Naked Humanity: Light and Darkness

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” — Marianne Williamson

Words ever perfect. I love these words, so I reflect on them a lot. And here’s what I found the more I reflected on them.

Yes, we are incredibly strong and powerful beyond measure. But we are also incredibly weak and pathetic in many ways.

Think about it. We can be broken, broken to the core and yet appear whole in the outside. Definitely we die, but strange enough is that we can die and be dead in the deepest part of us and yet remain alive bodily. The walking dead.

But death itself, often vilified and dreaded, is not our enemy. Our true adversary is our resistance to letting go of what no longer serves us. For there are often things and parts of us that need to die so that better can be birth.

For the new to come and flourish, the old has to die. Since the old is often part of us, we must die in part so that we can live fully.

We are powerful beyond and also too weak to wield our power. We often know what to do. But we can’t make ourselves do what we know we should do, both in big and small ways. And yet within us, there’s power beyond measure. If there is power but we can’t make ourselves use it, are we really powerful?

We see a glimpse of the power in our true selves, but we lack the power to take up our own power. We know where our power beyond measure lies. But how often do we fully embrace our power beyond measure. If anything, we are scared of taking steps towards our true strengths, or unable to do it sometimes.

So, is our deepest fear really that we are powerful beyond measure? If our power frightens us enough that we do not use it, then how now are we powerful?

Therefore, we are not only powerful beyond measure. We are also weak beyond imagination. We are inadequate and sometimes that’s all we are. Sometimes we get to a place where we lose touch of our power such that our weakness thrives.

And sometimes we get so weak that we can’t even get out of bed to pull the curtains open. Ironically, the capability of our muscles remains exactly the same. Does our light frighten us into this darkness? Still, we are strong enough to emerge from these ashes when we focus on our strength.

We are incredibly strong. Yet, we are also incredibly weak. We can prevail against powerful forces that seek to destroy us. Yet, we can be broken by words — mere words. We have among us, people who have been broken by words. We have people who what they heard 10 years ago still has them in chains.

Where is their power beyond measure? Or did they encounter something more powerful than them? The words of another?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. So says the Proverbs. But how come speaking life back into a soul broken by words often seem less potent than the words that inflicted brokenness.

And how strange is it that the darkness in one can consume the light in another? Really strange. And yet, the light in one can disperse the darkness in a thousand.

Think about most of the things beautiful and horrible that have happened in the world. Well, none of them simply happened. They were in large orchestrated by human beings — by us — our light and our darkness.

We also have people who what they saw themselves or another do years ago, still has them in bondage today. The experience of wars and genocides can take the light out of the human soul.

The perpetrators might never see the light in themselves because of what they did, and the victim might never see the light in others because of what they saw others do.

It seems our power and light could be ripped out of us by our own actions or the actions of others that we see — dark experiences. How strange? Still, one beautiful experience/encounter can heal and mend brokenness and rekindle our light.

So, is it really our light and not our darkness that most frightens us? No, I don’t believe so! Our light gives us hope and uplifts us.

Our darkness definitely frightens us. We couldn’t live in a world where we were more frightened by our light than our darkness.

Perhaps we are intimidated by the fullness of our light. But definitely we fear the darkness that could crawl out of the deep. And there is no deeper deep than that of the soul. When darkness crawls out of there, it is really dark. When light emanates from there, it is really bright.

Sometimes we fear shining our light because the darkness that crawls out of the souls of men might come for that which seems to threaten its survival. Why shine bright if it makes one a target?

In times through history that darkness crawled out of the depths of souls, terror and horror enveloped whole regions and peoples. Horror so great that light fled for safety.

Wars, genocides, massacres, exterminations. Who in these days was frightened by the light that could save them? That’s all you prayed for. That the light would defeat the darkness.

Thank God light always returned and prevailed. But before light returned with salvation, hell had a dance of absolute impunity, unleashing anguish with an appetite of a wildfire.

Those who lived through such hell, aren’t naive about the darkness in us. For they saw and know it firsthand. And they know there’s nothing more awful than the corruption of the soul. They know to guard against it at all costs.

But as generations roll, things start receding into distant memories and history. We start forgetting the gradual progression that unleashed the woes of history. And we start peeking down into abyss where the darkness that had been cast.

Hence observations like “History has a way of repeating itself. Or Georg Hegel’s. “The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” But we can do better, and we are doing better.

The yin and yang of our nature will never change — no matter how better we become. And it is not that in some of us is one nature or the other. There are not some who are good and some evil. It is not this or that. it is this and that.

Good and evil in all
Light and darkness in all
All angels and demons
Strength to overcome and weakness to fall in all
All corruptible, all capable of salvation

Our dual nature — ever in a balanced and inextricable co-existence. We all possess in us an equal potency and proclivity for good and evil.

No one is only one or the other. We are all cut from the same cloth. Perhaps cut and shaped differently. But we all have appetites for somethings dark, somethings strange, somethings malevolent, somethings bright, somethings wholesome, somethings godly.

Who knows how deep we might plunge if we took a small sip of our evil appetites. Who knows how large the tiny appetites might grow or how lethal they might mutate to be.

That we choose good and light most of the times is a miracle. The miracle of the divine in us. For ultimately, the God who has the unparalleled power for creation and destruction had made a choice from the beginning.

He chose to pour out in full Creation. For if He had poured out the other, we wouldn’t have an expanding universe. But we do. Because creation keeps creating.

Had He poured out the other side of his might, it probably would have consumed Him too. He talks about both sides but identifies only with one — Love, Light, Good. And the same He manifests. And so do we.

So, I suppose our light will always triumph. Even over an equal opposite force, our darkness. When darkness falls no matter how great, the light always expands to consume it.

When destruction crawls out of the deep, creation always prevail. The center was built to create infinitely and the concentration of destructive power no matter how great could never outlive it.

Every time through the history of humanity that darkness crawled announcing its dominance; every time darkness covered the face of the earth, the divine in us always rose to say:

“Let there be light”

The End


Inspired by reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda. I started writing it on April 7, 2023, the genocide commemoration day. April 7 every year marks the beginning of a 100 days genocide memorial period that concludes on July 4, which marks the liberation of Rwanda from the genocidal regime.

The memorial period lasts the same 100 days as the actual genocide. It is a period of utmost solemnity to remember the victims of the unimaginable terror that plagued Rwanda. Generally dubbed, Kwibuka (Remembrance), this period is always observed under the singular recurring theme: Remember, Unite, Renew.

From the ashes, Rwanda rose and continues to heal and to shine ever brighter. The divine in us again said “Let there be light.” And light there became and shines on 🔥

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