Shadow and Light

Yin & Yang ~ Shadow & Light

Yin & Yang ~ Shadow & Light

She writes … she writes like a battering ram, through the impenetrable. If only I…. but I don’t write that way.

Or. Not. Yet.

I’m not ready to write. Yet.

Or so I say.

But I write, here and there. Inappropriately. I appropriate other’s spaces.

When she writes, she jars me loose. The words flow out. A comment on her words. But not. An expose of myself.

She wrote:

Secret. I disappear into the joy of my children. I play my piano in the dark. I sing late into the night with my band. I cook gorgeous dinners. I laugh with my friends. I immerse myself in my music school. I throw parties and drink expensive cocktails.

I run. I hide. I search for anything. Any conversation. Any distraction. Any source of light. That will keep me from falling into the shadows.

My 39th year. My deepest wish. To dispel the shadows.

Bigger secret. I don’t even know how to exist without them.

She wrote. And battered these loose. Those words, battered me. She wrote her words for her, but they struck me. I put these words there, when they should have been here.

Mmmmmm…. beautifully rendered, Sonny.Some years ago it was time, time to look into that darkness again. I just didn’t know it yet. I just knew it was time to be rid of something else. I called up the woman I’d come to call my ‘spirit-guide’ and after a few moments of pleasantries, she asked me what was up.

I don’t want to feel the terror any more.

My favourite passage from any written source is the first chapter of Laozi’s treatise on the art of living, the Dao de Jing, as translated by Stephen Mitchell.

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

The language can seem rather impenetrable, especially to those of us raised in Western Judeo/Christian traditions, Over the years of reading and re-reading this text its meaning for me has continued to evolve, and does even still. Today, I read it a little differently.

Shadow within shadow, the gateway to all understanding. Mystery and manifestation, all that is real, all that is you, rises from this same source: your shadows.

Daoism is, as you no doubt know, the source of this enduring image. It, the Dao, is often referred to as the balance of light and dark, Yin and Yang. But in it, lightness and darkness are intertwined, and at the heart of the light is darkness, while at the heart of darkness is light.

Existence is not possible without both. Harmony is not possible without balance, without acceptance of the intertwining of darkness and light, aspects of oneness, but alone only symbols of brokenness.

I write all this as much to me — no, more to me than to you — because, once again, it is time to call my spirit-guide. Time again to find the light within the terrifying darkness. And, once again, time to learn that there lies nothing within it to cause me terror.

Last time, from that darkness rose something quite beautiful and light.

When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

That sentence first came to me cited as a Buddha quote. It’s not. I don’t know who first said those words, but they’re brilliant.

The circle is incomplete without darkness. And the incomplete circle is not harmonious, not perfect.

Beauty is illuminated by light, while shadow gives it shape.

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