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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Light and Shadow

For some time now a simple, but profound teaching has weaved its way in and around my life on a day-to-day basis. It is this: With every situation we encounter, whether we deem it a good thing or a bad thing, there is shadow and light. With every person we encounter, whether we call them a friend or an enemy or something in-between, there is shadow and light. 

An example of a situation we might think of as wonderful would be if someone won an enormous amount of money in the lottery or by some other form of gambling. The money won could ease our financial burdens. We could spend our time, if we chose to do so, not working day-jobs but enjoying pursuits of leisure. We could buy the material things we always wanted. The money won could ease other people's financial burdens if we shared it. But whether we shared the money or not, it is possible that some people would "expect" us to give some of that money to them for whatever reason. Bitterness and anger could rise up in us and in others. And then since it's a whole lot of money that was won, there is the possibility that a huge chunk would be eaten up in taxes, irritating us with all the hassles inherent in that situation. Some people may become jealous of us for winning the money. Some people may try to become fast friends for reasons other than truly desiring friendship. If we gambled and won a lot of money, we may reason that by further gambling we'll gain even more money, making for the possibility of losing all we had won and then some. And on and on. 

As for a situation we would likely think of as awful, let's say we get very, very sick from an illness that is often thought of as not curable. Depression and fear could easily set in. Hopelessness may become rampant. Some friends and family may become uneasy in our presence, unsure of what to say to us. Loneliness could easily darken our lives. Doctor and hospital bills may eat away any savings we had, even if it had been stockpiled from a lifetime of frugality and hard work. Medicines could have horrible side effects making us sick in ways other than helping the illness we took them for in the first place. On the other hand, we may end up meeting people whom we never would have met if we hadn't gotten sick. Some of these people could end up being true blessings in our lives. We would have the possibility of learning and/or increasing positive attributes such as compassion, patience, understanding, and more. We might learn how precious each and every moment of our lives is, finally allowing ourselves to enjoy these quality moments. And on and on.

Difficult people who come into our lives may make miserable most every encounter we have with them. However, these same folks have the potential to help us to work through issues that, once tackled, would bring light into our lives, clearing the air for new experiences. Folks we like/love to be around can be treasured gifts on many levels.There's also the possibility that our family and/or friends get so comfortable with us that they think they know us better than we know ourselves. Light and shadow; shadow and light... And the beat goes on.

A reminder for myself is to ponder the light and shadow surrounding any given situation and person in my life. How can I make the most of the light that is most definitely present? How can I avoid focusing in only on the shadow and staying away from exaggerating or feeding the shadow even further? What is there to learn from both the light and shadow? How can we positively utilize the light and shadow that is present to help us to live lives that celebrate and promote the highest and best for all involved?


  1. A beautiful post, Jenny. Much to think about....

  2. Thank you, dear Nancy. I'm glad you found it meaningful. xoxo, Jenny