The journey into darkness –
Hello, darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk to you again.
(Simon and Garfunkel)
What do i want to give myself to? This is, in many ways, the unchartered journey into the great unknown: the face up. I will lean into the discomfort: into the swampland of my soul, the bullying voices, my tortured interior and shine the light into the nooks and crevices. This will make the face up have a purpose, a destination, part of the journey on the not yet there road.
Casey Gerald talks about the gospel of doubt [TED], claiming correctly that there is no fixed way through. It seems that the certainty for him had taken him on a journey that led him to realisations and outcomes where he had an epiphany that he did not hold all the answers and that doubt is key to this process of self-awareness and self-discovery. Much of that which he said, struck a chord about our ‘humble doubt’:
It will not be our blind faith but our humble doubt that shines a little light into the darkness of our lives and our world, and lets us raise our voice to whisper, or to shout, or to say simply: there must be another way.
Of course what he says in the TED talk is way more than this but I thought his thesis about doubt rings true of my own that, even though I feel I need to slay my demons by facing up to them, I am full of doubt and uncertainty about how to proceed, except by seeking out the darkness. I am learning that this living with uncertainty is okay. I thought I loved the idea of doubt but suddenly I am not so sure.
I am only just now making faltering steps to uncover the darknesses and get to know myself, to wade in, to face up to all of this up very close. I know that the question ‘what do I want to give myself to?’ is the central point that will take me to the place where I can be curious about the darkness.
I will not reach out to ‘humourless theories/ to rescue us all from our human plight’ (Chris Mann, In Praise of Shades), nor will I necessarily follow the gurus whose wisdom so often appears to be like rain on the cracked earth. There are many wise teachers who can help me navigate but they are not the new gods, for they too have doubts.
I will rather return to that inner journey that takes me to seek out the inner teacher where I can be startled and surprised, laugh and cry freely and without fear, be utterly drenched in the darkness – not scuttle away in fright.