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Darkness Emerging as Light

Hi Everyone,

Instinctively we shun difficult and dark emotion in our search for happiness and wellbeing. But what if the secret to finding really dynamic, enlightened happiness was to be found within those dark emotions themselves? This weeks article explores this idea.

Yours in the spirit of darkness as light,




Article of the Week:

Darkness Emerging as Light

Often we hear the spiritual path as described in terms of light fighting against the darkness and conquering it, as if the darkness within us is something so intractably unhelpful and evil that the only constructive thing that we can do is to get rid of it or destroy it.
Consequently when we come across dark and destructive emotions in our mind, the tendency can be to shun them, try and get rid of them, repress them, and fight against them.
A closer examination however reveals that really the process of enlightening our dark emotions and impulses is more a matter of transforming and re-working their essential energy so that from their dark and chaotic core light emerges. If we gain practical experience and insight of this we realize that darkness and light are really two aspects of the same essential energy, merely appearing in different ways.
We can find a precedent for this in the Tibetan Buddhist tantric tradition, where the energy of the five core elements of existence can appear on the emotional and mental level either in their distorted form, or their liberated form.

Element – Earth, Distorted Energy – Arrogance/pride, Liberated Energy – Equanimity/balance/generosity

Element – Water, Distorted Energy – Anger/aggression/violence, Liberated Energy – Clarity/mirror wisdom/penetrating insight

Element – Fire, Distorted Energy – Possessiveness/compulsiveness/obsessiveness/consumerism, Liberated Energy – Discriminating wisdom, compassion, appropriateness
Element – Air, Distorted Energy – Envy, suspicion, jealousy, Liberated Energy – Spontaneity/ free and fluid capacity for action
Element – Space, Distorted Energy – Intentional ignorance/introversion/depression, Liberated Energy – Unrestricted intelligence/Pervasive wisdom.
So, this is not an article on Tibetan tantric Buddhism per-se, rather the point of listing the above set of correspondences is to indicate that all negative emotions are expressions of a core creative energy that has been misdirected and distorted. Therefore the way to deal with such misdirected and distorted energies is not to shun them or reject them, but rather to look deeper into them, re-work our understanding of them and re-direct their energy so that it can express itself as enlightened creative energy in our life.
You don’t have to formally be a ‘tantric’ practitioner to do this, but you do need to have the courage and will to look deeply into your emotional pain and darkness and start using your natural intelligence to re-work, re-frame and re-direct that energy in your life. You need to learn to not be afraid of the energy of powerful emotions, but rather to embrace them, recognizing that the energy that intimidates you now is in fact the very same energy that we will later experience  as the light of enlightenment. It is the same basic creative energy seen understood and experienced from a different, larger context and perspective.

So, all of this is not easy work, and it takes consistent time and dedication. If you would like an example of such a re-working from my own life and process you can read an article I wrote called “In order to find real happiness you first have to get mad as hell” which was written during a time when I was specifically re-working my own relationship to the energy of anger.


Here is a simple exercise to get started. Whenever you feel a dark negative emotion/emotional space arising in your mind, rather than running away from it, fighting with it or repressing it, try and relax and just feel your way into the “middle” or central core of that emotional vortex. Try and discover that point of stillness that lies at the heart of even the most volatile emotion. Sit there form a while, letting the emotion flow through and over you. Once you are used to this basic activity, then ask yourself the question “How can I re-direct and re-define my relationship to this dynamic and creative energy so that it is working in a liberated way in my life, rather than a distorted way?

© Toby Ouvry 2012, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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Dark Goddess, Bright Goddess, Weaver Goddess

Hi Integral Meditators,

Seems like there is a lot of new and regenerative energy around these last two weeks or so, after a month of everything seeming to drop out of my life, sure enough here comes all the new growth taking advantage of the new space! One of the main paradigms that I use for this mysterious process of birth, death and regeneration is that of the triple goddess. You can find the triple goddess in a variety of formats, each emphasizing something slightly different, but the one below; dark, bright and weaver goddess is very personally central to my own life path. I hope you enjoy the article.

Yours in the spirit of the ever changing patterns of life,


Article of the Week:

Dark Goddess, Bright Goddess, Weaver Goddess

Three Goddesses from the Celtic tradition of spirituality, but found in different forms in spiritual pantheons worldwide.

