I was digging through a bin of my old college papers and mementos and I discovered a speech I had written. I wrote this at nineteen years old and re-reading it now has new meaning. I thought I would share some of it with you (I won’t torture you with the entire piece).
There are moments in each of our lives when our personal world is filled with darkness. Tragedy, loss, rejection and failure are all common experiences. It seems as though during the days following Christmas the Light appears distant… and shadows easily block our sight.
There is an art to learning how to live with life’s challenges and hardships, to discover light amid darkness, and to heal ourselves and the world around us. Like any other art, the art of peace calls for both great love and discipline. We must be willing not to shun the shadows in our lives but to turn toward them. This is the first and most significant step for in-turning, we begin to cast away our fears, despair and self-doubt. It is not darkness that is our opponent but our rejection and denial of it. It is in our greatest difficulties that we can find the sense of what is everlasting light. As Saint John said:
If a person wishes to be sure of the road they tread upon, they must close their eyes and walk in the dark.
As the Christmas seasons endures and we look to a new year, we turn toward the specific shadows in our lives with an open heart and a clear and mindful focus. We cease reacting and resisting and begin to understand and to heal. In order to do this we must learn to feel deeply. It is not done so much without eyes open as with the opening of inner senses of the body and heart. It means to listen closely to the mystery that is right in front of us rather than the ideas we have about things. The listening, feeling, and seeing sets our life free. As long as we resist it, seeking for light someplace else, we are separate from what is and unable to see that all that exists is filled with the Light. Learning to listen with this same sensitvity inwardly, we discover new depths of calmness, new resources of energy and effectiveness. The shadows that we have previously related to as adversaries become our most profound teachers. We learn to meet them with grace and serenity, and it is then we can begin to heal not only ourselves, but the world.
So as the New Year approaches let us remember that God created the Light out of darkness. Although they are separate, each one is necessary for the other to exist. We discover through the darkness and the Light that we have the energy and the faith to begin to heal ourselves, and the world through an openheartedness in this and every moment. Because we shall be beacons of light that are illuminated by an inner light, exuding radiance in a fundamental way. Our true nature, our basic goodness, shines when we stop looking elsewhere and discover that what we seek has been here all along. What we are is Light.