Darkness and light: Why must we choose?

I once read these words by Osho,  


“The darkness is within us and yet we light the lamps outside!”

There is discontent in all of us, a deep dissatisfaction that we are constantly trying to overcome. Whether you know it or not, all your actions are to get rid of this internal ‘incompleteness’ that is there all the time. Whatever you are seeking, a partner, wealth, fame, success, all of that is aimed only to fill up that discontent.

We try to light the lamps outside to remove our sorrows, pain, and sadness. But the discontent is always there. That is why we invented festivals like Diwali, to remind ourselves to keep fighting the darkness. If we were contented with what we are, the opposites such as ‘light and darkness’ would not exist even in our thoughts.

Duality or conflict cannot exist where there is contentment. And contentment cannot exist in the mind which is still thinking in terms of opposites like good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, or light and dark.

We constantly keep struggling but we can’t remain happy for long. The darkness soon returns. To hide this inner discontentment, We look forward to festivals because they help us escape the mundane life that we have created for ourselves. 

Enough of this conflict! Let us understand that we are searching for light because the darkness is the truth. It exists. We are searching for satisfaction because suffering and discontent exist. Let us surrender to the darkness outside. It is time that we understand that our little lamps which bring us happiness are weak and they quickly get blown in the wind. Let us realize that no matter how hard we try, our happiness doesn’t last.

Desires are rarely fulfilled, and if they are, they bring with them a fear of losing that which you have gained. There is no win for us in either scenario. People you love abandon you. The fame you get by success is quickly forgotten if you don’t keep it up by further success. If you gain wealth, there comes a fear of losing it. If that is not enough, death is one grand end to all your hard work! It is proof of the futility of our vain struggles.

Ask yourself this: “In all these years you lived, What have you ever really gained?”

We have this tendency to become something that we are not. To become something else, something more. Because we don’t want to be reminded of that void, of that discontent that we always carry within. We keep busy because we are afraid to face ourselves.

“We are afraid to be nothing. We are afraid to be empty.” – J. Krishnamurthy

But I have seen some beauty in darkness. In darkness there is silence. In darkness there is oneness. When there is light, there is noise and distractions. In deep sleep, there is darkness. There are no dreams, nothing exists except you. The darkness of deep sleep is the deepest satisfaction that you know of. The only light needed there is the light that reveals the one who sleeps.

The moment you open your eyes the world appears. This world is the world of desires and passions. My world is made up of my desires. Yours is made up of yours. The moment there is a desire, there is dissatisfaction. The satisfaction of deep sleep, of darkness, is gone.

My message is that let the darkness win outside. Let all your passions and desires be silenced. Know that you can’t defeat the darkness by lighting the lamps outside. Surrender to the darkness so that you stop the conflict and continuous struggle which has led you nowhere. Free your mind to look within and find the light of knowledge.

“The Self-existent created the senses out-going, for this reason man sees the external, but not the inner Atman (Self). Some wise man, however, desiring immortality, with eyes turned away (from the external) sees the Atman within.” – Katha Upanishad

The light of desires and passions is powerful as long as it is fed. As long as you have the energy for it, they burn. Soon the passions fade and the light fades too. But the light of knowledge which comes from within lasts forever. That is what we need!

Find your own light within. How long shall we live with the borrowed lights? How long shall we be dependent on the happiness outside? Keep in mind the last words that the Buddha said as he passed away, “Be the light unto yourself!”

Also check out this post from my previous blog:

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