You, who have crumbled, and been consumed by darkness, and risen—now is our time.
In the coming years, those who have endured great darkness will perhaps be those who will hold space for the rest of humanity during the almost certain unraveling that is to come. Those of us who have been marginalized, even by our ilk, we who have become the resiliently strong “meek,” who have learned to live with massive brokenness and somehow endured and turned that vulnerability into a blessing, are the shamans-in-wait—we, who are now emerging as global urgency reaches critical mass.
Carl Jung believed that what we deny inwardly, or are unaware of, comes to us outwardly as fate—and usually not so enjoyably. This is the human shadow. And shadow work is important because it mitigates our denial, unconscious projections and emotional displacements, so we don’t excessively injure the world and one another.
I have long-noticed the correlation between our own denial of pain and the perpetuation of that pain. In other words, when we deny our own pain we increase suffering. To endure our own pain, we have to befriend darkness. We don’t have to like it, but we must fiercely, grittily, and radically accept it—even as every morsel of us wants to resist it. That’s radical acceptance—to merely keep on going, to endure, in the face of pain. Such acceptance often comes after years of apprenticeship trying to get rid of it, to fight it off, to deny it in a thousand ways. After time, we realize this doesn’t work, and we become humbled by our own suffering. This marks the softening of our own ego and the deep cleaving (read: opening) of our hearts—the birth of commensurately deep compassion and passionate empathy.
As the natural world comes tumbling down in whatever ways it will, pain and strife will increase. This darkness will cause us to have to “do without,” possibly without many of the conveniences and comforts we’ve styled our lives around, been entertained by, and comforted by. I imagine some panic coming to the paradise of consumerism after looting the Earth’s pantry for so long, and so deeply.
When one goes through a dark night of the soul, many of the comforts and joys we experience disintegrate and dissolve into the crater of a broken, or shattered, heart. Suddenly, we have so little, so little of what has kept us well, and afloat. Suddenly, we have to do without. We have to make due, learn to find some fullness in emptiness, which takes time. This is the meaning and the making of inner richness—a rich inner life.
If one endures here and successfully stays the course of being with the pain of breaking down and open, then one eventually can break through. This is to not ignore or numb the pain into a timid shallow life, but to live with the pain in order to get through it and emerge with the riches that spoilage eventually yields—after great, great patience, passion, and courage to stay the course.
This happens more on suffering’s time than our own. Breaking through means emerging with a fuller sense of self, more compassion, an inner resourcefulness and radiance, tempered by the bouts of sorrow and hardship, the stripping of the soul.
Rest of Longing
Trust those places with no way out,
The dark corridors of your longing.
In fact, entrust them more
Than you give to daylight
Which disappears with fall of night.
Only hidden light that waits for you
In shadows can reveal the invisible
Passage from darkness that leaves nothing
— from: Nature of the Heart
Collectively, a dark night of the soul seems to have already descended upon us and is just sinking into our collective body and psyche. This imposed, fated darkness none of us will be able to escape, because it is a pervasive blanketing. Those who have had to become intimate with inescapable darkness will likely be better adapted to manage this implosion. This is where inner dark work will meet outer dark work, and the light (resilience, faith, courage, wisdom, endurance) that one has harvested, been resurrected by, in the trenches of personal collapse, will serve as a beacon for oneself and others in the throes of outer collapse.
Those who have survived and lived through obliterating pain, know what can never be learned anywhere except by going through it. We learn a faithless faith, a trust in the invisible strength of the heart to endure when everything has turned black. Perhaps the depression—that bottomless sinking and despair—of the shaman is the blackness that trains her to have faith in collapse, even when—especially when—there is none. The only thing I have found that keeps one alive in these places is a kind of faithless faith (because one cannot summon faith in these moments) and the indefatigable spark one does not even recognize except when it’s momentarily glimpsed as a grace against the backdrop a seemingly endless curtain of night.
So, take heart. Our time is now, those of you who have been humbled into a different kind of faith, power, and resilience. We must remain strong in our inner richness, together, in the community that has sustained us when we could not make it on our own. We, who have stood by one another through toughest times, the heartaches so many others seem to ignore and become hardened by. We, who have stood by one another and held space in the darkest of hours and lifted one another up simply by witnessing and caring however we could. We, who are no better than the rest, just sculpted for this time.
The inauguration of Donald Trump and his cohorts of ignorance promises to escalate the shrouding of our already struggling world, especially the natural world. We cannot continue on the path of endless pilfering. Increasing ignorance and denied fear (fear that gets displaced onto others as violence) far and wide are the harbingers of implosion. So, find your fellow owls—begin to build your network of dark-workers who shine their hard-won light from the embers of their soul. We must gather to embolden and nurture one another now, to expand the resilience together that we have found largely alone.
Music and poetry, communion with the wild forces of nature and community with one another in sacred space are our antidotes for these times, and balm for the world around us. Many resist this nourishment and nurturance not because they don’t need it, but because the feminine has been despoiled and abnegated. Fear and attack are common responses for those who fear being cared for in a sustainable, intimate way, who have sustained themselves largely by outward achievement alone, or who are too hurt from trauma.
Let us remember: stone eventually allows water to enter it. Hardest rock is shaped by the softest forces. And, sometimes too a chisel is needed! Now is the time for inner achievement to match and inform our outward doings. As my friend likes to say, “Take radically good care of yourself,” and one another in these times that need our radical acceptance and passionate responses. In “we” I trust.
The Nourish Practice
Jack Adam Weber’s “The Nourish Practice” is an easy, guided meditation-Qi Gong practice in radical gratitude and self-love. It is an Earth-based, body-centered practice — at once physiological and mythological — that is deeply relaxing and replenishing, especially for modern-day burn-out syndrome, and requires little physical effort. “The Nourish Practice” resets your nervous system and fosters a rich inner life.
You can purchase The Nourish Practice as a CD or Digital Download here.
The first installment in Jack Adam Weber’s new “Emotional Transformation” series, entitled “Healing from Heartbreak”, is also available here — a valuable guide to embodying self-compassion, healing and love.
Recommended articles by Jack Adam Weber:
- The Modern Shaman: Fierce Love at the Frontier of Madness
- When We Love an Addict – Courage and the Limits of Compassion
- Arrogance in Relationships: How to Deal With and Heal It
- 11 Reasons Why Hippies (Not Psychos) Should Rule the World
- The Monsanto Years: Singer Neil Young Rips Into GMOs, Big Biz and Conformity
- ReVOLUTION: When Enough is Enough
- Sex – Truth and Dare, Pleasure and Purpose
- Relationships: The Costs of Staying When We Should Leave
- Yin Yang — Ancient Wisdom for Personal and Planetary Transformation
- Heartbreak – Loving Ourselves Through Difficult Times
- Sacred Space – What Is It and Why Do We Need It?
About the author:
Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac. is a Chinese medicine physician, author, celebrated poet, organic farmer, and activist for body-centered spirituality. He is also the creator of The Nourish Practice, an Earth-based rejuvenation meditation, and Healing from Heartbreak, the first installment in his “Emotional Transformation” series.
Weber is available by phone or online for medical consultations and life-coaching.
You can connect with Jack at: