From Caroline’s 2015 Salon
As we all know, this is the time of the year when the return of the Light is celebrated. For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, that celebration is both symbolic and literal. Though we are actually just past the Winter Solstice, the days are actually getting longer by minutes each day.
If there was ever a time when we needed to understand the mystical meaning of the “Light”, it is now. We are living in a world confronting darkness everywhere. I noted with great surprise actually that even Queen Elizabeth directed her Christmas message to the people of Great Britain with an emphasis on the need to embrace the Light in these times of darkness.
It has long been my experience in teaching spirituality that the words we use in this field fail miserably at communicating the power and majesty – not to mention the mystical reality – of the invisible realm behind the vocabulary. Sentences such as, “God is love” and “Focus on the Light” are somewhat meaningless if the individual lacks an actual experience of “God as love” or the power of that Light transforming something in their life. Our five-sensory natures crave physical contact and proof of feeling loved. Most people have difficulty believing they are loved by another human being, so how can they possibly trust, much less believe, they are loved by some invisible off-planet cosmic Being? It’s an almost impossible task at best. And it certainly makes no sense to the rational mind.
Let’s discuss mystics for a moment. The defining characteristic of a mystic is that a mystic has had a direct experience of the power or presence of the Divine. As a result, a mystic is someone who has crossed over that inner bridge that divides the rational mind from the irrational nature of the soul. From that point on, a mystic dwells in a type of duality consciousness. You can say a mystic has one foot on the ground and one in the Light, creating a type of “irrational-intellectual” state of being – not consciousness, but “being”. Mystics no longer search for proof of the Divine; their lives become a journey of deepening their experience of this connection to mystical wonderment.
I have read a great deal of the writings by mystics from all traditions. Their spiritual experiences intrigue me for many reasons, one of which is the commonality of how they describe their encounters with Divine Light. At first the Light blinded them, as if the physical body needed to be subdued in some way, allowing the senses of the soul, most especially the “eyes of the soul”, to perceive what the physical eyes could not see. They consistently tell of the Light communicating, not in a language but in a “fullness of intimate knowing and familiarity”. And without exception, the emotional feeling they describe in the presence of this Light is unconditional, endless love – not human love, but an indescribable Love that is the origin of Love itself. It is no wonder then that so many mystics, like Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila (among many others) and the greater holy cosmic masters, Jesus and Buddha, drew people to the Light flowing from within them. They were illuminated; Jesus and Buddha were pure Light. Others had and have a pure connection to that Light.
So many of them wanted nothing to do with the lives they ultimately ended up living. You could say that heaven pursued them. In the old days, the pursuits resulted in individuals founding religious communities or drawing crowds to them or producing exquisite immortal sacred poetry like Rumi. That doesn’t seem to happen anymore and I wonder about that, speaking personally. Has heaven ceased its pursuits or have these quests to seduce human beings taken another form?
I believe that we are wired to seek the Light, but perhaps our love of all things intellectual and rational has become more of a barrier than we realize or even think about. And we fear the Light in ways unfamiliar to the great mystics. We are consumers, deeply entrenched in a sensual and economically driven lifestyle. We also live in a society that has grown comfortable with lies and lying. I listened to a reporter interview a woman on Donald Trump, pointing out that he lied about something he said during the last debate. Her response was, “I don’t care. I’m voting for him.”
Our society fears truth and finds comfort and safety in deception. We even require a new archetype in our social climate that is a renegade truth-teller – the Whistleblower. And a law has been passed that makes it illegal to “blow the whistle” on a company one works for. Here’s another measure of how seriously toxic we are when it comes to speaking the truth: Many married couples have to seek out a third party in order to actually tell their partner how they “honestly” feel. What? After living with someone for years, having children with that person, sleeping and waking up with that person – can you imagine that you require a third person’s assistance to communicate the “truth” to that person? Are you serious?
That’s how frightened we are of going anywhere near the Light – because truth is Light. And everyone knows that even the smallest candle, which is to say the smallest truthful word, is bright enough or powerful enough to be seen across miles of darkness.
