12/19/2017

The Longest Night

Now listen to your broken heart.
Fall into the wound and bathe
in the balm of midnight.

Don't follow a star.
Let your root find sap
in the blackest loam.
What are countless golden petals
or the fragrance of myrrh
compared to the yearning
of the shadow for its cause?

Birthless seeds are singing
beneath all that rises and falls.
When you are truly silent
you will hear them bursting
through the long good night,
until you are healed
by your loss.
 COMMENTARY
In the North we enter the darkest days, the longest nights. For many these holidays are not bright with Christall radiance of newborn Solstice sun, but truly dark with inward midnight.

Yet the mystics of all great religions have a message for us about these depths. If we have the courage to embrace our darkest places with absolutely no resistance, they deepen into boundlessness, soften, and glow. Grace gongs from such bell-hollows. And Darkness herself becomes the path.

Hindu devotees called Krishna "the dark Lord." His beloved Radha only found him after her long night of yearning. The mystical path in Islam is patterned after Mohammad's "night journey" (Isra) which leads to his mystical ascent (Miraj). The New Testament tells us that Jesus did not become Christ by claiming any status, but by "emptying himself" - in Greek, "kinosis."

The Christian Gnostic Valentinus wrote: "Who is the real Virgin Mother? Mystical eternal silence." Medieval Christian contemplatives spoke of the deepest union as "divine darkness." Dionysius the Areopagite said the mysteries of God "are veiled in the dazzling obscurity of the secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of their Darkness." Jan Ruysbroeck wrote, "The unfathomable waylessness of God is so dark and wayless that it encompasses within itself all divine ways."

Hebrew Psalm 139 declares, "Even the darkness is not dark to Thee... the light and the darkness are one." Thus I dedicate this poem to those who are in darkness, whether it be night or day.

Painting: Toshiyuki Enoki

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