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mid-month or so, I will also send you an e-mail informing you of
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There is an exciting development planned for this ezine in the
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do look out for this e-mail too!
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Why do we consistently fail to do the good we know we should? All too often, why do we do the evil we hate instead? Is there really an external force that acts upon us and tempts us into evil as many religions seem to believe? Or does our own inner fragmentation lead us ever into frustration; willing one thing but doing another? It is simply not enough to say that we are the product of our environment, or of negative conditioning by our parents. Sometimes, it seems almost like there is another person within us, willing us to do what we would rather not. Meet The Enemy Within Who is this enemy within? Jung called it the Shadow – the part of our inner psyche that we suppress and allow to stagnate. A whole range of things, both positive and negative, can be suppressed within us. However, no part of us ever dies away completely. In a primarily good person, this Shadow embodies the negative psychological parts that have been suppressed; evil, anger, hatred, jealousy and so on. In dreams, the Shadow can appear as a nightmare figure; frightening, horrible and evil. In the psyche of a profoundly evil person, the Shadow takes the part of all the good that is NOT being expressed! Even Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein possess(ed) potentially good sides to them, except that they never expressed very much of it. These suppressed urges then form the Shadow figure within. If you have not truly integrated the Shadow side of your nature, then it will act against your best intentions whenever it can. Like it or not, it is still a part of yourself and cannot be denied. People may seek relief for their problems in all sorts of places. Doctors, psychiatrists, alcohol, or work. They do this because they are uncertain of the cause of their misery. They see themselves as defective, and in need of being “fixed”. Religious traditions, teaching polarized notions such as the war between Good and Evil, add to this system of guilt and perceived imperfection. In addition, other people will often happily corroborate our problems for us, and thereby add to our certainty regarding the matter. Darkness & Light Are Inseparable By Natural Law Yet, the truth is that we do not need “fixing”; at least, not in the traditional way we perceive it. We are fine and perfect as we are. It is our perception of reality that needs altering. Instead of seeing ourselves as wicked or defective, and the world as wrong and evil, we need to radically alter our focus. Seeing the traditional polarity between Good and Evil, with ourselves caught helplessly in between, simply does not serve us. Rather, we need to learn to perceive a seamless continuum within ourselves, just as we are. All parts of us, even those we judge as wrong and evil, are a necessary part of our being at this present time. It does seem at times as if what we consider evil in life is almost a necessary background against which good can shine forth. From an earthly perspective, many acts appear clearly wrong. Yet, we later find that much good emerges despite, and sometimes even as a result of, this apparent evil. Eastern traditions like Taoism capture the concept very well by describing the universe as being composed of both Yin AND Yang. The darkness and the light are woven inextricably and necessarily together. This is a very different and hard teaching to our Western minds. However, it may be a far more healthy and realistic one. Integration Of Dark & Light Is The Key To Growth By acknowledging all parts of your being, you are in a better position to perceive the situation more clearly. Correct perception of yourself means you are less likely to engage in guilt trips regarding what you “should” be doing or how you “ought” to behave. If you acknowledge the mixture of dark and light within, and see yourself as normal and okay just as you are, you create a healthy mental framework. From this framework, true integration of your disparate inner selves into one healthy personality can then occur. None of this implies that you should simply accept your fragmented inner nature and NOT strive for betterment in every sense. It simply means that you do so without self-condemnation and duality; rather, you gradually integrate the disparate parts of your nature harmoniously so that internal conflicts are progressively eliminated. Rather than attempt purity by suppressing your undesirable nature, you meet it face on and integrate it too into your being. Then, your actions are performed with your whole psyche working in perfect synchrony, and not with some inner parts pulling you down instead. It requires a higher perspective to correctly perceive the harmony in the universe and the correct relationship between Good and Evil. This is well exemplified by the three-headed statue of the Hindu god Shiva. The left- and right-hand heads, facing in their respective directions, appear active and in motion. Only the center head is perfectly still and at peace. This symbolizes the difference between Duality – seeing polarities such as Good/Evil and Right/Wrong – versus Unity or Divine Consciousness. From the higher perspective of Unity Consciousness, which resolves Duality, all is in perfect harmony just as it is. This is the consciousness we should seek. If you can strive to understand this idea and integrate it into your daily life, you will be closer to the mindset of that centered place of perfect peace. Then, your interactions with the world will occur from a point of true self-acceptance, integration and self-love. It is only when you love and understand yourself perfectly that you are in a place to do the same for others. This is your gift and your legacy; for yourself and for others. So do your best to give that
gift to both.
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2001. All Rights Reserved.
