This Little Light of Mine
The book has been in good company for quite a while now, residing in my “books to read” basket with waaaayyy more than a few others. My kindred bibliophiles won’t even raise an eyebrow at the fact I’ve bought and read many others since placing it there. It’s not that I’d given it a poor potential ranking, others just jumped the line again and again. Until this morning. I awoke with familiar but not always successful summer break intentions: 3-4 mile beach walk to get the flow going, some beach yoga, meditation, reading, and then writing. I loaded up the car and went to grab a book. Chair, beach bag, towels, water, journal, pen, book, ✔️.
I arrived grateful for a scant Monday beach crowd. A gentle sea breeze quickened my step and before I thought to pay attention to how far I’d gone, I was 2 miles in, so it was time to turn around. Five coquina hearts caught my eye on the way back as well as some nice sized white cockles destined to be messenger shells, little love buoys for whatever beachgoer needs to find them. Yoga and meditation completed, I was ready to read. I think I actually got the book, “The 72 Names Of God, Technology for the Soul™” at a leave one-take-one shelf in the library of a cruise ship a few years ago. Before you stop reading, or think I’m going somewhere you’d rather not hitch a ride to, it’s not a book about religion. It is a book about spirituality, and the school of thought/discipline of Kabbalah. I’ll leave you to Google this school of Jewish mysticism, just as I did, since I knew next to nothing about it, except for the fact that maybe Madonna liked it and there might be a red string bracelet involved. My interest was further piqued by the author’s dedication, which reads ” For Josh, may The 72 Names of God give you the power to be your best self.” My inner voice immediately reminded me that I desire that power as well, so I started reading. Nothing radical, no anti-this group, pro-that group or elitist messages. I liked what I was hearing. The author speaks of connecting to our own light, shining it on the darkness of the world, increasing our consciousness, and showing unconditional kindness. All good stuff in my opinion. In addition, he clearly advises if the book doesn’t speak to you, that you should throw it in the trash. I admire that brand of humility.
As a Montessori trained educator, I espouse the belief that each of us, along with every other living thing, has a cosmic purpose and it’s our work, our mission in this life to find that purpose and contribute positively to our planet, so I also connected with the fact that the author states the point of life as:
“The purpose of your existence is to allow the full intensity of the Light to shine in your life and in this world.” No matter your profession, ” you have 2 ways to carry out your work and conduct your life:
- Through your ego, doubting or oblivious to the Light, considering only yourself.
- Through the humility of your soul, constantly finding the Light and considering the needs of others.”
#2 obviously makes for a better world in my book.
The message I was taking away so far is that we have to uncover the Light in a world that can seem filled with darkness. Similar to the saying “Every day isn’t good, but there is good in every day”. One of my writer idols, the poet/photographer Tyler Knott Gregson calls those of us who look for that light and seek to share it, “Chasers of the Light”. (He has a lovely book by the same name!)
When I’m not walking the beach or writing, I teach 6th grade and have the words “We Are Here To Shine” on one of my classroom walls. I usually do a star theme each year and consider it one of my goals to help each student discover their individual light and shine. I’m not Jesus, so it doesn’t always work, but each August I choose to believe I can make some sort of positive difference and I do it again. This cyclical yearly process that I and all dedicated teachers go through is the same process that all humans must go through on a daily basis if we want to achieve the kind of life of Light that the author of this book illustrates, where our perception of the ratio of light/dark allows us to smile more than cry, laugh more than frown, trust more than worry, feel that our lives are purposeful, that we are loved and that we matter.
Yehuda Berg, author of “The 72 Names of God” advises the reader to begin using the book by flipping through and choosing one name/one page that speaks to a desire we might be feeling at that moment. I chose Recapturing the Sparks. The introduction drew me in as it talked about spiritual Light containing all of the “intangible qualities” we all seek; joy, happiness, peace of mind, prosperity, wisdom, freedom, enlightenment and purpose. The challenge is to not allow the negatives in our lives and the world and our reactions to them to rob us of our sparks of light. A simple concept really, not a new idea at all. Just a conscious choice we must continually make to react in the least negative way that is humanly possible.
Life sucks ass sometimes. Awful, horrendous things occur. People suffer greatly. But you know what? Each one of us has a light inside of us. Even when darkness or evil has taken up residence in the minds of humans whose “light”, for whatever reason, has been flipped off, Light still trumps dark. You can’t shine darkness into Light. Light illuminates. Darkness can cover, but it can’t erase the existence of Light. Like one candle that lights another and then another, we must shine our Lights, illuminating others, lighting the way with kindness, doing 6th grade math and increasing that ratio of light to dark in our own little corners of the world. And do you know what could happen? It could become exponential. Which is even bigger and better than viral! Light could trump dark to the umpteenth zillionth power. Heaven on Earth. This little light of mine, I’m gonna do my best to let it shine! (Remember, I’m not Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, or Mother Teresa!)
Let yours shine! Let yours shine! Let yours shine!
Peace and Love ❤
All quotations and my personal assumed knowledge/ understandings are from “The 72 Names of God, Technology for the Soul, Yehuda Berg, Kabbalah Publishing, ©2003 Kabbalah Centre International.