Episode 13: Luminous Darkness – Interview With Author And Dharma Teacher Deborah Eden Tull

Hi friends. Maria and Jackie are back from break with an exciting episode. This episode, enjoy this enriching conversation with author Deborah Eden Tull about her newly released book: Luminous Darkness.

In her book, Eden inspires us to embrace the dark alongside the light as we walk our spiritual path. Join us as she shares her wisdom. 

Be well Friends!

Show Notes & Links


Luminous Darkness

Maria: Hello and welcome to the Becoming Mindful Podcast. Today we are having Deborah Eden Tull, author, and teacher, on our podcast, and we will be interviewing her about your newly released book “Luminous Darkness”. I am Maria.

Jackie: And I’m Jackie and we are becoming mindful.

Maria: Welcome, Deborah, and we’re really happy that you are with us today on the podcast.

Maria: So, Eden, could you give us a little bit of an introduction about yourself?

Eden: Sure. I am a meditation and mindfulness teacher. I’ve written a few books. This is my third. I run an organization called Mindful Living Revolution, and I teach embodied meditation, bringing into people’s awareness, the bridge between personal and collective awakening, and the intersection between our personal suffering and the systems that we’re working with in society that have been highly conditioned.

Eden: I also practice partnership with nature and for probably three decades now have been an organic gardener, at times, organic farmer, have taught and practiced the art of permaculture and sustainable design, and believe there’s a innate overlap in how we treat ourselves and one another in how we treat the planet.

Eden: So, this newest book, Luminous Darkness, which talks quite a bit about the over lighting of our planet and the over lighting of human consciousness offers a bridge between meditation for our personal healing and our collective healing and healing of the relationship we have with the Earth. There’s much more I could say, but I hope that gives you a little introduction.

Jackie: Yeah. That’s beautiful. So, can you tell us a little bit about how you came to the name of your book, Luminous Darkness?

Eden: Sure. First, I would say that most people in the dominant paradigm and in today’s world have pretty negative connotations with darkness. I talk about in the beginning of the book this sort of unconscious bias that’s been passed down for many generations:

Eden: that light is good, and dark is bad. Light is superior, and dark is inferior. Light can have many, many connotations as dark does, ranging in the collective psyche from what we think of as positive in our spiritual practice, perhaps trying to get to the light by pushing away the dark. Also in the relational field, we can look at the very seed of xenophobia, which causes such destructive harm amongst humans, comes from this base misunderstanding of dark and light as separate and dark and light as one superior, one inferior. And I’m inviting people to acknowledge and investigate with more heart what darkness actually is.

Eden: There are wisdom traditions throughout the globe, throughout history, which have revered darkness, both physical and symbolic as a great instigator for spiritual growth, as a great teacher. Luminous darkness- the phrase points to darkness not as the absence of light, but darkness as the presence of all possibility, darkness as the mystery, the unknown, darkness as the yin, restorative, slow, unformed aspects of nature and consciousness. And just for comparison for a moment, we can notice how light tends to be category, which we put with rational mind and linear forms of knowing.

Eden: Trying to get to the light as transcendence in practice, trying to avoid in a sense the mystery and the groundlessness that actually meditation invites us into. I just let a meditation group prior to this, and we explored grounding in groundlessness. And a phrase that I’ll share to kind of help this make more sense to people listening, because you all might have varying experience of practice is, in meditation, we are really inviting ourselves to learn to rest in emptiness, to acknowledge how conditioned most of us have been to fill, to fill space, to fill time, to fill our minds, to do, and instead to rest in emptiness and to recognize emptiness is not the absence of something, it’s the presence of something.

Eden: It’s an incredibly fertile emptiness that we’re learning to surrender to in meditation. And this fertile emptiness is related to this luminous darkness I point to in my book.

Jackie: That’s really beautiful and I really love how you position and talked about darkness in your book because I think for a lot of us, I know for me working with mindful practices and starting to really pause and do these practices that you’ve talked about in your book, you inevitably come to that darkness and approach it. And it can be, like you say, kind of unnatural.

