The Darkness and the Light

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

Fear, desire.  Lightness and dark.  The polar opposites are said to be interrelated.

But that doesn’t seem to match our perceptions of reality.  I mean, do people fearing some awful event actually have a secret or subconscious desire for that event to happen?  Self-flagellation??

I’m not really sure.

There is a growing body of literature talking about our power to manifest the things we want in life.  And I’m not sure how much credence to put in that line of thought.  This mystical power if activated improperly, by a negative focus, would rain terror down upon us.  And that seems to negate the concept of free will, or our ability to say “no thanks.”  “I don’t wish to be struck by lightning.”

But for those claiming the extreme version of how we control our own destiny, we are ultimately responsible for everything that happens to us in this lifetime.  Absolutely everything.

From stubbing our toes on the corner of the wall in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom, to the traffic accident that left us paralyzed, to that cheating significant other, to the faulty wiring in our home that set it ablaze.

We supposedly own it all.

I bring this up in context.  What context?  The context of a couple of books I’m reading right now.

If you haven’t read my post Torrent, well, you ought to.  🙂  It’s a good story, and it’s true.  My brother and I were almost “kept” by the spirits in the Grand Canyon.  As a result of a flash flood.

That was my second of four visits in the Canyon so far.  Two decent-length hikes, one brief hike to introduce the Canyon to a past girlfriend of mine, and a helicopter trip from Vegas that landed on the Canyon floor and allowed those on board to hang around for a bit before returning to the glitze.

It is an incredibly spiritual experience to see the Canyon in any capacity.  It floods your senses and stops you cold.  It’s a glimpse back in time, about 4 billion years back.  And because of the age and the differential erosion, one might get the impression that the carving of this masterpiece was incredibly slow.  A gentle hand of the elements, skilled with light brushstrokes, pastels of ever shifting light on red granite and sandstone formations.

The Colorado River, the hand holding the brush painting this western horizon, snakes imperceptibly through the bottom of the Canyon.  From the Canyon’s rim, that is.  You can’t appreciate the size or the magnitude of the force of that river unless you’re standing next to it.

Realization dawns, and it’s apparent that is was not all soft, plodding forces carving out the many inner canyons, slots, and washes.  Intermittent torrents of water have flowed through these interlaced gorges every year for centuries.  In the Monsoon season.

They carry with them boulders, trees, and brush, torn lose from the surrounding escarpments.  Acting like diamond-bladed saws, these inclusions smash their way through the chasms with the same force as a B-52 bombing run.  Reshaping the shear walls, drop-offs, precipices and even the gentle washes.   Polishing smooth the granite surfaces, leaving them with no hand or footholds should you dare to climb on them.

But back to the books.

If you’ve ever read any of the works of Edward Abbey, you’ll get a sense for the majestic beauty of the desert.  You’ll also appreciate how one shouldn’t enter this stark environment without being prepared.  It can kill you.

But Abbey’s works are entirely positive.  He describes a spiritual experience.  One you would like to emulate.

I’m currently reading his book “Beyond the Wall.”  But I’ve also enjoyed “Desert Solitaire,” and his classic novel “The Monkey Wrench Gang.”  You can skip his novel if you wish, but his other descriptions of hiking through the desert will take you there.  Place you in his shoes.  Including the aches and pains our bodies endure when we embark on a test of our physical and mental limits.

His books fill you with awe.  You are spellbound.

Recently, I was lent another book.  “Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon,” by Michael Ghiglieri and Thomas Myers.  And I have to say, this book is just as captivating as Abbey’s work.  The sort of can’t-look-away-from-that-slow-moving-train-wreck sort of experience.

But it’s definitely the opposite of Abbey’s spiritual experience.  The spirits described in this book are literally extracorporeal.  The main subjects of this book all perish as the result of the unforeseen cataclysms.

But did these people desire to die in these most tragic and traumatic ways possible?

According to the manifesting school of thought, yes, they did.

