I went down into the darkness for two whole days recently. It was a VERY dark time emotionally … I felt angry and hopelessly exhausted with no end in sight. I had spiraled into old familiar territory, into the “I'm never going to realize the rewards of my hard efforts” story that has been with me a very long time. It had been years since I went that low … although now as I think about it, I can remember how, in my previous life, I'd lived mostly in that same abysmal story. Actually, I never knew there was a choice!
That I could CHOOSE a more positive way of seeing my life other than as the hopeless, “never-gonna-mount-to- nuthin,” perspective? Impossible!
I never thought to question this assessment of myself; I blindly accepted it as being the truth about who I am. And in that way, this trip to hell was different from the onset … because this time I DID know I had a choice. I chose with consciousness. And I chose NOT to use the “good” tools I know, and that I teach, to lighten the inner darkness. I don't know why exactly. But in retrospect I can see the tremendous value in having made that choice.
I consciously CHOSE to sit in the depths of my inner darkness where I ranted and railed against Reality. I gathered evidence against those I blamed for my pain, including the Universe and God. I felt sorry for myself, I cried and whimpered like a scared child, And my mental rant was externalized in my interactions with those closest to me when I pushed them away, and accused them (my poor spouse 🙁 ) of not caring. I knew where I was. I knew that I was playing the Helpless Baby Victim who nobody cared enough about to rescue. I was on the Victim Triangle in full force.
I got to watch the whole thing from front row, ringside, with the inner witnessing eye of my Observer, who in spite of the drama going on, stood still, unruffled, and simply watched, with awe and stunned amazement, mostly. I watched myself REFUSE to use the tools I know so well and have perfected through assiduous practice. I couldn't MAKE myself do the Work. I had no energy for THAT! I used all my energy in resistance instead.
I finally fell into bed the second night, still angry, and pleaded for rescue … demanded it really. And then I awoke suddenly, in the wee hours, from a dream. I had been “conversing” with the “Powers-that-Be” in my dream … and had been handed a “note” written in the air, (as in, “the writing is on the wall … ;)) When I received the words I could read them clearly … but within moments of awakening, the words were gone. Nevertheless, I retained the gist of it.
Basically the note said … “You belong to Me. Your life is in my hands. You will be on Planet Earth as long as I choose to keep you here, and I will bring you Home when I am ready, when I have decided that you are finished. Until that moment, and not a minute before, you are under My care … You can resist this simple truth, call it unfair, etc. and suffer, as you've been doing – or you can accept the simple truth of it, and relax. It's up to you … Your reaction to this Truth will not alter it in the least.”
I felt immediately relieved, if a bit chastised – like a small child whose parents had just told her that she could fight against the rules or cooperate, that her feelings about the rules would not change the Reality of them one little bit … I had just been similarly “set straight” about Reality from the Highest Parent – and BOY, did I ever need the set to!
That next morning I got out of bed ready to pick up my box of mental and spiritual tools! I went back in and questioned my beliefs, using the Four Questions that Byron Katie outlined for us in the Work, along with the Guiding Principles of Reality – as steps up and out of the darkness and began to climb back up out of the hole I'd dug for myself.
I've noticed that when my unhappy story rules, no matter how true it may seem, I suffer horribly. And I've experienced the difference when Reality rules my thinking; my seeing is better and inner peace prevails.
I've also come to realize that occasional trips down into my inner hell are sometimes the only way to uncover and correct the faulty wiring of old, outdated belief circuitry that needs to be rewired to better plug into Reality and the present moment. When seen in this light, I understand that even my darkest moments are necessary in my walk towards greater Light.
So I find less need to blame myself (and others) for these occasionally necessary detours away from Reality, and choose to see these difficult passages as “inner roads in need of repair” instead. Cuz really, how does one know repair is needed unless one travels down that road? 😉
We CAN begin to ease up on ourselves on this consciousness journey – there's no race, no first prize for perfection! We're all here, bumbling along, moving in and out of the darkness, only because it's the best, perhaps only, way to learn the life lessons essential for our personal growth.
But I also wanna say … PHEW! It sure does feel better to be up here in daylight again, back in the sunshine of NOW… and I like to think that the darkest recesses of my inner self are not quite as dark as they were before my most recent visit there.
PS. Remind me to talk to you some more sometime about the importance of going into the dark places where our story holds us prisoner with the guiding principles, that, like cell block keys in hand, unlock the mind and set it free – if it's of interest to you. 🙂