The Light in the Darkness

Some of my clients have dubbed me “Doc HopeFull”. They have
done so because, when they are in very dark places, I often act
as a Spiritual Guide to lead them to a Beacon of Light. When I
recently did my genealogy, I discovered that almost all of my
ancestors were sea-faring folk. Many were sea captains and
fishermen who had learned to navigate through stormy waters.
They were also keenly aware of the locations of lighthouses and
fog horns that could guide their way home. Perhaps this is how
I inherited my undaunted hopefulness? Many people struggle in
despair and hopelessness at the other end of the spectrum.
I attempt to reassure them that there is light at the end of the
tunnel and, if they “keep the long view” and stay focused on the
vision, there is some hope that they will come out into the Light.

The movie, “Invictus”, in which Morgan Freeman plays Nelson
Mandela, is a depiction of this ability to muster the courage to
trudge on through the darkness. Mandela is portrayed as a man
of invincible and unassailable vision who persevered through
nearly impossible obstacles to free ALL the people of South
Africa from the terrible yolk of apartheid. Another example is
U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry whose slogan was, “Hope
is on the way.” He was then followed by Barack Obama whose
slogan was, “Yes we can.” Hope springs Eternally from the Souls
of such inspiring people.

Hopelessness was very well described by Alighieri Dante when
he said of his Inferno (Hell), “All hope abandon, ye who enter
here.” Many people live and act as if there are only two poles
of hope: hopefulness and hopelessness. Consider that there
is a whole spectrum of hope from 0% to 100%. It operates
on a gradient from very little hope to lots of hope. If a person
projects that there is little hope, then that will most likely be
the outcome. If they project that only 5% of people succeed in a
particular path, then they will probably wind up among the 95%
who fail! Who says that they can’t wind up in the 5% success
group? Hope is letting go of fear of failure on a given path.

Viktor Frankl, author of: “Man’s Search for Meaning”, spent many
months in a German concentration camp. He initiated a field
called logotherapy which essentially espouses that, “What you
project is what you get.” One of the ways that he kept his hope
alive was to completely plan a beautiful home for his family
which they built when he was liberated by the Allies! C.G. Jung,
the psychologist, suggests that we “darken” and “lighten” our
challenges by exercising choice. We can choose hope. We can
choose to for-give ourselves for an emotional block. Hope is an
emotion in the present tense. It is not in the future. By staying
in the present and focusing on our vision we can meaningfully
thrive. Have you ever noticed how the Light seems to go out
in the eyes of a person who has given up on a goal, or mentally
slipped away, or is soon to die?

Hope is not the same as optimism. Optimism can lead to “false
hope” which is hope built on fantasies and/or nearly impossible
outcomes. Hope has the element of confidence that a possible
outcome has, in reality, a good chance of actually manifesting.
Consider that hope requires specificity. For example, there is no
such thing as a hopeless person! However, a particular person
may be hopeless in a particular situation at a particular time.
When we navigate through our days in a state of unconditional
love we can maintain our hope at the highest realistic level.
Many roadblocks, traps and perceived limitations evaporate.

Many people look at uncertainty as a negative experience. It is
true that it is not very comfortable. However, we can ratchet
up our “uncertainty tolerance” while holding onto our hope.
Then out of the cloud of uncertainty a higher vision will be born.
In this way we are amply rewarded for our temporary discomfort.
When we choose to face the uncertainty with courage and
Buddha-like non-attachment, our flame of hope can burn brightly.

I hope that all your highest aspirations come to fruition!

This article was written in Feb., 2012 by: Richard M. Haney, Ph.D.
(Counselling and Mediation), (613) 234-5678 richard@magma.ca