Many spiritual traditions have used Darkness in the pursuit of enlightenment - using natural tunnels, caves, catacombs, or building their own Dark sanctuaries such as pyramids. The stories go way back into legends - including Jason's quest for the golden fleece within the Kingdom of the Dark. To this day, initiates from the Shinto tradition of Japan, the Bon of Tibet, the Haitian Vodou, and the tribesmen of the Dagara all continue the traditions. In the Kogi tribe of Columbia, selected male children are taken from birth and put in a dark cave for the first nine years of their lives to begin their training as seers, healers and guides.
The ancient global history of this practice continues into modern day, and our Western cultures with active Darkness immersion traditions still thriving amongst Taoists, lucid dreamers, tantrics and artists. Those who have immersed themselves know why.
Darkness brings us deep into ourselves. Connected to our inner essence - in a state of sensory deprivation, it is just us that exists. We become more aware of what that essence is.
With no distractions, the mind begins to unravel and thoughts settle. For some there is a quieting of the mind.
The brain chemistry changes and we enter into an altered state. As serotonin is inhibited we move towards a more relaxed brain state of dreamy creativity and restful rejuvenation, sinking closer to awareness within our subconscious mind.
Melatonin - the sleep hormone - is released by Darkness. This extends the hypnagogic and hypnopompic states either side of sleep, bringing vivid and sometimes lucid dreams. As the dream states and awakened states begin to come together, our imagination comes to life. In this space we can overcome creative blocks.
After a few days in the Darkness, more and more dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is released. DMT has been called the 'spirit molecule' and expands our awareness visually and perceptively, especially stimulating our extrasensory facilities.
When we are connected to the symbolism of our dream-time, we can directly access the shadows of the subconscious which feed our behaviours and decisions. Many people feel more rested than they ever have done when coming out of a Darkness immersion, especially a lengthy one when they can really rest.
You may find a deeper spiritual connection - to the spirits, to your higher self, the wisdom within, your true self or perhaps a deeper sense of purpose. When all of the opportunities to distract ourselves from our own inner wisdom are absent, we can connect much more clearly to the memory of who we really are and our higher purpose.
Inevitably when our main sense has no stimulation, all our other sense perceptions come to life - including sometimes ones which have been long dormant, such as the higher sense perceptions like intuitions and psychic perceptions. In the Darkness - food tastes become more subtle, sounds become deeper, touch becomes more sensitive, and we begin to see beyond the images of the light.
Free to release and surrender to personal rhythms and leave behind all the pressures of the outside world, we enter into a timeless realm.
The process we create is designed dynamically to merge with the natural body processes that occur when we are immersed in Darkness. The space is carefully held to support anything that comes to the surface, and to enable us to journey deep within.
In studies of the effect of Darkness on health, studies have shown people to experience relief from chronic conditions such as bipolar disorder, insomnia, and rapid cycling.