There is violence in the media. There is violence in
the streets. My mind has been asking why… what is cause and what is
effect? I have tried to rid my thoughts and actions of violence. I
have boycotted violent films and the evening news. I have prayed for
peace within and without. Yet I have come to see that I am in the
realm of aversion and repression.
Is the violence in the media and in our streets from our collective
repression of our fear of death and pain and suffering? In many
cultures there are rituals around death and dying. Is our collective
unconscious giving us the experiences we are not giving ourselves?
For weeks I thought about seeing Schindler's List (1993) yet the idea of
the intense physical and psychological horrors I might see held me
back. Finally I decided to create a spiritual practice. As I entered
the theater I asked God (Higher Power, etc.) to use this experience
for my awakening and healing around my perceptions of the body. As I
watched blood spiriting out of a man's head I did not turn away. I
allowed the waves of emotions to sweep over me as scores of naked
human beings waited to be either showered with deadly gas or
cleansing water. I cried as the acts of love and kindness amidst
this vast darkness appeared like golden flowers rising from the mud.
After the film I sat outside in front of a fountain. All the trials
and tribulations of my life were gone. The beauty and impermanence
of everything around me washed my mind.
Schindler's List (1993)
Within this journey through the darkness there was love and hope and
beauty. I also found both the darkness and the beauty inside my
self. And for a moment they merged into a sort of sweet sorrow.
Now I am seeking a way not to condone yet not to abhor the violence
around me. I wonder if I can use it to seek the violence in me and
use its dark mud to grow the golden flowers of light.
I have noticed my own tendency to see Transpersonal films in terms
of films of light and not of darkness. Yet now I can think of
several films, which are clearly transpersonal odysseys through
darkness. There are films which show the triumph of the human spirit
through the dark horrors of existence (Schindler's List, 1993); films
which take us to the horrors and madness deep inside us (Apocalypse
Now, 1979); and films which take us through the darkness of our minds on
our way to the light (Jacob's Ladder, 1990).
But perhaps every journey through darkness and violence can be
consciously used for our own healing. And perhaps as we make this
journey and face our fears, the external manifestations will
dissolve into the golden lotus growing up from the dark mud.
Published in Focus: The Quarterly Newsletter of the Institute of
Transpersonal Psychology, Winter, 2-3, 1994.