What do you think of when someone says, “be the light?” Do you think that sounds like a nice idea that people talk about, but don’t really do?
How can a person actually BE the light?
There are times we feel like we’re living more into the dark than the light. What does it say about us when we admire or despise certain qualities in other people?
So what does it mean to “be the light?”
To me, “being the light” doesn’t mean being a perfectly positive person who is blissfully happy all the time and never makes mistakes. Let’s be real, right? To me it means doing things that make me feel free and peaceful. As well as surrendering control, trusting my intuition, showing compassion and kindness to myself and others and believing the simple truth that I am enough. It is about bringing light to the places that are dark.
Being the light isn’t always easy. Plus, I think the environment we grew up in has a lot to do with how much we may or may not struggle.
Reflection of the Past
I spent my first 11 years growing up in Houston Texas. My parents had moved there a few years before I was born when my father took a job with what was then, Humble Oil (now Exxon) as a marine engineer. My parents having grown-up in the northeast, Texas was probably a bit of a culture shock. I know the reverse was for me when we moved to New Jersey.
It was during this time in Houston that the civil rights movement began. My mother worked on the issue of desegregating the schools by campaigning to get a black woman, Hattie Mae White, elected on the Houston public school board. It was during this time that I began to experience the actions that bigotry can bring.
During the night people would toilet paper the trees in our front yard, throw eggs at the front door and write “n***** lover” on our sidewalk. I don’t remember what my mother said to me or if I questioned why people did this to us. However, she did demonstrate through her actions and quiet words what was right and how to live our values.
I could go over to Hattie Mae’s house to play with her daughters. One of them, Mae, was my age. I could play and attend birthday parties at Mae’s house. But Mae could never come to my house. My mother also had a Jewish friend with a daughter my age. Lois sometimes came to my house to play. One day a school friend was over and told me she had to go home. Diane said she wouldn’t play with a “Jew”. I was totally dumbfounded and could not understand why it mattered. Those few words of hate destroyed two friendships no matter how hard I tried to fix it. A tough life lesson for a nine-year-old.
I could go on about my experiences growing up during the civil rights movement, but I think you get the idea of the home environment I was raised in. One of human rights, peace, and “being the light”.
Now here we are in 2023, having made some progress with human rights issues. However, I sometimes feel as though I’m back in the late 1950’s starting all over again. I know my mother is right beside me in spirit. I can follow her lead again in the belief in human rights, peace, plus the issue of saving our planet. It can be very stressful and many are full of fear for our future. But no matter where you stand in what’s happening in the current political scene, sharing ideas and teachings can help ease the fear and stress.
We all can “Be The Light”
I love what Marianne Williamson wrote in her book, A Return To Love: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
It’s about looking for opportunities to lift someone else up. Maybe making a conscious effort to do the things that make your own light shine brighter so you can also help other people recognize the light that is within them.
What Marianne writes about—that letting our own light shine helps others shine too. This reminds me of something I heard many years ago. What you admire in others is a recognition of that same thing in you. Also, the light you see in others is a reflection of your own light.
This reflection of light also comes into play when you see something in another person you really don’t like. Usually, we don’t want to feel whatever dark spot they triggered so we lash out or judge them instead.
We can be judgmental and attack or we can recognize that the other person is us, be compassionate, and ask how we can help. One thing I know for sure is that we all have the ability to let more light into our lives.
Choosing to bring the light to a situation can help both of us shine a little brighter. I hope what I’ve shared helps you tap into how you can see that light in yourself so you can be it and share it.