IN THE DARK TIMES – Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom)

IN THE DARK TIMES – Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom)

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that you are born with the courage to live.  [Otherwise you’d never have gotten here.  You’d just be the loser sperm that didn’t make it in the championship race to the egg….]

It’s a hard lesson to learn,  that going through personal darkness is part of the process of developing a stronger light within yourself.  All the wise guys say it’s true.  They say it’s a necessary thing.

Dissolution — the dying of everything Ego thinks it is, it wants, it needs — is the prelude to realizing that, for real, what you are is just what you are, and understanding that it is enough.  Right.  Got it.

Here’s a YouTube video, “Nothing is the Ultimate Reality — Alan Watts” published by TJOP (The Journal of Purpose).  It lays down the reasoning behind the need to get to (and through) dissolution.

Alan Watts, whose thoughts are presented in this video, was a British philosopher, writer and lecturer who interpreted and popularized Eastern philosophy in the Western world.

The bulk of his work happened after he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies in California in 1950.

Watts’ first book, THE WAY OF ZEN, was published in 1957.  It was one of the first best-selling books about an ancient way of thought.

He went on to write more than 25 books and numerous articles exploring Eastern philosophy.   After his death in 1973 his son Mark kept the legacy alive.  Many of the philosopher’s  recorded talks and lectures are available on the Internet.


When the wise guys talk about it, the process of dissolving Ego sometimes sounds like wiping off the thick grimy dust that’s accumulated on a lightbulb that hasn’t been wiped down in a long, long time.

(Pfui!  You can hear those wiseacres sniggering and snorting as you work that elbow, getting all the stuck-on gunk off that stupid bulb.)

They do warn you that this kind of  inner cleansing is not an easy thing.  That old lightbulb’s encrusted, man and it does take a bit of work.

What they don’t tell you is that very likely, while you’re doing all this stuff, you’re not even all that sure that somebody remembered to turn on the electricity.  Maybe you’ll get the dust off and then find out the bulb’s gone bad.  (SHEESH!)


It HURTS when you lose all the illusions and delusions, the protections and mind-constructs you’ve built up so carefully for so long.  It really hurts when you have to let go of the security blanket that defined the you as presented to the world-as-you-know-it by Ego.

The Valley of Shadows strips away all that stuff.  The process is ruthless and if you’re particularly delusional, well…it rips you apart.

And you know what?  You whine and winge an awful lot about really picayune things that make you cringe when you actually listen to yourself.

If you’re actually serious about doing this kind of peeling off the Ego-stuff (rather than embracing it and embedding yourself deeper into the thing) you get to worrying that maybe you’re so riddled with wormholes and rotten spots that you’re going to end up looking like Swiss cheese at the end of the process.


So anyhow, there you are diligently cultivating your “Higher Self” or whatever.  You tell yourself that all you have to do is just keep on moving forward relentlessly until you get all the way through the thing.

You can use all the tools and techniques devised by all the wise guys through all the ages.  You can do all the prescribed meditations and affirmations until they come out of your ears.  You can sing the chants and songs and do the rituals, assume the postures and don the proper attitudes, do whatever you like or need to do to keep on taking one more step and then one more step and then one more step, on and on and on.

But the deal is, you have to keep taking that one more step in the direction you want to go.  They say it’s the only way to get to a life that has meaning and mana for you.

As Brene Brown tells us in her book, RISING STRONG:  The Reckoning, the Rumble, the Revolution, “The truth is that falling hurts.  The dare is to keep being brave and feeling your way back up.”

Feet Walking by shinazy shinazy via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]


I guess that what you really need to get through the dark parts is what the English call “bottom” — courage and balance, sheer stubborn and absolute faith that you ARE going to get there, despite all the “no” and “not and “not even.”

All you have to do is keep taking one step.  That’s all.  Just one more step.

And here’s another poem:


Hanging ten on the edge of dissolution,

Staring into the maw of the Creative Dark, pō panopano.

Sitting here almost brain-dead and drained,

I got to thinking how the other people in my life

Have shaped me, helped me shape my world.


It is a good thought,

Makes me want to throw my fist up in the air,

A warrior’s salute and celebration.

Makes me want to dance on the edge again.

Gives me heart.


I bless them all, those people….


I bless the loving people in my life

The ones who helped smooth my way,

The warm and generous ones,

The ones who were kind.


I bless the strong people in my life,

The ones who kept their promises,

The ones who let me lean on their strength,

The self-sufficient ones, the peaceable ones.


I bless the good people in my life,

Most wondrous of all the gifts

From this old Universe.

