Last time we looked at Night and Day as a metaphor for our spiritual journey and now I want to talk about a similar theme: Darkness and Light. The reason for this is that I had a minor realisation a few weeks ago and wanted to explore it further.
I have always known in the physical world that there is no duality between light and darkness, that darkness is just the absence of light. Light comes from photons given off by excited atoms or by chemical and nuclear reactions, but darkness has no particle to transport it around. And yet in some of the world’s religions there is seen to be a force of darkness that opposes the force of light (perhaps God, Love or The Universe). Is there any parallel there at all?
My realisation was to consider the world from the viewpoint of a source of light. From this view there will be colour and contrast, shades of grey and varied tones. But there won’t be a beam of darkness into the world creating “shadows” of its own. This then made me wonder why we are so intent on binary dualism. Why, if someone has one view, someone else has to have an opposing view?
The problem is that we like binary dualism. We like to pit one extreme against another extreme. It makes for better politics and media reporting. So we jump into opposing camps in all sorts of imaginary arguments and are apparently forced to be fully attached to one or the other. Sometimes we may not wish to be so committed to one side or the other, and sometimes there is no “opposite” argument or stance, really just a differing of views. It is a bit like saying what is the opposite of walking – is it running or sitting?
In the same way in our spirituality, we can be tempted to classify everything into the opposing camps of good and evil. Instead we could look at people as at various stages of enlightenment, seeing the journey from different angles, called to travel different paths. This frees us up from deciding if others are “good” or “evil”, and allows us to only compare ourselves with the One.
I am not 100% sure of the parallels between my revelation about the nature of light and its application to the spiritual powers but it did make me aware of avoiding getting sucked in to the perils of binary dualism.
Let there be light!