April 24th, 2014
by admin · Filed Under: Faith · Guidance · Inspiration · Prayer · Spiritual Health · healing · meditation
(Continued from Part 1 of An Instrument of Light)
We all have times of darkness in our lives. I remember the story of Terry Waite, a representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England.
He was taken as a hostage in Beirut in 1987 and spent five years imprisoned there; the only thing that brought him through was his spiritual awareness. He said they did all kinds of depraved things to them in prison there, but the thing that they could not take away was their spirituality and their morality. By clinging to that they were able to win over their captors. We all have something to draw on.
I had an email from a friend who in a short space of time, last year alone, lost two very close friends, his grandmother, and his brother; all had died in a short space of about eight months. His reaction to it all was one of overwhelm. He withdrew from everything; no one saw him for weeks on end. Then he had a letter from someone who said how much his life had touched theirs, how he had helped them.
In his email to me he said, “I had a realization that I had touched people’s lives in a positive way, that I was able to help people. And I came out of that darkness in a moment of realization that I could be of service and help to others. I had more purpose in my life because of what happened during this last year.” I’m sure that whatever he chooses to do now will have an even greater impact on everyone.
There’s an ancient story in the Bible, and a story that is told in different cultures, about a man who is swallowed by a great fish. In the Bible you’ll remember that man was Jonah. God had called him to go to Nineveh and speak to the people who were in a sense of darkness and needed someone to bring them out of that and to recognize their God again.
Jonah refused to go. In fact, he went to Joppa and got a boat that was going to Tarshish, as far away from Nineveh as he could get. We may do that sometimes, when we feel a calling within us, we run in the opposite direction.
What happened was that a storm blew up. Jonah had a feeling that the storm had something to do with him. The sailors were all upset. They said, “How did this storm come about, is there something here that has caused this?” So he told them, “I think it might be me. You need to throw me overboard because then you’ll be saved and it’s all right; I should have followed my calling and done what God told me to do.”
So, finally, the crew drew lots and they agreed to throw him overboard. They threw him overboard, and you’ll remember in the story that he was swallowed by a big fish. We think of it as a whale, but it doesn’t say whale in the scripture; it just says a great fish. He was in the belly of this fish for a long time. And what was the fish doing when he was in its belly? You can imagine him sitting in the belly of the fish and meditating, “What the heck am I doing here? Where am I going?”
Do you ever feel like that in the darkness? You see, this story is a myth, an allegory of the darkness, the dark night of the soul. The night sea journey is one we all go through, that darkness, that dark night of the soul. We go through that night sea journey; it seems like we’re in the belly of something, we don’t know where we’re going, it’s dark all around us, the waters are around us, and we don’t know what’s going to happen or where we’re going to end up.
Where he ended up, of course, was where he began in the first place; the fish spit him up on the land again, and finally he went to Nineveh and taught the people. We all need spitting up out of the belly of the fish from time to time so that we may become ourselves, free and unrestrained.
So the story of the night sea journey is an allegory of the movement through birth and rebirth. It’s like going from one life to another. And that’s what the darkness is about; we’re in a liminal state. In the Tibetan Book of the Dead it’s called a Bardo, the state of Bardo, where you’re moving from one life and not yet ready for another life.
And that’s what’s going on in the darkness; we’re learning what our soul needs. When we have those experiences of the dark night of the soul we tend to go deeper and deeper within ourselves to find a new purpose in life, to find the Truth of ourselves. We’re kind of in between lives; we have to let go one life and we have to be born again into another life. It’s not easy to be born again, so we resist it and we’re at a loss, we’re “at sea.”
Jesus talked about being born again. “There was a man named Nicodemus who came to Jesus in the night.” He came in the night, he came in the darkness of his own soul, and he came to Jesus. And Jesus told him, “You must be born again.” He said, “How can a man be born again?” And Jesus said to him, “I tell you that everyone is born of the water and of the Spirit, and that you must be born again.” You must be born of the Spirit.
What he was telling Nicodemus was that he had to go back to his primordial beginnings, just like in the book of Genesis, which starts off, “The darkness was upon the face of the deep. . .” That was before the light came. “. . . and the Spirit of God was moving on the waters of the deep.” There was a merging, an interpenetrating of that breath, Spirit.
So Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he had to go back to those beginnings, to that womb, to the waters of life. We, like Nicodemus, have to go into that flowing chaotic feeling, and then open ourselves to the breath, to the Spirit of God, which is moving on the waters within. And from that movement comes light, light comes from the movement itself.
St. John of the Cross said it’s not the light where you find the healing. He said, “If a person wishes to be sure of the road they tread upon, they must close their eyes and walk in the dark. It’s the darkness that offers the best way, not the light but the darkness itself.”
It’s in the darkness where you find a luminosity beginning to come within your own being. The opponent is not the darkness; it’s our rejection or denial of the darkness. We must accept it, embrace it, and be present in it.
It’s only by being present in it that we’re able to release the darkness. And by being present in it, it’s a natural movement of the Spirit of God moving on the face of the waters. And our next experience is, “Let there be light.” Then there’s light, there’s light that comes.
This isn’t only for individuals; it’s for groups of people too. We find it way back in the scriptures in Isaiah where it says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Upon those who were in darkness a great light has shined.” So it’s for groups too.
We get in those times of darkness, but as we are present with them then the light begins to come. And it’s not like we’re an eye seeing in the dark, but we’re like a candle that is burning in its own luminosity. We find that luminous sense of our being beginning to shed light within us and as it does, we become the light.
We become the light of the world and we can know for others, too, that the light is within them; we can know that, because it’s true. The very core of our being, beyond the darkness, is the light. When the Spirit of God and the darkness come together, the result is always light.
So, in any time of darkness, for yourself or for others, if you can just breathe it in, turn to it and be present with it, be there with an attitude of acceptance of the mystery and interest in that mystery, knowing that somehow in all of that, God is present and the light will come.
Then breathe in that Spirit breath and the focus begins to change, luminosity begins to grow and the light begins to shine in you, because what you are is the “light of the world.”
And God is Blessing You, Right Now!
Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham
Rev. Alan Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to enjoy more articles and/or subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions, at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com
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