Could blindness be a choice? Blindness to the cruelty the world and suffering of the soul…
Blindness is not a mere loss of eyesight. Many of us unconsciously live blind... looking yet not seeing… And, others choose to deliberately live blind. Their world is too harsh to endure otherwise. Our heroine is one of them. For years, she chose to live blind. She turned off the light, put down the blinds, and closed her eyes. She lived in her tiny cocoon isolated from the world. She felt safer this way… warmer in a cold-hearted world… richer in a poor-spirited community… peaceful in a violent surrounding… But, soon the darkness seeped into her soul… eroded her body and sucked the life out of her… She was dead inside. Every morning, she drew the most beautiful smile on her face and went on with her daily duties…
Joseph Campbell, in his Hero’s Journey, would call this phase the Innermost Cave… Christian mystics call it the dark night of the soul… and the Sufis call it contraction… Yet, in all those traditions, this phase is not the end of the journey. It is just the beginning. It is “God’s silence and our own – working as an entryway into an unmediated experience of the Divine.” It is this “wondrous night that beckons us all into a fuller, more intimate experience of the Divine. So much that sustains our lives and souls can only happen in the dark of night.”
Campbell’s hero’s transformation only take place after the hero acknowledges his vulnerability taking all the time he needs in his Innermost Cave. Like herbs releasing their medicine only after percolating for weeks into the dark cold menstruum, our soul finds its elixir into the darkest contraction of our hearts.
The ancient Yin and Yang symbol holds a light dot in its dark swirl – reminding us of the ever presence of hope in the midst of suffering. It also depicts a dark dot in its light swirl – reminding us to remain humble in times of brightness and growth… “In order that you do not despair over what has eluded you and not over-exult in pride over what God has given you” (Q. 57: 23).
Yes, blindness is a choice… but our heroine does not have to choose it… We do not have to choose it… We can choose, instead, to shut our eyes and retreat in our Innermost Cave for as long as we need to… We’re not turning blind eyes… We’re closed for restoration!
 Robert H. Hopcke, “Spiritual direction and mystical experience,” in Sharing Sacred Stories.