Light and Being Light
There is a simple principle, offered by the Buddha, and many other sages, throughout history. The sharing of a candle’s flame, bears no cost to the candle and it’s flame. Simply, nothing is lost of the flame, when the flame is shared. Light is used to symbolize many things in many religious teachings. Electric lighting has diminished the effect of the symbolism in some ways.
Light used to be generated by the universe, or by flame. The universe in the day, the flame in the night. Of course, there was lightning, fireflies, and the moon and stars, but focused and controlled light, at night, was a flame. If you shared a flame, you shared much more than just a moment of your time, you made many things possible. Warmth, light, the possibility to connect with others… you get the point.
Preachers throughout the ages have suggested we be light. Teachers offer that we should not hide our light from the world. Whatever it means in today’s time and space, light, and not darkness, seem to be the goal for most religions. And as the Buddha suggests, if we share our light with others, it costs us very little. In the same way, it is said, that if we light the way for others, we too, are better able to see.
I understand some things about religion. Religion has become a hobby of mine. I enjoy the words of the founders, the actions of the devotees, and the interaction with those that feel their religion has to be the only system of belief. The commonality of religion interests me more than the differences, and I take what I can use, from any I encounter. Look at me, Ma, I am eclectic, after all.
All of this learning and all of this hearing of beliefs, has led me to believe one thing. This one thing was attributed to Henry Ford some years ago, but could be traced back to several religious thinkers. Mr. Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.”
Most of what happens in this world happens in our thoughts before it is done in the physical realm. People with positive thinking, who consider possibilities, and who allow other ideas to be stated and considered, tend to do well. It is not always materially, not always financially, but these people are successful in the way by which they define success. Those who spend their time worried for, and attempting to convert, others, seem to me, to be stuck. Stuck in a place where the opinions of others, affect their opinions of themselves.
That could all be another article, but for now, I might simply say, our thoughts create our future. Not only do they create our future, but they help us experience the present, which is where all of this light exists in the first place. Never in the history of sharing a flame, did one candle, ask another candle, to confess their sin. Nor has a candle ever been asked to move into an ashram, uphold a certain legal system, or wear a particular type of clothing. It is not crucial that a candle use beads for prayer, meditate on the nature of it’s “candle-ness”, or go through some initiation. Candles, when sharing a flame, are not required to give up ten percent of the length of what they are.
The candle has only to be ready, and able, to give and receive light. When the light is shared, the receiving candle may then become a giving candle. This can happen millions of times. Over and over. The original flame may never have to be extinguished. And, you guessed it, there was no cost to the flame, for being shared. Only the creation and continuation of more light.
Allow me to shock you with my unorthodox and irresponsible behavior. I used to smoke cigarettes regularly. There is this thing, among smokers, where always, someone will either ask you for a cigarette or a lighter, as soon as you step into public and light your cigarette. It happens all the time. But, as smokers, the consensus is, we have all been there, and there is a compassion that comes with addiction. Most often, people share either a cigarette, or the use of their lighter. Is this grace and compassion? You decide.
The story of the cigarettes, for me, is the story of the flame. When someone used to ask me for “a light”, I would give them an extra lighter. They are pretty cheap when bought in quantities, and some even have cool designs. Each time I gave them away, I would speak something kind, or positive, to those in need. The secret of the flame, is that it cost me very little, and each time they used the lighter, they would remember “the goofy dude at the Waffle House”, yes, but also the kind words.
If you have ever read my blog, you will know that I believe life is a trick. That we play tricks on each other all the time. We try to make people feel bad when we feel bad, we make people feel guilty if we are unsettled, we try to modify others’ behavior when we cannot control our own emotions (that last one is from an author I cannot remember). We often let what we are experiencing bleed into how we treat others.
I am also fascinated by coincidence. But more by how we can create coincidence. Not only for a YouTube video showing how awesome we are for helping a homeless person, but for the sake of those around us. Just some coincidence, that we co-create with the Divine, and that is kept as a secret, between the Divine and us. These secrets, and these created coincidences pile up, until we eventually end up smiling for no reason at all. With so many fun things to think about, there is little room left for the negative viewpoints.
So, things like lighters with kind words, or compliments to cashiers, just as the alarm sounds notifying us to remove my debit card, or simply stating that a buzzer in a car wash means that this is going to be a great day. Anything repetitive, being associated with any kind thought, is a trick. But it happens any way in those that use and hear these things. Why not make it something positive? At least present the possibility, that life is worth living, and that the universe is grateful for your being in it?
Consider this. Each time you see a yellow traffic light, before 6 pm, the Creator is speaking words of love to you, saying, “You are pure love and meant for great things”.
You are pure love and meant for great things. Do not believe me, just wait for the yellow traffic light. And remember, if you think it, you create it. You are pure love and meant for great things.
Peace and Happy Sunday.