No Reality to Darkness, Despite “Darkest Just Before the Dawn”


 
I am posting and sharing a recent e-mail response I made to an online article published by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Sufi teacher and founder of the Golden Sufi Center.  His article is titled “Witnessing the End of an Era.”  You can read it in full at the Web site Working with Oneness or at the Ecological Buddhism Web site where it was originally published.

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To: Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

I am commenting on your referenced article published over the Internet.

I disagree with and question your statement and premise that the inner light of our souls “is now extinguished.” I quote your disputed claim below:

“During the last year I have become aware of an even more disastrous change taking place.  A light in the inner world that gave meaning and spiritual sustenance to our souls and to the whole world has been going out.  And it is now extinguished.  Something that for millennia was central to the inner life has gone, lost through our greed, and arrogance, our ego-centered power dynamics and forgetfulness of the sacred. We are not just entering an external era of extinction, but an inner dark age. And what is more dangerous is that we do not appear to know it is happening, even though this inner light is fundamental to the well-being of our individual soul and the soul of the world.”  (Emphasis mine.)

Quite the contrary, we are living at a time when the divine inner light in the souls of men is surging forth from within its entombment in the human mind, and is breaking free to transform humanity and to establish itself firmly in the external world. This is an inner spiritual realization I have had for some time now and a mystical vision I have been granted and privileged to see.

The light in the inner world cannot be so easily extinguished due to its infinite nature. We are not seeing the end of an era of light. On the contrary, we are witnessing the birth of a spiritual age as it goes through its birth pangs. We are witnessing the completion and fulfillment of a divine plan that was conceived of and designed even before any cosmic “big bang” began.

What you are perceiving as the onset of an extinction is really the crumbling apart of the superstructures that are built upon and arose out of the human state of consciousness. That state of consciousness, which became entrenched in the collective psyche of the human species, is based upon a sense of separation from Source and the concomitant belief in the duality of opposing forces. That state of consciousness is coming to an end. It is what’s becoming extinct so that we can finally awaken from the error of materialism, the illusoriness of our material sense of reality and the great delusion of the human condition.

We are not entering an inner dark age, as you claim. Rather, we are emerging from one and moving into an age of light and spiritual illumination. No less than Joanna Macy, whom you mention in your article, acknowledges this fact on her Web site:

The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world — we’ve actually been on the way for quite a while.  It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other.

The matter of spiritual awakening is not something we actively pursue at the human level in the same way we do our external human goals and projects. Instead, it is something within which we become receptive to, which we acknowledge and consent to, which we then permit to happen in our lives, and, finally, which we allow to transform us so thoroughly. To borrow from Joanna Macy, it is something we finally “wake up to.” And we ARE waking up right now, whether you and others perceive it or not. There are spiritual traditions and cultures that definitely see mankind presently moving into a golden age. Not everyone has a dismal and gloomy view of mankind’s future.

The tipping point has been crossed; there is no turning back for us.  The process of awakening is irreversible and NOW UNSTOPPABLE.  We can only cooperate with the spiritual outpouring and flow, and complete the transformation (ascension) process already in progress.  Under these circumstances, there is no point to bemoaning extinctions and laboring under their fear or threat.  It is time (for us and as many others as we can take in tow) to boldly move forward in spiritual consciousness and to claim the divine destiny awaiting the human race; or simply be left behind.

Yes, it is dark; but it is always darkest just before the dawn.

Peace and light to you in the infinite Beingness that we are.

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A Postscript

At Llewellyn’s Web site Working with Oneness, he quotes Abbot Thomas Keating as follows:

The modern world lies under a pervasive sense of anguish, of being abandoned, or at least experiencing God as absent.  Yet events that seem to turn our lives upside down and inside out are part of God’s redemptive plan, not only for us, but for the world in which we live.  God may be preparing a great awakening for the world, if God can find enough people to cooperate in this mysterious plan.
— Thomas Keating —

I submit that Abbot Keating’s understanding and enlightened view of what is presently besetting mankind and our world is a better perspective than a dismal and gloomy view of mankind’s extinction.

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About Marc of Contemplative Pathways

Marc teaches contemplative meditation in the context of contemporary mysticism. His understanding of the mystical life is rooted in study, practice, unfoldment, realization and experience, in the course of which he has received the gifts of spiritual discernment and transmission. His teaching work meaningfully shifts consciousness in a Truth student through the process and alchemy of mystical transformation. Marc facilitates the mystical teachings under the style of Contemplative Pathways, enabling others to embark on the spiritual journey by learning the Truth teaching and living the mystical life. He has been conducting classes and contemplation meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area usually in a classroom, lecture, workshop or group meeting setting, for over fifteen years. His methodology of instruction is divinely inspired and firmly rooted in pure, authentic mysticism. His approach to the mystical life is essentially nondenominational, nonsectarian, culturally interfaith, spiritually transreligious, and definitively unitive and nondualistic. His other contributions to worldwide spiritual awakening and the global contemplative movement include spiritual mentoring and spiritual healing practice. Within the context of the great shift in consciousness now occurring all over the planet, Marc’s work presently focuses on individual and collective spiritual transformation and healing through the practice of contemplation or meditation, as the vehicle for transcendence and ascension to the higher dimensions of the Spirit. He remains firmly committed to the vision of a global spiritual awakening and the divine promise of humanity’s mystical illumination.
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17 Responses to No Reality to Darkness, Despite “Darkest Just Before the Dawn”

  1. Dear Marc

    Thank you for your response. Yes, I entirely agree that we are in the transition to the birth of a new age, one that must be founded upon spiritual principles. In fact your last statement, “it is always darkest just before the dawn.” echoes an article that I recently wrote upon this very subject, “The Darkness Before the Dawn” http://www.workingwithoneness.org/articles/darkness-dawn

    It is the light that belonged to the previous era that has gone out, and what I was trying to say is that we need to become conscious of this in this time of transition: we need to see the inner devastation as much as the outer, ecological crisis. We can no longer afford to separate the two worlds. Only if we become aware what has happened, “face the facts,” can we take responsibility for what we have done as a culture to the inner and outer worlds. We need this attitude of responsibility to reclaim our role as sacred guardians of the planet, which is a part of humanity’s growing process and needed if we are to welcome the light of the next era with the right attitude. As I mentioned in the article, in relationship to the inner world our attitude of consciousness is very important.

