Walking in the dark.
Close your eyes, open your mind. Turn off the lights, turn on imagination.
I booked a “Dialogue in the Dark”. It is an experience in the dark, guided by a blind person. During the state of emergency, I cycled by and was curious about the place.
There were two participants in that session, me and a man. A blind person showed us how to use a white cane and told us to say if we could feel something in the dark, that we don’t usually feel. Then the lights were gradually dimmed and when she opened the door to the next room it was dark.
The moment I lost vision, I enjoyed the crunching sound when I walked. And the sound of birds. It’s like being in a forest. When in fact, we were in a building.
Soon we came to a place I felt was a large space. Our guide suggested we play catch! Of course, we couldn’t throw it, so we had to roll it. We were told to sit on the floor. We had to roll the ball in a straight line, as it was completely dark everywhere we looked for 360 degrees. To make sure I didn’t lose control, I looked in the direction of the other player’s voice. “Could you speak up again?” I said. Then I rolled the ball powerfully with both hands and was surprised that it seemed to reach him dead center. I couldn’t see him, but in my head, I could see him. I realized later that my experience playing catch with my nephew in the house must have been put to good use here.
Then there were places for train rides and dialogue around a chabu-dai (tea table). It was dark and I couldn’t see anything at all, but in my mind, I could see many things. I recognized the table as a chabu-dai because when I touched it, I noticed that the table had no corners. What color might this be? I realized that I could paint it black or reddish-brown, in my imagination. The dark is more freeing in imagination. I naturally had better imagination when I was in the dark.
Completely impressed by the experience, I signed up the next day for another version of Dialogue in the Dark — a nap in the dark experience. This time, I walked barefoot on gravel, touched water in the handbasin, and used the footbath in the dark. This was followed by a nap on a comfortable mattress.
During the dialogue in the dark, the subject of studying abroad became a topic of conversation. This was because one of the participants was a student who had returned home for the summer holidays from studying in the USA. Then two blind persons also said that they had studied in Germany and Italy. Even for seeing people, studying abroad is a challenge. I was even more surprised that they had gone to non-English speaking countries to study. I wondered if the information we see with our eyes might be limiting our possibilities and also they are unaffected by the ups and downs of our visual culture, including social media so they can follow their hearts more freely.
Napping in the dark, even when I opened my eyes, it was still dark there. The blind person said she kept her eyes open when she meditated!
All kinds of information may be causing our lack of imagination. Sometimes we need to close our eyes for 90 minutes and enjoy the spacewalk inside us. A world that can be seen by losing sight. Maybe that was the universe inside me!