Light and dark - a changing relationship

water lily mud 5

water lily mud 5

'Take the lowest place and you shall reach the highest'

Milarepa, 12th century Buddhist poet

I've been very aware of the dance of opposites in my life recently - and in particular that of light and dark. And this has been reflected back to me by my relationship with a new friend in my life.

When I first met this friend, I found it difficult to be with him. Because of choices he'd made earlier in life (and in other lives, if truth be told), he was pretty much living in the pits of hell. He'd made the choice deep within his heart and soul to rise up, but different energies which he'd bought into in the past kept dragging him down.

Parts of my being reeled and wanted to withdraw after being in his company for just a few minutes. But because my soul had given me a clear prompting that this friendship was 'on my path' - and that I had something to do here, I quickly realised that, as far as this connection was concerned, 'the only way out was through'.

And then a miracle happened. As I changed my stance towards the 'dark' energies that he was gripped by - rather than fearing or resisting them, facing them in truth and an attitude of total surrender (as Openhand's Chris Bourne would say, becoming 'as nothing' with them), then the last vestiges of fear and resistance to these energies melted away. And guess what? Those dense energies transformed in him and there was nothing to resist any more! Awesome! From out of the darkest, thickest muck had emerged the purest water lily - something uncommonly beautiful and divine. And my relationship with darkness had been transformed in the process. Through the workout that had come from spending time with my friend, I had attained mastery over an aspect of myself. What a gift!

I'm in no doubt that this friend came to me specifically to transform this issue in me - my relationship with darkness and light - and to transform the final 'chinks in my armour' (or energy field) around this. And it brings to mind the story of Milarepa - an 11th/12th century Buddhist poet and one of the most widely known Tibetan 'saints',  who lived in a cave in his native Tibet (I'm not sure any longer who the words of this story come from, but they are not my own):

“One evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about nonduality of self and other, but he still didn’t quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of his own mind—all the unwanted parts of himself—he didn’t know how to get rid of them. So first he taught them the dharma" (as I understand it, a Buddhist word for 'the cosmic law around the situation'). "He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion and shunyata" (what we might call 'the void', or emptiness or 'surrender') "and how poison is medicine (hmmm....not sure about this one - any ideas?) "Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.” At that point, all of them left except one. Milarepa said, 'Oh, this one is particularly vicious.' He didn’t know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, 'Just eat me up if you want to.' Then that demon left too.”

It's no longer about the 'battle' of dark versus light for me. It's more about light and dark being one and the same, or at least parts of a whole. And to be in a place where we no longer struggle with or resist the darkness - in whatever form it manifests in our lives - but can simply shine a light into it and 'show it the way home', surely this is ascension, this is progress.

What do you think? How do you deal with darkness? How is your relationship with it changing?