    I hope that this clarifies what I wrote. Like Joanna Macy I feel the need for us to wake up to a whole new relationship to the world as an interconnected whole, a whole that embraces the inner and outer worlds. And part of waking up is to see what we have done.

    Best wishes

    Llewellyn

    • Dear Llewellyn.

      Thank you for your clarification and for referring me to your other article.

      I sense both of us are hoping for and entertaining visions of a glorious future for mankind and our planet.  I know we are each trying to work for that future and to navigate toward its fulfillment, but I can see that we are taking divergent routes based on different beliefs or mindsets.  Although it may seem we are marching in the same parade, I do not think we are marching with the same band or to the same tune or beat.

      While I understand the heartfelt concerns you have relative to the darkness snuffing out an “earlier light,” and the need for us to “take responsibility for what we have done as a culture to the inner and outer worlds,” I do not share the basic premises and perspectives underlying those concerns. I come from another mindset, and I see the situation differently. We have differing spiritual paradigms, with each paradigm giving rise its own distinctive set of perspectives and conclusions.  

      Underlying paradigms are important.

      Underlying paradigms are important and extremely critical when we speak of formative patterns, processes and activities such as growth, development, progress, transformation and change.   Spiritual paradigms embody one’s individual state of consciousness. They color our perceptions and understanding. They shape our perspectives and the judgments we correspondingly make. Spiritual paradigms determine our mindset and belief systems, which we invariably project as our views of life and the world. Ultimately they manifest to become our very experience of life and the world.

      Your articles are framed by the dichotomy of a light-versus-darkness paradigm, where the light and the darkness are mutually exclusive forces in opposition.   It gives rise to the perception that one force could and would overwhelm the other force.   You eloquently expressed this paradigm’s dynamics of conflict and opposition, as follows:

      In my own experience I have watched this darkness grow over the years, and how it has covered over or devoured a light that belongs to our consciousness of the divine, of the sacred within ourselves and the world. This has evoked a deep sadness within my own self and soul, knowing how the loss of the light of an individual effects the world soul, the anima mundi. Watching this light going out has been like watching a tragedy that few seem to notice, and yet affects us all, individually and as a whole. Without this light to guide us it is much more difficult to find our way, so much easier to get lost.  And without this light there can be no real transformation, no possibility of a shift in consciousness, no emergence into any new age.

      It is not easy to come to know this darkness. This is a time when it is easier to forget than to remember, to cover our eyes from seeing what is really happening in the inner and outer worlds. But we need to know how the darkness is affecting our planet and ourselves. We need to bring the light of our consciousness and the warmth of feeling into the darkness we are living. There is a great danger that once this light has gone, has been completely lost, devoured by the darkness, there will be no remembrance left to tell the true story, no awareness of what is happening. We need to know the story of this darkness before it is too late.  (“The Darkness Before the Dawn”; emphasis is mine.)

      I go by an altogether different paradigm, one which is more integral, akin to the eastern tradition’s model of an interplay between yin and yang principles.  In this paradigm, one principle does not overcome the other, nor can it be overcome by the other principle: They complement each other, and they form a unified whole. They are not mutually exclusive.  

      Darkness serves a purpose… to support the light.

      Under a yin-yang paradigm, the darkness serves a purpose and fulfills a necessary and complementary (albeit contrasting) role that remarkably supports the light. Paradoxically they function together to produce harmony in a world of conflicted experiences or opposing polarities.  Hence, I see the wisdom of accepting and even embracing the darkness as much as I do the light, without fear or condemnation of it, in the awareness that I am witnessing only a play of duality not the destruction of light by darkness.

      I do not perceive darkness as a malevolent force or some kind of evil design out to subvert the light.  This line of thinking is influenced by a dualistic model that teaches an actual conflict between good and evil forces.  I abandoned that paradigm years ago, in favor of understanding darkness as the “womb” out of which new life emerges. Darkness is like the chaos of creation myths out of which the order of creation emerges. It is the mysterious feminine and mystical “darkness of the deep waters” (the primordial Void) of the creation account found in the book of Genesis, from within which light is called forth by the spirit of God, against which light is made to shine, and from which light is separated in order to form the play of night and day.  The principle of darkness, then, is the maternal womb in which the so-called new consciousness is conceived and undergoes gestation, and by which the emergent new era is being formed. 

      Darkness can never defeat and “devour” the light.

      Darkness does not have any substantive quality unlike the light.  In fact, the light reveals the inherent nothingness of darkness.   Darkness has no staying influence or holding power of its own specially with respect to spiritual light or the light of Truth in the minds of men.  Thus, in my view the darkness cannot devour “a light that belongs to our consciousness of the divine, of the sacred within ourselves and the world,”  (borrowing from your article’s wording). The darkness is not a threat or detriment to real transformation or to the possibility of a shift in consciousness, nor to the emergence into any new age.   If the world appears to be in the dark today, it is because of the dense ignorance in the unillumined human mind. This ignorance has been preventing us from recognizing our responsibility to the light as light-bearers in both the inner and outer worlds.

      Where do all the preceding matters take us or leave us?   I submit that we need to reexamine the very spiritual paradigms under which we wrestle with our issues against the darkness and by which we are hoping to usher in a new era of light.   Mankind cannot afford to continue laboring under erroneous, misleading or inadequate paradigms for transformation.  The problems we have in our world today are precisely the result of such erroneous, misleading or inadequate paradigms that are deeply rooted in beliefs of duality and deceptively based on our sense of separation from the light. Rectify the paradigm with an altered state of awareness, and we correspondingly transform ourselves and our world.

