It’s the dark side of human nature. The rage in traffic when someone cuts in front of us. The feeling we have of wanting more, more, more. Lying on the couch and saying ‘I can’t be bothered.’ Staring at ourselves in the mirror and wondering how we might be enhanced: new hair colour, new clothes, new face? Fantasising about the stranger or the ex. Envying the success of a friend or colleague. Eating and drinking too much.
The seven deadly sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony) have been etched in our collective imagination as the instinctual human drives that must be suppressed, swallowed and denied. We are conditioned to avoid these impulses, and we judge ourselves when they lurk into our daily lives. There is a small group of people that witness our dark side, which is generally limited to our partners, families, close friends, and occasional medical professionals.
But the seven deadly sins are in fact just the shadow sides of extremely powerful emotions. And ignoring or suppressing these drives may be keeping us away from our highest potential. These dark shadows are simply our mind’s way of communicating a blockage to us, like the flashing lights on the dashboard telling us that the car needs more fuel, more water, or more oil. Rather than shaming ourselves out of experiencing these urges, we actually need to talk to them. We need to see our dark side as a clear invitation to healing. We often find our greatest power in our deepest challenges. The task is to transform our ‘sins’ or shadows into light.
In my next post, I talk about how we can begin the work of transforming the shadow.