To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
As we passed the equinox in September, I wrote about the season of darkness, about entering the mystery of darkness. As the days grew shorter, I did not mourn the light but instead embraced the darkness, accepting the invitation to dance in the unknowing.
At my cabin this weekend, I walked with the dog as the winter sun slanted through the trees. The cabin faces south along a creek, and across the creek a forested ridge rises. As we approach the darkest days, the sun barely clears the ridge in the morning and drops out of sight by mid-afternoon, leaving the cabin in shadow most of the day. Twinkly lights and a fire keep it cozy and cheery, but I step outside before bed to breathe in the cold darkness.
At home and at the cabin, I have been trying something new with my meditation practice. Since I awake early, my morning meditation is always before sunrise. I’ve been turning out all the lights to meditate in the darkness. And I’ve added a before bed meditation, again in darkness. I’ve been surprised by how much I like it. I’m much less fidgety, and my mind is calmer. It’s like I “go dark” inside, in harmony with the darkness outside.
In a few days, winter solstice will call back the light and the days will start to lengthen. But I will hold onto the darkness a while longer, embraced by the night, resting in deep stillness.
Darkness darkness, be my pillow
Take my head and let me rest
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your dream
Darkness darkness, hide my yearning
For the things that cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Towards the things I cannot see
~60s song by The Youngbloods, lyrics by Jesse Collin Young