Darkness has had a bad rap. I’m not sure if that’s just in our society or if this is the case all around the world. Admittedly, if you want to do something without people seeing… darkness is helpful in committing a crime. It can be scary to move in darkness because you can feel unsure of your safety. So there are reasons that people don’t like it.
Positive Aspects of Darkness
Despite the negative connotations, darkness has a powerful and positive spiritual aspect. It has gifts for you if you’re willing to explore it. Darkness is infinite fertility. Everything that has not yet come into being is held in darkness; the seed that will become a flower, the child who is not yet born. The deepest and most unexplored parts of your soul are held in a loving darkness until it is time for you to manifest them or bring them into the light.
To be in the light is to be conscious, to know consciously, or to be visible. There are only so many things that we can deal with on a day to day basis. If we find our burden is too heavy, we can give something over to the darkness until we are ready to deal with it.
I read Darkness Visible, by Ross Heaven and Simon Buxton, and they say that going through an experience of physical darkness can invoke a personal transformation.
In my own experience, I journey into darkness relatively frequently. Sometimes I go there to find things I need. I created images for my master’s project from darkness. The first time I journeyed to it, I felt a profound sense of being supported and not having to –do- anything. Like being held in a mothers arms, the ideal experience of this, where you can feel completely supported and loved.
Darkness and the Shadow
The other thing about darkness, is that some people put things they never want to look at into the darkness. If you can’t accept some aspect of yourself, and want to believe it’s not there, you might stuff that part of yourself or that knowledge away where you can’t see it. Darkness will not hold something past its time. You may find that it keeps bringing that thing back to you to be looked at. In my opinion, this is what we call the shadow, an aspect of darkness that is really more about the way we use darkness for avoidance.
This is perhaps another reason for darkness’s bad reputation. If it is time for you to look at something, it begins to emerge. And if you continue to try to force it back into the darkness or pretend the truth is not there, you may feel that something is stalking you… following you around. So I suppose anyone who truly wishes to remain blind, will avoid going into darkness where they might recover things they do not wish to find. However, it really is an opportunity because the time for healing has come.
Darkness and Grieving
Another negative association for darkness is how it comes when one is grieving. With the horrible sorrow of loss, there can come this darkness, and you may feel you’ll never see the light again. Grieving is sacred, and should be left to each individual to define. However, one of my spirit teachers told me something that I think is worth sharing. It went roughly like this:
“The darkness comes to you, because the sharp edges of light are too painful when you are in grief. Darkness comes to comfort you and keep you safe, it comes to you as a loving presence to protect you while you are vulnerable.”
The Uncreated Light
I’d like to mention one last positive aspect of darkness. In Christian transfiguration theology it is referred to as the Uncreated Light. There is two ways of looking at this, the light that is so bright that it blinds you like darkness, or the uncreated aspect of the divine.
This stems from seeing the divine or God as light. The light of God visible in the world is visible light. However, there is something about God or the divine that is so vast and incomprehensible that it cannot truly be in the world. It couldn’t fit itself into a single body, or even hundreds of bodies. It is so vast that it is uncreated. This Uncreated Light is perceived as darkness, in some sense it IS darkness. You can only know it by having an experience of it. This is because it is so vast that even your ability to think cannot encompass it.
There are two quotes that I think explain this if only a little:
The first quote is from pseudo-Dionysios (translated by Andreas Andreopoulos):
And then Moses is cut off from both things seen and those who see and enters into the darkness of unknowing, a truly hidden darkness, according to which he shuts his eyes to all apprehensions that convey knowledge, for he has passed into a realm quite beyond any feeling or seeing.
Now, belonging wholly to that which is beyond all, and yet to nothing at all, and being neither himself, nor another, and united in his highest part in passivity with him who is completely unknowable, he knows by not knowing in a manner that transcends understanding. (Andreopoulos, 2005, p. 199)
A quote from Osho:
Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand—relax.
If you relax, it comes.
If you relax it’s there.
If you relax, you start vibrating with it.
How do you understand the divine? How do you understand something that is beyond your comprehension? You don’t try to see it. Instead you dwell in the darkness of the thing, and allow that divine darkness to dwell in you. It is an experience of that which cannot be seen, or named, or known.
Lauren Torres – Lansing, IL
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