Descent into Darkness and the Emergence of Light.
Our world is in descent.
This summary of steps of a personal journey may help navigate the bigger picture.
Many life-changing events happened. I wasn’t willing. I was cornered. There was no way I could think or maneuver myself out of the situation, and I didn’t see other options. With every ounce of fur, fang and resistance I could muster, I battled every inch as I stepped into the trenches to do the work. My resistance softened out of sheer exhaustion. Slowly I turned toward what I feared.
I was confused and agitated. I unraveled. Descent into darkness was dismantling, disorienting, and dangerous. I didn’t know who I was, or what to plan more than a few days ahead. What was disallowed, repressed and unacceptable was unleashed. My mind-body processes were held in a frame of moral integrity and observing witness, until what is pervasive emerged.
Guides supported me in the process, and I averted danger. Eventually, light emerged.
Cornered: What is, is. It won’t go away.
Resistance: I feel how unacceptable, shocking, infuriating, terrifying and defeating this is.
Exhaustion: At some point, I get worn out. When I get curious about the way that I experience my resistance, it begins to change.
Turning toward fears: Underneath my resistance are my fears. I turn toward them, see them and name them. As courage builds, I feel them.
Confusion: When I start to let go, assumptions, frameworks and belief systems fall away. In this place where I can’t locate myself, what opens up?
Agitation: When I feel a large space without characteristics of identity, and there isn’t anything holding the fall, descent is frightening. I need to regularly soothe my anxiety to keep from a meltdown.
Unraveling: In this big space, what happens to Me? What is asking for acceptance?
Danger: There is so much that is at risk, the magnitude is overwhelming. Where do I engage to bring more safety? I prioritize needs, and make sure that self-care is on the list. I do what is most compelling. Direct action helps dispel anxiety.
Unleashing what is disallowed: I look at my contribution. Where am I interested in my own comfort at the expense of others or the Earth? When am I unable to fathom another’s perspective and go into judgment or dismissal? When do I condone racism, misogyny or religious profiling? What support do I need to make different choices? Where have I internalized these things in myself What supports my releasing these patterns?
Moral integrity: Regularly affirming the intention to do no harm, and to support what is beneficial to all beings, gives me a rudder when everything familiar is falling apart.
All-pervasive love and awareness: I balance keeping my body healthy with letting go completely. I let go of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and relax my attention into what is groundless. I let go of trying. I rest. Body and mind drop away. What remains is vast, luminous and pervasive. The mind extends beyond all reaches and limitations. Love, awareness and energy pervade everything and everyone. Who and what I am becomes a thin veil, connecting what is pouring in to what is pouring out. There is no separation.
Guides: These are my mentors, therapists, friends, rocks, animals, trees, practices and qualities of mind that remind me to stop resisting, to be present and meet what is arising. They hold me as I let go. They help me get up in the morning when I feel bruised to the bone and devastated, and do what needs to be done. They support me to access seamless reality, and remove obstacles that occlude it.
Emergent light: Death has been a gateway, an opportunity for new life. When I meet my own darkness, and dare the world to end in me, I live with less fear. I’m motivated to return to what is vast, timeless, and ever present. In the middle of that, accumulations are released and clarity emerges. There is reciprocity between people, culture, the physical world and Me. Darkness is within the light, and light emerges from the descent into darkness. My heart is full. I’m ready to do what is needed, including meeting my own human frailty in the journey of bringing relative and pervasive kindness and truths into the world.
The Devil whispered in my ear, “You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.” Today I whispered in the Devil’s car, “I am the storm.” ~ Anonymous
Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni is a bear in nun’s robes. She has been a Buddhist Nun for 25 years, an international meditation teacher for 20 years. She is a poet, writer, speaker and evolutionary. She teaches Integral Awakening — an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. It considers the totality of the human being in the world we are living in now, integrating pervasive love and pervasive awareness into all facets of life. It is a path of self-realization and human maturity based on a synthesis of Buddhist teachings, practices and modern discoveries in psychology. She founded Awakening Truth to awaken joy, compassion, and peace through pervasive love and awareness. She is renown for her warmth, humor, accessibility and encouragement to find one’s own way. She is based at the Awakening Truth Learning Center in Santa Rosa, California.