Opening to Darkness: Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times (Paperback)

Opening to Darkness: Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times By Zenju Earthlyn Manuel Cover Image

Opening to Darkness: Eight Gateways for Being with the Absence of Light in Unsettling Times (Paperback)


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“In darkness, we become devoted to clarity, courage, peace, and harmony. We discover the basic goodness of all humanity when we experience darkness together,” Zenju Earthlyn Manuel writes. “Life itself is a dark experience—a magical experience.”

When you hear the word “darkness,” what does it make you feel—horror, danger, or maybe despair? We’ve been conditioned to fear and avoid darkness and blackness, yet Zenju Earthlyn Manuel challenges us to consider: “What if we chose to go deeper into darkness instead of running from it? What might we find there beyond our longing for light?”

Drawing on the ancient wisdom found in Zen Buddhism and African and Native American indigenous traditions, Osho Zenju reveals how a change in perspective and increased wisdom can help us awaken to the sacredness of dark experiences in our lives—so we may experience a reality beyond avoidance and fear.

Opening to Darkness will take you on a courageous journey into the mandala of darkness, a symbolic expression of your inner world, where you will travel through eight gateways that are inspired by Buddha’s Eightfold Path. Along your way, you will meet dark mothers from India, Nigeria, Japan, Haiti, and Dahomey, who both protect and destroy. Osho Zenju provides reflective inquiry, blessings, and meditations as you navigate your way through the vast depths of the unseen.

It is through this spiritual pilgrimage that we learn how to:

• Experience the wonders of life that can flourish only in the dark
• Discover a collective doorway to healing and deep transformation
• Awaken to the illusory nature of light versus dark
• Illuminate false perceptions and beliefs of darkness
• Heal the fear and anxiety around darkness and blackness

Wrapped in gorgeous lyrical prose, Osho Zenju’s offerings provide deep soul relief and collective strength to embrace the dark—so we may reunite with the sacred process of darkness that flows through the canvas of our lives.

Osho Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, is an author, poet, ordained Zen Buddhist priest, teacher, and artist, whose diverse background, education, and experience all provide a unique integral and cultural perspective within the space of religion and spirituality. She is the author of The Shamanic Bones of Zen, The Way of Tenderness, The Deepest Peace, and more. Manuel is a native of California and now resides in New Mexico. Learn more at
Product Details ISBN: 9781683648611
ISBN-10: 1683648617
Publisher: Sounds True
Publication Date: March 21st, 2023
Pages: 240
Language: English

“…thought-provoking offering, ideal for those willing to unpack her dreamlike, dense text. Evocative and strange, Manuel’s latest will fascinate spiritualists willing to do the work.” —Publishers Weekly

"Supported throughout with first-person experiences, blessings, and guided meditations, the seeker is called to form the darkness, once a stranger, into the type of friend you might invite for tea. This new relationship will go a long way to ease our fears while positively impacting our ability to coexist harmoniously on the planet.” —Spirituality & Health

Opening to Darkness is beautiful, wise, magical, earthly, and utterly necessary for our time.” —Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP, bestselling author of My Grandmother’s Hands, The Quaking of America, and Monsters in Love

“Zenju shines a contemplative light on the wisdom of sacred darkness, offering a journey of returning to what we have forgotten and must now remember that heals and unites humanity. This book offers life-giving practices to those seeking the revelations of wholeness and belonging.” —Ruth King, author of Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out

“In these times, what some might call . . . ‘dark times,’ Zenju Earthlyn Manuel does not offer us a sun, starlight, or even a torch, yet in this book we are lovingly led. As we stumble through the void, running into trees and away from ourselves, we are reminded that, yes, this too can be divine direction. This book beckons us to remember that the sacred nutrients of wisdom, creation, and transformation dwell in blackness, in darkness. Who might we become? What miracles might our world give forth if we learned not only to make peace with the dark but to honor her for all she teaches us about this glorious enigmatic existence of ours? Opening to Darkness cradles us with grace in the womb of that ever-pregnant possibility.” —Sonya Renee Taylor, activist and author, New York Times bestselling author of The Body Is Not an Apology