is MY experience, MY reaction and therefore my responsibility, nobody else's.

To me it is like there are myriads of probabilities of how to respond to a certain situation, but I for some reason experience this one. Like, this mosquito came to me of all the other people in the room. Why? Smile

So whatever brought me the experience is only a trigger. It only brought to the surface what is already there in me.

2. Step 2 - attuning to the lightness (Ray 1 and Ray 2)

In my experience, a person is not experiencing something he is not enjoying on some level. Even the most intense suffering is carrying a certain 'fix'. So many times I would deny I actually enjoy it. To me, this is one of the reasons why there is a tendency to wallow, to sink into the darkness, get sucked into it.

So the next one for me is to go deeply enough into the experience to see that I am actually enjoying it. I am not a victim.

Then, in this place the choice is made. The choice to let it go, let the old skin peel of and find the alternative.

This inner opening is allowing the lightness lift me up and balance the 'sinking'. So it could be I am now in some equilibrium, feeling like I going neither down, nor up, so I am just experiencing it until the right moment is coming and I 'break through' the attachment.

Or it can be immediate, I am being lifted up, the attachment is released and... "knock knock" - the next one is knocking on the door Biggrin

Step 3 - Self-acceptance. (Ray 2)

I would say, that we are taught to deny, ignore or suppress most of sensations, feelings and experiences. Part of them are completely natural and human, ridiculous things, like crying, laughing, telling the truth about how we feel...
There are all kinds of thoughts or images that can float up and we feel "oh, this is so wrong"...

And we even didn't get to anything spiritual, just natural feelings.

So to me darkness is one of these things that I won't accept in myself, won't allow myself to experience and express, that I want to change. In other words, I don't love myself and the universe unconditionally, don't let the universe love me unconditionally.

So what really helps me is putting my hands on the chest and opening the heart to myself, feeling compassion towards myself, softening, whatever I feel, whatever experience I am having.

Why can I accept somebody I love with whatever he has, but not myself? (I'm sure many will recognize this one).

So here I often use this 'tricky question':

"Could you sit with this experience forever?"

Usually I can clearly feel if I am under denial and actually am trying to get rid of it or I am fully accepting it.

3.Step 4 - finding "the nugget of gold"

I had this misconception about what "nugget of gold" is Smile
I thought I'll find something specific, some clear answer, sensation, etc

But recently I found that a gift can also be nothing and the ability to sit comfortably with this nothing.

What I mean to say is that ancient light or nugget of gold, or the gift can be ANYTHING, and the mind can have some difficulty with this.

That's why For me part of the 'processing' is leaving the space, not trying to find the gift, but more keeping some open clear space in me for any possible turn and twist, including no turn and twist at all.

So this is what I am doing these days Smile


* To me it's important to have some happy moments during the day - I swing, climb and jump on the kids' playground, listen to music, dance, see something funny and uplifiting

*Discipline. Since there's a tendency to slip into the darkness, and also there can be self-destructive mechanisms at work, I found discipline and boundaries can be very important if not vital - again, in contradiction to "everything goes", and a 'spiritual idea' of non-efforting.

So I personally found that sleeping, eating, meditating and doing some body-work (exercising, walking, yoga, dancing, etc) played a big role in my climbing back up.

Mmmm... I think that's it.

Much love to everybody,

Thanks, Chris, for the article and Trinity for the wonderful words from Rumi. The picture at the very top of the page kind of illustrates some other words from Rumi:

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you."

Becky x

Chris Bourne's picture

Wow! Great quote Becky - I really resonate with that one.

Chris Wink

Thanks Chris - whenever I see the sky like that - with the light coming through so powerfully, almost from another dimension - those words come to mind. Becky x

kata's picture

Dear Trinity and Chris,
thank you for the warm welcome.
This page is full of treasures!

Thank you for another lovely, beautiful, wonderful, splendid article. Using darkness to help us learn how to unwind. I feel humbled and thankful to have ever found Openhand, and read things like this.

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