Dealing with Inner Darkness — Your Own and Others’

Question

I am becoming more sensitive to other people’s inner lives, but in a bad way. For instance, with one person, I will feel white-hot hostility and rage in me while talking to them, but it is a very hostile and angry person... it’s not me. It’s the unacknowledged shadow of the person, what is not being seen or expressed by them. Since most people don’t want to do their inner work, I’m stuck with their darkness. Close family members too, that I can’t just leave.

—Anonymous, United States

Answer

Dear friend,

From what I understand of yoga teachings, what we see in others can only be a reflection of what we have within ourselves. If there is no resonance within us of anger or other darkness, then we are usually not very aware or affected by these energies in others. And if we do become aware of them, it will be from a more impersonal place that doesn’t directly affect us so directly. So what you are describing is a puzzle to me.

It may also be that this strong awareness and feeling that you have of anger coming from another person is a residue in you from a previous lifetime. But even then, it would not have the effect on you personally that you are describing. So, again, I am puzzled.

I don’t think you ever have to feel that you are stuck with other people’s darkness. If you are doing your own inner work, through meditation, right living, and working daily on releasing the darkness in you, then you won’t feel as personally impacted by other people’s problems and darkness.

Environment is very important, so I do appreciate what you are describing about having to live with others who have strong negative energy. It will be important for you also to try, as much as possible, to spend time with those who are positive and not living in such darkness. Doing this will allow you to build your own inner strength.

I hope these suggestions will provide a direction for your energy that can bring more light into your life, and of those around you.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Parvati