“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
The light was there first and then came the darkness. We have lost our way and wander in darkness. Unless we seek out the light we will be lost. But where do we go to find the light and how can it be restored so we can all walk in the light continuously and habitually?
The first step is to realize that we ourselves are not the light. That is not to say that we cannot have light within us or that we do not have any good in us at all. But our natural propensity is not to seek out the light but rather we love the darkness more than the light. You see light exposes darkness and we all have some dark secrets and behavior that we would rather not have exposed.
When we are committed to bring the light to those in darkness, we will face adversity. I was raised in a very strict and conservative environment. There is nothing wrong with that and I am not ashamed of it. But my mistake in that early stage of life was to think that those in darkness were somehow not as good as me… and I definitely gave off that vibe. This was very unhelpful in my relationships and alienated me from those who needed what I had access to. So the second step is to realize that we are just mirrors who can reflect the light but in substance we are no better than those in darkness. We are all really the same. If we do not grasp this immediately, we are destined to lose contact with those we seek to serve. Someone has said it best when he said, ”We are just beggars seeking to show other beggars where we have found bread.”
The light can be found only on a spiritual plane. It is not the way of the world and the world generally does not operate according to the light. Again, we see many good things in the world and they are useful to us, but we should not be deceived into thinking that the world is friendly to the light. Its systems are dramatically opposed to the light and they will undermine our journey to the light if we do not stay vigilant.
Let’s take the notion of love as an example. I love my wife and she is precious to me. But that does not mean I always act in love toward her in every situation. In fact, most times I act in my own self-interest and not hers. I don’t mean to behave in this way nor is it my design, but I naturally slip into this pattern if I am not constantly vigilant.
The third step is to realize that our combined light shines brighter than we can ever shine alone. By that I mean that we should associate with others who have the same values, encourage one another and hold one another accountable to operate in a certain way. Community is essential to light-bearers. We cannot fight this battle on our own and if we try to do so, we will fail. Seek out those who walk in the light.
Lastly we have an obligation to take the light to those in darkness. Most people who walk habitually in the darkness do not consciously understand their plight and will not naturally seek out the light on their own. I have been fortunate to have a series of very committed and wise friends in my life that brought the light to me. At times it was painful when they revealed my darkness to me. They had to be persistent and patient with me and teach me how to be a light-bearer over many years. I can easily slip off the path if I do not stay alert and practice habits that will keep me in the light. The light of others exposed my darkness …many times without them saying a word. The comparison of my behavior to theirs was often enough to help me see my error. Will you join me in seeking to be a light in a dark world?
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” ~ Carl Jung