Who Prays for the Darkness?

Who Prays for the Darkness?
A Candle in a Darkened Corner

But who prays for Satan? – Mark Twain

These poignant words stare at me from the mysterious realm of Facebook.

…the one sinner who needed it most… the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian’s daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest? – Mark Twain

My heart sinks. For all the times I’ve rejected and scolded the ‘badness,’ the ‘unlovable,’ the ‘wrong’ in both myself and others. For all the times I’ve looked down upon that which does not fit with my ideals of good, fair and right. For all the times I’ve cast away my own shadow to where I thought it belonged – hidden, separate from me, unworthy of the eyes of the world.

But these words from Mark Twain become a candle, quietly lit in this darkened corner, revealing the forgotten life still present amongst the flickering glow. And just as there is a glimmer of light in this darkened corner, there are shadows cast among all who dwell in the daylight.

It reminded me of a time I was in a car with my father, words of hair-raising abuse snarling and spitting from his mouth at the mere negligence of another driver. A mouth that only moments before had been spilling generous feelings of deep adoration and love. I remember this sudden shift slapping me squarely in the face. The shock of this stark duality a mirror, blatantly reflecting back to me the very same demons I had, at times, seen in myself.

I realised, up until this point, I had judged my father as ‘asleep’ or ‘unevolved.’ Detached from his own heart and lacking the capacity for empathy. But having seen only moments before the depth of his kindness, it was now so clear that I had been putting him in the ‘not as good as me’ box, as a way to avoid looking at my own darkness … “I don’t do or say stuff like that, so I must be ‘good’!”

Mirror, mirrorA mirror, reflecting back my own demons.Image: Amir Geshani

All this time, I’d been skimming the surface of my inner tapestry, weaving the story I’d wanted to believe – “I am better than them.” But in this small, yet significant moment, my self-delusion came crashing at my feet. I could no longer hide from the truth of my shadows. They were there, alive and strong and inside me. My judgement. My superiority. My ‘ugly’.

When I looked again at this man beside me, my father, I saw the blood running through his veins. Blood that we share. I sensed the beat of his resilient heart, with all the breakage it’s endured. And I felt my own heart, beating to the very same rhythm. Suddenly, I could sense the sadness, the hurt, the fear, the unjust, the rejection, and the pain that had met him along his path. With this revelation, my view of his shadows took on a different form and now I understood his violent displays of discomfort were merely desperate cries for attention. Symptoms of self-inflicted judgement and abandon. I couldn’t help but wonder how he and I might both be different if we had attended to the causes of our shadows instead of banishing them.

We are All Capable

This is not to say that all acts of ill-intention should be excused and accepted. We are all capable of the unimaginable, just as we are all capable of unfathomable love. And perhaps it would serve us to notice this sameness that we each share, the dark and the light. Perhaps if we more willingly cast our gaze upon this, we would naturally foster the grounds for change, for transformation, for wholeness.

I watched his hardened gaze, the aftermath of his eruption. I wanted to tell his demons – they were okay, they were worthy. I wanted to scoop them up in my arms and let them feel what it feels like to really be seen, heard, even loved. I wanted to rock them into a blissful sleep and wash away their pain with my tears … except I knew that I couldn’t. Only he could do that. But at least I could do that for my own.

And so, I closed my eyes and said a prayer for my demons. One by one. I let them tell me where they were from and why they were here. I explored their fascinating shapeshifting faces and forms. I cuddled them. I let them soften in the glow of my unconditional love. And as I did, I felt as if my soul swelled in fullness and peace.

Love in the darknessLove in the darkness. The darkness in me. Image: Elvin Ruiz.

I See You, I See Me

As days went by, I watched more closely and noticed more sweetly the arisings of my shadow sides. I tried to make time and space for them when they squirmed and found love for them when they felt far from lovable. It wasn’t, and still isn’t, easy. But I keep trying, and I keep finding that the more I devote my attention and intention to them, the more I can see, hear, and feel the humanness within what once could have appeared ‘inhumane’ in other people.

As Osho so eloquently put it:


I am one with all things –

in beauty,

in ugliness,

for whatsoever is – there I am.

