People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness. They point each other to flashes of light here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real presence of God.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen from The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
― Mary Oliver fromThirst: Poems
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
― Brene Brown from The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
I’m on a mission to fully inhabit every felt experience because how can I touch the world if I don’t touch my own soul? How can I know light If I do not know darkness? How can I hold things safe and steady with others if I don’t feel safe and steady within myself?
― Victoria Erickson
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.
― Carl Gustav Jung
Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.
― Joan D. Chittister from Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is
Emergencies have always been necessary to progress. It was darkness which produced the lamp. It was fog that produced the compass. It was hunger that drove us to exploration. And it took a depression to teach us the real value of a job.
― Victor Hugo
You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.
― Annie Dillard from Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
Emptiness and darkness – we all carry it within. And I don’t mean in a negative way. From emptiness comes everything, as we know from the Big Bang.
― T. S. Eliot from Four Quartets
When we so fear the dark that we demand light around the clock, there can be only one result: artificial light that is glaring and graceless and, beyond its borders, a darkness that grows ever more terrifying as we try to hold it off. Split off from each other, neither darkness nor light is fit for human habitation. The moment we say “yes” to both of them and join their paradoxical dance, the two conspire to make us healthy and whole.
― Parker J. Palmer from Autumn: A Season of Paradox
The meaning of life is in dancing with this suffering. We cannot avoid it, so we must learn to engage with it in a manner that evolves us as beings. Only in the human existence do we get the privilege to consciously work through these episodes of suffering. . .We design our own heaven or hell based on how well we dance with our suffering. If we teach ourselves to dance with suffering with the grace of love and compassion, we create heaven. If we choose instead to dance with the darkness of fear and anger, we create hell. The meaning and purpose of life is love. . .We’ve been given the music of love to dance to, we only have to get quiet enough to hear it. We know all the steps, we simply have to look deep enough inside to remember them. The meaning of life isn’t something we must find, we are already it. We must experience the body for what it is-an accumulation of sensory perceptions and a mind that has created an ego-concept that it is separate. This body and mind are not who we are. We are love. And the meaning of life is to find our way back to love, to God, to ourselves.
― Mikela Rae Bowers from A Flawless Explanation For The Meaning of Life
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
― David Whyte from The House of Belonging