If you live in my generation, you may have encountered one or two Life Coaches. Motivation or positive thinking is the rave of the moment, thanks to books like Think and Grow Rich and the famous secret of all time, The Secret.
Like you, I too have been caught in the web of positive thinking. Boy! Have I tried to remove all the negatives in my life! I have sat down to meditate for nearly an hour and all I kept thinking about was “the thought of not thinking.” So I got up from that mentally painful experience, angry at myself for being so far from enlightenment. Too independently minded, too rouge, too much of everything…. Wait for it… Too negative minded to experience the ecstasy. In myself, I saw evil and this was the biggest revelation of 2017. A year, I would never forget, because it was in this year, I faced my biggest fear.
“What you resist persists”Carl Gustav Jung.
Evil is not the kind of word you play with, if you had a Christian upbringing like me. You may have come across the word, evil in its dense satanic form. The Salvation narrative purifies you from ‘evil’ freeing you from the laws of sin and death. So I knew better than mess around with the word. Nonetheless, as soon as it formed in my mind, I had to investigate this for myself. I am no longer able to pretend or deny an authentic human experience.
The questions that emerged were:
“Is there ‘evil’ in me?” Or “am I not pure love and light?
The Questions = Answers
The heart questions we ask bring the answers because the next day, I found a book on Human Evil. It was an interesting read from one of my favourite ‘rouge’ Christian authors. Searching for the book reviews online was so much fun. I saw countless reviews that likened Scott Peck’s book to blasphemy. “I smiled internally”. Evil is not a subject ‘born again Christians’ like to embrace. “We are new creatures” The Holy Book says…
As someone who has been born again at least 7 times, in hopes of curing all that is wrong within me, I knew I had to tarry in the place of self-reflection, this time.
“What is this evil or shadow that resides within and how do I expunge it, without needing exorcism?”
I picked up the Bible and started to read the words Jesus spoke. I was hungry to know if he too had “evil” in Him. I would not bother you with my findings or make this a religious piece. It’s not.
However, I moved to the works of Carl Jung on what he called the Shadow Self. This theory believes that within every one of us are feelings and emotions that we would rather keep away from the public eye. Ever seen anyone watch ‘porn’ in public? No. We watch it in our sacred spaces, away from the prying eyes of our religious leaders and peers. It is our guilty pleasure.
There is a reason this industry is a billion dollar movement; despite the “Sin” they sell openly. Nigerians consume porn in numbers that you cannot imagine or fathom. Yet, I haven’t met anyone who openly admits to this in public, unless from a repentance perspective.
So my question becomes:
“Why do we do the things or engage in thoughts that we know are ‘bad’ for us?”
Cigarettes are sold with a threat: ‘Consumption would kill you’, still, we smoke away. There are so many shadows within those of us honest enough to go on this journey of self-realisation.
From childhood, we have been programmed to believe in illusions and detach ourselves from our core. We are taught what is right or wrong, regardless of how we feel about the perceived right or wrong. This can cause us to bury some feelings until; they pop up and ruin our lives.
Ever heard of an anti-gay cleric who ends up having sex with teenage boys? Or someone who speaks openly about sins like fornication and adultery, enjoying these guilty pleasures away from the prying eyes of his or her audience?
This is not a motivational piece or one to condemn anybody; I gain nothing from judging others. Rather, I hope to emphasise the importance of facing our shadows. Becoming aware of that which we have kept hidden for years in a Pandora box, can be the key to lasting freedom.
Shadows are part of who we are, despite our religious beliefs or denials of their existence. Are you saved if you believe this to be true? Yes. However, it won’t stop you from moving out of Church straight to the arms of your lover to commit that delicious sin. The key to Shadows especially those that are termed ‘taboos’ are to make sure no one we know sees us as we are.
To become aware of the hidden parts of my BEING, I pay attention to my human interactions. Friends, who I have labelled vain, have opened me to my competitive nature. Those who I can’t stand to be in the same room with, reveal parts of myself to me as I meditate on the “why”, I detest that particular person or groups of people.
Every human encounter exists to teach us something. Don’t be quick to judge or dismiss people. Ask yourself “why” that particular behaviour is offensive or pleasing to you. It is never about them but us. Pay attention, to the movies, books, conversations that make you happy or sad. The dual emotions may be the window to our unconscious minds – The seats of our souls.
There is so much to say about the shadow and one article won’t cut it. So in closing, I would ask us to pay attention to what we are most afraid of. “What is the worst that can happen?”
Answering these fearful questions, allows us to confront those fears and turn the shadows towards our light source.
May our collective lights be the force that drives out darkness.