“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi
Every one of us has a shadow aspect; the dark and unhealed part of ourselves that we would rather not see, let alone address. However, at some point in our lives, we may be forced to look at those places buried within us that we fear most.
Nothing brings up our shadow like a good old-fashioned personal crisis. Whether it’s a physical illness or an unexpected intrapersonal challenge, we all have a choice. We can either reject the jolting revelation of our shadow side, or we can reframe it as a catalyst for achieving a balanced life.
Consider this radical notion: what is “wrong” can also be medicine in and of itself.
We typically regard crisis as something negative, to be avoided or fought. Yet many non-Western cultures see it differently. Since ancient times, people in the Amazon have regarded dis-ease as the mother of healing, pregnant with opportunities for us to evolve, embrace the sacred, and choose the spirit path to wellness.
They believe that diseases are the messengers of Mother Nature, sent to humanity as teachers that can bring us closer to nature and back to into our source, or center. The shamans work with disease, not against it, listening for a specific message the illness is trying to relate to the patient: What is it that must be confronted, changed, or healed on an emotional or spiritual level?
Once these underlying wounds are acknowledged, something remarkable happens to the patient. In the words of shaman Roman Hanis, “When the individual has learned the deep lessons their disease has to teach them, they are re-birthed into a new, higher-evolved life.”
Opportunities for Relief and Growth Abound
The essence of this sacred interpretation can be applied to our everyday lives as well. Upon waking, you can either see the day in front of you as a buffet table loaded with painful and pleasurable experiences, or you can look at every encounter as spiritual training – with the goal being to become more clear and resourceful in the moment.
Here’s a little secret: children are amazing barometers of how we adults are operating. After all, they haven’t been “conditioned” by growing up – so they’re intuitive masters.
When my mighty three-year-old son, River, comes into the room and asks me a question, he immediately knows whether or not I’m giving him my full attention. He sees straight through any clouds of distraction and does whatever it takes to shake me back into the present moment.
On the flip side, when I am completely engaged in our interaction, River and I experience a fluid dance of souls. As we whirl, he teaches me things with his words and gestures that are too deeply gratifying to express.
Is it possible for us to tango with crisis and pain in the same way we would with a loved one? Seems kind of absurd at first, but the masters see the good and the bad, the light and the dark, the joyous and the terrifying as two sides of the same coin. They aren’t tempted by the fleeting comforts of the “good” nor are they rattled by the shadows that can sometimes be found in the “bad”.
Once we get past their foreboding exterior, we begin to see pain and crisis as something far more sacred than we ever knew. A shaman might call them a catalyst for spiritual evolution.
Answer this question honestly: Is there a point of pain or stress in your life right now that is actually a misunderstood doorway to your more evolved self?
There sure are a few in mine. 🙂
Director, The Sacred Science