We commonly view the areas of our life which are associated with the dark heart as difficult, painful and unwelcome. Because of this we are not familiar with them, or not comfortable walking the paths they require, and are not at peace working our way through them. Instead we often go down into the realm of darkness dramatically, unaware and unprepared. Sometimes it can be years before we even begin to understand what is going on let alone what we can, or even need to, do about it. other times we know perfectly well what to do, yet with little or no support, it takes a long time and a lot of suffering before we emerge on the other side.
The dark heart is within each of us. It deals with change, and death (in many aspects and forms) is one of those changes…leaving a job, ending a relationship, letting go a dream which we have tightly held onto, or letting go a treasured belief.
It is hard for most of us, unguided in the practices of the dark heart within us, to do more than accept change as inevitable, and only rarely do a small few welcome it joyously.
But this is only half the story of our heart. The other half is the side of compassion. Death itself can be compassion: the release of suffering, the clearing away of the old to make room for the new, the embrace of completion. But because we are so afraid of this aspect of ourselves, and so avoid it, we are not familiar enough with that compassionate side. When we feel the pull of the dark half, we tend towards the terror in whatever expression most suits us – avoidance, denial, or refusal. Yet these events of meeting that side of our heart and experiencing what begins as loss and questioning, are the same experiences that fuel the most amazing leaps and developments we make once we are out the other side, revitalizing our lives.
When the dark heart shows up, things are going to change and this contains both longed-for and also dreaded events. Shadow work and soul retrieval, while invaluable in themselves, do not address the fundamental imbalance we carry between dark and light. In both the dark is largely positioned as ‘bad’ (or undesirable), and both seek to bring everything into the light, to ‘enlighten’. Shadow work in particular is not about allowing darkness half of the playing field….it is in fact part of the light half of life, the daylight side. It deals with dark issues in the light. Yet in true darkness, no shadows are to be seen, so shadow work can only occur in the light.
As part of the integration within us between light and dark, this is important. It is in the brightest, most empowered places, that issues such as fear, loss, death and letting go are highlighted. In darkness therefore, we will look for birth, transformation and new beginnings.
Approaching the dark heart involves a surrender on the deepest levels, and the specific results cannot be known or even imagined beforehand, as the journey belongs in the actual dark where there are no shadows and everything is merged. That is…until a light is struck – and that light is the light of dawn, of the re-birth of the Soul!