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Settling Into Darkness

On meditation retreats, I always used to love the last sit of the evening, in darkness.

It felt like we were attuning to the shift in the day’s energy, rather than resisting it. Settling down before sleep, the dark would feel like a blanket around me, gathering me in a welcoming stillness.

I never thought to replicate this practice at home. But recently I’ve been drawn to the darkness. At dusk, I settle into my sit spot – the same place I sit in the garden most mornings for my first cup of tea and a short practice.

In the dark, different creatures keep me company there. The bat we’ve often observed through windows is usually around, flitting and diving (playfully, it seems) in the night sky above me. Other winged beings, small and mysterious, are present too: moths, I think, and those I don’t yet know the names of.

There’s a magical quality to sitting in the dark, a rich expectancy, a surrendering to unknown potential.

I’ve heard that the ancient Celts believed that each new day started at dusk, and was birthed out of the fertile darkness.

I’m intrigued how that must have felt, to not have a clock (or a smartphone) tell you what time it is, or what’s in your calendar. To allow the physical world you inhabit to give you all the feedback you need.

I find my own practice schedule becoming more fluid: less dictated by clock time than by natural energy. As I make space to greet the sun in the morning, and let go into the evening darkness, there’s a felt sense of aligning with the Earth’s own clock. As if I become part of its cycle more fully; as if in honouring this daily pattern, I embody it too.

The season is also shifting, from summer to autumn. With each glimpse of this magical darkness, I feel more ready to settle into the coming winter.

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