Not only in virtue

but in sin too I am a partner,

and not only in heaven but hell too is mine.

Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu –

it is easy to be their heir,

but Genghis, Taimur and Hitler:

they are also within me!

No, not half – I am the whole of mankind.

Whatsoever is man’s is mine –

flowers and thorns,

darkness as well as light,

and if nectar is mine, whose is poison?

Nectar and poison – both are mine

Whoever experiences this

I call religious,

for only the anguish of such experience can

revolutionise life on Earth.

– Osho


Are you acquainted with your own dark side? If you feel so inspired, sit quietly with any ill feelings or parts of yourself you have difficulty accepting. Close your eyes and visualise what those look like – colours, forms, shapes, smells, feelings, sounds. Get a good sense of their essence. Then try having a loving conversation with each one. Enquire, seek to understand why it is a part of you. Thank it for what it has done for you, perhaps it was actually trying to protect you, and send it love.

We would love to hear about your experience with this or any other stories about learning to love your shadow in the comments below.

With unconditional love and light for all parts of you,


BY Briony Dalton
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin



5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
kamir bouchareb st
1 year ago


2 years ago

Thank you for the article, eloquently written a difficult message delicately delivered. I read the piece where you are with your father in the car to my 17 year old daughter and she was screaming “I totally identify!”. You ended with a poem by Osho, and immediately that dark side arose in me. I have a negative attitude toward Osho from the bad press he received in the 1990s or there about. Then I realised I still have a long way to go to sort out those parts that I still hide. Then I reread the poem and focused on the word and not any of my negative feelings and saw the beauty of the poem. Thank you, with much gratitude and appreciation.

Julian Giulio
3 years ago

I have no time for anything other than ‘sketchy’ comments atm, I am so tired and have to close this window so this comouter won’t crash… :O
Let me just say I do like thte essay I have just read quickly, I like especially the inclusion of the whole, the gentleness/the profund, tender love, the need to have a living, loving, open and unflinching attitude & approach towards the ‘dark’; and the dark itself needs to be seen and experienced (known) clearly!.
Very briefly – for me our Darkness or Shadow, is not ‘evil’ (evil for me is a distortion of natural parts, all of which come from God, or True Nature…) And I don’t believe that some or most of us here would ever do a truly ‘evil’ act for we have something in our subconscious, ready to come in if necessary (-‘conscience’), that can stop us from doing anything actually and deliberately hurtful or cruel to another.. – BUT we still have these self-same parts and potentials that need to be acknowledged, owned and explored)
But this is still in the safty of theory, a map, idea, which is not the same as the reality, and can never contain the whole truth, but I think it’s essentially true.
These parts however as you say, are still ‘real’, when they ‘ARE’, when they come clearly onto the scene of consiousness, even into our own ‘normal’ selfhood.
But I would ultimately say that all aspects of Shadow are essentialy things that I feel are not OK, that bring me Shame , or so I think/believe if I went into them…
Btw, my ugly parts and my woe can be the worst woe and the most ugly I think!
Anyway, these sides or parts might be OK with another, or in another culture – how freeing it is for me to see other cultures e.g. an African dance, they can and have touched on shadow material, that make me feel strange, odd, or I laugh at them like one does with black humour. Hmmm
I could say more another time, please invite me to if you feel like it!

3 years ago

I was in a relationship that hurt my feelings every day. 12 yrs if trying, to cope with what i was doing wrong. My eyes filled with tears and realized love shouldn’t hurt you with demon words. I just knew i had to leave.
I did.

3 years ago

Dear Briony, much appreciate your article “Who prays for the darkness” And your invitations to learn and deepen in humanity. A long time ago, a friend gave the gift of a poem from Rumi to me, it is entitled, The Guest House. I hope you’ll discover it if you haven’t already. Hope you will keep writing…Spacious graciousness!

