Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gifts of the Darkness

Dear friends, have not been on line at all as a nasty little virus has had me bedbound for the last couple of weeks. This too will pass, but in the meantime, I am appreciating the "opportunity" to move slowly and have lots of time for meditation and prayer. 

As usual, news of the world is a mix of mayhem and magic, of celebration and sorrow. Human beings take my breath away with our capacity for searing cruelty (thinking of the families in Pakistan who lost loved ones during an attack on a school) & boundless compassion (thinking of the Australian #I-will-ride-with-you campaign to support Muslim members of their communities after the hostage-taking there.)

Heartache and hope often hold hands. I think of this in particular as we near the Winter Solstice here in the northern hemisphere- the time of the longest darkness. I live in a culture so enamored with the light- with movement and doing, with striving and achieving- that we often overlook or avoid the gifts of slower, darker, times. It’s not that I object to the lights and tinsel, the candle-lighting and gift-giving. It’s just that I’d like to mine the gold of going into the darkness before we rush to the reassurance of the returning light.

Because there are real gifts in darkness- deep rest, new dreaming, a sharpening of other senses that allow us to feel the present moment shape of our inner landscape. A seed left sitting on the table in a well lit room remains a seed. But a seed placed into the dark moist earth splits open and pushes new life up toward the light. What kind of seeds might you be in your life and our shared world?

May the blessings of the darkness and the gifts of the light be received fully in this season of the longest night and (on the other side of the world) the longest day. May we plant the seeds of abiding peace in our own hearts, families, and communities in the way we walk through our ordinary days, the ways we choose to be with ourselves and each other fully. ~Oriah  (Another beautiful photo from Karen Davis at https://www.facebook.com/OpenDoorDreaming?ref=br_tf and thanks for the proverb to Barbara Susan Booth.) 


  1. Oriah - thankyou for this timely post. I'm finding that the image of darkness, and sitting quietly waiting in the dark, is very much with me this Advent. Do you know this poem by Alan Payne? (or maybe the original by Rilke):

    Darkness (after Rilke)

    your grand circle engulfs
    all the small bright circles
    of the world. None
    can withstand you:
    meteors trainling their lights
    through space, this slim
    candle on a shelf.
    All selves
    belong to you, began
    in you. You place
    a hand on my shoulder, shift
    hand to wrist, feel my pulse.
    Your gentleness moves
    me to belief : in

    When I read that I responded with a "yes!". So often darkness is portrayed as negative and to be feared, but what I think I'm being taught at the moment is that pehaps, where faith is concerned, it's actually the default state and not to be feared - we can sit quietly in a gentle darkness - we can enjoy and respond with thankfulness to the illumination that sometimes streaks across our our inner skies, the touches of the divine, the new insights, but we don't need those all the time: we are still wrapped in that silent, dark, loving presence even when there are no fireworks/meteors! Lots of related imagery, of course, which you mention, around growth in the dark places.

    Sorry to hear that you've been laid low again - I hope your strength and energy will soon return. Blessings of the season to you.

    1. Lovely piece Anne- and I am a big fan of Rilke's poems about darkness. May the darkness nourish us all, Oriah

  2. A beautiful meditation and an approach to darkness we don't often see. But it's true--there are gifts in darkness. As usual, you show us a new way of viewing our world. Am sorry you have been ill and send you blessings and the gift of light, too, this season. Thank you for all you do for our world with your thoughtful observations. I don't always comment but I do always read them and think.

    1. Thank you Carol- may we draw on the wonders of both darkness and light. blessings, Oriah