Just got back from a three-day silent meditation retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains. It turned out to be mostly women, with a range of ages and races. We had a lovely circle, wisdom through the ages.
Communing with nature in stillness was great, but I must admit it was good to get back to our scarily exciting real world, with all the fantastical financial events going on around the globe.
Funny, I pulled up this video to play for myself when I got back - a song called "Total Immortal" by AFI. Perhaps a bit of yang to the yin of my retreat. Healthy vegetarian meals, refraining from violence of any kind including the killing of insects, abstaining from indulgences and intoxicants, bowing, bowing and more bowing - the peace, purity and respectfulness of it is beautiful.
Yet true Oneness embraces the whole, including the darkness.
As one who plays with sadomasochism and dominance/submission, I find myself attuned to the shadows as well as the light. This often is not addressed enough in spiritual inquiry, as if by ignoring it, it will go away, the unfavored twin of the circle. Or by condemning it, as many religions do, it will whither away in the glaring light. What a violent thing, to want to scrub everything clean. In the name of the holy, no less.
You know I used to be a metalhead when I was an angry teenager, went to Metallica's final And Justice For All concert and used to go to sleep to their song "Fade to Black." I guess there's still a little headbanger in me!