Some days a spiritual life resembles a sunrise hike through old growth forest. We stumble through the trees on intermittently illumined paths, stubbing our toes on roots, threatened by unruly underbrush, and evading fear of what creatures are nested in the old stumps and beside occasional creeks. It is beautiful, alive, and mysterious. And mostly dimly lighted. As we walk, our eyes take time to adjust to the glimpses of light diffused through blackberry bushes, spotted on lichen beards and falling through cedar trees.
In our fear we may fixate on the glimpses of light, sometimes focusing so much on it that we misstep or are pulled into a trail that seems safe but goes nowhere. The light is – sometimes – part of the problem with finding our way, we so crave it. When we quit peering so intensely and allow ourselves to explore the obfuscated underbrush … the dark, the night itself lets go into dawn and we find it was manageable all alone.
At this moment I think that the purpose of “awakening” is not the pursuit of the light itself … nor the faithful trodding toward some clearing where we think “all will be well”. It is an illusion to think that we will – in time – sit in the sun for longer hours than it is light. It is not possible.
Perhaps the light is there so that we can open up the fear and blindness we experience, accept it, honor it, even befriend it. Perhaps we traverse through all this fear and mystery and hope in order to see what we have been walking through all along.