When the small child cries out for fear of what his pregnant imagination is showing him to be lurking in a corner of his darkened room, the wise parent turns on the light and shows the child there is no real cause to be afraid. In a way, the concerned adult is an agent of the light; for while the attentive parent may explain there is nothing fearful under the bed, it is the light itself that reveals and verifies this soothing truth. And this brings us to the first of several key ideas to help us brighten the dark corners of our own lives:
The overhead light now lit in the child’s room doesn’t add courage to the child, it simply helps to take the fear out of his mind. This is an important distinction. The light in his room proves — in this moment — that what has frightened him is not really a creature hiding in the dark corner, but is a feature of his own confused understanding struggling with unfamiliar shadows.
Use the following Five Keys to Brighten the Corners of Your Life. With patient study and daily practice these five insights will show you how to start inviting the Light into every moment of your life, leading you to make the happy discovery that right within you is a bright kingdom whose corners are as open and endless as is your willingness to bring this Light into them.
1. Learn to Discern: We never have to think about whether we are standing in the sunlight or under the shadow of a tree because even with our eyes closed we can tell the difference. This simple physical awareness hints of a new power waiting to be awakened within us. We can learn to discern the difference between thoughts and feelings that are bright and right for us from those that are dark and demeaning to us. Here’s where to start. Bring all mental and emotional states into the light of your awareness of their entrance and passage through you, and watch as your own illuminated nature reveals friend from foe.
2. Keep it Simple: Thoughts are never the things they represent and in reality are little more than shadows of the Real. But they can have substance as when, in cluttered bunches, they turn into clouds of dark confusion. To invite more light into your life don’t allow your mind to draw you into its mounting conflict over what “this or that” unwanted event may mean to you. Rather than let yourself be dragged off into another endless cavern of dark thoughts, add this Light: If confusion comes from having no direction, then how can it provide one? It can’t. See this and drop it in favor of true clarity, even if it means temporarily being without knowing what to do about your confused state.
3. Refuse to Excuse what the Light Reveals: Any sense of our self that wants to justify or otherwise explain away some shadow or darkness that we see in ourselves, is itself a part of the reaction to what has been revealed. As such, this level of reactive self is rooted in a secret vanity that turns out to be a secret form of darkness in itself. Keep whatever it may be that you discover about yourself out in the light of your awareness of its actual nature. In the atmosphere of this special Inner Light what is true will flourish; what is false will fade.
4. Deny the Rush of Dark States: All forms of anxiety and worry are rooted in the unseen operation of the opposites in us. Our experience of this divided nature at work within us is the never-ending feeling that the sense of well being we long for is always somewhere “just ahead.” So we rush from one imagined oasis to the next, reaching only our certainty that “this time” we were closer to realizing freedom. Remember, the light never rushes anywhere because it is already everywhere. Bring this new understanding into the rush within you and watch it slow to a stop.
5. Remember the Light: Getting us to dwell on how dark we feel at any given moment is just one of the ways in which the unseen forces of darkness work within us to convince us that our lives are without Light and — in some dramatic cases — that such a Light has never existed. Rubbish! All we need to do in dark moments of feeling abandoned by the Light is to remember this: The Light we long for is never farther from us than our wish to stand within it. Then we need only to come wide awake, make this wish with all our heart, and watch the darkness start to disappear.