“Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Winter is long—and cold. The darkness pushes at the edges of everything we know.
The days grow shorter, and most of what we do is done without the light. The trees feel the changes in the rotation of the planet, and they shed what is no longer purposeful to them.
The stars blaze from eons away—small flickers of distant fireballs that are most likely already dead. They are but the memories of what was once powerful, strong and creative.
We, in the Northern Hemisphere, have moved into the months when the light—and boisterous life—gently fades.
I usually interpret this with melancholy, with disdain. I am someone who thrives on the earth and her life. I enjoy my bare feet gently kissing the soft and sometimes prickly ground. I believe that’s called “earthing.”
I live in the Appalachian mountains, where spring lays out her garments fully, and all the world stands in awe at the diversity of them. When the fall winds begin to blow through the valleys, I become nostalgic. I slow down. I love every minute of fall—not so much for love of it—but for what was before it. Fall is the Reaper to the seasons that I hold most dear. Alas, the circle continues.
This year however, as my practice has deepened, I do not find myself grieving nor dreading the coming of the darkness. I am beginning to understand that God is much more kin to nothing, than she is to something.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but in my study I have heard it said that God is the formlessness, from which all form generates. That the darkness preceded the light. That darkness represents a label-less state, while the light creates an illusion of form and play.
“Every word, every image used for God is a distortion more than a description.” ~ Anthony de Mello
Where words beget concepts, the purer state is that of silence—of formlessness. We need not fear the darkness, nor the season, but rather embrace what the darkness is meant to teach us.
I believe in the alchemist teaching—“as above, so below.” If we are keen and aware, we are apt to learn something from the season that is the quietest. In our practice—no matter if it is prayer, mantra, meditation, mindfulness or dance—if we contemplate deeply on the implications of darkness, of the primordial state, we are likely to be ushered into the silence of being. If we think deeply of the darkness, as that which is removed from duality—that which is before hot and cold, light and dark, male and female—we might understand the supreme androgyny, the unity of being.
Let this be our meditation—that the darkness of winter is a door, through which we might greet the silence of the soul.
When we greet the silence of the soul and cultivate our space properly—we are apt to touch deeply, what Emerson called, the “Oversoul.”
Do not fear the darkness. Rather, embrace it—as you would the light—and allow those two forces to swing through you wildly, so that you might know all that it means to be alive.
Author: Jacob Crisp
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Matthias Ripp