Light and dark in the same sky

I am at the cabin in the forest near Oslo, and saw this amazing sunset rainbow a few days ago.

Light and dark in the same sky.

As anything else, we can use it as a mirror for ourselves. For instance, and in this case, as a metaphor for the mind.

WHAT WE SEE AS LIGHT AND DARK

What do we metaphorically see as light and dark in this context?

We can see some states, emotions, orientations, and experiences as light, and some as dark. Perhaps we see joy, generosity, love, peace, and so on are light. And distress, depression, anger, hostility, and so on as dark.

We tend to see what we are aware of as in the light. We shed light on it. And what we are not aware of is in the dark. As who and what we are, some things are in the light, in that we are aware of it (or have a story about it), and some things are in the dark and we are not aware of it (yet).

We can also talk about our shadow. Our desired personality is in the light, and what’s undesired in us is in the shadow and the dark.

And we sometimes talk about enlightenment. We shed light on what we are, and notice what we are. Or it’s in the dark.

BOTH ARE HERE

This light-and-dark-in-the-same-sky metaphor can be helpful in a couple of different ways.

One is as a reminder that both are here. Even if we mostly notice one, the other is also here.

We may be very aware of sadness, depression, anger, hopelessness, and remind ourselves about the things in our life we are genuinely grateful for, and that these states change and we’ll still have good days. And we may feel content, joyful, and happy, and remind ourselves that we still have unresolved things in us and perhaps even explore these even if they are not on the surface.

We have a desired personality and identity, and remind ourselves that this is not the whole picture. We also have felt or thought or done things that don’t fit this desired image. And we have unmet and unloved parts of ourselves that may not fit this desired image, and these parts of us want to be seen, felt, understood, loved, and included.

We may notice what we are, for instance as capacity for our world, and what our experiences happen within and as. And yet, there are always more layers, more to discover, further to sink into it, and so on. And conversely, if we don’t notice what we are, and wish to, it can help to remind ourselves that what we are is always here. It never went anywhere.

This helps us keep the larger picture in mind.

IN THE SAME SKY

There is another way this metaphor can be useful.

Both are in the same sky. Our emotions, states, and experiences pass through the same sky. Our desired and not-desired parts of ourselves happen within the same sky. Noticing what we are and not are in the same sky.

Is this sky “other” to us? Is it just a background that’s somehow out there in the world and different from us?

Or is it what we are? Are we this metaphorical sky that all our experiences – whether we see them as light or dark – are in?

Can we find ourselves as this sky? What happens if we do? And how would it be to live from it?

We may find we are capacity for the world as it appears to us, including anything we think of as light and dark. Our whole field of experience – whether it’s of this human self or the wider world, and whether it’s something we can label light or dark – happens within and as what we are.

DRAFT FRAGMENTS

What we perceive as light and dark happens within and as what we are. As many have pointed out, our mind is like a sky that itself is empty and yet allows the changing time of day, and it allows all sorts of weather to move through it.

….

Both are in the same sky, and we are that sky. What we are takes the forms of what we perceive as light and dark.

We may notice that all our experiences – of this human self, the wider world, anything we can label light and dark, and even the labels themselves – happen within our field of experience. It’s all content of experience.

Our nature is capacity for all of this, for the world as it appears to us. And this is more fundamentally what we are, more than this human self or anything else within our field of experience.

We may find we are capacity for the world as it appears to us, including anything we think of as light and dark. Our whole field of experience – whether it’s of this human self or the wider world, and whether it’s something we can label light or dark – happens within and as what we are.

INITIAL DRAFT

This photo shows a rainbow at sunset over a lake. The sky and lake is relatively dark, and the rainbow is light. 

Light and dark in the same sky. 

And that’s a good metaphor for our mind. 

What we perceive as light and dark happens within and as what we are. As many have pointed out, our mind is like a sky that itself is empty and yet allows anything moving through it – the changes through the day, the weather, and so on. 

What we specifically perceive as light and dark will vary with our defnition, culture, and personal inclinations. 

We may see some states and experiences as either light or dark. For instance, clarity, kindness, love, peace, and so on may get the label light, and confusion, reactivity, unrest and so on may get the lable dark. 

Similarly, noticing what we are may get the label ligth (enlightenment), and not noticing it may get the label dark. 

It’s all part of the same sky, and we can find ourselves as that sky. As the capacity that allows it all, and takes the form of it all. 

P.S. Thanks to Amy H. for the phrase “light and dark in the same s

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