When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When your vision has gone, no part of the world can find you. Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own. There you can be sure you are not beyond love. The dark will be your womb tonight. The night will give you a horizon further than you can see. – David Whyte
Here in the northern hemisphere, as we slide toward the winter solstice, the days are becoming shorter and shorter. We live more and more in the dark.
In general, most of us tend to denigrate darkness – especially those of us on a spiritual path! We associate spiritual growth with the light: seeking the light, seeing the light, being enlightened, and so forth. Darkness we consider a place of fear, danger, doubt, despair, and all kinds of negativity – not to mention historical prejudices against people with darker skin.
Lately, I’ve been rethinking this dichotomy between darkness and light. Kabbalist mystic and Zen teacher Jason Shulman, whom I interviewed recently for the Earth & Spirit podcast, helped me see that darkness can be a lovely and necessary place of gestation, intuition, and integration of our full selves – not just the shiny, happy self we may wish to pursue or project. It is the yin that complements the yang. The Kabbalists even speak of the “lamp of darkness,” and upcoming podcast guest and dharma teacher Deborah Eden Tull writes of “luminous darkness” and “endarkenment” as a complement to enlightenment. Perhaps the “light shining in the darkness” in this Christian Advent season is a partner to the dark, not an enemy of it!
In these next weeks, I’d like to invite all of us to make a nondual journey into the darkness, in whatever forms it may take in our lives. Let’s travel there with mindfulness and open-hearted curiosity, and see what gifts it may offer us. “There you can be sure,” as poet David Whyte writes so beautifully, “you are not beyond love.”
Kyle Kramer, CEO