No, this is not a story of my marriage (although that one is also interesting, haha). But as someone who’s already married, I can attest that uniting two people with different backgrounds, personas, and characters in one “house” is absolutely not easy. I’m saying this from a point of view of a newbie, I mean I’m married for two years now, and I guess two years is nothing compared to those who’s already married for their whole life, like my parents or my grandparents.
Of course uniting two people is not easy. How could that be easy? Look inside yourself. How many “people” do you think live inside that single “you”? At least, that’s what I feel about myself. I noticed that this “self” consists of a number of different pairs of opposition. Right brain and left brain, introversion and extroversion, intuition and logic, those are the obvious ones. I’m not a trained psychologist but I can argue that we were born with a tendency and dominancy to one or another, but I believe that, as human, deep inside we always desire and are asked to balance both sides.
Let’s talk about the more subtle ones. This is a story of two soon-to-be-married couples: spirit and ego, light and shadow. I write this as a reminder for myself too.
Spirit and ego
“The ego is the tool. You don’t separate it. It’s the tool for the spirit.” — Ram Dass
The word “ego” originally means “I” in Latin, and therefore refers to the named self. This is the self that is conscious of itself, that recognize itself, that is aware of its existence — it’s like when we say “I am” (thanks to the Philosophy of Existentialism short-course I took in 2017). It’s impossible to introduce myself like “Hi, I’m Satya, a statistician who reads tarot” without my ego being involved. To me, even when a monk say “Hi, I’m a monk who just sold my ferrari to live deliberately in a forest by myself”, that’s simply his ego speaking.
In the context of spirituality, some may associate ego with unhealthy self-consciousness or troublesome self-importance and ego as being egotistical. Well, that could be true, but I think it depends on from which level we see and perceive the idea of ego. From the superficial level, as Michael Mamas calls it, ego is all about the personality self. On that level, embracing ego is selfish and selfishness is the opposite of being spiritual.
However, as we marry ego with spirit, meaning we evolve, the ego doesn’t go away. We don’t necessarily become self-less. It’s like when my husband and I got married, doesn’t mean one of us would disappear or, at least, disappearing one of us is absolutely not our intention. Instead, we try to become one, as whole; merging into something bigger, expanding into something better than if we’re separated. As we (our ego) become one with everything in existence (spirit), the self becomes huge; what we usually perceive as “higher self”. On this deeper level, Self-ishness is not the opposite of being spiritual. Because here the personality self becomes integrated and in harmony with the Transcendental ego, again Michael Mamas’ term.
I couldn’t agree more with his saying, “‘selflessness’ really means the transformation of ego, not the annihilation of ego.” When ego transforms or evolves to the next level, the personality self is still there. It doesn’t make “I” disappears, but now “I” becomes one with all that is, therefore “I” lovingly embraces all that is. This is the marriage of “I” and “All”, the marriage of ego and spirit.
After all, without self-realization, how could we understand something bigger than ourselves?
Light and shadow
“To truly stay in the Light, it is critical that you integrate the Dark.” — Benebell Wen
The “shadow” is a concept introduced by Carl Jung, refers to a personality trait that we choose to reject and repress. Our shadow reside somewhere deep in our unconsciousness, hid and unknown. Although our consciousness doesn’t want to admit that our shadow is “us”, it is “us”. This is the part of ourselves that we don’t like or we think society won’t like, because this is the “dark side” of us.
If you follow my post and/or my blog, you’d notice that frequently I embrace this topic, since integrating my shadow with my light is one of the lessons I should learn in this life I believe. I believe that working our shadow is as important as working our light. Quoting from Benebell Wen’s writing, “Carl Jung noted that the less apparent your shadow is in normal, everyday life, meaning the less integrated it is to your conscious mind, the more primitive your animal instincts, the more malefic that shadow side is, and the more personal power is surrendered to darker, lower vibrational forces.”
Meaning, as my interpretation, the more you distinguish your “dark” from your “light”, the more you allow this dark side to grow more and more until it dominates the light. What does it really mean “integrating the shadow”? OK, so this is my own interpretation based on my own experiences. Yes, it’s gonna be hard, not as easy as I write it. Oh, this is my forever lesson too!
The shadow usually appears as anger, sadness, jealousy, doubt, wound, pain, greed, and other emotion or action labelled as “negative”. In every “negative” emotion or action, there’s this vulnerable self needs and wants to be heard, seen, understood, and loved. Integrating it means you listen, you see, you understand, and you love it compassionately. At least to me, love and compassion are there on the “light side”.
When you say “I hate this person”, this is your vulnerable self expressing its vulnerability. Listen to your vulnerable self, as if you become a good listener for your loved ones talking about their problems and asking for your advice. See your vulnerable eyes with loving and understanding eyes, don’t turn your back and leave it alone. Understand your vulnerable self by asking “what makes you hate this person?”, “what is wrong with him/her?”, “what this person reminds you of?”, “how can i help you?”, “what can i do to make you feel better” and saying “it’s OK to feel that way”, “you’re human too”, “your feeling is valid”. Love your vulnerable self by accepting it, hugging it, not denying, not wiping it out, saying “i love you no matter what, because you are me, and we’ll go through this together”.
Marrying our light and our shadow is indeed both painful and beautiful process. When the process is done, it would be nothing but the sense of wholeness we feel. I imagine it as two galaxies would merge into one (well, it is predicted that Andromeda and Milky Way will collide in about 3.75 billion from now), it would be a spectacular view but at the same time would produce unimaginable amount of heat and unbearably strong gravitational effect that is somehow disruptive. In the end, the new galaxy would be formed with its best potential creating new life.
That’s what “integrating the shadow with the light” means to me, although I feel that I’m not even close to that integration; I mean, I’m on my way.
“one may decide, flowers are beautiful or stars are bright
I can’t, I won’t, because I live in two worlds
I have two suns, my Mind and My heart”
Satya uses tarot and oracle cards as tools to guide and heal others, in which meditation is incorporated to help her get centered and align with her higher self. Satya is also passionate about flower and plant healing with trainings in Bach Flower Remedies. She is the author of self-published book "Star and The Dust", a compendium of poetries exploring wisdom from earth and wisdom from stars and how to bridge both.
Satya loves mathematics and science, also esoteric and metaphysical things. She loves gazing upon the stars, also walking in a garden full of flowers. She loves working with numbers, also with words. Besides growing House of Prajna with her husband, Jati, she is currently pursuing her PhD in Operations Research at North Carolina State University in the USA. Satya believes that science and spirituality are a “twin flame”; to her, both of them speak the same thing with just different languages.
Visit her on IG @satyapparamita