Out of the Darkness
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Out of the DarknessFinding courage to change.
Writing my recent book Out of the Darkness has taught me a lot. On the one hand it’s made me realize how common the phenomenon of enlightenment actually is. Enlightenment doesn’t just happen to mystics and gurus, spiritual seekers in India or Tibet, but to ‘ordinary’ people all around us. I spoke to 33 people who have been through a spiritual transformation after intense turmoil in their lives – people who were ill with cancer or ME, who reached ‘rock bottom’ through alcoholism, became severely disabled, or suffered from severe depression or intense stress. They all reached a point where they thought they were completely lost and broken, where they felt they had no choice but to give up and surrender to their predicament. And at the moment something shifted inside them. Suddenly they felt a sense of lightness and freedom. The world seemed a different place, with a new sense of meaning, harmony and beauty. And although the initial intensity of experience faded, the shift remained. They felt re-born, with a new identity. Years later – even decades – they were still filled with inner peace.
All of the ‘shifters’ – as I called them – were ordinary people with normal jobs and conventional lifestyles, who knew little or nothing about spirituality. As a result, it took some of them a long time to understand what had happened. Even Eckhart Tolle – who I interviewed for the book – spent years slowly gravitating to spiritual books and teachers until he finally built up a framework to understand his transformation.
Out of the Darkness has also taught me that as human beings we have an almost infinite capacity to overcome suffering. As long as we have the courage to face up to and accept negative situations, there is nothing for us to fear.
But perhaps most significantly, the book has taught me that enlightenment exists as a potential inside everyone. That’s why there is a butterfly on the cover – because the ‘shifters’ have made me realise that wakefulness is latent in all of us, in the same way that a butterfly is latent in a caterpillar. Normally this potential is dormant; to manifest itself, it usually has to be triggered by turmoil, when our psychological attachments are destroyed and the normal ego dissolves away. But if we know it’s there, we can surely harness it in other ways too – and perhaps eventually, it will become manifest in all of us, and be human beings’ normal state.