Jackie: It’s not really what our culture promotes and what’s typical in our day to day lives. And so, it can be kind of scary and we do think of darkness as a little bit uneasy. But there’s so much to be found there. And I really think you did a beautiful job illuminating that in your book and helping to ease that transition because it can be a little difficult when you start practicing mindfulness and these things come up. But if you allow yourself to surrender, there’s this whole other world full of possibility that is illuminated.

Eden: Well, and here’s the thing. Sometimes when we first come to a mindfulness or meditation practice, we are trying to kind of get to this island of peace where we will not be disturbed, this island of peace where we are somehow getting away from what we consider dark or uncomfortable or difficult and getting to this projected light out there. And that’s not true to the essence of practice at all. It’s okay if that’s our initial motivation.

Eden: Just like, it’s okay if self-improvement is our initial motivation. I’m trying to improve myself is sometimes how people come to mindfulness. But if you go deeper, if you go deep enough that reasoning will drop because your whole sense of the “I” will start to soften and dissolve. Your larger yourself, more interconnected self, who you are beyond this limited perception of “I” begins to become much clearer and clearer.

Eden: And so, as part of that, one of the gifts of practices, those parts of us who we were trying to push away or get past, or who we wrongly deemed inferior or bad, or “I wish I didn’t have this emotion or this part”, we learn to welcome in our meditation. The spacious field of presence welcomes everything, and we find out that we are that field, and therefore we don’t have to push away parts of us.

Eden: We simply invite them into this healing space. In a sense, we make the unconscious conscious. It’s when it stays in the dark closet of unconscious that it weighs on us rather than becomes part of our strength. Does that make sense?

Maria: Mm-hmm. Yeah, absolutely. And what I also find interesting now as a visual artist, it might seem contrary to what I do, that I can really appreciate what you were saying about darkness and this wonder and finding out more and actually embracing the darkness I think it is something that as an artist you do as well. To have that inquiry into spaces that are usually shied away from being looked at, or feelings or, certain states.

Eden: Yes. And along those lines, one of the invitations of the book is to embrace endarkenment alongside enlightenment. And that’s pointing back to what you were just saying, an invitation to spend more time being with and surrendering to the deeper, darker undercurrents of our human experience, the poetry of our experience beyond just what the rational mind has to say about life. And that’s what you’re pointing to as an artist. Time spent depicting or expressing some of the richer and fuller undercurrents of being human. Right?

Maria: Right. Exactly.

Eden: Yeah. And in a day and age when there’s so much going on in our world, so much that feels overwhelming, so much that people are navigating personally. It’s really important that we remember the size of the human heart. That we remember we have what it takes to be with the fullness of our human experience, to be with the darker undercurrents.

Eden: I think I hear a dog in the background, so let’s welcome our animal friends. And, and this is a beautiful invitation. It’s a beautiful invitation. Nothing we need to turn away from. .

Maria: In your book you have a lot of practices in there and a lot of them are actually in physical darkness. Can you talk a little bit more about the importance of physical darkness in the practice?

Eden: Yes, and first I would say that physical darkness is innately valuable, immeasurably valuable as part of life on planet earth. All biological forms of life require both light and dark. There are so many nocturnal animals, plants, forms of life that get overlooked as we over artificially light our planet. There was a great article that just came out in the LA Times about the over lighting of our planet. The impact has been tremendous, and so I’m glad people are starting to talk about this. Darkness, as I said, through many spiritual traditions, has been recognized as an instigator of spiritual growth. And one way we might begin to think of that is simply by closing our eyes and turning our attention within more.

Eden: We can notice how in softening the visual field where many people spend a lot of time and energy and attention, some of our other senses begin to open and become stronger. Our capacity for deep listening, and I consider deep listening, not just an auditory experience, but a full body energetic experience that we become stronger in through meditation.

Eden: This begins to deepen. And in the darkness we get to put aside some of our busy, discriminating, detail oriented, sometimes one pointed vision, to instead expand our inner vision . And while we’re navigating the unknown, both as a collective and anyone who’s on the spiritual path is invited to navigate the unknown through own journey. It’s really important to cultivate this in your vision. It’s really important to get in touch with the precision of the inner compass beyond the busy, loud, repetitive, conditioned mind with all of its stories and assumptions and judgements that are not actually based in truth. So, I invite people into many practices throughout the book, some of which include closing our eyes to soften from the visual field, to pause from the whole domain of daylight and access our inner vision instead.

