Secrets are things that we all carry; they cast a shadow between us and the light of our Soul. Imagine the sun with a shadow over it, a bit like an eclipse; a partial shadow dims the light on the earth, while a complete shadow i.e. a full eclipse blocks out the light entirely. The result is that we cannot see very well at all. Without light, there can’t be the life we experience today.
Likewise, without the light of our Soul showing us the way, it is difficult – even impossible - to find our way through the maze we find in life.
A secret is something that you hold within you. Many secrets have a large measure of guilt around them. Guilt makes the secret an even bigger issue.
There are big secrets and not so big secrets but they all have the same effect - all in different degrees. For instance you may have killed someone and buried him or her in the back yard and told no one - this would be classed as a big secret with a large chunk of guilt around it. Or maybe you forgot to put out the rubbish or have had a hateful thought about your mother in law - these may fall in the category of lesser secrets.
All secrets however have the same result; they make us feel uneasy and uncomfortable with ourselves. So what we do is to ignore the secrets and if we are really good at it, we bury them deep within our unconscious, so deep that we might even believe that they don’t actually exist.
Some individuals, however, cannot suppress their secrets. They are haunted by these secrets, often daily, as in the following case.
Bob came to see me for some therapy to help to stop him to stop smoking. It was obvious to me from the moment Bob stepped into my office that he carried a big secret. When I said that I could see that something was bothering him, Bob broke down, and seemed relieved to tell me his story: one night 10 years ago, he had killed a pedestrian (hit and run accident). He had never told anyone and was racked with guilt. He thought about this everyday. He couldn’t get away from it, he couldn’t hide from his secret.
This of course was a big reason why he smoked 60 cigarettes a day. By exposing his secret to me, Bob began on a long path of resolution and forgiveness. This is an example of a secret surrounded with guilt that was exposed to the person involved.
Another type of secret is the one buried so deeply within that the person has no conscious memory of it. Sally presented with depression, hopelessness, anger and confusion. She found herself on anti-depressant medication, which didn’t seem to make a lot of difference. During our therapy sessions, she uncovered a childhood memory in which her older brother had made her take all her clothes off while out in the bush. He then hid them and thought it a great joke to watch Sally running around the bush desperately trying to find her clothes.
Once Sally uncovered this memory – her secret within - she realised that her depression had escalated as an adult when her brother returned home from overseas. She began to have the exact same feelings as an adult that the little girl had experienced.
This secret didn’t have guilt around it, yet it controlled Sally’s state of being. With the secret out in the open and Sally now able talk freely about it, it will begin to naturally resolve itself. Once the secret comes into the light and is expressed, it begins to dissipate and the person involved has an opportunity to find resolution (unless they have decided to play the victim/martyr role in life).
It was also interesting to note that immediately when Sally had written a letter to her brother and burnt it, the phone rang: it was her brother, asking if she was alright, (something that he had never done). That’s how powerful writing letters of truth can be.
In our world, we have laws and a system that attempts to expose secrets. If a person commits an offence and is brought before the courts, the system attempts to expose the secrets and get to the truth (this is the idea - how successful it is can at times be questionable).
In my mind, the aim of the justice system is to expose secrets, giving the individuals opportunities to make amends. This can lead to continued denial (they say everyone in jail claims they are innocent, the ego refusing to face the truth) or it can lead to facing the truth and a clearing of the conscience. Some people, however, remain trapped in remorse and never get past it, while others find their way to a better place.
Once a secret is fully exposed, the individual concerned is able to give his or herself every chance of finding forgiveness from others and from themselves.
With forgiveness comes freedom. Without it, you can be trapped in guilt/remorse. I recall as a young boy stealing sinkers from the bait shop in order to be able to go fishing with my mates. I thought I was a big guy stealing the sinkers, but two minutes later the guilt hit me like a hammer. That guilt/secret stayed with me well into my adult life. It wasn’t until I wrote a letter to the owner of the bait shop and asked him for forgiveness (promising him a bucket load of sinkers when I next see him) that I got to the point of forgiving myself.
To many this secret would be a tiny thing, but to me, the small boy, it was enormous. As a result of this experience and others I have learnt about secrets/guilt and their power, and I have found the value of forgiveness.
For a measure of how many secrets/ how much guilt you carry, I will give you a couple of suggestions.
1. Look into the eyes of someone you respect - can you comfortably hold their gaze? If you find yourself uncomfortable or looking away, there may be something in you that you are not at ease with. Find out what it is and take measures to release it and forgive yourself.
2. Before you go to sleep, ask that you recall a secret that you carry a secret that you have guilt around. When you wake, it will be there. Write it down and when you have the time and it involves another person, write them a letter, read it out loud and burn it. Your secrets that cast shadows will dissolve and a wonderful lesson of life will be learnt.
Secrets and shadows give us an opportunity to learn and grow. They are a part of life and we only learn to find a greater openness in ourselves by finding our way through the guilt and releasing our secrets, allowing the light of our souls to shine.
Many blessings to all.