Image for post
Image for post
Painting by Jessie Arms Botke

“Transformation is the way of the soul. Each soul has an inborn code and an instinctive guideline that can both aim our energy and protect our lives. This inner Dharma or law of being depicts our true nature and can unfold our unique way of being and contributing to the world. What we learn from myth is how an awakening of human nature can make us each a part of healing culture while helping restore the vitality and abundance of the earth.” — Michael Meade

“This world operates through polarities and pairings that both oppose and complement each other and humans are no exception. The heart beats with two sides, the lungs double up to breathe, breasts hang side by side and the testicles as well. The eyes and ears watch and listen from two sides of the same face and many have been known to speak out of both sides of their mouths. Sometimes one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing and most of us suffer inner conflicts and are often at odds with ourselves.

A person is both a unity and an opposition, so is a marriage and so are most social relationships as well. A whole society works that way, with opposing political parties and with upper classes looking down on those trying to move up in the world. Each thing carries its own shadow and the inner oppositions in people repeatedly become reflected in outer conflicts that are even harder to get a handle on. Whatever we refuse to face within us will become a collective fate in the world around us. The wise come to know their own inner conflicts, while the unwise keep insisting that all the trouble is the fault of others.”

- Michael Meade, “Fate and Destiny”

Paradise is not a place of no opposition, no conflict, no dark forces, as in the image above, as lovely as it is. Paradise is beautiful, yes, but it’s a place of learning. We live in a paradise that until humans came along had a certain balance. We have upset that balance because we have an unconscious cruelty.

We kill for fun. We kill for profit. We don’t even notice the anguish and chaos we create. Nor do we notice the beauty we destroy. Stupidity, cruelty and ignorance is a dangerous mix. The world can’t survive an infinite onslaught of such energies.

These destructive energies have lived in us from the beginning no doubt. It’s only recently they have attained the power to obliterate all life on the entire globe. Humans have always, except for a few individuals here and there, refused to look in the mirror.

It’s now or never, in my opinion. Focusing on “images of light” is not going to banish our darkness. Repressing our doubts, questions, rages and destructive impulses is only sporadically effective. Our ability to create beauty doesn’t negate our tendencies to create ugliness.

We have consciousness, though, which is an alchemical solvent in facing ourselves. Shoving unaccepted parts of ourselves into the darkness solves nothing. We need to bring the lantern of consciousness into our lives however we can. Artistic creativity, meditation, reflection, abreaction, lowering our defenses against ourselves are ways to heal these divisions.

We are complex. We are neither entirely light nor dark. We are both.

I think it’s good to remind ourselves of the beauty of the world these days because the encroaching darkness is overtaking us. I think it behooves us to remember we can create beauty and meaning. We are capable of fashioning a true paradise, but we have to heal the split created by our concepts of good and bad. We need to learn to embrace our wholeness and stop projecting our darkness onto others.

In the creation of a kind world, we have to learn how to be kind to ourselves and to embody that so it will shine for others. In this unkind epoch, our challenge is to evolve our hearts, to grow our empathy, to care for life and the beauties of the paradise we are given.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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