Shine Your Light! (& live your dharma...!)
but how do you FEEL about it? where are you hiding your light? where are you shining? what are you afraid of? what inspires you to keep manifesting the divine light that is within and all around you?
from Marianne Williamson:
" 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
-- From A RETURN TO LOVE
it's an important line, I think:
"Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."
someone on a web-discussion group wrote about it:
"NOW, how do you align that with giving up emotions and wants, extending yourself outward as well as inward. I feel better with this teaching than a lot of the bhakti I have been taught."
if we're really being who we are, doing our dharma and what we came to this planet to do, we won't be playing small. BUT -- who is playing? whose light is shining? is it us, individually? only on the outside.
on the inside, of course, it's the divine light in us that's doing the work, that's sharing the love, that's shining the light. if we think it's 'us', personally and individually, ie, "I did that great thing...." we're in REAL trouble -- big trouble. only egoism will develop there.
if we recognize it's the divine shining in and through us, and IT is doing everything (which comes from surrendering to the divine, doing spiritual practice like meditation regularly, and softening the emotions and desires) -- then we really are doing beautiful work in the world, fully in line with the divine in us.
so, there's no conflict between what Marianne Williamson is saying, to my way of understanding, and the idea of letting emotions and desires fade away and burn in spiritual fires.
about extending yourself outward vs inward -- I took a lot of flak from Western people when I lived in India for 5 straight years doing nothing but building my energy channels through intensive meditations. people would say, 'but you've worked as a healer -- instead of indulging your taste for enlightenment, you should be working on people and making their lives better, physically, now.' (my feeling was: yeah, YOU come and trade places with me, meditating 10 hours a day in stifling heat dealing with all of your internal demons, wearing 80 layers of clothing dressed traditionally as an Indian woman.... then tell me this is self-indulgent!!!!) (laughing)
but what I came to understand and respect is that in spiritual life, as in all life, there are cycles. it's not all one rigid way or another rigid way. there are times when it's necessary -- vital -- to go inwards and develop the awarenesses, the energy, the channels. especially -- in my opinion -- for healers.
it's like getting a ph.d. in spiritual healing -- that takes time and focus.
it's like the nine months it takes to form a baby inside its mother -- during that time, women tend to be more focused internally -- it's a huge dynamic process that's happening there!
but there are also times where, once you've dipped deeply into the god energy, and it's starting to saturate your being, the only way to keep that energy and that awareness flowing is to USE it in the world. to share it, to spill it over into the hearts and minds and souls of people in need.
they're thirsty, and you've been hoarding water carefully for a few years or months. now it's time to share. and the more you pour it out, the more that flows in!
so -- my feeling is -- it's tricky for spiritual people to get all judgmental and say, this is the only way you should do a practice, this is the only way to lead a life, this is the only way you can succeed in spirituality -- because whatever seems to be true in one moment, many times its complete opposite is ALSO true in a different moment.
mostly I think, follow your heart -- it knows what's right for you.
not to get too caught up in others' language or ways of directing your journey, unless of course it's a spiritual master who's taken you on. that's different. but with your friends, talk, explore, enjoy -- but at the end of the day, follow your heart.
also, I do find that reading a lot of different spiritual stuff from different sources, although interesting, can be really confusing, ultimately -- if someone's not doing serious meditation practice, especially.
through meditation, the inner clarity and discernment gets a lot stronger, so automatically you have a clearer sense of what's right for you or what makes sense, and what doesn't.
without meditation -- we're all at the mercy of whatever spiritual teacher (whether scrupulous or unscrupulous, enlightened or unenlightened) put down some thoughts in a book... taken out of context or misread, those remarks may be completely unhelpful and confusing to a spiritual seeker today.