      We cannot speak of any right “attitude of responsibility” to the planet unless we stop flogging one another and ourselves with a sense of fear, guilt or blame over the darkness we perceive around us.  Mankind has been doing that for ages, in every time era, and it has not worked. We still find ourselves in darkness invariably. Clearly a very different paradigm is needed to explain the darkness including the scary shadows we tend to see in it. There is really no “story of this darkness” to learn, Llewellyn, because the darkness is “no-thing” (a nothingness) intrinsically.

      Problems in our world are the result of erroneous, misleading or inadequate paradigms. A very different paradigm is needed to explain darkness.

      The shadows we see in the darkness are shadows of ourselves (our humanness both good and bad, not just our bad side as if it were an evil twin). They become visible to us when we turn away from the light and face the darkness instead. They are our errors and mistaken beliefs haunting us, for failing to face the light.  It is the light shining on us which casts the shadows we see in the ground: Our shadows are only the play of the light on us rendered visible to us against the backdrop of the darkness.

      The light is calling to us, to the point of demanding our attention and awareness.  The light wants so much to transform us into itself so it can become the fullness of our humanity, so it can experience through us the perfect creation it reveals by the workings of its own light. The light desires this above all.  No, the darkness is not playing with us; it is the light which plays with us.  There is NO story of the darkness. But THERE IS A STORY OF THE LIGHT. That is the story we have to learn and to tell through our paradigms.

      We need to tell the story of the light!

      Admittedly we need to take responsibility, but our responsibility is to the light, not to the darkness.   This then should be our attitude of responsibility: To adopt and work with the right paradigm that helps us realize the light is supremely One, and thereby, to inwardly and outwardly realize we are the very light we are seeking to welcome.  We are the light of the world.   The conscious remembrance of that truth is our only right “attitude of responsibility” to ourselves and to the planet — nothing else. From that remembrance will flow everything else, including the recognition of our oneness with the planet and the rest of the universe.

      Why does having the right paradigm matter so much? you may ask.   It matters because our paradigm determines our future.

      In the Oneness of Spirit,

      Marc

  2. I am posting the following reply sent by email dated May 23, 2011 from Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

    Dear Marc

    Thank you for your response. In many ways I agree with you, that the light and the darkness are part of a greater oneness, that there is in essence no duality. Oneness is an essential aspect of everything that is created, and the light and the dark belong to this oneness. So for me this is the underlying paradigm. And yet there are effects of this darkness upon the light of humanity that I have been forced to witness, effects that have real consequences, just as our outer actions have had real consequences upon the ecosystem. And I believe that it is important for us individually and as a whole to take responsibility for our actions and attitudes.

    Sadly I do not see this darkness as the maternal womb of this new consciousness. Maybe it is an energy that is needed to dissolve the structures of the last era, though why we need to destroy our own eco-system in this process I do not quite understand.

    For many years I just looked to the light, and in fact wrote a whole series of books, starting with Working with Oneness, on the qualities of this light, how to work with it and bring this new paradigm of oneness into our consciousness. I feel like you that the awareness of oneness is central to our making this shift into a new consciousness that includes all of creation, the light and the darkness. And then I was made to witness the affects of this darkness, and needed to become conscious of what is happening, both to individuals and to the greater whole.

    Yes, there is the story of the light, and I would agree with you that it needs people to help to live the light, and yet in what I have seen this darkness has the ability to take the light away, to absorb the light. That is what concerns me.

    Thank you again for your response.

    With best wishes

    Llewellyn

     
    I wanted to reply to Llewellyn’s email initially.  In fact I had started to draft a reply.  However, my better judgment and heart tugged at me with the realization that:

    • There was no point in prolonging a discussion where apparently a common ground between us was lacking. Neither was any issue actually joined in the course of our previous exchanges, which could have provided an area for agreement and mutual undertanding.
       
    • I could see that his mindset was fixated or stuck in a belief in duality which he was trying to rationalize vis-a-vis mystical oneness. While early on in his email he admitted that in essence there is no duality: “In many ways I agree with you, that the light and the darkness are part of a greater oneness, that there is in essence no duality,” he continued to acknowledge and maintain the reality of evil or “the darkness” in the world of effects.  I sensed that he simply has not realized the inherent nothingness of evil or the dark, as well as the emptiness of forms, which are milestone unfoldments in nondualist mysticism.  Otherwise, he would have further realized and understood the illusory nature of forms and appearances in the outer world as taught by all true mystics.
       
    • To be true to nondual Oneness, one cannot blow hot and cold in the same breath or at the same time. In terms of a pure mysticism, the nondual oneness of God or Truth is absolute.  You cannot say God is indivisibly one, and, in the same vein, admit that there is an opposing power or force so unlike God’s nature as good or light, existing separate and apart from God.  Call a spade, a spade: This is plainly a belief in duality, in two opposing powers.  There is no way one can rationalize his or her way through this evident point.
       
    • Considering his steadfast belief in the destruction that the darkness was doing (“…yet in what I have seen this darkness has the ability to take the light away, to absorb the light.“), it would be next to impossible to caution him and make him realize that such a state of consciousness perpetuates itself in our human experience through the corresponding mindset (eventually structured by spiritually dysfunctional paradigms or beliefs) it breeds.  In other words, that state of consciousness projects itself into the outer world through the mindset it creates: It perpetuates the human condition and creates evil in our world experience over and over and over again, through every generation and in every era.  As long as the belief in two opposing powers (of good versus evil, or light versus dark, etc.) persists in the human mind, humanity will always bring evil and wrongdoing into its experience whether by man’s commission or omission.  It is a horrible catch-22 that many people do not know and understand.
       
    • It is not incumbent upon me to illumine Llewellyn’s mind on these matters, in the absence of his openness and receptivity.  He will have to learn and realize them himself as part of his own spiritual journey.  I cannot and should not intrude into or interfere with his spiritual growth and the spiritual lessons required of us all.  Water cannot rise higher than its own level.  One cannot force a tree into fruitage, nor the fruit into ripeness.  An individual’s spiritual journey in life is a divine process that has to be respected under all circumstances.
       
    • Even as I honor Llewellyn’s journey and respect the freedom of his own spiritual process, I felt compassion for him.  I know his intention is noble, but I could see how his belief system was undermining the good he was trying to pursue.  I can only pray for him to realize his complete spiritual unfoldment and his integral wholeness in consciousness.
       

