I am knowledge and ignorance. I am shame and boldness. I am shameless; I am ashamed. I am strength and I am fear. I am war and peace. I am control and the uncontrollable. I am the union and the dissolution. I am the one whom they call Life, and you have called Death. – Fragments of text from ancient gnostic manuscript “The Thunder, Perfect Mind” found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk surrounding “lightworkers.” Many articles – often on spiritual development and new age sites – have been published with titles such as, “Are You a Lightworker?” “How Do I Become a Lightworker?” and “8 Signs That You’re a Lightworker,” and so forth. While these articles and the concept of being a lightworker in general can be beneficial for the initial stages of our spiritual growth, the notion of being a lightworker is essentially a destructive form of identification that hinders our expansion in the long term.
This might sound outrageous. “How can identifying with the light, with goodness, possibly be destructive?!” We’ll explore why in depth in this article, and the main reason is tied in with the reality of non-duality.
What is Non-Duality?
Our thoughts, memories, judgments, perceptions, beliefs, dogmas and mental conditionings rule our entire lives. We are built by thought, and we are destroyed by thought. We are elevated by thought, and we are disgraced by thought. We are organized by thought, and we are disorganized by thought. We live by thought, and we die by thought.
Thought is everywhere. Just turn away from the screen on which you’re reading this article – look straight ahead. What do you see? A wall? Curtains? Traffic? People? These are all forms of thought. Yes, they might actually exist, but our ability to understand what they are, separate them, and label them, is all a product of thought. In fact, this entire article is … what? A product of thought manifested in a physical form.
It’s no wonder that we get so wound up in thought! In fact, we get so obsessed with thought that our entire moral and religious systems are a product of separating people, feelings, things, and situations into “good or bad,” “righteous or evil,” “light or dark,” “positive or negative.” We do this so that life is easy to understand, and so that we can prolong our survival by processing what will help us live, versus die.
But thought has shifted from an evolutionary function, to the axis on which our entire lives rotate. We identify with thought so closely that it is the basis on which we build our entire illusionary identities that are composed of feelings, thoughts, beliefs, memories, tastes, and sensations that are all subject to growth, change and decay. We identify with thought so closely that it is the basis for every form of war, terror, abuse and unhappiness, and every fleeting form of pleasure, obsession, egomania, success and ambition.
Thought is what blocks out our connection with Soul, which is pure, radiant presence, or Being. And thought is also what creates duality, which is essentially our tendency to fragment existence, rather than seeing it as one great Whole.
Good/bad, right/wrong, light/dark, positive/negative, hero/villain, saint/sinner – these concepts are all products of duality. And so is being a “lightworker” or “darkworker.”
In reality, there is no such thing as a lightworker or darkworker: there is just a worker, a person. When we understand the futility of identifying with something that doesn’t exist (only in dualistic thought), we can experience life with immense wholeness and clarity.
Like the yin and yang, there is always light in darkness, and darkness in light. So can anything truly be said to be solely one thing? Without one, there can’t be the appreciation or understanding of the other. This is the essence of non-duality. Nothing is separate, everything is One.
Why I’m Not a Lightworker
I’ve had many people refer to me as a “lightworker” and also ask me whether I am a lightworker. I am not. I also don’t believe that identifying as a lightworker is “wrong” or bad: it just has more disadvantages than advantages. So if you are interested in spiritual maturity, read why I don’t identify as one:
1. Because we need light AND darkness to experience wholeness.
This is the entire premise of shadow work; without plunging to the depths of your inner hell and exploring your demons, you can’t scale the heights of your inner heaven. In other words, focusing only on self-love without doing the real dirty work is just another form of spiritual bypassing. (You can read more about the dark side of self-love here and spiritual bypassing here.)
2. Because identifying as a lightworker instantly creates a rift of separation between people.
The philosophy of lightworkers is noble (wanting to serve the world, helps others, support spiritual progression), however, ironically the very act of identifying as a lightworker perpetuates the myth that we are divided: that there are “good people” and “bad people,” that there are “heroes” and “villains.” Life is not that simple, and to refer to people as “lightworkers” or “darkworkers” is to play the same destructive game as religion has (i.e. that there are righteous people and unrighteous people).
3. Because the label is hard to shake (the ego loves it).
Old Souls, empaths, introverts, extroverts, star seeds, free spirits – all are forms of identification that are extremely beneficial for self-understanding up until a certain point. But all labels must eventually be shed to experience true Being. Identifying as a “Lightworker” is yet another label out there which needs to be shed, but is particularly hard to shake off. Why? If you think about it, how nice is it to feel as though you are righteous; a hero of humanity; a diamond of spirituality; a herald of greatness; an elevated being? Pretty damn nice. But the truth is that you aren’t just light, you are also dark. And to deny the darkness within you is to deny the truth of reality.
What about you?
What is your opinion of lightworkers/darkworkers? What has your experience been with duality and non-duality? Please share below and join the discussion!