Diwali: light over darkness

In moving toward the light it is our own darkness that stops us. Because it is our darkness, we cannot see it, but we can feel it. Feelings of sadness, isolation, fragmentation, failure and loneliness arise from our darkness, thus we know it is there, we feel it.

Over Dussehra, the day when demons are burned, endless postings on social media listed the demons of lust, anger, greed, and so on. In an act of generous introspection those determined to introject rather than project, visualised their very own demons burning in the Dussehra bonfire. The demons were depicted as the ten headed demon of all demons Ravana, and in substitute form they were reduced to ashes by the blaze. Still despite the meaningful festival offering the opportunity of acknowledgement and letting go, the demons too often take birth again.

There is a darkness inside of us, a shadow, a blind area, an area in our deep unconscious. From this region the demons are born, this is Naraka Loka, the planet of demons. The demons of lust, anger, greed, selfishness, aggression, harshness, cruelty and envy, are the symptoms of our problem not the root cause. A friend recently told me a story of a woman abandoned by her cruel husband. After years of loneliness she was encouraged by family to try to love and find companionship again. After meeting a young man, who then took no interest, she called a friend. On the call she told her friend in confidence that the meeting did not go well. Her friend responded, 'well of course, it didn't, you're overweight and unattractive. People don't find you interesting. Just forget trying'.  What a nasty friend you might think. Sadly it was no friend at all, it was the self defeating voice in her head, her mind, her shadow. She had abandoned her own-self in scathing terms.

I meet so many beautiful and talented people, who having survived life seem to be doing amazingly well until they speak in a tearful and confidential moment. 'I'm just not good enough', 'I am desperately afraid of failing',  'I feel ashamed of myself', these and many more self denigrating scripts come to us from within in moments of darkness, a darkness that can envelope our world.  As Carl Jung wrote 'Knowing your own darkness in the best method for dealing with the darkness in other people', I pray this Diwali that I may know my own darkness. And through the warmth and illumination of the Divine here before me in my Diwali lamp , may I be healed and of help to others.

Happy Diwali 2017

Gauri Das

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