Healing the World by Healing Our Darkness (Wetiko)


"Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people." -Carl Jung


This weekend I facilitated a course for the Integrative Health and Healing cohorts on Art and Healing. A large part of the program explored what blocks creativity and how to generate creative flow.


According to Carl Jung, the subconscious mind is called the shadow because we are unaware of it. While it may be invisible, it controls our capacity for presence and self-expression. The shadow is formed when we repress or deny unwanted parts of ourselves labeled as 'bad'.

The shadow can take on a life of its own; becoming a primary unconscious driver, separating us from our innate creativity through limiting beliefs and behavior. Jung also considers the shadow to be alive in the collective unconscious. He writes, "nations in a condition of collective misery behave like neurotic or even psychotic individuals."


We discussed the madness in the world today and the effect it may have on the youngest generation. I believe the first step is the simple recognition that we are in the dark. As philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti said, "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."


My co-facilitator, introduced the interesting concept of wetiko, a Native American word for a cannibalistic spirit or mind-virus that is driven by greed, excess and selfish consumption as an end to itself that turns our intrinsic creative genius against our own humanity.


Paul Levy, author of several books including Wetiko, The Greatest Epidemic Sickness Known to Humanity explores this destructive mind virus that hijacks our innate creativity because it is so embedded in our psyches we cannot detect it. "Wetiko's power lies in our blindness to it."


Mindfulness and meditation practice brings awareness to our own wetiko (disowned parts), and brings them into the light for healing and integration. Holding compassionate, non-judgmental attention to what is within (even the disowned parts) expands the heart and connects us to the infinite field of potentiality. It also helps break the collective spell by having compassion for each other as we are all caught in the ignorant grip of wetiko.


According to Levy, "Wetiko psychosis is at the very root of humanity's inhumanity to itself in all its various forms. As a species, we need to step into and participate in our own spiritual and psychological evolution, which means that we must focus our attention on and contemplate this most important topic before this virulent madness destroys us."


While we may not be able to control what happens "out there", we are all intrinsically connected and can participate in our own spiritual and psychological evolution by healing the darkness (wetiko) within. The inner energetic shift in an individual affects the whole.


"We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses." -Jung

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