“Every aspect of human technology has a dark side, including the bow and arrow.” ~ Margaret Atwood
Sometimes lightwork can be daunting. It can even be a bit confusing. There’s so much expectation wrapped up in doing the right thing and being fully present and holistic and enlightened and giving and loving and yada-yada that it begins to feel like a warm, soft, security blanket that just so happens to be smothering us.
The beauty of life is that in order for it to exist there must be balance. The ugliness of life is that we’re usually unable to understand what that balance is. Moderation can be deceiving, especially when we’re not tuned into healthy frequencies. Luckily, health is a benchmark. Unluckily, this benchmark is hidden in a ‘language older than words’ that can sometimes seem impossible to decode.
A good rule of thumb to live by is: moderation in all things, to include moderation. This way we’re proactively injecting balance into the cosmos, while at the same time enjoying life. The key is to accept responsibility for the consequences of both our (mostly) moderate and (less occasional) immoderate choices. Tricky indeed, but doable.
Here are three examples where lightwork can be overwhelming and even unhealthy when taken to the extreme or when taken too seriously.
1.) The dark side of living in the moment
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” ~ Mark Twain
The phrase “live in the moment” has become exponentially cliché in certain circles. Sure, it’s romantic and well-intended, but it is naively idealistic of people to say that the only thing that’s important is the present. If we are not careful it can be used as a justification for impulsivity and recklessness. Living in the moment without regard to the past or the future is impractical at best and unhealthy at worst.
This is not to take away from the importance of mindfulness and being present. It’s to show that anything taken to the extreme can be unhealthy, even something as healthy as being in the moment.
Truly being in the moment is being present with both the memory of the past and the potential of the future. This moment is like a pivot, where the individual is able to learn and let go of the past (exhale) while planning and opening up to the future (inhale).
The cartoonist Bill Watterson said it best: “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” We just need to moderate being in the moment with the realization that even the moment needs a past and a future to define it.
2.) The dark side of giving rather than taking
“The premise of the Taker story is ‘the world belongs to man.’ The premise of the Leaver story is ‘man belongs to the world.’” ~ Daniel Quinn
We would do well to understand that we belong to the world, but we would also do well not to be too extreme with this understanding. We can go too far. We can give too much. We can give to the extent that we have nothing left, not even basic means of survival.
The dark side of giving too much is that we end up a bum on the street unable to give anymore or to help anyone ever again. A line of health must be maintained and fortified, even when others are begging for us to give more.
Giving to others is admirable and honorable, but so is giving to ourselves. Especially to the extent that we are placing the “oxygen mask” on ourselves first before placing it on someone who is less capable. It is healthy to remain healthy in order to keep others healthy.
Again, balance and intent is key. We maintain our personal health so that health in general can manifest itself. I stay healthy; therefore, we exist.
3.) The dark side of loving rather than owning
“Love; let love; let love go.” ~ Loving Greatly
This one is especially difficult and controversial. This one is a tough pill to swallow even for lightworkers. Because we want so badly to say, “she’s mine” or “he’s mine.” We so desperately want to say, “I’m his/hers and there’s nobody else.” We so longingly want to own love that we forget that love cannot be owned.
We’ve been so culturally conditioned to believe in the One True Love Myth that we cannot see how unfair and unhealthy it is to put so much pressure on each other. One dark side of loving is hurting when it’s not returned.
But another is loving romantically without seeking to own while your lover is seeking to own. Love must be free, whether we’re talking about romantic love or agape-love.
Agape-love, capital-L Love, Love in the sense of being Love itself, this should remain all-encompassing, and even immoderate. Indeed, we should be Love to our hearts content. Romantic love, on the other hand, should be moderated. It ought to be reeled in.
There must be checks and balances because of the drastic consequences. Then again, this can be inverted. As Rumi profoundly articulated: “Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded. Someone sober will worry about things going badly. Let the lover be.” As long as the lover is being responsible and honest with the consequences of their love, it’s all well and good.
So, it seems with romantic love, perhaps more than with almost anything else, that the phrase “all things in moderation, to include moderation” should be applied. This way we’re neither falling victim to the One True Love Myth nor the Hippie Free Love Myth.
We’re somewhere in the middle, loving greatly. This way capital-L Love is allowed to be free, while romantic love is allowed to be what it needs to be despite other romantic loves. In either case, ownership and dishonesty is understood to be unhealthy.
This is all easier said than done, of course. But as someone once wrote, “People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos is because things are being loved, and people are being used.”
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