RamDev – Healing at the Edge – Ep. 89 – Luminous Darkness: An Interview with Deborah Eden Tull

Enter into the luminous darkness as author and educator, Deborah Eden Tull, joins RamDev for this yin-focused dharma talk.

Deborah Eden Tull is a zen meditation and engaged dharma teacher, public speaker, author, and sustainability educator. She is also the founder of Mindful Living Revolution. She trained for seven and a half years as a Buddhist monk at a silent zen monastery and has taught engaged dharma for over 20 years. Deborah has lived in sustainable communities and as an organic gardener/farmer for decades and celebrates the essential wisdom of nature. She currently resides in the mountains of western North Carolina, originally Cherokee land, with her husband. She offers retreats, workshops, classes, and consultations nationally and internationally, integrating presence and partnership with nature. Her newest book, Luminous Darkness: An Engaged Buddhist Approach to Embracing the Unknown, is now available for purchase.

Accepting the Darkness

Most of us have heard of enlightenment, but how about “endarkenment?” Deborah Eden Tull describes the need for “endarkenment” alongside enlightenment. Light is not superior to darkness, but rather reliant on it. Their relationship is symbiotic. Many wisdom traditions across the globe have a historical and spiritual relationship to darkness. Peering into the shadows can illuminate the deepest parts of ourselves that long to be seen. 

“There is power and resilience and love that awaits us when we are willing to turn towards and meet our shadows rather than push them away.” – Deborah Eden Tull

Tune into Ep. 19 of New Growth to learn more about transforming through darkness: Dark Night of the Soul with Mirabai Starr
Yin & Yang // Receptive Energy (11:00)

Darkness is often associated with negativity, however, both yin and yang are aspects we all carry, neither being inherently good nor bad. In Chinese philosophy, yin represents dark, quiet energy. Yang represents a bright, lively energy. When we are resting in yin we can think of it as a time to recharge, receive, and restore our spirits. You can think of yin like winter; a time for solace and stillness.

“When we learn to tune into this state through not doing something, not being active, but emptying, non-doing, it’s like a coming home to this field that already exists.” – Deborah Eden Tull 

Deathphobia and Surrender (26:01)

Western culture is largely death-phobic. We do all we can to avoid the inevitable, but we will all end up in the realm we came from. Death is out of our control, and practices like meditating can help us surrender to that unknown space. Every time we surrender it is an experience of death and although it can be frightening, it can also bring us relief.

“Ego is the only one that’s kicking and screaming against death, the sense of separate self. And we really learn how to live in more of a dance between dark and light, creating and letting go, giving birth and dying.” – Deborah Eden Tull

For another podcast featuring Deborah Eden Tull, tune into Mindrolling: ‘We’ Consciousness with Deborah Eden Tull
A Window to Darkness (44:59)

If you have a fear of the dark, Deborah Eden Tull has a practice for you. While in meditation, try envisioning a window to the darkness. This is a safe way to shift your relationship to the dark without becoming enveloped by it. Take some time to acknowledge how it feels to be present with the vast, mysterious darkness while also sending loving-kindness to it.

Photo via Deborah Eden Tull