by Dina Wittfoth
This morning I was standing in my kitchen preparing coffee, listening to a podcast. The host was riffing on how ‘just living from the heart’ is the cure to all the darkness around us and the only way to save the world.
I was about two minutes in when, before I could catch myself, I was yelling ‘BULLSH*T!’ from the top of my lungs. Several times. It felt like one of those mighty sneezegasms you get after inhaling something you’re allergic to…
Recently I found that I’m indeed getting more and more allergic to this concept of ‘just love-and-lighting it’. The nicest thing that can be said about it is that it is simply not true. In fact, I believe that it is much more than that: it is outright dangerous!
Luckily, my allergic reaction to love-and-lighting is quite strong and hard to ignore, so I will not tire to harp on this every chance I get:
The only way out of darkness is through!
There is no way around, over or under it. Sure, you can put on your love-and-light blindfolds and ignore the sh*t out of all the dark stuff around and within you. But a massive turd with glitter is still… a massive turd!
Don’t get me wrong, living from a big, strong, healthy heart is wonderful! After all, that’s what I do – supporting people on their quests to live from their hearts.
It’s beyond words to witness how living from a big, strong, healthy heart brings unprecedented levels of joy and wonder into peoples’ lives!
But I also know this: living from an untrained heart is one sure-fire way of getting yourself deeply and thoroughly wounded, and for doing so real fast!
Especially the most sensitive ones of us will suffer greatly when we start opening our hearts to the world with no protection in place. I know because I’ve done it… and it took me years (and a sh*tload of money spent on coaching) to climb back out of this rut!
The cost of living from an untrained heart also goes way beyond the personal.
Being traumatized creates backlash not only for the people who are immediately affected, but for everyone and everything the traumatized person comes into contact with.
When we are deeply hurt, we will either go numb and retract, or we’ll be overwhelmed and swept away because we never learned how to handle strong emotions.
Either way, we are unable to care about much more than mere survival. We don’t stand a chance of accessing our fullest capacity.
We lack the ability to be compassionate while at the same time keeping our hands firmly on the steering wheel. Not a good position from which to try to heal the world…
The impulse to run and hide from scary stuff is very understandable.
But what most people who are eager to ‘transcend’ their painful earthly incarnation tend to ignore is that transcendence requires a lot of personal work.
Before you are ready to transcend anything, you will have to ‘clean up your basement’.
This means that you will have to descend into your shadow and wade through its murky waters, to grow big-ass roots in the dirt, and to establish yourself firmly on this earthly plane.
Take it as a heads-up for all those who want to become more ‘authentic’: standing in your whole truth means that you will have to reconcile the fact that you are not just light.
You are also dark! This is how you are created.
You can try to run from this knowledge, only to be greeted by its grinning face behind every corner you turn.
This might be inconvenient for all the ‘light hustlers’ out there, but unless we learn to fully embrace ALL that we are, we will continue to keep running from half of our truth again and again.
Following the ‘Principle of Correspondence’ of the Corpus Hermeticum (as above, so below – as below, so above. As within, so without – as without, so within.), it’s usually easiest to start by learning to acknowledge, embrace and love the darkness within yourself.
After you’ve got this one down, you can apply your new skillset to the darkness of others, and to the darkness of creation itself.
The healing effects of the inner work you do will inevitably ripple out into the outer world and create healing there as well.
Isn’t this delightful and oh-so-relieving? You can, in fact, heal the world. Your world!
All you have to take responsibility for is yourself!
Because, as basically all major religious movements throughout time and space tell us: Inner and Outer are but two sides of the same coin anyways…
So while the advice to ‘just live from the heart’ might seem desirable at face value (most likely because it also sounds nice and cozy), it neglects one of the fundamental truths that all spiritual teachers throughout time were aware of: before you can choose to live from the heart, you have to expand it into its fullest capacity.
You have to acknowledge, embrace and love everything, even darkness!
This kind of love, unlike the ‘love-and-light’ variety, will be whole, universal and complete.
It will encompass all of creation… its most breathtaking, awe-inspiring beauty as well as its most repugnant, hideous atrocity.
Because everything else is not love – it is merely ‘preference’ putting on the mask of universal love…
From the bottom of my big, strong, healthy heart I wish you this: may you take pleasure in both light and darkness! And may you, too, expand into the massive capacity of your big, strong, healthy hearts!
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About the Author:
Dina is a researcher by day, and a witch by night. She holds a master’s degree in psychology and a PhD in neuroscience and has spent the last fifteen years exploring emotional regulation with the help of functional brain imaging. She also works her magic as a coach and as a podcast host. She is an experienced heartspace adventurer, well-versed in exploring the as-of-yet uncharted recesses of the soul. She’ll be holding the lifeline while you go through your process, sharing with you all of the amazingly effective, battle-tested tools in her toolbox! Are you ready for your BigHeartVenture? Check out more on her Facebook page, and go listen to her podcasts ‘Inside Brains’ and ‘Science on the Rocks’.
images via Unsplash