    I decided against sending my reply to Llewellyn, but at the same time I wanted to express and share my feelings of compassion over him, for the benefit of Truth students.  So here (below) are the contents of the draft reply to Llewellyn, which I am now sharing my readers.

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    Thank you for replying, Llewellyn.

    I wrestled with the concept of the darkness for many years, especially when confronted by its appearances in the world whether as evil or wrongdoing, lack and limitation, or sheer senseless destruction and human suffering. I understand how you feel about it when you write:

    “Sadly I do not see this darkness as the maternal womb of this new consciousness. Maybe it is an energy that is needed to dissolve the structures of the last era, though why we need to destroy our own eco-system in this process I do not quite understand.

    “For many years I just looked to the light, and in fact wrote a whole series of books, starting with Working with Oneness, on the qualities of this light, how to work with it and bring this new paradigm of oneness into our consciousness. I feel like you that the awareness of oneness is central to our making this shift into a new consciousness that includes all of creation, the light and the darkness. And then I was made to witness the affects of this darkness, and needed to become conscious of what is happening, both to individuals and to the greater whole.”

    I have been there before, Llewellyn. It is a bend or fork in the road along the mystical path that causes us to momentarily pause, even rethink our journey’s progress or doubt the very path we are on. It is an important segment of our inner journey to wholeness; it is liberating too. I imagine all travelers on the path confront the issue of darkness or evil at one time or another. Gautama the Buddha did throughout much of his quest for Truth, even up to the climactic last moments leading to his awakening. Yeshua the Messiah/Christ also did during his temptations in the wilderness and again in the garden at Gethsemane when he agonized over his fate on the cross. Job of the Old Testament struggled with the same issue despite his being a righteousness person and his lack of wrongdoing. And Arjuna had to gather up his resolve to finally fight and win a war he was feeling badly about, after the enlightenment he received from Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.

    Eventually we are forced to learn the most difficult and the most enigmatic lesson of mystical Oneness: “the darkness” — the illusoriness of material sense, the “nothingness” of appearances (both evil and good), the error of a human belief in two powers, in duality. The darkness cannot be explained: There is no rhyme or reason to it. That was my first indication that darkness is like chaos, a total lack of the orderliness by which we can comprehend, indeed like a darkened room with a total absence of the light by which we can see and know.

    These things we perceive with the five senses are objects of mind, with no relationship to Truth.
    All appearances are sense-objects — not of God, or Truth.
    All that is objectively witnessed must be understood to be mental images or mind projections – never spiritual reality.

    — Joel S. Goldsmith —
     

    Darkness cannot be explained away or understood at an intellectual level. It is a “sacred mystery” and we know that human reason and the intellect mind are not capable of comprehending such a mystery. The finite, human dimension of our mind cannot fathom how the darkness co-exists with the light or how it can exist at all in the context of Oneness. It is a mystery in the same way that the Oneness of God is a mystery in itself.

    However, we know that a mystery is not beyond spiritual understanding. It can be embraced by means of an “inner realization” at the mystical level of the Oneness where we access the infinite, divine aspect of the mind. Surely it requires the activity of spiritual grace in the form of an inner light, an inner realization of Truth, or an “awakening” of the Buddha mind, or the “resurrection” experience of Christ-Consciousness from its entombment in human consciousness (among the many spiritual euphemisms we use). As with our other spiritual awakenings, the revelation of a mystery is something we have to remain open and receptive to as we sit in meditative silence and stillness. But come it will, and we shall eventually enter into the deep intuitive “knowingness” by which the mystery is revealed to us, is known by us, and becomes comprehensible to us with certainty. This is true also in the case of the mystery of the darkness.

    To comprehend the darkness spiritually is to become EMPOWERED in the light, by the light. (He who befriends the darkness within his mind, wields the power of the light.) It allows the light to demonstrate to us the “nothingness” of the darkness, the illusory nature of darkness. This empowerment of light enables healing in our lives and in all aspects of our being. It is the same empowerment that is illuminating men’s minds now, and it is the same empowerment that is going to heal the planet.

    It is one thing to have accomplished the writing of many treatises on Oneness and the light, but it is an entirely different thing and (I assure you) a thoroughly transformative experience to be so empowered by the light by embracing its antithesis — the darkness.

    We are light-workers, Llewellyn. That is why we journey to the inner sun along the mystical path and why we serve the light. It is my earnest desire and prayer that you be granted the grace to be empowered by the light of Truth, to know the darkness for what it truly is.

    In love and oneness,

    Marc

    “He who befriends the darkness within his mind, wields the power of the light.”

  3. seeker2008 says:

    Hello Friend,

    I wanted to thank you for your recent comment on my blog http://caravanofdreams.wordpress.com . I was wondering if it was ok to put my response to you in a post.

  4. Pingback: New Comments on My Responce to the Recent Writings of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (1) « My Caravan of Dream

  5. I thank David (seeker2008) for enlivening the discussion arising from the controversy of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee’s recent subject articles on the end of an era for humanity, through the relevant posts he has compiled and featured in his Web site.

    Quoted below is my rejoinder to David’s reply to me, both of which were posted originally at his site.

    Hi, Dave.

    I have no problems with the observation that human civilizations come and go, rise and fall, or ebb and flow. That is the nature of anything built upon the human state of consciousness. It is a given, and it is very true in the manifest dimension of effects.

    However, all of that, including the “interim” or “transition” period you refer to, the seeming “evolution” of consciousness, and the very human state of consciousness, itself, are illusory.  They are mere constructs in the human mind that perceives a duality of opposing forces (as in Llewellyn’s notion of conflict between darkness and light) or a fundamental sense of separation from the Infinite One-Source of All.  They are the misleading and erroneous perceptions of the finite intellect mind which looks at and attempts to understand forms through the progression of (and in the context of) time and space.  You will find that the wholistic intuitive mind, which can see and knows beyond the limited concepts and constructs of the intellect mind, will have a different approach and understanding to the same phenomena.

