Darkroom Talks

Being Human: Darkness Retreat Sweden

sille_profile (1)UPDATE Mon 18.02.2019:  Sille’s site is no longer active.

Sille from Being Human is offering s scheduled darkroom retreat.  Embrace the darkness of the late autumn in a still, secluded part of the beautiful, Swedish nature. Join us for the opportunity to experience nature as it slowly prepares for winter. Continue reading

Is God Actually Pure Darkness?


Shashi Solluna – click image for source

Nov 11 2015  Shashi Solluna

I have just emerged from a week-long retreat in pure darkness 24 hours a day, which I co-facilitated with a shamanic healer called Luca Firewolf. During the retreat we followed some of the methods from Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, a Tantric writing that is a few thousand years old. There are some sutras in it in which one is guided to enter darkness for meditation and contemplation. We listened to Osho’s discourses from this sutra, which included the following:

“Essenes say that God is darkness, and there is something in it. One thing: darkness is eternal. Light comes and goes and darkness remains. In the morning the sun will rise and there will be light; in the evening the sun will set and there will be darkness. For darkness nothing will rise — it is always there. It never rises and never sets. Light comes and goes; darkness remains. Light always has some source; darkness is without source. That which has some source cannot be infinite; only that which is sourceless can be infinite and eternal. Light has a certain disturbance; that’s why you cannot sleep in light. It creates a tension. Darkness is relaxation, total relaxation.”  …. Osho

The Vigyana Bhairava Tantra vol two The Book of the Secrets : A new commentary

This whole idea that God, that the Creator, is actually darkness is quite different from the more popular idea of the Divine as light. Yet there is something quite profound within it.
As we started the retreat, we sat in a circle in our lightproof meditation hall, each person with a small candle. We gazed into the candle flame and contemplated the ephemeral nature of the light: the flame constantly flickers, reminding us that the light is ever-changing. The light began when we struck the match and will end when we blow it out…it is finite.

After blowing out our candles we look into the darkness. Quite different from looking at a flame, which is an object you can focus on. The darkness has no point of focus, nor any boundaries can be found there. It is limitless, formless, eternal. You look and look and you see the infinite. Of course at first you may be tempted to project your fears into the darkness, but if you simply sit and face those then you will come to see that they are not real. Then your mind becomes clear and comes face to face with The Eternal. In the pure darkness there is nothing there and yet there is something.

Now all of these are words frequently used in association with God: eternal, limitless, infinite.

Yet we associate the dark with many negative things: evil, manipulation, ghosts, crimes…how can it be that darkness has such negative associations whilst pure darkness is relaxing, calming and eternal? These dark associations are still part of duality…in the world of light, there are also shadows. As soon as we turn on the lights again, then form appears as an appearance of light and shadow.

As I sit in the pure darkness I feel that I am sat face to face with the Creator of all. This darkness was there at the beginning and will be there at the end when all has gone again. It is actually there the whole time, like a crucible holding all of existence. The darkness holds the candlelight, even though we miss it because our attention is drawn to the appearance of the light. But when you sit in the darkness meditation hall, you come to realise how eternal the darkness really is, like a silent presence holding everything.

And you can see how light is the form of this formlessness. Light is the manifestation of this eternal darkness, just as sound is the manifestation of silence. Light is the created, darkness the Creator. Perhaps the Eternal Existence simply wanted to experience itself, and thus it created light (didn’t God say “let there be light!”). So turn out the lights and gaze deeply into pure darkness and you can return to the Creator. Simple as that! Instant enlightenment in the dark!

And somehow as you sit with the deep peace of darkness, you can see how clear light is a pure creation of this formlessness. The shadows that are created by the light may simply be the price we pay in order to see the truth manifested as light. The shadows are just a trick of the light! And when we blow out the light, the shadows also are extinguished.

It is an incredibly simple yet profoundly strong way to enter non-duality: enter the darkness. Pure darkness, 100%…because even a small shaft of light will create illusions. And then all light and shadow is gone, all good and bad is gone, all beauty and ugliness is gone. There is nothing to judge. Nothing to cling to. And the body-mind starts a deep deep relaxation, returning to its source. A week spent as if resting back in the womb. A detoxification healing process of body, mind and emotions begins all on its own, taking us back to our original nature.

“Darkness seems to be the womb out of which everything arises and into which everything falls.”   Osho

The Vigyana Bhairava Tantra vol two The Book of the Secrets : A new commentary

I recommend to everyone to try at least one Darkness Retreat in a lifetime, to have the great privilege to die without dying. Like taking a sneaky peek behind the veils of illusion, turning off the movie of life for a brief pause, resting in the presence of the Creator with nothing to do…an opportunity to re-frame your whole perception of life and to emerge reborn and ready to live life afresh. As the sufi’s would say: get drunken on darkness!!!

“Sufis have used this method, a particular sect of Sufis, and those Sufis are known as drunken Sufis. They are drunk with this darkness. They make holes in the ground, and they lie down in the holes every night, and they meditate lying down in their holes — meditating darkness, becoming one with it. And their eyes will show you that they are intoxicated. You can feel from their eyes such deep relaxation, such a relaxed vibration, that it can happen only if you are deeply intoxicated or feeling very sleepy. Only then can your eyes show that expression. They are known as drunken Sufis — and they are drunk with darkness.”  …… Osho

The Vigyana Bhairava Tantra vol two The Book of the Secrets : A new commentary

Tao Tantric  Darkroom Retreats

Hygienic Use of Darkness by Andrew Durham

ed: below are extracts from Andrew Durham’s book “Hygienic DarkRoom Retreat”.    Andrew Durham’s website.

