Have you ever sat alone, in total darkness? I mean true darkness, the complete absence of light. I’m not speaking metaphorically here; I mean physical darkness. Not the type where you are in bed with an alarm clock’s glare, a street lamp peaking through your window, or a small light on the ceiling from your fire detector. I’m talking about a place where you don’t see anything. A place where it doesn’t matter if your eyes are open or closed, you see the same thing…nothing.
I’ve tried this exercise a few times. Some on purpose, some by accident. While it is a relatively simple experience, it can be very humbling. Think about it for a second, how often does this ever happen. In today’s modern society, I doubt it happens to anyone with any regularity. There is almost always an electronic device of some type nearby producing the faintest of light. We also can’t discount that giant star at the center of our solar system, streaming light at us directly or using its nightly accomplice, the moon. In fact, it’s such an abnormal place, you are consciously aware that something is different. There is an instinct to look around and find the light, even a pull to navigate towards a glow.
When I sit alone in the dark, my thoughts rush forward and I loose track of time. Being alone with your thoughts, without the distraction of light, can be therapeutic. It can also feel a bit scary and discombobulating. There is a confusion that unknowingly creeps in and a feeling of disconnect. I am once again placed in a position of experiencing vastness through absence. Understanding how small I am while realizing how much I am part of something infinitely larger than myself.
There is value by being alone, in darkness. Even if that value is the understanding that you dislike the darkness and want to be in the light. It is ok to experience the absence of something so that you gain a better understanding of your disdain for the absence. There is also the opportunity to enjoy being disconnected and unencumbered by the light that surrounds us. Whatever your experience may be when you encounter total darkness, I hope that it provides a moment of clarity. A moment to experience likes and dislikes, thoughts and fears. A moment where you realize this has nothing to do with sight and everything to do with your internal self.