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What's in Your Dungeon?

Last November, I spent four days at a Caroline Myss workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the theme was “The Call to Empowerment.” Caroline suggests that our only road to empowerment is to face the ways in which we lose our power. This is not something that the average person can easily see in themselves. In fact, as someone who has done a lot of inner work on myself, I was still shocked at how many ways I lose my own power. Looking at it all now from the vantage point of hindsight, I am shocked that I was shocked! In fact, the same things that plagued me as a child, such as shame, still wreak havoc on me today. But it’s actually worse now, because while I have been aware of these things, I have lulled myself into a false sense of security telling myself that I have overcome them. Nope. It’s just that I’ve gotten better at building sound-proof walls in my dungeon.

Myss describes the chakras in a unique way and calls our lower three chakras our “dungeon” where we seek to hide our dark side. Let’s start by defining our dark side (also called our "shadow"). It is the part of us that we try to keep hidden. It is our inner vampire that sucks us of our power and is afraid of being exposed to the light. That vampire is the inner dialogue that haunts us in the confines of our own head never to be openly viewed, yet it is revealed in our unconscious reactions and fears.. It is the underlying cause of our unhappiness and our ego does its job to keep it hidden, yet it is the part of us that exposes itself when it reacts suddenly and doesn’t consider the consequences in that moment.

The real dungeon is our second chakra, which is the storage room for things like our limiting beliefs and superstitions that hold the irrational parts of us that are manifested as our cravings/addictions and how we seek vengeance. It’s funny, because when Myss was prodding the class to figure out their approach to vengeance, my ego screamed, “I am so not a vengeful person.” But as I listened to the brave souls in the class exposing their vengeful ways, I heard a tiny voice trying to make its way through the soundproofing to say, “Oh, but you do seek vengeance, Ali.” After I told that little voice that she should shut the fuck up, I thought of someone who recently did some pretty nasty stuff to me. How did I handle that? I didn’t give her any opportunity to explain and cut all ties to her. I did it quietly and with a surgeon’s precision. I won’t allow myself to speak or even think her name. All is nicely tucked away in my dungeon.

So many people are surprised to find out that I have very low self-esteem (a symptom of my unhealthy 3rd chakra). With my loud-mouth and often boisterous personality, I seem pretty damn confident, don’t I? Yeah, those loud parts make up the layers of the sound-proofing I was telling you about. You may not know how incredibly self-critical I can be, but the screams coming out of my dungeon are quite deafening in my own head and can make my inner dialogue pretty complicated at times. Fucking self-torture. The problem is that my inner judge was appointed way before my spiritual awakening and that bastard has tenure, which is what has made my self-reproach an unconscious, bad habit.

We are all far-sighted when asked to look at our inner workings, as we simply don’t see the ways that we lose our power. We cringe at the thought of our dark side being exposed, so we think that we are doing a good job hiding it. But, trust me, it may not be obvious to you, but those around you can see it. Go ahead and ask someone close to you, “what do you think is the part of me that stops me from being my best self?”. Nah, that’s way too cringy for most of us. Myss suggests “bitch slapping your ego” and “playing hard-ball” with yourself and adding a healthy dose of discernment to your daily life. See, most of us are asleep most of the time. We move unconsciously through the day without ever observing the things we do and what we are thinking.

What do you keep hidden in your dungeon?

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