Light and Dark

By Jeanne Fiorini

The realization that the world is created by, held in place by, and only perceivable through the opposing forces of light and dark is enough to make me crazy. It doesn’t go unnoticed that this preoccupation with The Opposites occurs as the Sun makes its final turns toward the darkness of the Winter Solstice before moving back into light.

It may be my own single most important lesson as a human being, this accepting and managing of The Opposites. My astrological chart shows four (count ‘em) planets in the sign of Libra … you know, the balancer and the mediator. To punctuate this notion, consider the fact that I was born in Niagara Falls, New York. 

Picture that place on the map in your mind for a moment: not only is Niagara Falls at a juncture between two countries (USA and Canada), it is positioned between two of the Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario). The four pieces come together at Niagara Falls like a giant pinwheel of alternating water and land. Solid::fluid::dry::wet::grounded::awash::practical::emotional … oh, by the way, did I mention that my moon sign is in Cancer?  Seems there will be no escape from this dilemma of The Opposites.

The personal management of this dynamic is one thing, tricky in its own way, both requiring and then fostering reflection and self-awareness. But it’s a whole other thing to see it played out in the global arena where the stakes are much higher. We’re certainly seeing the polarization of the opposites (good vs. evil) at work in our world, but I’m not sure we’re seeing much reflection, self-awareness, reconciliation, or integration.

Some of you may have seen the movie ONE ( In it, a few modern thinkers and theologians were asked to describe, without words but somehow with their body, how they viewed the current state of the world. One woman who was posed with this question thought for a moment, drew her hands together, finger tips touching and pointed toward each other, and made a swooshing motion like a vortex down toward the floor, then made the same motion from about shoulder height and motioned vehemently upward toward the sky.

She explained it something like this: “There are very powerful dark forces at work trying to bring things down into chaos and destruction. Concurrently, there are very strong forces of light working to raise us all out of the chaos and into a greater sense of enlightenment.” Several people in the audience that night let out audible sighs of recognition.

So we’ve got the personal and the collective versions of The Opposites with which we contend. But while raking leaves the other day, I was musing on a place where the polarities coexist peacefully: in the interplay between the forces of matter and space.  The “things” and the “no-thing”.  Different from the personal and the collective, the sphere of physics is a particularly non-personal place in which to observe opposites in action.  

Matter and space.  Modern physics tells us that all things in the physical world contain more space than solid particles. This is an idea which most of us have heard long enough to “know” it, yet it seems a little hard to grasp that the oak desk at which I write this article is made more of space than matter. The arrangement of the molecules within a given space creates what we perceive as solid form. Without the space, matter collapses into itself and all physical world forms cease to exist.  Now there’s a duality that works!

Why does this very basic duality work when, on the personal and the global levels, a collaboration among polarities is difficult to accomplish?  It is, in part, a question of mutual interdependence between space and matter. One cannot exist without the other -- without space, matter disappears, and without matter, space is undefined. 

We could also argue that their system works because the polarities of matter and space don’t struggle in self-consciousness with their role and point of power in the scheme of things. There are no egos involved.  But, let’s stop short of assuming that there is no consciousness at work here.

David Bohm, a physicist working in the 1950’s, observed that subatomic particles seemed to have some “sense” of the other particles in the field and stated that, “…consciousness is a more subtle form of matter, and the basis for any relationship between the two lies not in our own level of reality, but deep in the implicate order. Consciousness is present in various degrees of unfoldment in all matter. …we have something that is mindlike already with the electron.” (The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot, 1991, page 50)

The material world does, then, have a degree of consciousness!  This statement reflects not simply a religious or metaphysical belief, but an established and scientifically proven phenomenon.  In our own time now, fifty years after Bohm, Mr. Emoto and his "Message from Water" make the same point to a new generation.  

So it’s not our consciousness itself that puts us in conflict, but our ego’s perceived needs and agendas, along with our failure to recognize our interdependence. Adding fuel to the fires of this conflict is the lack of awareness and trust in our own inner knowing.

Where does our inner knowing fit into this conversation?  If conscious knowing is in the matter, perhaps intuition lives in the space; matter being the “thing”; intuition emerging from the “no-thing”.  Perhaps what we call intuition is that which sits in the space between particles and charges the field with the knowing of “what is.”  Maybe this knowing is everywhere, in all things on the most basic of levels, and as much a part of something as its molecules.     

As we ignore, disregard, or remain ignorant of, our intuition, we relegate our inner knowing to the category of the Dark Matter of our consciousness, that part of our personal universe of which we cannot perceive. Not only a waste of space, but a recipe for trouble.

It’s both a simple and profound truth that unless there is a black there is no white, without a sun there is no shadow.  We cannot avoid the opposing forces which not only confront us in this life, but also create our world.  So let’s take a lesson from the harmonious pairing of space and matter.

We must strive to be conscious but not egocentric about our place and power within our field. We must practice the dynamics of power with, rather than power over, another; we must recognize our interdependence.  And as beings with personalities and intellect, we must practice reflection, self-awareness, reconciliation, and integration if we seek to thrive rather than struggle to survive.

Lastly, we must be wiling to accept and embrace the unknowable, the mysterious, and the not-yet understood. We need to let Dark Matter hold its place in the scheme of things. At this year’s solstice in recognition of the unique power of each aspect, may we be grateful for both The Light and The Dark as part of the human and the universal condition.

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