I was speaking to a friend and, after a bit of reflection, thought it might be useful to write about what other people never want to talk about: the dark corners and places in our universe. My previous blog entry touched on this idea, as other people were expressing misguided concern about my well-being for reasons that I could not understand.
The people I have known tend to be very uncomfortable talking about the world beyond their everyday concerns, complaints and successes. People want to make meaningless chatter about the weather, current events and the common topics of connection based on how you met a person. Few people want to acknowledge that with the light, and our beautiful world is filled with light, comes darkness. Without the chiaroscuro of reality, without the darkness, reality has no contrast.
In photography, chiaroscuro is often referred to as the Rembrandt lighting or there are references to Carravaggio (whose art I love). The Masters knew the value of shadows and darkness being used to reveal the light. In the modern world of digital photography our machines are built to remove the shadows from our faces through flashes and high ISO capabilities. Try to take a photo in low light with your iPhone, and you will see how the machine attempts to correct our attempts to capture the dark. In our society today, we only see shadows as places for the mentally ill. We drug our children and ourselves to ensure we feel few contrasts; so that we flatline our human experience towards the normal. Personally, I have spent a good part of my life researching the dark places so as to be better able to appreciate the positive, and perhaps people/family misunderstand that as being sad.
Life is a revelation that is to be celebrated. Perhaps others are uncomfortable when I share my actual thoughts when innocuously asked “how are you?”, but that is to be expected when they are not really listening and in tune with the present moment. One of my favourite checkpoint acts is to close my eyes, cup my ears, and listen to the roar of blood through my arteries, through my veins. Listening to the ocean surge through my body reminds me how powerful a creature that humans are; we command an ocean within us. If only we could see how the ocean is moved to rapture by the night, the moon and the morning, then our lives would be an awakening in lieu of a burden to suffer in search of meaningless materials.