When I first retreated in darkness, I just did it to rest. It worked. After 56 hours, I had caught up on all the sleep I had ever lost. For the first time in decades, I felt awake. I was stunned.
Two years later, the same thing happened. In addition, I felt assured. Calmed. Well in my soul.
This sense of psychic health stayed with me for months. But how, after a lifetime of depression, alienation, and anxiety?
From hygiene, I vaguely remembered two principles:
- the self-healing nature of life
- rest as the primary condition of healing
The onset of middle age daily exposed the organic nature of my psyche. One morning in a dream, these clues fused in a conception of the restful use of darkness in support of the self-healing psyche.
I began testing this idea in more darkroom retreats. As predicted, lethal psychic issues that had tortured me for a lifetime began resolving themselves spontaneously. In 11 years and 27 retreats, I have seen no sign of an end to this process—short of full recovery of psychophysical integrity.
Now I feel confident about what I have learned: what happens in darkness and why; how to retreat and what for. And I can only go further in this by sharing this approach. It needs more participation, resources, and velocity.
Hygienic darkroom retreating requires minimal effort and no faith. Darkness is not a void, but a sanctuary. It is not the absence of light, but the presence of the self. It is yours.