You are a Shining City on a Hill

By | November 15, 2012

Light of the WorldYou are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. – Matthew 5:14

Last night, you might say that I felt anything but a shining light. I felt the troubles of my mind filling me up with unease, anxiety, and irritation. I don’t like feeling this way. In my past, I would have immediately looked for the reason I felt this way and inevitably, my ego self would have found a juicy target, like a loved one, my job, certain politicians, or even the weather. Externalizing any dark feelings we are having to a source outside of us gives us a temporary sense of relief. For a moment, we can be compassionate towards ourselves as the victims we appear to be, and quickly go about seeing how we can change the condition or the people around us to help make the feeling go away. This path of least resistance to the issue we are facing is like shoveling dung out of a stall onto a big dung hill – your stall is clean for now, but sooner or later you will have to address the dung hill.

I recently wrote an article for another blog about karma and how you can change the course of your karma at any time. From the Dalai Lama’s book Path to Bliss:

Some people misunderstand the concept of karma. They take the Buddha’s doctrine of the law of causality to mean that all is predetermined, that there is nothing that the individual can do. This is a total misunderstanding. The very term karma or action is a term of active force, which indicates that future events are within your own hands.“

Later, a reader commented with, “Hey, but what about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or George Bush.” Of course implying that both of these people did not appear to receive the karmic results they deserved. My response was that it is funny that people always seem to be a better judge of someone else’s karma than their own. We simply don’t know what the effects or impacts others may or may not have had on the world or our lives had things not happened exactly the way that they did. Nor is it our place to know. Each of us has our own karma to attend to and to shine “our” light of attention out to something or someone else is to leave our inner dwelling a cold and dark place.

Here is a little story from Mulla Nasruddin, the 13th century Sufi mystic that is a metaphor for not recognizing our blazing inner divine light.

Once, a man found Mulla Nasruddin searching for something on the ground outside his house. On being asked, Nasruddin replied that he was looking for his key. The man also joined in the search and in due course asked Mulla: ”Where exactly did you drop it?”
Mulla answered: ”In my house.”

“Then why are you looking here?” the man asked.
”There is more light here than in my house,” replied Mulla
Have you ever had the lights go out in your home suddenly, and since you were unprepared, you have to search around your house in the dark looking for some source of light. Perhaps after 3 or 4 stubbed toes, 2 shin bumps and 1 good hit on the head, you manage to find a flashlight in the kitchen drawer.  What are you going to do to avoid the bumps and bruises you experienced this time when the lights went out? If you are wise, you will make sure you know where your available light is, otherwise, guess what, next time you might actually fall and break your leg! Have a path to get to that light quickly, a prayer, meditation, an affirmation, a symbol or whatever you choose to help you to remember – Do not put this off – Turn In – Resist the learned behavior to look out to “hear” what this experience is telling you.

This light can never be extinguished, it’s impossible. It is the eternal light that is the core of our very being – it is the God within us, the Divine Spirit. When we feel troubled, I encourage you to resist the impulse to begin the search for answers or solace outside of your sacred space (inner self). Use the light you have been given, which is very close at hand. Light without fuel may dim, but given the attention it deserves, it will flare up and blaze beyond belief. You can NEVER lose this light. If you are here, hearing this message, the light is within you. Your first peek inside may look dark and scary, since the light is dim from neglect, but this waiting light needs only a small bit of attention to leap up with golden joy. I know you have felt this light before. I know you know in your heart, it is there. I know you know that you should be using it. And now, I’m asking, as your new friend to do so.

The first one touched by the magic of your inner light is you. It may not always be easy to see it, but it’s true and genuine. Every challenge you face, look in for guidance. Spend some time with this light when you can. Bask in it. Then something even more amazing happens (besides your own peace), and that is when your light is re-kindled with the wisdom of your inner being, this light begins to touch others. You begin to see things more clearly; this light touches things in a different way and opens up new ways to look at things, and you can now see other’s lights too!

Light of the WorldEnlightenment: To be illuminated with spiritual light. Always look for ways to burn brighter. This can only come from within. Allow others to find their own enlightened path, without judgment, but be the flame the moth is drawn to.  The time is now, you must begin, to find your blazing flame within.

“Be a light unto yourself; betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth. Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourselves.” -Buddha’s final words


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