Black & White
During my stay in Bali, I asked my beloved driver "Made" of what the story behind the hybrid tiger/lion statue (aka Barong) was. In simplified terms (simple English is always better) he explained that Barong is "for happy". Curious tourist was not satisfied; I asked him if there were any stories about Barong, here's what he told me:
Barong is forever attacked and attempted to be killed by his rival Rangda, who is often portrayed as a mischievous counterpart. Rangda obviously fails at this and in his frustration near takes his own life away, only to be saved by the beloved Barong. He went on to say that Rangda is worshipped just as much as Barong is. Why? Because it's a spirit and because "have to have balance, too much white and no black might be problem". As a western(ized) intellectual it was hard for me to understand why anyone would worship a demon because demon always means evil, right? Well…
I later read that Rangda is a form of incarnation of Devi Durga (known worshipped Devi in the hindu mythology) and is able to embody universal dualities or paradises. This takes us back to the question that existed as long as humanity did, if God created everything, why did He create evil?
It came to me that embracing, accepting and looking with equanimity at what we would call "dark" might actually be used to serve rather than work against us. If and when we have the ability to detach from idiologies, repulsion and attachment we have set our psyche to succeed in any situation at any point in time. The tantra philosophy, for example, encourages that you "expect nothing, reject nothing". How can you suffer if you follow this?
I look back at the time I worked with rhodonite with Julie Lomas and while we meditated with this mystical pink and black crystal you are asked to visualize walking into the pink side of your crystal (representing the light within you) and the black side of it (representing the darkness). The big surprise came when everyone in that workshop reported that when they walked into the dark side, it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be. Which makes me wonder, do we give our "dark" side more power by having such a big aversion towards it?
The Yin Yang symbol and it represents the "light" and the "dark", the polar opposites that live within each and every one of us yet no one of the sides is better than the other. The only thing that could go wrong with it is if you have too much of one side than the other (most of us live in a culture now that encourages more yang than yin).
In Islam, if you meditate on the names of God you will find that there are names that if you take and apply to the human form they are positive (Al Salam (Giver of peace), Al Rahman (the Compassionate), A Raheem (the Merciful)) while there are other qualities that would not fit the human form (Al Muthil (Giver of disgrace), Al Jabbar (overpowering), Al Muntaqim (taker of retribution))
I guess I see Made's point, sometimes when we're too "good" we might end up neglecting ourselves (and that's no good for anyone), become self righteous , judgmental in favor of our ideologies or even feel fed up with it all and give up at some point. If we're too "bad", well, we all know how that ends.
For information on Julie's workshops visit julielomas.com
Weam is the founder of Namaste. She had started a very deep and intense spiritual journey at a young age having refused to continue to suffer with the common challenges of her generation: depression, anxiety and being lost. She insisted that there must be more to life than the constant rat race she was in