Light – part 1

As it is said in physics, we don’t really see light, we merely see with it, so it’s what the light reveals around us in the world that is important.

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Inner sight is simply seeing that which is always present but not yet fully recognized. You have within you the ability to see yourself and the world around you in a new way with new eyes. So, stay with us, and together we’ll look at the world and ourselves with inner sight. The topic of today’s show is light—part one. We’ve got a thought here from the Upanishads and it’s as follows: “Lead me from darkness to light, from the unreal to the real, from death to immortality.” I’m wondering, why is light the subject today? 

Sarah: At this darkest time of the year, well, why not? We crave light. We long for the winter solstice that’s about to come on December 21st, so it seemed a perfect moment to talk about the spiritual implications of light. That passage or prayer that you just read from the Upanishads is so ancient, it’s said that it’s one of the most ancient prayers known to man, and it appeals for light. This is a deep-seated human need and urge, to move from the darkness of ignorance, illusion, to the light of knowledge and wisdom, “from the unreal to the real, and from death to immortality.” This is the ancient prayer of the human being, and it seems to me that at this time of the year, when darkness in the northern hemisphere is so all pervasive, especially in countries like Scandinavia and northern Canada, the subject of light takes on real meaning. In fact, it’s said that going through all the ancient religions of the world there is this great spiritual significance given to this moment in the year when the sun begins to move northward and the days begin to become longer. It’s always been celebrated as a festival season. We think of it, I suppose, associated with Christmas and Hanukkah, but in fact, the ancient Persian religion of Mithras, the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians and also the northern Europeans, all had festivals at this time of year. So, it has a great spiritual meaning. 

Dale: Yes, and as you said, it’s the festival of Christmas and that’s also a festival of light in a way because the streets and homes are adorned with lights of all kinds, so it’s a great celebration of light. 

Sarah: And then there’s Hanukkah, which is just about to begin with the commemoration of the unfailing light of the candles at a time when the Jewish people were being threatened, was it by the Maccabees? I’m not really sure, but the enduring power of light to save these people from total darkness when they were under threat is celebrated at the time of Hanukkah, and it’s called the Festival of Lights; each day an additional candle is lighted. Again, this festival, I believe, always comes at approximately this time of the year, when the days are shortest. It’s an important festival because it recognizes that light never entirely leaves the Earth. We are always left with some degree of light; no matter how short the days, no matter how great the darkness, there is some light. That I think is at least one of the implications of Hanukkah. 

Robert: Well, I don’t want to sound like a three-year old saying, “Daddy, why is the sky blue?”, but according to the material that I’ve read, light is very profound. Can you tell our listeners—what is light? 

Sarah: That’s a tough one. I was just going to say, Dale? It’s really very difficult for me to explain to myself—as I was thinking about this theme—what exactly light is, because one of the peculiar things in the Ageless Wisdom that’s found in the books of Alice Bailey is the statement, over and over again, that light and matter are synonymous. Now, we would think light is so ephemeral, so spiritual, that it must be the opposite of matter; that matter would be dark and dense, and light would be light, bright, refined, subtle and spiritual, but in fact light, according to the Ageless Wisdom, is part or an expression of, matter and substance. 

Dale: Yes, it’s interesting to compare light with the physics of light. In physics, the sunlight, which is made-up of waves, particles, photons, and all of that, is that aspect of light. There is the light of the incandescent bulb; when you turn on the light in the dark room it lights up the room. It isn’t the factor of light itself, it’s the factor of what it reveals. As it is said in physics, we don’t really see light, we merely see with it, so it’s what the light reveals around us in the world that is important. But there is this aspect of light that is substantial in the Ageless Wisdom teachings. It is a substantial energy of the light, like the light of the soul, which is also a body of light. It’s a major characteristic of the soul. 

Sarah: Well, again, people would think of the soul as being the opposite of matter and substance, totally ephemeral and spiritual. But in fact, the soul itself is a body. 

Dale: Yes, it has a body, just as every human being has a body; it’s of a different nature but light. Another way of looking at light is the ability of the mind to see things as they are without distortion. Light pushes back the darkness of ignorance, and that’s another way of looking at light—using  the light of the mind to determine the cause and the why of things and why things happen. There is the light of the mind, the light of knowledge—that is an aspect of light. The knowledge of the lower mind, the concrete mind, the scientific mind. Then there is the mind of the soul, the soul light of the higher mind, and then there is the light of the intuition. So, light has very many different aspects to it. 

Sarah: Well, coming back to your statement early on, you said that light is an aspect of matter. When you were talking about photons and electrons and so on, you said that light is not really a source of something, it’s what is revealed, or it reveals. 

