Looking for a state of permanent enlightenment? Think again! With many thanks to James Nichol’s Contemplative Enquiry blog for this great quote from Emma Restall Orr’s book ‘The Wakeful World’.
“To the animist, a state of permanent enlightenment is not considered natural. His senses inform him that, firstly, light is sustained by a balance of light and darkness, and, secondly, it is lived for the most part in neither darkness or light, but in varying degrees of twilight and shadow, of half knowing, believing, assuming and concluding.
“The aspiration for fluency and lucidity, another light-derived word, is firmly established in our culture though. Literally and figuratively, in darkness we are denied the safety of certainty. As the dusk comes and the light slips away like an outgoing tide, edges begin to dissolve. In darkness, our senses more easily blur, leaving us potentially deceived. If we are dependent upon knowing, this can leave us confused and fearful. The not-knowing is judged as ignorance; darkness is declared bad, and to be avoided as dangerous. As the deep wellspring of wickedness, any who embrace the darkness must be equally spurned.
“If, however, our aim is not a knowledge-based certainty, what the darkness provides is delicious and necessary release. In the dark, the separation created by edges is no longer relevant to our perception and reality, allowing entirely new parameters of freedom. … We need moments within which we can dissolve all we are and all we know, that we might find the nourishment for new inspiration and realisation”.
Emma Restall Orr The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind a nd the Self in NatureWinchester, UK & Washington, USA: Moon Books, 2012