Hygiene is passive toward healing. In other words, the will is mostly passive. The unconscious is active and drives the process. The will is secondary, a servant. Its main purpose is to rest so the being can restore itself to wholeness. Hygiene is thus a peacemaker, allowing the distressed will to finally rest and recover.

Hygiene primarily depends on the autonomic self—omniscient, omnipotent, and infallible—to accomplish the work of healing. This hints at limitless results. There is nothing mystical, disciplined, or complicated about this approach. It is rational, safe, and natural: a reliable miracle.

Hygiene’s passive emphasis on rest and healing is very important because it defines the appropriate attitude toward retreating. I learned in fasting that how one approaches a retreat has a great effect on what happens in it.

The mind becomes extremely powerful when it is resting and purifying. If one’s attitude is really to passively support the omnipotent healing forces of the organism in doing everything, the effect of this internal unity will be much greater than if one has the conflicted doer-attitude of a practitioner

Three things the hygienic use of darkness is not:

1. discipline, such meditation

2. therapy

3. a psychedelic trip

These three approaches all share the vain attempt to end suffering by subjecting the unconscious to conscious action, as if mere attention, analysis, or reconditioning could fix the unconscious.

They try to willfully improve what they regard as an inert, even resistant unconscious self, as if it were incapable or disinclined of doing so itself.

Unfortunately, this attitude is ignorantly coercive toward the injured conscious self and discouraging to the omnipotent autonomic self. It is internalized tyranny predictably accompanied by triune brain-drain.

In contrast, hygienic use of darkness is passive as regards the will. The conscious self only plays a supportive role. The unconscious autonomic self is the principal actor. Zero conflict. Maximum efficiency. Perfect result.

The essence of the hygienic approach is the recognition of the power of the  autonomic self. Hygiene involves no gold-leafed statues or exotic rituals or substances, but it has the virtue of being cheap, quick, easy to remember, and vastly more effective

1. It is not discipline, such as meditation. Discipline is consistent exercise of the will. Will is the most delicate, energy-consuming, and, due to atrophy, ineffective part of the psyche. The psyche is the system most in need of rest. So discipline sets into motion and takes energy from the healing of the faculties it depends on while giving the least possible benefit for time, energy, and effort expended. Granted, it produces results impressive by the tragically low standard of ordinary people. But it prevents accomplishment of the top priority: full recovery of the psyche from its catastrophic damage.
Spiritual meditation, like all spiritual practice, entails supereffort to force access to subtle energy reserves to fuel transformation. The hygienic approach entails exactly the opposite: profound rest to conserve movement and energy for self-restoration. The conscious self at- tempts nothing to ameliorate suffering. It only provides conditions of healing to the unconscious, autonomic self, whose job is to heal the organism.
Discipline begins with accepting as real, as natural, the appearance of an intrinsic internal conflict: original sin. Next, one struggles “against nature”, fighting habits with practices to achieve an ideal. Hygiene begins with an assumption of natural harmony, of non-contra- diction and a logical explanation of illness. This naturally motivates one to easily fulfill its aim, which is healthy in reality.
Lastly, discipline sets up artificial dangers and obstacles by partially retaining willed control of the process. Then it spreads fear about retreat- ing without the necessary preparations guided by experts of the tradition. It’s a self-fulfilling delusion if not an outright racket.

2. It is not therapy. Therapy is done to a passive organism from the outside. The therapist, therapy, and therapeutic substances are the principal actors in a therapeutic session, not the organism itself. While depending on the organism to react to treatment, therapy views the organism as incapable of initiating a movement toward health. It fails to see such movement in disease itself.
In a darkroom retreat, darkness does nothing. Like air or water, it merely presents an opportunity to the self-preserving organism to better pursue its ceaseless tendency toward wholeness. The principal actor is life, not its conditions nor any treatment.

3. It is not a psychedelic trip: consciously experiencing normally unconscious phenomena using abnormal conditions like sleep-deprivation or chemicals, natural or artificial.

Andrew Durham’s website.

Osho Speaks on Darkness


Osho – click image for source

download and play an EXTRACT from the audio version

(ed: the following is the transcript of the audio)

In rain, during a black night, enter that blackness as the form of forms  ,,,,, Osho

There has been one very old esoteric school about which you may not have heard. The school was known as the school of Essenes. Jesus was taught in that school; he belonged to the Essenes group. That Essenes group is the only group all over the world who thinks of God as absolute darkness. The Koran says God is light, the Upanishads say God is light, the Bible says God is light. The Essenes group is the only tradition in the world which says that God is absolute blackness, absolute darkness, just an infinite black night.

This is very beautiful; strange, but very beautiful — and very meaningful. You must understand the meaning, then this technique will be very helpful, because this is the technique used by the Essenes to enter darkness, to become one with it. Continue reading

Darkness Visible: The ‘powers of darkness’ in shamanism

indexhhMalidoma Somé is a “walker between worlds” as a Western-educated PhD and a shaman of the African Dagara tribe. In 2005, he provided the introduction to my book, Darkness Visible. Here, he explores ‘the powers of darkness’.

In an age in the Western world where there is an almost insatiable yearning for “enlightenment,” what could be more timely than an invitation to reestablish a sacred relationship with darkness?


click image for source

Indeed, it is in the redefinition of darkness that we discover an entryway into a potent transformational experience that can assist us in rethinking the nature of both reality and healing. What might we learn about ourselves and the powers of the “other world” by surrendering to the beauty and opportunity for greater vision afforded us in darkness?
In all parts of this planet the first nine months of human gestation are spent in the rich, protective darkness of the womb. It is there that the being makes the transition from the spirit world to this one, Continue reading