We are attending to troubling times in our world today. Since stepping into my role at ICSG, many difficult and tragic events have taken place in our community and in our world, the most recent being a number of historically destructive natural disasters. As I reflect upon the devastation in Southeast Asia, Texas, Oregon, Montana, Florida, the Caribbean Islands, and Mexico, I find myself often without words. I know many of us have been personally affected by at least one of these events and that the challenges, losses, and fears continue to play out.
As I’ve been looking for my own guidance during this time, I began to think about the role darkness has played in my own life. I reflected on the many times that I have experienced darkness, how I fight with it, how it forces me to stay anyway, and what I gain from the process of composting and stumbling back into the light. Then I happened upon this beautiful writing by one of the spiritual teachers I follow, Tirzah Firestone. She began by referring to the solar eclipse that happened last month, starting with a quote from a friend of hers:
“The most unforgettable moment was—after about two minutes of experiencing the totality—when the light of the sun, like a sparkling facet of a diamond, began peeking out from the edge…It symbolized for me that in the deepest throes of darkness the light is born.”
In response to her friend’s message, Tirzah shared the following:
“His sentiment comes right out of Kabbalah: the notion that light is born out of chaos and darkness. The 13th century Zohar says: For there is no light except that which issues from darkness… and there is no good except that which issues from evil. There is a lot of darkness in the world right now: fear, insecurity, hopelessness. How do we go about bringing light out of so much dark? I believe the Zohar is telling us that spiritual light comes not from avoiding, but from facing into the darkness. That true goodness comes not from untested innocence but from facing and wrestling with our darkest parts.”
I wanted to share Tirzah’s sentiment with you in part because we will have a guest speaker, Lucinda Kurtz, speaking about the Kabbalah at our service on Oct. 1st, followed by a workshop on the topic. I thought the synchronicity was poignant. I also appreciated Tirzah’s encouragement to face into the darkness. I do believe this is what is being asked of us during this time. We must face this darkness, wrestle with it, even if it means our worldview is tossed on its head. We are seeing how the decades of mistreatment of our Mother Earth is leading to pain and loss on a massive scale. We are acknowledging the suffering of many who have lost loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods, and their neighborhoods. We face all of this, we call on our resiliency to make it through this time, we show our aid to those who are suffering in any way we can, and we trust that the light will greet us on the other side. We commit to being co-creators of that light.
I encourage you to join in meditation and peaceful prayer for our world during the 24 hour Peace Generator, this weekend, Sept. 15th at 6pm- Sept 16th at 6pm, drop in any time. May all of those personally affected by tragedy today be safe, protected, and supported during this difficult time.