Embracing Our Dark Side: Healing Anger and ShameBy Dr. Margaret Paul
May 14, 2009
Through accessing our spiritual guidance and learning to love our wounded self, we CAN heal anger, fear, shame and judgment.
Our wounded self is our dark or shadow side, not because it is bad but because it is cut off from the light of God. It lives in the darkness of fear and the heaviness of false beliefs instead of in the light of love and truth. Moving toward "enlightenment" is moving into the light of truth from our spiritual guidance. When we heal our fears and false beliefs, our energy lightens. We may even hear from others, "You seem so much lighter!"
Doorways to Darkness
Just as the light of God enters our hearts when we choose to open to love, the darkness enters when we choose to close our hearts and act from anger, fear, shame, judgment or hurt. This is what happened in The Return of the Jedi, the last of the original Star Wars series. In this movie, the emperor, who was the epitome of darkness, was trying to get Luke to join the dark side. He knew if he could just get Luke angry enough or frightened enough, he would want to kill his father, Darth Vader, and then the emperor would own Luke as he had owned Luke's father. The emperor knew that anger and fear were the doorways to darkness.
Our anger, fear, shame, judgment and hurt are the cracks in our energy field through which the darkness enters. The darkness can also enter when we cloud our energy with drugs, alcohol, nicotine or sugar. Do you recall the trial in San Francisco that employed the infamous "Twinkie defense"? About twenty years ago, the mayor and a city supervisor were shot down inside City Hall and their killer got a short sentence because of his "diminished capacity" due to having eaten a diet of only junk food.
In one of my dialogues with my spiritual guidance, she challenged me about darkness. She said, "Margaret, you have worked for many years to be physically healthy. Not only that, you have striven to be immune to illness. Likewise, for many years you have sought to become a more loving person. Now your task is to become immune to darkness." I was blown away. Becoming immune to darkness means never acting out of my wounded self's feelings of fear, anger, shame, judgment or hurt but always moving into an intent to learn about these feelings as soon as they come up. I can tell you, it's quite a challenge! I don't know if I will ever accomplish this, but it certainly is a worthy goal!
Through purifying ourselves on the physical and emotional levels by eating well and doing our healing work, each of us can reach a place where our frequency is high enough that we can hear our spiritual guidance all the time. Being in conscious connection (and dialogue) with both our inner child and our spiritual guidance at all times is one of the goals of Inner Bonding. By doing the dialogue processes--Steps Three and Four of Inner Bonding--we begin to heal the cracks in our energy field through which the darkness enters, and we shine the light of truth into the wounded self's fears and false beliefs.
When we feel hurt, angry, judgmental, shamed, blaming, depressed or frightened, our dialogues are with our wounded self. These painful feelings come from our own unloving behavior toward ourselves. However, when you have been operating most of the time from your wounded self, you cannot suddenly become a loving adult in order to do the dialogue process. Often, your early dialogues may be between one aspect of your wounded self (for example, the part that chooses to indulge in binge eating), and another aspect of it (the part that is furious at being overweight). Since dialoguing between two aspects of your wounded self won't get you anywhere, you might conclude that Inner Bonding doesn't work.
Here's what's really not working: We cannot bring light to darkness with darkness. In other words, we can't heal our darkness by being furious at it. We can transform darkness into light only by learning about and loving the darkness. We heal darkness only with light--the light of love that comes through us from our spiritual guidance. Our challenge is to love the part of us that we judge as bad, unlovable or unworthy, and it's a challenge that calls for the loving adult.
But how can we have a dialogue between our wounded self and our loving adult when we haven't yet developed a loving adult? Here is where your imagination comes into play. You need to imagine that the dialogue is between your wounded self and your personal spiritual guidance. (If you have not yet created this connection, see pages 173-178 in Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? for how to create this). You ask your wounded self questions and offer comfort and help, not from your own thoughts, but from what you would imagine your loving, wise and powerful spiritual guidance would say and do. (You can see two examples of how this works in the dialogues in chapter 8 of Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?) Or, if you know a person who you feel really is loving, wise and powerful, you imagine that person in dialogue with your wounded self. Either one is a good stand-in for your loving adult.
