Friday, June 7, 2013

The Dark And The Light

Dark.  The word itself often triggers a sense of apprehension, of dread.  It suggests the things that go bump in the night, the scary creatures hiding under our bed.  It is a covering blackness that hides the potential danger and evil that threaten our well-being.  It calls up the shroud of the grim reaper, the time when the evil-doers work their destructive havoc.  It represents the dark corners of our mind, the black holes that live in our hearts.  Yet in the dark we also obtain some relief from the never-ending demands of our working hours.  It is in the dark where we find our rest.  The rest necessary to sustain our bodies and calm our minds.  The fuel to recharge our creativity.

Light.  The brightness in our life.  The force that dispels the totality of darkness that would otherwise envelop our life.  The light awakens our mind so that it can fulfill its creative purpose.  The light gives warmth to the body as well as comfort to the soul.  We arise with the morning rising of the light, and then rest with its evening setting.  Yet with too much light we can suffer sunburn – or worse, skin cancer – so even the positive energy generated by the light still needs limiting.

The dark and the light need each other to mutually define themselves and give purpose to each other.  In the dark, we know our world by touch, smell and hearing, envisioned by the imagination of the mind.  In the light, we know our world by sight, envisioned then by the rational thought of the mind; touch, smell, and hearing diminish as tools for our “knowing.”  In the dark, we create.  In the light, we try to understand.

In a battle for supremacy, the light usually wins.  The dark requires the totality of its being to accomplish “darkness.”  But light dispels that darkness by the mere flicker of a small candle.  A sliver of moon in the sky.  The flame of a single lit match.  Though surrounded by darkness, that candle, moon or match flame will break through the dark, expose our surroundings, and show us all of the directions that are available to us.  Where we may have been hesitant to move in the total darkness, a simple burst from a small light allows us to move on to the next place in our journey, without fear.  We see where we need to go.

It is perhaps thusly that “the light” plays such a prevalent role in the ritual of our spiritual traditions.  Spirituality has a great affinity for the stillness of the dark, because in the dark there is calm, there is rest.  And it is in the calmed and rested mind and spirit that one can best hear God and connect to God’s Universe.  But it is in the light that we can then see best our direction out of the blindness of our dark.  We need not the full light of day for the rational logical mind to guide us.  We need merely the small light of the candle to allow the trusting, intuitive mind to move forward appropriately in quiet humility and confidence.

In the dark we are enveloped by the incomprehensibly vast existence of the Universe.  In the small candlelight that penetrates that dark, a spiritual path is illuminated very narrowly.  And we see our narrow individual path that we follow to God.

©2013 Randy Bell

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