In this season of increased darkness, we are drawn to reflect on the interplay between darkness and light. We celebrate the solstice and many seasonal holidays as our hemisphere shifts once again toward the sun, bringing more light to our future.
Someone once told me that in stories and metaphors cultural bias can be most hidden and most prevalent. In our metaphors of light and darkness, I was told, we hold a strong cultural bias toward light and against darkness, which can have the unintended effect of reinforcing racism. As a “light” skinned person, I had never even considered how dark/light metaphors might be perceived by people with darker skin than my own. Now, I see all over our culture, especially at this time of year, our favor for light over darkness.
We are taught since childhood that darkness is evil and light is good. In darkness lurks danger. In light there is safety. The long night of suffering gives way to the the healing of the day. Night is filled with fear and anxiety. The light of day is full of hope and possibilities.
What if we abandoned dualistic thinking of good versus bad, and reimagined the darkness to be good, as good as the light?
In darkness, we sleep, we heal, we are refreshed and rejuvenated. Darkness brings us a sense of calm, peace and quiet. In the stillness of darkness, we are safe. We are secure. We are free from distractions and can become centered in our being. In the midst of darkness life is created, formed, nurtured and birthed.
Could we grow to love darkness as much as light? Can we embrace all that is, rather than pitting differences against each other? Can we be inclusive in our actions as well as our metaphors? Yes! Let’s!
Happy Winter, the season of darkness. May you find in your center a sense of calm, quiet, safety and peace.