In Buddhism, there are three personality types:
The Grasping Types have a vision for how the world “should” be. They like to help- even when it means overriding their own needs. They are natural mediators. Their shining is that they can often come up with creative solutions to the world’s problems. Their pitfall is that they can sometimes get so caught up with their vision that they refuse to accept the reality of the situation/world where it is in the moment and presence can be hard for them. There is also a tendency towards “right” and “wrong” thinking- making things into a dichotomy. Famous Graspers: Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Mother Theresa.
Learning that this is just the lens I see life through really helped me to ease up on myself and on the universals (always/never). I know I am not positive all the time and that used to be unacceptable to me. However, it is the truth in the moment. It is authentic. Learning to accept that and also accept that the negative states offer a window into the shadow part of my nature gives me a unique opportunity to see what needs to be healed or shifted. In that way, negativity is essential to my evolution.
I used to think that I had to get rid of my ego to be enlightened. I am not sure I would want to do that now. I know that probably sounds weird considering all the folks out there who are trying to cut theirs away from their being. To me, the ego is part of being human and learning to live with vulnerability. It’s been useful to me to hear what my ego is saying and to differentiate that from the voice of my essential mind. Often, my ego is simply trying to protect me in the best way it knows how. Unfortunately, it is usually programmed with old stories and does not always make the best choices. Learning to co-exist with it has been a gift; it has been training for accepting ALL parts of me. It’s taught me compassion.
Similarly, I am happy to know my shadow so I can keep it in check. I have found that if I am willing to look in there, it has less of a tendency to be like an untrained puppy peeing and jumping all over the place. The beauty of getting to know my shadow nature is that I also get to uncover all the stuff I threw in there that I didn’t know what to do with- including my light and my shining. Sometimes, I sent gifts into my shadow because my family, society, and friends did not value them growing up. I assumed they were a liability. And maybe they were at the time. Maybe that was a good survival strategy back then.
Peering into my shadow now is not as overwhelming as it once was. I am curious when I go in there now and much less judgmental of what I find. I used to fear that if I went in there, I would discover that all my worst fears about myself and my nature were true. Although I still get scared when I am going in there at times, I no longer believe that I am a horrible, bad, evil person. I no longer wonder whether I am worthy of living and the gifts that come with it. This fact alone makes all those anxiety-ridden journeys to the dark side of my moon more than worthwhile. I am able to enjoy my life without guilt, doubt or shame. I have my inner joy back. I have more space for myself in all my humanness and because of that, I can also give others more space in theirs. Perhaps that is really the root of peace.