– The Agent of Revelation –
Light is known by what it reveals. When considered from the spiritual perspective, this is a truism of great importance. The revelatory power of light is central to nearly all world religions. The phrase light of God is commonly echoed in the many churches, synagogues and mosques around the world. Normally this light connotes the wisdom of the Divine, as it gives understanding to faith, love, devotion, as well as the mystery of human existence. Esotericism lends much support to this view, though widens its application. For light is not only the agent of God’s countenance, but also the means by which the soul reveals its wisdom and purpose within the human heart and mind.
Even in our daily interactions, the word light is used to indicate that something has been revealed. For example, we often use the phrase “shedding light” on an issue, suggesting that a new and deeper awareness has been gained. This is an inner light, and is experienced as understanding. By analogy, it is no different than our experience with physical light. When physical light is cast upon an object, we then are able to see that object. It is not physical light we see, but the object it has exposed. In the same way this is true when considering the inner light of human consciousness. It is not the light of consciousness itself that is seen, but the mental realizations that it creates.
The revelatory nature of light is applicable to the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of life. Every application of this term suggests that something new has been uncovered. In this regard, light is always an agent of revelation. Though there are many categories of inner light, there are a few that are most evident in our human experience. For the purposes of this discussion, we will confine our considerations to four types of inner light, with an emphasis on the final one. They are the:
Light of Knowledge
Light of Wisdom
Light of Love
Light of the Soul
As has been suggested, the term “light” can be broadly used, and can be applied to various levels of experience. At a lower level, it is evidenced through acquired knowledge. The light of knowledge is perhaps the most common form of inner light realized by people. The things we learn, even if not applied in life, still provide a measure of new understanding to life. Our modern day educational institutions are designed to be transmitters of this form of light. The fact that educational opportunities are spreading throughout the world is indication that this form of light is becoming increasingly powerful to humanity’s way of being, either for good or ill.
The light of wisdom is a much higher form of light experienced by human beings. Indeed, it is a central feature to effective living, and increases as an individual matures through the crucible of life. When this light is inwardly revealed, we find ourselves able to demonstrate insight beyond the knowledge we have acquired. At this point, it may be useful to note the difference between knowledge and wisdom, for they are often confused for each other. Fundamentally, knowledge is not dependent upon experience, while wisdom is. Knowledge is acquired without the necessity of living through that which has been learned. Wisdom stands upon knowledge, but adds to it the element of experience. Wisdom can therefore be defined as knowledge coupled with experience, expressed as understanding.
Love is an expression of light as well. When we experience love, revelation always emerges as its companion. Love gives new understanding to interpersonal relationships. It reveals that underlying theapparent separateness between two people is found a deeper unity. It reveals (often unconsciously) that the people involved have something important to teach each other, and that the yearning to be with each other is indication of this fact. This is the light that love carries. Looked at from a deeper spiritual perspective, love it the quality that binds all things together, and helps us realize that humanity is truly one. Its revelations tend to mend bridges and heal the wounds that emerge when separateness governs human action. Love reveals that beyond our contrived boundaries is found an essential oneness. It breaks down the walls that separate us, and reveals our commonality. This is the great gift that the light of lovecan reveal.
When we consider the spiritual journey, the soul is perhaps the most important source of revelation. The soul is the root of one’s true identity. What we call personality (ego) is merely an outer garment worn by the soul in order to interact with the outer world. Spiritual evolution is based upon the gradual process of recognizing this fact, then finding ways to increasingly live according to the soul’s promptings. It is to understand that the soul is the “authentic self,” free from the distortions of the ego. Indeed, to be the authentic self (soul) is the imperative for anyone seeking to move forward in his/her spiritual development. The wisdom and guidance of the soul needs to be the compass for directing one’s life. Doing this requires that we learn to better recognize the light of the soul shining within.
The light of the soul is revealed in many ways. To begin, the soul is the aspect of consciousness that sees things with greater depth and subtlety. It allows us to perceive a deeper meaning unfolding within the circumstances of life. What are viewed by the personality as random events is understood as meaningful when the soul is contributing to one’s perceptual process. Indeed, when a person becomes attentive to the subtle meaning behind circumstance, the purpose of the soul is gradually revealed. In addition, as the soul irradiates the personality (with its light), an individual begins to see him/herself in other people. The perception of separateness slowly gives way, and through this, the oneness of humanity is gradually known. Perception of the Whole, and its livingness, becomes the focus of one’s life. It is this revelation, gradually realized within the mind, which leads an individual to contribute to humanity’s betterment. Selfless service is thus born.
When the light of the soul is sensed, a yearning to make an uplifting contribution is an inevitable effect. Fundamentally, service is the hallmark of a disciple’s life. When using the word disciple, I do not mean it in the usual sense. Instead, it refers to a person seeking to be a disciple of his/her soul, and the light that it transmits. This is discipleship in the truest sense. To such a person, the soul’s light is not something experienced for its own sake. Instead, this light will guide the individual to support the betterment of something, and this, without motivation for personal gain. Disciples are conditioned by an understanding of life not held by the masses or intellectuals of the day. They are impressed by the soul and its radiatory guidance. Within the mind this light shines forth, leading the disciple toward acts of selfless service. As time progresses, service to the larger whole invariably becomes the preoccupation of life.
As the light of the soul increases, such people become practical and mystical at the same time, believing that both faculties are needed to create a sustainable effect in support of a better world. In this regard, they have been called the practical mystics. To these grounded mystics, all the forms of light (discussed in this writing) are used in service. The light of knowledge is utilized to touch the intellectual needs of humanity; The light of wisdom is expressed in order to convey deep and experiential understanding; The light of love is always expressed, for it is the quality that guarantees that all are held within a field of unity; And, most importantly, the light of the soul provides the note of higher purpose within the service being rendered. Such is the nature of true disciplic work.
It has been said that the consciousness of humanity advances through the evolution of ideas. Indeed, this is a profound and inescapable truth. Yet it can equally be said that we, as a species, evolve through our relationship to light. Over vast periods of time, humanity’s realization of itself, and its relationship to the larger whole, is based upon a progression of light. This light is revealed through our widening understanding of love, and through the realization of ideas that support a more enlightened approach to life. The light of the soul is destined to increase, and with it will emerge a greater understanding of oneness, both among ourselves and with all living systems found upon this planet. This is the promise of the future. About this, I am eternally optimistic.
© 2006 William Meader
William Meader is an author, teacher and counselor. Much of his work is focused on the subjects ofSpiritual Creativity, the Evolution of Consciousness and the Art of Meditation. At present he is teaching in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He resides in Oregon, and can be contacted through his website at meader.org.