This is the 1st in a series I have sketched out for myself pertaining to the qualities of Spirit often referenced in New Thought and other spiritual traditions. In Religious Science these are categorized as Life, Love, Light, Power, Peace, Beauty & Joy.
This post is about Light.
I am fascinated by the way lessons of Truth can be found threaded through many diverse traditions, both spiritual and practical. For me this repetitive pattern is a “nudge” from the Universe that I should pay close attention: that this is important enough to be repeated, often.
The subject of Light is one such Truth. We see this early in both the Torah and the Christian Bible: “And God said ‘Let there be Light’ and there was light.” In the New Testament Jesus is hailed as the “Light of the World” and Christians are encouraged to “let their Light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Biblical and spiritual texts from many traditions reference light as a positive quality and the absence of light (darkness) as less positive, if not outright negative.
This assumption about Light and its inherent goodness is reflected in non-religious/non-spiritual writings too. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is one 20th Century voice on the topic of Light, beginning with a letter to his fiancé (1903) where he penned a sentiment that he would later reiterate in a Harper’s Weekly article (1913):
If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.
Transparency, or “sunlight” thereafter was often referred to as the “Brandeis Antiseptic”.
Light is a quality of God/Spirit because it levels the playing field. Back room deals and dishonest decisions cannot survive in the harsh light of day.
In the drafting of the Constitution, the founding fathers of the United States knew that transparency – sunlight – was essential to the formation of a free society. Leaving a monarchy-ridden Europe where secret deals and manipulation were standard operating procedure; Ben Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington led the early efforts to create a new paradigm in governance and leadership. Transparency’s importance is documented by its inclusion in the Bill of Rights as part of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution that includes protecting the freedom of the press.
Transparency, “sunlight” is critical to national freedom and it’s foundational to personal and spiritual freedom.
Another 20th Century sage, Warren Buffet, famously counsels new managers in his company as well as college students in lectures on decision-making a la Buffet.
He advises that before making a decision, they should think about the most unfriendly reporter getting wind of your decision and beginning to dig. Everything they find out about your decision is reported on the front page of your hometown newspaper by this unfriendly reporter, as well as on your hometown news channel where your mother, grandmother, friends, neighbors and colleagues will see it. If the decision you’re about to make would make you queasy in the above-described scenario, you know what you need to do.
We’ve all done things we wouldn’t want to show up on the front page of the newspaper and we all deserve the chance to forgive ourselves and move forward, but know this: we only truly move forward if we emerge from the shadows and walk into the Light.
Sunlight. Transparency. Openness. Light.
In our lives, our work, our relationships and our communities these are qualities of the Divine, and when we invite them in as regular aspects of our day-to-day, we walk closer to our Source.