by Ananya Sri Ram Rajan
Be of good courage all is before you, and time passed in the difficult is never lost. . . What is required of us is that we live the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.
― Rainer Maria Rilke
In the moments before the light of dawn, one feels as though time is holding its breath in anticipation. Darkness waits silently, patiently before it is dispersed. It has no fear. It does not feel agitation. It rests in the comfort of its role in the cycle of night and day, its dance with the inevitable light, and the inbreath and the outbreath of the universe.
Darkness, as opposed to light, is often an analogy for difficulty. Within the void where one cannot see, where there is a lack of clarity, and where one has no control, humans struggle. We fear not having control. We fear not knowing what awaits us. We fear darkness.
Yet, the cover of darkness is needed for growth. Life in the physical world cannot survive without its nurturing presence. Nestled in the darkness lies potentiality. The seed of potentiality draws strength from within the womb of the unseen. This is true for so many things in the material world. Buried in the belly of mother earth lie her storytellers of precious gems, crystals and stones. The potentiality of an oak tree lies in the acorn comforted by the soil, warmth, moisture of dirt while its elders stand guard. This is no different for humans and other mammals. Darkness holds the secret of what is possible.
When considering the emotional and mental “dark times” in humans, again the growth remains unseen. The difference is that it lies within us. It creates a discomfort that we tend to fight against or ignore. The outward manifestation comes to light through verbal or physical expression, often times creating its own drama in the outer world. But in reality, the same process is taking place. If we believe that all life is one, that “as above, so below,” “as within, so without” why do we feel such growth should not happen to us when we are part of the divine consciousness that lives and moves and has its being in ourselves?
Nature, when left to its own way of being, finds her rhythm. She doesn’t need anyone to “balance” her out. Often individuals will talk about the “zone” or feeling “one” with nature. This is nothing more than allowing oneself to fall into her flow. Our need to manipulate life so it moves the way we desire only creates more struggle. By letting go and relaxing into the present moment, we allow ourselves to be enveloped in the divine embrace.
This latest world event, the pandemic, has been described as a wake-up call. For a brief period of time, we marveled at how beautiful the natural world is when we all walk a bit softer on this earth. We had the feeling of being “in this together,” and of pulling together. As a humanity, we had a common purpose. Neighbors checked on one another and Zoom meetings were fascinating and new. However, it is now a year later and still the virus rages on much to the despair of many. What we had when the pandemic started and what we seem to be losing is patience.
Patience has been described as “the ability to wait, or to continue doing something despite difficulties, or to suffer without complaining or becoming annoyed.” As humans we all lack this quality to some extent. Modern society has made this worse. We live in a time of instantaneous response. We want quick answers, quick action, and a quick fix to our inability to wait. We don’t realize that our inability to wait, our lack of patience, has created the issues we now face.
Nothing in the natural world is immediate. The life we have created for ourselves is full of trials and tribulations because we have created them. Such things do not happen in the natural world because everything moves with the flow of the divine. Teachers, Seers, and Sages have all recognized humans’ inability to wait patiently. It is obvious when one reads teachings from any religion or spiritual teacher. One quality that is always encouraged is patience or forbearance.
No different than the earth that covers a seed, patience gives us the covering we need to allow our own potentiality to come forth. But as we are so connected to this manifested world, we feel more comfortable in what we can see. Yet, all that lies in the outside world is only a reflection of what happens within us. The struggles we experience every day are expressions of the chaos that we create in ourselves which in turn affect the world around us. If we allow ourselves to sit in the darkness of not knowing, if we give patience to the divine to do its work, if we let go of our own desire to control that which we truly cannot, dawn will eventually break.
The light that comes after the dark night often brings not only more energy and a sense of renewal, but also peace and new potential. When things continually do not flow easily, it seems obvious that one needs to move in a different direction. However suddenly changing course without allowing “the friendly forces, the hands that work on us” to patiently come to our aid can move us into more chaos. The key is to allow ourselves the covering, the unknowing, to protect and comfort us. The surety of cycles that Nature provides must be our guide. And trust that when the moment is right, daylight comes.