Going Deep and Going Dark

If each day falls inside each night, there exists a well where clarity is imprisoned. We need to sit on the rim of the well of darkness and fish for fallen light with patience   ~ Pablo Neruda

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When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the dark. My mother would say, “Your imagination is running away with you, my girl.” It was true - the state of consciousness of a young child is one that consists of an inner landscape of archetypal, symbolic, imaginal, swirling energies - represented as monsters and ghosts, angels and fairy god mothers. In many ways her statement was helpful – it helped me know that what I was experiencing was in consciousness and not the physical world. It was hard as a child to sort out which realm and which reality was internal or external, literal or symbolic – especially when the internal, imagined representations of fear matched the external realities of my life quite closely!

My mother had little tolerance for the imagination – she lived in a tightly guarded external, practical, reality that guarded her from her inner darkness. My father encouraged the imaginative world and was happiest living in fantastical imagination and happy stories to guard against the dark inner forces of memory in his psyche.

My mother scoffed at anything imaginative and my father encouraged nothing but the imaginative. And neither of them would tolerate “cowardice.”

My father would make a huge game out of my sister and I having fear of the dark. He would get us wound up into a state of high terror and dare us to run down the dark hallway of our home to the end bedroom and stay there until we could see what was in the room. He paid us to do it! And shamed us if we didn’t!!

It was utterly terrifying, but we would rush down the hall, wait in the dark room until our eyes adjusted and the moonlight streamed through the windows illuminating the dark - revealing, not the unknown, but what was entirely known and familiar in the light of day. There was no “sitting on the edge of the rim of darkness fishing for fallen light,” – there was a headlong, exuberant, terrifying rushing into the dark and discovering the illuminating beauty of the moonlight in the dark.

This was a profound lesson for me. I understood the metaphor of it and so the inner dark of shame was curious to me – I didn’t know what it was called, but I would go into it and examine it and find words for it, even as a child. For me, I experienced it and called it the black lead in my chest and gut that made me feel dead. It was such an incredible joy to me as a young adult, when I discovered that this feeling is called shame and that everyone has this experience. I remember thinking, “Oh, so that’s all it is!” For years I thought I had a cancerous growth that felt like this black ball of lead and that I would die a young and tragic death. That is why as a therapist, I see it and name it with great excitement, thinking that everyone would be so happy to know what it is!

We have been talking a lot about dark energy, dark matter and black holes in our recent meetings. Roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the universe. Maybe it shouldn't be called "normal" matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the universe.

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What is striking to me is that what is called “dark or black,” is simply what is unknown. It is not evil, wrong, or bad – it is just unknown. If we can enter the dark knowing there is nothing that will “get us,” but only us “getting aware,” of what is already there, perhaps we would be more willing to, not just fish for fallen light, but jump right in, surrender and fall into the dark. Every time we do so with curiosity we will discover that actually, we can see in the dark, it is illuminated from the center of our very being. Our soul, symbolized by the moon, radiated and connected to the sun, is at the center of the darkness – and it is this light that is not escaping the darkness. We have to go into the darkness to discover it.  It is not the shame that is dark, it is the unawareness of it that is the darkness. Once it is seen, it is just that familiar old illusion of badness, that has no reality at all. It is in fact, just a memory – a ghost – an illusion. It has already happened and long time go, and been relegated to the darkness of unknowing.

I believe the universe is an actual outer symbolic representation of the inner reality of Consciousness itself. Creation is sacramental – the outer symbolic representation of an inner reality.

Just as being deeply observant of animals and plants has informed my entire life, so the observation of the workings of the universe reveals to us the deepest workings of consciousness within us. The cutting edge of our unknowing as humans, is the same in the outer world of science as in the inner realms of awareness in consciousness. Our work is to be space explorers – internal space explorers. Let us all rush headlong into the darkness and the unknown of our psyche’s and find the hidden light within. Then we will discover that the unknown, is actually very well known.  Let us all have the courage to face the dark tunnels of our fears and shame and reach the core of illumination and joy. It is only possible by going deep and going into the dark. In the beginning you might sit on the edge of the well of that which is unknown, disavowed  and avoided, but with practice, the fear of what is unknown goes and you see it as a grand inner adventure and sacred pilgrimage.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find

A thousand regions in your mind

Yet undiscovered.  Travel them and be

Expert in home-cosmography.                                                                              ~Thoreau, Walden


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

            ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Beneath the coarse surface of material being

I managed to touch the eternal purple hue,

And I came to know the radiance of divinity.                                                                ~Solovyov

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A black hole is a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it. 

Dark energy is an unknown form of energy, which is hypothesized to permeate all of space, tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe.

Dark matter is a hypothetical form of matter that is thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe, and about a quarter of its total energy density. The majority of dark matter is thought to be non-baryonic in nature, possibly being composed of some as-yet undiscovered subatomic particles.                 

            

Practice: 

Consider your attitude to facing the unknown dark, shame within. How afraid are you of falling in and feeling it fully, knowing it is illusion – a bogey man – and having compassion for the confusion as a child of feeling this energy and, then assuming it meant something was intrinsically “wrong, evil and bad,” about you.  How have you entered the inner dark and attacked an illusionary bogey man. That is the same as attacking a robe hanging behind the bedroom door as if it were real. Learn to wait in the dark, till you can see clearly by the light of the soul.

Consider all the ways you have used to distract yourself from this horrible inner “bogey man,” thinking you were living an aware life, but really living a defensive and distracted life. You have kept shame in the unknown, dark recesses of your psyche, hidden from even yourself – how much have you been able to be present to, personally and also publically. This is a huge step in being free of the fear of the idea of your badness.

 

Meditate on the following quotes:

“The man who understands a symbol not only opens himself to the objective world, but at the same time succeeds in emerging, from his personal situation and reaching, a comprehension of the universal ...  Thanks to the symbol, the individual experience is “awoken” and transmuted into a spiritual act ...”                                                                                           ~Mircca Eliade

The function of symbolism is to go beyond the ‘limitation of the fragment’ and link the different ‘parts’  of the whole. We like Plato’s prisoners in the cave, can see merely the shadows of the images of the real objects, which themselves are only the manifestation of the Ideas and the Archetypes (or immutable Essences).  In other words, even the ‘originals,’ let alone the physical manifestations of nature, are but symbols of the metaphysical realities; and even these last, by virtue of their multiplicity, are but ‘parts’ of the One Essence.  In Japanese the word, ‘to understand,’ wakau, literally means ‘to be divided.’’ 

 

“I was a hidden treasure that desired to be found, so I created the world.”     ~J. Purce.

“Symbols are merely veils of light rendering visible the Divine Dark.”~Anne Kingsford