Elijah, Muhammad, Milarepa, Francis of Assisi–all dwelled in the twilight of mountain caves. These didn’t have to be very deep. In fact, it was better if they weren’t. Such caves were selected because they were private, and a bit out of the way. But that was only the smallest part of it. What they really offered was a balance of darkness and light. It was there, in the space that opened out of that place of balance, that our ancestors learned Green Meditation.

Anywhere that offers twilight is a good place to begin. You can witness the coming darkness under a tree, in a yard or field, or on a patio, a deck, or a porch. You can even turn off the lights and sit by a window, watching as the daylight gradually loosens its grip upon the world.

Even if you live in the city, you can still abide in twilight. An urban apartment is nothing but a shallow cave. The only difference is electricity and a lock. Turn the lights off at dusk, and a city apartment immediately returns to its true nature—a simple shelter, with a roof and walls. There is nothing in such a shelter to burden or distract the mind. Even a high-rise apartment will revert to its deep green color if allowed to be what it is.

This will happen regardless of whether you recycle, install energy-saving appliances, or use natural cleaning supplies. The market loves to put the cart before the horse where the environment is concerned, creating legions of products in place of inner change. Once your house or apartment becomes a shallow cave—once it has recovered the shadows that are the true nature of all such dwellings—you will know how best to reduce unnecessary consumption from your life.

You will know other things as well. For instance, how to listen so that others will speak; how to speak so that they will listen. Intimacy is a principal benefit of reclaiming the twilight hours of each day: intimacy with nature, intimacy with others, intimacy with ourselves. Darkness is good therapy. It unwinds the springs that daylight tightens and opens doorways onto eternity that are made invisible by light.

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