By Lydia Wilson
For The Bali Times
KEROBOKAN ~ I was told once that when we pray, we talk to God and when we meditate, we listen to God. Two years ago, during one of my regular morning meditations, I pondered the question of who we really are and what we really are here in this life for. It was then that I was shown a picture of the yin and yang symbol.
I was quite puzzled as I didn’t really know what it meant. I kept wondering about it and, bit by bit, the answers came until a few months later I understood the meaning of the symbol.
This symbol shows us who we really are. The circle means we are whole. The dark side and the light side in equal proportions show us that we own all the characteristics of every human being in the world, both the so-called “good” and “bad.”
The small light circle within the dark side shows us that there is “good” within whatever characteristics in us or in others we regard as “bad.” The small dark circle within the light side shows that there is “bad” within whatever characteristics in us or in others we regard as “good.” Which one is good and which one is bad depends on our perception and our imprints.
The symbol shows us the balance of opposite characteristics such as Selfish and Caring; Grateful and Ungrateful; Nasty and Kind; Cowardly and Brave; Trusting and Untrusting; and Patient and Impatient.
It shows us that life is about balance – a balance of opposite characteristics. Life is about making choices of when to positively use each one of our characteristics, as each of them has benefits for us. A characteristic or a trait will become negative only when it is used in the extreme.
For example: Greed brings us the ability to achieve what we wish to have. But Greed without being balanced by its opposite, which is satisfaction with what we have, will bring only emptiness and an inability to enjoy the fruits of our labours because we will never be satisfied with what we have achieved; it will never be enough. Satisfaction with what we have brings us peace and happiness. But without being balanced by greed, satisfaction would deny us the motivation to achieve anything in life.
The gift of the cowardly part of us is protection. If we think being a coward is bad and reject the cowardly part of us, then each time we feel fearful we will be annoyed with ourselves. Yet it is the trait that protects us from danger and tells us to run to avoid peril. We have a physical body that can die if we are not protected by the cowardly part of us – the part that warns us to consider the risks before we act.
The gift of the brave part of us is courage – courage to do the things we wish to do and the ability to achieve what we want. Without it, we will spend our lives cowering in fear and stuck in one place. It gives us the courage to try something new; to make mistakes and learn from them.
The gift of the selfish part of us is to look after ourselves. It gives us the ability to say “no” to people without guilt, instead of feeling forced to do something that we do not want to do and then to often feel resentment. If we think that selfish is bad and reject our selfish part, then we will not like ourselves and may feel guilty when we need to look after ourselves first or refuse other people’s demands.
Can you imagine what it would be like if we did not have the selfish part of us at all? Without it, we would become doormats to others who would walk all over us, for we would not be able to say “no.”
The gift of the caring part of us is love and friendship. It brings us happiness and warmth in our relationships and the ability to share and to take care of others. Without the caring part of us that considers others, our lives would become extremely cold and lonely.
What I have discussed above is probably only a theory to you, as I talk only to your conscious mind. To really know something, we also need to feel it within our subconscious mind.
The exercise below, dealing with our cowardly part, will help you to feel and appreciate the gift of each part of you.
Close your eyes and imagine what your cowardly part looks like. If you do not like the cowardly part of you, then you will not like the image of it that comes to your mind.
Now ask yourself: What would happen to me if I didn’t have this cowardly part of me AT ALL in my life? Imagine what it would feel like to live your life completely without this part of you.
If you still cannot feel the benefit of having your cowardly part, then keep imagining different situations until you have found its gift for you. Imagine you are confronted by 10 people brandishing knives who are ready to attack you. What part of you will you choose to use: the cowardly part and run or the brave part and fight?
Are you grateful you have it in you now? Look at it again. Does the image of this cowardly part of you look somehow different? Do you like it now? Are you ready to accept this part of you and embrace it into your life?
Think of someone you really do not like and make a list of the characteristics in him or her that you dislike, such as rudeness, jealousy, greed, quick to judge, nastiness or impatience. Now try the same exercise with each characteristic in your list, one by one.
Once you have found the gifts of each characteristic, you will accept and appreciate them. Perhaps you will find that if you again imagine the person that you disliked, then you may now start to like him or her.
When we do not like our own traits, we automatically dislike them in others whom we will tend to judge. As we judge others, we are actually judging ourselves. And strangely, we also tend to keep meeting people who have the same traits as the ones we do not like in ourselves. It usually happens because they are the mirror of ourselves. They are the teachers who come to our lives to teach us to accept the parts of us that we reject. The moment we accept the so-called “bad” parts of us, we will also accept them in others.
Our life journey is to completely love and accept who we are – all the dark sides and all the light sides of us. It is the journey to be whole, the journey to find the Spirit or God within. Through it we find balance, peace, love and contentment. As we learn to love and accept ourselves the way we are, we also learn to love and accept others the way they are.
Love, peace and light.
Lydia Wilson is a transpersonal hypnotherapist and trainer based in Kerobokan, Bali. If you have a question you would like answered in this column, write to Lydia at email@example.com. For more go to www.bluelight7.com.