The Fruitful Darkness

Good morning! Welcome to day 19 of our #BeHereNowvember daily meditation challenge!

I wanted to address discomfort in meditation today. I think the biggest thing deterring folks from a meditation practice is a fear of sitting in silence with oneself. I think this is almost identical to the fright we sometimes feel when we turn off all the lights. We can be very prone to fearing silence the way we fear the dark, and, like leaving lights on to keep darkness at bay, we use steady buzz and chatter to keep our minds going going going, so we don’t have time to think about what might be in the dark corners up there, or what we might hear in the silence. But we know intuitively we can’t ALWAYS keep the lights on, and our bodies in fact crave rest and stillness in darkness.  Think about how miserable we would be if we never let ourselves get comfortable in the unknown dark, how exhausting it would be to spend every single night sitting up in bed, lights blazing, trying to somehow give your whole attention to the whole room at once. That’s basically what we’re doing to our brains when we never give them time to be still and calm in silence. Like the body, the mind also craves rest and stillness in darkness.

And there’s good reason for this, which brings me to the Trever Hall lyrics above: darkness is BOUNTIFUL, you guys. It holds opportunity, and it is the place for exploration and growth. When you close yourself off to anything because of a fear of the unknown, you’re closing yourself off to expansion and self improvement and deepening of experience. Or, hey, maybe you’re only closing yourself off to a fun time, but fear is an awfully crappy reason to miss out on enjoyment (and probably one of the biggest reasons we do). Uncertainty can be a gift, and the uncertainty of the unknown dark is fodder for creativity and unfathomable growth.

Now, I’m not saying don’t be afraid, that’s nonsensical advice, and fear is a part of life. But don’t fear the darkness simply because it isn’t yet illuminated. Fear stumbling as you feel your way through it, that’s a rational fear, but don’t let darkness itself frighten you. And let's be honest, you may stumble, but there's nothing wrong with that, and now you know that whatever you stumbled on is there. The parts of yourself on which you're loathe to shine light are still parts of you, and you can trust them even without seeing them clearly. You don't need to immediately start going boldly into your darkness, it's plenty to be able to sit comfortably with it, and learn how to feel it blooming all around with new growth. You don't need to try to shine a light anywhere and you don't need to try to feel your way around all at once. Let your darkness be, and see what happens when you rest there in it. So try to remember to turn off the lights and the sounds in your mind sometimes. You need that rest, and there is an enveloping and empowering comfort that comes from trusting your darkness and your silence.

"The dark within my dark Is where I found my light The fruit became the doorway And now it's open wide"

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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