Personal energy management is an aspect of the journey to intimacy with self… it can create the process of faith realized as a marker of our own journey into freedom and courage. ‘The Light of Hope’ or ‘The Light in the Cave’ are not just poetic statements; they are actual, literal, experiential, truths; guides to our own self realization and connection to the beauty of our own trajectories in each of our precious lives. Let me explain what I mean, and in exactly what context.
A close up on a particular stage of ‘looking for your next step’
All of us are moving through the world, through our lives, interacting, exchanging ideas, contemplating and, often, searching… for the new, next, step. It might be in regards to the totality of our life path or it might be the next step in a time-sensitive project. As you no doubt know by now, this requires some courage, a step into the not-yet-known and a deepening of our belief in ourselves in order to move forward. To do this we need to know and trust our ability to be able to navigate this new territory. This is key. I’m hoping to provide some real reasons to want to ‘go there’, to better understand the process of – and the approach to – exploring this new territory. Courage is not an overstatement… this process is transformational – it is an initiation.
Being at our ‘next step’ is the part where we find ourselves in the cave. The project (whatever it may be) has run aground and is no longer moving forward with ease. We are a boat suddenly waiting on the wind. We know we need something new, some new ideas, some new skills. Suddenly we have left the light and landscape of the familiar and we find ourselves inside where it is dark – in the cave. The content of the cave (including its mood) is unfamiliar and we find we have to start relying on our other senses: our sensory intelligence is kicking in and for now we are leaving the rational behind and we are looking for new shapes, new patterns with our body–mind – we want to make the unknown known as quickly as possible so we can feel safe again, find our footing and move forward in a new, clear direction. This ‘cave’ is where we think our knowledge has finally, and suddenly, run out. We feel alone and, momentarily, under-qualified. We will have to learn some new skills. We are becoming trackers.
When we are adjusting to the light in the cave (the place of not-yet-knowing) the mind is still busy and it asks many rapid-fire questions, such as ‘What should I trust? What is the right next step? Will I recognize it?’ ‘Will it come to me or do I need to find it?’ ‘How will I know?’ ‘Where are the edges of this darkness??’ i.e. feeling like – and knowing that – we are in the dark and not yet knowing what’s next or even what to look for – so in comes the predictable visitor; self-doubt. And, in the final moments of our rational mind scrabbling for context, we search to recall ideas of who we are in the world and what meaning and ideas we are meant to ‘pick up and run with’ based on that perception. In fact the darker and quieter the cave feels to us, the faster our minds generate thoughts – like a fish flapping on the beach after it has been caught, finding itself alone, out of context and gasping desperately at what it knows are its final breaths.
We are in this place that seems totally empty and yet we might sense that we are not entirely alone – this can create acute hearing in an eery silence prompting the thoughts of the immediate. The first new question is: Who’s in here with me? The second: What is in here with me? The third: Can I make friends with it… and how?… We want to know if we can use it, and what it will tell us about our goals, our position, our predicament. With these final thoughts, the focus has begun to shift and the mental panic subsides into a lower brainwave state, a place of still alertness… of intuition. We have gone from Beta through Alpha and into Theta. We have become alert, detached and present: we have become watchful.
We all know that in the dark there are monsters! These potential villains of our historical mind call up within us our innate protectors against the hurts that we dread; the fear of looking inept, the fear of making mistakes, the fear (or hope?) of being fired, of letting people down, the fear of costing people millions of dollars, or the success of their project. They are based on the hurts that we have known, the mistakes we know we have made, and they validate our hesitation to be bold. But, eventually, as the noise of our minds alights into the background, our desire to probe forwards kicks in. And, as the echo of those thoughts eddy off into the distance behind us and we decide to become aclimatised to this new environment, the voices in our heads eventually go silent, and we begin to focus on adjusting our eyes to the dark.
We put our fingers tentatively out, feeling our way across objects that we do not yet know and cannot yet see. We wonder when the hurt might come again – when will we touch upon something sharp, unexpectedly? We go slow and we are cautious, perhaps even tempted to back out of the cave to the place we previously knew as light. However, our eyes are adjusting. If we stay with it and disallow the voices of doubt to have decision-making-volume in this sacred and transmutational process, they can be there, and so can we. As we focus, so our eyes adjust to the light and the new voice, the new torch – as Joseph Campbell might say – allows us to see that which before was made dark by the doubt. This faith provides a shift in the muted cave because as we stay still and breathe into the intense silence, we literally begin to see through the mists of despair to the new idea, the new impulse, the potential that awaits us – the potential that is us. As it tentatively presents itself, it reveals its immanent arrival and promising inspiration through the emergence of stunning, yet personal, ideas. They fit into the fabric of our own imaginations so well that it’s as if they always belonged there. This is the AHA moment. The truth of the new moment comes forward.
