Darkness is a mystery. It is a much deeper phenomenon than light. Darkness needs no fuel, no cause, hence darkness is not an effect. It can remain eternally there. Darkness blows away the ego through the absence of light. Without visual stimuli the mind and soul can wander in the psyche. Open Up is offering this exceptional meditation as a practice to heal, transform and awaken. It is a deep psychological process to release fear of the unknown and listen into your own world and being.
The history and philosophy of darkness meditation
To encounter darkness is more uncomfortable and difficult than to encounter light. 90 to 95% percent of our energy flows through our eyes – so in darkness, this energy becomes available to experience ourselves on a whole different level. I first experienced Darkness Meditation in India in 2004 where I immersed myself in spiritual practice and began my personal development path. The 'inner work' translates itself best as a meeting with the unknown and mysterious depths of our own darkness that consciously or unconsciously is controlled by the ego. Paradoxically we come to find the inner light when moving towards our own darkness, and heal ourselves by including the positive and disowned shadow parts about ourselves that we disown, reject or deny. Meeting the 'blackness" of darkness is an invitation to surrender to the unknown – and beyond. Vast darkness is bound to create a vastness of humility, humbleness, egolessness.
The philosophy and history behind the dark meditation is a process of secluding oneself in complete darkness, and has been practiced for thousands of years as a way of obtaining spiritual evolution or deep spiritual growth. It’s really amazing to see how many cultures all over the world hold practices of darkness meditation.
In Egypt, the darkroom was found in the pyramids; in Tibet and India dark meditation happened in mountainside caves; in Europe, it took the form of underground tunnels and catacombs and even in the Amazon jungle in conjunction with plant medicine, dark meditation is used as a way to heal, transform and awaken. In the Taoist tradition, the benefits of spending extended periods of time in the dark – sometimes weeks – is a higher level practice to advance one’s spirituality. Mantak Chia explains in his book, Darkness Technology, when one is in the darkness, the mind and soul can wander through psychic and spiritual realms so that you can reunite with your truest, highest state of being.
In religion, light has become far more popular. The Koran says God is light, the Upanishads say God is light, the Bible says God is light. The Essenes group is the only tradition in the world which says that God is absolute blackness, absolute darkness, just an infinite black night. It is a brotherhood of holy men and women living together within a community over two thousand years ago. The Essenes considered themselves to be a separate people, not because of external signs like skin colour, hair colour, but because of the illumination of their inner life and their knowledge of the hidden mysteries of nature unknown to other men. The technique used by the Essenes was to enter darkness, to become one with it.
What are the benefits of Darkness Meditation?
There are many physical, mental and emotional benefits to the practice. Research done by the Amaya Centre teaches us that 90 to 95% of our thoughts come directly from our visual stimuli. When you shut down this visual stimuli you are left with your own inner eye and inner voice. The eyes will literally keep searching for light until you settle and allow all to merge as one. The rest and peace that comes to the mind is so deep.
"Understanding the biochemical reactions that occur in the brain while in complete darkness is extremely interesting. Melatonin, which is the chemical in our brains that send us to sleep, keeps building up while in the darkness. It does not stop building up so, in extended darkness, you become very relaxed and sleepy. It’s very common to do a lot of sleeping during the first 24 hours in darkness. If you spend multiple days in darkness the brain begins to realize it no longer needs the melatonin and shifts into producing another chemical called Pinolene. Pinolene can cause somewhat of a light show where you can have visions that are directly linked to the inner workings of the mind. If one were to seclude in darkness for 7-14 days there is DMT that will release from the brain naturally that brings a state of complete altered consciousness. In this state, people experience immense feelings of universal compassion and can work deeply on that which needs healing within"
Darkness Meditation is a way to become rejuvenated and rested from the noisy culture we live in while at the same time, connecting deeply to the inner voice that can tell us a lot about what we need to hear in this very moment.
Taking the Shadow into Darkness
The shadow goes by many familiar names: the disowned self, the lower self, the dark twin or brother in bible and myth, the double, repressed self, alter ego, id. When we come face-to-face with our darker side, we use metaphors to describe these shadow encounters: meeting our demons, wrestling with the devil, descent to the underworld, dark night of the soul, midlife crisis.” Although the shadow is an innate part of the human being, the vast majority of us are willfully blind regarding its existence. We hide our negative qualities, not only from others but from ourselves. To do this we often criticize and condemn others to ensure our focus does not fall on our own faults and destructive tendencies. We go through life with a false air of moral superiority and a belief that while others act immorally and destructively, we ourselves are wholly virtuous and always in the right.
“Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.” – Carl Jung