Article by Doug Esse
Say out loud, “In union with the Creator’s Transcendence (right hand to 6th chakra), Incarnation (right hand to 2nd chakra), and Indwelling Presence (both hands crossed over heart chakra). Amen.
I begin this brief reflection with a “sign” that utilizes the mind, body, and spirit together while vocalizing words that proclaim the reality of the Infinite Creator in whom all things are in union. This proclamation is also, to my way of thinking, the very spirit of the symbol of the ankh:
“…[The] circle [indicates] the magic of the spirit; the cross [indicates] that nature of manifestation which may only be valued by the losing [read, “sacrifice,” “kenosis,” or “self-emptying”]. Thus the [ankh] is intended to be seen as an image of the eternal in and through manifestation, and beyond manifestation, through the sacrifice [“to make holy”] and transformation of that which is manifest.”Law of One, Session 93.24
The ankh as an archetype is simply THE symbol of life, beginning with the Life of the Divine Creator. The circle represents the Creator’s Intelligent Infinity (spirit) which is an infinite pregnant fullness (plenum) ready to empty Itself in and as the manifested universe.
The cross is the “cruciform” nature of manifestation’s eternal unfolding, or becoming, which follows the ebb and flow of dying and rising; of transformation.
Thus, the ankh is the perfect symbol that encapsulates the reality of the Divine Life which enfleshes Itself as the Octave (7 densities of consciousness–the 7 chakras of God).
Luminous darkness seems like a strange combination of words. How can darkness by luminous, full of light? How can one follow their spiritual path in a kind of darkness that seems void of form, consolation, and doing? Mystics across time and cultures have attempted to describe this apparent paradox. For many mystics, the “apophatic way,” a path where the usual spiritual senses are switched offline, is considered very sacred because there are few distractions except for two things: the will and faith to seek the One Thing. More on that below.
During the late evening, about one month ago, I let our new rescue dog outside just before bed, and to my surprise, I saw something I had never seen before. Just twenty feet in front of me and about twenty feet in the air, there were two huge owls flying in a crisscross pattern illuminated by a very bright moon. They then landed together on the roof of our neighbor and looked right at me. Then they flew off…
I am always curious and grateful for these kinds of synchronizations even though I don’t actively look for them. What I felt from that encounter was that some kind of wisdom and change would spin me around in my life; that some kind of disorder would upset my order because I would be led to a new reordering. This was the beginning of a new ankh-shaped reality in which I was thrusted. And this reality was darkness.
The “apophatic way” clears concepts and the thoughtforms of the mind like a windshield wiper wipes water and dust. The eventual effect is clearer seeing but first the water and dust mingle and the view is muddy and muddled. The experience of living life in the muddled darkness is not pleasant. It is an assault of the meaning-making mental structures used for quick and sure “truths,” that even just recently were used to explicate how life was.
For me, this has been a welcome “suffering” because I have been here before, or spiritual caves just like it. But this time it is a little different. This time, I am not asking, “why now?”, “what does it all mean?”, or “when will it end?” Even that conceptual part of me that likes to fashion the fabric of some kind of order and perspective out of apparent disorder remains offline. The truth is, I don’t know…and I know I don’t need to know right now.
But through the darkness, which simultaneously seems oppressive and exquisitely nurturing, I am being pressed down (which is the etymology of our modern word, “depression”) onto solid ground which certainly feels ontological and is below and beyond the conceptual. Indeed, this is just a guess, but I wonder if the gift of luminous darkness is actually the mind-body-spirit complex’s descent (or ascent?) into the headwaters of the causal plane, just at the cusp where the Creator’s formless plenum condensates into light, form, and manifested Self-Expression? It could be in some way.
Perhaps the rather sudden teleportation into the liminal space between the realms of the formless and form feels so unsettling because we become so attached to our reality bubbles–like an addiction to which we did not know we were addicted–and this darkness is the spiritual space where we can process the withdrawal symptoms. Indeed, our concepts and ideas, our perspective-givers and our mind’s search for our personal meaning, are important as far as they go, but they are attachments, that, for those who can and are willing to give it up, surrender, let loose, ungrip, and exhale, may lead to the next rebirth that wants to come out. Ra seems to say something similar:
The conscious mind of the adept may be full to bursting of the most abstruse and unmanageable of ideas, so that further ideation becomes impossible, and work in blue ray or indigo is blocked through over-activation. It is then that the adept would call upon the new mind, untouched and virgin, and dwell within the archetype of the new and unblemished mind without bias, without polarity, full of the magic of the Logos.Session 91.35
Maybe this is one way to describe what Ra means when they say, “There is no experience which is not purchased by effort of some kind—no act of service to self or others which does not bear a price to the entity manifesting, commensurate with its purity” (94.26). When one is given the grace of luminous darkness, one is invited to purify everything… and I mean everything, right down to your very intimate concept of who you think you are. To die in this way, to let the grip loose is itself the beginning of co-creating with the Creator the next incarnation of some kind of form. In other words, you don’t get to the “resurrection side” of the ankh without going through the “dying side” first. There is no “ascension” without first plowing into incarnation. To go up, you have to go down. It is indeed, a falling upwards or an ascending downwards. If you can put those two together in your heart, then you get the energy and feel of what luminous darkness brings.