Leslie Lampkin
3 years ago

An amazing article, thank-you for writing it as I can relate to one major area and that would be speaking of a father. I have a very complex journey that started to lay out in 2007 when my physical illness was turned into a mental health condition. Part of this journey would include a letter of apology to the residents of Winnipeg Manitoba for my crimes as a juvenile. The same day something compelled to throw my drugs in the garbage, and I also received a call. Seems my dad is in hospital and the doctors are talking about resuscitation orders. Thankfully I was able to make it home and make peace with him before he passed a couple months later. Apologize for throwing away a lifetime with him. At 18 I walked away and correspondence was very sporacic over the years, all because I wasn’t happen with his addiction, even though I was doing the same. A few years later this journey took a whole new twist when someone called me out and asked me on 2 occasions, “what do you care?” The illness I mentioned earlier was epilepsy and I’ve found there may be a whole lot more to this condition then we thought.

3 years ago

This article came to me this evening and I see myself in it so much. I am writing my “autobiography” which so much about acceptance and affirmation of my demons and my angels. Thank you. A nice gift on Boxing Day.

Jean Price
3 years ago

The old statements about loving the sinner, but not the sin…or forgiving the abusive person, but not their hurtful actions…or about praying for our enemies …come to mind as I read this! And I’m once again amazed at the capacity and resiliency of the human spirit…to endure and survive…and even to heal as more whole than before! And I’m just as amazed at how insidiously we can position ourselves to judge others…and ourselves, too…as we struggle to make sense of our world and our own feelings! I’ve learned that no matter how hard I try, I can’t make life nice and tidy, and I can’t make others truly understand my ways and my journey experiences!! Since life is a process, I’ve also learned I can’t “get done” adjusting and re-adjusting, as if it were some kind of homework assignment!! Yet having a tidy existence and being done aren’t really true goals anyway! It was in learning this that I’ve found peace, joy, freedom…and myself, despite the darkness!

Natali Anam Àire
3 years ago

Dear UPLIFT Friends!

I do a daily meditation within which I wrap our Mother Earth in violet light with all living beings, everyone and everything included. I do not make a difference, as I have the strong feeling that we are all one and wonderful, not matter what it might look like… so there is no light and dark or good and bad, just all beings and part of the eternal source of life…

Lots of Love,

3 years ago

Without the engagement of our shadow, or building a relationship with it, we are at the behest of myriad unconscious controllers, each one looking its very own child-like way. Congrats Team UPLIFT for inspiring piece!

3 years ago

Thanks Briony. A poetic exploration of a difficult subject.

I’ve noticed how acceptance and condoning are often confused, and how (as with Ingrid’s reply above) acceptance feels too traumatic for someone overwhelmed by the difficulties they have faced in life. And yet acceptance is the necessary process that enables us to step back and distance ourselves from being merged with the trauma.

The ‘work’ to accept what has happened seems to involve separating energetically from the abuser, granting them the freedom to be unwell (as part their karma), then gradually releasing my resentment around what happened (by not giving it the energy of my attention). Only then can I get about the business making myself happy and more whole again.

Until I do that, until I can detach and move on from the pain of the trauma, i am bound in an endless struggle with the memories of the injustice, which then weaves it into my own karma in a more lasting way. I’ve heard blame described as drinking poison with the intent to make another sick. It does seem to work in just that way.

Forgetfulness is greatly underrated in my view… the kind that happens when not from drowning my sorrows in alcohol or escaping them with drugs or fetish attachments, but by doing the work that lets me turn away and just not give my attention to that which causes me suffering.

Thank you again for the eloquent weave of words that gave the world such a poignant tapestry of healing. Hope to see many more in the years to come.


Man ... Unplugged
3 years ago

We don’t have to be acceptable to be accepted, yet we do need to own all that we are, so we can live a truly authentic life. Without engagement of our shadow, or building a relationship with it, we are at the behest of myriad unconscious controllers, each one wanting its own child-like way. Congrats Team UPLIFT for an inspiring and insightful piece!

Ingrid Challenor
3 years ago

Wow ‘team UPLIFT’ Thank goodness for you and your wisdom. It must be so gratifying wielding SUCH power and influence over peoples hearts and minds.
So, I can relate in the way of standing on a critical precipice, finally, and thank fully realising that ‘I’ created ‘them’ to hold ‘me’ accountable to trauma’s & trauma bonds hurried so deep…

When it comes to forgiving the psychopath who broke it out of me?
Bringing myself into oneness with this psychopath?

