The word darkness can refer to a few different things.
(a) Something that’s hidden, unknown to us.
In a conventional sense, we know that we – as individuals and civilization – know only a small fraction of what there is to know, in any area of life. In a deeper sense, we cannot know anything for certain.
(b) Something that’s seen as undesirable, bad, or evil.
What I see out there is a reflection of what’s here. Any story I have about life, people or anything “out there” also applies to me, and I can find specific examples of how that’s true.
Also, any ideas of undesirable, bad, or evil are ideas. They can be taken as real and reflecting something inherent in reality or life, and this creates stress. They can also be recognized as ideas, as an overlay of words and images.
(c) Darkness as part of a dark-light polarity that’s seen as neutral, necessary, or enriching.
This is an extension of (b). Darkness refers to what some label undesirable, bad or evil, yet it’s seen as contributing to the richness of life. At an individual level, if embraced with some wisdom and love, it’s what makes life whole, full and rich. If it’s rejected, we are at odds with life and ourselves.
(d) Part of the divine play.
What appears as light or dark, through our overlay of ideas, is all the play of life and the divine.
I see all of these in my experience of the dark night of the soul. (a) It’s dark because there is a hidden or unknown process at work. Which there always is, it’s just life. (b) I sometimes see it as undesirable and bad. (Loss, health problems etc.). (c) I recognize these experiences as part of the universal human experiences. They are part of the richness of life. (d1) I see that my ideas about the dark night, and the label itself, are all an overlay of ideas. They are not inherent in reality or life itself. (d2) And it’s all the play of the divine.
– a label, part of polarity
– darkness – (a) hidden, (b) bad/undesirable, (c) desired, part of divine play/polarity
– (a) hidden, always there (something hidden, ice berg)
– (b) part of polarity, get to know, embrace, find wholeness
– (c) part of divine play
Darkness is here used in a conventional sense, yet seen as neutral, or necessary, and contributing to the richness of life and something that makes us and life more whole, full, and rich. If it’s rejected, we are at odds with life and ourselves. If embraced – met with love and curiosity – it can help us find more wholeness and maturity, and find juiciness in life.