For years, I’ve seen the dark side of humanity lead good people into intense suffering. I’ve seen fathers belittle their sons for wanting a life without heroin. I’ve witnessed young men die alone because their drug use isolated them into unrecognizable versions of themselves that no one loved anymore. I’ve heard stories of women being raped repeatedly by their fathers, from the women themselves, and I’ve seen and felt the anguish and torment from ignoble and painful deaths that resulted from drug and alcohol use. For years, I’ve sought to understand humanity’s dark side – not out of simple curiosity, but out of a need to change it somehow.

It’s been difficult at times to watch people destroy themselves, seemingly with their own hands. I’ve felt intense frustration with my own inadequacy to “reach” someone and redirect their behavior to that which is good and strong and beautiful inside themselves. However, even though I’ve come to the conclusion that all people must walk their own life’s path, I have learned that everyone has the resources needed to overcome their dark path and find goodness and health.

What people fail to see, even those who haven’t collapsed into dark side’s abyss, is that humanity is composed of two (2) integrated and objective realities: 1) The natural reality; and, 2) The supernatural reality. Each reality is objective, that is, it exists as a concrete and measurable entity. However, the experience and expression of each has gotten so screwed up that some people don’t even think (or believe) that there is a supernatural reality to human life. They’ve become so enmeshed and intertwined with the natural reality that the supernatural is muted to them. However, just because the supernatural reality has become muted to them, does not mean that this reality does not exist.

Because we can sense and express the natural reality through our physical senses, we sometimes tend to think that it somehow has higher precedence than the supernatural. Science provides language and mechanics for observing and measuring the natural world. Humanity can now observe and measure natural behavior at the subatomic level and describe the meaning of that behavior with predictive precision. However, the supernatural reality can’t necessarily be observed through physical perception and measurement. That doesn’t mean, though, that it can’t be sensed or expressed.

History has allowed several seemingly subjective measures of the supernatural reality to emerge and develop. These measure are often referred to as “religion.” Religion, really, is nothing more than a set of rules and behaviors that a given group of people put together in an attempt to capture their version of the supernatural reality. But religion is not supernatural reality. While religious ceremonies and rites can evoke the supernatural reality, the best way to experience it is through a person’s own sense of love.

Some, like my own spiritual leader, Camilo Torres, might say that faith is the way to experience supernatural reality, but I disagree with that assessment because love allows integration between the natural and supernatural realities. It does so through the recognition of the Image of God in self and others and when that recognition occurs, there is a connection between, not only people, but also the natural and supernatural realities (for examples of this look at Maslow’s description of peak experiences).

Love, however, is not simple. The most cliché and derivative wedding reading, is St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians where he says that love is never jealous and yada yada yada. But St. Paul is speaking of an unconditional form of love that God feels for his creation. From a human perspective, this type of love may be an ideal to which we should strive, but human love is rarely unconditional and pure as the love of which St. Paul wrote. However, the idea of a “brotherly love” between all loving things provides material through which real connections can occur. But even that type of love can be difficult. People generally act towards their own interests and “love” is often a bartering emotion through which people get their own individual needs met. And this system of emotional bartering is the exact basis of enabling behaviors I’ve unfortunately run into over the years.

The reality is that I recognize a huge need to create a world in which each person can develop completely in accordance with all that is good and strong and beautiful. If I have to delve deeper into the dark side of humanity to learn how, so be it. I vow to find the path towards creating the world in which all people can be free from the dark side’s clutches.

Published by Juan Blea