Listening to Sacred Stillness: Discovering Light in the Dark

Listening to Sacred Stillness: Discovering Light in the Dark August 23, 2022

Discovering Light in the Dark

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 are surrounded by the darkness. Listening, we begin discovering light in the dark.

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

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

It might be in our favorite rocking chair, allowing darkness to wrap us up in its blanket. We are alone, rocking and listening to stillness 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, 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 dark embraces us and protects us.

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

Emerging Light in the Dark

The light in the dark we begin to see is 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 dark, listening, and the light emerges from the darkness.

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

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

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

When we try to analyze and understand the light in the dark it often disappears. We cannot sort out whether it marks a path for us to follow or is meant to reassure us. Only by listening can we hear our way in the sacred stillness.

Discovering the light in the dark may be just as frustrating as sitting in the dark for us. It reminds us we are not determining our own destiny, not even moving toward our own goals. We sit in the dark with our eyes closed and listen to sacred stillness.

How can we be in control of light which emerges from the darkness all around us?

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

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

The dark wraps its arms around us and light begins to emerge. We do not know why or how, but we recognize the light was there all along.

Remembering Light in the Dark

The light in the dark help us see.

We do not open our eyes, jump up, and run in the direction of the light. Light in the darkness is not necessarily a call to action or a revelation. There was light in the darkness before we took time to sit and listen and see it. It will continue to be there when we stand up and walk away to do something else.

It is not our listening which creates the sacred stillness or the light in the dark. We only see when we take time to pay attention.

Light in the dark is there even when we are fidgety or distracted. The stillness is sacred even when we cannot listen well.

The light in the dark is 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 light in the dark.

Following Light in the Dark

The light in the dark is not a signpost nor a detailed map. It are not like the apps which give us specific instructions to get us where we want to go.

Maybe it is there simply to remind us there is light in the darkest places. It may remind us to 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 light in the dark we need to close our eyes and sit listening to sacred stillness.

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

Do you see, and remember, the light in the dark?

What is the light in the dark showing us today?

[Image by Nosleeper]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is and his email address is

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