My love affair with Light is deep and passionate. Dipping into light, is an offering of life’s affirmations, paying homage to personalities who ventured into the Dark and returned with (sparks of) Light.
The title is inspired by the poet Mary Oliver, who portrays prayer as, a dipping of oneself toward the light.1 Why “prayer”? I believe that everything is a form of prayer, including laughter, including tears. The journey into light is a journey of faith—rooted in the notion that grace, forgiveness and compassion are woven into the fabric of the universe.
The introduction of Light in biblical text is traditionally understood as a physical act, but it is also metaphor for the dawning of human consciousness. Light is what makes Homo Sapiens fully human, providing humans dual citizenship: to the luminous Darkness, the foundation that already existed, where embryos are nourished and dreams are formed, and to its younger sibling, Light. These two domains are not adversaries as often perceived, but complementary entities, created to cross-pollinate for the well-being of a vibrant, captivating life, overflowing with promise.
If Light is metaphor for the awakening of conscience, what does it propound? A case can be made that it is inexorably bound to Love. Light provides insight, and insight leads to love. Light was introduced after Darkness, a sequence distilled by Dylan Thomas, Love is the last light spoken. And of course as portrayed by Henry Miller, If there is anything that deserves to be called miraculous, is it not love? What other power, what other mysterious force is there which can invest life with such undeniable splendor? The miracle which everyone is permitted to experience sometime in his life, the miracle, which demands no intervention, no intercession, no supreme exertion of will, the miracle which is open to the fool and the coward as well as the hero and saint, is love. Born of an instant, it lives eternally. Lastly, in John 3:14, pointing to its power, We know we have passed from death unto life because we love.
Light, like love, gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished. As characterized by the contemporary spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.
New York City, January 1, 2014
1Mary Oliver, Winter Hours, Houghton Mifflin, 1999) 108.