By David Spangler
David's Desk is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey. These letters are my personal insights and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you wish to share this letter with others, please feel free to do so; however, the material is ©2018 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters, please let us know at info@Lorian.org.
The story goes that our ancestors experienced the shortening of the days as summer gave way to autumn and autumn to winter. As the length of the night increased, it seemed as if darkness was overcoming the light, and without light, life itself was threatened. But then when the day was shortest, something happened. The light began to come back as the earth moved in its orbit from winter to spring and onto summer. That moment when the light began to return became a time of celebration.
Many of the holidays we celebrate this time of year have their roots in the celebration of Light and the falling away of darkness as the Light returns. We rejoice in the restoration of hope and the unfolding of life once thought diminishing into the shadows of death. Where Light is concerned, however, the cyclic rhythms of the earth with its seasons can be misleading. Light does not go away or come back. It is always here.
Where I live in a valley near Seattle, Washington, we sometimes get dense morning fog. It can be so thick that I cannot see my neighbor’s house across the street from me. All is shrouded. Yet, if I drive out of our valley, I emerge into the sunlight. I know the sun is there, and I know that as the day progresses, its warmth and light will burn the fog away.
In spite of fog, the sun is always there with its light.
In spite of the fog of human brokenness and violence enshrouding the world, the Light is always there as well.
What is important—and what we can celebrate this season—is that we are that Light. We are the sun whose radiance can burn away the fog. All it takes is for us to choose to be that sun, to be that Light, and to act from that choice.
This sounds simple. We know it is not. Doubts, fears, angers, prejudices, hatreds, or just plain fatigue and apathy can lead us to not making that choice. The Light is in all of us, but it can be dimmed. If this were not true, we would all be living in a very different world, one in which nature is honored and partnered with care and love, one in which the stranger is simply a friend we have yet to meet, one in which each individual represents a potential for discovery and growth, one in which community and collaboration, as well as the honoring of each person’s uniqueness, are the hallmarks of life.
We want such a world. We pray for such a world. In this season, we celebrate in our various traditions the Light that fuels our hope for such a world.
What we forget is that we are that Light. When we choose kindness over indifference and hostility, love over hate, calm over agitation, courage over fear, forgiveness over revenge, collaboration over competition, then we are enacting our own personal Winter Solstice. Each time we make this choice, however hard in the moment it is to do so, we are performing Light’s Return. Each time we recognize that this choice can be made and we do so, we are affirming that we are the sun that burns away the fog.
The Light is always here.
We are the Light.