Today, on this shortest day of the year, let’s delve into the darkness without fear. It is the expanse of nothingness, of pure potentiality that houses all, that encompasses all. If we can allow ourselves to open to the unknown and to the fear of aloneness or separation, it becomes only another experience with rich texture and wisdom within it. In the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra we see this especially in Sutra 87 and 88.

Secrets are hidden in darkness

And difficult nights

You awaken into a pang of aloneness

A howl of separation.

This is the call of the Dark One

The roar of life seeking its source.

The union you long for is within reach.

Throw off all hesitation.

Become one with the fear.

Plunge into the uncanny blackness

Eyes wide open

As if there were no other choice.

Vibrating with fierce tenderness

Breathe intimately

With the Lord of Infinite Space. (Lorin Roche: The Radiance Sutras p. 99)

At first, we may notice first the striking words, ‘pang of aloneness’, ‘howl of separation’ and our inner voice may scream ‘no’!!! But if we dig deeper into this sutra, a shift is at hand, and by backing away from the void, by backing away from experience, we’re resisting what is trying to come into being. To ‘throw off all hesitation’, we move into sensation, into fear as a bare experience. To me, eyes wide open means that we are not caught in the reaction – I hate this; this sucks. Nor are we caught in the reaction to the reaction – Why me – other people seem to deal better with this type of stuff. Eyes wide open means awake to the situation as it is. Curious about all of it. ‘Vibrating with tenderness; Breathing intimately’. Each breath, each beat of the heart becomes a rich, energetic experience. And from that infinite space, is born each ongoing moment. Let us open to our own present on this darkest day, and from that embracing of the scariness of pure potentiality, infinite space and void, let us prepare to birth ourselves into our next present as the light returns. Without expectation. With full curiosity and loving presence.

For embracing the darkness allows us to welcome the light with joy. After all, it is the waning of the light that makes us appreciate its return so much after the Winter Solstice. After honouring the darkness in this way, after midnight, light a candle. Often light is considered a sign of hope, truth or wisdom. Let’s magnifying our own inner light through gratitude and intentionally spreading hope and joy this holiday season.

Give hugs and offer hands

Look into people’s eyes

Listen with compassion

Feel gratitude for what people offer of themselves

Pay less attention to what is not offered

Exude loving presence

Happy Winter Solstice Everyone!