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I hate to bring up an unpleasant topic. I am an optimist, generally speaking, always looking for and assuming the best of everyone. Still, there’s no denying everyone and every endeavor has a dark side. The search for and study of the knowledge of the eternal truths, those beyond the reach of our physical senses, are unfortunately no exception. It is difficult for me to recall if I’ve passed along certain lessons or memories in a previous post or in one of the stories I’ve woven around my childhood and early adulthood, but some lessons bear repeating. My mother would firmly believe this is one of them.

As I was beginning my tutelage in the family traditions, I remember being both awed and excited as new, potentially infinite possibilities unfolded before my senses.  It wasn’t long before my mother doused some of that anticipation with a stern warning, “Remember, where there is light, there is darkness, where there is good, evil follows.” One cannot exist without the other, or more accurately, for the potential of one to exist, the potential for the other must also exist. Both potentials lie within each of us. Remember the ‘force’ in Star Wars? Same sort of thing. And yes, the dark side is often more seductive, with promises of power, mostly. Sure it throws in the bits about infinite wealth, beauty, youth, immortality, but mostly (and this is a presumption on my part), those who succumb to the promises inherent in the pursuit of the dark side, long for power, especially power over others.

They seek vengeance for past wrongs committed against them. They see themselves as God doling out punishment for a man’s sins, and sometimes rewards for a job well done. Of course such rewards and punishments are based solely on their flawed view of the world, but they soon become so lost to the truth they are no longer capable of perceiving it. In their eyes, they are the sole arbiter of truth.

I spell all of this out not only as a word of warning, but to make certain you understand the consequences before embarking on such a crossing. The innocent escape judgment for their wrongdoings by virtue of their innocence. The knowing ones, those whose eyes have been opened, are no longer innocent and thus can no longer fall back on the defense that they didn’t know any better. Once forsaken, innocence cannot be reclaimed. There is no way to go back in time and stuff the cat back in the bag, so to speak. Once you know, there is no unknowing. And therein lies the purpose of this instruction.

My mother often reminded me what you send out into the world returns to you a hundred-fold. Imagine yourself as the center of a circle of influence and every thought, every act of will is reflected back at you from all directions. Send your blessing out into the world and it is magnified and returned to you in a hundred different ways. Send evil out into the world and it too is magnified and reflected back at you in a hundred different ways. Your choice. Your consequences. Curse none or be prepared to have your own curse multiplied and sent back to surround you from all directions, and force you to stumble over it and wade through its dark aftermath in an attempt to escape it.

So be forewarned that such knowledge, such a journey is not for the weak of heart, nor is it for the weak-willed. Before you begin, ask yourself if you have sufficient control over your thoughts and over your will that you are able to return a blessing on those who curse you, or at the very least, not allow your mind to fill with instant thoughts of revenge against your detractors. Because darkness is drawn to the darker emotions, anger, vengeance, violence, hatred. If you cannot control the darker side of your own spirit, this is not a path you want to start down, because the stronger you become, the greater you grow in the knowledge of eternal truths, the more quickly and more powerfully your own darkness will be reflected back at you. It is not a pleasant experience.

Even if your sins are relatively minor and consist of little more than pettiness and ill-temper directed at another, to have the mirror of your projection out into the universe held up in front of you, and to be forced to confront how far you’ve fallen away from the perfection of all that is sacred, of all that is love and the source of all life, is devastating. To gaze upon that divide and realize the only way back home is for you to undo the evil you’ve done, and to recognize its source as emanating from within you, from within your own thoughts and your own will, is not for the faint of heart.

So if you would embark on this journey, you must first gather your courage. Prepare yourself to do battle with darkness and evil. Most importantly, prepare yourself to face down the darkness and evil you will find within. It is only then, when you have conquered your own demons that you can become a source of light for others.