There is no darkness, only a shift in the light. The sun shines resplendently and eternally. The earth turns itself, and in its aspect to the sun, turns darkness into light in the world, one slice at a time, giving us daytime, nighttime and shades in between. On the blackest of nights, the sun shines, reflecting itself on the moon so we won’t forget it is there.

As the year progresses, the earth tilts, lengthening and shortening periods of light and lack of light, giving us the seasons of the year. It is in this annual cycle that we behold birth, life, death and rebirth in Nature, and in doing so, we feel ourselves deeply and truly.

Sometimes, even in the brightness of the day, our inner state can feel as black as night. Just as night is part of every day, suffering is part of the human condition. And it is purposeful. Without it, we will never feel happiness, nor will we advance ourselves through the cycles of life.

The late, great Leonard Cohen said: There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. In our bleakest moments, something cracks inside us, and the light that never goes away begins to penetrate. Perhaps it is memories of better times, solutions to problems, or a sliver of hope inspired by Nature itself saying, Enough, it’s time to rise again.

Welcoming the dark and being in it until we are able to turn ourselves toward the light is the way through it, but we must do the turning, through sheer force of will or through prayer or through confidence that the light will get in.

There are those who study and pray in the dark wee hours of the morning because that is the beginning of the day. Then, with a heart illuminated they greet the dawn, already awakened. As the sun slides above the Eastern horizon, life is awakened for another day.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

Edgar Allen Poe

Embrace your moments of darkness and ponder them. Only then will you be able to remake the meaning of the light that constantly shines on you.