Going Inward to Find Your Personal Paradise
There’s something beautiful and sacred about the end of the year. Whenever we finish something, the accomplishment always comes with a sense of relief…and release. There is a feeling of both reverence and resignation that we did the best we could do and now, allow it to be what it is. It’s no longer in our control. The year’s end not only brings to mind a sense of completion but also contemplation. Are we where we thought we’d be at the beginning of the year? What worked? What didn’t? Now what? Where next?
As the days get shorter, the earth’s attention goes inward, as well. It’s almost as if it’s contemplating the same questions. The noise of summer has faded and now it’s time, in the stillness of winter, to get quiet and set the intention for what’s to come. The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year is in December. Some call it the darkest or longest night.
“The darkness makes us more conscious of things we would often ignore in our usual state of awareness.”
We’ve been mistakenly taught to fear the dark. In truth, it’s a gift. If all the lights in the room went out and you were left in total darkness, you’d be frightened. At that moment, all your non-visual senses would become more acute. They would instantly heighten your awareness to compensate for your lack of physical vision. This is often why those who are blind have a heightened sense of hearing. The darkness makes us more conscious of things we would mostly ignore in our usual state of awareness. In this way, the darkness doesn’t hide things from us. It reveals them to us.
When you close your eyes, brainwave activity immediately begins to fall. You leave the normal waking beta frequency of 13-30Hz or cycles per second and enter the alpha range from 8-12Hz. Here, those parts of your brain that are usually busy processing billions of visual data every second are freed up. They’re now available to process information from a completely difference source. The darkness of the alpha range is where your creative mind becomes engaged, inspirations are born, and answers received.
“To shed light on what ’s going on in our lives, we must go into the dark.”
We put far too much emphasis on our vision. We become upset by what we see around us and what our physical sight tells us about the condition of our lives. If we’re conscious, we understand how our seemingly physical world is created from our thoughts and feelings. We understand the power of the unseen to influence the material world and that appearances can be deceiving. We know that to shed light on what’s really going on in our lives; we must go into the dark.
Most of us are unsatisfied with our lives. We believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, so we’re always seeking Nirvana somewhere else, as if it’s a place we can get to or an object we can own. In Sanskrit, Nirvana actually means, “to blow out”, similar to blowing out a candle. It tells us that our personal paradise isn’t “out there” but that we will find it in the still, quiet darkness.
The winter solstice might be the longest, darkest night but it’s also a turning point. It’s the signal that once completed; the days will finally begin to get longer. It ushers in lengthening days and more light. A “dark night of the soul” is not to be feared. Go into the darkness knowing it’s leading you back to the light. Befriend it. Use the darkness within meditation to reveal your Nirvana to you. Understand that our creative power lives there and its purpose is to bring you back to the light.
Dr. Habib Sadeghi is the co-founder of Be Hive of Healing, an integrative health center based in Los Angeles. He provides revolutionary healing protocols in integrative, osteopathic, anthroposophical, environmental, and family medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology. He served as an attending Physician and Clinical Facilitator at UCLA-SM Medical Center and is currently a Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Sadeghi is a regular contributor to Goop, CNN, BBC News and TEDx. He is the author of Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss, as well as the foreword to Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good, and is the publisher of the health and well-being journal, MegaZEN.