History, metaphorically, has been colored by the goodness of light. There is arguably a moral overtone in past events. (1) We would rather have a bright and sun-filled day than one infused with gloom and overcast. Many religious people believe that we will eventually be summoned into the light. (2) Why is luminescence so important to all of us? On a simple level, it gives energy to our earth and encourages growth — flourishing in all living things.
An absence of light does just the opposite. It slowly stunts and eventually kills. The threat of nuclear war, for example, holds a terror for many because it speaks to our fear of cancer and a slow and lingering death. In reality, even limited nuclear war will thrust tremendous amounts of dust into the atmosphere, thus beckoning a nuclear winter.
In our most recent past, we had conditions similar to this event. Between the 13th and 19th centuries, the world experienced a Little Ice Age. (3) What followed were centuries of starvation, depopulation, and societal collapse. This event, of course, was natural and there was nothing that could have been done. Our present circumstance is different. War, and all its ensuing chaos, is man-made.
There is no such thing as a just war. (4) All conflicts can truly be resolved through dialogue. We can attempt to live a light-inspired existence with our fellow man. That said, there is always a plethora of dark forces arraigned before us. Many are created by our own desire and hubris. Surely in the 21st century, we can find another way forward.
As a great many great scholars agree, everything begins with the self. I must make myself a vessel of light: I the Lord have made you a vessel of my purpose, I have taken you by the hand and kept you safe, and I have given you to be an agreement to the people, and a light to the nations. (5) This is independent of whether you are experiencing the darkest winter’s day or the unending sunshine of the desert.
This exercise begins in the morning with an expression of gratitude for being me and having my body — my temple in the world. It then extends to thankfulness for my social circumstance, no matter how humble. Even in the most pernicious of prisons, you have been given another day of life, another opportunity to affect change.
And finally, there is the realization that I am a forward-looking creature. History has taught us that even the direst events can be turned into positive and edifying experiences. (6) It is in this way that mankind will come to resolve our ongoing conflicts and go towards the light, one person at a time. St. Thomas Aquinas (7) leaves us with a thought: Further, nothing, except sin, is contrary to an act of virtue. But war is contrary to peace. Therefore war is always a sin.
A closing thought: Many sleep experts tell us that we should sleep in a darkened room and then awaken at the first light of dawn. There is something magical about the beginning of the day, the first glow of light. I watched a sunrise from the top of a high mountain. It was overwhelming how quickly the fingers of light rushed across the ground. The experience reminded me of the speed of light and how if I can catch its energy, I too can share goodness, peace, and love with the world. All human beings deserve to live positive, peaceful, light-filled lives. The effort simply lies with me. I must be an example of what I believe. From Gandhi: My life is my message.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about living a positive and peaceful life.
To be noted: From Krishnamurti (7) — You are me; I am you. That’s a fact. The world is me and I am the world. I don’t like to accept that, but it is a fact. When I kill an Arab or a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindu or a communist, whatever it is, I am killing myself. I wonder if you realize this, basically. It’s a tremendous thing to realize this. Not intellectually, but deep down in your blood. Then you will not kill a thing. You follow? Then you will be no nationality. You are a human being.
Just for fun:
This week, on your peaceful walk, please ponder your own tranquil way in the world.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!
Quote: Peace begins in your own heart
4) There is no just war
5) Isaiah 42:6