The early morning weather conditions were unusually benign for this time of year. Stars filled the otherwise dark, clear sky. The LED streetlights formed pools of light on the street’s tarmac. The lack of wind brought out the desire to enjoy a short stroll to the supermarket.
As I walked further down the street towards a major traffic intersection, I noticed that one of the streetlights had malfunctioned, but the next one was OK. As I made my way further west, two light poles were dark. A familiar bridge lay within that dark shadow. Halfway through the bridge crossing, I paused briefly to study the pinpoints of reflected lights on the river. They reassured me that I was surrounded by civilization. Resuming my stroll, I reached the refuge of the next lit streetlight pole. Glancing to the south, the oasis of the floodlight-illuminated supermarket’s parking lot came into view.
Shadows and lights have the ability to engage our imaginations. These powerful stimuli trigger fear and relief from fear. We feel fearful in the darkness because unknown threats may lurk unseen. The darkness is allied with our inner darkness that conceals the vulnerablity and rage at the world we all have. Our deepest secrets find safe harbor in the shadows of the mind. Meanwhile, the lights bring the comfort of revealing potential physical dangers. The lights of owning our personal truths show us that there is little for us to fear about ourselves. Reflecting upon the contrasts between shadows and lights brings about understanding.
If we are honest with ourselves, we realize we have a shadowy side even if we are overall positive people. It is the darkness that catalyzes the creative process. Darkness brings our primitive fears to the surface and washes away false hope. We are stimulated to constructively address our weaknesses and distractions–if we so desire. If not, we might choose to submit to the temptation to feed the shadows of self-deception and wishful thinking.
The great musicians’ legacies were created in part by composing what they felt in the dark recesses of their minds. They explored the wordless puzzles of life’s deeper meanings. They wrote what they discovered and what they were unable to solve. They created light from the darkness of their being and the love they had for their art. The composer and pianist, Robert Schumann wrote: “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts–such is the duty of the artist.”
An ancient wise seer from South Asia stated, “One man denies the truth. One Man denies his actions. Both go into the dark and suffer for they offend the truth… See what is; see what is not.”
Truth and deception go hand in hand. Our lights and our shadows are intertwined so much that by trying to shove the dark, negative figments of our life aside, we prevent ourselves from partaking in the fullness of life as a whole.
In my opinion, it seems that we all harbor some amount of darkness within our minds. Such a condition is not reserved only for people who suffered terrible childhoods. The darkness exists to some basic form as part and parcel of the human condition. In the process of living our lives, we are left with the decision to seek out solutions through shining the light of truth unto our problems. Meanwhile, we go from bright streetlight to bright streetlight and learn to cope with the shadows beneath those darkened streetlights along life’s path.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator, Carl Sagan. “There is a wide, yawning black infinity. In every direction, the extension is endless; the sensation of depth is overwhelming. And the darkness is immortal. Where light exists, it is pure, blazing, fierce; but light exists almost nowhere, and the blackness itself is also pure and blazing and fierce.”