Even after all this time the sun
never says to the earth, “You owe me.”
Look what happens to a love like that –
it lights up the whole world.
December is filled with holidays celebrating light. In spite of any gloom in our lives – loss of a job, illness, cultural shifts, or simply the longer nights in the Northern hemisphere – there are continual reminders that light illumines our lives and the world.
Of the over 170,000 words in the English language, one of the more commonly used words is light. Its linguistic roots from Old English echo back to leoht, which refers to daylight as well as spiritual illumination. Someone we cherish, whether the divine or another person, is the “light of our life.” An awakening to the truth is “to see the light.” As a noun, light can mean the energy producing brightness, a glow, or symbolically God or the Inner Light. It brightens, kindles, animates, highlights, and reveals the way.
Sages and saints tell us that our natural essence is light. We are at heart radiant beings. One who realizes this is often referred to as “enlightened.” With such realization, we light up the world around us with no expectation of return. Just as the holidays and traditions celebrate light, the sun is a steady reminder of this eternal truth. Our luminosity can shine with playful laughter and joy in the simple tasks and occurrences of daily life.
During this season of light, I will explore ways I can lighten up my life, such as de-cluttering my home and attitudes. I will also be aware of every time I say, hear, or read the word light and let that ignite and inspire more ways to be the light that I already am. I hope you will join me.
This practice is best done at the beginning or end of the day when you have the fewest distractions.
- Prepare –
- Invite quietude – Turn your phone to airplane mode and put it aside. Remove items from your wrists such as your watch or any non-medical monitor. However, if you know you only have a set amount of time, please feel free to use an alarm.
- Sit comfortably – Come to a seated position, either in a chair or on the floor, where your spine is effortlessly upright. If seated in a chair, place the soles of the feet on the floor. If your feet don’t reach the floor, please place a cushion or a block under your feet.
- Relax your hands – Give a gentle squeeze to each hand by placing the thumb of the opposite hand on the palm and wrapping the other fingers over the back of the hand and squeeze. Then, let the hands relax on your lap in any position that is comfortable.
- Relax your eyes and face – Either close your eyelids or have them open. If open, let your eyes rest in a soft, gentle gaze. Relax your forehead, jaw, and chin.
- Practice –
- Imagine a steady, radiant glow of light. This could be similar to that of the early morning or late day sun. Imagine that with that light there is an overwhelming presence of well-being, protection, and love.
- Imagine that
- the building that you are in is infused with light – every wall, ceiling, floor, window, and door as well as the roof and foundation.
- the room you are in is made of light
- the cushion or chair that you are seated on is made of light
- you are bathed and enfolded in light
- you are luminous…you are the steady, radiant glow of light
- there is only light.
- Note: You may wish to open your eyes to quietly read aloud each layer of imaging light. Then, sit quietly imagining that layer. Follow your pace of awareness. Savor the light.
- Return to your day –
- If your eyes were closed, slowly open them. Allow the awareness of your breath to seep in. Notice the gentle movement of the chest and ribs associated with the breath.
- After several breaths, slowly lower your chin to your chest and rock your head from side to side in half circles. Shrug through your shoulders. Stretch through your palms and squeeze your hands. Before standing, stretch through your toes and feet.
This poem is from Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 52, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.