(Excerpted from Let Go and Live in the Now, Red Wheel/Weiser, 2004: 1800 words)
Every journey of genuine self-discovery, and the subsequent changes this process produces in us, must begin somewhere. We begin our journey with a great but unrealized truth: within each of us resides a power that can change the whole world. It’s true; we each have a secret character hidden away in us that is created for just the alchemical purpose of transforming any dark influence into a beneficial force. And yet, as appealing as the idea of such a power may sound to us, to take conscious possession of its strength is not that simple.
Becoming an instrument of this higher power takes more than merely wishing for its entrance into our life. To realize such a viable wisdom requires action in the Now. So let us be clear: we are created with everything that we need to transform and transcend the shadows of fear, regrets, and resentments that prowl the corridors of our sleeping consciousness. And when these secret seeds of conflict have been revealed and released, we are as well, for then nothing negative remains within us to goad us into acting against ourselves. Multiply this possibility by billions of beings and gone are the mindless wars and all the selfish acts of socially accepted gluttony.
Perhaps you are wondering, what is this great power entrusted to us by which we may overcome all of our interior adversaries? Here is the answer: Each of us is created to be the Light of the world. Within each of us resides a nascent Light born into this world with us. We can think of this as being the Light of higher conscience by whose compassionate intelligence we are empowered to discern what is helpful from what is harmful, to intuitively know the difference between a genuine act of kindness and a kindness done for selfish reasons. By this Light we are able to tell what is true and what is false. When we do our part to live in the awareness of this Light so that its presence becomes an active power within us, then what is there that can remain with the power to hurt us? How can any unseen darkness prevail if its character is revealed before it begins its punishing action? Just think of such a power and the freedoms it must bear.
Yet, as encouraging as these words are meant to be, here also is a word of caution: We must take care neither to let our own doubts discount such a hope, nor must we assume possession of what we hope for as a foregone conclusion. Such assumptions always lead to defeat and heartache. We must understand this positive power remains but our potential, for if this Living Light were already actualized in us, no negative state could dominate us. Their evil effects would already be non-events, which would mean our world would not be the sorry place that it is.
So our first step in learning to be the light of the world must be to increase our awareness of these various forces at work within us, while being careful to neither judge ourselves for what we see, nor accept any of our findings as an inescapable limitation. In fact, rather than identifying with the usual sense of injury that comes with seeing something unwanted in us, and then mindlessly judging ourselves, we will do something totally new. We will use these same discomforts to remind us to direct our attention to that Living Light within us that has the power to make any darkness disappear. Even if all we possess is a faint suspicion that we are created to transcend these troubled thoughts and feelings that vex our soul, that’s a fine place to start. The important thing is to begin! We must learn to actualize this higher life now being visualized through our intuition. There is no other way to turn our own possibility into a real power. One simple example makes this point.
Years ago someone had an insight that common sunlight could be harnessed in a practical way to produce solar-generated energy. Today we have learned how to transform the sun’s energy into our helpful and healthful servant. Now we see a new possibility; we want to become conscious partners with the Light that lives within us; we sense that its power is the same as the strength we need to set ourselves free. So then, how do we illuminate our relationships at home, in our workplace, wherever we are? What must we do to enlighten this murky world of ours that staggers under the weight of its own shadows? The answer to this question is as surprising as it may be shocking: we must cease being an unconscious part of its darkness.
Please don’t think this last spiritual injunction is too simple or too esoteric to be practical. Just the contrary is true: this instruction is loaded with no-nonsense power that we can learn to put into immediate practice. We need only realize how the universe itself is set up to help us succeed with our wish to enlighten our world. The following insights help prove this vital point:
Is there any light anywhere in the universe that isn’t a part of all the light in the universe? If we will only give this last idea a moment’s consideration, the conclusion is evident: indeed, the light here is the light there and is, in fact, the light everywhere. Quantum physics corroborates this spiritual axiom. Twenty-first century scientists have at last realized what the ancient Wise Ones have always professed: the timeless indivisibility of light.
Along the same lines, is there darkness anywhere in the universe that is not a part of the darkness everywhere in the universe? Again, how can this be otherwise? For instance, and right at the heart of our study, is the dark hatred or fear that consumes a soul in Britain different in nature from a similar dark state that consumes someone in Brazil, even though the two are thousands of miles apart? The answer is no; they are both the same darkness.
Now, I urge you to ponder the significance of this next finding: If we bring light into any darkness anywhere, is not darkness everywhere made less? Mustn’t even the littlest bit of light added to even the greatest darkness leave that same darkness not so impenetrable? The answer has to be a brilliant yes! Can we see the possibilities before us?
Can we see the significance of the choices we make? Is it clear what we are empowered to do? Once we agree to actualize the Living Light, everything around us, everything within the sphere of our awareness may be altered in its fundamental makeup. Negating the negative positively changes our reality. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. First comes the vision; then we must make the specialized interior efforts needed to effect this transformation of life.
We must no longer allow ourselves to identify with any negative state, regardless of why that state tells us we must embrace its painful presence. That is to say, we must become as ruthless in detecting and rejecting these dark thoughts and feelings, as they have been ruthless in wrecking our lives. Here is why this instruction is such a spiritual imperative if we wish to know the light life.
Each time we say “I” to what is destructive or corruptive in us, we actually incorporate and reinforce that same dark state. What does this mean, to incorporate darkness into one’s life? It means, literally, that we embody it. A brief explanation helps shed light on this esoteric revelation.
Whenever we identify with negative forces, we unknowingly provide them with two conditions they can’t have otherwise: First, we give these chaotic states a place to appear within a plane of reality to which they ordinarily have no other access. And second, at the same time, we lend them the vital life energies they must have to sustain their life-draining presence within our psychic system.
What I would have you glean from these insights is this one great lesson in letting go: Without us to supply these negative states with both the vehicle and the life force they need to survive, they cannot flourish. Withdraw water from where weeds grow, and they will wither; it’s a natural law. So, if we wish to end our relationship with what compromises us, we are required to do one thing to the best of our ability: we must no longer lend ourselves to the will of any dark state looking to use us as its vehicle.
Whenever we feel some form of negativity brewing in us — regardless of the circumstances, which our lower nature tells us justifies this incorporation — we should work to remember and put into practice our new intention. Now that we know the true nature of these negative states, we can choose to incorporate what is light and right before we swallow any other suggested considerations offered to us by our own conflicted nature. This means that in moments of trial, our first task is to wake up, become fully aware of ourselves, and then dare to do the light thing. Let’s look a bit deeper at what’s involved in this new interior action.
Rather than our habitual practice of consulting a host of disturbing thoughts about how to get things settled, which is like asking the proverbial fox to guard the chicken coop, we see this contradiction and make an entirely new choice. Instead of trying to imagine who or what we need to rescue us, we become aware of those troubled thoughts and feelings that cause us to feel we are in danger. This act of heightened self-awareness brings all that disturbs us into the light to which we have now turned. In other words, instead of unconsciously allowing what is dark to drag us into its conflicted state, we make a conscious choice to bring the whole of our present condition into the Light of Now. This one action transforms all that it encompasses in us, and everything changes. Our sense of gladness grows, as gradually the light of higher self-awareness does for us what we have not been able to do for ourselves. We are set free.
Remember all we have just discovered here together. Just as turning our face toward the sun ensures that all shadows remain behind us, so is it true that when we welcome the Light into our lives, we give notice to all negative states. Darkness, your days are numbered! We are done with you!