    In my understanding of mystical Oneness, only the light or spiritual energy that emanates from the One, which animates all life and manifests as all forms, is real, total and absolute in its reality. Darkness has no reality in and of itself, unlike the light.  Hence, the light cannot be extinguished (or “devoured” in Llewellyn’s word of choice) by darkness in any era. (In my rejoinder to Llewellyn’s reply to my post, I stressed the danger of working from paradigms founded upon dualism.  Dualism simply is not nondualist Oneness.  And there is a grave danger when the human mindset is built on such dualism: It tends to perpetuate the dualism, which is what has been happening time and time again; hence, we will never arrive at the era of final enlightenment we all desire and seek.)

    How are we then to understand and explain the ebb and flow of civilizations or human eras? From the perspective of true oneness, all these activities are merely tidal surges of spiritual light as the Infinite seeks to establish (and reestablish) itself in ever increasing territories out here in the dimension of forms. It is similar to the upward moving spiral that circles wider and ever higher with every completed cycle.

    Darkness has never, I repeat NEVER, devoured or extinguished the light. It is the other way around: The light persists continually in encroaching areas of darkness, so that the light being shed can reveal the nothingness or emptiness of the darkness.

    If there is one valuable lesson I learned from my teacher, Joel Goldsmith, it is that consciousness is spiritually UNFOLDING, not evolving.  Evolution implies a developmental process of addition or improvement through time and space in response to the need to bring a design or plan to completion or fullness.  Spiritual unfoldment, however, implies that the design or plan already is complete; nothing else is needed to make it whole.  The only thing we are witnessing is the piece-meal revelation of that whole.  When seen through this paradigm, we can ignore and forget the darkness (which is the essence of forgiveness) and instead persevere and keep on working for the light as its bearer (we are light-bearers) in this world.

    We cannot make water rise any higher than its own level. This is true of any mystical understanding. But this much I know and I say:
    He who embraces the darkness wields the power of the light.

    Peace to you, Dave, in the Oneness that is.

    Marc

    He who embraces the darkness knows the power of the light.

    In this entire series of posts (triggered initially by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee’s published article) regarding the seeming power attributed to “darkness” and the effect that such belief generates, it is a sad commentary to admit that there is no common ground between a dualist mindset and a nondualist one.  Furthermore, there are degrees of spiritual understanding that correspond indeed to as many levels of spiritual awakenings as there are, and there is no way that one’s understanding can rise beyond the level of awakening that gives rise to that particular understanding.  

    Truly, every level of consciousness is simply different, and there is no common ground between nondualist and dualist systems of spirituality.

    Water cannot rise any higher than
    its own level.

    Now, after all that have been said, I just wish to reproduce and repeat the summation I posted there, as follows:

    We are back to the proverbial blind men who describe the various parts of an elephant they are touching, thinking that what they experience partially of the elephant constitutes the reality or totality of the elephant.

    East is east, and west is west; and never the twain shall meet.

    I have studied Sufism, and I, too, love and appreciate its teachings. But somehow, in some way, I have ended up acquiring a more transcendent, unitive, and luminous understanding of its message. Hence, I only see a bright vision of humanity’s future in God.

    Allah is merciful. Peace to you all.

  6. Yvette wrote me the following message at David’s Web site.

     
    Marc,

    The quote you have taken from my post was a quote from Dave’s original post, and again, the thrust of it seems to have been sidestepped.

    No mention has been made of turning against the self in loathing of our darkness. And quite the contrary as far as the message put forth by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. What is being asked is that we recognize, and take responsibility for, the inner and outer devastation that has been created by our perception of separation. It seems to me that this very recognition and responsibility taking is fundamental to a true and fully embodied living of oneness.
     

    In response to her post, I published the following post dated July 12, 2011, 8:11 am, at David’s Web site.

    Yvette,

    Hafiz once said:

    God was so full of Wine last night,
    So full of wine
    That He let a great secret slip.

    He said:
    There is no man on this earth
    Who needs a pardon from Me –
    For there is really no such thing,
    No such thing,
    As sin.

    If, as Hafiz wrote, there is no sin or sinner before God’s eyes, what evil or “darkness” or “devastation” is there to recognize and be responsible for in the name of Oneness?

    “A true and fully embodied living of oneness” does not require such recognition and responsibility because wrongs are done in error and ignorance (according to Yeshua’s teaching: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”). We are not to bind ourselves nor others to the wrongful appearances we might humanly perceive in the outer world. There is no spiritual truth or metaphysical reality to error.

    “A true and fully embodied living of oneness” only requires that we see through the appearance of material forms, beyond the human belief in duality which fosters and festers the error in the mind, leaving behind any illusory sense of separation from God, and into the pure mystical truth of nondual Oneness.  

    I quote from an earlier post I sent Llewellyn Vaugahn-Lee that is published in my Weblog:

    Admittedly we need to take responsibility, but our responsibility is to the light, not to the darkness.  This then should be our attitude of responsibility: To adopt and work with the right paradigm that helps us realize the light is supremely One, and thereby, to inwardly and outwardly realize we are the very light we are seeking to welcome.  We are the light of the world.  The conscious remembrance of that truth is our only right “attitude of responsibility” to ourselves and to the planet — nothing else.  From that remembrance will flow everything else, including the recognition of our oneness with the planet and the rest of the universe.

    The point I am making is being grossly missed and therefore lost: As long as a belief in duality (darkness versus light, evil versus good, etc.) is recognized by us and persists in consciousness, there will never be a new enlightened era for human civilization.  And the world will never be rid of what we consider “evil, darkness or devastation;” it will rear its ugly head over and over and over again. This is a huge “catch-22″, that is why all true mystics like Hafiz teach (as the greatest secret) the nondual nature of God’s absolute oneness.

    It is a paradox, but the recognition of evil in the face and truth of an all-good and all-loving Oneness merely gives more life, energy and reality to evil, in any human era and with every human generation that perpetuates the belief in such duality.