Entering Your Own Light
Let me offer you some thoughts about your own experience of inner illumination. To be illuminated means “to see with more Light.” But inner illumination refers to mystical sight; that is, you are seeing “truth”, not objects, not people, not stuff. You are not seeking information about other people so you can make safer decisions for and about yourself. Rather, it is your own fears and personal motivations that become illuminated, for example. Or you become able to understand how meaningless something really is that you thought was so important. Light breaks through darkness. You see clearly what is real and what is not and what all mystics came and continue to come to realize is that great clarity requires great courage. This is a not a world that welcomes the power of the Light. It is far easier to cooperate with darkness – to not tell the truth and to betray your own feelings at times. But acts of deception, no matter how insignificant you think they are, ultimately become the seeds of illness – I can assure you of that.
I’ve chosen the following selections because they are Light-filled. I won’t tell you what you might or might not experience when you read these passages, but I will share with you how they affect me. I love to reflect on sacred or inspirational writings that elevate my senses or that draw me inward. I love feeling detached from the “here and now”, even if it is not chaotic. I don’t need chaos and confusion to enter into my inner castle – I love the mystical realm. I often feel that I am even bypassing my imagination and that my mind is anesthetized for a second or two and I enter into a type of timeless bliss. Let me suggest that you read these more than once and ask, “Does this passage have relevance for me?”
I give you an emptiness,
I give you a plentitude,
Unwrap them carefully –
One’s as fragile as the other –
And when you thank me
I’ll pretend not to notice the doubt in your voice
When you say they’re just what you wanted.
Blessings come in many forms. Some blessings appear in the form of disappointments, of not getting our way or what we want. But often the things we want, we only want for a moment or a day – and then our craving for that thing or even that person evaporates. Sometimes the worst thing that could happen to us is to get exactly what we’ve prayed for.
To be patient means to “dwell in the moment”, to “be still and present”, allowing the design of all things to take their place. Impatience comes from living according to the clock. Time controls your mind, your heart, your sense of self-worth. “I do not have the patience to sit still and reflect upon what I thought about today or what I said to others.” And yet the words you use each day are the instruments through which you create the experiences of your life. Do you have any idea how powerful each word really is?
Reflect on these questions:
- How does my impatience serve me?
- How often during each day do I think in terms of time?
- And in how many ways does “time-thinking” contribute to my stress?
- Time is another way of experiencing the “gift of life”, of observing it pass in front of our eyes. How shall I spend the hours and days of my life?
- Do I want them to be stress-filled?
The grace of patience allows me to break free of the illusion that the next minute has something more to offer than this present moment. Believing that I am standing in the midst of an empty moment – as if any moment could be empty – is a profound illusion. I am the one in charge of filling in the moments of my life. My life is not supposed to be delivered to me, as if something is owed to me. With patience, I see more of what is in my own world in every single second.
Everything is possible for one who believes, still more for one who hopes, even more for one who loves, and most of all for one who practices and lives these three graces.
Faith, hope and love are nectar for the human spirit. We can live without a lot of things but we cannot sustain ourselves for long without hope or love or believing in something greater than ourselves. The practice of these graces – even in the smallest ways – can change the life of another person. Pessimism, complaining and dismissing opportunities because you are not given a guarantee of success and financial protection with that opportunity will eventually lead you into depression and hopelessness, as you are living the practice of “hopelessness”. Faith, hope and love exist because life is a labyrinth, turning this way and that, always letting us believe that we are not really on a path at all. Suddenly we discover we have all along been on a geometrically perfect path leading directly to an aligned center. Faith and hope along the path is the only wise choice. And as for being loving, my suggestion is that you go for broke. Decide to make this life an experiment on how loving you can be in one life. Decide that your cause of death will be: Died from love-exhaustion. Why not? Go for it. People die of despair and loneliness all the time – I know it. I meet people disintegrating from loneliness and heartache in my workshops all the time. Even though they may end up developing cancer or some other illness, I know that the energetic precursor for some people – not all, but some – was loneliness.
Finally, this passage to dwell upon as you enter the New Year:
“Let me not tell my life again what I want to do with it and what I expect from it;
Now I will listen to my life direct me. Who am I? What creative talents have I been born with? What does my soul know to be the Truth? I am ready to listen.”
I’d like to thank all of you for your support of all my work. I wish you the very best for the coming New Year.