The Small Dark Light’s mission statement

My previous post was about who I am, this post is about what I write. Read on if you’re curious about what this publication is for and where I hope it ends up going. Hint: you may be involved.

  • I want The Small Dark Light to be a meeting place between mysticism and rationalism // philosophy and religion // East, Middle East and West // left and right // tradition and progress // the personal and the political // psychology and objectivity // pragmatism and emotionalism // honesty and sympathy // essays and stories // seriousness and humour. The more…

The strangest and funniest comedy sketch of all time

Photo by Benjamin DeYoung on Unsplash. Not sure where to find royalty-free images of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, so this’ll have to do.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when one must declare what one stands for. And there comes a point in every Culture Club series when one must make the full weirdness of one’s comedy tastes known. That time is now, and therefore I have taken it upon myself to introduce you, the unsuspecting reader, to what may just be the most bonkers comedy sketch ever to make it to TV.

“Alan-a-Dale”? Yes, “Alan-a-Dale”! It’s “Alan-a-Dale”, “Alan-a-Dale”, “Alan-a-Dale”, yes, “Alan-a-Dale”.

(Just watch it and everything will make sense. Well it won’t, but you’ll have a good time. Link below.)

In…


Some people say you like what you like and that’s that. Not me.

Photo by FPVmat A on Unsplash

I love music: listening to it, playing it, educating myself about it, exploring obscure nooks and crannies of it, thinking about it, talking about it. And the thing about being Very Into something that nearly everyone’s Somewhat Into is that sooner or later you have to decide what attitude you’re going to take towards the Casual Enjoyers. You can become a snob who looks down on people who only like what happens to be current or popular. You can view the casual enjoyers as Normal People and yourself as a Harmless Eccentric. …


Are our heroes about to reconcile? Probably not

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

And now for something completely different…the third installment in my “Two People, Both Talking” series! This is the kind of story you don’t need much context for, but if you’d like some anyway Volume 1 is here and Volume 2 is here. The general idea is that two people, ages and genders unknown, are trapped in an unspecified location for unknown reasons and have nothing to do but argue with each other. Think Waiting for Godot but even less specific, and much sillier.

The two of them sat in a silence that was not so much stony as rocky, boulderish…


Part 2 of 2: How it affects my interactions

Photo by Brian Lundquist on Unsplash

Continued from Part 1, which is about how meditating on the phrase ‘I choose love’ has been helping me detach from deep-seated fears and resentments. This post is about how that affects my relationships with others.

I find it interesting that the way I relate to other people is directly linked to a practice I do when I’m alone. I’m starting to think that, at a fundamental level, love has very little to do with relationships at all. They’re more like the effect to its cause. …


Part 1 of 2: How it changes my default attitudes

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash. City planners take note.

‘Cultivate compassionate courage and you can do what matters most, unwavering. Anxiety passes through you like breath.’

Dennis Tirch

My last post was about how I’ve been attempting to point myself away from fear and towards openness by introducing the phrase ‘I choose love’ to my meditation routine.

This time I want to go into a little more detail on how the practice has been helping me in practical terms. Since I started doing it I’ve been seeing a few things more clearly about myself, the people around me and human nature in general. …


For 15 minutes a day, anyway. Surprisingly, that’s enough.

Photo by Chris Ensey on Unsplash

‘Freedom from anxiety does not mean the absence of anxiety. Courage is having a strong, loving heart in the presence of fears, rather than avoiding your feelings.’

Dennis Tirch

In one of my favourite episodes of the Here and Now podcast, Ram Dass wraps up his talk by reading a passage from Emmanuel’s Book II on the difference between love and fear. Full disclosure: he believes Emmanuel is a spiritual entity who speaks through a woman called Pat Rodegast. Personally I don’t mind much whether this is true or not, because the passage is beautifully rich whoever wrote it —…


Things could be a lot worse. In fact they couldn’t be any better.

Photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash

My last post was about what my half-lockdown depression and anxiety feel like at their worst. But the good news is that I don’t feel them at their worst all the time. Not even most of the time. One of the most liberating things I’ve learned over the past year and a half is that the best way to deal with my neuroses isn’t to “fix” them or even shrink them. All I need to do is cultivate the part of myself that’s open, relaxed and free, and watch as it expands wide enough to encompass everything else. …


Normal life is resuming. Mine isn’t.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Again, it’s been a while. This time I thought I’d write about why.

Note: I’m still editing my next in the “Everything is True at Once” series. I have a few other posts waiting in the wings too, some of which are 90% done — I might publish one of those first, depending on what ends up being easier to finish. Either way, EITAO is not forgotten.

THE BAD


Why do paradoxes express more truth than clear statements?

Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash

Although this post can be read alone, it’s also Part 2 of a philosophy series called “Everything’s True At Once”, which argues that (a) we don’t believe things for the reasons we think we do; (b) any one of us can only see a small part of the overall truth; (c) most of our apparent disagreements consist of one person seeing the yin, the other seeing the yang and neither seeing how they fit together; (d) competing worldviews are more like different music genres than truth claims that are truer or falser than each other; (e) balance within society and…

Wabi Sabi

Writer, composer and filmmaker, into soul music and Chinese philosophy. Editor @ The Small Dark Light

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