Maybe it was recently or maybe it was a long time ago but I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article, there has been a point in your life when you’ve decided that there was more to this world then nine to five work days and normal everyday drudgery.
Maybe you decided to explore religion, spirituality, meditation and yoga or simply chose to explore yourself and the universe you inhabit more intimately?
And due to this choice I bet sometimes there have been extended moments of bliss and excitement and everything has felt amazing. And maybe even in those moments you felt like traveling the path to enlightenment was a breeze.
And in those times we often think:
I’ve made it, I’ve arrived. I’m really conquering this being a spiritual being in a human body thing.
And then, inevitably, it all turns sour. Our thoughts turn dark and our mood deepens and life becomes painful—sometimes almost too painful to keep going.
And we wonder how can this darkness also be part of the path?
Well, fortunately, many great people have traveled this path before us and they have shown us how this darkness is part of the path.
“Despair is the necessary prerequisite for the next degree of consciousness. That’s absolutely a prerequisite.” ~ Ram Dass
“For almost everyone who practices (meditation), cycles of awakening and openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction. Times of profound peace and newfound love are often overtaken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that opens and closes. This is our nature.” ~ Jack Kornfield
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chodron
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Thomas Leuthard at Flickr