When we or any plant or animal die, we fall down, our body is then drawn down into the darkness of the earth where it can decay and break down, thereby releasing its energy which can then be regenerated and arise in another life-form. This is the essential energy of the dark goddess, the goddess of death and regeneration.

When an animal or human is born from its mothers womb (or egg) it emerges from the darkness into the light of new life. When a seed sprouts, it emerges from the darkness of the earth and reaches up toward the life giving energy of the sun. This is the essential energy of the bright goddess, the goddess of new life and new creation.

During our own life, or the life of any life form we go through an organic process of life and death physically, mentally spiritually, financially, relationally and so forth. The tapestry of our life is continually being re-worked and re-created between the polar energies of the dark and bright goddess. This continual creative re-working and re-creating  and re-weaving of the pattern of our lives is the essential energy of the weaver goddess.

To work effectively with these three living energies in our life we need to give equal and impartial respect and attention to the taking, dying and regenerative energies of the dark goddess, and the giving, birthing and creative energies of the bight goddess. With this impartial respect and attention in place we will then be in a position to co-create the ongoing pattern of our life with the weaver goddess, flowing with the constant process of dying and birthing, letting die that which has reached the end of its lifespan, and molding the new out of the new life force that is reborn from death.

A meditation on the Weaver Goddess

As a right brain meditation on the weaver Goddess you can’t do to much better than the poem “Orchil” by William Sharp. Sharp wrote much of his material under the influence of an inner world “muse” he called Fiona Macleod.


I dreamed of Orchil the dim goddess
Who is under the brown earth in a vast cavern
Where she weaves at two looms;
With one hand she weaves life upward through the green grass,
With the other she weaves downward through the mold. And the sound of the weaving is eternity
And the name of it in the green world is time.
And through all, through all, Orchil weaves the weft
Weaves the weft of eternal beauty,
Eternal beauty, that passeth not
Though its soul is change.

© Toby Ouvry 2012, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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Compassion as Wealth


Gaining the Inner Wealth of Compassion

Compassion is a foundational building block of our inner wealth and peace of mind. However, it can be a difficult quality to improve consistently over time. In this article I look at three reasons why it can be difficult to keep developing our compassion sustainably, and three ways that we can start to work to overcome these obstacles.
For the purposes of this article, lets stick to a simple definition of compassion, the wish to free ourself and others from suffering, based upon the ethic and emotions of caring and valuing. In order to access the inner wealth of compassion therefore we need to do two things, open ourselves to the  suffering of ourself and others with a heart that is caring and open.

Here are some of the obstacles to opening to suffering:

  • There is too much of it – It can be overwhelming to contemplate the amount of suffering and injustice in the world. To remain open to it can make us feel vulnerable, confused and seem to “spoil” our ability to enjoy our life. Sometimes even our own suffering seems so intense, how in such a state can we open up to awareness of more suffering, the suffering of others?
  • Attempts to help are not always well received – Sometimes the very people we want to help seem committed to perpetuating their own suffering, and their response to our wanting to help is to react angrily and sometimes hurtfully to our attempts to help.
  •  Disliking ourself, disconnected from others – A final point is that it is very difficult to develop genuine care and love (the basis for compassion) for others if we dislike or hate ourself. Such dislike blocks any compassion that we may have for ourself, and simultaneously locks us in a state of mind where we feel cut off and unable to connect to others. It is impossible to feel compassion for others if we are locked in a viscous cycle of self hatred/dislike within our own ego.

With the above three points in mind, here are three things you can do to to help open to and develop the inner wealth of compassion:

  • Have the courage to open to pain and suffering – Get in the habit of being open to seeing and feeling experiences of suffering that normally you would instinctively shy away from or block out of your awareness. It is not your “fault” that all the pain is there in the world, but it is (if you choose) your opportunity and responsibility to be aware of it and do what you can to alleviate it in whatever big or small way you can.
  • Develop a long term view with regard to how your attempts to help are received – Commit to helping in whatever way you can, and if the people you are trying to help don’t appreciate it, or perhaps don’t understand what you are trying to do, don’t be discouraged. Look at it as a process rather than being to worried about immediate results.
  • Resolve your relationship to yourself – If you can’t connect to others because there is so much conflicting energy caught up in your relationship to yourself, then make it a point to invest in yourself and your ability to develop harmony within yourself. The more harmony and resolution there is within your awareness, the  more space there will be for you to develop authentic care and compassion.

© Toby Ouvry 2012, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website