Martin LeFevre: Transforming Darkness Within
Transforming Darkness Within
There was a time, not so long ago, when there was space for the individual to be different, and to forge a new path in a new place. Now there is physically, and increasingly psychologically, no place left to get away from the madding crowd.
There are no unexplored continents, no “new worlds” left. Hyper-personalized tourism and ‘extreme’ everything are the new frontiers. Perhaps because humans have been outer-directed for so long, people are turning in on themselves, which is a far different thing than turning within.
Probably human consciousness has always been basically a movement of darkness, but until now there was always room to move, physically and metaphysically.
Because so many, in the West anyway, are still looking outward and afraid to look within, darkness and deadness have come to saturate an increasingly monolithic global culture. That is physically and spiritually unsustainable. But can inner space be opened up, so that the outer world can be renewed?
All of us have some measure of darkness within us. Some people have more, some have less, but no one, short of illumination, is entirely free of a content of darkness. Having darkness within one, and acting out of it, are two very different things however.
The content of collective darkness is reaching saturation levels in every society, in every land. That stands to reason, since humankind is also nearing the ecological limits of the earth at human hands. Adapting to society is not an option because society has become so dysfunctional.
Therefore space is no longer to be found outwardly, in the physical realm, but inwardly, in the psychological and spiritual dimension.
Consciousness is not individualistic. We are all plugged into the collectivity, all connected to the web. It is possible, however, to detach entirely from conditioned consciousness for at least a few minutes a day, and thereby be renewed. More people are moving in that direction, the direction of awakening.
There is in all of us an ever-present potentiality of negating the content of consciousness, so that insight and understanding can shine through. But for that to happen, one has to take total responsibility for the content of darkness within oneself, and remain aware of it, even if its complete contours aren’t fully seen or understood.
The transformation of the growing darkness that rules human consciousness into the light of intelligence has become the primary work of every person who would remain inwardly alive and grow into a human being. The meditative state awakens, however fleetingly, an unconditioned awareness, a higher state of consciousness.
It’s an hour before sunset on the first day of daylight savings time. Though aware that dusk would set an hour earlier, the afternoon nearly gets away from me while working indoors all day.
I slow down and look left at the blind bike-path intersection, but still have to stop quickly to avoid colliding with another cyclist. Ironically, I almost run into the stop sign, incongruously placed at the bike-path intersection.
Riding further on parallel to the creek, I drop down off the paved bikeway onto a dirt path leading directly to the stream. Sitting under a great sycamore, there is still 20 minutes of warm sun on my back. As soon as the sun sinks behind the tree line though, the warm late afternoon turns into a chilly early evening.
The little creek, which was dry only days ago, now runs freely again. Surrounded by nature and enjoying the solitude, the mind soon quiets down, and the quickness of awareness overtakes the synapses of thought. That shift is always an effortless phenomenon.
The setting sun bathes the hillsides in a pinkish-red alpenglow. I’m almost frozen in place by the beauty of the earth, a state the Greeks called “aesthetic stasis.”
Just then two teenage boys ride by on the bike path 100 meters behind me. Most people don’t notice someone sitting under the sycamore tree as they go by, but these kids did. “Hey,” they shout, in an at once a jaunty and unfriendly tone.
Though my head is turned partly in their direction, I don’t look back. Hearing it instantly for the harassment it was, there's no reason to react. Again they shout, “hey!” Without turning to around, I wave nonchalantly, not wanting to aggravate them but not allowing them to disrupt the meditation either.
They yell again, this time with characteristic American aggressiveness, which their initial shouts partly concealed. “F__ing retard,” one of them shouts. Yes, to their mass mindset it must appear that way.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.