Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa – all are holidays celebrated with lights. There are many who have written about the lovely symbolism of points of light in the dark. But on this longest night of the year, I’m reflecting on the blessings of darkness.
We speak of hibernating mammals as though they were species separate and apart from humans, but they are merely on the far end of a spectrum on which all living beings stand. On long winter nights, all living beings are meant to gather in towards home, to eat rich root vegetables and to sleep more to replenish their essence. The dark of winter is not something to be banished: it’s a phase of life’s cycle that renews us for the coming of the light.
At times we may find ourselves – in any season – in a winter of the soul. It’s natural that at such times we might wish for light. The Buddhists have a different approach, which I’ve found so useful in adversity: they remind themselves in dark moments that everything at this time is exactly as it should be. When we recognize darkness as appropriate, even desirable, we open ourselves to its hidden wisdom. We evolve, and emerge into the light more deeply connected to the sources of our strength.
I know that each time I have traversed a dark tunnel, I have greatly increased my capacity to feel joy. How has the darkness blessed you?