he great playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote in Act 2 of his play, Ghosts:"I almost think we're all of us ghosts. ... It's not only what we have inherited from our father and mother that walks in us. It's all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we can't get rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light."
In reflecting on a book I’m devouring, The Translucent Revolution
by Arjuna Ardagh, I found it astonishing to come across this passage by Ibsen, which at first reading, chills me to the bone. Yes, I know of these ghosts ‘all the world over,’ more so I am reminded of the ghosts residing inside of me…but, I’m learning a valuable lesson from them at the same time.
Do we need to fully exercise our ghosts away to recognize, even befriend the completely unfinished business that is confusing us, as us. Is it too simplistic to say all we must do is recognize even embrace these pieces of ourselves in order to be done with their haunting? Perhaps we will never entirely lose their grip…but should we allow their weight to hold us spellbound?
Why should we deny those parts of ourselves we’re so intimately, inextricably still in love with- it is such a compelling, heart breaking drama after all, isn’t it? Who are we without our drama? Shouldn't we embrace all that makes us human, even that part of us that is so pitifully afraid of the light?
Our experience surely cannot be fully contained by what we perceive is happening to us. I choose to trust we are more than what we believe ourselves to be and yet every feeling we experience is valid including our fear of the light as well as the draw to our source. I'm learning I don't need to understand our being, simply learn to rest in it while experiencing the mystery.
I'm sure we've done our part by showing up; the agreement is complete, even as we are complete, ghosts and all.