By cultivating fearlessness, we can truly understand darkness and its necessary place in our unfoldment, and not give it power that it does not truly have.

What is wounded and unhealed in us is projected into the Unknown, and so we relegate the unknown to the realm of darkness instead of the realm of light and of possibility. We then may attempt to use the practices of light and radiance to try to escape the darkness instead of illuminating it, un-patterning and claiming the potentials therein — especially the potentials we all have to inflict hurt.

All of us have experiences and memories of being wounded by the exercise of arbitrary force (counterfeit power) to suppress and control, and the unconscious belief is that in incubating guilt and fear of misusing our own power, we will not therefore be like those who wounded us. Perhaps that is what led many of us to a path of “love, harmony, and beauty.”

But actually, the opposite is true: By harboring guilt and fear, we empower the darkness instead of containing and finally mastering it, and thereby increase the likelihood that we will misuse it — against ourselves, if nothing else.

Our practices with light and radiance have to be integrated in a very physical and sensate way, with the very flesh itself. Work with the aura or an awareness of the planes of light is not enough, because this integration requires working with energy as well as attunement, and energy work exposes the contractions that are the somato-psychic “countenances” of our fear of darkness.

Related to fearlessness is a basic trust of the larger process, a relationship of a certain essential ease in the world, a friendliness and at-home-ness with our human incarnation — a sense that, regardless of how tough things get, they are workable and we are not irrevocably alienated from our soul’s purpose.

Many, perhaps most, of us do not arrive at adult-hood with this intact, but it is nevertheless our divine inheritance and can be reclaimed through spiritual practice and the movement of grace. This is less a psychological problem than a spiritual quality that manifests in the psyche, and without that breakthrough to that of our own being that transcends time, space, and our history, we can chip away at this for decades.

Psychology and Spirituality

Psychology understands the person as being the product of biology and the forces that shape the personality, with “spirituality” taking place inside the body, mind, and to an extent a person’s social sphere.

Mysticism understand the person as being a concretization of a movement of a Beingness which transcends time, space, and form (including the “Archetypes”). This formless/boundless Beingness is actually the creative matrix of all time/space/form and can be communed-with in direct experience. This movement isn’t just “alive,” it is the very life itself, and is continually existentiating and acting-upon the person to carry-out a purpose that is mostly beyond comprehension but is totally trustworthy.

The spiritual adepts are consciously surrendered to this movement, letting it have its way with them. Most people unconsciously resist this surrender until they are checkmate by a life crisis or the rare gratuitous breakthrough of Spirit that perforates their egoic compensatory structure, exposing it as the patchwork “Rube Goldberg” that it actually is.

Spiritual practice is often treated in the self-help or mental-health spheres as a kind of psychotherapy-renamed, a self-improvement add-on to an existing identity. This impression is partly from psychotherapists appropriating and technique-ifying traditional practices such as “mindfulness,” deforming them into a Western psychodynamic view — which, when not purloining authentic spiritual practice, just-as-often sees it as dissociative, and so pathologizes experiences of boundlessness or egolessness even in obviously-healthy individuals.

Just as often, unready and self-appointed teachers who cannot draw upon pure Silence in a transmissible way find that psychodynamic techniques are more accessible both for themselves and their audience, renaming psychological or group-process techniques as “ grounded spirituality.”  This has led to a commoditizing and dumbing-down of “mindfulness,” traditional teaching-stories, and the poetry of historical masters such as Rumi.

The actual overlap between spiritual practice and psychotherapy is really only about 15% — with the bulk of spiritual practice inexpressible to those who have not had a certain supra-egoic or supra-conscious experience. Psychodynamic insight is just not the same as spiritual realization — though it is most desirable & necessary, especially in our time.

Nor is spiritual perception reached through psychodynamic processes, because the identification with our personal psychological processes — necessary though it may be in daylighting the unconscious — is one of the things standing in the way of authentic inner freedom. Psychotherapy is for the repair of life situations; spiritual practice is for the repair of that fundamental split between felt-identity and the boundless ground of universal Pure Being that is the deep root of all subjective, personal identity.

In other words, psychotherapy’s aims are cultural; spiritual practice’s aims are not even soteriological (which is again an attempt to frame it in familiar, unthreatening terms).

Integration doesn’t happen from inside fragmentation, but only when one can step outside the fragmented pieces into a larger sphere of awareness in which the fragmentation is a subset. Then you have some perspective and some leverage.

And when that breakthrough comes, it comes not as an intuition or concept but as an uprooting of one’s very identity






See also:

What the Teacher Does

Following a Spiritual Guide

Spiritual Teaching