Light and darkness in dialog

(from Dcrouchartist.com)

I listen to NPR a lot. I’m a conflicted liberal. I grew up in a liberal household, listening to NPR all the time. I love This American Life, All Things Considered, and Prairie Home Companion is nostalgic. These days I’m a little less liberal and hold NPR in a bit of skepticism as I listen. But I still love listening.

Today when I was making lunch there was a talk show on. The speakers were addressing the recent violence, and in the context of “darkness” and the solstice. Actually, this was a remarkably creative take on things, for this kind of talk show, which tends to be overly factual, overly dry.

At one point, a caller made a point about the solstice, which is today, being a time for quiet contemplation. According to him, and it seems reasonable, this was in many cultures, a time to go into the darkness, to settle down, and contemplate the sadness and pain in one’s life, maybe in general. He made a point of saying that this time of year was not just about hope, or about light. It was about finding the light in the darkness.

This was fascinating.

Here’s what I liked about this: the idea of solstice and winter, even, as a time of contemplation, and the idea of working with darkness (shadow maybe). I liked the emphasis on not jumping to hope, or to light. Not making things artificially positive.

What I didn’t like: the insistence on hope, and light, the assumption of what one would find as the result of contemplation. As an avid reader of Chogyam Trungpa, hope always rings false with me. There are arguments to reconcile VCTR’s hopelessness with hope, but usually when I hear people going off about “hope” it seems a little aggressive and desperate, a little flimsy. Then, the bigger problem is suggesting that one will always find light in the darkness.

You might not. I think insights will always happen, but they might not take the form of light. I also think, and this has been born out by how many Buddhist teachers present the dharma, that you can’t tell someone what kind of insight they’ll have if they reflect. You might find light, or further chaos, or you might discover all sorts of things. Until it’s actual spontaneous insight, it’s not very helpful or useful. It’s someone else’s insight. An encouragement, maybe, but maybe also a way to avoid actually doing it oneself.

Then again, the duality of light and dark. Somehow this also bugs me, as a Buddhist, the duality. Then again, there are ways to make it work.

 

Advertisements

About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

Posted on December 21, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. A very honest and even-keeled analysis of hope and duality. Interesting to say the least.

  2. Reblogged this on liza keogh yoga and commented:
    Here’s another thoughtful musing on the dark.
    I chose to pause ‘blogging’ in order for my 2012 ‘Torrent of Words’ to be elsewhere directed; perhaps into movement, perhaps into visual art; perhaps into the quiet and the dark. Thus far, I have been finding this choice to be immensely fruitful, without even trying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

rinchenphuntsokblog

Sharing my translations of the teachings of a great Tibetan teacher

My Meditation Challenge

Waking Up in the Dream

Fit Body Freaks

All Things Health and Fitness

Jack Saunsea

Making a living by giving.

Darkroomstory

Photography by Manos,

Tinfoil Hat Lady

Helping You Think Things Differently.

Detach Yourself...

(R)evolution of Consciousness & (Counter)culture

@meditationstuff (Since 2013; 100+ posts; 50,000+ words and counting...)

Meditation and transformative practice vis-à-vis rationality, phenomenology, neuroscience and {clinical, developmental, evolutionary} psychology because humans.

Colorful Lamentations

Personal musings

Advayavada Buddhism

ON COURSE WITH NATURE.

URBAN F

REVIEWS BY ABBIE

The Pizza Cleanse

Pizza for Optimal Fitness

%d bloggers like this: