Opening to the NightNov 29, 2023
It's the tail end of November and my weather app says the sun will set at 4:12 pm today. What better time to make friends with darkness?
Here’s a perspective that might shift the way you think about it:
You, darkness of whom I am born –
I love you more than the flame
That limits the world
To the circle it illuminates
And excludes all the rest,
But the dark embraces everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations – just as they are.
It lets me imagine
A great presence stirring beside me.
I believe in the night.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours
Translated by Joanna Macy & Anita Barrows
There’s something profoundly humbling, comforting, and expansive about leaning into the mystery of our existence that’s held in the darkness. Centering yourself in this awareness is one of the most enriching ways to begin your practice.
Embracing the darkness is acknowledging that what our minds can comprehend will always be incomplete. We can’t fully fathom the vast and ineffable reality we’re a part of; we can only open to it.
As your awareness becomes spacious and inclusive like the night sky, the rigid boundaries that hold you separate and small can begin to soften. Presence grows, creating more room for self-acceptance just as you are. Perhaps, like stars emerging, what was invisible to your thinking mind becomes visible.
By surrendering to and trusting in the presence that’s bigger than what you can know, your identity can expand as well. You begin to shift from the familiar sense of yourself to discover the truth of your fundamental interconnectedness and belonging to all of life.
We’re a tiny part of a greater whole. While we might not be able to understand the benevolent and generative intelligence that’s at work within and all around us, we can be in relationship with it.
It’s a powerful starting point for yoga.