Darkness is the silence of the universe. Just as we can hear our soul's message only in silence, the brightest stars are nowhere but in the darkest sky. Darkness absorbs all non-essentials, so only matters of importance can surface. In the darkness, we confront our deepest fear and touch our raw emotions. Only those who choose to stay in the darkness can witness the absolute light - the illumination of the soul. We live in a culture that honors and celebrates light: Christmas lights, fireworks, candles - we like to light up our home, town, and sky to feel festive and merry. Light expresses positive qualities such as justice, purity, and love. On the other hand, darkness is associated with negativity such as sins, destruction, fear, and depression. The people in Bali, where I lived over a period of 15 years, celebrate darkness. They know in their hearts light and darkness are both sides of the universe's coin: one cannot exist without the other. So, they honor darkness on Siwa Ratri day (the Night of Shiva). This tradition originated in India and is celebrated among Hindus (Bali is a predominantly Hindu island). In Bali, Siwa Ratri is observed during the new moon of the 7th month of the Balinese calendar. Aspirant Balinese Hindus stay awake at their temples all night long, meditating, praying, fasting, and remaining in silence. The depth of the dark night scares us. It threatens to swallow us, taking our power away. When we notice darkness, we want to walk around it or pretend not to see it. If we fall into darkness, our urge is to get out of it as fast as possible. What would happen if we knew that darkness yields absolute light? Thomas Fuller said the darkest hour is just before dawn. Can we stay in the frightening place not because we have hope, but we understand darkness and light are one in essence?
The darkest night embraces the brightest stars."