Dale: Well, light reveals; we don’t really see light so much as what light reveals. 

Sarah: Right. Well, that made me think that maybe in understanding that, we can understand why light and matter are synonymous, because the activity within substance, within matter, which comes alive when it’s spiritually quickened, produces light. It’s said that within all matter and substance, even on the atomic level, there is light. Light is present, although it might be thoroughly veiled and hidden; it is present and awaits awakening, quickening. 

Dale: Every tiny atom is a point of light, we are told. 

Sarah: Right. “Veiled and hidden by every form lies light,” the writings of Alice Bailey say. 

Dale: It’s also said that light has been with us from the beginning and there will be light at the end. The whole universe is saturated with light. 

Sarah: Right. And that comes back to the phenomenon that people have witnessed when people die. When a human being dies light is emitted, and people have actually seen this; light is emitted as the soul vacates the body. So, it’s impossible for me to try to wrap this all up, but I do find it fascinating to think that light belongs on the level of the atom, that it lies within substance and matter. It makes one approach the physical and material realm of existence with a lot more respect and consecration, and it helps us understand why the coming of the sun, the return of the sun to greater power, is not only symbolically, but really, a tremendously spiritual event each year. 

Dale: Yes, it’s an urge that comes from deep within, and that’s the soul factor, that we have this tremendous urge to seek light. 

Sarah: It’s a soul urge and not just a longing. 

Robert: Well, we can see that life is definitely profound. I know that there’s been a lot of research lately on the importance of light in depression therapy. Also, within my own meditation I find that I’m much more successful when I visualize light. Sarah, I know there’s a lot of the Bailey books that touch upon light and the profound qualities of light and how it affects people, but which book would you point our listeners to? 

Sarah: Oh, that’s a tough one because, looking in the Master Index, which is the combined index to all the twenty-four books of Alice Bailey, light references go on for page after page after page. All of the books contain material about light, but Esoteric Psychology, Volume One and Two, A Treatise on White Magic, and a book called Light of The Soul—these four have a lot of references to light. 

Robert: How is light related to spirituality? 

Sarah: Well, people might think that’s such an obvious question, why is it even raised, but it becomes a little more complicated when we consider that the writings of Alice Bailey say that light is related to matter, and that darkness is pure spirit. If one thinks about that for too long, one can get quite befuddled; that darkness is pure spirit. Light is related to matter or substance, but there is spiritual significance to light, and it starts with the fact that all living things have what is called an etheric body. It’s another name for a light body. It goes back to our statement earlier in the program that all matter has light and all matter emits light. From the atomic level on up, there is light within every bit of substance or matter, and the spiritual path is the awakening of this light, bringing it to more visibility, bringing it to expression. That’s the whole point of undertaking the spiritual journey: to become a light bearer, in a sense, to make the form, the body of whatever you’re speaking about—a human being, a group, an organization, or a nation—more expressive of its real spiritual being. So, light has great spiritual implication. It was this potential that existed in matter that lies behind the teaching of the Buddha. His very name means the Enlightened One. 

Robert: I never knew that. 

Sarah: Buddha means “the Enlightened One,” and he attained his own enlightenment through great struggle, striving, aspiration, and experimentation; as a young man he tried every possible spiritual technique and path. Finely, determined to make his breakthrough to the real meaning of reality, he sat under the bodhi tree in ancient India—which I understand is still living —and stayed until he made his breakthrough to reality. His whole teaching is then centred on how every human being can make the same breakthrough if they try hard enough. His final message to his followers was, “Be a lamp unto your own feet. You have the lamp. The light is within you.” 

Robert: So, he says each human being has this ability. 

Sarah: Yes, maybe not to achieve a total liberation, but certainly to move forward in spiritual understanding. 

Dale: Yes, and moving forward in consciousness because the whole objective here is to move forward in consciousness and light as far as spirituality is concerned. Every expansion of consciousness represents a step in that direction and the way to bring more light into one’s life is by, oddly enough, removing a lot of the limitations that block the light, like the limitations of our own emotional hang ups, and the limitations of our physical problems, the limitations of our mind. Our mind is a great blocker of light, so it is removing these impediments to enable more of the light to shine through. That’s really the objective, to “let your light shine.” That’s where that saying comes from and what’s behind it. 

