Darkness darkness, be my pillow
Take my head and let me sleep
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
Today is the first day of winter, the season we associate with darkness. The song lyrics encourage us to rest, to cease our struggle, to accept what is, to enter the mystery.
In the Tao Te Ching, darkness is the metaphor for mystery, the essence of the Way. It is the origin of all creation. The Bible tells us that in the beginning, “the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” From this darkness, God brought forth the manifested universe, beginning with light.
It is within the darkness of this deep mystery that the light begins to return. After today’s winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, the light stays just a minute longer. And then another. We hardly notice its gradual approach as we wake in the darkness, shivering in the cold.
Then one day we notice the early morning sun sparkling on the frost. The light calls creation to awaken once again and we know that spring will come.
But for now, we prepare for the time of quiet, the time of unknowing, the season of stillness. The darkness is the gate to mystery. And it stands open, inviting us in, allowing us to sink deep inside ourselves, to listen…and wait…and watch. Within the darkness, if we are patient, we will see the light of truth, first as a tiny glimmer, then growing into a blazing light, consuming all illusion and doubt.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait…. So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. ~T.S. Eliot