On the edge of the void,

They make me smile.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  The Nuclear Lightbulb by Sjoerd Los via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



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16 thoughts on “IN THE DARK TIMES – Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom)

  1. Richard U. says:

    I never thought one could use poem and turn it into one hell of a great motivational tool that can actually change life in many positive ways.

    Looking at this site i realized i really come across something like this and i thought how great it will be to have a little dose of this knowledge daily just to supplement the courage to face life challenges on daily basis.

    I will surely bookmark this and reference it for future readings. Not sure how you come across your research but you are really doing great here.


    1. Hey Richard:

      Thanks for the visit and for your comments. I am glad the thing helps!

      My “research” is almost 19 years of just-living, trying to get to the place where I am living a life with meaning and mana (personal power). I’ve read through the self-help and philosophical books that populate acres of bookshelves and I’ve thought on and tried a bunch of the stuff they suggest that made some sort of sense to me. I like where all this has taken me and it was my thought that this was something I could share with other folks walking through dark times.

      I like playing. I like helping other people play. And I do believe that the only game that’s worth playing is the Game that’s Life.

      Please do come again!

  2. I have always thought poems to be abstract and never engaging plus hard to figure out. But Serrano took a poem and made it into a motivational tool.

    Everyone of us always needs that encouragement until we are no loger in this world. I am confident that daily visit to this site will give me all I require for a beautiful life to accomplish my goals.

    I will surely bookmark pin this site to my browser for easy reference. Thank you

    1. Hey Queen:

      Thanks for your visit and your comments. Please do come again….

  3. Hello Netta,
    What a great site! I never thought of using a poem and turning it into a great motivational tool that can actually change life in so many positive ways. Great job! I will be bookmarking your site for a daily ritual of motivation. I feel everyone needs some inner peace.. Thank you so much for your inspiring site. Debra

    1. Debra, thank you for your visit and your comments. Please do come again….

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Very enlightening and motivating. I love spoken word and the video was very powerful. We need more of these videos and posts in our days – poems seem to get a bad rap but they speak the very emotions we need to convey. The very emotions we as a society need to embrace. I will bookmark this page and spread the word. Thank you!

    1. Hey Elizabeth:  Thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it!

      Please do come again….

  5. Selenity Jade says:

    This is an interesting article, thank you.  Adversity definitely does help us grow as individuals.  Could you imagine if there weren’t any ‘dark times’ in someone’s life?  Everyone might be shallow, vain, two-dimensional cartoons or something. There’d be no depth to anyone if everything was perfect.  People only grow really through the darkness, because there’d be no reason to grow if they didn’t fail, screw up, or go through hardship.  A very thought-provoking article.

    1. Selenity Jade, thank you for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do agree.  Shadow does make the light brighter, it seems.

      Please do come again.

  6. What a good read, Netta!

    Indeed those are secrets of a happy life and it’s interesting that they were revealed through ”The Harvard Study of Adult Development”. They go against all our intuitive reasoning and assumptions. 

    Even when we go through rough patches in our life, social support is very important and will help us pull through. 

    l will be happy to find out what modern society has to say about the reasons for happiness given the way electronic gadgets have negatively affected our social life and social networking. 

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Amos.

      The impact of modern technology on our social lives probably have at least as great an impact on us as humans as the development of the wheel, the concept of “zero”, assorted trading practices, the rise of cities and nations,  and so on and so forth.  

      Changes will keep on happening and my own feeling is that one of our best human qualities is our ability to adapt to the new circumstances that grow out of what our fertile, creative brains make up.

      It’s probably our best challenge as a race.

      Please do come again.

  7. Thanks for sharing this.  It’s comforting to be reminded that dark times in life are often a necessary part of personal growth. 

    If we keep a positive outlook and perspective on the things that happen to us and around us, then we can see “negative” moments in a more constructive light. Trust that everything is happening as it should. 

    1. True, dat!  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Aly.

      Please do come again.

  8. LineCowley says:

    There are so many parts of your poem that rings a bell with me. After a particularly difficult time in my life, it is really the strong people that I can relate to. The ones that let me lean on their strength, and was always there with valuable support and wise words.

    If find this post incredibly motivational. I was not familiar with the works of Alan Watts, so will certainly be looking out for it. Do you know if his first book, The Way of Zen, that was published in 1957, is still in print and available? Or should I search for it in an antique bookshop? 

    Thank you for inspiring me today to continue taking steps in the right direction. 

    1. Thanks, LineCowley — for your visit, for sharing your thoughts.  Alan Watts’ work is still available on Amazon, it seems.  The guy’s devotees have not let his thoughts die.  A good thing.

      I’m really pleased this post was helpful to you.

      Please do come again.

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