We’re afraid of the dark

People are afraid of the dark for many reasons–
some known, some not-yet-known.
Our unexplored fear of the dark makes it even worse —
even scarier.
When people are afraid of something,
we often make it “bad,” even call it “evil.”
When people run away from their fears,
refuse to meet them, face them, explore them,
we make them more frightening, and
we make resolving them less and less possible.
And then the fear expands, the projecting evil onto it escalates,
and the possibility of resolution seems to disappear.

When we close the door to self discovery

At this point we may close the door to our self-examination, to searching within and to true solutions. We may find or create distractions, even distractions that appear to be kind, giving, and helpful. For example, charity can help someone, but that doesn’t erase the underlying wounds and fears that live in the darkness within us. Or, activism can be important in our outer world, but that doesn’t erase the underlying traumas and terrors that live in the darkness in our inner world.

Or we may add hype to the fear, use it as a turn on, and help someone make money off it – as with horror stories and movies. This brings fear more out into the open, but doesn’t bring our particular fear out in the open. It doesn’t get to the real roots of our fear; it doesn’t help heal our fear; and it doesn’t help transform our relationship with our own fear.  Most important – our relationship with it.

We are limitless souls …
so much of us is unknown —
to ourselves and to others.
That means so much of us is in the darkness.
So much of us is in the unknown.
Why would we turn away from discovering ourselves?
And what are the consequences?

How we hold what is in the darkness

Our wounds, traumas, and fears from long, long ago are found in the dark underground labyrinths within us … and are also triggered by the darkness in the world around us. The world up close in our everyday lives. The world out there that we know nothing about, and the world out there that we witness on tv, the internet, radio, and social media on a daily basis … for some of us all day long.

What too many of us don’t know:  our unacknowledged, unworked with, unresolved wounds, traumas, and fears within contribute to the darkness in the world all around us. They help feed it. They help grow it. They help escalate it.

Once, long ago, we were innocent victims, traumatized in ways we should never have been traumatized. That was not our responsibility. But if we grow up and don’t take responsibility to heal our own ancient traumas, we are no longer victims. We become the victimizers.  We create trauma from the trauma within that we’re holding at bay and hiding from.

Back then it wasn’t our responsibility that we were traumatized. Now it is our responsibility to heal our trauma … whatever it takes.  It is our responsibility to do the inner work to heal. Healing is an inside job. Healing is our job.

Why would we turn away from discovering ourselves?

We don’t know we can.
Then read this article, the one before this,
and as many as you need to before that one.
Read Power Abused, Power Healed.*
Read How Did We Get Here?**
You will know we can.

We don’t believe it’s possible …
But I’ve seen it. I’ve helped make it possible.
I know for a fact that it’s possible.

We’re afraid to try.
We’re afraid to try and fail.
But the only way you fail is if you give up.
I’ve seen both choices.
The trying with commitment brings healing.
The trying with giving up does not.
The giving up actually brings more pain than the staying committed.
And it reflects a re-enactment of the trauma long ago,
the trauma that created such decisions as
“it’s not possible,”
“it’s not possible for me,”
“I’ll fail,”
“I give up.”

We don’t want to do the hard work.
We’d rather live in the defenses we created as children
than help the child within us heal.
We’d rather act out what was done to us again and again
than help the little one still alive within us heal.
We’d rather act out the suffering we experienced,
within, with others, and as we witness others in our world repeating the same thing.

We’d rather numb ourselves, blind ourselves, deafen ourselves
to the pain within
and all around us
calling us to heal from the inside out.
Out of fear that we need to explore,
we’d rather avoid the real pain, the soft pain at the root.
We’d rather live from and create from our defenses, and from
the false pain, the hardened pain of our defenses.

And what are the consequences?

People are doing this all over our world – in the north, in the south, in the east, and in the west. Acting out their early suffering on themselves and others alike. Acting it out blatantly or subtly. Acting it out consciously or unconsciously.

In my country, for example, the 24/7 political saga is drawing people in. It’s not because what’s happening is really about politics. Rather, it’s because politics is a stage. Politics is merely a stage on which we act out our childhood trauma. We act it out whether we’re in the government, running for government office, reporting on those in the political arena, voting for those running for office, evaluating those in office, idealizing those in office, trying to get rid of those in office, trying to ignore those in office, triggered by those in office, and more …

Who in the current scenario is like your father was?  Who like your mother?  Who is like your brother or sister? Who like your childhood clergy person or a teacher?  Who like a neighbor? Who like the image you had of yourself when you would grow up?

I’m not a betting person, but on this I would bet. Together we could talk — for the sake of healing — and discover what from your early life is getting acted out and what from your early life is getting triggered on today’s political stage. If those in government would be willing, together we could talk – still for the sake of healing – and discover what from their early lives they are acting out and what from their early lives is getting triggered on today’s political stage.  These talks and explorations could occur anywhere in the world: in the US, in Great Britain, in Europe, in the middle east, in Africa, in South America, in India, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, and more. All over the world.

We are all in this together. And we are all creating it together.
Just like in any family … Everyone of us who does nothing to find out the consequences of our own trauma on our lives and our world today … keeps creating it, keeps co-creating it, keeps enabling it, keeps colluding with it … keeps feeding it, keeps driving it to continue and to escalate.

And …

Just like in any family … Everyone of us who starts to explore what it is in us that is involved today, and who begins to heal whatever that is … begins to end our collusion in and contribution to the ugliness, the chaos, the destructiveness, and the trauma that is right in front of us and all around us. This is the hope.

What choice will you make?

There is a touching, profound, powerful, inspirational poem by Daniel Berrigan.*
It’s called “Some.” I recommend your reading it in its entirety. For now,
it begins …

Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,

And later it says …

Some stood and stood and stood.
… Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.

Are you going to be someone who stands up and sits down?
Someone who stands up and then walks away?
Or …
Are you going to be someone who stands and stands and stands?
And walks and walks and walks?

In the new year … and the years to come …
May you be someone who stands and stands and stands.
May you be someone who walks and walks and walks.
May you be someone who comes and stands and walks with me
and with those who are standing and walking.***

© Judith Barr, 2018.

* Power Abused, Power Healed, Judith Barr, Mysteries of Life, 2007.
** How Did We Get Here? Our Refusal to Know the Truth About Ourselves, Judith Barr, Mysteries of Life, 2018.
*** “Some” by Daniel Berrigan. You can listen to him reading his own poem.
Note from me to you: If you want to know more … let me know. If you want to know more, come explore with me.


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