“Ye are the light of the world.” King James Version (KJV)
We are all familiar with light as a spiritual metaphor.
In Christianity, the light is seen as a guiding light to help us in this world and beyond.
In Buddhism, the quest for enlightenment will end dukkha, the Pali word for human suffering.
In Hinduism, you can learn how to find your own inner light, your true nature, the invisible consciousness that you are, the Atman, by seeking a Guru, a Sanskrit word meaning “dispeller of darkness.”
Yet the idea of moving into the light can be used in a more worldly sense, too. A perfect example is The Age of Enlightenment.
The Age of Enlightenment, which is estimated to have emerged in 1685 and reached its peak in 1815, was all about verifying what is true from what is false through logic, deduction, and empirical inquiry.
The Enlightenment influenced Europe’s philosophy, politics, rationality, and other aspects of the intellectual substratum, which then spread to the rest of the world.
The intellectual movement and cultural revolution of The Enlightenment changed the course of history. Science superseded unquestioning obedience to religion and reason superseded rampant superstition.
Historians now refer to the time before this cultural shift as The Dark Ages.
3 Kinds of Light
The light of the spirit can help you shift your consciousness from egoic constraints that keep you in darkness. In this case, the light is seen as a higher or deeper level of consciousness that can help guide you out of a bewildered, self-centered state.
Similarly, the light of an informed mind can help you move out of the limitations of baseless assumptions about reality. In this case, the light is seen as understanding a concrete or abstract idea in depth so that you understand the structure and function of reality better.
Finally, the light can also be considered in a psychological way. For instance:
- When you do journal writing, you are having a deep conversation with yourself, discovering patterns that you did not notice before, uncovering insights that can dispel the shadows of past traumas that have been haunting you.
- When you speak to a therapist or someone who truly understands your life situation, then the conversation you have with someone else can help you change the narrative ruining your life. If your self-generated narrative has a dark theme, where bad things are getting worse, the conversation with a sympathetic, wiser, or more objective soul can help you see things in a new light.
Inviting the Light
While it’s theoretically possible that light shows up in your life through happenstance, it rarely ever happens. You may, for example, accidentally experience satori, come across some life-changing information, or get sudden insights on how to heal your life. But these sudden upsurges of light are often too infrequent to rely upon and may never even happen.
It is much better to invite the light into your life.
- Spiritually, you can choose a path that promises to bring you closer to the light.
- Intellectually, you can choose a course of studies that will deepen your understanding of the world and enhance your contribution to it.
- Psychologically, you can choose a form of therapy to initiate the healing of your wounded psyche, which is limiting your life to the extreme.
Why People Don’t Seek the Light
If the light can do so much, transforming us individually or collectively, why, then, do so few people seek it out?
The answer is simple: they never think about it.
Instead, they either choose a distracted state of consciousness to keep themselves forever preoccupied with their suffering or they fall below the level of consciousness to completely escape their distress by using drugs or alcohol to exist in a stupified state where rational considerations rarely surface.
What’s more, few people pause to consider if the light exists. Instead, they assume that only darkness exists, and wallowing in it, they let things get increasingly out of control.
In every age, few people seek the light, whether it is spiritual, intellectual, or psychological light. And in every age, it is these few that change the world.
Only if you seek the light, in whatever way you prefer to define it, will you ever be a Mahatma, a great soul, someone who leaves the world a better place. When you step into the light, it’s as if you have the wind behind your back, and this will empower you to help the human race move forward.