Dan serves as a channel of emergent wisdom, and is deeply tuned into the underworld of our human experience.
**10 minute read**
Normally I don’t share publicly about my deeper inner quests into the “mystical” realms. I’ve always kept these experiences close because they are about my own personal development. There is beauty in keeping things contained and allowing them their integration time before exposing them to the world.
However, I’ve felt the call to share this particular experience as there are a lot of people around who this would appeal to, and some who have already taken up this experience for themselves.
Dark room therapy: You, locked in a completely blackened room – No light at all. No company, no sound, no phone, no net, no connection, no outer distractions, at all, just you in a completely non-pixelated reality.
Or so it would seem.
I had no idea anything like this existed until late 2017 when i met a fellow traveller in Costa Rica who’s next adventure was to go and voluntarily sit in this darkened solitary confinement for an extended period of time, to which my first response was…
Not one bit of what he told me made me want to try it out for myself. Yet, 5 weeks later there i was, at the infamous Lago Atitlan, Guatemala about to head into this darkroom experience myself and experience it all first hand.
My life’s work has a lot of emphasis on the shadow realms. Both personally and in assisting others to explore the juicy depths of what’s down there to be embraced and transformed into the diamonds that lie within.
A lot more happens in the dark than simply sitting in a dark room…
Darkness has been used for millennia in different traditions for reaching altered states of consciousness. Things happen to your physical body, and all the bodies, to make the experience one pretty eventful ride, full of all things unexpected, and periods of intensity that really test out the strength of ones spirit.
As well as navigating some fairly funky terrain, the internal processes of what your body does when it has no light, is fascinating to say the least. In short, and to take a quote straight out of ‘Darkness Technology’, by Taoist Master, Mantak Chia:
“The darkness actualizes successively higher states of divine consciousness, correlating with the syn-thesis and accumulation of psychedelic chemicals in the brain. Melatonin, a regulatory hormone, quiets the body and mind in preparation for the finer and subtler realities of higher consciousness (Days 1 to 3). Pinoline, affecting the neuro-transmitters of the brain, permits visions and dream-states to emerge in our conscious awareness (Days 3 to 5). Eventually, the brain synthesizes the “spirit molecules” 5-methoxy- dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), facilitating the transcendental experiences of universal love and compassion….”
1 – Stay in the darkroom, until your designated time is up, or you’ve had enough, in which case you can walk out at any time. You can sign up for 24 hours, or more.
I signed up for a 12 day stint.
2 – You get 2 meals delivered into a purpose built dark slot each day, which has a door either side to keep any light completely out.
3 – No electronics, obviously, but i was tipped to go in with a note-pad and pen, from which I returned to the light with many extremely messy, some unreadable notes – Some epic & insightful breakthroughs and some large portions of mind junk, loops and tangents.
The mind’s capacity of leading you astray, especially in that space, is astounding.
Day 1 – Arrival
I was taken into the cave-like darkroom, which is a solid, purpose built, earthquake proof (which BTW did happen, just to add to the fun!) stand alone construction. You walk through a door and down some stairs, up a ladder and through a trapdoor into a cave like womb space. Once shut, would be the end of the outside world as i knew it.
Inside are the bare essentials – shower, compost toilet, single bed and a place to sit and meditate.
I was left with one candle in the room, which was my only light, once that candle is out, thats it, so utilizing the time to get everything set up, and to know the basic set up so you can feel your way around without too many knocks or surprises, is extremely important.
Day 2 & 3 – Getting settled & finding my rhythm of the dark
Getting used to the space, and the darkness. Found myself in a good routine, stretching, breathwork & meditation the main orders of the first days inside while i got accustomed to my new surrounds.
Notes – “Feeling settled and calm, the mind stilling more as the settling process deepens and as the outside stimulation of the senses dies down…”
It was by the end of day 3, where i could tangibly feel the shifting of realms that was occurring within this darkened space. From sitting in a darkroom, with normal thought processes and things playing out, to reality starting to morph into something completely different, not like anything i had ever experienced.
