There is no shadow without light, nor is there light without shadow. The existence of one requires the existence of the other.
The land we live in, the place we call home, has been transformed into a noisy caricature of itself, devolving into a shouting match between people who are always right and never wrong. If the world would only listen, we could provide a path where there is only light, and never any darkness.
We’re on a mission to enlighten, to cajole, to persuade, to win over the skeptics, and in the process we hope to make the world a better place. Compromise is a sign of weakness. Compassion is for sissies. Creative solutions are irrelevant. We only want our own way, and we want it at the expense of all others, because we know we are right.
The problem is that we are made of light and shadow. In the arena of incessant argument, we have forgotten that we have no corner on truth, no claim to absolute and pristine righteousness, that our very humanness needs its shadow in order to be. To be holy is not to be perfect, it is rather to be real.
It has been said that the greatest indicator of spiritual maturity is the ability to observe oneself without judgment. The light in our own souls is beautiful and life giving, but so is our darkness. Plants require sunlight in order to grow, but they also need the night, which is as sacred and necessary as the light of a brand new day.
The evil and violence that plagues us does not come from outside ourselves, but rather from our unexamined lives, our inability to admit our faults, and our unwillingness to make allowances for the imperfections of others.
As we breathe our way into the present moment, seeing ego for what it is–both darkness and light–control turns to surrender, war turns to peace, and hatred turns to love. This is how contemplative life will transform the world.