Jackie: So, as we navigate that unknown within us I love that you spoke about this in your book, that we need to meet those areas with a fierce compassion. And maybe can you talk a little bit about the role of compassion within that mindful inquiry?

Eden: Sure, and first there’s nothing in meditation and mindfulness practice that we can approach or traverse without compassion.

Eden: Compassion is essential to every teaching that’s offered through mindfulness and meditation. And through meditation, we begin to pause to stop from some of the habit of doing, doing, doing, even doing, through the habit of mental effort, thinking, overthinking, assessing, judging life, having a subject- object relationship to life we might not even be aware of, and instead rest in the field of non-doing.

Eden: Again, spacious awareness. Shared presence, or sometimes I simply say resting in darkness. And in that field, we are able to get in touch with the compassion that is already in us, the compassion that is innate. Sometimes people talk about cultivating compassion and there are practices that can help us to affirm the compassion that is who we are. But this compassion is a remembering. It’s not outside of us. It already exists within each and every human being, and it’s about through meditation through our listening and softening of this busy doing mind, remembering this compassion, and through the experience. Because when we meditate, anything can arise, uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, we find overwhelming or difficult, remnants of experiences lodged in our psyche that are hard to be with and through staying present.

Eden: And in this space of non-doing, of welcoming we allow the compassion that is within us to begin to strengthen, to meet all of these parts that have not yet been met with compassion. Sometimes compassion is gentle. For instance, the experience of someone coming to you in struggle, needing a listener. The compassion of just listening to someone, just witnessing, just receiving that person without adding your own advice or opinions or judgment, that’s a form of gentle compassion. And sometimes compassion, the kind that’s required is fierce. It’s finding yourself struggling perhaps with a past trauma and seeing metaphorically there is a child inside a burning building. That’s how it feels when I’m in this trauma and no one is helping. I am the one who can help.

Eden: I, the compassionate mentor within, which is a presence we access through meditation, needs to show up for this child and step in with fierce compassion. And yet another example is simply when we’re going along in our day practicing mindfulness and we’re noticing, ah, these incessant thoughts. I know where this thought takes me.

Eden: I know it takes me to a place of judgment and. Self-criticism. And so, from fierce compassion, I’m going to drop it. I’m going to say no to this habitual train of thought and bring my awareness more into the moment. So, I hope some of these examples make sense, but we really need to access both our gentle and our fierce compassion to awaken and to know the wholeness of who we are. And from that gentle and fierce compassion we can meet life which contains everything wanted and the unwanted experiences and meet one another from a place of greater wholeness and healing.

Maria: Yeah, that’s wonderful. And it reminds me a little bit of what some people call shadow work. And we’ve talked about shadow work before as well in our podcast.

Eden: Yes, sometimes we’re required to embrace shadows with compassion. Yeah. Thank you.

Maria: And kind of leading to another question we had about how we can grow and become more conscious through darkness and compassion, you mentioned a term and described something called endarkenment in your book. Kind of in contrast to the traditional enlightenment that is described within Buddhism or other spiritual paths.

Maria: How would you compare this? I think people somewhat familiar with what Enlightenment is. I mean, they’re not, but they are. So how would you describe endarkenment with regards to that?

Eden: Sure. Well, first I would say my own pursuit of enlightenment as a young person starting when I was a teenager, meditating, changed and saved my life.

Eden: And in this book, I’m simply suggesting, particularly in today’s day and age, particularly when there can be unconscious biases guiding us in our spiritual practice and guiding our collective that we’re not even aware of, there’s medicine to including endarkenment alongside enlightenment. And I share that first there’s a real tendency for people to think of enlightenment as an end and a goal. And so, people can bring into their practice a sense of like, Oh, I’m taking these steps to get to this goal, missing the process itself. I’m trying to get to a place of transcendence or attainment, which again is about getting away from the dark to get to the light.

Eden: There can be a lot of misunderstandings in the pursuit of enlightenment. And the five aspects of embodied meditation I’m emphasizing with endarkenment are one, our awakening through embodiment and earth connection. In today’s world, the remembrance, the experiential remembrance of our earth connection and the wisdom of our bodies has to be the foundation of our practice.

