The ancient Greeks worshipped Athena as a goddess. Her greatest shrine, the Parthenon
( Temple of Athena ), completed in 438 B.C., was classic Greek architecture at its highest. Its beauty can still be experienced today as it stands on the Acropolis, over-looking the city of Athens . This statue Athena Parthenos, was produced by the master sculptor Phidias. It was created to stand in Parthenon, it would become the very symbol of Athenian civilization.
Every day Phidias found himself surrounded by the curious. One day, as he was tediously perfecting one of the strands of hair on the back of the head of Athena, the sculptor was challenged by an onlooker: “ That figure is to stand one hundred feet high, with its back to the marble wall. Who will ever know what details you are putting behind there?”
Without pausing, Phidias replied, “ I will know”!
How many times are we tempted in our lives to not give out our very best? How many times do our behaviors contradict who we truly are?
There is a saying that I believe in: “ Always conduct yourself as if the whole world is watching, because it is!”
Phidias could have gotten away with less attention to detail. However, he chose to honor an inner mandate which transcended the work itself: the need for excellence, of doing the right thing, or giving one’s best. Not doing it for someone else’s approval but simply because it feels right.
We all have this same mandate. It goes beyond popular approval, man-made laws, moral codes and religious injunctions. It’s a built-in measure which tells us the difference between walking the high road or taking a lower path.
Yes at times the lower path seems easier, at times it does not matter to anyone else but ourselves. We know it, we feel it and when we make that choice, we know it in a secret place in our hearts. This results in slowing us down on our path and journey towards growth.
When we’ve missed the mark, and fallen short of doing or being our best, we know it without anyone having to tell us. There is always this still small voice nudging us toward higher and better. That is our inner nature. That is the voice of our higher selves.
To dismiss it, is to dismiss a very important part of ourselves. The less resistant we are to this part of ourselves seeking expression the more good we will experience in our lives. When we do the opposite of what our higher self inspires us to do, we feel the difference.
The difference could be compared to walking in the light versus walking in darkness.
When our thoughts and actions do not honor who we truly are, we feel like as if darkness has fallen on our path. Feelings of sadness, depression, fear or anxiety become present. We know deep inside that we have wandered off of our path and have delayed our journey. We begin to experience all kinds of negative situations in our lives. Confusion and discouragement can set in, keeping us trapped and feeling as if somehow, we have lost our way. We begin behaving badly, like as if another being has taken over our lives.
Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, referred to this part of ourselves as the «shadow». It is that primitive, destructive side of the self which is kept in check, according to Jung, by the ego and the personality but most of all by consciousness itself. It is responsible for what we label as evil . Jung said it consisted of the animal instincts that humans inherited in their evolution from lower forms of life and the shadow and typifies the animal side of human nature.
Basically, we always have the choice of whether we want to follow our higher consciousness or higher self which we can compare to light, or follow the lower path which we can compare to darkness.
Strength is found in light, weakness and desperation are always found in darkness.
The problems we encounter in our society today is the result of human beings making these lower choices.
Let’s face it, there can be plenty of dark thoughts and feelings. You’ve experienced them and so have all of us. Everyone has. To be rid of them, you have to deny that they have an existence of their own, they cannot. You must acknowledge them as part of yourself. Once you’ve done this, you have begun the process of releasing them. You’ll be absolutely astonished at how shadows scurry away when you turn on the light. There were no monsters under the bed after all!
Light then breaks through everywhere . You can stop surpressing it in your own life. What you can change is yourself. When you allow your light to shine, some amazing things begin to happen. You’ll see more and more light in others. This becomes a chain reaction and they, in turn, see more of the light in themselves. Light is not selective, it shines in all directions!
Do not let darkness cause you to feel overwhelmed. Your journey if traveled with dedication and enthusiasm, is leading you inevitably to the light clearing your path and guiding you on your very own journey towards growth and towards full self-expression !