Barbara Emrys

The Enlightened

A student of mine recently quoted a phrase from class notes taken years ago: You are the light that shines on you. It’s a phrase that has given her comfort but always seems challenging to put into action. “How do you walk through this world as a human being,” she wondered, “and still know yourself as infinite light? How does light act in social situations, for example? How does light talk, walk, work…and how does it engage with other human beings?”

Devotional people talk a lot about being ‘in the light.’ They want to know how to attract good fortune, to please spirits guides, and to earn God’s approval. They do spiritually appropriate things in spiritually appropriate ways, hoping that life will treat them fairly as a result. At the first sign of misfortune, they complain that they’ve been abandoned by life– or the gods, or the guides. Tragic events turn people’s faith into anger. “I do everything right, so why am I being punished?!” they cry.

Struggling to make sense of events…makes no sense. Life is a perpetual cyclone of changing events. A voice in our heads that tells us to be afraid of change, but why would we even listen to it? The only cure for struggle is to be okay with life, no matter what. Peace comes through our own acts of generosity. We forgive others to heal our own wounds, not to please the gods. We love because love is what we are. We don’t need to ‘look for the light,’ because light is all there is. 

Don Miguel often says “light originates from a single point…and that point is everywhere.” That single point is you and it’s me. It’s everything seen and unseen. Meanwhile, here we are in physical form. Here we are, in the middle of the human experience– which means we’ll continue to do what humans do. We’ll fight about what’s right and wrong, good and bad. We’ll rail against injustice. We’ll obsess about me and mine. We’ll turn words against each other and think lots of scary thoughts…until it’s time to transcend our own thinking.

Yes, everyone’s enthralled by the dream we call reality. Even so, we can open our eyes while we’re dreaming and see what’s going on around us. We can move to the music of life. We can appreciate light on a willow tree, on a mountain peak, or in the eyes of a lover. We can treat ourselves with affection and appreciate all our silly stories for what they are: just stories. In other words, we can live happily in these light-filled bodies without searching for an elusive brilliance beyond this world.

It’s almost too obvious to say, but light has no story. Without a story, there are no heroes and villains. There is no good or bad; there’s no such thing as fair or unfair. There’s only the natural momentum to create and keep on creating– just like life does. We’re true to ourselves when we accurately reflect the thing that made us; so when we create, we’re at our most authentic. We’re free of thought. We’re ‘in the light.’ 

How do we humans walk and talk as light? (1) We go on creating, doing what we feel most passionate about. (2) We live without expectations. (3) We love without conditions, and use that love to energize each moment. 

You can wonder how such things are possible, or you can take action: you can own the truth of you. You can shake off your doubts. You can hear the war being waged in your mind, and end it! You can create more light out of existing light– like building a generous and inviting dream for people to visit. It’s easy when you don’t believe the stories that say otherwise.

Put your faith in life. Be grateful, for no reason and every reason. Keep smiling, because smiles come naturally to you. Bring love to places where fear wants to rule. Introduce a little calm to the chaos.You are the light that shines on you. Direct that light however you want, wherever you go. Keep creating, and enjoy this brilliant adventure while it lasts!

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