How do I perceive darkness?
How do I experience literal darkness? Does fear come up? Do I welcome it? Does it feel safe and nurturing? Can I find more comfort with it?
How do I use darkness metaphorically?
Do I use it to describe something that is undesirable? A dark period in life I would rather have been without. The light good guys vs the bad dark guys. The whiteness of heaven and angels vs the blackness of hell and the devil?
Do I use it to describe something that appears undesirable but has something of value hidden within it? I may go through a difficult period and come out of it with more clarity, humility, strenght and compassion. I may own my shadow and find the gold within it. I may go through a dark night of the senses, soften identification as a me, and find all revealed as God. I may go through a dark night of the soul, stripping away the remaining identifications – and in particular the identification as an I.
Do I use it to describe something of great beauty and value in itself? I may get to a point where I recognize difficult situations in life, the shadow, and the dark nights as of immense beauty and value in themselves. I may recognize that dark and light – in any sense of those words – are equal expressions of life and the divine. I may recognize that the velvety luminous blackness (belly soul center) is as essential to life and the divine as the brilliant golden luminosity (head soul center).
What does darkness mean to us?
In our culture, darkness is often used to describe something hidden or even undesirable.
We go through dark periods in life. In western mythology, the good guys are often light and the bad guys dark. In theistic religions, heaven and angels are light and hell and the devil is dark. And in everyday language, when something is “dark” is it disturbing and generally undesirable (although fascinating if it doesn’t happen to us).
In literature, psychology and spirituality, darkness is often in a middle position. It appears undesirable on the surface, but there is something of immense value hidden within it.
One of the common themes in storytelling is that of redemption, of being flawed, going into a period of darkness, turning around, and coming out of it with more clarity, compassion and strength. A related theme is meeting apparently impossible challenges, going through a period of darkness, overcoming these challenges, and here too coming out with more strength, wisdom and clarity.
The shadow in psychology can be problematic, but it has gold within it. It is that which is part of us, but does not fit our conscious identity, so it is usually not acknowledged or owned. When it is not acknowledged, it may still crop up and create problems for us. When it is welcomed and owned, those very qualities that we pushed away and seemed problematic now become a source of humility, compassion, wisdom and strengths.
In spirituality, the dark night of the senses softens identification with a me – with a human self and its roles in the world – so everything can be revealed as divine, as God. The dark night of the soul follows an awakening period and strips away the remaining identifications – and especially the identification as an I.
These tend to be middle positions since (a) darkness is still used to describe something apparently undesirable, and (b) through darkness we return to the light. There is some ambivalence about darkness here. It is unpleasant, but may lead to something of value. At most, it is recognized that one wouldn’t exist without the other.
And finally, darkness can be seen as something of great value in itself.
Dark and light are both expressions of life and the divine.
The velvety luminous blackness is as essential to life and the divine as the brilliant golden luminosity.
- forms of darkness
- darkness from beliefs – caught up in fear etc.
- feminine divine, luminous darkness, velvety, nurturing – belly center
- darkness and light
- equal, polarities, complementary
- luminous darkness
- the shadow, the body, the feminine
- the light, clarity, nonpersonal
– diamond at the bottom of a mine shaft
— velvety darkness
— diamond softens, soft light
– dark night – (a) undesirable, (b) feminine velvety darkness
The shadow in psychology is that which is part of ourselves but not consciously acknowledged or owned. It is in the shadow cast by our conscious identity, and sometimes crop up to create problems for us. In spirituality, the dark nights are the periods of dryness and sometimes despair which occur following an awakening period, as an invitation to own the shadow and strip away identifications with roles and identities.