In my fall semester at UT, I first learned about the "ghost light" in a theater. I remember stepping from backstage into what I thought would be a dark empty stage, but there was a single bulb on a stand, lit up. There was nothing around it but a dark theater. Yet this small bulb shed light on the house, very faintly, but enough to see the first level of seats. It stood alone, keeping the ghosts appeased and the perimeters visible.
If this lone bulb had been lit in that same place during the activity of the performance, we would not see it. It would be insignificant. The stage lights would overwhelm it. It was only when surrounded by darkness that its light proves illuminating.
So often I come to my practice, or my life, with an intention-- a reason for showing up. There is something I'm directing my energy towards. There is a show I want to produce. There are fruits that I desire. Today I practice without intention, without a script, a ticket sold, or a single designed set. My practice, my prayer, is simply a single bulb shining in a dark theater.
Inner room, darkened theater, inner sanctuary--a place within that is vast, lit simply by the single light of the Soul. We see the light because there is no performance, there is no distraction. It is simple, pure, illuminative, quiet, and deeply personal.
The dark of the theater is not frightening. It is necessary. In our dualistic world, we tend to categorize things as good or bad, black or white, yes or no. But we need the dark to see the light. Our challenge is to see them both, hold them loosely, and let them be what they are in our lives. They are the performance space and the performer. The audience is the Divine.