• Ben Mackinnon

Integrating the Shadow

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

Extract from

'Diary of a Lucid Dreamer'

Available 2020.....

"I hadn't slept properly in months.

Each time I went to bed I knew it would come. That perpetuating cloud of black energy representing everything I had ever feared.

There had been a variety of horrific dreams before this big one, dreams that seemed normal then all of a sudden it was as if some another life form was injected into the dream completely overtaking the dreamscape. It had first shown it's face in the blue mountains and in dreams where that psychotic energy would attack me or takeover any characters in the dream and use them for its one clear aim, to torment me into extreme fear. I would be lying on my side in the early hours of the morning awoken for no real reason, lying there in between asleep and awake. I would attempt to get up and it was if I was trying to separate myself from something that had entangled itself into my mind like some sort of parasite. At other times there would be dreams of dogs which would all of a sudden became dark and ominous, eyes a luminous and wild red ripping me to pieces. In others there would be the creepy old cockatoos which seemed benign then all of a sudden would turn and attack, pecking my eyes to shreds. I would wake with the pain in my face from the demonic birds and the leftover pains in my stomach where the possessed dogs had disemboweled me. I was tired. I was in my last year of university and it was as if I was living two separate lives. My waking life and my extremely vivid life in the darkness. Like all things we need to get to a point where we keep following a course of action where at the time seems easier but never seems to get us out of the cycle. Finally, I had reached that point and on this one night, I decided I had enough. I went to bed with a strong resolve to meet this energy and even went as far as to imagine it in front of me and clearly asking it what it wanted. As I dissolved into that internal world I summoned all my courage and told myself that I wanted it to come tonight and that I would face it instead of giving in to the sickening fear and instinct to run. I awoke as I always had in the early hours of the morning feeling stuck between the sleeping and waking worlds. Then I felt it there in the surrounding darkness with every fibre of my being. I wanted to scream and I wanted to run. I pushed back the flight response and rolled over in the dreamscape completely lucid. It was like looking into the bowels of hell. Black, dark and perturbating pure evil. I stood up tall. I was tired but I was also angry. Angry for all the lost sleep and the relentless nature of this beast. I clenched my fists and yelled, "Come on, fight me!". At that moment it stopped it's the approach. We stood in some sort of bizarre face off as I stared into the abyss. Then something new began to happen. At first, it was a spark of recognition than a full realisation. It was as if I was looking into a mirror, we both had the same eyes but two different faces. Then it hit me. This was me. This was the reservoir of everything I had ever oppressed over this life and countless others.

I stared into the eyes of my greatest fears as they came for me in the night, in the in-between, and what I find is my broken and fragmented self-staring back at me.

It leads me to the complete realisation that it was always me tormenting myself and others again and again. I open myself completely in the face of this total annihilation. To being burned to the ground and in doing so my false self, the fearful self, the ego, is burned and freed from its prison.

In losing who you think you were you discover who you truly are. I cry immeasurable tears of happiness and compassion for the pain it has experienced my whole existence and in doing so I offer it a doorway back home.

That darkness I met hides in the shadows in every moment of our lives fighting to survive and starved of its connection to the source. A scared animal doing whatever it can to survive and continue on despite its wounds. It waits for you to shine the pure light of clear and non-judgemental awareness on it to finally end its disconnection and accept it for what it is. It waits patiently for you to transform it and offer it a doorway back home. I realise at that moment that we are its home. We are its refuge and its unbounded space.

One pervasive awareness, fragmented yearning to be complete.

At that moment of clear understanding, I expand outwards and encompass all of the dream enveloping the darkness. The two of us dissolve into a brilliant, luminous white light.

There is now no me, no it, just clear and neutral awareness with no thoughts or concepts of space or time. I awake in the darkened room. Looking back on that experience I can see the journey back had truly begun. I had learned a lesson that would guide me through both dark and light places and in experiences to come.

The lesson that the greatest form of protection is compassion."

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