Some people talk about cultivating the light, or meeting the dark.
For me, the two go hand in hand. As so often, it depends on what we mean, and how we do it.
For me, cultivating the light means to cultivate what I wish more of. And meeting the dark means loving the unloved and examining the unexamined. It means healing the unhealed, and examining painful identifications and beliefs.
Already here, we see how they two go hand in hand. I wish to cultivate and become more familiar with loving what’s here, including what’s been previously unloved in me and my experience. I also wish to cultivate exploration of what’s here, and seeing more clearly what’s here, including how identifications and stressful beliefs are created.
This cultivation supports the meeting of the dark. And in meeting the dark, I am supported in continuing with the cultivation. (It inspires me to do so, I see it’s needed, and I get to test and fine tune my approach.)
How do I cultivate the light? Here are some practices I am familiar with:
Kindness practices, including loving kindness, ho’oponopono, tonglen, and also the Heart Prayer and the Christ meditation. Kindness towards me, parts of my experience, others, life.
Training a more stable attention also fits here, since it’s what I wish for and it supports any other activity and practice.
Natural rest. Noticing and allowing what’s here. Noticing it’s already allowed.
Prayer. Prayer for guidance. To be shown the way. For Your will be done.
Body centered practices, such as yoga, tai chi, chi gong, Breema.
Spending time in nature. Spending time in service to life.
Setting the intention to live from love, examine what’s here, rest with what’s here, live in service of life (including my life).
And how do I meet the dark?
By finding love for the previously unloved. Finding kindness towards parts of me and my experience I have habitually ignored, rejected, or battled and seen as undesirable.
By notice and allow what’s here. Including the discomfort, anger, sadness, fear, grief, and whatever else is here in the moment.
By questioning the unquestioned. Examining beliefs and identifications. Finding what’s more true for me than the initial beliefs. Investigating how my most basic perceptions of deficient and inflated selves, threats, and compulsions are created.
By resting with what’s here. Notice. Allow. Rest with in kind presence.
It can be quite simple and straight forward.
When I use the words light and dark here, it’s mostly to connect with how some use these words. I usually don’t use the words light and dark since they are quite imprecise, there are assumptions about the world behind them that I don’t quite agree with, and I don’t even know how I would use the words so they make good sense. That’s why the use of them in this post feels a bit awkward to me.
Why is love, kindness, examination etc. light? I don’t really know, perhaps just because it’s what our personalities tends to like and prefer. We tend to like sunshine and daylight, and also certain qualities in ourselves and certain experiences, so we use the word light for both.
Why are identifications and beliefs dark? They are what creates what some see as darkness, including hate, fear, grief, compulsions, trauma, violence and more. I suppose some call them dark since they are often seen as undesirable, and they are often what we try to hide from ourselves and others, and keep “in the dark”.
Behind the surface expression of these “dark” qualities and experiences is a desire to protect the self, and deep caring and even love. A worried and confused love. That’s one reason I often avoid the word dark about these things. It only addresses and highlights one level of understanding. There is something different behind it.
These words and ideas themselves can be taken to inquiry. Any ideas of light or dark, or cultivation or meeting, or love or inquiry, or anything else that comes up, can be taken to inquiry.