Last night someone unfriended me on Facebook.
She objected to a post I shared – and quite frankly, she had a point. It was horrific. Dogs being killed and tortured as part of the Chinese Dog Festival which goes on, unceasingly, year after year.
Yes, it’s horrible to even imagine what these poor animals are put through. My mind shies away from even wanting to think about it.
But how does that help them? How does ignoring atrocities that sear our sensibilities make a better world for any of us?
The horror of what popped up on my timeline had my soul screaming out in pain. It was too much to bear and I almost – almost – scrolled quickly past, as fast as I could.
But then a voice said ‘If not you Saira, then who?’
It’s too easy to scroll past, avert our eyes, block our ears or tune out the horrors that are going on right now in the world. We retreat to our cosy cocoon of our nice little life and keep our head down and hope and pray fervently that it doesn’t come to a town near us anytime soon.
But is this really the best we can do? Is this how we handle the shadow side of our world? Try to ignore it. And if you’re doing that ‘out there’ what are you doing with your own shadow? Trying to pretend it doesn’t exist?
What is ‘out there’ is reflective of what is inside us, unresolved, hidden, ignored. Those nasty, unawakened, petty and unsavoury parts of ourselves don’t just go away if we don’t look at them – they manifest in the world around us, in the Society we create, in the cruelty we allow.
Quite some years ago now I went out with a man who was wonderful in so many ways. Such a bright light. But….he refused, point blank, to engage in any way with his shadow side. And he had one, of course he did!
‘I’m 80% ok’ he would tell me. ‘I don’t need to go poking about in the other 20%’.
Is this you? Because if it is, I have news for you – it is that 20% that defines you! It is that 20% that ambushes you when you least expect it, that ‘pretends’ nastiness doesn’t exist, that will run your life and the world you create around you.
I was interviewing the wonderful Jessica Jones recently and she was in Bali at the time. A beautiful, spiritual place. ‘But is it?’ she said to me. ‘Everywhere you look, there is trash (she’s American). On the beaches, around the houses, everywhere. How can you say you’re spiritual on the inside, but allow this on the outside?’
She hit the nail on the head.
If we don’t like what we see ‘out there’ we have to start ‘in here’. There’s nothing new in this, spiritual masters have been teaching it for centuries. It’s a fairly simple concept but as a species we find it very hard to work with, because it means digging around in those bits of us we have disowned, and looking at those part of us we don’t want to see.
What few people realise though, is that there is gold in this work. Yes, its messy, and difficult and will have you on your knees at times. You will feel shame and horror and disbelief at some of what you uncover. But if you keep your head and don’t run screaming for the hills, all these unwanted, unloved, dispossessed parts of yourself are the riches you seek to becoming whole and authentic if you gently bring them into the light.
I don’t know how to stop people wilfully torturing and maiming and killing beautiful, sentient beings. I have no easy answers – I don’t have the political clout, or visibility or money to affect great change in the world. But that doesn’t mean I should ignore it, turn my head the other way, refuse to engage with it – or unfriend someone who brings it to my attention.
And it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t look deeper at the darkness within myself – because I am part of the collective that allows this!
Next time something awful pops up on your timeline, what are you going to do? Are you going to avert your eyes as quickly as possible and dive back into the illusion that everything’s ok with my world? Or are you going to find your courage and look these demons squarely in the eye?
And it takes courage….courage and compassion. But if you really are going to be a Spiritual Warrior don’t you need to start seeing the world as it really is not as you want it to be? And in the words of the inimitable Caroline Myss don’t you ‘need a backbone, not a wishbone’?
If we all stood up, as a collective, and said ‘Enough, no more’ we can change the psychic field we all inhabit.
As the Ancients said ‘All is One, and One is All’.