In times of incredible sadness we need to remember that although it seems impossible to fathom, nothing is random, nothing is coincidental....there is a Divine Universal plan for all living creatures. Pain is part of that plan. How we get through that pain, whether emotional or physical or both (as one usually precipitates the other) depends upon our perspective, the path we choose. Most of us choose the path of Light, but in doing so, we must not disregard, disrespect, or fear the darkness. It is a gift. We can use this gift of darkness to better see our light. When we focus on our own inner light, we align with the greater Divine energies and experience how all blends, blurring our individual lines and resonating as one force. In the second chapter of Genesis, we read that “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." In darkness, we meet the greatest light. Whether we take this literally or figuratively, whether we believe in an omniscient Divine being or a universal supreme consciousness, the darkness erases distraction, gracing us with the ability to meet Light. Lighting a candle and burning incense are familiar and potent traditions that reflect the welcoming of light in diverse cultures. For example, when we enter a Catholic Church, we are greeted by what can be hundreds of glowing Novena candles. During the mass, the priest blesses the congregation with the smoke from incense. The traditional Jewish welcoming of the Sabbath depends upon physically sweeping your hands over the flame, moving the light closer to your heart. Likewise, the Native ritual of smudging, sweeping the aura with sage or cedar, directs the smoke toward the heart of the recipient, promoting healing and Divine connection. This cultural symmetry, while symbolic, symbolic on one level, strengthens our alignment with the Light in a very real way. Asian traditions very clearly honor wholeness, including celebrating the darkness. The Taoist symbol, yin and yang, are most precisely defined as "complementary opposites." Those opposites are incomplete and meaningless without each other... If we did not have darkness, we would not recognize light. If we did not know light, we would not need it. In our greatest human foibles we seek the light. We call these "times of darkness," when we reach for some means of salvation and pray for release from suffering. The traditional Rider Waite tarot card, the five of pentacles, depicts this "dark night of the soul" with the image of a mother and child, shoeless in the snow, wandering in the dark, and stopping in front of a church glowing with the warmth of light. Today we sit grieving with our head in our hands, shaken by what we call the evil of the world -- murder, war, terror, and cruelty -- the dark side of humanity and seek redemption through light. By calling on the Light we hope to heal our pain. The Light is the Healer. The Dark is the teacher. They are co-dependent. It is our mystical experience in the dark that brings us to light. We should not run from the dark but surrender to it, as it leads us to the Divine Mystery. Carolyn Myss said that all healing is the "mystical act of surrender" leading us to "awakening.” The darkness brings us to surrender.

Lisa Shaw is an intuitive counselor, animal communicator, and professor, who lives in South Florida with a four legged and winged family.  Her website is and her e-book, Illumination: Life Lessons from Our Animal Companions, is available on

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