For one sailing into luminous darkness, it feels as if it were being done to you because you wouldn’t consciously choose it on your own. How the actual metaphysics work behind the scenes and whether the rebooting is coming from a person’s unconscious, or the Higher Self, or something/someone else, I don’t know. I do believe that the seeker’s consistent and fervent desire to follow the will of the Creator may be the “adept’s calling upon the new mind,” that Ra mentions above. Your prayer of, “I only and forever desire to do Your Will,” signals the unconscious mind to begin the rebooting when this becomes necessary. And when we are faced with those periods of luminous darkness, we seem to have two choices: resist it and numb out or embrace it and listen with your heart.
But if you choose to embrace it and listen with your heart, I suggest you intentionally make room for silence and some kind of solitude in your life so that the conscious mind can be renewed and filled with the magic of the Logos. Engaging in the same mental activity as before won’t cut it. In order for the darkness to be a light, you have to let go of activity as usual and focus on the One Thing: union with the Creator in order to manifest the Creator here and now.
Indeed, as Ra speaks in session 75.23, each person is the Creator and as the adept grows in adepthood, he or she awakens and manifests more of this ontological truth right here in third density.
Ra: I am Ra. Each entity is the Creator. The entity, as it becomes more and more conscious of its self, gradually comes to the turning point at which it determines to seek either in service to others or in service to self. The seeker becomes the adept when it has balanced, with minimal adequacy, the energy centers red, orange, yellow, and blue, with the addition of the green for the positive, thus moving into indigo work.
The adept then begins to do less of the preliminary, or outer, work having to do with function, and begins to effect the inner work which has to do with being. As the adept becomes a more and more consciously crystallized entity it gradually manifests more and more of that which it always has been since before time: that is, the One Infinite Creator.
As for me, I have embraced a daily schedule of four times to pray in order to consciously connect with the One Infinite Creator. This way, I hold myself accountable to a schedule that I trust bears the fruit of rebooting the system and keeping me focused on living from union with the Creator. Each prayer time allows for apophatic work such as silence and listening from a receptive mode and cataphatic work such as reading the Gospel, some portions of the Law of One, spiritual teachings from Buddhism or Sufism. I also may engage in visualization, which as Ra says is the tool of the adept (49.8).
What is emerging for me in my time of luminous darkness is nonconceptual but it has something to do with being, itself. It feels grander and fuller than any other kind of bliss or psychic experience that I’ve had, including visions of high astral planes and encounters with celestial beings. With the lights out, engaging in the mundane world around me begins to satisfy more than flying high into the astral realms, learning esoteric things (including the Law of One), or filling my mind with concepts and ideas. Those activities are totally fine as far as they go and are proper to the cataphatic way of spiritual evolution. But as many mystics across time and cultures remind us, the apophatic way–or darkness that illuminates and guides–increases that all important faculty of faith, which as Ra says, is the activation of the sixth chakra and the purview of the adept who wishes to enlighten the planetary vibrations (ref. sessions 54.31 and 80.13).
Given that reality is cruciform–or ankh shaped, as it were–it is important to allow the flow of dying and rising to sweep in and through us. I wonder if this is what Paul means when he writes, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ [who] lives within me…” (Galatians 2:19-21). To participate in luminous darkness by allowing it and listening well, I offer up as a holy sacrifice my need to know why this is happening or when it will end. My only desire is to desire the One Thing and “to become more of that which I have always been since before time: The One Infinite Creator” (75.23). In this way, I can serve in a hidden way, or as Paul says–“hidden in Christ with God” (Col 3:3)–in the immediacy of my life situation. For here, in this moment, the full majesty, the plenum, the Light, of the Infinite Creator is contained therein (ref 10.14).