What Fight Club Taught Me about Spirituality
First, let's get a few things out there. One, I am a spiritual healer. I've dedicated my life to guiding people through their darkness. Secondly, I had been suffering from depression and severe anxiety for longer than I realized. Lastly, yes, I have a Fight Club tattoo. It’s right on my wrist, for the whole world to see. When I got it, I wasn't quite so prone to hiding who I was. That's changed as I've "grown up". In fact, I despise that I've grown up at all. I despise trying to be a functioning adult every day of my life. I want to not show up to work and drink a margarita on the beach and go do cartwheels in the park and run around without any shoes on. That sounds like living. And let's face it, what society considers being an adult is bullshit.
Isn’t that, in part, what Fight Club is all about? So let's break Rule #1 and Rule #2 and talk about Fight Club. I've read a lot of Fight Club theories. Some very interesting and some so far out there they are laughable but always entertaining. Now, here's mine:
The narrator (the main character, who is nameless) is clearly going through this period of darkness. I am referring to those places in ourselves that have been demonized by society and thus have become places that are uncharted territory where we fear to tread. Our narrator feels life is a hopeless, meaningless routine. He stuffs all the pain, frustration and disappointment deep inside, ignores it as best he can and goes on with his unfulfilling existence. He even goes so far as spending every night in support groups focusing on other people's problems. Not once does he seek out a group focused on his own issues. Basically, he is doing everything in his power to ignore that uncharted territory that so many of us avoid at all costs.
Along comes Tyler Durden, our narrator’s other half, his dark side, all his unexpressed, pent up rage. What this story is demonstrating is something you may know very well. When we don't honor the darkness, don't give it its due, pay attention to it, love it, dance with it, it will consume us to the point where we no longer have control. That's exactly what happens to our narrator, isn't it? He has so successfully denied that part of himself that he doesn't realize it is coming from him. He sees it as another entity entirely outside of himself; an entity that empowers him but one, ultimately, that he has no control over. He lost that control by refusing to acknowledge that it belonged to him. When he finally sees it, it’s too late. It has taken over the world and is burning it down, one building at a time.
That's what was happening to me. I was going through this insane rollercoaster of experiences for years and denied myself my darker emotions for so long because I was so intent on holding on and remaining balanced, calm and centered. Why? Because I was a Spiritual Healer and that was what was expected of me. As Fight Club demonstrates, that way of life can only last for so long. I could no longer keep up the façade. I completely lost control of it. There were days I couldn't get out of bed and when I tried to I would have a panic attack. I was literally out of control of my own body, my own life.
This self denial is even more interesting when we examine all the other people participating in Fight Clubs. Notice how each one embraces his own darkness as they show up to Fight Club night after night. Doing so allows them to wake up, to feel fulfilled, and to be able to function in their day to day lives. In the novel, the narrator tells us “Most guys are at fight club because of something they’re too scared to fight. After a few nights, you’re afraid a lot less”. You see, the darkness was embraced, it was celebrated, and it was played with. When we experience darkness like that - holding it in our hands and exploring all the nuances, all the corners of it- feeling it, smelling it, tasting it, unafraid, then we can really live.
I encourage you to go back to this book and read it again. Read all the references to embracing our darker nature. It is so wonderfully filled with them. There is an excellent moment you may remember, when Tyler pours the lye on the narrator’s hand and asks him to stay in the pain as he experiences the chemical burn. Our narrator keeps trying to remove himself from the painful moment by escaping through meditation. Tyler tells him he won’t neutralize the burn until he faces it, gives up, gives in to that moment. We all do this, don’t we? We cling to our happy place, our comfort zone in order to push away the pain, however badly it hurts us. The reality is it won’t go away without us looking it straight in the face and claiming it as our own.
So what happens to our narrator? The movie and the book differ. In the book, the narrator ends up in the psych ward and believes he's crossed over to the other side. In the film, he lives, survives his darker half and holds Marla's hand as the world crumbles around them. How fitting that there is an ending where he comes out of the darkness and one where he gets lost in it entirely. Both are possibilities for us as we navigate our own darkness. Do we allow it to swallow us whole and hold onto us forever, deluded and unaware that we are lost in it? Or do we acknowledge it, say yes, take the journey willingly and come out on the other side of it healed, whole and with greater awareness than when we left? It is your choice.
Fight Club tells us we all need to be allowed to drink and curse and fight and fuck and destroy something without judgment. The universe does not ask for perfection. It asks for balance. The darkness is just as necessary as the light. I’ve learned that my darkness is just as vital as my light in guiding others through the process of healing. We need to honor our anger and our sadness as much as we honor our love and compassion. We will never be healthy, fulfilled beings when we hold desperately to only one side of the coin.
I suppose the question we fear most is “What does our darkness say about who we are as a human being”? We are Joe’s honesty. We are Joe’s fearlessness. We are Joe’s unapologetic human experience.
“It’s only after you’ve lost everything, that you’re free to do anything.”
Veronica Tioicha is a Shaman serving the Los Angeles and Orange County area. She specializes in Soul Retrieval, Negative Entity Removal and created her own form of Chakra Healing based on a very old Shaman tradition that is no longer practiced. She works as a spiritual counselor and teacher for those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and teaches Reiki and Meditation to school age children.
Veronica takes you on a journey that will restore balance, clarity and vision to your life path. She strives not only to heal others but to teach them to heal themselves and awaken to the power of their Original Medicine.
Learn more at fireinthelotus.com