In appreciation of the dark side

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“Is the dark side stronger” ~ Luke Skywalker

“No, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.” ~ Yoda

We all have a dark part within us. This is a place where all bad is born. I’ve always pictured this as a dark cave with red lightning bolts striking the ground, even though we are in a cave. With creatures like witches and trolls all trying to cook up something, they can throw out of the cave and into my body. This dark place isn’t that large. We all got it somewhere within our bodies. After all, we are only human to make mistakes. So don’t we have the power to get rid of this dark place? Can’t we eradicate these creatures and lighting bolts so there is nothing more to throw into my body?

There might be. The solution is just not what I would have expected many years ago. Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t be happy all the time!”? I have. Many times actually. At first, I believed this. That anger, sadness, and all the other ugly emotions would never be gone. That this was just part of our dark side. The side we can’t get rid of. Over the years that changed and I believed strongly in a world of no suffering. A place where the dark side would be eradicated. I was right in some way. The thing you can’t do is get rid of the dark side. You’ll need it all throughout your life. Without it, your life would be miserable. Without any dark side, there would not be a light side, because you need duality to see the difference and experience the difference. The thing that I did get correct was the fact that we can be happy all the time. It just wasn’t in the way I expected it.

Joy even in pain

A dark side is a beautiful place. That sounds weird, but through studying a small part of Buddhism and Christianity I learned that suffering is part of the world. We can not get rid of it, we shouldn’t get rid of it. Rather both Buddhists and Christians have started to live with these dark sides. Keeping them in balance internally. Even the Buddha after being enlightened continued to practice with suffering. This shows that the dark side, the pain, and suffering is part of the ride. Yet actually helps us to be happy.

That’s why the dark side is our friend. It does us a favor. It shows us how much we appreciated something. For example, losing someone close to you. I’ve lost some people in the past couple of years. People that were really close to me. The pain and grief of losing them were really strong. When the first family member passed away I pushed this pain away. Trying to win from it by only being happy. This only made the problem worse. It was not until I made friends with grief, understanding that death isn’t final. That I keep their memories within me and that this grief is only a sense of deep love. After all, we grief out of joy. Not because we lost them, but because their memories delight us, and in some way, we now know that this is over. That there will not be any more new memories. Grief shows us that we appreciated someone deeply.

This understanding of the appreciation of the dark side should be the focus of our lives. Both Christianity and Buddhism say that we can live with pain and suffering. In short our dark side. We can live with our anger and jealousy. All of these emotions are good. They are worthy of appreciation. Anger can show you that something isn’t right, that you should act to make it right. Jealousy shows you that you are attached to something or someone. Let go of it and be free, don’t let others control your happiness. In this way, we can appreciate our dark sides. Now understanding that Yoda was right. That the dark side is quicker, easier, and more seductive, but that we have control over it. That we can make friends with it and in this way, we will be joyful with pain. Fully experiencing what it means to be human.

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