Quotes + Poems on Holy Darkness

"Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence." - Rilke 

"During the dark night there is no choice but to surrender control, give in to unknowing, and stop and listen to whatever signals of wisdom might come along. It’s a time of enforced retreat and perhaps unwilling withdrawal. The dark night is more than a learning experience; it’s a profound initiation into a realm that nothing in the culture, so preoccupied with external concerns and material success, prepares you for." - Thomas Moore

"You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes
a circle of light for everyone,
and then no one outside learns of you.
But the darkness pulls in everything:
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! -
powers and people -
and it is possible a great energy
is moving near me.
I have faith in nights." - Rilke 

"That is the point of the night sea journey—to be born into yourself. There, you are in the amniotic fluid, in an alchemical substance once again. You are journeying toward your own life. You are preparing for your fate. The promise is exhilarating, but the dangers are extreme. You have to avoid being just one of the crowd and instead take the chance of being born an individual. Jonah" - Thomas Moore

"Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in" - Leonard Cohen

"Poets and mystics perceive human suffering as the echo of the pain of separation from God, the Heart, our deepest Essence and most intimate Truth. They see it as an expression of the desperate longing of the human heart for the Infinite.We cannot avoid or escape pain. But, we can witness it in meditation, listen to it, and discover God’s voice in it, yearning for us and calling us to Him. In the depths of our soul, we can hear the torment of a lover who is desperate for union with the beloved. If we surrender, this longing will become our guide to a Reality in which life and death disappear in an eternal embrace."- Beata Kucienska

"The Abyss was the place of transformation for the mystics. In its depths shone the illumination of the 'divine dark,' where divinity revealed itself. Dionysius the Areopagite even speaks of God as the 'Divine Darkness' and sees darkness as the secret dwelling place of God. In his imagery there is a 'divine progression,' a ladder or chain that links ordinary mortals with the divine. Another of the great mystics, St. John of the Cross, speaks of the 'secret stair' by which one descends in the dark night to meet the Beloved — the way the soul journeys into union with God. But prior to that union of ecstatic rapture with the Beloved comes the Dark Night of the Soul, that painful period of privation when one feels imprisoned in The Abyss." - Linda Schierse Leonard

"As in the processes of dying and birthing, a paradigm shift is occurring, from that which was, to that which must be. It begins in your own garden of Gethsemane. Here is where great darkness falls upon the soul and spirit and the travailing begins." - Sis. Bonita Petroff

What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle." - Rumi

"In the process of discovering our true nature, the journey goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. We move down and down and down, and with us move millions of others, our companions in awakening… Right there we discover a love that will not die." - Pema Chodron

"There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul, a total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were." - Hazrat Inayat Khan

"The dark night of the soul represents this time of being "in-between" worlds; it marks the always "in the dark" transition that takes place as the consciousness of the seeker of truth moves out of one order of existence, and into another (higher) one." - Guy Finley

"Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretence. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true."- Adyashanti
 
"Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the mass man will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you,
when you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making
sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - Carl Jung

"God emptied to the limit is man, and man emptied to the limit is God." - Alan Watts

"The only way out is through. Once we begin to see the value in our shadow aspects and dark night periods — whether it’s a dark night day, month or year — we can learn to stop resisting the discomfort and surrender to the process, to view it as an initiation, a transition. If we view every aspect of the journey as sacred, we are better able to glean its gifts, for behind the dark night awaits a silver dawn." - Tai Carmen

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone." - Thomas Merton

"I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth — and truth rewarded me." - Simone de Beauvoir

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Join us for UN-BECOMING: THe Heart of Holy Darkness, online, starting 1/23.

"'What is the secret to life? To be intimate with all the things."

Jessica Hesser