Mystery, our cat, has recently been taken with the air vents in the floor, in particular the one in our kitchen floor. She can spend a significant portion of the morning, staring into the vent, not just casually sitting by it, but literally her eyes on the vent as close as she can get peering into the dark tunnel from which she’s only separated by the metal cover.
I can only imagine what she’s thinking as she does this but I am aware that the quality of her attention is focused and alert. Any other time if I mention her name, she looks at me. When she’s studying the dark, I can be talking to her and her concentration never breaks. Her attention does not wander. Like a skilled meditator or Tiger Woods on the golf course, she has fierce focus.
I begin to wonder what it would be like to have such focus peering into the unknown, steadfastly gazing into the dark, unattached to what I might see, sitting, peering, sitting, peering, my own concentration unbroken. Might I see my own interior, the inner workings of my heart unheard and unheeded? Might I venture into my shadow, the parts of myself as well as aspects of our culture that are unexamined?
Mystery’s new fascination reminds me to journey into the underworld, the dark, to learn to see in the dark not the glitz and glamour, flash and flesh of our commercialized world but the world of the unformed, uncreated, Unknown. Whether you believe in the God-did-it-in-seven-days approach or the big-bang-got-the-ball-rolling-and-we-evolved-from-there theory, the world emerged from this Unknown. There’s more unknown than known about the Unknown. Scientists think we only know about 4% of the brain paralleling the same percent we know of the Universe. Is it possible as visionary and author Jean Houston suggests, that we’re local outcroppings of something much more vast?
Every story written, every painting painted, every melody sung, every initiative to benefit humankind, every seed sprouted began in the dark, with formlessness, the Unknown. I wonder what creations are yet to be discovered because we’ve not honed our capacity to peer into the dark. I wonder what epiphanies are waiting on the cusp of consciousness, waiting for us to coax them into revealing themselves.
Now whenever I see Mystery peering into the dark tunnel of the vent, I think ‘Dawn, seek the dark. Go into it. Think of it as a friend, someone desirous of your getting to know it for in doing so you will be granted a great boon, a gift. Coax the dark to make itself manifest in your life, in your world.’ Imagine the shift if we developed a curiosity in relation to darkness, if we became skilled astronauts of the inner world, desirous of exploring the Unknown.
For further musing: What does the Dark mean to you? What myths or stories do you hold about the dark? How have these or other beliefs kept you from exploring the dark? Did you befriend the monster under your bed as a child? What if our monsters are just our antagonists bearing gifts if only we stand before them and invite their presence? What one small shift might you commit to that would allow you to become an explorer of the Dark, an unfolder or vehicle of the Great Mystery?