Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Tonight here on the East Coast where I live, the Winter Solstice arrives at 11:48 p.m. This is the longest night of the year. Darkness prevails and winter is officially here. Are you afraid of the dark?
When I was a child I always needed a night light on. I was uncomfortable in tunnels and caves and being outside at night. As I grew into adulthood, I craved sunshine, and even a cloudy gloomy day would unnerve me. I loved the long summer days and short nights.
Not anymore. Something has shifted these past few years. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s my meditation practice. Maybe I’m just more aware.
I relish all the seasons and still love a bright sunny day (I’m not a vampire!), but I feel completely content this time of year and crave the silence that I feel when cocooned in the dark.
Away from the big city lights of NYC, I drift off to sleep in complete darkness. And when I meditate, I put on an eye mask to block out any light. It’s in total darkness that I turn inward and hope to connect with All That Is.
Sometimes being in the dark does nothing more than calm my racing thoughts and fears. But the more I go into the darkness the more I get answers, messages, and experience a feeling of pure Peace.
It seems we’re always seeking the Light – the one at the end of the tunnel where our misery will end, or the one that can dispel all evil.
But until we learn how to embrace the darkness that visits us individually, I don’t think we can ever fully experience the Light.
When I look back on my life, it’s mostly the dark, painful times that brought me to a place of illumination. They were unwelcome gifts that I didn’t want but somehow survived and moved through without looking back – stronger and brighter than before.
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” –Rumi
I like to think of the dark as necessary incubation – like the seed that’s lying dormant underground for a while before seeking the light and growing again.
This is the gift of the Winter Solstice and the months that follow.
A time to pause, rest and reflect, before moving into action. For everything, there is a season. This is a time for deeply restoring and rejuvenating ourselves.
Don’t be afraid to embrace the lengthy darkness during this time. Instead of fighting Nature with electric lights, try using candles at night once the sun goes down. Turn off your electronics as much as possible. It really is a peaceful time which naturally allows us to slow down and go within if we choose.
Never fear, the days will again grow longer and the nights shorter. Mother Nature will lead us once more into the Light, inviting us to shed our darkness and leave it behind.
Happy Winter Solstice, my friends!