If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light. Psalm 139, NRSV
Psalm 139 from the Hebrew Bible strikes me as being koan-like in its presentation, rife with illusions to a paradoxically luminous dark, a brightness in the depths of the deepest dark. "Even the darkness is not dark," says the psalmist, "the night is as bright at the day."
As we journey towards winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, a time of deepest night, we notice in our own lives that which is night to us, we become aware as shadows lengthen in our hearts and we are left feeling bereft, poor and destitute. That which has sustained us in the bright light of day seems to have left us. We are "in the dark." This feeling is often reflected in our lives as we journey into a holiday season not "feeling it," not caught up in the holiday spirit. But, what if we took this "dark night" seriously, plunging the depths of our experience?
We might be surprised.
Like the three wise ones celebrated in the Christian tradition, gazing into the night sky, the Buddha sat for years long into the night. And as the wise one were surprised by a star, so, too, the Buddha. At the rising of the morning star came a deep perception of the pattern and shape of things. But, first a long sit into the night.
There is a rhythm to life. Dark, Light, Dark, Light, etc..., and all of it is life. Sometime we are struck by the brightness, we move with the Spirit, become one with the Tao. And then, we sit into the dark night and we begin to feel ourselves as present to a darkness alive and perceived only as the brightness of our certainty and knowledge is stripped away. Here we awaken to the luminous dark. This "darkness is as light," says the psalmist.
So, let's sit together in the dark this Wednesday opening to, and awakening to the one star that we can see at its rising. See you at 6:30 pm.