On the Nature of Light
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One of our ageless considerations is the nature of light in all its forms. Last week, I discussed hope and where to find it. This week, our focus is an even more luminous one.
Join me as we consider the nature of light, not only in the world, but within each of us. Stay with me.
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Because it is endlessly worth exploring, I will continue to write and speak about light and its impact on us and within us. In times like this, that exploration is all the more important.
Not just in Texas, but across the nation, brutal winter weather has brought extreme challenges for millions of people. It’s still too early to estimate how many have been displaced by loss of power and water and other services. Lives have been lost and it’s too soon to calculate the damage to property.
In some cities, warming stations have been set up where people can at least find temporary relief from the cold. Others are less fortunate and been forced to endure the bitterness by doing whatever they can to stay warm. Because of that, a number of fires have been reported, displacing people even further.
During such a dark and stressful time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and become discouraged and disheartened. And yet every day, the sun and moon continue to rise in the east and set in the west.
As I ponder the truth of that, one of the first things that comes to mind is that in every moment, regardless of what’s happening around us, light is always more powerful than darkness. Always! I’m also reminded that what is luminous in us is inextinguishable and inexhaustible. We’re seeing countless examples of that right now as people reach out to help others and as families and friends and neighbors wisely and compassionately huddle together to pool their resources, including a warm place to stay.
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photo: Scott Lennox
Many of the world’s spiritual and cultural traditions begin their origin stories with the contrast of dark and light and the separation of the two, declaring that light is always more powerful than darkness.
I vividly remember a classroom lecture I heard as a student in theology school, decades ago. A seasoned Biblical scholar, Dr. Jack Stewart shared with us that the opening passage of the book of Genesis is typically translated as saying that “The light shined in the darkness and the darkness could not overcome it.” He insisted that a more accurate translation would be, “…the darkness could not gobble it up.”
I can’t speak for you, but reasons I can’t quite put into words, I find his suggested translation to be far more dynamic, more satisfying and more encouraging.
The fact that light always banishes darkness is central to the nature of our existence. It’s one of the pillars on which hope rests. Throughout the universe, light is always more powerful than the darkness around it. That’s true even when we take so- called “black holes” into consideration. While it may be seemingly obscured, the light within them is still there.
There is no doubt that it can be strongly tested, yet the light that is our very essence cannot be extinguished by turmoil or by darkness of any kind. Think of the countless individuals and groups of people throughout history who have suffered or greatly struggled only to become wiser, stronger, more compassionate, more openly accepting, and more strident in their expression of our shared humanity.
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We can think of what is incandescent in us as compassion, strength, resilience, endurance, understanding, acceptance, courage, wisdom, patience, and a thousand other quietly powerful things.
Once we accept and consciously engage with that luminous force in us and around us, the way we move through our days becomes naturally different. We become less afraid. We discover ourselves to be more capable than we previously thought. We become much kinder to ourselves and others. And we know that we are vitally connected to all of the Light that is, including the light in other people. Knowing that, we naturally reach out to one another in meaningful ways.
In short, our lives become richer.
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As a simple mindfulness exercise, become as still as you can for a while and imagine the light that makes you who and what you are. See it or feel it radiating in every direction from deep within you. Become aware of it as it incandescently floods every part of you, radiantly healing you, luminously embracing you, and leaving not one part of you untouched.
Then, imagine it radiating outward to those you care about, and then, perhaps, endlessly out into the world.
As you experience what is luminous inside you and outside you, notice the shift that naturally happens, regardless how small it may be. I’m reminded of the lyrics of a song that says, “It’s better to light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark,” and “If everyone lit just one little candle, what a bright world this would be.”
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That brings us to this week’s three Beautiful Questions. I invite you not to edit or hold back as you consider them, and to give yourself complete freedom to allow the awareness of your answers to naturally arise in you.
Here are the questions.
One: In what ways are you able to experience what is luminous or incandescent within yourself?
Two: Despite the other things you notice, in what ways do you experience what is luminous in others and in the world around you?
Three: When you allow yourself to become intentional enough to spend time standing in your own light, what positive changes do you notice?
As always, I’d enjoy hearing from you once you’ve considered these significant questions and the answers that arise in you. Write and tell me about them.
As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light
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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.