“Dark Meditation: An ancient practice in modern times
Head + Heart: Can you explain the philosophy and history behind the dark meditation?
Tania Edwards: The process of secluding oneself in complete darkness has been practiced for thousands of years as a way of obtaining spiritual evolution or deep spiritual growth. It’s really amazing to see how many cultures all over the world hold practices of darkness meditation.
In Egypt, the darkroom was found in the pyramids; in Tibet and India dark meditation happened in mountainside caves; in Europe, it took the form of underground tunnels and catacombs and even in the Amazon jungle in conjunction with plant medicine, dark meditation is used as a way to heal, transform and awaken.
The dark meditation practice is probably most known today from the work of Quigong Master Mantak Chia and the dark room retreats he runs at Tao Garden in Thailand.
In the Taoist tradition, the benefits of spending extended periods of time in the dark is a higher level practice to advance one’s spirituality. As Mantak Chia explains in his book, Darkness Technology, when one is in the darkness, the mind and soul can wander through psychic and spiritual realms so that you can reunite with your truest, highest state of being.
What are the benefits of the dark meditation?
Tania Edwards: There are so many physical, mental and emotional benefits to the practice of dark meditation that are very beneficial to living in our modern world today.
Having a background in Ayurveda I learned that in India, in Ayurvedic medicine, immersing into darkness is a form of Kaya Kalpa. The term kaya meaning “body” and kalpa meaning “ageless” or “immortal”. This Ayurvedic treatment aims to maintain excellent physical health of the body so that one can delay death long enough to achieve jivamukta, which is the release of karma. This technique is highly rejuvenating and is said to slow down the aging process.
When we were doing our extensive research into darkness meditation before opening Amaya Centre I found it fascinating to learn that 90 to 95% of our thoughts come directly from our visual stimuli. When you shut down this visual stimuli you are left with your own inner eye and inner voice. The eyes will literally keep searching for light until you settle and allow all to merge as one. The rest and peace that comes to the mind is so deep.
Understanding the biochemical reactions that occur in the brain while in complete darkness is extremely interesting. Melatonin, which is the chemical in our brains that send us to sleep, keeps building up while in the darkness. It does not stop building up so, in extended darkness, you become very relaxed and sleepy. It’s very common to do a lot of sleeping during the first 24 hours in darkness. If you spend multiple days in darkness the brain begins to realize it no longer needs the melatonin and shifts into producing another chemical called Pinolene. Pinolene can cause somewhat of a light show where you can have visions that are directly linked to the inner workings of the mind. If one were to seclude in darkness for 7-14 days there is DMT that will release from the brain naturally that brings a state of complete altered consciousness. In this state, people experience immense feelings of universal compassion and can work deeply on that which needs healing within.
Overall, I would describe darkness meditation, especially our 24hr dark room journeys, as a way to become rejuvenated and rested from the noisy culture we live in while at the same time, connecting deeply to the inner voice that can tell us a lot about what we need to hear in this very moment.”
This was an interview done by the website HeadPlusHeart.com about the benefits of dark meditation or darkroom healing. Some of the links above are from the orginal article. Fascinating stuff!
Read more at HeadPlusHeart.com