Eden: And for many people, practice can become heady or almost a philosophical pursuit, or I’m going to try to think my way to mindfulness. Number two, the restoration of our ability to see clearly with the heart by surrendering to receptivity, and by taking responsibility for the lens through which we are perceiving.

Eden: So again, surrendering to receptivity points to this resting in darkness, resting in emptiness, not trying to get somewhere or get past something. And the whole book talks about this teaching of seen clearly with the heart and what that means.

Eden: The reclamation of our true nature or original consciousness by releasing hierarchical perception. And I suggest that all hierarchical thinking is a distortion and consciousness. There’s no exception. Hierarchy was invented by humankind, and it’s been passed down through the generations. So, people can see even in how they perceive themselves through the mind of separation a kind of hierarchical perception.

Eden: I like these parts of me or these emotions, but not these over here. These experiences are superior, these are inferior. And this actually impedes our real awakening and when that gets turned outwards towards others or, there’s certainly a hierarchical perception in how modern humans perceive nature as inferior to the human realm, we get into real harm causing.

Eden: So just a couple more I would name the deepening of our relationship with ourselves and others. And our inter-communicative relationship with nature, the visible and invisible matrix with life. So, I’m really inviting people to go beyond a kind of anthropocentrism to recognize the interwoven fabric of all of life that we are a part. And again, that listening more, even that metaphor of closing our eyes and listening more and sensing more through Intervision, helps us to know and feel that connection more so.

Eden: And the last one is, which we’ve already touched on, the willingness to meet all life, including shadows with fierce compassion. And again, rather than trying to transcend the dark, to get to the light, that we can embrace all aspects of our humanity from fierce compassion. So, it’s not, endarkenment instead of enlightenment, but alongside expanding our toolbox and our understanding of awakening. I hope that’s helpful.

Jackie: Yeah, absolutely.

Jackie: So, with this greater emphasis that we’ve placed on as a society toward the light and enlightenment, how do you think that the almost rejection of darkness has impacted us as individuals and us as a planet as a whole?

Eden: Well, I could speak volumes to this, so I think I’ll give a simple or shorter answer, but I can begin with my own experience.

Eden: You know, the human experience contains all of it, the full spectrum of light and dark. And if we’re holding an unconscious bias towards one and against the other, we’re going to suffer and judge our experiences and ourselves tremendously. So, for me as a young person, when I first came to meditation I certainly had a lot of joy and beauty in my life.

Eden: And I also had a lot of grief. I had lost loved ones at a young age. I lost my father, who was my first spiritual teacher and closest mentor at the age of 11 and was kind of left being in a world that didn’t seem to welcome or have room or skillful guidance for grief. There were parts of me that I later learned were sources of immeasurable strength, like my sensitivity and receptivity and simply a natural empathy that I had towards others.

Eden: But as a young person I learned to actually judge those parts as weaker than the sort of young, being strong equals being forceful messages, of the dominant paradigm I lived in. So, it’s a way of seeing that when we’re perceiving through hierarchical perception or judging things ourselves or others, rather than seeing life clearly.

Eden: And when I first came to meditation, I certainly was attempting I think, even if I hadn’t named it explicitly to myself, to get past the dark stuff within, get past my grief or the part who was outraged about injustices I saw in our world, rather than recognizing that as a sacred messenger. And so much healed in the softening of learning how to welcome everything rather than push away and exclude through this very limited binary perception of good, bad, light, dark. I think I could stop there.

Jackie: Thank you. Yeah. There’s a point that you mentioned just a moment ago that I’d like to go back to, because Maria and I both talked a bit about this when we read it in your book, and that’s the idea of hierarchies. And we’ve both found through our mindfulness journeys that we come to a point where hierarchies don’t seem to make sense anymore. They seem kind of abrasive to the type of mindset that you cultivate through mindfulness. In your book, I pulled a quote here that said, “We have all been traumatized to varying degrees by the lens of hierarchy.”

Jackie: I guess they’re so prevalent throughout our life. They’re everywhere we look. What does the world look like to you without hierarchies?