Now that’s where you loose me.
Being a medium of “Conscious media” you ought to be careful, for you a treading dangerous line.

It’s difficult facing this level of personal honesty…
Facing ignorance, naivety and a general belief in the inherent good in all.
The danger with ‘forgiveness’ you see, ‘team UPLIFT’ is, When pushed as an agenda to victims of physical and psychological violence, it has the potential to ensure more damage, ‘whereby the effects of PTSD are compounded through ‘self’ shaming.

So, What to do with a mastermind dark wizard?

The person I’m talking about has the ability to manipulate energy and form through telekinesis.
He possesses the genius of imbeding himself into another’s bio electrical currents and somatic reality, from a place of ownership. I went from feeling safe in my inner world to terrified of his penetrating intuition and agenda. I could never escape him. He had me hooked into the words he did and didn’t say and the love he never gave, in addition to his grievous sexual addictions, forcing me to live out whatever chaos he created with women through my own body.
This, I now see was the degree of my own dissociative severance from being molested as A child.
Only this level of invasive trauma could engender such degrees of wakefulness and integration.

Throughout this war, The torch has shone into places that scared both me and the devil. Now, I’m woke af but tired.
Tired of fighting off the real love that knocks at my door.
I now feel rendered to an excruciating accountability for my own dark and macabre nature, thanks to this experience, but am reeling from a lifetime of shining light in darkness but afraid to receive it.
Can I rise to meet and co create in Something beautiful?
Well, as I continue to stand solid in my skin and own my monsters, I believe so, yes.
Do I believe that certain expressions of psychopathy warrants empathy and compassion?
In my opinion, encouraging such bipassing furthers cycles of (self) abuse, to people who never had a childhood. These beings need a revolution of self love, identity and boundary’s. NOT spirituality.
So With unequivocal clarity, I say no.
You can keep your ideological hyperbole by not, asking me or any other trauma survivor to so.

3 years ago

It is very romantic to say that we have to accept our darkness, demons etc. What should we do in front of a murder, a rapist or other bad person? What should we do if this person is within us? Not everything is good and worth of accepting. But one thing we can do with the darkness – sometimes the reject is not the best choice – in some cases the transformance (or transmutation) of darkness is what we should do…

clint chase
3 years ago

In conversations with God, explains to Neil
“God is that which IS and that which is NOT”
For me loving the parts of me that is unlovable, is all about total acceptance of what is.
Acceptance has literally helped me to forgive the unforgivable.

Reme Grefalda
3 years ago

I have known this for a while and you have articulated it beautifully. I have welcomed illnesses as visitors and have encouraged my own body to befriend and be hospitable to these visiting aliens — that being so, recovery of health is peaceful because disease is given its chance to shout out its “anger” at my thoughtless ways, my own neglect. I trust my body to heal when it accepts my profound apologies. Your revelation about our shadows & darkness is likewise true and more difficult to acknowledge. But as revelation it is worth taking time exploring the “ugly” truths’ hidden beauty.. Thank you.

Lea Holtz
3 years ago

Ive always felt an antipathy at the word shadow and the way it is used in the modalities that I have studied in the area of psychology. The very naming of characteristics as shadows banishes them into dark corners. Bossiness, anger, jealousy, selfishness, for example, all not seen as desirable traits to have – and yet, as I mature, I realise those very traits are like indicators of my authenticity. The characteristics themselves have been banished to darkness, whilst in fact they are simply indicators of what is needed momentarily to restore the balance, restore health to my wholeness. Thanks for your article. Surely thought provoking.

Ellen Swanson
3 years ago

When I acknowledge my darkness, my shadow, I feel more Oneness with all.

3 years ago

Facing the truth about the “ugly”in ourselves requires a certain amount of permission and courage. How easily we see the ragged edges or darkness in others while closing our eyes to our own shadow!

3 years ago

Whenever I acknowledge my darkness I feel I’m more whole, more authentic.
I’m light, I’m darkness at the same time.
Thank you.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Subscribe to UPLIFT's free Newsletter

Get our regular newsletter sharing the latest updates, articles, films and events.

How will my data be used?