so about 3 weeks ago, as a part of my spiritual intensive, I decided to spend a few days in darkness. I was aiming for 7, which in retrospect was a very lofty, if not entirely arrogant goal for me, considering it was my first time even attempting to do so. what should be first noted is how intense a process even considering taking on this little “spirit quest” is…acclimating myself to the fact that I will be in a room completely devoid of outside contact, light, sound and, most importantly “myself” was hard, but once I finally decided it needed to happen, I began to prepare myself for what was waiting for me.
I put a post-it on my door that said something along the lines of “meditating until 5/__ do not disturb or open door unless absolutely necessary” which thankfully was respected. I scrambled around trying to find tape and large sheets of cardboard, to block the light from coming through, then I had to cover the smoke detector in my room and finally “seal” my door so no light got through the top, sides or bottom, all of this took much longer than I had expected and far more effort in that I had to be absolutely positive that everything was unplugged and sealed so that it was truly pitch black
I will now post entries from my journal that I wrote in between meditation sessions (by candlelight)
day 1- “it is almost ridiculous, the extent to which I have to go to, in order to lightproof my room….but it pays off in awe . it felt strange at first, but as soon as I accepted the darkness around me, a clarity was gained”
after what had seemed like forever, I had finally eliminated all sources of light from inside and outside of my room, the only problem was, in my haste to do so…I forgot to clean my room, which at that point was very, VERY messy, meaning that for my safety I had to more or less stay in the same place or risk getting hurt.this was an uncomfortable feeling, because prior to then I can’t say I’ve ever felt “afraid” of my room. as I sit there, wallowing in my anxiety I had decided, that it would serve me no good to continue feeling this way, because I’m going to have to stay like this for a few days anyway. I accepted this and almost immediately thereafter I realized that I had absolutely no idea how big my room was anymore, where was my door, how high up was my ceiling, did it even exist anymore? the more I questioned, the more I seemed to melt .
as I sit there with my eyes open, I notice that in the abscence of light, my “third eye” goes into overdrive
“my other senses seemed to skyrocket, including all of my mental processes. it seemed as though my memory recall was simultaneously quicker and far more vivid; in fact, as a test of sorts I tried to visualize what I looked like and it was like I just walked to my bathroom and stared in the mirror at my reflection”
this totally floored me, I wanted to know how long I’d actually been in there staring into the darkness, because it seemed like I only blinked once every 5 minutes or so but by then my sense of time had totally left along with my spatial perception, so whenever I’d wonder what time it was a negligible amount of time could have passed and I wouldn’t have been aware of it…then came the fun part
“I began feeling pressure deep in my head, my body froze and I could not tell whether my eyes were still open, since they were not watering or stinging sensations, I quickly “snapped out of it” and blinked, they were open after all. I waited for my next “activation”
and again froze and began to hallucinate. there were shadowy, haloed figures moving in and out of my vision, they seemed to not notice or interact with me. I see swirls of desaturated color, that led me into a deep slumber”
I had a very strange dream and vivid in which, see: http://www.highexistence.com/topic/public-dream-cataloging/#post-119419
day 2(I think…I did a terrible job of writing whether or not I had woken up and that was a different day) EDIT: this is actually part of day one, but only the last hour or so
“the clarity I am getting is nothing short of astounding, my memory recall seems so robust, in that as I’m remembering things, I am visualizing them in great detail. I find that I’m able to fast forward and rewind with such ease… almost as if my mind is hooked up to a device that visually interprets mental images and memories and in turn projects them onto a screen via my eyes and I’m holding the remote control….it’s oddly satisfying”
^nuff said, I think, this little discovery lead to:
” what was supposed to be an energetic awareness meditation, became almost immediately, an emotion driven journey into past traumas and forgiveness,as well as a session of clarification, as far as tension I’ve been feeling with or about a few people”
I realized that the reason I was acting so cold/stern toward my friend who just got out of prison is because he is essentially the same 12 year old I met 8 years ago, and because of that I worry about him as far as his future is concerned, so because of that I was acting rather callous, as I had expected him to change in the months he was incarcerated
I then began forgiving various people who I felt had wronged me in the past be they peers or family members.
I had decided that I needed to tell my mother about my suicide attempt 9 years ago, and at some point confront my father about him abandoning me as an infant. I prayed for more clarity and went to sleep
“I woke up at 1 am and couldn’t go back to sleep, it was mildly frustrating, because I had been trying to go back to sleep for at least an hour, it seemed, as it turns out, that “clarity” was praying for had come knocking. this of course left me groggy and drained from lack of rest ”
I had sat there watching a very important memory of a cousin of mine being hurt “play before my eyes” again I seemed to see details I’d previously missed and was somehow able to rewind and fast forward at my discretion. I had eventually pieced together what hd happened exactly and was able to lift that weight from my shoulders. I pray for her and return to sleep, in favor of sticking to my schedule and meditating.
the day proceeded (once I woke up again) to get increasngly sexually charged,with nothing to keep me busy, my body takes over and tries to “release the Kraken” every time I tried to focus, on anything in particular, my thoughts would come back very loudly, and speakng a very lusty language that was hard to ignore, I was (pardon the pun) between a rock and a hard place
“this day has been enormously sexually driven, to an enormous extent, I am fully aware that I’ve been abstinant since the start of the month (this had been day 23) and without anything to keep me occupied, many thoughts and urges are bubbling to the surface, with that said, I need not have another sexual memory…they are impossibly distracting.”
