Do you feel more comfortable sharing your lightness or your darkness?
Both are difficult to speak about. Lightness because it’s pretentious… Today I saw a gentleman drop a 50 euro bill and I handed it back to him. Congrats, but what’s the purpose of telling other people? So that they think highly of you? The light of your action casts a shadow, you wish to convert the virtuous action into social status
Darkness is equally difficult to speak about. I once saw a gentleman drop a 50 euro bill. I picked it up and I didn’t tell him. What feeling arises in the hearer? He might clutch his wallet while expecting expressions of remorse, but guilt is for hypocrites who don’t want to rectify the situation. Guilt would disappear if they were to put that money anonymously towards a higher purpose. But then, if you say “I picked up a 50 Euro bill that a gentleman dropped, then I gave it to a beggar in the corner”, again you are falling into the trap of converting darkness into lightness and back into darkness.
Today I was watching an interview with Pablo D’Ors in which he is asked to speak about the meaning of life:
A summarized transcription of what I found interesting:
“What is [the meaning of my life]? I’d say the meaning is fundamentally redeeming the shadows and discovering the light. In this world there’s lights and shadows. Shadows are not there to be denied or pushed aside, but to be passed through and redeemed, and to discover that in their heart there’s a light, and that light is what truly is. So, if I had to summarize the meaning of life in a couple of words, it would be ‘discover who you are’, because when you discover it, the answer will necessarily be a life in favor of others”.
From a completely different line of thought, Carl Jung writes:
Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it.
The opposite movement is clearly called out in the Bible, but is a teaching of all religions:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And thus, the spiritual path requires you to conceal the light and expose the shadow. It requires you to do “good” things in secret, and be public about the “naughty” things. But these things ought to be verified in person. Try doing something good, and keep it a secret. Note how it matures.