Last time we explored the nature of the wetiko psychosis that’s sending us all loopy. We’ve become trapped in a vicious cycle of unconscious reactivity and shadow projection that threatens to destroy everything we care about. But it’s not all bad news. Wetiko is actually helping us to wake up – if we take the lesson and act on it…
What’s happening at the moment is pretty standard human behaviour. People are acting out their complexes and unconscious patterns, such as old wounds and fears. They’re projecting it all into the world and assuming that everything that happens is ‘real’. They don’t realise it’s a projection and that they’re looking in a mirror – they’re looking at themselves and attacking themselves.
People have always done this. It’s true whether you’re talking about a person you disagree with or don’t like for some reason, or a power-hungry plutocrat hoovering up resources for themselves, or even a virus. It’s all the play of maya – real and not real at the same time. An infinite hall of mirrors.
This means you can’t judge anyone – not even people doing the most egregious acts. As soon as you react to someone and condemn them for ‘being evil’, you’re projecting your shadow onto them. That means you’re also rejecting part of reality. You’re contracting against them, and against yourself, and this can only lead to suffering.
However, this doesn’t mean you can sit back and blissfully ignore all the evil being done in the world and write it off as mere illusion. As Paul Levy explains in Dispelling Wetiko:
“There is a great danger when we see evil. We cannot bear witness to archetypal evil and remain a separate, detached witness who is unaffected, as if passively sitting in the audience, out of harm’s way, for every archetype has an infectious quality.”
The simple fact that you’ve noticed the evil reveals the reflection within yourself. You can’t separate yourself from it. And if you judge, you fall into the reflection and become possessed by the shadow.
“When we see people who are seemingly taken over by wetiko and allow ourselves to feel superior to them, our feeling of superiority is itself a symptom of the disease.”
Refusing to judge and not pathologize their behaviour so you can transcend it and ‘be enlightened’ means you give away your power. It allows the evil to continue and is another kind of blindness – of not seeing or not wanting to see what’s happening. As Martin Luther King Jr said:
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
So what can you do? True to the nature of reality as one whole, you must always seek the source of the evil within yourself, not outside. Remember that evil ultimately comes from the contraction against, or rejection of, reality on some level. So you need to practice discernment and learn to see things as they really are – a life-long practice supported by compassion.
Paul Levy suggests a good way to deal with this dilemma is to practice the Buddhist teaching of the ‘Lion’s Gaze’. For example,
“If you throw a stick at a dog, the dog runs after the stick; but if you throw a stick at a lion, the lion will chase after you! The stick represents an uncomfortable negative emotion that gets triggered inside us.”
When you have the gaze of a lion, you look for the source of the problem instead of blaming whatever seems to be triggering the feeling:
“…we turn our gaze within when we are triggered and treat the moment as an opportunity to self-reflect. … Assuming the fearless gaze of the lion, we relate to the triggering situation as a gift.”
The gift helps you to access a part of yourself that until now was unconscious and hidden from your awareness. And this is what our current situation is making possible – in potential.
When you turn inwards you begin to notice the mirror-like quality of awareness and how it reflects everything back to you. That means anything that happens, good or bad, can be used to wake yourself up. In fact, you wouldn’t even notice the mirror of your true nature without the reflections. The reflections can wake you up to the presence of the mirror – if you pay attention and ask the right questions. Who is seeing? Who is hearing? Who is thinking? And so on.
“In the same way, wetiko potentially introduces us to the part of us that is wetiko-free. Without a break in its symmetry, the true nature of Being would have no way to encounter and become aware of itself. … Previous to wetiko’s bursting on the scene, we were unconsciously identified with our true nature, which is to say that we were not conscious of it. It is as if a deeper part of ourselves dreamed up wetiko so as to make us conscious of the part of ourselves that is transcendent to it.”
Wetiko has this effect because it contains the opposites. From a certain perspective it seems evil, destructive and dark, but without it we wouldn’t be able to wake up to our full potential for consciousness. The light of our true nature can only be known in relation to the darkness, and vice versa.
“A medieval proverb says, ‘Light over darkness is the Antichrist; Light through the darkness is the Christ.’ Light is ultimately revealed through darkness; it needs darkness, for otherwise, how could it appear as light? Light only has meaning when it illuminates something dark; our inner realisation isn’t worth much if it doesn’t help us recognise the darkness within us. Knowing our own darkness gives us the best opportunity for dealing with the darkness of others.”
It may be tempting to deny the darkness and focus only on the light, but doing that leaves you open to possession by the unconscious. The destructive forces of the collective unconscious can’t be ignored or explained away or given rational explanations that make sense of everything. The more you try to do that, the greater the destruction coming from the unconscious.
