Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Keep me not in the state of darkness, but make me go towards the light.
This is a line from an ancient Sanskrit prayer, which perhaps sums up the entire spiritual journey and experience.
The movement from darkness to light.
It sounds good and well enough. Who doesn’t want to move from darkness (ignorance) to light (self-understanding)? We somehow intuitively understand that this is a good and needed thing.
If there is a movement from darkness to light, there must be a middle to the story as well.
In between darkness and light is surrender.
This middle part is discussed less because if we knew what surrender entails from the beginning, we might not take the pilgrimage.
To surrender your darkness means to put your head on the chopping block.
It means you must sacrifice everything — every little (and big) thing — in you that is not the light.
Psychologically — all of your conditioned responses, conditioned beliefs, and personal sense of identity (the “I” thought).
Emotionally — all of your patterns of resistance, past trauma, and fear.
Physically — your physical vehicle becomes a conduit for this purging, which means you must tolerate illness, maladies of mysterious origin, and sometimes violent outbreaks.
Surrendering or “letting go” is not a pretty process (though it is beautiful). It is long, tedious, and continues to get more difficult, as we pass through the various stages on the darkness to light journey.
We know what’s on the other side. That’s what urges us on. All of the strain and difficulty, like the summit view from Mt. Everest, will seem trivial once we get to the other side and directly experience what has been called the Kingdom of Heaven. We might even say, “That wasn’t so bad.”
We are aided by knowing that whatever the tribulation we are presented with to address, is never beyond our ability to resolve or our tolerance threshold.
We are further aided by knowing that there is only ever one thing to do. We don’t think about the one million things that need to happen or might happen in the future. Like laying brick to build a home, we do what is required of us now and proceed step-by-step-by-step.
In faith, we trust that through our ardent prayer of Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya and willingness to do the hard work required to realize it, we will get there some day.
What’s ironic is that the “there” will look a lot like the “here” you already occupy.
You find an abiding, causeless smile and peace that knows no end.