In the womb of Darkness (part III):
What is happening during a darkness Meditation
During short session of Darkness Meditation we provide a blindfold that allow you to stay open eye in the dark, during longer sessions we meet in a complete dark room (no blindfold is necessary). We alternate inspiring music, silence and guided meditation and use movement and breath to create powerful experiences altering the brain chemistry in a very safe natural way.
What does one experience in the Dark?
Lucid dreaming, deep meditative state, deep relaxation, emotional and stress release, the beneficial effect of meditating in the dark are many. Check this blog for more on effects of Darkness meditation.
Why is it different from other form of meditation
Staying open eyes in darkness powerfully changes our brain chemistry, particularly the functioning of the pineal gland and the cycle of production of neurotransmitter Serotonine and Melatonine. Serotonine is precursor of Melatonine (also know as the darkness hormone), both these hormone are fundamental in managing our moods, our sense of happiness, relaxation, level of energy, the cycle of wake and sleep and much more. In darkness we use the changes in brain biochemistry to explore altered state of consciousness and meditation.
Is DMT released from the Pineal gland in darkness?
DMT or dimethyltryptamine is very close in its chemical structure to Melatonine and Serotonine. Many believe that DMT is released by the pineal gland at death and it is known that large amount of inhaled DMT creates Near Death Experience. Staying in darkness increases the production of Melatonine and impact profoundly the brain chemistry, hence it is reasonable to believe, that DMT could be released from the Pineal Gland. Although I am not aware if this has ever been proven scientifically, it seems highly confirmed by experience, since darkness is regularly associated with hallucination and Near Death Experiences both common effect of DMT.
What is the history of darkness meditation?
The adepts of Pythagoras (500 BC) in ancient Greece retreated to pitch black caves to receive wisdom through their vision in darkness, this is known as the “prisoner’s cinema”. Miners trapped by accident in mines frequently reported vision when they were kept in dark for days and arctic explorer seeing nothing but featureless landscape for a long time also reported vision and altered states of mind.
Dark Retreat are considered advanced practices in Taoism, Dzogchen and other schools of Tibetan Buddhism. This was considered conducive to navigate the process of dying to facilitate transition from a life to another.
Darkness and more generally sensory deprivation practices have been widely studied with by science since the beginning of the 20th century
Is there a special diet required?
No specific diets are required yet some diets are helping the activation of the pineal gland, we will give recommendation on these diets during the sessions. It is recommended to avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol (they arouse the nervous system) and keep a light vegetarian diet.
Is there any contraindications?
There are no contraindication if you are in good physical and mental health, yet if you are currently taking anti-depressant, suffer from depression or have serious anxiety crisis and panic attacks, it is recommended that you contact the organiser and check with them before attending.
Is it safe to meditate in darkness?
Safety is often a concern during darkness meditation and often relate to sharing a public space with strangers. During the short session and for “drop in” we will keep a very dim level of light and the instructor will keep visual control of the room for security. For longer sessions total darkness will be created and only people who have experienced short sessions will be invited.
What should I wear and bring?
- For short sessions (very dim light) bring black or dark comfortable clothing
- A water bottle (metal or glass should be padded to avoid loud noise)
- A specific blindfold (some will be provided yet most people like to have their own)
- A warm jacket, a shawl or blanket, a pillow
- Earplug may be used yet are easy to loose in the dark!
- A yoga mat
What is a good Darkness Meditation Program?
Darkness is very appealing yet also intimidating, a build up program allows to become gradually comfortable and avoid “mind freak” anxiety or depressive feelings.
Start with 1h Darkness meditation (Weekly practice) and when comfortable expand to 3h Darkness meditation workshop (once a month). Eventually this will lead to 30 h Darkness meditation retreat (Quarterly). This program will lead to safely and powerfully experience 5 or 7 days Darkness Meditation Intensive (Yearly).
If you are not sure why you should try to meditate in the dark check this previous post.