    I end this post by reproducing Irving’s wonderful earlier post (above) for its living wisdom and its luminous vision:

    Mr. Lee may be going through his own spiritual crises, for no Sufi would utter such a phrase unless in some sort of clinically induced depression. Trusting in God, forbearing with patience the temporal changes, a dervish does the good in spite of the sometimes enormous odds, and gives thanks to the Source of all Goodness.

    Among wars, recession, killer diseases, world hunger, natural disasters, I assure you that humanity has never had more reason to hope, to glance upward, to praise God for living in the world today. From the Fall of the Soviet Empire to the Arab revolutions in many countries, the world is more free of tyranny than at any other time in human history. And it is not over yet. Aung San Suu Kyi is leading the march to freedom in Burma, and brave men and women struggle in this age of instant communication to free themselves in China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea, the last outpost of the failed experiment in Communist dictatorships.

    Our grandchildren and great grandchildren will live to see a far better world, more advanced scientifically, cleaner, less dependent on fossil fuels and fanatic ideology. The signs are there, not for some fantasy End Times.. It is in our genes to evolve toward what is greater than what we are, and as Sufis, to evolve in love toward God.

    “Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their transaction has brought no profit, nor were they guided. Their example is that of one who kindled a fire, but when it illuminated what was around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they could not see.” (Chapter 2:16-17, The Holy Qur’an)

    _______________________________________________________

    A Postscript to Yvette’s Post

    Sadly . . .
    Yvette apparently became upset with my reply to her. She posted the following message addressed to me at David’s site:

    You speak of our responsibility being to the light, and not to the darkness. I feel that our responsibility to the light is a recognition of how we have turned from it, from our very essence. Is not this recognition the end of (our perceived) separation and the living of Oneness? This, I perceive, is what is being called forth through the questioned writings of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

    Therefore, I find both your and Irving’s disparaging a sign of misinterpretation, and in no way a sign of any belief in absolute duality running through the offerings of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. With this being so, I will politely bow to the need for no further clarifications. Thank you.

    ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    Yvette, how can men turn from a light (as you assert we have) that they have never even seen in themselves before?  Humanity started with being immersed, and still is immersed, spiritually “in the dark,” that is, mankind collectively is still steeped in spiritual ignorance and has never seen the light of illumination as far as we know, except for the individuals who “awakened” to spiritual truth in their lifetimes.  I do not think your assertion is correct.  Our responsibility as a race or species is precisely to SEE for the first time, to recognize, and behold the inner light which we have never seen within us before.

    Our responsibility as a race or species is precisely to SEE for the first time, to recognize, and behold the inner light which we have never seen within us before.

    How about what Hafiz, a great Persian Sufi mystic, said about our essential purity and guiltlessness before God’s eyes, Yvette?  Are you implying that Hafiz lied to us?  Is not Hafiz saying that our oneness with God is so inviolable that no wrongdoing on our part is ever truly a transgression against God?  Not unless you see a God who perceives Itself as separate and apart from us, an anthropomorphic rendition of God exactly as institutionalized religions teach mankind.  Even the Judaeo-Christian spiritual tradition echoes Hafiz’s Sufi vision of a God too pure to behold iniquity.  It’s time for us all to grow up and mature spiritually, Yvette.  It’s time for us to outgrow and leave behind our childish dualistic concepts of God.

    Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…
    (Habakkuk 1:13, KJV)
     

    It’s time for us all to grow up and mature spiritually.  It’s time for us to outgrow and leave behind our dualistic concepts of God.

     
    How true is the cautionary wisdom Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth left us when he spoke of “blind men leading the blind.”

    Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them.  They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.
    (The Gospel according to Matthew 15:13-14, NLT)

    I have nothing more to comment at this point about Yvette’s last post.  And even if I did, I would only repeat the quotations I gave her from Hafiz and the Qur’an:

    God was so full of Wine last night,
    So full of wine
    That He let a great secret slip.

    He said:
    There is no man on this earth
    Who needs a pardon from Me –
    For there is really no such thing,
    No such thing,
    As sin.

    - Hafiz, Sufi Mystic -
     

    “Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their transaction has brought no profit, nor were they guided.  Their example is that of one who kindled a fire, but when it illuminated what was around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they could not see.”
    (Chapter 2:16-17, The Holy Qur’an; emphasis mine.)

     
     
    On the flip side . . .
    Irving of Darvish, whom I quoted in the post to Yvette above, sent me the following remarks in response to my request for his comments.

     
    Dear Marc:

    Thank you again for the kind comment about my answer. Of course, I do not know Mr. Lee, and was not disparaging him personally, just his outlook on the future of humanity. Such a pessimistic view of life and the world and the future simply does not fit into a Sufi worldview, as least not as I know it. My own view, as stated in the comment, was also the view of my late Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, and of all great Sufi masters of the past. The inexorable arc of history bends not only toward justice, but also toward democracy, freedom, tolerance, and the kind of technological and medical breakthroughs that in at any other time in history would be called miracles.

    It is part of my theory that human beings evolve spiritually as well as biologically, and toward the Source, God, Allah, the Tao, as has been described down through the ages, and lived by a few perfected masters. It is not a matter of opinion, but a science as certain as evolution.

    May God bless your journey, brother :)

    Ya Haqq,

    Irving
     

    I find Irving to be a true practicing Sufi mystic and a luminous one, at that.  I resonate with his words and vision.  Let me quote them again so they can reverberate with us in consciousness:

    “It is part of my theory that human beings evolve spiritually as well as biologically, and toward the Source, God, Allah, the Tao, as has been described down through the ages, and lived by a few perfected masters.  It is not a matter of opinion, but a science as certain as evolution.”

    Spoken like a true Sufi, my friend, my brother!
     

  7. Josephine says:

    Marc reminds me of this well known story:

    A small river used to flow close to their monastery. Walking slowly, meditatively they came across the river. There was no boat men in the river.

    Instead of boatmen, one beautiful young lady was waiting for the boat man to cross the river. The Sun was about to set and darkness was spreading its kingdom.

