Opening to Darkness
Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times
by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
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Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 24 Mar 2023
Sounds True Publishing, Sounds True
“In darkness, we become devoted to clarity, courage, peace, and harmony. We discover the basic goodness of all humanity when we experience darkness together,” Zenju Earthlyn Manuel writes. “Life itself is a dark experience—a magical experience.”
When you hear the word “darkness,” what does it make you feel—horror, danger, or maybe despair? We’ve been conditioned to fear and avoid darkness and blackness, yet Zenju Earthlyn Manuel challenges us to consider: “What if we chose to go deeper into darkness instead of running from it? What might we find there beyond our longing for light?”
Drawing on the ancient wisdom found in Zen Buddhism and African and Native American indigenous traditions, Osho Zenju reveals how a change in perspective and increased wisdom can help us awaken to the sacredness of dark experiences in our lives—so we may experience a reality beyond avoidance and fear.
Opening to Darkness will take you on a courageous journey into the mandala of darkness, a symbolic expression of your inner world, where you will travel through eight gateways that are inspired by Buddha’s Eightfold Path. Along your way, you will meet dark mothers from India, Nigeria, Japan, Haiti, and Dahomey, who both protect and destroy. Osho Zenju provides reflective inquiry, blessings, and meditations as you navigate your way through the vast depths of the unseen.
It is through this spiritual pilgrimage that we learn how to:
• Experience the wonders of life that can flourish only in the dark
• Discover a collective doorway to healing and deep transformation
• Awaken to the illusory nature of light versus dark
• Illuminate false perceptions and beliefs of darkness
• Heal the fear and anxiety around darkness and blackness
Wrapped in gorgeous lyrical prose, Osho Zenju’s offerings provide deep soul relief and collective strength to embrace the dark—so we may reunite with the sacred process of darkness that flows through the canvas of our lives.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
While darkness and light has been rooted in our physical, emotional, social and spiritual lives, this book concentrates on its spiritual impact. The book is arranged in the form of a Mandela with eight gateways. Each gateway has a blessing, guided silence, and meditation. Gateways deal with issues such as the nature of darkness, the childhood fear of darkness, and being a messenger of darkness. Notes
I was attracted to this book because I've been working on my aversion to darkness and winter.. It is an exploration of spiritual darkness through various religious and cultural avenues.
Thank you to the author, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, the publisher, Sounds True, and NetGalley for an ARC of Opening to Darkness: Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times.
I did not know when I started this book that I would be entering my own dark season. It is a gift to have a wise, compassionate guide through the valley. I really enjoyed the authorial voice. I appreciated the honest reflection on difficult subjects. This was a heavy book. I’m not sure exactly what I mean by that and also I can’t think of a better word. I don’t know that I would ever suggest this book to someone unless I knew them very, very well. And yet, I hope everyone who needs it, finds it. These words need to be sown in the right soil in order to flourish and also, all of us will need them eventually. I am grateful to the author for sharing hard-earned wisdom with clarity, authenticity, and grace.
This book reminds me of another favorite, Wild Mercy by Mirabai Starr, also published by Sounds True. The authors’ own experiences are interwoven with stories from a variety of spiritual traditions and cultures. There is guided meditation, questions to ponder, next steps. Wild Mercy is perhaps more accessible because mercy is something most of us want more of in our lives whereas darkness has to overcome the reader’s innate uncomfortable squirming.
I liked the introduction, loved the conclusion, and need to spend more time in the mandala chapters. Honestly, I feel like I barely scratched the surface of the material. I welcome a book which promises more with each reading.
Opening to Darkness is a book with big ideas and concrete steps to implementing them.