The Truth is, that the places we are most afraid to explore are the places that we absolutely need to.
The cave that you fear, holds the treasure you seek, as a wise person said once.
And yet, to violently throw oneself in a vortex of madness, is not something to be taken lightly.
Yes, one needs a guide, in some way shape, or form.
One needs courage,
ability to fail and stand up again,
and a whole lot of luck to even get out alive.
Glorification of shadow exploration (which I have been definitely guilty of myself) is not only dangerous, but also so immature, and a sign of a huge ego, and a lack of respect for Life.
Life will not ask for respect, Life will just do what Life does, to teach you a lesson.
Life is not politically correct, life does not play by the rules, Life is not even a thing,
Life is larger than life.
I do not, by any means discourage the much-needed path of initiation, which will happen naturally, anyway.
I do however admit, that immaturity, after a certain period, simply has real and very visceral consequences.
You come to Life with respect, or life teaches you respect.
If you are lucky, like me, you have a guide and a teacher, who will show you, without preaching,
How to approach life, to avoid unnecessary suffering.
As for pain, struggle and growth..
that is a part of life and also a way to gain wisdom.
Up to a point, it is essential after a point, it is optional.
And for God's. sake!
Don't buy into the crap that none of that is necessary, as one can just transcend all by imagining figures of light.
If you can stare into the abyss, face infinity without flinching,
then maybe it is a whole different game.
Until then, try with humility, respect,
and see where that
Good luck and happy hunting!