Personal Development: Light and Shadow

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Moreover, challenges often immerge from these things. And where there is challenge, there is opportunity to learn. Through the law of causality, light and shadow are equally useful and necessary, as each requires the other to reveal itself. Through the law of causality, we all require non-light in order to understand the light. Through the law of causality, a shadow is a gift of opportunity.

Chinese thinkers have illustrated this principle of causality very well, as the complimentary concepts of Yin and Yang can only be defined in opposition to each other. Yin is only what has yet to become Yang, as Yang has yet to become Yin. Indeed, contrary to popular belief, Yin and Yang do not represent fixed states – since everything is in perpetual motion – but rather snapshots corresponding to a process of transformation at its climactic state.

Therefore, nothing can ever be absolutely designated as either Yin or Yang, because the cause always carries within it the effect to come. And in any current effect, we can always detect the traces of its past cause. In this respect, everything may be considered as either a cause or an effect, depending on whether we turn to the past or the future. The result is an infinite chain of interlocking events.

To come back to our metaphor of light and shadow – when light grows, it may eventually attain its climactic point of brightness, encompassing everything in shine and brilliance. But since energy is a living thing in perpetual motion, light can only decrease from this point on, and bring about darkness. Darkness is engendered by light – light is engendered by darkness. If we apply this idea to the human condition, this means that behind every dark corner of our souls, behind every wound and imperfection, the gift of light often stands, waiting.

On this subject, the father of depth psychology Carl Gustav Jung summed up this phenomenon marvellously: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. However, this task is often unpleasant, and therefore unpopular.” It is by embracing our imperfections, our wounds, our dark sides that we might be able to find our true inner light.

It is through this kind of humility, namely being aware of our limits, renouncing (or letting go of) our almightiness, in a kind dialogue with ourselves, that we may find inner peace and, by extension, peace with the rest of the world. Only then can we truly feel alive, no longer through the pursuit of applause and recognition, but with generosity and awareness of the other.

For those who are prepared to embrace it, darkness is a step towards the light. The reverse phenomenon – that light engenders darkness – must not be neglected in all this. Indeed, the appearance of grace can bring about an excess of confidence, a sense of almightiness, and the return of the ego. In honour of the upcoming Winter Solstice, the darkest night of the year, I wish you all a happy Day of Light. May this winter be the setting for your rebirth.

Axel TRINH CONG Psychic, Therapist, Body- spirit-soul alignment, constellations, Tarot, soul messages.

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