Listening to Sacred Stillness: Discover Lights in the Darkness

Listening to Sacred Stillness: Discover Lights in the Darkness June 12, 2018

Discover Lights in the Darkness

We sit in the dark, unable to sleep, early in the morning or late at night, listening to sacred stillness. Even during the longest days of summer, we close our eyes and darkness surrounds us. Listening, we discover lights in the darkness.

Around us the world is asleep. The darkness makes us nervous. We may not be afraid of monsters under the bed, the way we did when we were children. Still, we feel vulnerable in the darkness and stillness.

We sit in a dark room or outdoors looking up at the night sky. Darkness takes away the distractions and landmarks. We feel a little disoriented, lost without our familiar reference points.

It may be in our favorite rocking chair, allowing the darkness to wrap us in its cold blanket. We are alone, rocking and listening in the dark.

There are times when we drive to the high desert to watch meteors shower the earth. Sometimes we go to the beach to listen as darkness envelops the water and the sand.

We listen to hear the wordless sound of the waves along the shore.

Even when we feel nervous or afraid, the darkness draws us into itself. Wait, wait, do not rush into the next thing. Sit here with me for a little while, listening to sacred stillness. Wait here, rocking in the dark, where no one will see you.

I will hide you under my wings.

We let go of the voices and noises which fill our days as we listen to sacred stillness. The darkness hugs us and protects us.

Slowly we remember who we are and relax into our true selves. Our eyes adjust and we discover the lights in the darkness.

The Emerging Lights in the Darkness

The lights in the darkness we begin to see are not from the sun or moon or stars. There is nothing we, or other people, can do to turn on these lights. We sit still in the darkness, listening, and the lights emerge from the darkness.

These are not lights we create or ignite. We discover the lights in the darkness.

The lights we begin to see when we listen to sacred stillness were there all along. We could not see them because we were moving too quickly. Our attention was on other things.

We see lights in the darkness as we sit listening with our eyes closed.

When we try to analyze and understand the lights in the darkness they often disappear. We cannot sort out whether they mark a path for us to follow or are meant to reassure us. Only by listening can we hear our way in the sacred stillness.

Discovering the lights in the darkness may be just as frustrating as sitting in the dark for us. They remind us we are not determining our own destiny, not even moving toward our goals. We sit in the dark with our eyes closed listening to sacred stillness.

How can we be in control of lights which emerge from the darkness all around us?

Whether or not we control our own destiny or the lights we begin to see, we control how we respond.

We sit in the darkness with our eyes closed, listening to sacred stillness, accepting what is true. Whether we enjoy it or not, whether we are comfortable or not, we accept what is.

The darkness wraps its arms around us and lights begin to emerge. We do not know why or how, but we recognize the lights were there all along.

Remembering the Lights in the Darkness

The lights in the darkness help us see.

We do not open our eyes, jump up, and follow the direction of the lights. The light in the darkness is not necessarily a call to action or a revelation. There were lights in the darkness before we took time to sit and listen and see them. They will continue to be there when we stand us and walk away to do something else.

It is not our listening which creates the light in the darkness. We only see them when we pay attention.

The lights in the darkness are there even when we are fidgety or distracted. The stillness is sacred even when we are not listening well.

The lights in the darkness are not miraculous or magical. The miracle, the magic, is when we take time to listen, time to see.

We sit in the dark with our eyes closed, listening to sacred stillness, so we can remember.

Our sitting and listening is about pausing our ever active brains. We stop paying attention to everything our senses are telling us and take a deep breath.

Later, when we are caught up again in the rush of our lives, we remember. We take another breath and remember what it is like to listen to sacred stillness. Our memories remind us of sitting in the dark with our eyes closed.

We remember the lights in the darkness.

Following the Lights in the Darkness

The lights in the darkness are not signposts or detailed maps. They are not like the apps which give us detailed directions to get where we want to go.

Maybe they are there simply to remind us there is light in the darkest places. They may be beacons of hope in the dark.

We sit in the dark with our eyes closed, listening to sacred stillness, opening ourselves to spiritual life. The deep truths waiting for us in the dark glow as we begin to pay attention.

It is easy for us to be distracted by the shiny objects right in front of us. To see the lights in the darkness we need to close our eyes and sit in the dark, listening to sacred stillness.

What is waiting for us out there in the dark all around us?

Do you see, and remember, the lights in the darkness?

Where are the lights in the darkness showing us to go?

[Image by generalising]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and leadership coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and university professor, and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is, and his email address is

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