Do We Need Darkness to See More Clearly?
Imagine this situation: you walk through a very bright place and someone approaches you. You can’t see their face enough to recognize them because the brightness blinds you. Maybe you raise your hand to shield your eyes and make shade. You needed a moment of darkness.
And that’s when you recognize the other person and can tell if he is a friend or just a stranger asking for directions. When you see who it is, you can choose whether to greet him with a hug, or just kindly give directions.
Seeing better allows us to choose more wisely
Picture a world in which there is only light. If you have never experienced darkness, how could you understand and appreciate light? It is the contrast between light and darkness that leads to deeper knowledge. We are in a world of dualities: up and down, hot and cold, good and bad.
Pain allows us to better appreciate joy. The chaos of the world increases our appreciation of peace. The hatred we see can deepens our understanding of love. For this reason, the difficulties of life can be an especially powerful means to create vital self-knowledge.
The more nuances we know, the more wisely we can decide. Thus, darkness is an opportunity for reflection. Rather than seeing the outside, it allows us to look inwards. Life is a journey that goes from the head to the heart.
The difficulties of our life facilitate this trip, to open our hearts and in this way to know and value the difficulties better. In short, darkness gives us the possibility to get to know ourselves and be coherent with what we find inside.
The fable of music
Imagine you come from a place where the most beautiful music that has ever been created plays. It is rapturous, dazzling music. You have always heard it, throughout your whole life. The music has never been absent, and you have heard nothing else your whole life.
One day you realize that even though you have always heard it, you have never really listened to it. That is, you have never valued it because you took it for granted. You had never heard anything else. So, one day, you decide you want to be able to evaluate this music.
You decide to do so in a challenging way so that you will achieve a greater reward. It occurs to you that you could get a really deep understanding of it if you went to a place where the music did not play and then, once there, tried to recreate it.
You would do so only after the echo of how it sounded had been diluted. The experience of remembering and then recreating the extraordinary symphony of your home would produce the most complete knowledge of its greatness.
You go to a new place. You listen to new music. Some songs are wonderful, but others hurt your ears with their dissonances. These unpleasant tones promote a desire within you and, finally, the resolution: create original music. And the darkness will be a very necessary part of the creation.
Soon you start writing your own compositions. At first, the raucous music of this new place distracts you. However, over time, as you move away from external noise and listen to the melodies of your heart, your musical creations become more beautiful.
Finally, you compose a masterpiece. When you finish it, you remember something: the masterpiece you have written is the same music that played in your home. And this memory triggers another: you are that music. It’s not something heard outside you; the music is you, and you are the music.
By “creating” you in a new place, you get to know yourself in a way that would not have been possible had you not gone outside your comfort zone. You know that if you had not experienced this darkness, this complete newness, you would not have been able to really appreciate the wonderful music that surrounds you.
The difficulties of life exist so that we can experience who we are not, before remembering who we really are. You could say that we explore discordant sounds and moments of darkness before recreating the symphonies of our home. We need darkness to see better. We need that darkness to be able to better choose the direction and truly value the light.