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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

Outside, Looking In

In each of us there are a variety of aspects of our human beingness that we resist or deny. It might be selfishness, unacknowledged narcissism, unconscious judgmental attitudes, dishonesty, longing to be seen, or feelings of unworthiness. Like me, most people are projecting a different image to others and to the world, while these unacknowledged aspects await recognition. These suppressed and denied aspects create a kind of internal pressure as they push against my resistance, seeking to emerge out of the shadowy nether regions of my psyche and into conscious awareness. As a spiritually-oriented person, it's especially challenging to come to terms with my own narcissism and self-absorption. It's just much easier and safer to pretend that these qualities exist "out there", in others, in the collective, in the President, in politicians, in celebrities or authorities, in my clients or my husband.

It is a tremendous act of love to compassionately confront these energies and characteristics within, while including the paradoxical nature of being an open, sensitive, vulnerable, spiritual human being. In fact, owning the contradictions that live within me is not just an act of self-love, but an act of love for others and for the world… for when I take responsibility for, accept and tender this difficult material, I bring an end to the violence of rejection and prejudice against myself and eventually this improves all my interactions with others.

Just because I am not consciously awake to my darkness does not mean it is not there. While it lives under the surface, it seethes and surges periodically when least expected, often in my intimate partnership, friendships and relationships, and in ways that often result in suffering for myself and others. However, when I move compassionately toward the rabid dog of my own repressed feelings, I discover the true nature of this repressed material is to express itself, not as an enemy come to harm, but as an ally of wholeness seeking acceptance and integration.

It is to the degree that I am not attending to this material that I will inevitably project it onto the "other," whether that "other" be another person, the natural world, or I send my negativity, judgment and anger into the collective in seed form. When I am able to own the darkness, I experience it to be an activity of extraordinary light; this is a way I can express love for the world and contribute to the well-being of the precious beings that are here.

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