Is the story of light versus dark the same as good versus evil? Dark demons and angels of light are integral parts of my tales so the question must be answered. To be brief, “no” dark is not necessarily evil and light is not always good. Rather, here is where I must credit the wisdom of Taoism because both light and dark are good in there own way and each can be destructive.
The argument for light is most obvious. Light is needed for most forms of learning. The Age of Enlightenment was called that because of the strides made by scholars, (not because the sun was any brighter.) Enlightenment in Buddhist terms also means an awakening to knowledge in a spiritual sense as opposed to actual illumination.
Light has another meaning though in referring to the weight of something. Is that a coincidence? Maybe not, when someone is described as lighthearted, they are using the word not only to mean cheerful and carefree but also to mean with few worries to burden them. In my spiritual learnings souls that are light in appearance, glowing white like the moon, are also light in weight because they leave by floating straight up to the heavens.
The argument against darkness is just as plain. The Dark ages were named for the lack of scientific achievement and the accompanying rise in superstitious beliefs. My friend Vibrant used this meaning in his thought provoking piece, Beyond Being Helped. Interestingly by linking darkness to both ignorance and suffering, darkness becomes like a “heavy weight inside you.” My own experience follows this track. When I meet dark demons, they are tethered firmly to the earth by their pain and bitterness.
Fortunately, in my mission to help these trapped demons, I have been gifted with an alternate view of both light and dark. The argument for darkness begins with the womb. This is where our mortal lives begin. Again and again when I have known difficulties and pain, I retreat like a hermit in a cave. Reminiscent of the womb, I find my ability to heal and grow, magnified in an environment of quiet, darkness and security.
Sometime ago when I wished to become a teacher, I took a class on positive discipline and self-esteem. There I learned of emotional-intelligence. The idea, as I understood it, was that even when a child seems not to be progressing at all, in a visible manner, the child is likely learning essential things inwardly, emotionally. The theory made so much sense I converted immediately. Now I understood the need for darkness like I never had before. There is a reason we sleep better in the dark and (traditionally) had sex in the dark and like to cry in the dark. Darkness gives us a sense of privacy. It gives us a safe haven to experiment with new things, feelings and thoughts that allow us to grow inwardly; emotionally.
As for light, just as too much time in the sun can give you a painful sunburn. Too much time spent in front of an audience, being judged or tested is damaging to your soul. We all need to feel free to try new things, make messes and mistakes, to grow our own sense of spiritual well-being. That may be what Heliopolister was onto when he said, “contained in even that which is judged to be horrific is a certain divinity” in his stirring post Gratitude Unbound. Often it is from our greatest mistakes we learn our most deeply valuable lessons. I have found that the most grotesque spirits contain the most beautiful and powerful souls.
In the end, light and dark, like day and night, move in a cycle of inner emotional study and outer intellectual reaching. A floating detachment is associated with light while firm attachments tend to darken and weigh down our spirit. Neither is entirely good nor evil, both have their purpose. Attachments teach us how to care for our physical bodies and empathize with others, detachment allows our spirits to soar through intellectual learning and spiritual awakening. Attachments give us a sense of identity as a single unique being, detachment teaches us we are but a piece of a far larger whole. I believe we are on this earth to learn both and through the balancing of light and dark enrich our souls beyond the reaches of either alone.