Day 4 – Deep inner inquiry
As humans, we project out, constantly, its the way we’re wired. It is just a reflection of an unhealed, unresolved part of ourselves when we do. By day 4, I was in the zone, pin pointing specific areas and relationships in my life that had this dynamic in them, even at the subtlest levels, especially in the sometimes highly volatile realm of my most intimate relationship.
Stopping on any thought stream that would arise, and examining the thread like I have never before been able to do at that level.
I was able to bring back to me and understand why I was projecting my own inner process out on the the outside world and the people in it. If I wasn’t able to instantly own & dissolve something, it would have deeper threads and understandings throughout the next days and come full circle.
It was a day of deep realizations, tears, and some very deep, old uncomfortable feelings in my being that were a sign of what I was about to be pulled deeper into.
To what extent I could not yet conceive…
Day 5 – Deeper inner inquiry
Another day of stalking the triggers and being a witness to how the past had played out in my reality. Seeing so clearly how anger & rage had been a huge part of my life in the depths, from my teenage years right through to the present and how much I had suppressed for a large portion of my life.
I could see in whole new depths how switching to anger from an early age was just a coping mechanism to not feel pain, sadness, or the deeper sensitive feelings that get conditioned out of us when we are in our formative years.
I was also dropping into all my reactivity – my deep mental and emotional unconscious defence mechanisms and how deeply they run, and where some of them stem from.
You cannot bullshit the spirit of the dark.
It doesn’t tolerate it, in any way, shape or form. It was for me, a brutal and confronting journey to be consistently aligned with my truth at this depth.
The flickering and flashing lights coming from inside my head were intensely active by this time, so the ‘blackness’ of the room wasn’t like it previously was. When i came to rest this night, i was taken on a journey of melting into BEing. Every out breath was a sigh into existence that melted me deeper and deeper into the most amazing kaleidoscopes of colours, shapes and visions I have ever seen.
As it turned out, it was the bliss and calm, before a most epic storm.
Day 6 – Shit. Gets. Real.
To date, the only words that come to describe what happened next is the “The LIGHT TRAIN came”.
I drifted off to sleep but was jolted awake by the brightest and most intense & rapid visions I have ever had in my life. It was like my whole waking vision, as far as I could see, was a bright projector screen of all sorts of images and live things playing out in front of me, in me and through me.
Everything was flashing before my eyes, at such a rapid rate that as soon as the logical mind attempted to come in and make sense of it, boom, change, and onto a whole other tangent of material, sometimes to do with me, but most of the time just random visions of people, places, situations and different circumstances that made absolutely no sense. A massive scrambling effect on the mind and being.
Even describing some of the visions that I can now still see, is futile, because its like it doesn’t exist, but in that space and realm, its all there is, and its as real as it gets.
It was mind blowing.
I have never seen or witnessed anything like it at all, and all i could do was lay back and attempt to relax and calm my body which was going thru it all as well. It was bringing up a lot for me as it came, triggering deeper feelings before my eyes. Then being stuck in those deeper emotional charges to breathe through, because there was nothing for the mind to lock onto a make a story out of, because it was so random, and so, so rapid.
It was like a perfectly designed system to scramble every ‘normal’ thought process to put me into a certain experience so i would just surrender, feel and witness whatever was on the screen – so that anything happening at a greater level, could do it’s thing without me being in the way.
A lot of sorrow, shame, guilt and regret beginning to emerge from the deepest places of my psyche.
Day 7 – Harsh reality
Woke up from the roughest, most intense night so far, and had to do some serious checking in to see if i was actually alright before i could continue on and function properly within the room and journey.
I really felt in that space, tangibly, how easy it would be to slip into another realm of psychosis that wouldn’t be easy to return from. The feeling of which is still able to be touched on today. It took me some time to actually affirm to myself that i was ok, do some breathing and get set for another waking day.
I was exhausted from the previous nights – the emotional rollercoaster, processing, the triggers, having to watch this screen all night long whilst trying to surrender and bring calm to my being while it was all going on. It left me with not much in the tank, and at the very brink of what I could handle, and the closest I came to even thinking about pulling out of that space.
