August 4 – Agitations of the Dark – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“When the dark is at rest, the light begins to move.” The Secret of the Golden Flower

Just how do we deal with agitations of the dark? How do we make our way through the tangle of being confused or sad or blocked in understanding a way to tomorrow? It seems natural enough to treat our problems like an overgrown path and go hacking ourway through, doing small violence to ourselves. Yet this insight from an ancient Chinese text implies something harder and simpler. It implies that agitation itself is dark, that only when we can keep our hands off will there be room for light.

How many times have I examined and re-examined the words of another in my mind, growing dark vines by going over and over what was said: What could it mean? What could all that wasn’t said mean? What must I now do in response or in non-response? The thought-weeds grow, blocking the light.

I laugh when I think of how many hours I have spent in my life weaving storylines that never came true until, like weeds, they covered my heart. It is as if the light,in infinite patience, won’t force itself into our hearts. No, it seems to wait and wait for us to open, content to fill whatever small space we can clear in ourselves.

It seems that agitations of the dark always cover over. For myself, I worked for years covering  over sore lesions of esteem with agitations of accomplishment, till my heart was covered over with a thicket of achievements. Only when I put the achievements aside did the light begin to move. Only then did a Universal warmth reach my sore center. Only when I let the dark energies rest did I begin to heal.

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