Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three great gods of Hinduism. Now, to whom do you think the Balinese dedicated the Pura Besakih, their biggest temple?

They dedicated it to Shiva (i.e., destruction). What’s more, the Balinese people follow the path of Shiva. As you walk around Bali, you encounter several statues of dark, demon-like creatures but also those of enlightened Gods and heroic symbols. You may well be scared of them if you saw them at night. The Balinese perform rituals to goddesses with long teeth, because they accept dark and light as they do their right and left legs. They don’t prefer one over the other but rather believe they should both be respected, so they do…

In the morning rituals, when they leave offerings at the altar, they also leave another offering below the altar. This represents their respect for the sky and the earth, for those up in the sky and those on the ground, for those in the light and those in the dark. Anyway, I was in Bali for about 40 days, and I didn’t see one Balinese yell, fight, or refuse to smile. They always smile and act kindly. You needn’t fear being harmed by the Balinese, although this may not apply to some of the outsiders who have migrated to the island.

Likewise, I also went to see the remains of the ancient civilization of Egypt. There’s a statue at the Egyptian Museum that I show to travelers each time I visit. It’s the statue of Ramses III with Horus on one side and Seth on the other. One represents the light and the other the dark. They are both depicted with the same size, being equally respected. Seth can be found in many Egyptian temples, some of which were even dedicated to him. Similarly, look at the temples of Ancient Greece. Hades was also always respected.

When I see all this, I begin to believe we should develop a new understanding of light and dark. In most of the movies we watch, it’s always a battle between good and evil, with good invariably winning. And we always cheer the good guys on. We have to pick a side, so we naturally stand by the good, the light. But here’s a question. If the billions of people on earth are all siding with good and the light, why is the world in such a “dark” place? Something must be seriously wrong here.

Similarly, we try to suppress the darkness inside us. We actually try to deny it. In some new trends, we pretend to acknowledge it and then try to transform it. Well, as we keep doing this over and over, the world grows darker and darker. It feels like we’re maybe doing something wrong at this point. Illuminating the darkness is not what we’re supposed to be doing. We should be accepting and embracing the light and dark equally, not preferring one over the other. Accepting and embracing that both exist inside us, for real this time, will promote real inner peace.

Now, there’s a story going around on the Internet about a Native American with two dogs. One is black and the other white. When his grandson asks him which one would win in a fight, the man replies, “The one I feed.”

The story is missing some parts of the original that represent duality, however. You can read the full version in Debbie Ford’s book Why Good People Do Bad Things. Someone quoted the book, but incompletely so. Later in the story, the Native American tells his grandson, “But I feed them both. They each have different characteristics, and I need them both.” To be truthful, I prefer this version, because I always wondered what’s wrong with the black dog. Why would you try to starve it?

If the Creator intended a world of light, why didn’t he fill the universe completely with light? There needs to be some black to place next to the white, some Yin to complement the Yang, the negative to offset the positive…

I accept at this point that they both exist in me, both positive and negative, light and dark, good and bad. I have them all, and I lower my sword to the darkness…

I am neither a warrior of light nor a servant of darkness. There’s a Creator beyond it all, one with all of it. I surrender to it. In brief, I remove myself from your way, you the manifest Creator…