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Dealing with dark force bullies
As a child, the nuns taught me to make the sign of the cross whenever I was afraid. When I would go to bed at night, my overactive imagination would take the reigns and I would be in a dark, scary place where evil figures lurked menacingly from my open closet door. I would madly and repeatedly make the sign of the cross from my bed with my eyeballs glued to the closet door opening, awaiting some tiny perceptible movement to prove that my fears were correct.
Happily, there were no face to face meetings with any of the dark closet creatures. And I did learn to close my closet door and truncate my fears.
In psychological parlance, I am counterphobic. This means I confront my fears, It does not mean I am unafraid, it means I am afraid, and I do it anyway.
Over the years, I have become accustomed to my adult version of dark closet creatures. I do have things that go bump in the night. Sometimes, it’s dead people looking to get my attention. Other times, it can be messages.
In fact, while writing about negative energies, I had some bouts of dark play. In the middle of the night, there were precipitous blasts of cold air that have sent this menopausal women looking for an additional quilt or two.
And during those bewitching hours of 2 and 3 a.m., when all is acutely quiet, there was some nocturnal havoc with sounds of my apartment being trashed. It was as if small bombs were being dropped from the ceiling and things were flying everywhere. Bedcovers were yanked and pulled. Snorting noises were heard. Run-of-the-mill dark mayhem.
With my heart thumping, I turned on the bedside lamp, got out of bed and did a walk-through of my apartment. Nothing was out of place, everything was in order. I knew this was a tactic to scare me off. Actually, it did just the opposite. My “Irish” was roused and I became even feistier to discuss good and evil, light and dark.
One afternoon when the sunlight was streaming into my apartment and I was writing about this very topic from my perch on the couch, there were very loud, jump-off-the-couch crashing booms. There was no outside or neighboring activity to account for same. Nothing was amiss save an empty paper shopping bag was now on the floor of my closet.
Clearly, these were not major doings, but they were enough to momentarily grab my attention.
These acts remind me of a bully and truly, that is what the dark forces are. Call them Satan, Lucifer, the Devil or Evil, dark forces look to play on fear so we will kowtow to their very whims. They insert doubt and terror; they create panic. They take bullying to a world-class level.
And their approach has certainly been successful because we lose faith. We lose faith in ourselves, in our ability to survive or withstand and in our connection with Something Greater. We find no place to hang our hope, much less discern a viable alternative. Our hearts contract; we hunker down into reactive mode. We forget who we are.
Fear is an all too common experience. It happens. It’s human. And, alas, it is also a learned response.
We know that darkness exists. We have felt the shadows of darkness crawl across our hearts and our stomachs have clenched in the knowing.
And terror is, unfortunately, a tangible reality. All we have to do is engage in air travel to be reminded of global uncertainties.
So, how do we deal with the fear? How do we face the darkness? How do we face terror without soiling ourselves?
From my point of view, this requires a kind of spiritual warriorship. There needs to be a strength and a certainty that that is predicated on faith, hope and compassion. There needs to be a memory that we are, indeed, soulful beings.
I am not talking about automatons that robotically claim the light and denounce all others. No, a spiritual warrior is complicated. A spiritual warrior does not adhere to any one-sided, trenchant belief system; there is no fundamentalism here.
A spiritual warrior walks the path daily as a flesh and blood human being who endeavors to do the best thing possible at that moment. Speaking truth, acting with kindness, helping a neighbor, being ethical, connecting with whatever face or name is given to the divine, these are acts of a spiritual warrior.
There is no special religion required. There are no Friday, Saturday or Sunday services. There is not even a pot luck supper to prepare, much less a bingo game to promote.
A spiritual warrior has earned those merit badges of faith, hope and compassion and walks surefooted in the light. A spiritual warrior stands firmly, holds strongly and protects fiercely. A spiritual warrior understands that darkness is a disconnection from the light.
Furthermore, a spiritual warrior is your Best Self, the part of you that has regular conversations with your soul, the part of you that can see and accept the good and the god in yourself and others, the part of you that can see with the big view finder and find hope in the darkest corners.
About the author:
Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is the author of Balancing Act: Reflections, Meditations, and Coping Strategies for Today’s Fast-Paced Whirl and a contributing author to the best-selling anthology, 2012: Creating Your Own Shift. You can learn more about Adele and her thinking http://theheraldedpenguin.com.