Some years ago, as I reflected on my life’s journey, wondering at the choices I made, the paths I followed, and the life, circumstances, and revelations manifested as a result, a statement of illumination came to my mind –
I went to the dark side of the light, and there I found the truth.
What I saw by examining my life was that the growth, turns and changes I had experienced in my beliefs and in my conception of myself (and the shifting realities as a consequence) were the result of my inspecting and questioning the belief systems I had subscribed to. The questions often were triggered by the introduction of ideas, variant and heretical, that, once they cracked the shell of my reflexive resistance, would ferment in my mind into a shapeless loaf given form and value only by my experience. And it was the experience that made all the difference.
I remember, for example, when I once belonged to a (Christian) religious body that taught me that meditation was an occult practice to be avoided. The reasoning was that the emptying of your mind left a void to be filled by seducing spirits, i.e., demons presenting themselves as angels of light. Through agreement and obedience this became a truth for me. Meditation belonged to the kingdom of darkness – dangerous, evil, satanic.
Today, I agree with that last statement except for the dangerous, evil, satanic piece….meditation does indeed belong to the kingdom of darkness.
But what do I mean when I say darkness? And is the darkness I refer to the same darkness the church (any church……fill in the blank here with what you know/experience) guards against?
Shedding Light on Darkness
Darkness has gotten a bad rap by the architects of language. Grossly misunderstood as the metaphorical expression for evil, all that darkness offers us – insight and self-knowledge, i.e., light – gets lost in the void created by fearful avoidance.
As Joseph Campbell said, ‘The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.’
Darkness houses the patterns and myths that we act out in our lives as well as the powers and possibilities sitting in latency waiting to be called upon and enacted by our conscious will. As a result, we go through life, both the daily and the dreamy, in a state of hazy unknowing through which we grope blindly and desirously. We want, we want, and we seek but do not find; we ask but do not receive; we knock and to us nothing opens.
For most adherents of religion, the god that is worshipped and the ‘truth’ followed have nothing to offer – no real transformation, no empowerment, no insights, no answers, no life-transforming knowledge of the glorious Self. The stories of the life and history and dictates of their god(s) and the rounds of meaningless, rote ceremony, acted out mindlessly week after week, holy day after holy day, amount to nothing more than inane pageantry. And this I know from experience and observation.
And this is not unique to religion. In politics, education, healthcare, science and business/finance, the pillars of modern society along with religion, we do not exercise individual sovereignty but fall in line with the established paradigm no matter how much we are weakened, marginalized, and disregarded by them in our quest for life, liberty, and happiness. Granted, some changes are effected by collective action such as protests and boycotts, but over time we see only change, not true transformation of the Human condition. We are only rearranging the furniture, not building a new house.
How can it be that Humans, with all the potential for transformation and self-realization that we possess, can be rendered as powerless as we show ourselves to be?
One answer is we are looking in the wrong places for the power, knowledge, and possibilities that make up our Humanity. We look to the things we know, the things we’ve learned through school, religion, or science, for example, while remaining largely ignorant of the inner resources contained within our Being which are accessed through experience, contemplation, reflection, meditation, and earnest soul-searching.
The consequence of this ignorance is that we don’t know our Selves, through experience and conscious awareness, as singular and collective expressions of the consciousness, power, and infinite wisdom that births our existence. We are uncomfortable with mystery so we grasp for whatever answers and ‘facts’ will put our (conditioned) minds at ease.
A Sufi parable speaks to this point eloquently:
A man was searching under the light of a street lamp for his lost keys.
A friend walks by and notices him and asks, ‘What are you looking for?’
So the friend joined him in his search. Some time passes without success so the friend asks, ‘Where did you lose the keys?’
‘Inside the house,’ replies the seeker.
‘Then why are you looking out here?’
‘Because this is where the light is.’
This parable makes clear that we must look within for the answers we seek.
But, do we trust our Selves? Do we trust what comes from within us? Are we willing to go into the darkness, to dive into the vast, infinite mystery lying beneath the surface of what we know, what we see, what we have learned? Are we willing to navigate, in silent listening, the uncharted waters of Self?
Or do we defer to external authorities – books, teachers, gurus, preachers, scientists, leaders, traditions, beliefs, teachings, and facts – for the answers?
By going within we will meet with angels and demons, fears and shadows, unanswered questions and crumbling truths, but if we persist in this journey the light within us will emerge to our seeing and we will have discovered that what we have been seeking was within us all along.
But if we are conditioned to believe in the idea that darkness is the domain of evil and that unanswered questions are perilous because they don’t contribute to our advancement then we will avoid the darkness at all costs.
Darkness is the Mother; Light is the Child
The original state of all things is darkness. The fetus develops in the darkness of the womb. The seed germinates in the darkness of the earth. The lifeforce lies hidden in the dark and out of view within the seed. Potential and possibilities remain in the darkness of the unconscious until the illumination of consciousness shines upon them and they manifest as reality.
Light emerges from the darkness. Darkness does not emerge from the light.
We originate in the darkness.We emerge from the darkness. We do not emerge from the light.
We are the light!
This is a heretical, even blasphemous, statement to some minds so let me say it again…
We are the light!
You are the light!
You are the light of this world!
Darkness holds all the power and possibility for life in its infinite variations of expression. Light is the expression of those powers and possibilities. Light is the expression of darkness.
The words you are reading are not thoughts or ideas; they are the expression of those thoughts and ideas which are the expression of consciousness. Similarly, darkness gives expression to the light. The darkness is the Mother; the light is the Child.
Turn off the light in your room and what you are left with is what is always there – darkness. You cannot turn off or extinguish the darkness – it is ever-present. Darkness, then, is the container and germ of all beginnings. Darkness is our Mother.
And if we are to gain insight into our existence and its meaning; if we are to advance in the knowledge of Self and the Universe; if we desire transformation, lasting and impacting, we must return to our Mother. We must go to the darkness of the hidden realms of our soul where all the knowledge and powers of life reside and where the light waits to be born.
And that light is you.