Sports FAQ
Home / Yoga

Dark vs. Light?

moth2010-07-04 22:40:37 +0000 #1
I'll dive right in.

Let's say you're a person with a strong, controlling, ego; and you have a pessimistic, cynical, and rebellious nature; and you've been carrying around anger for too many years. Let's say this person (Hello). I also have some good, "normal" and healthy parts, but by far this "dark energy" (as I've been thinking of it) is all-encompassing and ever-present. And now it's exhausting me.

I started yoga about two years ago by trying to learn from a book. I considered it just "general exercise" which I hoped would keep me from morphing into my sofa. In September, I finally found a yoga class that fit into my schedule. I assumed there would be some sort of physical change (although not sure what exactly), but I wasn't prepared for the mental changes. In my first class, as I was chanting, a voice said, "this is such bulls**t." Hope that doesn't offend anyone, but this is my regular, everyday (inside) voice. It comes out in full force whenever anything positive or happy or good appears. Therefore, it's just always been easier to embrace and "settle down with" this side of things. But as I've said, I'm tired now, so I want to find a better inside balance. And yet, it feels like I'm beginning some sort of "battle" between dark/light or positive/negative or...something...and I wonder if I'll have the stamina to keep at it.

I hope this question isn't too annoying because I imagine it's probably been asked many times and in many ways in this forum already but, as a yoga beginner who's looking for a place to start from...what do you see as happening inside my mind right now?

Hubert2010-07-04 22:56:07 +0000 #2
Nice introduction. You are obviously very intelligent. (most cynics are)

If you'd be in my area, I'd invite you to a beer.

About chanting ... I think you were not prepared for it. This is the trouble with these classes. They have their way, instead of adapting to your specific needs.

When I was an atheist, and had to attend to church (social reasons) I always felt as a hypocrit. Because it felt silly to kneel before, and kiss the cross, but the power of the crowd forced me. Than eventually I went prepared, and did not kneel and kiss the cross. And I was happy, and I felt brave. I accomplished to break my fear and express my belief (or lack of). After this, it was not an issue anymore, and I conformed to this custom out of respect to the elderly believers, because I knew, if I wanted, I could act according to my consciousness.

If you are not comfortable with chanting, than don't chant. See what happens.
justwannabe2010-07-04 22:59:43 +0000 #3
hey moth,

I agree with hubert, good introduction.

of course your tired, the struggle within, switching from darkness to light will drain you. Especially when you dont like the darkness, want to be in the light, and fight with the fact that you have darkness that still remains. Moth, you are where you are, dont struggle to be further ahead or further behind, trust that the process you are in is where you need to be. Accept that you are where you are. The very fact that you wrote what you wrote says a lot about your character. The first step in changing is acceptance, the first step is also the hardest. Believe that you will live in light more often and you will, but should you expect to live there all the time?

about chanting, some people believe the vibrations of certain chants can heal. We live in at least two worlds, the physical world and the world beyond. some people believe certain vibrations have a physical effect regardless of if you believe spiritually about their effects or not. Some people believe in the effect of sounds, music soothes the savage beast. you have choices, you can observe as hubert said, you can blindly follow along and do not questiion, or you can be along for the ride and know that at any time you have the choice to get off the ride. ask the instructor about the chant, what does it mean, where has it originated, etc... My instructor has me chanting and I have followed much of his advice, does it mean I believe 100% of what he has me doing?

just thoughts

Pandara2010-07-04 23:57:02 +0000 #4
Hi Moth,

welcome, my advice is watch your spoken/written/typed words, they are energy and they attract those energies (the dark ones) which you don't want. remeber we create our own reality by our actions and by our words.
Mirjana2010-07-04 23:48:03 +0000 #5
Hi Moth,

I suggest you to provide yourself The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It can support you to make changes. As Pandara said we create our own reality. And if this one is exhausting you than it's a good time to open a new horizons. Make a clear and honest decision.

You can read Yoga Sutras threads also on this forum.

Good luck with everything
moth2010-07-04 22:56:58 +0000 #6
Thank you to everyone for responding. Some responses back your way...

Hubert: I think you're right in saying that I just wasn't prepared for the chanting. The actual "doing" of it wasn't what I was objecting to but rather, I was doing something sort of alien to me and with no real understanding of what it was all about and why we were doing it in the first place. I like your suggestion of NOT doing it and see what happens. I'll try this way first, since that seems so "me." Thank you.

But then, Tubeseeker: I also agree with your suggestion to ask the instructor more questions about chanting. I'll try this way next because I DO want to understand more. Thanks for your advice. I also picked up on your "music soothes the savage beast" description. I chose the name "moth" partly because it's the name of a song I like. And also because it's a short and sweet word, and from nature, and close to "mother," and I like the fact it's a creature attracted to the light but lives in the dark. It's also not a beautiful and graceful butterfly....

