When a painful thought or emotion arrives, do we accept it as it is, flooding it with non-judgmental, compassionate awareness? Or do we engage more actively, enter into relationship with it, get messy, burn with it, ask it why it has come, turn it into a partner of the inner world and explore its meaning, purpose, and qualities?
Acceptance and change. Being and becoming. Yin and yang. Transformation and rest. These are the great archetypal beings we meet when we do this work. As with all psychic opposites, they will never be resolved into some neat, tidy package in which we can take refuge. For they are too alive and too majestic, as they come to us as emissaries of the mystery.
The invitation is not one of resolution, but of alchemy, dancing as archaeologists of our own bodies, hearts, images, and dreams, exploring inside the tension of the opposites, that rich middle territory that is oriented in the creative unknown. At times, it is rest and acceptance that is the medicine that is most needed; at other times, more fiery, more active, more messy, and more relational. Neither are “true” or “better” or “more spiritual,” but each skillful means which we can call forth in a moment of activation.
Mindfully allowing the fires of the inner world to emerge, play for a short while, and then dissolve… with compassion, acceptance, and kindness. At other times going into the content with longing and curiosity, meeting the visitor in a different way, speaking with him or her, listening to what she has to say, how he is organizing his experience and his view on our life, to begin a dialogue with the “other,” find out why they have come, and what it is that they want and need from us. To use the mind as a vehicle of relationship, of discovery and depth, to think creatively and in new ways, to discover perspective, and to re-organize the characters, plots, storylines, and narratives.
Each of these paths is utterly valid, a profound offering for ourselves and others. We need not take sides but engage each with curiosity, as experiments in love.
In the end, to discover how it is that we’ve come to imagine ourselves, others, and this world; and even more importantly, how we might begin to re-imagine the entire landscape, re-author the poem that is our lives, and re-enchant this place with new vision.
My latest book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available
The Path is Everywhere: A Weekend Intensive, June 15-18 in Loveland, Colorado