The first book to examine the spiritual and therapeutic practice of retreat in physical darkness to explore inner light
• Shows how experiencing complete darkness over prolonged periods helps in developing mental clarity and creativity
• Draws upon many indigenous and spiritual traditions that use this technique
The use of ceremonial darkness is a classic and cross-cultural method for exploring hidden aspects of unconscious and super-conscious states, accessing invisible landscapes, and embracing the deeper recesses of the self. In Darkness Visible Heaven and Buxton examine the spiritual and therapeutic practice of taking retreat in physical darkness.
For millennia mystics and sages have used darkness as a spiritual tool for breaking with their pasts, prior conditioning, and the limited reality of their societies. Spiritual seekers from many traditions--Celtic, Eastern, indigenous North and South American, Tibetan, and African--have used darkness as a tool for spiritual enlightenment. Heaven and Buxton show how experiencing complete darkness, even for only a period of hours, brings about a remarkable clarity and mental stillness and thus provides a springboard for creativity, intuition, and spiritual development. They include exercises that explore lucid levels of dream consciousness, drawing both from their experience as teachers of this method and from the many cultures that include this practice in their spiritual traditions. Darkness Visible shows how deprivation of sight can truly teach us to see.
Joseph Campbell would have liked this bright book on an essential and overlooked everyday pathway to greater spiritual strength. Part discourse, part anthropological exploration and part spiritual road map, this volume asks the simple and profound question: "What might we learn about ourselves and the powers of the 'other world' by surrendering to the beauty and opportunity for greater vision afforded us in darkness?" This pioneering effort marshals the experiences of various global cultures that look to extended periods of literal darkness for spiritual initiation and inner illumination. The text is based in part on excerpts from various people who have participated in the authors' "Darkness Visible" workshops. The praiseworthy testimonials ground the volume with real experiences and ring with consistent clarity, attesting to the capacity of darkness for fostering an "exquisite connection to spirit, self, and others." Extending an open hand to all faith traditions and offering interesting and simple exercises, the authors transcend any erroneous notions of occultism that may be associated with the title. A valuable asset to personal and public libraries, this work opens the door to the wondrous dark chamber we enter every time we close our eyes to pray, meditate, chant or dream.