Raghu Markus is joined by Deborah Eden Tull for a thoughtful discussion about the potential presented by the darkness inside and outside of ourselves.
Deborah Eden Tull is a zen meditation and engaged dharma teacher, public speaker, author, and sustainability educator. She is also the founder of Mindful Living Revolution. She trained for seven and a half years as a Buddhist monk at a silent zen monastery and has taught engaged dharma for over 20 years. Deborah has lived in sustainable communities and as an organic gardener/farmer for decades and celebrates the essential wisdom of nature. She currently resides in the mountains of western North Carolina, originally Cherokee land, with her husband. She offers retreats, workshops, classes, and consultations nationally and internationally, integrating presence and partnership with nature. Her newest book, Luminous Darkness: An Engaged Buddhist Approach to Embracing the Unknown, is now available for purchase.
Some of us find comfort in the darkness, but often people shy away from it. We open our blinds, continue to push ourselves throughout the winter, and resist our shadows. Deborah explains that nature is one of our greatest teachers and we find darkness in nature all of the time. The night sky is dark, vast, and beautiful with hidden stars and knowledge. Caves, where bears go to hibernate, are cozy, restorative spaces. Deborah aims, through her new book, to invite us all to embrace the darkness. Darkness is not something to fear, but rather a formless space filled with possibility.
“I am inviting people to open our minds and our hearts more fully to what darkness actually is and how darkness has been viewed by so many spiritual traditions across the globe as an instigator of spiritual growth and a deep source of restoration and regeneration.” – Deborah Eden Tull
Tune into Episode 104 of Jack Kornfield’s Heart Wisdom to learn more about The Fertile Darkness
Perception from a Deeper Place (21:03)
Deborah describes how when we close our eyes to meditate or rest, we are coming back into our non-judgemental minds. The lens of separation and discrimination is largely associated with light and being able to see what is in front of us. We witness things on the news, in public, or amongst our family that cause us to feel separate. In the darkness, however, we step into our heart space and our perception comes from a deeper place instead of outside of ourselves. When we befriend the darkness we can also perceive ourselves and our circumstances differently. Rather than acting from a space of anxiety, we can welcome the unknown.
“Darkness is a teacher of receptivity. Of giving ourselves permission to slow down, to soften the doing, the efforting, the striving, the trying to get somewhere, and just surrendering to receptivity.” –Deborah Eden Tull
Head over to Ep. 19 of New Growth to hear about the Dark Night of the Soul with Mirabai Starr
Surrender and Slowing Down (44:49)
Raghu shares how he, along with many of us westerners, struggle with slowing down. We often feel we need to be responsible and committed to accomplishing task after task. Surrender in many eastern religions does not mean letting go of material goods. The concept of surrender is actually more rooted in the action of being receptive. When we are receptive we listen to what our bodies and minds need and we have more acceptance for what is on our path. Deborah says that while it is true that in this day and age we have a lot to do and a lot to address, we should take time to surrender to the slowness, the darkness, the yin that our bodies and minds need.