Eden: Well, here’s the thing. They’re everywhere we look only if we’re perceiving through a hierarchical lens. And so just to get really basic for a moment, every human being wakes up in the morning and I always ask students to be aware of the first thought that arises in the morning upon waking to be aware of one’s perception lens from the start of the day. And every morning is different. Sometimes we wake up and there’s just fluid, flowing, ease and joy. And sometimes we wake up and there’s aching body or exhaustion from not enough sleep or illness.

Eden: Every day is different. And most people do their meditation practice first thing in the morning at least to begin. And we practice just being with in compassionate neutrality and welcome every expression of life that arises. So whether we are welcoming a pleasant experience that day, or the most unpleasant sensations, emotions we could think of, we begin to really go beyond the labels of pleasant, unpleasant, or positive, negative or good, bad. We see the limitations of that as you’re suggesting, and practice instead softening into a place where we are intimate with life as it is. Where we are being with life as it is. Where we are seeing life exactly as it is.

Eden: It’s a place of compassionate neutrality, a place that welcomes the intrinsic beauty, I want to say, of everything. And it’s a place that acknowledges. I think the way I’ll say it is sometimes, first in practice, we are becoming more aware of what’s moving through, more aware of thoughts, more aware of sensations, more aware of emotions, more aware of the external field.

Eden: And then we become more aware of awareness itself. This constant ever present field of spaciousness from which everything arises. I sometimes describe darkness as the field from which everything arises and to which everything returns. And that field, awareness itself, is not judging. It doesn’t have likes and dislikes. It is the field of compassionate neutrality.

Eden: So, we’re remembering ourselves as awareness. Itself, remembering ourselves as consciousness. And we can talk about this, but everyone listening knows you have to have your own direct experience to really get what’s being pointed to. I would also add, per the nature of your question that it’s not then that we look out things happening in the world and are simply neutral responders to everything.

Eden: We look out at the world and do so without seeing ourselves as separate from the world without a sense of subject object. And I wanna emphasize that we can see clearly what’s happening in terms of some of wild injustices, okay? The suffering in our world. And from a place of spacious presence, from awareness, there’s a lot of room.

Eden: There’s room for both the part of us who has an extreme reaction to something. There’s room for someone else to have a really different opinion or reaction. There’s room, there’s space for complexity and multidimensionality. But if we rest in the spaciousness or stillness, we can allow for a compassionate response to arise, a more skillful response to that injustice or that difficulty.

Eden: So, Fierce compassion. Part of this is becoming more willing to respond compassionately and from our hearts to the difficult places in the world that are asking for our response, that are needing our voice, that are needing us to see that suffering and invite it into our hearts. But if we come from just hierarchical perception, good, bad, right, wrong, moral judgment, my opinion is the holy opinion, we can’t really be skillful responders. We really can’t. We can only be reactive. I hope that makes sense, but I wanted to bring that discernment in while we’re talking about compassionate neutrality, so people know compassionate neutrality doesn’t mean we numb out quite the opposite.

Jackie: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Thank you.

Jackie: I think anyone who’s done mindfulness practices, comes to that similar conclusion that we can look at the world as it is versus through these judgements essentially. But also, that, that’s really hard to keep doing because as you said they’re all around us. That the world kind of wants to push us in that direction, It almost feels like. So, I don’t know. Do you have any advice for how to stay grounded in that perception? And I mean, it’s almost a continual opening and surrender, right? Do you have any advice from your life?

Eden: Sure. Daily practice and that includes all of the commitments we make, the dedication we align ourselves with to those conscious practices that ground us in presence. It’s important to, to have a commitment, these practices with which ground us in presence. But I wanna bring in two dimensions here to be able to ground oneself again through our physical body and our earth connection to the here and now, and also ground ourself in spacious presence at the very same time, it’s almost a vertical grounding and a horizontal grounding.

Eden: The spacious presence or stillness that has room for complexity, that has room for all of it, while being anchored in our bodies and earth connection. There’s an encouragement I wanna offer listeners, and it’s that, again, nothing about practice, there is no use, no value to numbing ourselves out. I think humanity has been doing that for too long, and that’s part of why we’re in the fix we’re in.

Eden: As an alternative, we can bring awareness to the difference between judgment and being caught in the mind of judgment and criticism and how that feeds reactivity, and how that feels in our body to be in that place versus a place of conscious discernment. And here’s what I wanna say about this: Judgment always, in my observation, my experience is tied in with fear. In the presence of fear or fear of the unknown, or fear of the other, or any form of fear, judgment arises. It’s almost a way of filling the space and making sense of our experience of fear. But again, we can’t be skillful responders, from judgment.