We are seasoned survivors of sufferering – we know how to do that with proficiency. What we are learning to do in THIS cave, is become trackers, trackers of truth and furthering our genuine ideologies. When our focus is alert with such a specific inner stillness, we begin to see. And what matters when that happens is that we no longer rely on the past for our references but we become in-formed by the new that is anticipating happening. It all already exists and all we have to do is keep letting our eyes adjust to the dark, wherein it lies… wherein we lie, awaiting our own propitious reunion.
Patience, courage and faith lead to hope. Hope comes because it begins to prove itself to us in this proactive ‘waiting room of life‘*. There is fear but that is simply an indicator that you are in the right place because that which presumes itself to ‘already know well how everything is’ (the voice of previous disappointment and your inner, concerned, guardian) is going to be nervous in the new territory – it can’t do its regular job. That’s why we have habits and daily patterns (commonly known as our Basic Pattern Intelligence), because the job of our ego has been to create stability so that it can easily monitor its terrain – you. In this new world, that begins in the dark cave, it is no longer qualified to know how to advise you, except to say ‘go very slowly’ ‘feel your way’. And this is good advice. Go slowly, feel your way, notice your fingers tracing over the shapes in the dark and start to discern in PRESENT TENSE what you are feeling viscerally and notice how you feel about it emotionally. Is there excitement? anticipation? dread?? These shapes are the new ideas, the new platforms through and from which you, in your new chapter, are going to identify as you engage with them.
This is the process of personal alchemy. If you let your voice of fear stay loud in the cave, your eyes will never adjust and the dark will reinforce itself. Your hope IS your light, it is literally the torch in your eyes that can come into its own when given the room to show you your own capacity for courageous mastery. Our eyes don’t just adjust to the cave, they light it up with our new inspired vision. Light comes from hope. Hope comes from courage. Courage comes from the bottom of despair. Hope enables us to see things that despair prevents us from seeing. Despair is the passage of Darkness, Hope is the bringer of Light. It provokes teleology. It responds to teleology. It’s real. It does not have to be religious, but I can understand why people have made it so, because it is a transformative moment, a transmutational delivery from one place to another through the alchemy of self, in symbiotic acquiescence to life. Its vehicle is curiosity ~ sparked by a new kind of hearing.
As Carl Jung put it “He who enters into his own must grope through what lies at hand, he must sense his way from stone to stone. He must embrace the worthless and the worthy with the same love. A mountain is nothing, and a grain of sand holds kingdoms, or also nothing. Judgment must fall from you… let your hope, which is your highest good and highest ability, lead the way and serve you as a guide in the world of darkness, since it is of like substance with the forms of that world.” (The Red Book – Reader’s Edition, p.178)
This is the extraordinary nature of the creative process, of us as co-conspiritants of the creative process. We generate change when we are bold. And we really need to be bold right now. I wish you luck on your journey and, if you want some company as you traverse these exciting and daunting – yet potential filled – plains, then call me and I will accompany you, I will help you find your light in the dark.
Please know you are very much invited to comment below – I am honoured to read all your posts.
N.B. *As I mention above, before we realize we are in the cave, we can feel a sense of floating outside of our own lives and outside of other people’s also. I wrote a song in one such period of time for myself; ‘Remember In The Silence‘. This is the waiting room of life*. I offer it to you for such comfort. Should you wish to support the Artist, you may BUY this song for download here – thank you.
Who is Clare?
Clare Hedin is a Career, Voice Presence & Business Coach, singer/songwriter, comedic performer, healer and teacher of Creativity, Consciousness & Innovation @ San Francisco State University. For more info please visit https://clarehedin.com. Also, join Clare’s Club ‘Living In Your Center’ for a free introductory week, to begin to discover more about your own path of truth, mess and justice! She can be contacted at email@example.com or via her website for more ways to connect and to develop your own process of creativity, personal growth and planetary consciousness. And you can email her privately and to arrange a session to discuss your current needs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Original images by Clare Hedin (copyright)
Acknowledgments: Joseph Kearns – I thank you for providing the CGJung quote, which I shortened for use in the above article.