Dazzling Darkness

Donald W. Mitchell


During my final undergraduate year at the university, I took up the practice of zazenunder the guidance of one of my professors. It was a time of existential angst that led me to the practice. One night, I decided to pray to God about my situation. I went into a church and sat in Zen fashion on the floor in front of the altar. I prayed, “Is there anything other than the suffering I am experiencing?” A thick darkness descend and as it covered me, I felt an unspeakable peace. I repeated, “I do not understand,” over and over. Then the words from the New Testament came into my mind, namely that this was “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding….”I would add that I later read in the Old Testament: “The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.” (Ex. 20:21) 


Dazzling; Darkness


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