Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, December 25, 2009

This Little Light Of Mine


In John's Gospel it is stated this way:

John.1
[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
[2] He was in the beginning with God;
[3] all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
[4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
[5] The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
This is the message of his coming into his own ministry, being a light, exposing delusion?




And then in Mary Oliver's poem, we are told about light again, as the Buddha is leaving this world.



The Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal – a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire –
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.


~ Mary Oliver ~


You can do what you will with these two writings but what draws me to both is the idea of light, and the suggestion that we all can be this light. Jesus himself said we are the light of the world. 
 Light exposes things that we otherwise could not see.
Until we learn, or is it understand, how it is that this light is turned on,we walk in darkness, we walk in delusion, in ignorance. But is it a matter turning it on? I don't think so. I think it is always there. Jesus, in Matthew's gospel...finding life, involves losing your life.
I think another way of looking at this is "getting out of the way". It is because of conditioning that we have all these things that build up as to who we are, what we are...and darkness covers this light for us. But when we discover the "truth", this darkness cannot overcome this light that is in us already. For me this truth is what Merton talked about, calling it our true selves vs our false selves.
Ok, I'm getting a little too wordy here. The point I'm trying to make is this LIGHT is US. This LIGHT comes through us to our world.


But without any practice, any spiritual practice, we continue to walk in darkness.
You have a light in you. How will you go about discovering that light.


Merry Christmas,
Alan


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