the entirety of that morning-late afternoon was spent trying to calm down and tame myself so I could refocus that came at a price, I became terribly depressed and tired that evening, like I was going through testosterone withdrawal, I now felt, in a way, that the darkness was mocking me…I had become consumed by it, my light felt like it was gone. I mustered up enough energy to go take a shower, the water washed away the negativity I was feeling, it rejuvenated my spirit
“so after a immensely therapeutic cold shower meditation in the dark I asked myself why I was feeling such lethargy, doubt and depression. I received a really clear message that said to me “you can’t always get what you wan’t” that hit hard, it stung in a way, actually”
I was very confused as to what that meant, so I let that thought sink in for a while, as the water hit my body and my mind screamed “go outside! ” at first I tried ignoring it because that would have totally defeated the purpose of what I was doing, but clearer and clearer it yelled “go outside!”
apprehensively I got up, dried my self off, got dressed, grabbed a roll and a glass of tea for the road and left. the sun was starting to set now I felt it, and it felt like beauty. I inhaled the most refreshing air I’ve ever encountered, the smell of lilacs and hydrangeas seemed to caress me with every whiff. but this joy was short lived
“as I walked, I a began to notice a growing guilt that felt both self-justifying and illegitimate I thought over this feeling “wiggling my toes in it”
the conflict began to speak to me, it said “you are throwing everything you’ve been working towards away” and “you must realize that spirituality isn’t a cookie-cutter way of life, what works for one person may not necessarily work for you and vic versa so don’t feel this way”….needless to say I felt crazy at this point. I bend down and pick a clover from the grass, delighting in its honey sweet flavor I now walk toward farmland
“as I’m walking down the road, there are maybe 8 cows, all of them staring at me. I stop and stare back, a blonde one walks toward me curiously. we stare at each other for a while…I think we bonded just then. I watch it graze for a minute or two and walk further down the road, I look back and all of the cows are still staring at me I watch clouds gather atop a mountain, it feels very disconcerting, but I still walk…I eventually reach that same dirt mound that I first meditated nude on , in the early spring rains. nostalgia.”
a few minutes go by, the sky darkens and I decide it is time to return home, as I leave the woodsy enclave, I am told
“when you are lost in mind, you go to the darkness, when you are lost in spirit , you turn to nature”
I get that a-ha! feeling as if I had known this all along and was just ignoring it I think to myself, “I fear the day I cannot question this anymore” and take my long walk back, asking myself whether or not I should go on with this darkness meditation and if so…was I happy?
I felt “happiness is a very complex emotion, because it is both that and a way of living, so in that sense, happiness isn’t just the state of being happy…it said that to experience happiness is to be fully accepting of everything that life is giving you at that moment, coupled with the grounding feeling of being ok with staying where you are at that moment”
I then thought well…this spiritual intensive went from being self-directed to a “following” so why change that now?
as I get home still unsure of whether to go another day in darkness as planned or put it aside for now and go with where I’m taken I decide to wait until tomorrow and see how I feel then
as for day 3….I wrote nothing, I just sort of reflected on the experience, and decided that the following day I needed to see the sunrise so at 4 a.m day 4 I woke up, ripped everything from my windows and meditated outside for a little while, then walked out to a small hill to watch the sun rise, but it was very cloudy so it was heavily obscured, sadly but I got to see a pair of deer, (a fawn and her child) so that was a-ok with me
thanks for reading if you did, and if you’ve never tried darkness meditation, you owe it to yourself to at least consider it ;)
Wonderful reflection Brandon, makes me eager to try it out myself in the near future. Did you actively recall memories or did they just ‘pop up’ during meditation? Did you feel the memories could be a distraction from fully being in the darkness, by yourself, not knowing when, how, what and where?
Martijn, well at first I was getting subtle nudges while I was meditating, that would knock me out of whatever state I was currently in at the moment, so they were distracting at first, then I allowed myself to at least humor the idea of going back and recalling memories as they’d come to me. after “seeing” a few really important memories unfold so clearly, this recollection consumed me, to an extent, so I only stopped when I really needed to eat. I’d whole-heartedly suggest you put a few days aside and go for a darkness meditation yourself, because I feel like even though I hadn’t done what I assumed I’d be doing that day, I got something equally if not more valuable. freedom. but anyways, I think me going into memories was a natural progression of the way things were going since I had gone into the experience on a whim, it seems, I feel like I woke up the day before this and decided that it needed to happen, and because of that impulse, I didn’t have any expectations of the experience. all I knew was that I’d be confined to a pitchblack room for x amount of days and that I was to sit there, eyes open for as long as possible, and finally to surrender.
so in retrospect, this was one of the defining moments of my spiritual intensive, and to a larger extent, my life thus far, it really put into perspective my relationship to my spiritual body, and my external relationships from the small (family and friends) to the large (nature and the universe itself) so I can only give a few disparate pieces of that experience, but I would say it should definitely be on your spiritual bucket list :)
Joe, I cannot say for sure, but what I’d suggest you do some soulsearching to find out why it is you are so impatient, be it through meditating, quiet reflection, writing or simply talking to yourself in the mirror, and asking these questions aloud, but this takes dedication, you can’t half -ass the process and expect to be changed for the better.
I’d say no, only because I’d suggest devoting at least an entire day to the process, because in eight hours you could accidentally just fall asleep, and there would go the whole eperience (potentially) like my first day, when I fell asleep, for about 8 hours, but since I had assumed I was going to do this for a week, I had the “luxury” of unlimited retries, so I’d suggest trying to make at least the 1 day commitment, if this is not necessary, you’ll have to be fully aware of yourself during the full 8 hours, so as not to fall asleep and waste the time