We spend much of our conscious life crafting narratives in our heads of the things other people think about us. We spend our early developmental years supposing we are the subject of others’ attention, judgment, and envy. We believe our identity is in what we do, how we look, who we are seen with, and what we own.
Then, mercifully, we grow up. We discover a deeper intuition, a wiser voice within ourselves that doesn’t care about the drama of others’ opinions. It knows that our value is not in our doing (though loving actions have deep value) but in our being. We learn to practice “presencing,” deepening our awareness of God in us in every moment.
This awareness creates a certain humility. While we are accessing a deeper source of wisdom within, we are also forced to face our shadows. We see our selfishness, hypocrisy, manipulation, and insecurities. We are not as good as we think we are or as holy as we wish we could be. Many of us can’t handle that reality, so we embrace acts of denial – addiction, consumerism, mindless entertainment, workaholism, to name a few. Our growth stops.
Unfortunately, facing our shadow is an essential step in our awakening. Saint John of the Cross called it “the Night of the Senses.” In this space, you meet your raw, undefended, and indefensible self. This meeting destroys any illusion of your perfection and opens you to self-compassion. Here you you learn of grace. Your sense of God’s presence with you is more than a spiritual idea. It’s a soulful, unconditionally loving experience. In God’s accompaniment, you begin working on telling the truth of who you really are.
Dancing with the shadow teaches you to hold ambiguity and complexity. You come to terms with non-dual reality. You are both good and bad, light and dark, whole and broken. When you finally accept that truth – and for most of us, it takes a long time – you experience a shift of being. The “you” that emerges understands the true power of kindness, gentleness and compassion.
We live in a world calling for our awakening to the Way of Love. As we head into COP26 and consider the climate crisis, let’s hold the possibility that we have the power within us to save our planet. We begin by shifting our consciousness, facing our shadows, and ultimately transforming our minds.
We are in this together,