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I had added a few hot peppers to the Indian snack mix we love, but couldn’t see them because the pot was so deep. I knew that if I left them in after the oil had absorbed their heat and someone ate them – well, the result could be disastrous.
So I got out my handy flashlight. I love this flashlight. It’s the little one that advertises how bright it is – perfect for self-protection. It’s true – it is amazingly bright. I haven’t used it for self-protection, but I have discovered the value of it for seeing what I couldn’t see otherwise.
Like hot peppers in a deep pot. It took just seconds to see what I was looking for. There they were – peppers hiding beneath the cashews and raisins.
When you shine a light, things you never saw before become visible.
Even when you think you have seen it all, or that the light you are currently using is bright enough already, a more brilliant light reveals more to see.
I was sealing the new tile around our wood stove but wasn’t sure that I was reaching every place. So I got out my light. I was genuinely surprised to see that not only was I not reaching tiny areas, but I had also missed huge swaths of tile.
When you shine a light, things you never saw before become visible.
These are things I wanted to see. What about the things we don’t want to see. If we don’t know about it – then does it matter?
Well, if I wouldn’t have known about the hot pepper, it would have mattered to the person who ate it. Or the unprotected tile eventually would have absorbed the ash or smoke from the fireplace and then the whole thing would have needed to be replaced.
Shining a light to see what we want to see can be easy. Shining a light to see what we don’t want to see can be very difficult.
Sometimes events take over and make us see what we have been hiding.
We can tell when this happens in the world. Hurricanes and earthquakes destroy poorly built structures. Unprotected wires cause fires. Hungry people eventually rebel.
World events cause upheaval – physically, mentally, emotionally.
But,sometimes upheaval events are in our lives.
How many times have each one of us decided not to look beneath the surface of what was happening in our lives, and just hoped it would go away.
But, cracks appear – and as Leonard Cohen said, A crack in everything is how the light gets in.
Sooner or later, the light will get in. And that’s a good thing.
Depending on what side we have placed ourselves, we celebrate or decry these upheavals or cracks.
Upheavals and cracks shine lights into situations. It is our choice what to do with what we see.
Yes, we can ignore it, but we have to remember, that sooner or later we do have to clean up what is not okay, whether it is dirt in the corner, junk in our closets, greed in ourselves, corruption in the world.
Sooner or later we have to decide to stand, be, and live as light.
One of my favorite parts of winter are the beautiful holiday light displays on homes and buildings. I love them because it is a visible celebration of light shining through the darkness.
It feels as if the people inside the homes are choosing to spend their time and money to delight strangers. Sometimes when we go past a particularly beautiful display, I want to stop and put a note in their mailbox thanking them for it. Now that I think of it, perhaps I will!
The power of light goes beyond its beautiful characteristics. It dissolves darkness, it reveals what has been hidden, it supplies life with what it needs to grow.
Del likes to give me lights. We have flashlights of all kinds everywhere in the house. One of those lights is the kind that sits on your head and has a beam in front that can be adjusted from a wide to narrow beam or send an SOS.
We are in the process of updating some details in our home, including putting in a bottom part of our front window so that now the window goes almost to the floor. After the molding had been put in, it became my job to paint it.
I had trouble seeing what I was painting since the light from the window kept blocking my view, and when I tried it at night the lights in the room still weren’t bright enough, so Del suggested wearing the helmet light as I painted.
Wow – I will probably always wear that light as I continue – now painting walls and kitchen cabinets. It showed me everything.
But, here ‘s the trick about light. Well, it’s the trick about any progress – we have to be willing.
I had to be willing to wear the light. I had to be willing to see what I was missing.
Clean your house with one of those lights on your head, and you will see dirt where it looked clean before.
Next choice, ignore or clean.
Same thing in life. When we choose to shine light into what goes on in families, companies, governments, we will see what we missed.
Sometimes it will be something beautiful, and sometimes it won’t be.
How much dirt has accumulated depends on how long it has been since light has been applied.
Next choice, ignore or clean.
It seems so easy to ignore. Heck, how many people are going to walk around my house with a flashlight on their head. I won’t see the dirt. They won’t see the dirt.
When people start making choices that are not good for them – or good for them, but not good for others – it makes dirt.
It builds, and it expands. Small lies become bigger lies. Small choices eventually become wider choices and the web of lies, deceits – dirt – grows.
Sooner or later we have to choose clean. And in doing so be willing to live with the temporary chaos that real cleaning brings about.
It’s good to remember it’s temporary
However, when we choose not to clean there is chaos going on behind the scenes in all that dirt, and sooner or later it will erupt and THAT chaos will be longer than temporary.
I find it incredibly interesting that out in space, where it appears dark, light is still shining. It just needs an object to shine upon to be seen. In my book Living in Grace I tell this story:
“Quantum physicist Arthur Zajonc says, “Understanding the true nature of light requires looking not only with the eyes, but with the soul.”
He and a friend designed an exhibit as part of a science project he called “Eureka.” It consisted of a box with a projector whose light shown directly into the box without touching any part of the box. Obviously within the box was pure light.
However, when they looked through a view port into the box, there was only blackness. When they inserted a wand, it revealed the light by reflecting it back. Without an object on which light can fall, there is only darkness.
We take light for granted. We think it is part of our world. But it is not. It is part of an invisible world, like the wind. Both are only visible in their interaction with an object.”
In her book Creative Visualization, Shakti Gawain said: Evil (ignorance) is like a shadow—it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.
Here’s the part that is both wonderful and not so wonderful if we don’t want to believe it, or act from the knowledge of it.
We are the light.
We are the light of the world. We shine our light to see what needs to be seen either because it is beautiful, or needs to be removed.
For Christmas, our daughter, Christin, got us one of those light projectors that shine red and green lights onto your house.
One day I wished for one, and by Amazon magic, it showed up at my house in the afternoon. I love it! But, here is the cool part. I didn’t realize until it came on that night in order to see the lights, there has to be an object. Any object.
So as the light moves up onto our one-story house, it also shines on the ground and the bushes making them look as if little fairies are running around holding lanterns.
Okay, that’s me and my imagination about the fairies, but still, it’s beautiful.
And then, to add even more beauty, it shines through the white curtains in our living room, filling our living room with dancing lights.
It’s another example of how light needs an object to shine upon to be seen.
In Matthew 5: 14 we read, Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
So here’s the question.
If we are the light of the world how does that relate to being the object?
We are both. We are the object that divine light shines upon, and in this world, we are the light – the emitters of light, the reflectors of light. As light, we bring light to every situation.
We are the beauty of the light revealing all that is good, and we are the light uncovering all that needs to be cleaned.
Next time you walk into a room, pause for a minute and imagine yourself as light. Feel what happens. As the light, we can’t withdraw and hide, but we don’t need to work the room either. It’s better than that.
We become what we are, the light of the world. Imagine what would happen if everyone chose to let their light shine. In that light, there is no place for evil – by whatever name it is known.
We are the house covered with holiday lights shining for strangers. We shine our light when we smile, laugh, hug, tell the truth, express our gifts.
What are we waiting for? Staying dark may be comforting. It often feels easier, but it’s not what we are here to do, we are here to let our little – no – big light shine.
So – alright then – turn your light on and shine! Light up the world. It’s your job and a glorious one at that.
Let’s end with this quote by Joe McMoneagle from his book Mind Trek: Exploring Consciousness, Time, and Space Through Remote Viewing
Whenever I look into a mirror now, I think of the light. I know that I am seeing only a small fragment of my own totality. The figure staring back at me is the barest representation of what is there and what I may actually be.