Eden: It’s a polluted lens. We’re not seeing clearly. Through practice, we learn conscious discernment. And what this means to me is that while judgment has to do more with the small self, from our recognition of who we are as the larger self, the interconnect itself, the all of life the consciousness, we do, and this is part of Intervision, develop a kind of conscious discernment.

Eden: As an example, when someone’s first establishing their practice, they notice, oh gosh, I’m feeling so much more peace and groundedness through this. And I’m starting to notice certain activities I used to participate in, certain habits, or maybe even certain people I used to relate with, that seem to drain my energy going in this direction rather than affirm my life force or that seemed to detract from this quality of peace that I’m deepening into. And again, we don’t have to be judging those activities or those people, but through conscious discernment and clear seeing, we can know I have to set a boundary here that this just doesn’t form me anymore. It’s not. And likewise, we can see certain perhaps directions the dominant paradigm is going, or certain choices made in our world or certain collectively accepted activities that, again, even free of the habit of judgment and fear, we can just sense in our hearts through conscious discernment, isn’t for me to participate in and this isn’t of service to life. It’s a feeling, but it’s not coming from right wrong. Does that make sense?

Maria: Yes, absolutely.

Eden: Yeah. And so, the judgment being more aligned with small self, the conscious discernment being more aligned with whole self, large self, collective on behalf of the collective.

Maria: So, when we are working on restoring wholeness and we, release fear, maybe we can talk about some of the possibilities. In your book, you talked a lot about imagination and dreaming. I would love for you to talk a little bit about those.

Eden: Yes, absolutely.

Eden: It was really fun. In this book I shared a lot of, life changing dreams that I’ve had. I’ve worked with my dreams for many years. First invited by my grandmother who worked with dreams throughout her life as her mother did. And so, this was beautifully passed down to me. And one of the points I’m making is that when we’re kind of fixated on the rational mind as God, or sometimes they use the metaphor, trying to get to the light as the lamp of knowledge.

Eden: If I understand this thing, if I can label it and categorize it, put it in the right place, which humans have spent a lot of time doing to life then I’ll somehow be clear. But I’m inviting people to really let that go and recognize the many other forms of knowing what I call relational forms of knowing, the forms of knowing, like intuition and imagination and more of a sensing from the heart.

Eden: The poetry that’s part of processing our human experience. There’s so much richness and strength for us here, and we won’t access it if we’re fixated on rational. Any useful teaching on darkness needs to teach about the domain of dreams and the dreamer. And I’ll name it first, because our focus here today is about mindfulness and meditation.

Eden: We can all acknowledge that just observing the condition mind, we see that we are using our imagination unconsciously all the time. Everyone listening can look within and see how have I been using my imagination unconsciously? Feeding stories of fear, stories of the mind of separation, as I call it, stories of disconnect, stories that trigger anxiety, stories that pull me into the future or the past.

Eden: So that’s unconscious use of our imagination. Imagination is a well of energy when we drop into more conscious use of it. We get there through, again, going into our earth bodies more fully down from the domain of the mind. And access a sense of imagining beyond the small self, a sense that we are, through our imaginations, able to feel and access our connection with all of life more palpably.

Eden: For instance, in a group I guided earlier today, we did a visualization practice with the world of trees, connecting with trees and the medicine of trees and the allyship of trees through active use of our imagination. And it was a transformative practice. Anyone listening can sense for a minute just what happens when you imagine in your mind and heart a tree that you feel deeply connected with, or a tree that lives on your land or a tree that you found mind-blowingly beautiful somewhere that you’ve traveled.

Eden: And so, in today’s world where we’re facing so much disintegration of old systems that are no longer serving us and old belief systems that have caused harm for so long, it’s very useful to have a conscious practice for reimagining a more life affirming world. A teacher I find incredible, Ruth King, invites people to imagine’ on behalf of our collective, a world beyond racism.

