“The brighter your light, the darker your shadow.” Carl Jung
If this is true, my light must be piercingly bright, because one of my darkest shadows is murderous rage.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I write murder mysteries, especially as I continue to deepen my spiritual practice. Why do I love watching thriller movies with guns and violence? Why do I so often root for the bad guys? Why do I write about psychopathic killers?
I think it’s so I don’t murder someone.
Many spiritual teachers tell us to stay away from the dark side, to not contribute to violent entertainment mediums, to feed the positive and “good” aspects of our nature. And, for the most part, this is what I’ve done. I’ve written six books that fall into this category, I teach meditation, I coach people to live harmoniously with themselves and others. But I cannot ignore my dark side.
If it ever happens that I act on the murderous rage I know is in my unconscious, the infamous “they” will uncover this blog and say: “There it is, why didn’t we do something? Stop her then? Lock her up?”
It scares me when I think about sharing this side of my nature. And maybe it’s crazy to post it on the Internet for all the world to read. (If only my blog were that popular!) But I believe we all have dark shadows, and if we don’t look at them, acknowledge them and make friends with them, someday they will find a way to express themselves and we’ll either end up hurting ourselves or hurting others.
I believe we’re all capable of murder. But maybe it’s just me!
It’s the denial of this, pointing the finger at those who do kill, separating ourselves as much as possible from them, and treating them as other than human, that makes us just like them, or worse. This conscious act of setting up the we/they dichotomy, blinds us to the truth. I think we do it because we don’t want to face our own destructive power—unconscious or otherwise.
Many years ago I went to a Buddhist conference where I witnessed numerous Buddhist teachers and leaders expressing outrage at Peter Matthiesson for talking about the “animal” side of us. They couldn’t even see themselves as they were casting anger and vitriol, that their dark side, their shadow side, their “animal” nature was being revealed and on full display. All these so-called “spiritual” people.
My mystery books are chock full of “spiritual” people being bad. When I first shopped for a publisher for the first one, One Hand Killing, many editors said it wasn’t believable. They wanted to hang onto the notion that monks and nuns and priests and holy people are better than the rest of us. Ha!
As if there were such a thing as good and evil! (More on this in a future blog.)
When I finished writing the second Alex Sullivan Mystery, I found a new editor and was convinced to do yet another rewrite on the first one. So I did. In a few weeks, a new re-written, re-edited, re-packaged version of One Hand Killing will be on sale. And Killing Sacred, the second one, will follow a few months after that.
The new cover for One Hand Killing is spectacular! And I can’t wait to share it with you. The petty, dark child inside me is begging me to do it now! But I must resist, even though I don’t want to. Wanting to do something that I know I shouldn’t do, for whatever reason, is similar to that urge I sometimes have when the murderous rage deep inside me gets stirred up. So I’ll use the same tools with this as I use with that one. Just notice, say hello, and don’t give it room to breathe. It’ll be so much better to wait till we publish the book again to reveal the cover.
I hope you enjoy reading (and writing if that if your passion) about murder and mayhem. Cause I sure do! But you’ll have to be patient just a tad longer to read these two books. The wait will be worth it, I promise.