Cultivating the light vs meeting the dark

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.


Initial notes….. 

– cultivating the light vs meeting the dark
– go hand in hand
– cultivate what we want + healing, examining identifications etc.
– cultivate love, allowing resting
– invite healing, examine beliefs, identifications


Cultivating the light or meeting the dark? Do we need to chose one or the other?


Some people talk about cultivating the light, or meeting the dark. Do we need to chose one or the other?

So often, it all depends on how we understand it and how we do it. For me, the two go hand in hand.


Sometimes, cultivating the light and meeting the dark are presented as if they are in opposition. Some favor one, others favor the other.


This cultivation supports the meeting of the dark. And the meeting of the dark spurs us to continue with the cultivation.


When I use the words light and dark here, it’s mostly to connect with what some others talk about and the words they use. I don’t tend to use those words, as I don’t tend to see things as light or dark in this way. Talking about it the way I do here, those words feel a bit awkward and not fitting so well. They lose their meaning, to some extent.


Sometimes, there is an apparent opposition between cultivating the light and meeting the dark. So often, it all depends on how we understand it and how we do it. For me, they go hand in hand.


– seeking the light
– meeting the darkness
– all depends on how it’s understood + which phase we are in
– reality: all is spirit, including light & dark (what I mind calls light/dark)
– that’s what wakes up to itself, Spirit as all there is as it is
– light can be understood in different ways
— as what our personality wishes for, dream of the ego
— as awareness
– darkness
— as what’s created from identification, beliefs, wounds, suffering
— or the fertile darkness, feminine darkness, womb, nurturing, felt, embodied
– may seek the light first as opposed to darkness, then as what includes darkness

– see if can find light, dark etc. + threats around it
– no problem with cultivating what we wish for, while also attend to the wounds, identifications etc. (not one or the other)
– first, often focuses on the light, what we want, cultivate it, natural step
– then, see we need to take care of the “dark”, invite healing, see what’s really there
– go hand in hand

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