How to sit in the dark

Insomnia taught me how to come fully alive in the night hours, how to sit in the dark.

Listen to the night-time traffic pattern, to the wind, to waves of feeling I sequestered during the day, to the ordinary.

Listen for a prompting, a question, a relaxation of muscle, intellect or heart.

Listen for Who might be listening for me.

Speak not with my tongue but some more subtle organ.

Here’s what I learned not to do: turn on a light, pick up a book, banish anxiety, get online, organize anything, expect answers. Distractions all.

Darkness is to sink into, like a seed held by soil without a tremor of urgency, the womb of time and space. Darkness, as Wendell Berry says, does its work.

These lessons of sitting in the dark strengthen me now, when so much of the shadow of the human psyche is abroad in me and in the world.

Darkness itself is sentient, full of knowing, and able to awaken, as we come into relationship with her.

As I wrestle with the sea changes in the US and around the world, I am more aware than ever of my own shadow being, and how vital it is for me to continue my “night-time” work, then bring it out as I engage with the daylight world.

While the days have begun to lengthen now,

may we be willing to continue laboring in the dark,

may we come to appreciate its value,

may we be resolute,

may we hold hands,

may we lift up one another as we stumble.

 

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  • Deborah Green
    Reply

    Sara, It’s hard to do, to consciously stay in the darkness, and through your words, I see, it is so valuable. I love the line, “like a seed held by soil without a tremor of urgency.” Lovely. Profound. Thank you, Deb

  • Sara Eisenberg
    Reply

    Metaphors are such great friends. It’s especially important for us to stay conscious in the darkness during the dark of the year. It gives the seeds a chance to store the nourishment they will need to sprout and grow.

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