Hello and thanks for your welcome, Pandara: When you said, "watch your written/spoken/typed words," I assume I said something I probably shouldn't have said, or I said it too harshly? Please know that I thought carefully about each word, although words are tricky to me. I'm a painter and live in a more emotional, and I guess "abstract" state. Images don't need to be as precise. And in some important way, this is the crux of my dark/light thing...I'm not sure I want to TOTALLY eliminate the dark energy because I feel I need it to create. But by holding onto any of it at all makes me wonder if that means yoga is not going to be a path for me. Well, I guess I'm here to find out.

And Mirjana: Yes, I will read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I'm excited to find out what that is and was exactly the sort of specific direction I was looking for. I too, hope that I can make a clear and honest decision. I think I can do "honest" but "clear" seems to be the part in question. Thanks for your good wishes, too.
Pandara2010-07-05 00:01:50 +0000 #7
Hi Moth,

You didn't say anything too harshly etc, all i am saying is watch or observe the energy that flow from you in the form of words being typed/written or spoken, you can learn much from it, therefore go back to your post and learn from it, there is much to be learned. It is sort of a mirror and it reflects something back, look at the reflection, what do you see?
moth2010-07-04 23:25:02 +0000 #8
Thanks, Pandara. That was interesting - looking at your words as a reflection of yourself.

In fact, that exercise is similar to what happens with painting. You put outside yourself what's inside, then observe it, then accept what's there, or change it. Continually. The blank white empty canvas (or post box in this case?) is always exciting and inviting, although some painters fear this part the most. So, I didn't find it hard to "dive in" because this dark/light "thing" is what I've been scratching at, and what's been on my mind, and why I chose the name moth, and why I wanted to post here in the first place. So...I guess I entered with an "agenda" and "laid it all out," negatives first. I didn't think (or care?) about how I came across but I did hope I wouldn't offend.But maybe I should have waded in more gently? Considering my post now, I look like an elephant barging into a china shop. I'm standing there confused and blinking and wondering where I am. You asked what I see, and this is it. Sort of weird, I guess. In "real life," I wouldn't introduce myself this way, although it IS a natural and normal way to introduce myself via painting, and I do think of posting/painting as similar modes of expression in some ways.

So, after thinking about all of this, I'm feeling like painting might be the "holder" (for lack of a better word) of all or most of this darkness and somehow yoga needs to live alongside it. Hmmm...I think yoga is getting myself in a messier tangle. It just raises more questions.
Hubert2010-07-05 01:03:07 +0000 #9
Don't be too harsh on yourself. Your first post was a mature and sincere act.

It had the right questions. When the right questions are asked, the answer is just the next step away.
Pandara2010-07-05 01:14:45 +0000 #10

You are well on your way, keep it up!
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 00:19:06 +0000 #11
Just as it is easy for some to not look at the self, not do the work of peeling their onion, it is also easy to swing like a pendulum to the other end of the continuum; that of over-intellectualizing each and every thing ad-nauseum. We must watch the propensity for this as it is the white rather than black shadow, but shadow it is. An example of white shadow it when a guru is having inappropriate relationships with his/her disciples or students. The appearance is spiritual but the behavior is not. The behavior is cloaked in the meditation.

More to the point of the OP...

These patterns we have are deeply ingrained in us. The sanskrit term best suited to describe the condition might be samskara. These are the grooves of the record of our lives and the needle of our consciousness simply goes over and over the same things, day in and day out.

So it is quite natural for a student coming to yoga to have some very strong resistance to the practice, either in whole or in part. Students typically bring a tightly woven cocoon of belief system wrapped around them and it's often very difficult to penetrate (for yoga teachers).

If the chanting conjures up the thought that it is bull then you have two options. The first is to work through this perception (which you may or may not be ready to do) and the second is to not chant or not participate in the "bull" part of the program. It is fine to not chant (until such a time as you understand it and want to bring it into your practice with joy rather than with battle). It is better to eat meat with glee than to be a miserable vegetarian.