Leonard Shlain pondered the question of why the ancient reverence
for the goddess traditions died out, and the high role of women
in society declined. He observed that these events coincided
exactly with the era in which mankind was developing the skills
of reading and writing. Could it be that the adoption of these
strongly left-brain activities fundamentally altered the
structure of the way we think; emphasizing left-brain modes of
thought over right-brain ones? If so, we have gained the present
benefits of civilization at the expense of the emphasis on
imagery, and the role of the female in both a literal and
The result is a fascinating and thought-provoking book that will
challenge your assumptions about the basic structure of our
culture. The chapters examines the books theme in the contexts
of Yin/Yang, Islam, Birth & Death, Ancient Greek Mythology,
Christianity, Sorcery Vs. Science and much more.
Place has such tremendous power over your life. Each of us is
shaped to almost a frightening extent by the company we keep and
the places we frequent. Often, places hold their subconscious
hold upon us long after the events that occurred there have faded
into the distant past.
If your thought patterns seem to persist upon the same tracks,
seemingly beyond your power to control, you could do well to
examine the power of place.
For example, I recall the time I attended a reunion in the hall
of residence I had lived in for six years during my university
education. The place definitely had associations for me; both
positive and negative. I had done a lot of growing up there. Five
years had past since I had last seen the place. Yet it seemed
like yesterday. At each turn, I remembered scenes – little
vignettes – that kept popping up into my brain. It truly felt as
if I had never left.
More importantly, I could almost feel some of the same emotions I
had experienced so powerfully there; feelings I had forgotten
even having in the intervening five years away. Yet, they
were all hidden away, deep in my inner psyche, waiting to be
triggered by this place.
It is as if we store away an internal model of the places we
spend time in. By visiting those places again, even years later,
that internal model meets the outer reality, and the stored
feelings are released once more.
How Place Can Trap You Into Stasis
The power of place can keep you rooted and fixated in certain
habit patterns. This may be for good or ill. Sadly, in most
people’s lives, the latter tends to predominate. They find
themselves caught in fixated patterns of thought. Thus, their
reactions and interactions in the outer world are far less
enlightened that their highest aspirations might wish. However,
it is not limited to that. “Place” can also refer to a
long-standing relationship, a work situation, or even an entire
industry in which you have based your career.
Often, the only way to rapidly change your thought patterns to
more closely conform with your desires is through a radical
change of place. Otherwise, your best intentions for
self-improvement will be continually overwhelmed by the tidal
wave of external forces sweeping in. If you are trapped in a
leaky lifeboat in the midst of a stormy ocean, bailing the water
out with a little tin cup won’t be effective for very long.
Here is another example from my own life. For nearly eleven
years, I worked within the Investment Banking industry. Truly,
this is not an environment in which to open up your heart too
wide or seek for loving proactive interactions with fellow human
beings! Over time, as a result of many bitter disappointments and
perceived betrayals, I became a person filled with cynical
thoughts, negative expectations of my own future, and suspicious
of the intentions of those around me. In many cases, my own
attitude actually ended up creating the reality that I least
wanted to manifest. Moreover, these realities seemed to recur
wherever I went. Different faces – same situation.
Being In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time
Of course, part of the problem is indisputably related to simply
being in the wrong place. Each of us has a role and a purpose; a
reason for why we came into this life. If you choose to deny it,
and instead enter an arena that is not really your own, trouble
is the inevitable consequence. If you are simply in the wrong
life arena for you, that is sufficient cause for many of your
afflictions. What comes seemingly with ease to others appears
impossible to you, or only attainable after much suffering.
If you are in the right place, doors open and Providence seems to
help us. Conversely, if you are in the wrong place, the opposite
happens and doors magically slam shut; seemingly defying the laws
of probability to do so.
Thus, I found myself frustrated and negative. It seemed
impossible to improve my thinking from negative to positive,
despite my best intentions and all the motivational tapes in the
world. What caused the breakthrough for me in the end?…
Change The Place To Break The Trap
It was nothing more profound than a change of place! In the past
few years, I have been absent from the arena that had caused me
so much pain. As a result, my true human sensibilities have begun
to return with ever increasing force. Many positive attitudes I
last saw as a pre-teenager are returning to support me in all I
do. Criticism, bitterness and anger play a lesser part in my
thoughts. I can take some positive new chances now.
The benefits of personal development – through reading, tapes and
other media – can now take root and grow strongly without
continually being swept away and destroyed by the force of
In conclusion, a change of place can do you good. If you seem to
get nowhere in your hopes of personal growth, if everyday life
seems to overwhelm you, and adds power to the negativity within
you, consider making a radical change of place; in whatever way
is appropriate to your situation. The results will truly astonish
Copyright 2000, Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.
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