We have been brought up to believe in the goodness of life, to look for and find only the very best in people. ‘If you have nothing nice to say then say nothing’, is what we have been conditioned to believe; accept without question another’s faults, turn the other cheek, one wrong is never corrected with another wrong, don’t pass judgment, don’t criticize, for better and for worse just deal with any discomfort, and you made your bed so lie in it. Do not look for, or invite into your life anything that is uncomfortable or imperfect. For goodness sake, never express outwardly what you honestly think or feel about an ‘ugly’ situation or person!
Many of us live in a carefully constructed bubble which excludes evil or distressing things.
Most of us blatantly ignore everything from the early morning news to the beggar standing at the robot reminding us of the unkind world out there. We turn a blind eye to the boyfriend of our best friend who we know to be a cheat and a bully. We pretend that the world is ideal and perfect. We dare not become involved with the imperfections surrounding us and best we not even admit to the concept of imperfection.
We are conditioned into believing that non-interference is noble.
What is noble about walking onto the other side of the road to avoid a man who has been gunned down? What is the difference between avoiding this situation, or one where your sister asks you whether or not you can throw any light onto her husbands deceptive and abusive behaviour? Agreed, there is a sensitive and fine line here – but to totally ignore it either through plain ignorance or cowardice are not always the only options. Does ignoring lead to ignorance? Of course it does.
We have been taught that to express an opinion about a negative or ‘ugly’ situation or person is ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’.
We don’t really want to appear to be an unkind, judgmental person to the outside world. It is not the ‘right’ image to portray, and you may appear to be a horrible person because what you are expressing is associated with a negative. So we have been taught to see, feel and think one thing but express or act in the opposite way – bizarre!
We have also been conditioned to being a little naïve about self protection, as it becomes very difficult to set boundaries or protect yourself from harm if you cannot identify harm or evil in the first place. Many ‘nice’ people allow themselves to be abused and disrespected because of this lack in their experience. We are also taught that non violence is more appropriate than violence. What is appropriate about not defending yourself or another in a violent situation which may require violence on your part?
This reminds me of a beautiful experience where I sat for three days listening to HH Dalai Lama (exiled spiritual and political leader of Tibet). What an enchantingly practical human being! On being asked how to handle an enemy or someone who was behaving as such toward you, how to love the enemy, HH replied;
“When your enemy is attacking you in some way (remember this may be emotional, mental, physical or spiritual) and you can identify his weapon, look for your own weapon and use it to stop him in his tracks. You don’t have to kill him! (He grinned.) Just draw a line. If however, you don’t have a weapon at hand – run! (He laughed uproariously) I don’t believe in violence, but I do believe that you need to remember that you are a human being; you are here to learn, grow and find happiness whilst living on earth. So no one has the right to stop you or harm you in any way at all. Self protection is necessary at times. If you die this week, then you cannot live next week and so evolve and experience happiness and love.”
So what to do about this imbalance?
Imbalance yes! There is a constant struggle and balancing act going on between the two poles of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Which one will win?
Edmund Burke’s wisdom:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Doing something to stop evil does not have to be equally evil or violent but in remaining ignorant of it or in avoiding it altogether though, nothing is accomplished. The ugly things of life are merely given more space in which to flourish.
The ‘demonic’ / ‘dark’ and the ‘divine’ / ‘light’ reside alongside each other. They co-habit, always have done and always will. How do we recognize one without being aware of it’s opposite? It’s not possible is it? A room is dark until we walk in and switch on the light. The room is filled with light until we switch off the light and darkness falls.
There will always be opposites and polarities on this planet.
We must come to terms with both poles in order to know each one – how to identify and manage both so that we can find a neutral balance. The balance is only found when we become aware of all the degrees that lie between the two poles that make up all the shades of grey – all the possibilities afforded us. We then have a real and conscious choice for the first time. Do we choose a particular pole or do we choose a degree that lies in between? Do we consciously make no choice and allow nothing to affect us? Are we then able to sit in the middle and have a panoramic view which affords us true freedom? Freedom can only be created from a point of balance.
To understand how the ‘dark side’ of life impacts on life generally is essential.
To acknowledge how it affects your personal life in terms of your physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health is imperative. How many people live in relationships where their partner is more ‘dark’ than ‘light’? The wife who becomes physically very ill, living with an emotionally, mentally and verbally disrespectful husband and either not recognizing the problem, or avoiding the challenge; this to ‘keep the peace’, to maintain the ‘nice guy’ image for outward appearances, to appear to be ‘spiritually correct and noble”. Noble to allow herself to be destroyed? A huge amount of ego is at play here, but is well hidden as she is seen to be a victim; she displays humility and patient suffering – all holier than thou falsehoods! She becomes very ill as a result of her husbands behaviour, but ultimately her illness is self inflicted. And still she does nothing. Not practical or good for her health at all! This displays a rather self destructive approach to life; most certainly not one of self love, self respect or self honour. The woman also forgoes a wonderful opportunity to grow through the challenges her husband brings to her life; but we will leave that wisdom for another time.
In summation, we can only live a holistic, whole, healthy, complete and balanced life if we are able at all times, to view life through two eyes – one eye to see the divine/light and the other through which to see the demonic/dark. Become aware of which eye is blind or weaker. Strengthen it by using it! When we can see through two eyes, we see things in perspective. If we can experience both at the same time, we can call ourselves whole. The spiritual concept of unity and oneness springs from the ability to transform and transcend opposites through nullifying separatism; to be whole, holy is to be healed. To live life from a place of holiness allows us to access love and happiness fully whilst living on planet earth.
© 2012, Barbara Scogings. All rights reserved.