Sarah: There’s also the fact that the Buddha’s teaching, and the great spiritual teachers who have taught us how to make this breakthrough that you’re speaking of, have always emphasized self-effort. It’s true that you need scriptures, spiritual texts to study; most of us do. We wouldn’t be able to sit down under our own bodhi tree and make the breakthrough without a great deal of preparatory work—meditation, study, the purification of our own bodies and so on. But finally, and inevitably, the effort does have to come from within us. And to me, what’s really hopeful is the belief that we have the means within us for our own salvation. It doesn’t come from outside of us. It doesn’t come from a cloud or a heaven somewhere out there. It’s within us because we are created by God. We have that potential within us. 

Dale: Yes, and the whole objective, as I understand it, is to make oneself more translucent. There is an actual way that we can accomplish that, and that’s through refinement and through purification. That’s what’s behind all of these teachings of purification, to enable our physical, emotional and mental natures to rebuild themselves, to fluff off the coarser particles, those little atoms that are coarser ones and bring in and attract the finer, higher grade atomic particles of light, thereby making oneself more translucent. Now, one doesn’t accomplish this in one lifetime, but over a series of lifetimes you keep working at it, and you finally begin to make yourself more rarefied in nature and thereby allowing more of the light of the soul to shine through into the world, and that’s the whole objective before us. 

Sarah: I don’t think we can overestimate the difficulty of what you are describing. I don’t think it should sound too easy because the Endless Way is, after all, endless or it can certainly go on for many, many lifetimes as I understand it. This is hard, hard work and it isn’t something that you can just “will into being” because you think it’s a good idea or you would like it to be so. The revitalization and the transformation of the mind and the emotions, in particular, are a very long project, and when the Buddha said, “Be a lamp unto your own feet,” he was talking about a project that one begins and probably continues over many, many lifetimes. But we do have the means within us, and the brain that we have eventually is intended to become, in a sense, the eye of the soul, the lens through which God/divinity looks into the world, and this is the transmission of light, the bringing of the light of divinity into the world. If we think of the whole human family as the lens through which God sees the world, it might make a little more sense than thinking of an individual as this. 

Robert: Now, from our discussion, I’m understanding that every human being emanates light, but does every human being radiate the same light? 

Sarah: No, because we’re not all alike. In these politically correct times, one has to be careful to say what I’m about to say, but we’re not all on the same level spiritually. We are all precious in the eyes of God, every human being, every living thing is. We all have the potential for our eventual salvation. We have not all made the same progress toward the realization of our true inner self. If we are still embarked on a life of crime and disregard for the laws of our society, obviously we have a long way to go. If we are more oriented toward lives of service and unselfish devotion to human need, we’re a little farther along. So, if people think about this, they realize we’re not all at the same level. 

Dale: No, it’s a little bit like I was saying before, the potential is there for everybody to advance, but we’re all at different grades because we’re all different grades of atoms. The very atoms that make up our bodies, and our emotional atoms, and our mental atoms, are all of different grades. But we can improve that position by thinking and working towards more refinement in our attitudes and refinement of our actions and deeds. It’s not only just refinement of our physical bodies, through the diet and all of that… 

Sarah: That’s the least of it! 

Dale: It’s really the refinement of the emotional part of us… 

Sarah: And what’s worse —the thoughts! 

Dale: Yes, you have to watch what you think because those thoughts are things and energy follows thought.  

Robert: Something a lot of people don’t seem to understand, but yes, you’re right. 

Sarah: They think if they keep silent, it really doesn’t matter what they think—oh, no! 

Dale: You know, the real battlefield today is the emotional nature, trying to refine one’s emotional nature. There are reasons for this, and it’s not just because it’s a nice thing to do. It’s because you are actually refining your emotional body as you work towards refining your own emotional expression.  

Sarah: And as you do it, you become more and more a radiant being, apparently, to those who have eyes to see, and by that I’m referring to what is called in the Ageless Wisdom the Spiritual Hierarchy, the Masters of the Wisdom, the Brotherhood of Light. Those are all different names for the more evolved beings who watch over our planet. And I’m told that they see us not in terms of our faults and our weaknesses and our failures; they pay no attention to that. They see only our light. They look for our light and they know that eventually it will grow more brightly. 

Dale: That’s how we are judged in their eyes. They grade us by the light that radiates from us.  

Sarah: So, when we say somebody’s a pretty dim bulb…(laughter) 

Robert: It’s not a compliment. (more laughter) 

Dale: Well, yes, we’re using our own light to associate and make judgments about other people and other things and situations and that’s how we use light. The more of the spiritual light that we have in command of ourselves, the more of it that we can command, the more that we can shine this light upon situations in our lives and in the world, and see it more from the position of light, from the angle of light, and thereby get a better sense of what’s really happening there. 

Robert: That’s about all the time we have for our discussion today. You’ve been listening to Inner Sight. Now we’d like to close with a world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program by reciting the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




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