Darkness reigns in the external world now. Inferior energies surround me. In the darkest hours of night, the sun is completely swallowed by the earth; not even its corona is visible as predawn crepuscule. It seems like the only light left is inside my own heart: the light that pours into me when I turn off my mind and connect with the Deathless in meditation. I will return to it, immerse myself in it, maintain it and quietly nourish myself with it.
A long period of darkness in my life is finally coming to a close. I know that I have reached a turning point, like the winter solstice: the greatest adversity is past, and the light is beginning to return. Nevertheless, I still find myself surrounded by darkness. I cannot bring the change I have been waiting for so long by force. It will have to come in its own time.
And so I must continue to wait. In this situation, surrounded by darkness, action is possible only when there is no friction or opposition. I find myself isolated and unable to turn to anyone for help. For I have reached a certain critical point in meditation, on the cusp of nothingness and neither-perception-nor-non-perception. It’s like climbing a sheer cliff solo, and encountering an overhang near the top. Only I can understand the entire situation; only I can remedy the karmic imbalance that is its cause.
What to do? As one of my teachers told me, “Whatever you have done—that you must undo.” Since there is as yet little light outside, this is a good time to disengage and return to the light within. To act forcefully or ambitiously now, to push for my goals and promote my values would only create misfortune, for any excess effort or energy would be reflected back as opposition.
Therefore I will let things develop naturally, not my way but in their own way. This means a return to the meditative life. Simply observing and accepting the changes in my life like the rising and setting of the sun; not taking any of it personally.
I will shelve my plans for worldly progress for now, and allow myself to rest and gather strength for the time of growth ahead. By holding to modesty, gentleness and correct conduct, I will prepare the ground for a fruitful blossoming when the light finally returns.
In the dark moments of life, a correct attitude is a most important asset. If we fight against the darkness, we are swallowed by it and suffer great misfortune. If we react to the lack of visible progress with despair and negativity, we would extinguish our own inner light and block the aid of the creative forces of nature. If we try to persuade others that they must also return to the light, we would exhaust ourselves in vain.
In a time such as this, it is wise to adopt a stance of outer disengagement and inner perseverance. It would be an error to focus on or interact with the negative influences around me; that would only strengthen their grip on me. Therefore I will step aside, yield, let go, allow people and events to pass without attachment. I will practice saying ‘No’ to them without rancor. I will direct my attention inside, to my inner light, my devotion to what is right, my ongoing ontic conversation with my conscience.
Progress may be slow, but there will indeed be progress. Much of the work of meditation is hidden from us; we enable and assist it by remaining detached, accepting, and reticent in the face of negative influences. Then in its own good time the dawn comes and the sun rises all by itself.