Introduction to Issue 15
While I had hoped to keep the newsletter balanced between the beautiful, joyous, transcendent aspects and the more difficult dimensions of spiritual transformation, it is obvious that we have leaned more toward the latter. I think this has been necessary, particularly since we are trying to offer one another support through the darker passageways. There are hundreds -- no doubt, thousands -- of teachers and organizations and publications that rally round the spectacular glories of spirituality. But we are an unbalanced culture. We push away suffering, preferring that it confine itself to hospital beds, therapists' offices, recovery groups or to remain semi-invisible in third world countries we can feel sorry for (but safely distanced from). Many of the New Age teachings have been especially intolerant of struggle and pain, regarding these as mental and psychological pollutants infringing on the wholesome natural earthly atmosphere of unadulterated happiness. As a pure-blooded Scorpio, I must protest. My job here (for my own healing, and my contribution to the whole) is the reconciliation of the Darkness and the Light. As much as anyone, I think suffering in and of itself is awful and I would like it to go away now. But it does not seem to be in any hurry to become extinct, and my wiser, more detached self can see that beneath its horrid veneer, it does serve the psycho- ecology of the planet. I know (though I wish it were not true) that there are levels of collective maturation and personal mental/emotional/soul development that cannot and do not occur without the heroic quest and ego-sacrifice wrought by pain. These precious inner pearls simply will not form without a distressing catalyst.
I spent a great part of my life railing at God for allowing suffering to exist, but I now see that had I been granted an easier, sweeter life, I would not have worked so hard to grow as much as I have. This is my begrudging bow to the wisdom inherent in all the forces of creation, including those which destroy. God knows what She is doing. I have come to have faith even in the Light-eclipsing elements. They scare me still; they break my heart; they shake me with fear and sadness for us all. But I know this world is not a place of non-duality or a heaven realm. There is Beauty here and it is real and breathtaking, but Darkness in all its guises (fear, rage, anguish, etc.) belongs here too; it is not a mistake. Suffering has its own sacred role to play in the great and infinite Mystery. When I am most honest and introspective, I must confess it has been as true a teacher to me as the beloved Light.
I do not invite or welcome pain for myself or for anything that lives, but I am learning (and
this is hardest yet) to make room for it in my heart.
-- El Collie
© El Collie 1995