We are all working through shadow self to one degree or another. Do not for a moment think the others in class, including me as the teacher, are not working through shadow. There can be no purification of the Self with knowing the Self and no knowing the Self without investigating the Self. So keep investigating.
justwannabe2010-07-05 03:22:43 +0000 #12

Originally Posted by InnerAthlete

We are all working through shadow self to one degree or another. Do not for a moment think the others in class, including me as the teacher, are not working through shadow. There can be no purification of the Self with knowing the Self and no knowing the Self without investigating the Self. So keep investigating.

be careful when you put the title of teacher next to yourself, attachment of the ego could arise
moth2010-07-05 02:15:40 +0000 #13
..but...but...but...I have a few more questions before I end this "investigation." (Ha! That makes me sound like a cop). But first, thank you Inner Athlete for the chanting advice and I have an update. Since there were only four of us in class this week, and we can all hear each other breathe, I guess I felt "yoga peer pressure" to join in, and ended up chanting. I'll try again though - I'm determined NOT to chant! But I also just wanted to point out that this strong negative feeling I had to it was only once, in my first class, back in September. Although I still don't understand what I'm doing, I do think that I'm warming up to the idea of it a little bit each week. However...the chanting is the least of my resistances.

Which leads me to my questions and toward the heart of this light/dark thing. I may be "over-intellectualizing" this too much, but that's how my mind works. I don't know how to just "be," or keep my thoughts from being distracting or annoying. Which is one reason I turned to yoga. I thought it might offer me something more calming and positive (and it has), but I'd still like to see if I can describe this so that I can learn more. (And sorry about the length of all this pondering).

I assume "light" refers to something positive, harmonious, spiritual? A place you want to be, or get to, or achieve? Maybe "dark" refers to problems, neuroses, evil - things to move away from? I'm sure this is a too simplistic, uneducated explanation, but in any case, here's my resistance: I like the dark and hate the light. In my mind, the "light" seems to be linked to spirtuality and spirituality is linked to religion and if I get too close to religion, it sends up all kinds of alerts and red flags and fears and prejudices and worries in me. That's another big mess that I don't even want to THINK about trying to untangle now. So with this "twisted" thinking, I feel like the light is the thing to avoid and the dark seems all familiar and warm and cozy. I hear what that sounds like (where's my therapist?!) but if I could move toward the light without me being aware of the fact that I was going that way, then it might be okay to end up there. I guess I'm supposed to just practice and chant and breathe and go where I go and try not to worry that I'll be burned by the light...

But until I go...Is there some sort of a middle place to be? How can you avoid evil or negative things anyway? Don't they "seep" in or brush up against you on a daily basis? Doesn't avoidance of the negative become another kind of constant vigilance? That sounds tiring as well. Is there ANYTHING good in the bad? From what I understand, art is created in the tension between good and bad (or dark and light). Without that tension, then where do I create? I'd be happy to silence this distracting, annoying voice (ego?) for yoga because that's the thing bossing me around and exhausting me, but I won't give up the creation of art for the practice of yoga. Do I have to choose?
Pandara2010-07-05 01:50:12 +0000 #14

you are constantly creating, this very post of yours creates. Your words are energy and I am wondering how much of what you experience is your own creations, have you tried to create and explore the other side (light) with your words and thoughts? You say things and they will become your reality, words are energy and as such need, just as you do, physical manifestation sooner or later. Therefore again watch what you create for yourself through your words. If you constantly create the dark you will become the darkness itself, if you create light you will become the light - this is in your hands or shall I say mouth and thoughts.

But then again why do you want to create such a divide in your life, such duality? Duality is based in fear, we see differences because we are fearful, how much fear do you (or want to) harbour and why? Ask yourself these questions and see where they may take you.

Have you tried to focus your energy on the now and becoming One and realising that you embody both good and evil, light and dark, make peace with it and realise it is just two sides of the same coin. Question is, how do you flip your coin and which side you want to be face up, through words, actions and thoughts? Can you stop seeing the differences and duality and just be One and realise that you are just One?

Spirituality versus religion - the difference between the two is vast and nowhere near each other. Religion = dogma, spirituality = freedom. Explore and you will find this out for yourself.
moth2010-07-05 04:13:37 +0000 #15
Thanks, Pandara. "Words are energy"....I guess I don’t totally understand this. Do you mean if I say positive happy loving things, I will become those things? If that’s true, then I need to figure out how to deal with (practically speaking) the negative thoughts and words and images that are constantly seeping in. If light/dark are just different sides of the same coin, then I'll also have to figure out how to keep the light side, face up, more often. About duality/fear...I don’t know if I "want" this divide, but it’s there. I will ask myself those fear questions in relation to this because that could help. The answer to the "Have you tried...Can you stop" questions I need to learn and understand (or experience) what "becoming One" means first. And, I’m very happy to hear that spirituality = freedom and it’s not related to religion. That’s makes the path a (much!) more desirable one.

This entire thread is just me coming to yoga curious and interested while wondering (and yes, worrying) about the level of commitment I can give to it. There are things in my life that I love that seem to be at odds with a yoga way of life and as long as I can take them all along with me, than yoga will work...I think. (and therefore, I am not?)

So, I'm all done with this dark/light business and this thread. Now I’m off to learn how to clean my mat....



Other posts in this category