at the hub of things,
don't let me forget you.
womb of every thought,
don't let me shut you out
in the darkness,
our true home,
in all that we are.
* * *
i'd like to say a brief word in prose here about darkness. a spiritual-minded acquaintance of mine once said that my love of 'darkness' scared her. her spiritual tradition favored light. it seems to me now that some spiritual traditions demonize the darkness. therefore people might get the totally wrong idea that i am somehow singing the praises of evil-doing, which is far from the case. i do believe that our misapprehension of darkness might be at the root of more evil-doing than we care to admit, since so much of that is done in the shining, blinding light of day, in the shimmer of success, wealth and glory. we often can't make peace with the darkness and the silence, and seek something else. but then there's all kinds of wrongness and some of it is darkness-bred, too. but evil-doing is not partial to either darkness or light, it makes use of both and itself operates on another principle altogether.
some of my happiest memories have to do with darkness. the darkness of the ocean at night. driving along the old two-lane road that skirted the beach in south jersey, with the sparse colored lights in the distance, before and behind, of tiny resort towns with their small modest boardwalk piers. the only sound was the soft soughing of the waves, and the tiny distant lights were white, yellow, occasionally red, green or blue, trailing out into the sea. well, it was another time and place.
the darkness of my childhood garden at night, lit by stars and fireflies, ringed by the black canyon of our brick two- and three-story houses.
now, the darkness resting on the trees outside my bedroom window, their leaves lit only by the moon.
one of the things i particularly have loved about my spiritual beacon, Amma, is that while she can radiate intense decibels of light, she also has a profound darkness about her. her skin and hair are dark, true, that's part of it. she is mysterious and unknowable, that's another part of it. but perhaps especially, for me, it is that her story has so much darkness in it. she grew up along the seashore in south india, in a place without electricity until perhaps the late nineteen-seventies, and then very little of it. there was the poverty and 'ignorance' of the fishing-folk she grew up among. the 'darkness' of living in a remote, primitive, unknown little place in a swamp. yet she grew and developed her intensely compassionate and wise spirituality in that desolate marginalized place.
for so many years, she sang devotional songs at night in the family shrine-room, and still to this day, she walks along the seashore there at night singing her spiritual songs. the workshop of her spiritual life was the darkness of the night and of the vast and unknowable sea.
when i visited amritapuri during its early days, i too had the chance to experience the qualities of her home-place, and i am sure that this helped me to evolve in terms of my own relationship with darkness. but that's much more than i can write here, today.