“This screen is ridiculous. It was cranking all night, so bright, so chaotic, so intense, and no switching off… It seems so futile to even know whats happening in all this, i feel deeply like it is a purpose built machine that i have come into to push me right to my edge… As much as i can handle, this process is giving me, well and truly.
Whatever is going on, i have 4 nights to go.”
The tricky thing at this stage which i was finding challenging to navigate was when the big screen was on, was doing my best to come back to the breath and be able to get some sort of anchor happening in my body. It was short lived, as the sheer pace, intensity and rate of the images and visions took me away in any moment, I just had to surrender, more and more to what was happening to every part of me.
Some of the waves of visuals & emotions were so deeply nauseating – a constant reminder of why we are rigged up the way we are, to suppress, repress, avoid, deny escape these deeper feelings. To push these things into our unconscious if its too painful, traumatic or hurtful to experience.
That’s why it’s down there in our subconscious, because it needs to be. But here it was, years of hurts, knocks, experiences & events that were just too painful or uncomfortable to fully cope and deal with at the time. Holding all of the shame, guilt, regret & resentment, not only from this lifetime, but from many others. Not only my own suffering, but the collectives.
All waiting to pour on through when one is into the realms of fierce inner inquiry.
Day 8 – Exhaustive Peace
The order of the nights just became about submitting to the process, a constant surrendering process as the deeper aspects of self that were too painful or ‘icky’ to move thru in my normal waking life, were expunged from my being. It was actually getting more intense, but all easier to navigate at the same time. The sleep hours as i knew it were becoming less and less, so there was more to see, more to feel, see and experience.
The physical body was adjusting itself into a sloppy lump of flesh and bone as to perfectly navigate this epic, profound inner experience.
As mentioned above earlier, the chemical changes happening in my body felt like I was physically going into a hibernation state. By the time a week had passed, it felt like all of my muscles were asleep, the old urges to keep active were just not there and not physically possible.
Day 9 – Death Day
No sleep at all, as I navigated my way through vision after vision. The body was more at rest than ever, and the ways of navigating things became more easeful, yet within that ease, more was able to move through.
It was through this last night and day that I was wishing and praying for some sort of breakthrough, because what I was enduring was a constant state of heaviness, intensity and one of the deepest ongoing transmutation and heating processes my body had ever been through. I was SO hot, burning through so much at all levels. I knew I was in it and it all was perfect, but to make yourself uncomfortably comfortable in that space is easier said than done!
I was unable to move, or eat, my body so exhausted from everything moving through and going through so much. My body wouldn’t take any food because it was going so hard at burning whatever was needed to be burnt white hot from my being, without anything else interrupting the process.
“The depth of all this stuff brings crystal clear awareness to the times in my life that I have been forced to the brink of ending it all, through my teens and 20’s. So much deep insight into how alcohol and drugs, for me, was the core root of so much suffering, but also the only thing that brought temporary relief to the concealed and repressed past hurts and pains…”
All day in bed, the deepest and longest transmutation process of my life.
Day 10 – Rebirth
It’s a funny old world in the unconscious realms such as this one. I saw in profound depth so clearly why we can’t access more of the 10%, or so, of the ‘known-unknown’ shadow realms. The mechanisms in place in our physiology, relationships & life / karma are always precisely what we need in each now moment.
There was just one constant foundation & background for me in this reality. An infinite view, as far as the mind’s eye could see, of complexities of caverns, shapes and spaces. A mostly blackened assortment of all shades of red, constantly moving, mechanical, multi dimensional swirling reality in which you had no choice but to surrender more and more into the throws of.
It was impossible to fix a gaze on one thing for more than a couple of seconds, as it would disappear and morph into something entirely different leading to another set of shapes and images and scramble your focus – hence the feeling of nowhere to anchor. Nowhere to really ground or use the mind to stay on something, the scrambling effect it was having on me was quite an experience in itself.
The minds rigidity and old ways of being were being recalibrated, whether I liked it or not.
