Making the Darkness Conscious

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.”  Carl Jung

Since I’ve returned to the Northern Hemisphere, the cold nights have drawn my imagination.   I’ve been sleeping, dreaming, and journaling up a regular winter storm.

As I sit in the early evening darkness, there are plenty of figures of light that come to mind, especially vivid having just completed a brightening , enlightening journey. One image keeps coming to mind in the darkness and richness of my unconscious, image-laden mind.

I notice an urge to drape myself in black and white. One of the first visual cues that one is in Bali and not tropical color of the gardens or green of the rice fields.   It’s black and white.  Whether you’re a sculpture of a god or demon, a temple pillar, a director of traffic, or the corners of intersections, it’s likely that this will be your costume:  poleng fabric of large black and white checks, and, in hand woven, versions, blocks of grey where the two come together.

This serves as a constant reminder to the Balinese about the importance of balance between the forces of light and those of darkness, which are seen as opposing forces.   While I was there, I was told more than once that “there’s good in both. Same same.”  White (good) contains evil (black), and vice-versa.  Much of Balinese ceremony and ritual is devoted to keeping the two opposing but complimentary forces in balance.

And so I sit with figures of light and dark, black and white, embracing the darkness and honoring its teaching as I await the return of the light.

A special “heads up” for blog readers.  There’s a strong chance I’ll be working with the Balinese Institute for Global to offer a small group experience in Bali during the week of March 10-16th, during the Balinese lunar new year. This would focus on balance between the outer and inner worlds,  and would culminate with Nyepi, a national “day of silence,” the traditional new year’s beginning. Stay tuned for further announcements.

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