Hello darkness my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted
In my brain still remains
Within the sound of silence
– Paul Simon, The Sound of Silence
This song has been in my head for the last couple of days. I read that Paul Simon wrote these opening lines in his bathroom with the lights off. He liked the acoustics the tiled walls created, and he composed in the dark because it helped him to focus, to reach in and call up what was wanting to come out.
This verse feels like a metaphor for the times right now. Both inwardly and outwardly, the dark is presenting itself in strong force, and we are being called to engage with it.
Hello darkness my old friend…
Often we push aside our own darkness by focusing on it in others. Just as often, we sense our shadows but are so terrified of them, that we become obsessively active in the outer world to avoid them. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” But we can’t truly be the light if we remain terrified of the dark.
I’ve come to talk with you again…
Looking inward can bring us to our knees sometimes. The inner world is a dark space that we bring the light of our consciousness to. If we are feeling low in light (the world has a way of making us question just how bright we are) then the inner terrain can feel dark indeed. But it is in those bleak spaces that our light can awaken.
Celtic priest and poet John O’Donohue says,
“In the neglected crevices and corners of your evaded solitude, you will find the treasure that you have always sought elsewhere.”
We evade that deep solitude (the kind that isn’t just removing ourselves from social interaction for awhile, but turning inward to the profound unknown) out of fear. So it takes great courage to go into the dark, for we don’t want to face what is waiting there. We find in those “crevices and corners” beastly buried fears, shames and wounds. This is hard to look at! But the more we train ourselves to look with light, those creatures morph right before our eyes. Frogs become princes. Demons become angels. And we discover the true treasure down there: our own divinity, our own light, our own beating heart of love.
Here is a poem I wrote several years ago, when the darkness pulled at me so strongly and taught me its beauty.
THE DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK
…and other such excuses
just won’t cut it today.
Today, there is a window into deeper worlds
cocooned in the fog,
and I don’t want to miss it
quibbling over trivia
or splashing about in shallow waters.
I don’t want to get snagged by duty right now.
I want to dive down,
be carried down,
down with the currents
into the black dark grappling
where creatures who’ve learned self-luminescence
will teach me, touch me,
call forth my brilliance.
In the dark I can see my light.
I can grow to own it.
I can practice sustaining it,
so that back up top where a different light shines
I can trust it.
I can beam it.
I can see it winking
in every eye.
Copyright © 2011 Angela Hite