hello darkness, my old friend

Posted on: May 28, 2012 by Chris Kingman

If we want to achieve emotional balance and peace of mind in our lives, we need to make friends with the darkness.

And by that I mean both the darkness in the world as well as the darkness within each of us.

Are you saying I should joyfully accept poverty, war and oppression as well as depression, abuse, addiction, etc.?

Not at all.

But what I AM saying is this: no matter how dark or terrible a situation/circumstance is—internally or externally—it is much more constructive to face it honestly, and with as much of an open heart as we can muster.

When we close our hearts in response to the darkness of life, we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

the enigma of an open heart

Deciding to open your heart to a specific person or situation (or to life in general) does NOT mean that you are endorsing or giving your approval to anyone or anything.

Then what DOES it mean?

Good question…but I don’t have the answer. Or more accurately, I don’t have YOUR answer. Only you can find that.

The only way to know the impact and value of living with an open heart is to cultivate it and pay attention to what happens. Only in ‘the crucible of your own experience’ can you discover such deep human truths.

daily practice

So—make it your sincere intention today to keep an open heart toward whatever comes your way—in your environment or in your mind. And no, this doesn’t mean you should adopt a new-agey attitude or a superficial “I’m above it all” vibe. That’s gross.

The people who purport to be the most loving and evolved are usually the ones pissing everybody off with their ‘holier than thou’ performances.

Just be your ordinary self. Be present. Get your work done. Put others first when you can. Be grumpy if you need to. Snap at others if they are rude. Whatever.

All the while—simply try to cultivate an open heart as you go about the business of living.

adopt a beginner’s mind

If your reaction to reading this is “that’s weird” or “I’m not into this bullsh**”—that’s fine. Once you’re done dismissing it in your mind, get to work on practicing it in your life. Let go of cynicism for today and allow yourself to be curious and open as you consciously stop running from, and instead turn to face, the darkness. As Thomas Hardy puts it, “If a way to the better be, it exacts a full look at the worst.”

And one more thing.

For the .01% of you who are not familiar with where I stole the title of this blog from—click here, notice the opening lyrics and enjoy this throwback to a more innocent era.

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