When you go in the dark and this becomes total, the darkness soon turns into light.
Tao Te King
Throughout history, different traditions have practiced spending time in full darkness. During prehistoric times, deep caves were used as places of initiation and contact with invisible realms. To this day, yogis and spiritual seekers have inhabited Himalayan caves with little or no light at all. Ayurvedic practitioners use darkness as a cure for the incurable, even placing patients in the dark for a few months if needed. This is known as “kaya kalpa.” After many steps of progressive initiations, if the practitioner seems ready for the experience, Tibetan Buddhism also uses darkness retreats. Taoism uses darkness as a tool for raising the energy towards the Divine. In Christianity, Saint John spoke of his mystical experiences in the darkness of his jail. Dionysius the Aeropagite says that divine darkness is “transluminous.”
Retreating into darkness is seen as a powerful means towards transformation for many cultures and spiritual traditions. It is a space for revelation on many levels—a way to connect to subtle realities and travel on the path to enlightenment.
Darkness as a Teacher
Darkness is an extraordinary teacher. We enter it like a womb, which is why we need a couple of days to be reborn again to the sunlight. The atmosphere in the darkness is very feminine. The blackness is comforting and enveloping. It allows you to be yourself without any reference to physical appearance. It protects your inner process so that you’ll come out completely renewed. At the same time, darkness confronts you, showing your potential and your zones of opacity, where something must be let go. Darkness is a mirror. It can reflect your life, your subconscious mind, your deep identity, or it may show you parallel planes of existence.
The sense of sight is intensely stimulated at this present screen age. Because sight pulls us out to the external world, it causes alienation from the inside world. Darkness gives you access to a larger, richer self. Without perceiving the world through sight, you come naturally to the ground of being. The door is open for insight. Darkness may work on the psychic level, as well as energetically, spiritually and existentially. It is an incredible path to knowledge that may have therapeutic impacts too. Darkness offers flashes of truth and wisdom. It invites you to observe the functioning of thought and emotion. It brings light to internal psychological, karmic, or transgenerational knots and helps dissolve them. It wears out the ego-self and its conditionings in order to allow the encounter with the true Self. Darkness reorganizes the energy field while awareness grows wide. Thanks to the chemical changes in your brain caused by darkness, you will experience phenomena and visions while on this path. The pineal gland is activated and the brain generates alpha and thêta waves. That means you enter into your subconscious mind and can grasp its content and reprogram it in powerful ways. These practices help heart coherence which enhances brain coherence. More often than not, all of this brings joy, gratitude, and intense affection. Meanwhile, chemistry, biology and electromagnetic frequencies take you to the other side of reality.
Staying in the darkness means accessing an unshakable peace within that goes along with total relaxation of body and soul. That allows the inner voice to come through, connecting you to higher vibrations, and making you one with the source of life.