Susan Sarandon, in the movie Dead Man Walking, is a wonderful role model for loving behavior. She plays a nun who has been asked by a murderer on death row to help him avoid execution. The murderer, played by Sean Penn, is a despicable human being. Not only did he rape and murder in cold blood, he is a racist and he continues to avoid responsibility with his blame, lies and manipulations. Almost no one in the nun's life supports her efforts on his behalf. They accuse her, blame her, shun her, yet never once does she lose her connection with God. She tells the murderer that he is a son of God and therefore greater than his worst acts. While never condoning his acts, she never condemns him as a person. She lovingly confronts him with himself. Although she does not like him, she loves him. She becomes the face of God for him, and through her love, which is God, he opens his heart and is redeemed. Penn's character is very dark, the worst of the wounded self, while Sarandon's is very light, the best of the loving adult.
Given that you might not have role models of loving behavior in your daily life, you can use your spiritual guidance as your role model to emulate and assimilate. Eventually, when you do this long enough, you begin to take on the qualities of your spiritual guidance. This is how you develop your loving adult. It takes practice. You have to learn to concentrate on this imaginative process and to trust what you hear.
When clients of mine first start to do this, I generally hear them say, "How do I know this is real? It feels like I'm just making this up, that it's just my imagination." Many of us have been brought up to believe that when we create--whether it be poetry, a painting, a song, a musical score, a book, a screenplay, a theory--we bring these things forth from our own minds. We may believe that we actually have the capacity to be creative all by ourselves. The truth is that creativity flows when we are open to Spirit and use the gift of our imaginations.
I no longer believe that my theories, my writing, my paintings or even the words that flow from me when I am working with someone or leading a workshop come from my own individual mind. I experience my mind more as a receiver of Divine information, which I can then transmit through my writing, speaking and painting. Just as love, compassion, truth, peace and joy are not feelings we generate from within our own small selves but are gifts from Spirit, so too are our imagination and the creativity that flows from it. We all have the capacity to learn to access the Source of wisdom and creativity.
It has taken me time and practice to trust the information that comes through me. I have learned over the years that when I do not trust my spiritual guidance, bad things happen. This really hit home for me in the summer of 1995 when I was leading an Inner Bonding five-day intensive in Missouri. It was the fourth day of the intensive and I was pouring some tea from a pitcher during one of our breaks. I heard my spiritual guidance say, "Do not drink that, it is contaminated." I decided I was being paranoid and drank it anyway. The next morning I woke up with a terrible sore throat--the first time I had been sick in years--and so did a number of other people, all of whom had drunk the tea. Even with all the years I had been dialoguing with and listening to my spiritual guidance, I still lacked trust and needed another lesson in humility: that my individual mind, unplugged from spiritual guidance, doesn't know much.
So it takes a lot of Inner Bonding practice, yet practicing seems to be difficult for many people. If you were determined to become accomplished at a particular skill, for example playing a musical instrument, you would think nothing of practicing every day. In fact, you would know that you needed to practice daily in order to become skilled and then continue practicing daily to maintain your skill. Becoming skilled at Inner Bonding is no different. You will become skilled only by daily practice, and you will continue to reap the benefits only by daily practice. It is only through daily practice that you will learn to consistently hear and trust both your Guidance and your true Self. The problem is that the wounded self won't practice, so unless you pray daily for help in shifting your deepest desire from getting love to being loving, you will not have enough of a loving adult to override the wounded self and make the decision to practice.
Many of my clients, coming in for help because they are suffering, find that they start to feel better within days of starting to practice Inner Bonding. Then, as soon as they feel better, they stop practicing and go right back to feeling badly. Sometimes they then conclude that Inner Bonding doesn't work. This is like saying that if you have a young son and you give him love one day but ignore him for the next few days, he should continue to feel happy because of the one day you did give him love. This doesn't work with your inner child any more than it does with real children. Just as babies need you to be constantly tuned in to them, your inner child needs you to be constantly aware of your feelings and needs. Becoming this aware and maintaining this awareness takes daily practice.
The good news is that practice really pays off. Clients of mine who have been practicing Inner Bonding for an extended period of time (it varies for each person) find that eventually they do it all the time. They naturally stay tuned in to their inner child and their spiritual guidance, and they naturally dialogue with them whenever they feel anything other than peace and joy inside. They find themselves doing it in the shower, while preparing meals, doing chores, waiting in line at the market or stuck in traffic. After much practice, they are delighted to find that they feel no longer allow themselves to feel badly for any length of time. They are progressing rapidly toward wholeness and oneness with God.
Learn to connect with your spiritual Guidance with "Frequency: Your Spiritual Guidance & The Art of Manifestation," A 30-Day at-home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul.
Start learning how to love yourself, with Dr. Margaret's 30-Day at-home course, Love Yourself.
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