The glands in the brain respond to compete darkness. Increasing times of darkness have healthy affects on glands. Even a small light that shines while the body is trying to sleep can upset the biorhythms of rest and rejuvenation. Melatonin, is released after one night in darkness. It quiets the body and mind and regulates biorhythms. Pinoline is a hormone that affects the neuro-transmitters and encourages dream states in complete darkness. Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a hormone that grows stronger after six days of total darkness and facilitates experiences of universal love and compassion.
Meditators throughout history have used darkness to stimulate the chemicals in the brain. Egyptian acolytes (and Napoleon Bonaparte -not Dynamite) spent the night in the Great Pyramids. Roma mystics had catacombs. Taoist and Hindu sages went into deep caves. When we can’t rely on our eyes and external sounds disappear, our senses turn inwards. Darkness shuts down major thinking centers and heightens feeling and emotional abilities. Psychic perception grows and the veil becomes thinner between dreaming and waking worlds.
I had a Taoist friend and teacher named Joyce who spoke about this. She knew of westerners that participated in darkness retreats. As a culture, we are sleep deprived and these folks spent the first week of darkness by sleeping almost exclusively. But, after this initial period, “when they woke up, they were really awake.” People would spend weeks and sometimes months at the darkness retreat. Their food and water was brought as a service to them.
How do we start? Just by making your bedroom darker, less distracting, and quiet. If we can, maybe we can try a couple of days and nights in darkness. Send the kids and dog to Mimi and just try a minor reset for the weekend. When you take a vacation or retire, try a longer reset. Or, just meditate a little more and turn your senses in a bit more on a daily basis. Some meditation exercises are featured in the Full Body Enlightenment video series:
(In permanent stories: ‘Video Teaching‘)