I feel I need to clarify these two terminologies, for my own understanding as well as for others. I use them frequently in writing, but maybe I do not yet fully understand all the meanings they contain.

The common perception is that light is good and darkness is bad. This is then changed into positive and negative, and then into objective (being negative) and subjective reality (being positive). Of course darkness is not a positive force, but what exactly is it?

The other common idea is that light is the embodiment of everything that is good: being nice, morality, love, peace and so on. I have to disagree with this. The traits listed are good traits, we definitely need to be nice to each other, but that is not light. Light is knowledge. Knowledge involves knowing and understanding what is happening in life, and what is happening is not always positive. If I am walking, and there is a massive hole in the ground, but I have not gained the knowledge of its existence, I will fall into it. It doesn’t matter how caring or peaceful I am. Positivity will not save you from the dangers of life or people, knowing that they exist will. If light is knowledge, then darkness is ignorance. Light is not good traits, and darkness is not bad traits. Yes, these do exist, but they have other definitions, not light/dark.

Light is therefore not the denial of or isolation from darkness. It is the awareness of all that exists – the acceptance that there are people, situations, forces that would love to see our destruction. Unless you are aware of that fact, you will never be able to defend yourself from any attack (how can you defend yourself from something you don’t know exists?).

Usually people who discover this by themselves do so when it is already too late. Not too late to recover, but too late to prevent. Perhaps some people never do even realise how many attacks they have suffered. If you do not embody the desire to destroy others, it can be extremely difficult to come to the understanding that other people do. Researching sociopathic/psychopathic people with normal lives can be of help with this.

Whatever way our personal journeys lead us to light, to understanding and knowledge, doesn’t really matter. What matters is learning, and again this is another misunderstood concept. Learning is not that one day you suddenly have a light bulb above your head and see things clearly. Or that one morning you wake up with enlightened understanding and see the beauty of life. It is usually a process into the underworld, into the shadows of our psyche, a confrontation with our demons. Alone, defenceless. We need to see the truth of their existence, no matter how terrifying that may be. That truth will destroy every single belief we had about life and ourselves, and as we watch the internal structures of deception collapse, we cannot run. That would defeat the purpose. Once destroyed, we can re-build them with truth and a stronger foundation. Everything will be ok, but don’t run from your personal demons. They will chase you forever. Confront them. Stare at them long enough to realise their deception and regain your power. Then move on.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes put it in her book Women who run with Wolves: “Often the creative life is slowed or stopped because something in the psyche has a very low opinion of us, and we are down there crawling at its feet instead of bopping it over the head and running for freedom.”

That is really all it takes. Stop feeding the voice inside you that wants your destruction. Go on that deep journey and challenge it. Only then will it stop. You feed it by believing you are not enough, by slowing down your creative work because ‘no one will listen’, by engaging in self destructive behaviors, by following the voice down a path that is designed to vacuum your soul from you. Protect it. Create your own paradigm, be gentle with yourself, be self encouraging. Only then can we really find our own voice.

Only in this way can we reach true light – through the transcendence of darkness, not its avoidance. You have to go through it to get passed it. Hence, the only way out is in. Like alchemists transform lead into gold; they recognise the lead first and then change it, they don’t pretend it doesn’t exist and gold is all there is.