“Hidden Faces Longing for Light”
Carl Jung said “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” (CW13. Par. 335)
Recently a friend was telling me about dark lonely place in him, a place that makes him feel insecure, a place that limits closeness and holds him back from being able to be emotionally present like he would like to be. As he talked I got the image of a sad, lonely, scared and shamed little boy.
I decided to journey to that little boy and see what I found there. I found other images of sad and lonely children. I already had on my easel a canvas painted with an undefined, ambiguous background. As I stared into this background I saw the images of these children emerge. It was like they were already there, just waiting to be painted—to be brought into the light.
As I continued to stare into this painting I was quite surprised to see a large orb, a circle, a ball or a globe hiding in the background right in the center. As I brought it out, the hands of the two boys were naturally touching it, holding it perhaps. A circle or a mandala is often a symbol for wholeness.
For me the painting became a container for these sad, lonely, scared and shamed parts of us men. The painting becomes a way to recognize them, a way to embrace them, a way to hold them with compassion, love and grace. In this holding the sadness becomes a little less sad, the loneliness less lonely, the fear a little less scary and the shame more tolerable. By making what is in the darkness conscious we become “enlightened” says Jung. I would also say we become a little “lighter.”
Breakthroughs in modern science asserts that everything at its most basic level is energy, both the physical plane of matter and the more abstract plane of the mind. Science now also implies that all matter, including the human body, is itself made up of waves of light, supporting the ancient beliefs put forth by eastern and indigenous teachings that we are “beings of light.”
According to the Q’ero medicine men and women of the Amazon and the Andes, we are surrounded by a Luminous Energy Field (LEF). This energy field “contains an archive of all our personal and ancestral memories, of all early-life trauma, and even of painful wounds from former lifetimes. These records or imprints are stored in full color and intensity of emotion.” When these imprints get activated they predispose us to follow certain pathways in life, orchestrating the incidents, experiences and people we attract, propelling us to re-create our painful stories.
The Luminous Energy Field contains what the Q’ero call “rivers of light,” lines that flow within the luminous body corresponding to the acupuncture meridians that run along the surface of the skin. The chakras are also part of the Luminous Energy Field. Chakras are spinning energy centers that receive and transmit subtle energies believed necessary for physical and emotional health. The chakras transmit information contained in the Luminous Energy Field into the nervous system, informing our neurophysiology, affecting our moods and influencing our emotional and physical well-being.
These imprints in the Luminous Energy Field hold the dark, heavy and negative energies of the wounded places from our pasts, weighing us down and making us feel, like my friend, lonely, scared, sad, insecure and ashamed.
The core process for clearing the contents of an imprint from the Luminous Energy Field in a shamanic energy healing session is called the Illumination. The Illumination removes the sludge and deposits adhering to the walls of a chakra and thus restores its health and balance, enhancing physical and emotional health. The Illumination also removes the dark, negative and toxic energy from the imprints of these wounded places—no matter how old—and scours them clean. When these imprints are erased, it is possible to change negative emotions and behaviors and transform dark and heavy energies into light and turn emotional wounds into sources of power and knowledge. In other words, we have “lightened up.”
However, whenever we are able to go into those dark places of the soul and bring into the light of consciousness whoever or whatever is living there, even through a painting, we open the possibility for healing and reconciliation. Just as the Illumination process heals the energy pattern that holds the story by overwriting the imprint with pure light, by holding these parts with acceptance, love, compassion and grace, they “lighten up” and we become a little lighter.
If we consider that our individual pain often mirrors our collective story, this painting might be understood to speak to the dilemma of the children currently occurring in our world.