Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dancing With The Dark Side

Though some of us are more thoroughly and elegantly civilized than others, the fact remains that beneath a platform of social amenities, the savage self in each of us resists being wholly civilized. It is, for better or for worse, simply not our nature to be totally refined, at least, not by the standards of others. Herein lies humanity’s greatest challenge and the answer to the puzzlement --
"How is it possible that 6.9 billion people can all claim to want the same thing (peace, security, opportunity, prosperity, happiness, and love) and be singularly unable to get it"? Neale Donald Walsch,
To honor both the strivings of the interviewees of our Possible Human, Possible Society Study and the teachable moments derived, thus far, from our recent Abkhazian Dinner, let us take up this topic, dancing with the dark side, for a bit. Dip into to it, meander here and there and return again and again to one of my most passionate interests, exploring the dark side, which I hold to be the single, biggest adventure of a lifetime!

When I recently read an online posting by several respected conflict resolution mediators (Beware of the Dark Side?), lamenting the fact that practioners in this field were, perhaps, not being as effective as they might in dealing with certain emotions, I was both uplifted and frustrated. At issue here, in the online piece, was a discussion of the apparent challenge to conflict resolvers, mediators, etc. of our most primitive emotions; a topic I have addressed full well throughout my close to forty years in the mental health field. Amidst my frustration is the strongly known truth, as I know it, that transforming the dark side to its true place of higher consciousness and functioning is not only a skill, it is an art of the highest merit.

The ability to dance with the dark side and raise it up demands a lifetime of commitment, discipline and unending challenge, endurance and courage, sometimes not unlike entering a cage with some very big cats and coming out of that cage alive. Every caution is needed so as not to be endangered by a blood-letting claw. (I admit to my own life being at risk on more than one occasion “dancing with the dark side.”)

The dark side lives inside each and every one of us. So we best know how, if we don’t already, to respect it, live companionably with it, dance with it, and, yes, definitely transform it to its highest manifestation, the Compassionate Warrior that we, hopefully, see in all of our peace activists.

Writes Eric Berne, M.D. in What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

“…. Whoever is not aware of this force in his personality has lost control of it. He has not confronted himself and cannot know where he is headed.”
We have managed to continue the evolution of the species without being able to fully harness and direct our innate, instinctual savagery. It tests all in its time, professional and non-professional alike. This is the age-old challenge that has faced humankind since before recorded time; it is the law of the jungle, still with us today. Degrees and other credentials do not qualify anyone to escape beyond the pale. Though some aspects of the testing do become easier with experience.

Of course, the dark side is alive and well wherever there is conflict. It is alive and well, even where peace seems to proliferate. And, of course, the presence of the dark side tests us, sometimes mercilessly, and is, often, beyond the skill level of those trained in mediation and conflict resolution, even the best of these.

Some of our Abkhazian Dinner’s most teachable moments arose out of our "dancing with the dark side" which, truth be told was not, in this situation, particularly evil. This was merely an instance of a bit of uncivilized misbehavior, awaiting the proper timing and wattage for the light to shine upon it. Still it had its sting and it had its consequences. Thus it attracted the spotlight of New Horizons, as you can see by recent blog postings.

However, the incident has been a turning point for us, allowing a point to be made here, the dark side when heeded rather than ignored is truly one of the gatekeepers at the threshold to our higher consciousness and, thus, our evolution as a species.

My hope, thus, evoked by the generous invitation that this online posting that I read evoked in me is that respect, perhaps, even reverence, is deserved for those frontline conflict resolution and mediation practioners, both the new and the seasoned, for the sheer courage and artistry of their endeavor, dancing with the dark side. May their frontline efforts never be seen as less than the huge giving that it is.

Transforming the dark side, “the determined-to-survive, no matter what warrior” that resides in the very deepest recesses of each and every one of us, is truly the adventure of a lifetime.

Don't miss out! Don't run for cover!

(For now, for the truly courageous, the tough stuff comes through Anastasia, one-on-one. However, our new Bus Ride Story Adventure, also, offers some tools and guidance for this adventure of a lifetime, transforming the dark side, personally and collectively, in a relatiely benign fashion.)

Take your personal Dark Side/Compassionate Warrior inventory at this link.
See what your Compassionate Warrior needs for its nurturing.

Or for a guided Dark Side inventory and your personalized map on how to transform it to its highest good, the Compassionate Warrior, contact Anastasia at:

Check out excerpts from my still unpublished, Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime (By Marcia Anastasia Rosen-Jones. Copyright Random House, 1998) --

"....about the mysterious capability the personality’s most powerful biological influence – your survival instinct and how it spontaneously assists you to either reach the highest levels of consciousness, health, compassion and spirituality or to self-destruct." M. Anastasia Rosen-Jones

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