And right now, the destructiveness is off the scale. Consider that Levy wrote this 8 years ago:
“If we are not in denial, it is obvious that the powers of the underworld, as if they have a severe ‘control process’, are attempting to centralise power and global control over our entire species in a way that is devoid of any pretence of democratic legitimacy, compassion, or redeeming charm whatsoever. We are being confronted with the naked darkness of the soul…”
We’re undergoing an initiation that’s forcing us to face up to our own darkness. The archetype of the apocalypse has been constellated in our psyche and we can no longer hide from the truth.
“The darkness of the unconscious stands in a secret, compensatory relationship to us, supplying everything we need for awakening to our wholeness. It is helpful to remember that it is darkest right before the dawn. In a demonically inflated dementia, a final, fatal, and narcissistic frenzy of attempted control, it is in the moment right before a demon is vanquished that it makes its worst stink and unleashes its most destructive and toxic outburst.”
Hence our current predicament. It’s pretty stinky – and doomed.
With all this talk about darkness, we need a quick aside on how to distinguish between the different types. There are two sources of darkness, one positive and one negative. Obviously, you don’t want anything to do with the destructive version of darkness but if you can’t tell the difference, you could be in deep trouble, as Levy explains:
“The first type of darkness is the darkness of the abyss of evil which actively refuses the light of consciousness and thereby prevents us from seeing. This darkness is truly destructive, in the ‘demonic’ sense, in the extremity of its distance from the light, and is the darkness to which the lower self is susceptible. We don’t want to become involved with, entangled in, nor invest our attention in this kind of darkness which, energetically speaking, is like a black hole.”
This is the darkness of wetiko and archetypal evil. The other source of darkness is known to mystics as the black light, luminous darkness, or luminous emptiness. It represents the darkness and mystery of God, the unknowable source of Being.
“This darkness isn’t merely an absence of light, but a quality that is an expression of the presence of a higher-dimensional, invisible, and uncreated form of light, the indwelling light of being that has no opposite. … This invisible form of light, the nondual light of sentient awareness itself, cannot be seen because it is the light by which we see.”
This positive darkness is also dangerous because it usually appears during the dark night of the soul. Part of that process involves learning to distinguish between the darkness of God and the darkness of the demonic shadow and this requires great discernment and a refined perception.
It’s easy to lose your way, especially as wetiko functions best in the dark and works by conjuring illusions. To get through this, we need to shift our focus and learn to see through the collapsing illusions that we’ve created. We made this situation through our unconsciousness and we can choose to unmake it.
“We are all dreaming up the wetiko epidemic together. Seeing through our experience in this way gives world events a certain transparency, as well as rendering us transparent to ourselves. Seeing through ourselves, and having borne the dark side of ourselves, we are no longer delivered up to the darkness to the same degree.”
When you get in touch with the reality of your true nature it provides a container or protective space in which you can hold the awareness of wetiko and allow it to transform or dissolve. You can cultivate wholeness within your psyche by recognising that you are one part of the Whole of Existence.
“The wetiko pathogen simply cannot survive in so coherent a psyche because the wetiko deviation cannot grow in the healthy ground of a psyche pervaded with the felt sense of the radiant contiguity and unity of all Existence.”
Wetiko can’t survive within a whole psyche. It only does well within a fragmented psyche, one divided against itself and lost in a hall of mirrors. Wetiko is an artefact of that hall of mirrors, the split and broken psyche that doesn’t know who it is. When you remember your true nature as one with the Ground of all Being – bodhicitta or Buddha nature – your psyche becomes like a diamond and:
“cuts through wetiko, leaving [it] no place to stand … The compassion at the heart of awakening which results from seeing through the ‘us versus them’ duality dissolves the toxicity of wetiko on the spot.”
In Christian terms, you’re protected and held in Christ and your recognition of the Christ consciousness within yourself.
There’s no need to fight to defeat evil – Resist not evil – because that plays into its hands. What you fight becomes stronger. You also don’t give into it and let it have its wicked way with you either. You step into the place within yourself that’s invulnerable and always free – your true nature, Buddha nature, Christ consciousness:
“Pure from the beginning, our true nature is ‘unimpeded’, in the sense that it cannot be bound by anything. In the same way, when we are in touch with our true nature, the evil of wetiko cannot ‘touch’ us.”
Our current situation may appear to be dark and foreboding but your true nature is always present. This means there is always hope, even in the greatest darkness.
“…at the same time that wetiko is destroying us, it is simultaneously – potentially – waking us up. Everything depends upon if we recognise what is being revealed to us, and how we respond. The choice is truly ours.”
What happens next really is up to you.