I was standing inside a house with no light. In fact, there was no illumination anywhere. No moon beams infiltrating the dull glass of a dusty window pane. No street lamps lit. No candles burning. Just the pitch black of complete nothingness. When I entered the house, I was filled with the dread of true spiritual void. Death. I didn’t belong here. I held my puppy, Arya, in my arms. She was quiet, somber, offering the respect this house commanded. To navigate the rotted, spider web infested staircase up to my father’s room, I had to kiss tiny Arya on her silky white head. Each time I kissed her, her heart glowed bright like a firefly, allowing me to climb the stairs without falling within their jagged, broken boards. A few steps climbed and the dark air would cloak us in emptiness again, extinguishing her illumination. So I’d hold her up and rest my lips against her smooth temple, the spark of love between us causing her to shine once more.
At the top of the staircase, behind an ancient door, off the long endless hallway in this hotel of Hell, my father lived. Having died recently, I had no idea what he was doing behind it. I had no clear vision of how he suffered, or if in fact he suffered at all. But the things that hid in the shadows of this house were not the things of peace or comfort. I had to enter this room to bring him some lightness (some forgiveness?). I’d made it this far. I closed my eyes and cradled Arya’s minute head in my hand, gently holding her up to my face. Once again, the hallway glowed with the safety of our devotion.
I put my hand on the grimy door handle. I turned the knob…
And then I woke up.
I lay there in the midnight warmth of moon-glowed darkness feeling my way through the meaning of this dream. My heart pounded. I was left sensing that the only thing that mattered in my world, the only thing that could protect me from the depth of humanity’s darkness, in my own life and beyond, was the capacity for pure love in my heart. When I exist within the illumination of compassion and generosity, I glow with such a light capable of piercing the darkest blackness.
The more light we can generate, through our own capacity for love, the more the darkness of humanity fades.
Recently, I listened to Tony Hsieh speak in Santa Fe and at the end of his talk a teen-aged boy stood up to ask a question. He asked, “How can we remain committed to focusing on the good of metropolitan areas where there is so much bleakness, hiding in the shadows?”
Tony replied, “You enhance the good, and you seek to understand the bad. That’s all we can do.”
By seeking to understand the bad, we shine our light upon it. We honor it. That’s how we transform ourselves. That’s how we transform the world.
And in the meanwhile, we keep loving.