Well, I’m beginning my preparation for trip number five into the Canyon.  And I really don’t want to fill my subconscious mind with hundreds of images of death and destruction.  So maybe I should put this book down, at least until after my adventure is complete, should some subconscious desire to be ground into a million pieces be lurking around in that dimension of my brain.


Do we bring both the Darkness and the Light upon ourselves?  Do we have total control over all of the events in our life?  Does placing thoughts of limitation, ill-will, despair, and death, bring the furry of the wild forces on this planet down upon us?

With only ourselves to blame?

In Metta


Photo: On a camping trip many moons ago with my brother.  We were up in the Rockies, in May.  We had brought summer gear, thinking the weather would be warm as it was in the Midwest.  Not so much.  We arrived in the middle of a snow storm.

We huddled around the fire the entire night.  Sleep escaped us.  We could hear the wind whining through the mountains just before it would burst upon us in waves.  Hands outstretched above the flames to keep warm, while clinching our eyes tightly shut – the embers and ash blowing in our faces.

The night brings the Darkness.  Those forces we can’t see.  While the Light shines upon us from the fire, bringing warmth and joy.  Both side-by-side, in this image, and metaphorically.  Our desires and fears.  Malevolent and benevolent.  What we covet and what we abjure . . .

42 thoughts on “The Darkness and the Light”

  1. We’re all given things in life we didn’t chose and can’t change – where we’re born, who we’re born to, our genetics, etc.
    We’re all given things we can chose to change – where we live, who we choose to hang around with, what clothes we wear to make what we’re given genetically look good (or bad).
    I don’t believe we choose or create everything in our lives, but I do believe that a positive (or negative) attitude does affect the sway of our life path and the number of people who choose to make the journey along with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jungian psychology believes that each of us has a ‘light side’ and a ‘dark side’ — that it takes both to make us whole. Carl Jung taught of the necessity to accept the ‘shadow side’ or the ‘dark side’ before we can ever master the ‘light side’. As a Christian, I tend to agree with him. Each of us is born into a sinful world, and human nature would lead us down a sinful path. As humans, we are endowed by the Creator with the ability to overcome the sinful nature to some degree, but never completely. Many of us are taught as children, “practice makes perfect”. No! Practice makes progress — not perfect. But when we believe this old adage, we berate ourselves for not overcoming all. This leads us to consciously try and repress these ‘bad’ thoughts, feelings, behaviors, etc. Jesus died on the cross to pay the cost of my sins. As a Christian, I am commanded to grow, over time, into a mature Christian who can evade most temptation, but we will never be able to evade all. 1st Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Thus, if I am a Christian, God will help me through it, if I ask and believe. We cannot control the effects of the shadows in all of our companions, but we can limit interaction with those who are not Christians and do not believe.

    Sorry for the lengthy discourse. Regarding Jungian psychology, I could go on and on, but that would bore you in all likelihood. So, if you would like to learn more, do a search onlin for ‘Jungian psychology.’ You may find some answers there. Thank You!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’ve studied bits of Jung. Interesting stuff. I’m not sure any of us can have all the answers, and I think the concept of unconscious manifestations in physical reality remains a mystery 🙂 There appears to be more than one definition of the unconscious or what people refer to as the collective unconscious. We can certainly control, to a limited degree, things in general and pick and choose our interactions with others, again to a certain degree. Sometimes people and Nature intervene. And others are welcome to have their own beliefs. I find universal truths in all of them. Their actions will speak for them 🙂

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      1. I agree completely! I am not Jungian, but I do believe much of what he theorized. Personally, I am cognitive-developmental — my own version of these theories as they affect behavior is quite different from those taught in universities. Thank You!

