“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a cellar or under a basket. Instead, he sets it on a lamp stand, so those who enter can see the light.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your vision is clear, your whole body also is full of light. But when it is poor, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness. So if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it in darkness, you will be radiant, as though a lamp were shining on you.”
It is with a relaxed heart and mind, open to love, peace and connectedness that we can best share the light within. Practicing presence and meditation trains us to get beyond thoughts and feelings to the pure awareness from which they arise. When attention and identification can be maintained on this pure awareness while communicating with others, we can consciously appreciate the pure living consciousness which is the essence and living light we share in common with one another.
This light shines most brightly in our eye connection with others as well as our voice and gestures when we are fully present in mind and body with what is going on in the moment within ourselves and around us. Expressing or discussing something that is felt passionately is when many people really light up, as well as being with loved ones like a beloved partner or child.
Therefore, to shine our light more brightly, to consciously share or inspire the light in others, is to practice mindful presence which requires being open and aware on every level of our being that we can while connecting with others. Having an agenda is based on wanted outcomes and expectations based on past and future, while being fully present with another and sharing our light means being fully present with yourself and the other and allowing that to be a primary purpose in and of itself. Jesus uses the analogy of light in two other brief lessons, “the Lamp of the Body” and “the lamp on a stand,” which may be different versions of the same lesson or different lessons using this same analogy. People throughout the ages can relate to this analogy of light and the concept of the inner light of our being. In any good philosophy or spiritual teaching, there is no question that every person is here for a reason. Each person is unique and has a special quality to contribute. Inner light and inner Spirit are closely correlated, and each of us has the gift to let it shine brightly in our own lives and for others.
Jesus’s teachings of inner peace and salvation are a dynamic and practical teaching to be a positive influence to others and the world. The light he speaks of is the pure authentic light of awareness.
An indicator of spiritual progress is the degree of unconditional love, mercy, and compassion we progressively feel and express toward others in the world. Spiritual connection is like the difference between a stand-alone computer or device versus a network-connected computer or device. Thoughts and feelings constantly change, their significance to us being private to the separate ego self. Consciousness of the consciousness from which they arise is where we find a true common ground and connection from which rapport, connection and deep understanding of one another can arise.
A cause and effect of universal love for each other — friend or stranger, or enemy — is openness to insightful understanding of another’s circumstance and how they came to be who and where they are in that moment. Real understanding of unfamiliar or challenging people often requires overcoming self-interested perspectives that are often triggers for switching off our ‘light’ and disconnecting from others. Our rational mind often thinks it has a good reason to judge or take a mental position against another. But this can lead to division within and without, by identifying with fixed pre-conceived ideas of mind which condition our experience instead of the wholeness of identification with full presence.
Understanding someone’s circumstances, character, and actions from their perspective is the most effective way for getting past any preconceived judgments or biases. If there is a frustrated agenda involved, gaining such an understanding between all parties provides an authentic space to find reconciliation. Being, doing and sharing in pure awareness is the path towards a sense of oneness and universal Spirit. It is in this space we can draw on compassion in circumstances where we would have once reacted defensively or judgmentally. It is a progressive ability because we develop a deeper capacity each time we break through our own barriers and reactions.
The “whole body full of light” means expanding aware presence in the moment to every part of ourselves and our present circumstance. When we do this, through pure conscious intent we invite the divine in to take part without limit or conditions, then we can find our sense of being and doing with a “whole body full of light.” It can often be a literal description of the experience.
All aspects of our nature embraced in this light leads to transformation. Perceiving some aspects of soul and human character experience as spiritual and non-spiritual creates inner division and social stigma. The sexual nature and body identification are an example of this division of identity and source of neurosis in those seeking pure mindedness who then suppress or reject these aspects of themselves. Wholeness requires embracing the whole self in humility, love and acceptance. We need to let the divineness of pure consciousness and presence into all aspects of ourselves and allow it to reside there in each present moment. This is where transformation takes place, where we become more functional and integrated, expressing presence and higher will aligned in good ideals and values through all aspects of ourselves and life.
Suppressing or disconnecting from aspects of ourselves will result in suffering and folly. Examples of this are the modern scandals of sexual abuse within various church organizations where celibacy has obviously been practiced out of suppression, guilt, and disconnection, resulting in aberrational and perverted behaviors. Embracing our pain, anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty with the “light” of consciousness and learning to be present in equanimity with our pains and pleasures is a key to embracing our full nature and allowing the transformation of Spirit through self-love and self-acceptance do its work. There is a fine line between trying to artificially conform to ideological perspectives and practices versus applying true personal realizations of them as a spiritual practice.
Practices based on fear, guilt, self-judgment, and denial are fraught with the dangers of extremism and neurosis. Jesus’s path was not extreme and was based on inclusiveness and soulful love. While he set a high standard of spiritual mindfulness he demonstrated mercy and forgiveness. While he firmly denounced falseness and sin his love broke many taboos of his day – racism, sexism, social status and was what considered ‘clean’ – it was a love for all humanity. God’s love and ‘kingdom’ was a shared experience within as we are now, creating space for realisation and transformation. Life’s private challenges and victories are about developing a whole and balanced character. When our vision is clear, “looking” or perceiving with the light of our whole being, the body is physically and energetically illuminated with spiritual energy.
Spiritually illumined people touch others with their love and compassion. They inspire people to be better human beings, invoking peace and good faith by their presence. Thus, their words and deeds have great impact. People will feel empowered rather than intimidated or belittled. The nature of our living consciousness enables us to recognize its truth, light, and presence, sometimes in the illumined eye gaze and presence of a child or person fully present. Conscious alignment to our own inner experience, realisation, values and ideals leads to an added dimension of self and self-potential.
Great possibilities exist if we can arise from within and brighten spontaneously in our roles and communications with each other. Benefiting each other is a mindset, manifested in the smallest of moments and ways, in following our passions and sense of purpose as well as through significantly life-changing and charitable ways. Happy and productive is the person driven by love of doing right, with no fear or guilt of doing wrong. We all crave a sense of progress, purpose, and wholeness despite our frailties and faults. Our inner light is not for self-aggrandisement but to inspire and bring forth depth and profoundness in our worldly lives.