|Beyond The Shadows|
There are times when we fight with shadows that don’t even exist. Then, there are times when we shock ourselves by the darker sides of our nature. We see that we contain openness and closed-mindedness and closed-heartedness. We contain dark and light, love and hate, peace and rage, acceptance and rebellion, hope and despair, success and defeat, approval and rejection. It seems the deeper we go into one polarity, the wider we can also swing in its equivalent polarity. We prefer the "nicer" places, and try and avoid the "darker" places.
We all have unloving qualities. We can rage against the flow of our lives. We can criticise others' weaknesses and interpret how they further complicate and frustrate our lives. We can blame Life and God for our difficulties and in spite of that, find no relief. We can move through our days and not once get beyond ourselves, our needs and demands. In spite of being dedicated to self-awareness, we lose control of our objectivity, we lose our patience, we get angry, we feel self-righteous or ashamed. Can we get over ourselves!
As we lapse in our Contemplative practices, our meditation, our awareness of Silence, our gaze and consent to Spirit, we land into the shadows, into upheaval, disharmony and chaos. It is inevitable. Restlessness is the natural way of our mind and emotions. We won't change this reality. Contemplation gently reminds us again to take the focus off ourselves and the events of our ever-changing lives, to widen our gaze, and plant it on Presence, on Stillness, on Silence, on Spirit, on whatever or however God is manifesting in our lives.
The shadows remind us we have become compromised. They help tire us again of our restlessness and self-centredness, and return our hunger for balance and harmony. They remind us not to settle for anything less than awareness and trust in the higher order playing out in our lives.
We are multi-flawed human beings, with plenty of shadows. Humility and surrender allow us to admit them, to admit our forgetfulness and our lapses, and to seek forgiveness from ourselves and our loved ones who witness our flaws up close. Circumstances not going our way mostly reveal that our way is insufficient and incomplete, and perhaps not loving to everyone concerned, and would therefore not serve us well, either. We are softened and emptied out even more, ever more.
The way of Love and Harmony will always win out, and we end up being thankful this is the case. It's never about us. It's always about how Love is unravelling itself in us.
When our attention is on ourselves, in the image-blindness of the ego, everything is a distraction from God. When attention is in God, with the vision of faith, everything reveals God to us.
Laurence Freeman OSB, The Selfless Self