I continue to wrestle with Mandela’s quote (below), as I have for years, though as one weathers and grows through the seasons of life, some wrestling acumen is acquired. I love the fact that new scientific studies of the brain show that as people grow older their mental capacities do not have to dim but can be transformed, gaining not only what we might call wisdom but also a higher consciousness. Whatever that all means, it means for me that I can be more honest in my thoughts and living, and as Step 5 in Alcoholic’s Anonymous states, “Admit to God, myself, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.’
Therefore, whether you call it a ‘wrong’ or a ‘character defect’ or simply running away and hiding, why is it, as Mandela writes, that “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” The complete quote is as follows:
“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 and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us: it’s in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Let me give three reasons for such fearful flight from the LIGHT, and I welcome any and all responses as we continue to raise each other’s consciousness on this truth.
1) Human Nature. Call it what you will: ‘weakeness’ ‘fragility’ ‘insecurity’ and so much more. We get comfortable in the gray-day-routines we fashion for ourselves so we do not have to think too much or change. Real change is such hard work. I think of ‘close encounters’ that humans have recorded with ‘other beings’ or ‘bright lights’ or something beyond their knowing; their response it usually fear, awe-struck, fainting, trembling, and other loss of bodily functions! A few Biblical scenes come to mind of the virgin Mary being ‘greatly troubled’ by the light of Gabriel at her annunciation, or John, on the island of Patmos, falling down in the presence of such angelic brilliance.
2) Fear of Abandonment. A psychological phrase that can be simplified in this context to ‘Not being liked.’ Are we afraid to expose our lights and brilliance through our gifts and talents because others might feel inferior to us and leave us? In their not wanting to change or not knowing how, could our shining freedom push them further away from us?
3) Environment. How we are raised, what role-models we are given, be they shining examples or hard workingsurvivalists, can all impact our acceptance or avoidance of our strength and luminosity.
Embracing our LIGHT and Strength. How good that our ‘souls’ or ‘all the best in us’ feeds ravishingly upon the pure light that comes from above. The New Testament verse from James 1:17 floods my thoughts: ” Every good and perfect gift is from above,coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Its true, we are often weak and fragile, but as one of my all time favorite pottery verses states:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ, but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)
I know from my own recovery, and that of hundreds of others I work with and grow with during meetings, whatever you call your LIGHT, be it the face of Christ or the LIGHT of the Moon, any power greater than ourselves can begin effective change in giving us the strength and the desire to more deeply embrace that LIGHT. But what about our friends??? If others so called ‘friends and loved ones’ would shy away and leave us because of personal light expression, they are not friends or loved ones, and if they are, they will return stronger.
Yet, as I reread all these words, my spirit whispers a few of my well-worn prayers, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief;” “Give me the desire to desire it!” But I am thankful, as the Light does it’s work in me, I can confidently pray, “May the Light and inner Strength and Power I’ve been blessed with, shine ever more brightly through me, so that others will be touched, healed, and changed, empowering others as well.” This wrestling with God and embracing the Light has been acted and reenacted from the Garden, hiding from the LIght, to Jacob wrestling with the Angel and not letting go until he received a blessing, to our daily living and how we truly grow. We cannot escape our Divine Love or that special Dance/Wrestling!