Paul Coutinho is an internationally recognized Ignatian scholar with a doctorate in historical theology from St Louis University. A native of India and a Jesuit from Bombay province, he brings an Eastern influence to Western spirituality. In this thought-provoking paperback, Coutinho focuses on the important and pervasive role of darkness in the lives of spiritual people. As it shapes many of our primal experiences, its power lies in its mysterious qualities that defy reason.

We begin and end out lives in darkness and yet many of us never quite relax into its incredible energies or its spiritual synergies. Coutinho examines the significance of darkness in Creation, in worship, in the covenant with Abraham, and in the experience of death. He moves on to personal encounters with darkness in the form of retreats, stillness, weakness, addiction, failure, loss, poverty, the hero's journey, and the feminine face of God. Coutinho concludes:

"When we push away the darkness — of loneliness or irritation or anything negative — we are passing up a profound opportunity. When we allow ourselves to experience the negativity, that very negativity will stimulate our deeper longings for wholeness and freedom. Then we can learn to treat difficult situations simply as part of life; then we can look beyond others' behavior and accept them as they are. Also, we can accept ourselves as we are and where we are, and our negative experiences — both inner and outer — as important aspects of our development."