The Darkness in Me Understands the Darkness in You

In the spiritual community people are fond of saying, “Namaste”, which roughly translates to “the Divine in me, sees and honors, the Divine in you”.  Which is cool really, when you think about it.  But something about it irks me every time someone uses it.

It feels like there is an emphasize on only acknowledging the Light in us.  Only focus on, acknowledge, and honor the parts of us that are already in the Light.  I don’t feel that was the original intention of the word, but it’s what it feels like when it’s used now.

I don’t know if it works for other people, but pretending like I don’t have Darkness in me, doesn’t make it go away.  Avoiding it and being scared of it. . . also doesn’t do anyone any good.

When a person is scared of something or a situation, the tendency is to become less present in the moment.  The very moment that we need ourselves the most, is when we check out conscious-wise.  When we do that, we are leaving parts of ourselves in the dark. . . alone and scared.

It’s *those* parts of us that most want to be seen and brought into the Light.

What’s the Namaste word equivalent for, “The Dark in me, sees and understands, the Dark in you”?

We’ve painted all Dark as being Evil.  That is a very limited way of viewing existence.  Darkness also has purpose and meaning in the cosmos.

And while we’re in that limited way of seeing things, we are unable to admit and accept the parts of us that ARE Dark . . . leaving us always feeling incomplete, misunderstood, unseen, alone, unloved, unaccepted. . .

It’s the repression of these things that are not accepted, that results in the horrors we see unfolding in the news.

Horrible things happen when there isn’t a safe space for people to get to openly talk about and to get to understand better, the parts of them that are unacceptable in society.  And a safe space cannot be provided, when everyone is terrified of their own shadow.

It is a direct cause and affect.  If we as individuals, and as a whole, insist on pretending that these things don’t exist in all of us. . . and are unable to openly address them in a grown up, loving, humble, nonjudgmental way. . . then the horrors you see on TV will continue.  The “villians” are merely scapegoats for the things we cannot accept in ourselves as individuals and as a group.

If you make sex something to be ashamed of, not just in words but in action. . . then those who feel sexual needs a lot, will not feel okay in trying to openly understand their sexuality better.  A part of them, no matter what they try to tell themselves, will feel ashamed of feeling sexual.

Because of the shame, embarrassment, unacceptance of this part of them. . . they may try to pretend they don’t feel it at all. (Some go in the opposite direction and drown themselves in it.) They may try to get control of it.  They may even completely forget that they ever felt it, in order to hide from it.  Years later, it may start coming back out as anger. . . usually against the very thing they are suppressing.  Why?  Because it’s a part of themselves that they have exiled, and have been unable to accept or love themselves.  And that usually stems from some form of it not being accepted by others around them or in society at large.

This is why forcing or controlling things, ultimately does not work.  What you are trying to prevent, initially *seems* to disappear. . . but it’s actually only gone deep underneath.  Later it may erupt as a mass killing, or as a bombing.  And then we get to use the culprits as scapegoats.  They get to represent and be punished for our refusal to acknowledge the Darkness in Ourselves.

Most people never reach that degree, but instead lead mediocre. . . scared. . . never quite satisfying lives. . . true happiness is always just out of reach.

Isn’t it peculiar that ever since the whole “only think positive” movement has started. . . that things have gone to hell in a hand basket?

It *has* helped people get out of the negative thinking routine.  It has served a purpose. . . like a stair step on the way up.

You know you are being completely honest with yourself in a situation, when you have a realization about yourself that completely humbles you.  When you see how it has been you all along that has been getting in your own way.  There may be good reasons for why you do what you do. . . it may BE because someone else hurt you or did something bad to you. . . but in order to heal, that becomes irrelevant.  It does.not.matter.  Because it is up to you to move through it.

The person who hurt you. . . had not moved through their own hurt that someone else inflicted on them. . . and that’s how you came to be hurt. . . and while in that hurt, you unintentionally hurt others. . . and that’s how the cycle continues. (And from that perspective, makes it not so personal anymore.)

If you wish for it to stop, then it needs to start with you.

The Darkness in me, Sees and Understands, the Darkness in you.


  1. Jean Mackenzie says:

    Jenn, I totally agree with your understanding of the light and the dark.

    However, I do not feel that you have conveyed the true sense of “Namaste”. My understanding of “Namaste” is that “I see the divinity in you”. This is always traditionally accompanied by putting the two hands together in front of the heart which signifies making duality [the left and right hands] one and then exchanging that sentiment or truth from the heart with each other as a form of greeting. So, to me, that whole symbolic greeting does signify the Truth – ie bringing light and dark together [or whichever forms of duality] into oneness and then offering them with love…

    Society through the media, advertising, education etc. etc. is determined to keep us separate from ourselves and from each other and thus the emphasis on good and bad, light and dark, male and female etc. We know it is not Truth but we or perhaps I should speak for myself, often get caught up in that dynamic when we are engaging in day to day stuff. We have to integrate everything in order to truly become who we are.


    • Hi Jean,
      You are correct in that I did not convey the true sense of Namaste. I wasn’t expressing the original intention or meaning of the word. I wasn’t even expressing my own understanding and feeling of the word. My qualm is not with the word itself.

      I FEEL words. I feel them in my emotions and physically in my body.

      There is a feeling for what was originally intended for the word, there is what I personally feel about the word, there is how others feel about the word, as well as how the collective as a whole feels about the word. . . over time changing and morphing to fit the needs of our expressions.

      What I was meaning to convey, is that time and time again when people use it, instead of feeling like that person was actually feeling the holiness of that word. . . and truly opening themselves to their true self and seeing into the soul and divine part of the other person. . . there is instead a feeling of forced, controlled, positivity. They have their defenses up.

      The Divine in me, cannot see the Divine in you, if I am closed up in an effort to block out the darker, less positive thoughts. When I witness someone using the word in addition to truly feeling what it means as they say it. . . I feel it, but not only that. . . when used in that way with genuine feelings, it honors the word and vibration of what it was intending to mean, and then the true meaning and beauty of the word is reverberated and sent out strongly and can be felt by everyone present.

      Media isn’t allowed, in general, to feel what they are saying. . . and so it feels cold and emotionless (and puts me to sleep). People try to mimic that, like it’s some sort of stoicism, when really it’s just a lack of life. In our efforts to be politically correct and emotionally strong, we have cut off from really feeling what we say.

      My point being, the spiritual community is not immune to this. You can try and wish and will it all you want, but the more you try to force it and control yourself into feeling it, the more cutoff from the actual feeling you become.

      First take a step back, open up to all of yourself, and get into a genuine feeling place. . . which will include taking note of the not so nice parts of yourself. . . and *then* you will feel yourself open up for real to the genuine feeling and understanding of what Namaste was originally intending to describe.


      • Jean Mackenzie says:

        Again I agree with you and that’s why I started with my opening sentence and paragraph that I do agree with what you say, however, …


        • Jean, I don’t need for you to agree with me.

          It’s awesome when you do, and I appreciate it. But, what feels even better to me, is when someone (even if I’m being big and scary) is being straight with me about what they are really feeling. As long as it’s true and from the heart, I might even go as far as to say I enjoy a good spar.

          Were you really. . .truly. . . agreeing with me? o.O


          • Jean Mackenzie says:

            I absolutely do not need to agree with you – or anyone else – my point is that I found the interpretation of Namaste inaccurate – for the rest I do agree with you…

            To take the discussion further, and to elucidate what we were saying, let me explain.

            For 19 years I lived with my guru in the Netherlands and so became quite intimate with the Indian culture and Yoga. What I discovered, however, was that the group around my teacher was very dysfunctional. When I left and went on to do emotional healing workshops, I realized that the key – or at least A key – to the problem was that people had not processed their emotional shit. So, people would come for meditation, religiously, sit with eyes closed for the 1/2 hour, chat and leave but nothing would change. Why?

            Because all their emotional baggage was sitting in the way and they were not meditating but sitting with closed eyes, so how could anything change. In addition there was this smug sort of superior feeling that they are “spiritual”. Of course it’s not quite as simplistic as I’m expressing it, but this is more or less what was happening.

            Then we come right back to what you were saying about the light and the dark. There was a total denial of the darkness. There was enormous “judgment” on the darkness and so there was this split that continued only to grow rather than subside.

            It was only once I started with the emotional healing that I realized just how intense this split was in our group and that the baggage was being fed, rather than healed.

            So, in essence, yes I agree with you we absolutely have to embrace ALL of ourselves and not judge and/or deny the darkness.


            • First, I’d like to say, that it felt really good to have you share your story about your experience in The Netherlands. 19 years? Holy crap. (<– no pun intended) I really enjoyed reading more about you.

              Your initial comment and response to my post, did not feel that it was actually in response to what I wrote, but in response to something it triggered inside of you. After reading about your experience, it feels like your response was more related to feelings of anger, betrayal, and possibly some bitterness about what happened during that time. Something about me or what I wrote, is reminding you of that situation, and it is that tension under your words that I am feeling and wanting to acknowledge.

              Jean. . . Janaki, I am not that guru and I am not those people. But, until you acknowledge how you are really feeling and responding to what I wrote (and why you are responding in that way), you won't be able to truly see who I am or what I was actually saying. You will only continue to see ghosts from Christmas past coming back to haunt you.


              • Jean Mackenzie says:

                If I look again at my initial response, you are right in part but not in totality. Yes, there may well be some feelings still of anger and betrayal but that is not only where I was coming from – and certainly not on every level. I believe, I feel, that there are many misconceptions with words that have come to us from other cultures and Namaste is one with which I am familiar.

                So, yes, in part you could well be right and that means I need to do some more inner searching – so thanks for that.


                • I see that you removed your story about The Netherlands, which is a shame because it was the best part of the whole discussion.

                  I really feel you have a lot to share and offer others based on what you learned about your experience during that time, and even potentially help others avoid the same pitfalls.

                  However, I am still having a hard time believing what you are saying about the undercurrent of the initial comment, as it is not ringing true within me. If it’s really what you feel, then okay. It’s not for me to own in the first place, so I think it’s best if I just let it go and move on.


                  • Jean Mackenzie says:

                    Okay, now I am at a total loss as to what you are talking about? I have not removed ANYthing. It’s also a pity if you are having a hard time believing what I was saying about the undercurrent of the initial comment because as I reflect back, I remember very well that I was lying in the bath and thinking about your blog and everything resonated with me but it jarred when I read your interpretation of the word “Namaste”.

                    What is true for me, may well not be true for you and that’s fine but I cannot change what I feel because you don’t believe me or because it doesn’t feel true for you. The more I have thought about it, the more I realize that I was not feeling any anger, not even on a deep level, but you seem to insist that’s what I was feeling. Fine, then perhaps there is something still there that I am not aware of but it could also be your stuff.

                    And again I repeat I have not removed anything from any of my comments so how what I said about the Netherlands has been removed is a total mystery to me and I’m beginning to wonder what is really going on.


                    • For whatever reason, the alleged missing post showed back up in the comments, but requiring moderator approval. I have no idea what that was all about.

                      Regarding the rest, I have yet to actually give an interpretation of Namaste. A rough translation given as a starting off point for the true spirit of the blog post, is not the same thing as an interpretation.

                      So I do not see how that qualifies as me not conveying the true sense of the word, or it being an inaccurate interpretation, or a misconception.

                      Further, had you merely wanted to share what you knew about the meaning of Namaste in order to add to the discussion, that would have been one thing (and appreciated).

                      But coming into my space, where I am openly sharing my most inner deep thoughts, and telling me I’m wrong about something I haven’t even shared with you, is NOT appreciated.

                      And why did you have to word it as me being wrong over and over? Who the hell made you the Namaste police? Do you think the word, Namaste, needs you to defend it to all the people with misconceptions about it? Is there only one, right interpretation?

                      My statement about still not believing what you say about the undercurrent of the feelings of the original comment, is not because I’m trying to tell you how you feel, but to point out that I don’t even think YOU know what you’re really feeling or why you are feeling it.

                      People are CONSTANTLY saying one thing, and even believing it themselves, and are totally blind and oblivious to what is actually going on underneath their own surface. And they remain stuck that way forever because their own pride refuses to let them see otherwise.

                      Whenever someone tells me something that is true for them, I feel it strongly. ALL I was stating is that I wasn’t getting that feeling from you. I trust my own feeling, more than I trust the things that come out of other people’s mouths, because chances are they don’t even know they’ve been lying to themselves for so long that they forgot what their own truth was.

                      And I don’t give a flying monkeys butt what your opinion is about that.


  2. i am put in mind of freud and jung. freud’s “return of the repressed” – that which we refuse to acknowledge constantly re-presents itself in our consciousness and our lives. jung’s idea of the shadow side of our psyche’s, that without realizing, acknowledging and assimilating that part of ourselves, the dark side, that we are ruled by it (unconsciously of course). and of course the old adage that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    i do a lot of jungian self-analysis of dreams based on this idea of shadow. if you read joseph campbell, you know that these jungian themes resonate with human culture throughout the planet and throughout history. which is a hell of a thing in itself.


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