Seeing in the Darkness
I suspect we’ve all had many encounters with darkness that were both scary and enlightening. Maybe the first one was coming through the birth canal into the light of the delivery room. Another may have been when a trusted caregiver shocked you into the darkness through their unconscious shadow self. We all know darkness and light. We all know depression and delight. We all know blindness and clarity. Awareness is key in all these circumstances.
I remember years ago when I lived at a secluded ranch. My wife had a town job at the time and I didn’t. One day I took the opportunity to spend the whole day in the creek bed with the cottonwood trees and my dog. I cordoned off an imaginary boundary, blindfolded myself and stayed there all day experiencing the darkness in the daylight. It didn’t take long for the other senses to compensate for this lack of sight. I was amazed at how the environment changed.
I began hearing sounds I was previously unaware of and smells that I hadn’t registered before. The texture of the sand and the trees was also different. Eventually the multi-sensory abilities became evident which were intuitive and trans-rational. The eight hours I spent in that space changed the way I related to the world. All these decades later I can still enter this space of grace to consciously experience the expression of Life in the darkness and light.
Why am I sharing this story you might ask? Because I want to remind myself and you that what we experience most of the time is only a fragment of what we can experience. I would go so far as to say that for the most part we live in a world of darkness because we’ve forgotten how to see through and beyond it. We listen to the constant chatter of our electronic devices without realizing we’re cutting ourselves off from what is essential, natural and life giving.
We talk without saying anything and listen to the so called experts without bothering to look beyond the rhetoric and banality. There’s a programmed voice inside us that says we’re living the good life when we’re actually cut off from the essential goodness of nature. We’ve allowed ourselves to be co-opted by the advertisers and corporate giants that exploit us like cattle in a feed-lot. We buy America’s civil religions that encourage consumerism and discourage inner reflection and knowing.Our lives have become so externalized that darkness appears to be light.
Making the darkness conscious means we have to look deep inside ourselves to see what’s really going on. We have to see in, through and beyond the darkness of our habitual patterns to awaken into a new awareness that’s more discerning and enlivening. Carlos Castaneda said it this way: “Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.” Does your path have a heart: Are you seeing the light?
In the one day of self imposed darkness I again awakened to the light that shines within. I now recognize how blindfolded we can be when we think we’re not and how much we can see when we know we are. What’s the darkness for you? What are you blind to that needs the light? How often do you take a ‘time out’ to see what’s real and what’s not? How observant are you of imagining figures in the light rather than making the darkness conscious? Hmm . . .
- Sit quietly, close your eyes and rest in the darkness. Allow whatever you see in your minds eye to come and go without judgement or comment. Simply rest in the darkness and the light.
- When you’re in a safe place by yourself, close your eyes or blindfold yourself for a period of time that’s comfortable for you. Be present with your five senses and beyond. Relax and enter into the Peaceful Presence. Experience the awareness of the multi-sensory you.
- In your daily activities slow down and notice where you are within and without. See with your heart, your inner eye. Breathe into what you see and become conscious of it at a deeper level.
- Again, when you’re alone, tune into a favorite piece of instrumental music with eyes closed. Allow yourself to see into the darkness and light of the rhythm. Let it move you. Become the shimmering fluidity of this river of sound and vibration.