When a condition is at the stage of thought, you can change your mind. When it’s become a feeling, it impresses the environment, and when it’s become an action, you are then stuck with the consequences.
Every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward. That is absolutely true. I will even ask, how do we know what is wrong?
Every failure teaches us about the ways that do not lead to success. And all ways lead to success, but they don’t all lead to the heart. If one hates the self, then there are very many ways to punish, obscure, and even obliterate the self, at least in a sense.
Some ways are a more direct path while others are more roundabout. That is true. This is perhaps why they say “The Devil is in the details.” Some people really need to see why something is so before they are ready to embrace it. This will lead them into darkness, because we all must see the whole iceberg, if you will.
What is wrong is what is self defeating? Yes, exactly. You arise in the world as self, not an idea of self. You get ideas of self later from your interpretation both of your feelings, and impulses, and from your experience. Many of which are self defeating and all are if clung to as an exclusive definition. We can come to love our weaknesses. Love our flaws and our faults. In fact, this is necessary in order to be free of them. When we can let them be what they are, then we can be what we are, not before. In our efforts to fix them, that’s when we get caught up in morbid fixations and self punitive behaviour. Can you hurt yourself over your shame if you don’t try to deny your shame or remove it or do anything else with it?
Self punishing? Yes. Some call it self medicating; drug addictions, over eating, addictive relationships and psychological abusive cycles, even physical abuse, obsessive thrill seeking or obsessive over work.
Or even a superior or inferior attitude self medicates us. Exactly. We don’t have to see ourselves as inferior or superior if we don’t set up the context for that judgement in the first place. Can we judge quality if we embrace a world in which everything is whole? Can we deny ourselves the bad and not practice denial of the good as well? If it’s a rule that I must absolutely not get fat, then eating, rather than a natural function and a pleasure, becomes a chore, and I will bounce back and forth between austerity and self obsessed decadence. But how would I behave if the rule about being fat was removed?
Eat when you’re hungry, I expect. Eating would cease having any other meaning. If I cannot be a “good boy” about it, then likewise I cannot be bad and I will instead be natural.
To return to the subject of the shadow, how much of human behaviour seems confusing or mysterious? I will offer that there is no mystery in human behaviour, just the schism between light and darkness that we create. All behaviour arises from the same life force whether we judge the outcome as good or bad. In fact, the most “evil” people pursue their darkened path for “moral” reasons. Hitler convinced the German people that the Jews really were an evil empire that was responsible for all their suffering.
The idea that “righteous” end can justify “sacrifice”. These are popular notions in the sunlit “normal” world. People cling to ideas of contribution (sacrifice) and productivity (consumption) and defence (killing). Who is responsible for the darkness in the world? Every idealistic agenda exists by an implied negative definition. Instead of sobriety, we have a “war on drugs”. Instead of peace, we have a “war on terrorism”. Without idealism there wouldn’t be much to talk about, and no way for the tail to wag the dog.
Is this self responsibility evil? Is it not a necessary prerequisite for genuine giving? If I give you something I found in darkness, is its value less because it isn’t as “shiny” as something found in the light?
Just some thoughts… Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.