Eden: Theologian Martin Buber invites people into moral imagination, recognizing the value of imagining a different future for the collective. In a field of work, I teach called “the Work that Reconnects”, which was created by Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, for transforming our love and pain for our world into compassionate action, we regularly do practices of consciously imagining. So that we can really get past and dissolve this small self that has incredibly limited ideas of what’s possible, of how things could be. A study was done showing that it’s easier for Americans to imagine Armageddon than to imagine a world beyond capitalism. That’s extremely limited. So, this notion that part of dissolving small self is part of dissolving the assumption that rational mind is everything and remembering that there’s a whole well of creativity and possibility that lives in the darkness that we can and need to access as we are creating more life affirming lives and a more life affirming world.

Maria: Yeah, absolutely.

Jackie: Well, this has been such an enriching conversation and there’s so much more insight and inspiration in the book. I wonder if we can turn the spotlight on you and just ask, how did writing this book change you, and what did you learn from writing this book?

Eden: Sure. Yeah. That’s a generous question. Thank you. Because I was just writing something for my community about how thrilled I am that the book is out and my focus in life is on process rather than product. It’s wonderful to be receiving the gift of people’s appreciation for the book and to see it out.

Eden: At the end of the day, what we have is the process that we brought to the day. So, what I have is the process I brought to writing the book, the fact that I was committed to staying present and in heart space with myself as I embarked on this journey. The process of listening to the calling to write the book, which took me off guard.

Eden: What? In the middle of what else I have going on I’m being instructed to turn towards the darkness and to write a book about darkness. And in the process to recognize that darkness has been my greatest teacher. That I’m in love with the dark. So I was the right person to write this book. But I wanna really emphasize that peace, a mindfulness practice enables us to start letting go of product again. Even the product, like my practice is gonna take me to this place at the end of the Rainbow. And instead to fall in love with process.

Eden: This book changed me in many ways. One is that I had written two other books, but in this book, I wrote about some topics, some personal life experiences, and some life lessons that felt much edgier to me. That took even more courage. And anytime that we accessed that tendril of courage, even alongside fear, there is immeasurable reward. So, I feel all of that reward. And it also allowed me as a teacher to invite the communities that I teach and guide into such a widening of practices and inquiries that have touched so many people’s lives.

Eden: I feel so honored to have been invited by life to write this book. And I feel honored to share it. I think it carries some deep medicine for our times. And it was medicinal for me to write it. So, thank you for that question. I appreciate that.

Jackie: You’re welcome. And I couldn’t agree more. It’s a really beautiful book. It really is.

Maria: Agreed. And thank you for writing it because I think it definitely made a big impact on us and really appreciative of your insight and the exercises as well that I think will help us as well in our journey. So, to round us out, do you think there’s any messages, any final message, you would like to give our listeners as we end this interview?

Eden: Thank you. I might just read a quote, very simple, that I love from the book.

Eden: “The first step to understanding endarkenment is to become curious about darkness beyond your familiar associations. Be open to what you don’t know that you don’t know. About darkness and light, about yourself, about the mystery itself. We can learn to meet the unknown and the experience of not knowing with an open and humble heart, much more full of wonder and willingness than fear.

Eden: And thank you for having me. It’s been lovely connecting with you both today, and I hope this recording offers great service to those listening. Take good care everyone.

Maria: Thank you.

Jackie: Is there anywhere you’d like to let people know how to connect with you or where to buy the book?

Eden: Sure. People can visit my website to find out more about my offerings, deborahedentoll.com, or you can join me on social media, which is my full name and also Mindful Living Revolution. And you’re welcome to purchase a book either through Amazon or through Shambala, if not a local bookstore.

Jackie: Right. The book again, is Luminous Darkness, and thank you so much for being here and for writing this book. It was really a treat to talk to you and to read Luminous Darkness.

Eden: Thank you both.

Maria: Thank you.

Eden: Byebye for now.

Jackie: Bye.

Jackie: All right. Thank you for listening to that beautiful conversation with Deborah Eden Tull. We thank you again for tuning in and listening to the Becoming Mindful Podcast. If you enjoyed this conversation, please subscribe to the podcast and follow us on social media. We are @becomingmindfulpodcast on Instagram and Facebook.

Jackie: And let us know what you think about the book or any insights you have on your journey to mindfulness. We hope to see you again for our next episode, and until then, be well.

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