Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Close and Present Darkness

"Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was." ~Exodus 20:21

The title of this blog may inspire images of a horror film to some of you. Not to me. I realized that i should clarify my view of the darkness after i published my last book, The Same Way Home. My mom asked me about a quote in the book, something along these lines, "When we love, truly and get beyond our ego we approach the thick darkness where God is." The quote from the Bible inspired that kind of language and i have always thought that was a beautiful image. When my mom asked about it though i realized everyone does not feel the same way. We tend to think of darkness as negative and i feel like that is a shame and a disservice to the night much in the same way as our images of bats and wolves are a disservice to those beautiful animals.

The light is amazing, let me say that first. We are creatures made out of stars and we basically need to eat light to survive. For the most part i feel that we should shed our light upon the world. But, that does not mean i feel that the darkness is a negative either. Some of my most spiritual moments have been out in the woods at night. I used to walk, almost every night, out beyond the hedge row behind our house in New Egypt, NJ, into the fields and woods beyond the reach of the street lights with my various cats and just exist out there. It was absolutely amazing and had a lot to do with shaping who i am in relation to the spiritual side of our lives.

Loren Eisley said that our forms are an illusion of the daylight. It is so true. Light gives us our shape and form and in the surrounding darkness of the night we melt and blend with the surround. It can be terrifying to be in a place where your sense of sight basically leaves you cold. Other older more primal senses begin to take the front seat. There have been nights when out of fear i have fled back to the warm embrace of the lights of my house. But, on those nights when i could relax, and let go of my ego, i felt more welcome and at home than i ever did in a crazy party somewhere. I have always been impressed that when i listen to the bullfrogs and spring peepers, crickets and other members of that great chorus that sings on at all times in the night beyond our villages, that they comprise an angel choir that sings forever exalted praise to the Divine. That chorus can sweep you along in its current and when we get past our fear, our ego can dissolve into the greater story of life living itself that we are all a part of. It is intense and it is meditation. The darkness is full of God, whatever that may mean to you.

Stillness so thick
it tingles on the skin
like static.
Its presence resonates
with the pregnancy of meaning.
Silence oozes through
the chambers of my being.
I am invaded by a moment
that is not a unit
but a meditation.
A meditation on matters
so grave and primal
God has not yet dreamt them.
The pauses between beats
of music and ticks and tocks of time,
flows, expanding, growing.
The moment envelopes and embraces.
Only a soft murmur
touches the still;
A tiny drum beat;
It melts into the Surround,
as natural as the silence.
My own heart.
It is disturbing,
like a child’s cry in church.
Only egos cringe.
The All accepts.
Silence welcomes sound,
a blank slate
for painting words and chants,
drums and strings,
and small animal hearts.
Equal part and parcel
with occasional goose or rustling leaf.
He is the tempo of the slow chorus
that is the night.

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