As the body changes what is left is soul.
Ribbons of Light in the Darkness
by Sage Bennet
I gave a talk recently inspired by a vision I received in meditation. I saw ribbons of light in the darkness. This stunning image of shimmering curls of energy against a black velvet expanse drew me in. If you close your eyes, can you see or feel it? Applied to the times we live in, and the Parkinson’s journey: What is the darkness? What is the light?
Perhaps like me your recent circles of conversation may name the darkness as the pandemic, the global challenge to women’s rights, climate change that looms over the future, or the skyrocketing anxiety and depression felt by our adolescents and young adults. For people with Parkinson’s the darkness may be amplified by things unknown: What will my future be like? Will I lose functionality? Will I lose my voice? Do I really have a disease and how will it uniquely express in my life?
The darkness is not new. Throughout history there have been plagues, the ravages of war, despair, inequalities. But this is not the whole picture. There is light in the darkness. The lotus emerges from the mud. Illuminating philosophies from many wisdom traditions show us that the darkness can also be the womb of creation where seeds germinate, and new life is born.
Plotinus, a 3rd century philosopher and mystic, reminds us of our amphibious nature. We have the capacity to live in both the physical and spiritual realms, like a frog that can live on land and in water. The experience of the spiritual realm, as the energetic wholeness of the One, transformed Plotinus’ life leaving him tranquil and resilient in the face of adversity. As he put it: “…there is always the radiance in the inner soul, untroubled, like the light in a lantern when fierce gusts beat about it in a wild turmoil of wind and tempest.”
The radiance of the soul is just as real today as it was in ancient times. This is one ribbon, of many, wrapped around the gift of wisdom that is available to us. We have access to modalities—yoga, meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, qigong-- that help us experience this inner light. We have to practice these sacred arts, also referred to as alternative therapies in the treatment of Parkinson’s, in order to receive the benefits. Placed alongside our other tools—exercise, social connection, and plant-based nutrition—who knows how wonderful the surprise may be as we unwrap our gifts.
Sage Bennet, Ph.D lives in Laguna Woods with her wife, Sandy, and their two dogs, Chloe and Freddy. She teaches philosophy and world religions online and is the author of Wisdom Walk: Nine Practices for Creating Peace and Balance from the World’s Spiritual Traditions. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.