What do I associate with darkness?
When I look at what I have learned from culture, I find that darkness often means something difficult and undesirable. I can go through dark periods in life. There may be something dark in me and others. A person may be dark and gloomy, or even scary. World War II was a dark chapter in European history. Hitler was a dark figure. And so on.
Here are three ways to understand the metaphorical darkness, from a view of light and dark as opposites, to darkness as stepping stone to the light, to appreciation of light and dark as they are.
Darkness as bad. What’s bad is dark, what’s good is light. Hell and the devil is dark, heaven and angels are light. Violence is dark, compassion and wisdom is light. This is often how darkness is used in our culture, and it gives us a good shorthand for guiding our actions in daily life. We seek away from that which we agree is dark and unhelpful, and seek to do and support that which is light and helpful.
Darkness as a stepping stone to something good. Whatever happens and however dark it seems, it can still be used in a constructive way. If we are receptive to it, it can open for compassion, wisdom, strength, love and clarity. So darkness itself is still not good, but it can lead to something good. It is a means to a goal.
Darkness as valuable in itself. Instead of projecting something “good” onto another time or place, we can find it in darkness itself. Whatever we refer to as dark is life expressing, exploring and experiencing itself. It is reality, existence, the universe, expressing and experiencing itself in one of its many flavors. It is God as much as anything, no more or less God than anything else. And it is God’s will as anything else that’s happening. We also use darkness to refer to what it’s easy for us to appreciate, such as the dark feminine aspect of God, the womb, the fertile darkness, the smooth luminous black and so on.
For me, each one is equally valid and they belong together. The first view is a quick guide that helps me in daily life. The second helps me through difficult situations and times. And the third is what’s more true in immediacy – whatever I refer to as “dark” is as much an expression of life, reality, God and God’s will as anything else, as is my response to it – whether it comes from confusion (reactivity) or more clarity and kindness.
- forms of darkness
- bad vs good
- stepping stone to something good
- a means to an end
- valuable in itself
- feminine aspect of god
- life expressing and experiencing itself (life, reality, existence, the universe)
- is as much god as anything else, is no more or less god
- each one valid
- bad vs good – valid in a limited, ordinary sense, often good guide for daily actions
- stepping stone, valuable when things go another way than we had wished, planned
- valuable in itself – what’s more true, more real, more honest, find a deeper peace, love what is
- bad vs good
Instead of projecting something “good” onto another time or place, we can find it in darkness itself. Whatever we refer to as dark is life expressing, exploring and experiencing itself. It is reality, existence, the universe, expressing and experiencing itself in one of its many flavors. It is God as much as anything, no more or less God than anything else. And it is God’s will as anything else that’s happening. , not because it may lead to something “better” but as it is. This is what I find when I explore what’s more true for me, more honest, and it invites in a love for what is – no matter what it is.