Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Behind the Mask - "The Good Dark"

The above piece is a work in progress, except that I *love* this piece the way it *is*!  It speaks to me so deeply about what is behind the masks we wear: the Infinite Spaciousness of Eternal Beingness.  Even though the masks we wear themselves may be beautiful, what is behind them is the Infinite Spacious Cosmos ItSelf – represented here by “the dark” canvas behind the mask.   And so I left this sitting on an easel in my creative space to inspire me.  I see it every time I walk by the room, which is several times daily – admiring its simplicity, and its subtle message – that who we *think* we are (our egos, our personalities, our minds, our bodies) is only a mask that arises out of Infinite Cosmic Beingness.  Eventually this piece may be “finished” as I envisioned it – but I am waiting, listening for it to call to me…

Several weeks ago in meditation I got the image of a mask lifting off what in my mind was an outline of a “meditating face”, an “empty” face against a black background, that I crudely drew with ink pen, in my journal notes, so is a bit messy…  This inspired me to go out and try to find a mask, which obviously I did, at a local craft store, and basically just hung it over the black canvas; an old canvas that I had previously painted over several times…  After I hung it I was hesitant to draw the outline of the “meditating face” in – but wanted to just sit with it.  I was drawn to the very visceral sense of the mask *emerging* out of the darkness – which soothed something within me – as if a recognition was occurring.

This piece speaks to me in so many ways, one being the Zen saying:  Keep stepping back until you step into That which is looking through your eyes – seeing through the mask you wear - pointing to what we really are as Infinite Space, Infinite Beingness, Infinite Spirit.  That is what is looking through the mask – our Eternal Being.   I find that inspiring – that who we are *is* the Infinite Cosmos ItSelf – our True Being, which is of course Internal.  It is not “out there” somewhere in space :) – but right Here in the very Heart of our Being – and yet – we ARE that Cosmic Spaciousness as well – our Home, our Cosmic Mother so-to-speak…  We ARE the stuff of stars… 

So often we view the darkness in our lives as “bad”, something to avoid, to not allow into our experience because we have labeled it as being the opposite of light, or something “evil” – a dark, foreboding abyss.  When in fact, according to some traditions, it is the light that emerged out of Infinite Darkness – out of the Cosmic Womb – the Primordial Stillness, if you will – out of which our planet, solar system and galaxy emerged…  Fascinating!

About two weeks after putting this “piece” together on the easel I received an on-line newsletter called NonDuality Highlights.  It featured an article written by Ivan Granger from Poetry Chaikhana giving his interpretation of a poem called “The Good Darkness” by Hakim Sanai, a Sufi poet. (You can view the poem and entire article HERE).  As I read through it I thought, what timing!  It all came together for me.  I have only printed an excerpt here, because it is those parts that say what I wanted to say about “The Good Dark” but couldn’t articulate.

He says:

“What is this “Good Dark”?  Light is so often considered one of the attributes of the Divine, but we forget that dark too is also a metaphor...  The Eternal is sometimes called dark because IT is beyond the ability of the limited intellect to see.  It is the realm where there is no longer separations; nothing is seen as separate from That [the Eternal].  It can feel like a shining darkness.

So the Sacred Dark, the Good Dark, is God [the Eternal] vast beyond comprehension, [it is] Being that gathers everything, even light, into ItSelf.  This is the darkness where there is great joy.  This is the immense Mystery…

If we understand the Divine to be that living, mysterious darkness, then we finally recognize ourselves as the same as that darkness. [the light and dark being the same – think Yin-Yang where the light is contained within the dark and dark within the light – as a symbol of oneness].   In the ‘half-light’ [partial understanding] we are still distracted by our own faces, we are confused, more aware of ourselves than the holy mystery we touch.  We become like a young lover, too self-conscious to simply lose oneself in the embrace of the Beloved.

…[when] we have no face of our own *separate* from That [our face before we were born – maybe my “meditating face”?], then we can melt silently into the Good Dark, into the mystery of the Divine.  Your face gets erased – the false self, the little me, the ego [the mask - your sense of separateness *from* the You that is Divine].  This is the place where concepts fail, where reality is no longer parceled out into dichotomies of good and bad, right and wrong (no division of opposites)...  There is nothing (except the Divine Wholeness that is all things, emptying individual things of their substance.) The ego-mind is no longer able to say ‘this is separate from that.’

In the mind’s deep stillness, reality is perceived as one, whole, unsegmented, pure – beyond the ego’s attempts to segment reality.

If you can settle deeply into this awareness [that there is nothing except Divine Wholeness, beyond the mask], then you will find yourself drinking the ecstasy of true love-wisdom!”

Ivan Granger, Poetry Chaikhana…
[brackets are mine] (parentheses his)


For a more humorous look at this topic
see my post:
Who would you be if you weren’t who you THINK you are…


  1. Love this,
    Love the rough sketch, has much meaning,
    Love where it is leading...
    Will be back to savour the poetry. x

  2. "Keep stepping back until you step into That which is looking through your eyes": What a concise explanation of a complex process----and how beautifully this seems to sum up what you are experimenting with seeing more clearly with your canvas and mask. You're masterful at illustrating these concepts for us, Christine. Thank you.

  3. Darkness holds mystery. Our eyes can become accustomed to the dark and begin to see...

  4. Powerful concept, removing mask after mask until all that remains is our Original Face.

    1. Yes :) In some cases the "mask"/ego becomes transparent enough to see through it. My masks are still very much in tact :) But I love the Zen teaching of becoming *aware* of what is looking through the mask... That's really the crux of it. Then one can see what is looking through everybody else's mask as well - and act with compassion :)


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