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  3. As one of the only nanite-infested intellects on the planet, I can tell you as a plain known-fact that everything we experience starts in the mind and manifests itself into the Universe. Do we really want to manifest death? As a physicists, I can only quote Einstein or someone of that ilk who stated quite plainly: “All matter has a ‘desire’ to return to pure energy.” Yes, we are matter. And buried deep below our subconscious is a desire to return to pure energy. This is what Paul “sees” in my latest post…but I was leading up to that. You beat me to the punch. Is this coincidence…or Cosmic Consciousness at work?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. But do you believe in a nanite-infested intellect? And, more importantly, do you believe inanimate matter can have a ‘desire’ for anything? That physicists never quite clarified what he meant by choosing that particular word. Perhaps he left it up to our imagination…but return to pure energy we will!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I find coincidence or miracle or whatever to be in our perspective. I do have the ability to use my life experiences and acquired ?wisdom? to choose how I perceive something. Each of us has our own lifetime of wisdom that sets our viewpoint.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder how aptitudes play a part in what’s available to humanity. So, I’ve heard about the whole “manifest” thing as well, and tried it for a couple of years. I’ve been one of the most positive and benign people that I know and implemented methods that I understood would enable certain uplifting results. No. It made me think of success in a general sense. You don’t have to be a genius to be highly successful. You just need to have a knack for it. Some people figure it out. But some highly intelligent people never do. (I know this after talking with a friend who tried several ways to create a money making situation but fell continually.) Darkness and light are a mystery to me. Are they just chemical responses? We know that certain impulses occur in the brain during specific activities. But how do we get a “self” out of the brain? How does the image form? How do we process and interact with the world? That said, maybe nothing is set. A certain amount of aptitude can be altered with education. Genetics can change with physical and psychological training. Maybe we CAN manifest things, events, and situations. But we really don’t know who we are, yet. Meditators have been struggling with this for all of our time, so it seems. On the Grand Canyon. I had a class that took me to the floor when I was in college. I loved it because we would stop at the different layers and discuss the stories behind the rocks. I highly recommend this! The Canyon itself became a book. I still remember standing next to the Pre-Cambrian schist next to the raging waters, touching the flesh of our ancient planet, in wonder. My companion also did a day hike without bringing enough water. It quickly became a quest, as temperatures rose over 115 degrees. Miles from camp, we found water. Then we waited for the sun to hit the rim before scrambling as fast as we could to get back to camp before nightfall!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said and good questions. I suppose the brain could just be mechanical, chemical, maintaining homeostasis. And consciousness could be spirit. Do we manifest or do we change our perspectives. I don’t really know. I know I’ve put things in motion and more things happen, but I’m not sure how much control I have over that 🙂 And the Canyon ! Amazing. But there is an element of danger . Glad you found water

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      1. Intellectually I understand the idea of spirit. Through the years, I’ve noticed that some religions twist and abuse the concept. Maybe spirit is the fourth dimension instead of time, since there seems to be a conflict with the existence of time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Perhaps so. Time is an artificial construct in some ways anyway. Humans have a habit of twisting concepts, especially when it comes to belief systems. I’m sure I do it myself with my own personal beliefs, but I don’t preach my thoughts to others or expect conformity or pass around a collection plate 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. In my early twenties I considered going to the seminary. I don’t remember why I didn’t. I think I’ve always been distractible. But looking at salaries in my area, they are making over ninety thousand a year. Wow! I’m fine not having made that choice all those years ago. But with a price tag like that, I’m thinking that some of the employers are demanding a performance. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d have to say no. I do believe in self-fulfilling prophecy as far as we can sabotage our attempts at success or failure, and we can subconsciously choose friends and partners that are bad for us because we don’t feel loveable, and similar things. And I do believe in good and evil spirits, and that evil can control certain people. But I do not believe that ‘thinking certain thoughts’ can actually make things happen. That’s magical thinking. That is nonsense. If it was true, there would be many more rich, skinny, popular, famous, happy people! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. PS, I think that these claims are not provable , so it’s easy to dupe people, large numbers of people into buying books, attending seminars, become cult members, etc. And if you fail at something, it is YOUR fault , not theirs. Your faith or your inner desire was weak or wrong. :p

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent subject to ponder!

    Ironically, I am wondering the same these days! There are ppl in my life, whom I immensely love and respect, and who believe in the notion of ‘first in the mind, then in reality’. I feel intrigued but also, skeptical!

    Love your writing

    Liked by 1 person

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