Getting right to it, Dark Delights are all the things we think are “Not OK”… anything from certain thoughts, ideas, fantasies, sensations and emotions, to particular words, decisions, behaviors, actions, objects, situations and events. Each category holds numerous items we experience that might be considered to be poor choices or even downright wrong and bad. We’ve all been there.
And where, exactly, is “there”? What are these things that happen and are then evaluated as a Dark rather than a Light Delight in the Garden of Life? Let’s take a deep look.
Two things show up fairly quickly. The first is that each thing is just what it is. Closely examining anything at all, what is seen is that whatever showed up is simply what it is, no more or less. It does not come with any instructions on what to do with it, no application of particular value judgments or even a clue as to whether it’s right or wrong. It comes as only itself; everything else is after, however brief the interval (and it is sometimes micro-seconds). So there it is, whatever “it” is. All by its lonesome.
Moving the view back out a bit, we can see that there are then labels applied that are thoughts about what just appeared. Add a little more focus and we see the individual thoughts: the “That’s not OK”, the “That’s bad”, “Not supposed to do that” or the opposites saying something is OK, good, do it. Or even this kind: “I am (she/he is) so awful/so wonderful for thinking/feeling/saying/doing that”.
These are all labels; ideas and thoughts that come through and seem to stick as accurate assessments. Take a look; this two-step process (something appearing and then a label sticks to it) can be seen.
And it can be tough to find if blaming/shaming of ourselves or others happens, so to become proficient with this, perhaps start with something small and not emotionally loaded. Look at a vegetable that is not enjoyed, a color that doesn’t resonate, an insect that is found not appealing. Zooming in the view can reveal that it is only a vegetable, color or insect; it is just whatever it may be. Can any attached labels or ideas that say “This is not OK, it’s wrong” be found as an intrinsic part of them? A genuinely bad veggie? A color that is wrong by just being? An insect that is not OK just because it exists? As well, if it’s a liked vegetable, color or insect, does it come with “This is good and right” tacked onto it?
Zooming back out again, there it is: the thing (anything) showed up first and then the thought indicating the label came after. They are two things, showing up one after the other. The second, the label, having nothing at all to do with the first, the thing, other than when we imagine that this stuck-on thought is actually a part of what originally shows up.
So, two different appearances: a happening and then the mind’s idea of how to categorize it using the ages-old system of good/bad, right/wrong. Things show up and then voila! The labels come, glue on, and then further thoughts arrive that say they are built-in parts of the original appearance. They are not.
If good/bad, right/wrong are applied after something appears (and sure, they can be effective in pointing to where we wish to go: “I like doing what seems good”; “I don’t care if it’s wrong, I want it”) what in fact is a more authentic view of life’s appearances? In other words, how can we understand what life actually is without the labels? We look again, even more deeply.
In doing so we see forms appearing and disappearing. Nothing ever stable, always morphing. See that? From the sub-atomic level through human experiencings, all the way to galaxies and beyond, is a forever flux. Change the only constant. All forms (and everything in life is form, a thing) show up from one moment to the next and are but a change from the previous moment. Each moment is spontaneous and unique (ultimately, there is only a single moment and not really even that; but this is for another day). Examine this; each moment is itself, unique and fresh. And the next, and the one after, on and on. No labels anywhere except when thoughts stick to what appears.
This is how the universe, how life itself, “does” itself. It shows up as each and every new moment, as each and every thing. And yes, all applied labels are a part of that. Yet because in our experience they seem to come “after” in time, we can see they can be considered extras. Cherries on top. Not a “must” or a “should”. They are also just an as it is, one called labels.
Because they are interpretations of life’s forms we can decide if those labels and value judgments actually serve. We can use them to guide our actions and if done with full understanding that they are not built-in or binding, they can be just that, guides. They do not morph in our thinking into doctrines and dogmas or even the “musts” and “shoulds” of everyday life.
And so label application… in either direction… is never wrong, as it too is a spontaneous appearance of life. Why discuss it? Because it can be freeing when it seen how the system is set up. The legion of thoughts that label and interpret come as part of the script of one’s life and once realized as such can be either embraced or released. No more automatic applications that then seem cast in stone. No need to interpret everything; much can be left simply to be. Things are either liked and preferred, or not liked and not preferred.
It is all life unfolding as it will, no matter what the interpretations or preferences (or lack thereof) that also show up. Not good/bad; not right/wrong… just life. This isn’t a license to do say or do a particular thing, but an acknowledgment of what is present.
Life is here. Labels optional.
The Garden of Dark Delights and the Garden of Light are the same amazing place… only believed thoughts saying one or the other is the one in which we currently find ourselves. The world does not change when this is seen… and it doesn’t have to. We are simply seeing with new eyes, and that makes all the difference.