“This experience has been, by far, the greatest shattering for me in my world. To see my own deep self delusions, blind spots, where I had been believing my own bullshit for years, combined with a deeply insightful drop into my genetic archetypes previously unexplored, by a long shot…”
Day 11 – Home stretch
Finally, sleep. Everything softened and I was able to get some deep, peaceful rest for the first time since day 5. The intensity and depth of the experience was tapering off, much to the relief of my mind, and whole being. I was 24 hours from being released into the light of the world once more.
“It’s a completely different world this underworld, there are no reference points, or things for your mind to constantly compartmentalise in order to feel safe. It’s an ever changing and bending, and at the deepest truth, unstable reality. The rule book of this reality doesn’t belong in this one, and any avoidance or stories you are even slightly kidding yourself with, don’t apply, and won’t be tolerated by a supremely intelligent, truth bringing Spirit of the Dark…”
Day 12 – Into the Light
At 5am came the knock I was waiting for. A knock and my first conversation with a human being since day 1 – a call to come back to the light of a new dawn.
It was quite an experience coming back out of that room that day, the body was weak, my legs almost buckled down a set of stairs when i first came out. The eyes and body go through a massive adjustment period as you could imagine.
Coming back into the world after this experience was a massive recalibration.
Although it was a relief to be out, I was still heavily processing a lot from the time within.
So many things had been rattled up, things I was blind to, had avoided dealing with and taken full responsibility for. Things i felt i had to bring a solid resolution to, as well as a lot of emotional content still finding and flushing its way through my being.
Getting used to human interactions, the language barrier in Central America, social media and any screen time, was taking its toll. On top of that I was still ‘in’ some really deep processes, and was doing it fairly tough for a good 3 days after coming back into the light.
Then, after 5 days of being out I had a realization that I needed to actually go back into the experience and finish the job. I couldn’t explain it, to anyone, I just had a knowing that I had to follow through with. A space opened and I was booked in again for the following week, for another 10 days, to finish what I had begun…
So that’s what transpired, another 10 days in this room, which took my tally to the 3 week mark, or 500+ hours in that dark, solitary and potent space.
The second stint was a very different experience to this first occasion, a lot due to the fact that I knew what to expect and brace myself for, well, the main parts, and was able to navigate a lot better than the first time.
The intensity was still up there, perhaps greater than the first occasion, but I was able to navigate it in a better way, allowing more depth and all things to move through, and came out of it with a beautiful new relationship with the Dark – The first and most ancient teacher of them all.
I won’t be sharing about the second stint at this stage; it’s still fresh in the being and warrants containment as it moves through and threads together.
Just like the first stint, it was brutal, yet beautiful all the way through – there were deeper processes, wild hallucinations, off the charts astral travelling, crazy visions that still feel like they are with me and moving through to this day.
The coming out of the second stint, which happened to be on my actual birthday – released once again from the womb into the light – was a much easier transition than that of the first. I was relating and getting back to normal within the first days, it really surprised me how quickly I was able to get back into the world and navigate my way around, compared to the first. I really did find a new place of peace within myself, and with this vast & profound teacher.
Everyone’s process of the dark is SO different to the next persons. In my experience, part of my path is to tread these shadow worlds and understand and embrace the deepest parts of my psyche. It’s always been the way for me and I believe a part of the reason that my experience may have been designed to unravel as it did.
I have come from a past polarity that wasn’t serving me or anyone around me, to now living a life of freedom and expansion, with an ongoing intention to constantly be co-creating a reality where i’m not living out these old, dysfunctional and self-sabotaging unconscious programs.
Our roots grow deepest in the dark…
Just like a tree we need deep, strong roots in order to embrace the deeper shadow realms. If we want to shine our true light, be present and live a fulfilling experience on the planet, we must first look at our own bullshit.
What i was given in these darkroom experiences, were a radical sense of ownership and accountability, unlike i had experienced before. It was a rough ride, but that level of deep work and integration couldn’t happen without putting myself in that position. With it brought a new level of clarity, grounding and presence, that I keep with me through to this day.
You could see it as an extreme form of subconscious detox through the pineal gland, and whilst it can bring a lot of intensity, it’s where the gold is at.
I am so grateful for this experience, and encourage anyone who feels the call to look into experiencing it for themselves.
Here are more centres around the globe, and many more to come as the years roll on by: