light and dark

Light and Dark


The secret of Zen is being comfortable in two worlds, the world of darkness and the world of light. Being comfortable in these two worlds involves understanding that it is only one world and it is the only world we have. We generally live in the world of light. That is our normal world. That is where we try to get along with each other, where we try to figure out who and what we are. We go to work, to school, hang out with friends, spend time with family, pay bills, watch tv, eat, sleep, do yoga, and experience emotional ups and downs in the world of light. The world of darkness is a vast, unknowable expanse of time, space, energy and matter that contains everyone and everything and is contained in everyone and everything. Somehow the world of darkness makes everything in the world of light acceptable, tolerable and even enjoyable.

A big difference between the world of darkness and the world of light is our ego. Our ego operates in the world of light. When our ego experiences the world of darkness, it disappears. In Zen terms, there is no little self there, only a big Self. When we come back to the world of light, our ego returns and remembers all its problems. Either experiencing or believing in the world of darkness helps put perspective on the world of light. Direct experience is more convincing, but faith works too. Fortunately, all of our experiences in the world of light provide direct experience with the world of dark. Unfortunately, we don’t always see it through the light of our separate selves.

In the world of darkness, we are comfortable with everything, just as it is. In the world of light, we are comfortable with some things but not with others. So the real secret to Zen is learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. By working with our discomfort in the world of light, we can seek out the world of dark to gain some perspective. Looking for the darkness, brings enlightenment. Ha.