    They waited for some time for the boat men and eventually decided to cross the river on their own. One monk who was Young carried the lady on his shoulder and three of them crossed the river. On other side of river, lady thanked the monks and went on her way and two monk started moving towards their monastery meditatively.

    Meditation the very breath of their all actions. After some time Old monk broke the silence “I will tell everything to master”
    The Young Monk asked surprisingly “what will you tell to master”
    Old Monk said ” you are spoiled , you have carried the woman on your shoulders, its sin to touch a woman for a monk”

    Young Monk replied “I had dropped the woman at river bank only.”
    But you are still carrying her in your head”

    Marc seems to be, with good intentions still carrying the conversation that was left at the river. He keeps on talking about disagreeing. Isn’t that duality being emphasized?

    And there is the Great Mystery that needs to be included in the conversation; what is “behind” the words written. Llewelyn Vaughn-Lee does not sound like he is negating what Marc is presenting, but asking us to recognize the “darkness”, which we would rather not. Every spiritual teaching seems to eventually say “It is what it is” and by being with the present moment we include it all. Llewellyn seems to be guiding us towards this Moment, so we can come down from “heaven” and be of some “earthly good”. It seems to me that darkness and light are not always in perfect % balance in the “outer world” – but in perfect balance.

    And when I sense this conversation, what is included in the words but not seen — Llewelyn Vaughn- Lee knows that place where there is “nothing but nothingness” – no words, no light and dark – just Mystical Oneness.

    As in the new Leonard Cohen song “Take Me Back” he says “Take me back to the place where the word became man”.

    And here is another quote from the “madness of an artist”.

    “If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…maybe we could understand something.” Federico Fellini

    • Thank you for visiting our site and posting your comments, Josephine.

      Let me address them here, particularly your following remark and question: “Marc seems to be, with good intentions still carrying the conversation that was left at the river. He keeps on talking about disagreeing. Isn’t that duality being emphasized?”

      Josephine, in the teachings of Hindu mysticism, we are told of an allegory and reminded that looking at the darkness inside a room causes us to see a coiled deadly snake in the dimness of the situation and thereby react in fear, where actually there is only a coiled pile of harmless rope. This is the danger in persisting to see the darkness in our human situations, in our world. It ends up perpetuating the illusion that breeds and sustains fear, the most harmful of our primitive human emotions.

      A good and truthful teacher always dispels the darkness within our mind’s perceptions to show others (particularly spiritual learners) the error of “seeing” an illusory deadly serpent where there is really none in the truth of nondualist oneness. The teacher does this by casting spiritual light upon the situation which enables “right or enlightened viewing.” I was only pointing out and doing the right and truthful thing to do under the circumstances.

      Furthermore, I was not stretching an argument beyond a point of futility. I am not even disagreeing for the sake of disagreement. I am exposing a deep-seated error that is fundamental to our human nature and to the human state of consciousness. It is so pervasive and hidden that it can deceptively surface under the guise of spiritual understanding and teaching. That was (and should have been) evident to readers as of my earlier post dated May 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm (http://contemplatingtruth.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/darkest-before-dawn/#comment-49). In that post I laid out a bulleted summary of the realizations I reached over the matter, as well as the compassion I was feeling over Llewelyn’s dilemma in having to draw attention to the darkness that he perceived was extinguishing or had already extinguished the inner light of our soul.

      In the nondualist understanding of oneness which I was elucidating (please refer to my site’s page on “Mystical Oneness”), one never admits or recognizes the polar opposites of the duality because the moment you do, you have affirmed and energized the very existence and power of the seemingly opposing forces. You are back to (and effectively stuck with) the human condition’s unending cyclical experience of a conflict between good and evil: You perpetuate the illusion of the duality. This is the huge and awful CATCH-22 pitfall in recognizing the duality of good and evil, of light and darkness. It is precisely this idea, when acknowledged in human awareness, which keeps mankind in bondage to the human condition.

      The only way out of the CATCH-22 loop, which duality breeds in our minds and perpetuates in our collective experience, is to transcend the human belief in the pair of opposites. This occurs through the transformation and spiritual illumination brought only by the inner realization of the innate pure mystical oneness and goodness we already are in the first place. This cannot be accomplished by “recognizing the darkness:” What is there to recognize in an illusion? Are you supposed to recognize a mirage in the desert? Are we returning to the erroneous religious paradigm of impugning sinfulness to mankind and extracting accountability for it despite the spiritual truth of man’s inherent divinity?

      No, Josephine, I am not emphasizing duality in this series of posts because I do not, and I refuse, to recognize a darkness that is capable of extinguishing the inner light of the soul, as had been advanced by Llewelyn and fueled perhaps by his own fears or doubts (Please reread his original posts objectively.). Quite the contrary, I am afirming the reality and truth about that inner light which the darkness cannot extinguish. ["The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." (The Gospel According to John 1:5, NLT); "God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all." (1 John 1:5, NLT)] This is the essence — the core, the heartbeat — of pure mysticism and true mystical oneness: That there is NO DUALITY, NO TRUTH IN DARKNESS. It is the duty of every light-bearer to show that light and to point out the error in men’s minds whenever and wherever such error rears its head.

      Please note: all the other related, later blogs I posted in the same series were consequentially addressing the reactions of other bloggers to my remarks. As I have already stated: My responsibility is to the light and to the light alone, not to any perceived darkness being accepted wittingly or unintentionally by others. I will confirm and draw forth only the inner light, the truth, from within other people. I shall not hold other people accountable for the appearances of evil or darkness that results from their ignorance of truth and is not at all integral to their true nature and being. I feel it is a disservice to further delude people with their illusory perceptions of the material world, or to encourage the spiritual ignorance by which they are captive.

      You speak of a “perfect balance” between light and darkness. That situation exists in the eastern paradigm of a mere play between yin and yang principles encased in a unifying circle of oneness, but not in the western moralistic paradigm where good/light must overcome and triumph over evil/darkness lest darkness extinguish the light. It is important not to confuse the two paradigms, as they are not the same: the latter is dualistic, the former is not. One will facilitate transcendence; the other will only perpetuate spiritual ignorance. Because of this, our spiritual paradigms of awareness and truth become critical to the matter of our ascension. (I covered this subject of paradigms extensively in the earlier posts of this series.)

      Incidentally, it would not be compassionate and understanding to “leave the conversation at the river” knowing fully well that incredibly many more others are trying earnestly, some even desperately, to cross that same river.  We cannot abandon them at the other bank of the river or let them drown in the process of crossing simply because others fail to convey the true sense of oneness which will assure safe passage through the river’s waters.  (The Buddhist parable you shared is not about “leaving the conversation by the river.” I am familiar with it.  It is about mindfulness and living in the present moment — in the eternal NOW.  The dialogues might have to continue or even repeat themselves, especially when one considers that the conversation is an ongoing one which renews its message for the benefit of every spiritual aspirant who faces the same difficulty of crossing (transcending) the river of life.)

      As I previously said —
      “There is NO story of the darkness. But THERE IS A STORY OF THE LIGHT. That is the story we have to learn and to tell through our paradigms.”

      “Why does having the right paradigm matter so much? … It matters because our paradigm determines our future.” If our paradigm recognizes darkness and its ability to extinguish the inner light of the soul, we shall be manifesting this as the reality of our world’s future.

      “He who befriends the darkness within his mind, wields the power of the light.” And, “He who embraces the darkness knows the power of the light.”

      “It’s time for us all to grow up and mature spiritually. It’s time for us to outgrow and leave behind our dualistic concepts of God.” And that includes how we are perceiving our world.

      In oneness and in truth,
      Marc
      Smiley Season's Greetings

       
       
       

  8. Josephine says:

    Thank-you Marc.

    It is all included isn’t it. Your words, thoughts, what Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee speaks about and everyone else. Quite extraordinary. When you asked me to read again Llewellyn Vaughan – Lee’s words — objectively, I realized I can’t; it is through my subjective “veil” that I read and respond. In my own personal experience if I ignore the “darkness” it grows. If I dwell there, it overshadows the light. If I just immerse myself in the light, I am not here, present in this world with it’s play of light and dark. Though, I have noticed that if I pay attention to the darkness inside myself it changes without even doing anything. Magical really. All of this is difficult to discern; like walking a tight rope without a net! Actually, to put it into words feels “crazy”, as it is an experience and something my “rational” mind can understand only very little.

    Josephine

    • Josephine, you are right, very correct in heeding and dwelling in that “darkness inside” yourself — the primordial void before creation, the emptiness of the Buddha-mind, the no-thing-ness of Zen, the fullness of truth in the Christ-mind.

      I know the sweet nurturing darkness you speak in praise of: It is the darkness within the womb of the Mother-God, the Goddess by which new life in the Spirit emerges as a new creation in us. It is an interior darkness in the soul where spiritual rest occurs, where the intellect or rational mind cannot penetrate. It is the darkness of the Shekinah, the female principle, counterpart and consort of the masculine Yahweh. It is the very power and mind of the Elohim-God, which pre-existed all of creation including the light which emerged through its darkness making all creation manifest.

      That darkness is NOT the same as the darkness one finds in the outer world of human awareness, which seems to oppose and even at times overwhelm the light we find shining in the outer world. The “outer” darkness in this world is an illusion of the senses that deceives, but the inner darkness in the void is real. It is the very nature of the void. I had told Llewelyn precisely that, but he did not comprehend the important distinction I was making. I thus wrote him:

      I do not perceive darkness as a malevolent force or some kind of evil design out to subvert the light. This line of thinking is influenced by a dualistic model that teaches an actual conflict between good and evil forces. I abandoned that paradigm years ago, in favor of understanding darkness as the “womb” out of which new life emerges. Darkness is like the chaos of creation myths out of which the order of creation emerges. It is the mysterious feminine and mystical “darkness of the deep waters” (the primordial Void) of the creation account found in the book of Genesis, from within which light is called forth by the spirit of God, against which light is made to shine, and from which light is separated in order to form the play of night and day. The principle of darkness, then, is the maternal womb in which the so-called new consciousness is conceived and undergoes gestation, and by which the emergent new era is being formed.

      Unfortunately, Llewelyn responded saying: “Sadly I do not see this darkness as the maternal womb of this new consciousness. Maybe it is an energy that is needed to dissolve the structures of the last era, though why we need to destroy our own eco-system in this process I do not quite understand.”

      It is a very different darkness, this magical darkness of the maternal womb of God. It does not extinguish the inner light of the soul. On the contrary, it gives birth to the inner light in the soul which we call illumination. It does not destroy our eco-system; our ignorance as unillumined human beings does that. Rather, the darkness of the Mother’s womb brings about the newness that emerges from it, just as the new life of spring emerges from the barrenness of winter. The old life of an earlier season gives way to a new season of life and of growth.

      Marc
      Smiley Season's Greetings

       
       
       

  9. Josephine says:

    I don’t know if I’m right, it’s just my experience and therefore possibly ” so above, so below”. And, with respect, I’m wondering if it’s Marc that does not comprehend.

    Interesting conversation,
    Josephine

    • Quite right, Josephine. There is nothing to comprehend in the Void. No comprehension; only a knowingness. We think we comprehend that which we choose to see and believe (the tale of the elephant and the blind men), never what truly is.

      I comprehend nothing. I only know.

      (The following video link is a talk given by fellow mystic Jeff Foster in which he states that “the light is not opposed by anything; light cannot be opposed“: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0hIaBJvhwI?rel=0&w=640&h=360;fmt=18].  It is extremely difficult to transcend duality, just as it is extremely difficult to comprehend true oneness, without the inner grace to do so. Always remember this: Any teaching that speaks of a darkness overcoming the light or vice-versa, is NOT a true teaching of Oneness.)

  10. Pingback: Do you believe in duality? | The Mystical Path

  11. If you are a Facebook user, you can view a supplemental post at Facebook which sheds light on the issue, coming from no less from the wisdom of Sufi master Rumi: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=640500175985460&id=405869902856826&stream_ref=10

  12. Pingback: 2014: Emerging into the Light | The Mystical Path

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