The Light of the World

The Light of the World

In our time there is an ever-growing group seeking liberation in various ways. For example, liberation is sought because life is experienced as oppressive; as unfree.

And no matter how understandable and perhaps recognizable the desire for liberation is, is it possible to truly become liberated by seeking liberation for yourself? Or is the possibility of liberation etched in us in some other way?

Every human life originates in the womb, the smallest living environment that a person will know in his or her life. If we consider that living environment as a circle, then this circle starts very small and continues to expand from this starting point. After birth, the world becomes larger, but that world is still small; in the crib and close to the parents. The child starts to grow and soon goes to school, meets teachers, friends, and so the child’s world expands further.

Perhaps after completing high school he or she will study or work, discover even more of life, and search in all kinds of ways. This search is often initially aimed at finding fulfillment in life, a purpose or destiny, or freedom. The hope or desire is that fulfillment and liberation can be found in, for example, a long journey, a dream job or in relationships with others. And so on this voyage of discovery the world becomes bigger and bigger, until it is the biggest. It is often said of such a person that he or she is in the prime of life. As the years pass, the world gradually becomes smaller again.

But even in the prime of life, it is possible that something starts to niggle at some people and things don’t seem quite right after all.
At a certain point, questions may arise such as ‘What is life about? Is this it now?’. For some, these questions arise in early childhood and for others as a (young) adult. Still others are in the final phase of life and it may also be that someone will not be concerned with it at all. Life’s questions can be accompanied by a strong suspicion that there must be more, as a pre-memory of another or higher life.

Searching the outside world gave you satisfaction for a while and led to you gaining a lot of experience. But permanent life fulfillment cannot be found, simply because in our world everything changes and nothing is permanent. When the hope of fulfillment from the outside world fades away due to bitter experience, a person may focus less on the outer world and more on the inner world. Searching in the outside world becomes less, there are more and more aspects of life in which it has been determined that no lasting happiness can be found there either. And then it is discovered: there is not a single place in the world where that permanent life fulfillment, or ‘It’, can be found. This may sound depressing, but in the end it is quite the opposite, as will become clear below.

When it is realized that fulfillment cannot be found in the world or in someone else, and that it is no longer expected from the world or others, then the search in the world can stop. There is then a realization that fulfillment and wholeness can be found in the deepest essence within one’s own interior. From this wholeness, everything is already complete and as it should be. The search for the self – in the sense of a self-centered desire for fulfillment – fades away.

The touch of the Light can then take place in the innermost part of our being, in the liberated space. That touch makes it clear that the fulfillment and connection was already always very close, – namely in the heart. The joy that comes with that touch is not dependent on external circumstances, for the source of that touch is the Light itself, and this Light is imperishable.

When the bond with the Light has finally become sufficiently strong, it can no longer be affected by any difficult circumstances or darkness in the world. In the Gospel of John this is indicated by Jezus Christ with the statement:

Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. [1]

Because the encounter with the Christ power, or with the Love within us, is an encounter with an eternity power, there is the potential for an inner peace that can no longer be taken away by situations in our lives.

This encounter allows a desire to arise to return the power received. In the Sermon on the Mount it is said:

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  [2]

This statement invites us not to keep the received light forces for ourselves (put them under a bushel), but to pass them on and radiate them (put the lamp on a stand). This radiance is not limited to those you like, but is aimed at all living things. The well-being of all becomes important, everyone equally. Our talents are a tool to realize this in the world.

Yet this invitation cannot be answered with one’s own will or intention to radiate the Light from now on. After all, it is the Light itself that has complete wisdom, yes is complete wisdom, and shows us the way. The only question for us is to make room for the Light within us.

If we do this, in full connection and with sincere and committed attention to the people and everything else around us, then ‘the light can shine for the people’.

Through our surrender here and now the Light is spread and human hearts can be touched by Love.

And the special thing is that when the search for liberation for one’s own self makes way for the desire to be of service to all life, the entrapment decreases and peace can come. This does not mean that you neglect yourself or consider yourself less valuable than others, but the focus on liberation for yourself changes into a focus on the well-being of all life. And it is precisely there that connection and freedom can be found, namely the freedom of yourself.

The effect of the transformation that Love makes possible is greater than our minds can understand. The Light that can be released in one human heart can also touch others. In this way the Light can increase in size and its power of action can be increased. It is up to us to release the Light in our hearts and transform it so that it can work in the world. No one else can make it happen.

You are the light of the world.

 

References:

[1] John 16:22

[2] Matthew 5:14-16

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Date: May 18, 2024
Author: Christian Bruin (Netherlands)
Photo: by Sebastian Kanczok on Unsplash CCO

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