You Are the Light | by Catherine Shainberg, Ph.D. | December 2023

You are the Light.

This is not just a metaphor or a comforting reassurance.  It is a fact.  It is of great significance, understanding this fact.  It means that your essence arose from Light – “And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.’”   Even science agrees:  creation began with an explosion of light and that means that your being is a product of that explosion of light, both in its origins and in its essence.  But it also speaks of our path as Dreamers.  As I wrote in The Kabbalah of Light:

“This is a tried and true path to enlightenment….This Kabbalah of dreaming is also called the Kabbalah of Light – unique among other forms of Kabbalah, in that it limits its practice to imagination…. to access higher levels of consciousness.”

At a time of year when we are all keenly aware of the seasonal changes in light, where we approach the nadir of the dark,  we can have this profound remembrance of Light as the source, the means and the end of our journey as travelers though life. I am writing to remind us not to lose our way nor to lose heart –  not to become overwhelmed, distracted or deceived by the appearance of things, not to forget what it means to be Light.

The Light is in you and you are of the Light.  What are we forgetting?

Let’s look to the cycles of nature. We think of the diminishing and increasing light of the seasons as something external to us – something which impacts us rather than something we co- create. But our traditions – Hanukah, Christmas – tell us otherwise. We must ignite the light even as we travel through times of deepest darkness, in nature and in the world of human events. We are co-creators.  As in the story of Hanukah, celebrated this week, that speaks about war and victory wrestled from the darkness, of miracles and of gratitude wrenched from the claws of desolation, we must ignite the light within our inner temple and keep it alight until we have traversed to the day when a new world order will arise out of the ruins of the old. If we are Christians we must bring our three Kings –  the body, the heart and the mind – to focus on our inner star.  We must keep the trust that Hanukah, the feast of the lights, and Christmas, the feast of the child of light within each one of us, remind us of. “For those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them a light will shine.” (Isaiah 9:2, NLT)

We are surrounded by bad news.  War, shootings, diseases, corruption, deception –  these seem to be our daily fare.  When faced with this onslaught most humans react with fear, anger or both. Compounding this is our personal experience,  with our own past traumas and unfulfilled hopes.  We must face these, too, and clear out the fear, anger, and disappointment we carry on our own shoulders,  for left unattended these set in motion all forms of evil. And reinforcing that, we erect shields, armors, walls of separation, intensifying the evil and branding others as oppressors and us as victims. We cannot let ourselves be tempted to vilify the other. Instead, we must drop our armor, release our constriction and fear, and trust that the light will guide us to respond equitably, compassionately, and in balance. The answer is within each one of us.

We often forget that we are all part of a unified field (I call it the DreamField) that runs through us. Genesis describes it as the great river rising out of the deep and irrigating the Garden, flowing into the four great tributaries to the North, South, East and West.  This great river  irrigates all lands and oceans, all living beings, including us humans. So, what are we doing fighting each other? What are we doing, forgetting about the Light we are?

If indeed each of us bathes in this unified field –  the great river –  through our dreams and images from which creation springs, re-forms and transforms constantly, each of us has an active part to play in the tikkun (correction) of the world. If we really believe in the power of a collective subconscious, below the personal, familial or tribal associations, we must each take on the mantle of responsibility not only for ourselves, but for all that affect us and all the we affect – others and the world around us. Understanding that this unified field responds to us and we to it, in endless interactive play, we are each and every one of us responsible for taking on an active role, trusting that we can make a difference in bringing back to ourselves and to the world the order and sanity we all crave.

Do not doubt that our work of personal tikkun plays an active and transformative role in the tikkun of the world. If we continue to blame others for our fears and anger we will contribute negatively to our own, our community’s and the world’s future. If, as did the Maccabees, we trust in the power of tikkun to reach sanity, order and peace, we will add our light to the illumination of the great Tree of Life.

When faced with the apparent absence of light, look within. Light will appear because You are the light. Use your inner light to ignite the Tree of Life  (Menorah tree or Christmas tree).  Inner activism is as important as outer activism.

Exercise | Lighting the Tree of Life

Close your eyes, breathe out 3 times counting from 3 to 1, seeing the numbers. See the 1 as tall, clear and bright.

Imagine that on the longest darkest night of the year you stand at the foot of the Tree of Life. You can barely distinguish its silhouette, but you can smell its aroma and touch its bark.

Breathe out. Look up into the sky, stretch your arm up to find your star and catching a spark from its light, ignite the candle in your heart.

Breathe out. Take your candle from your heart and as you climb up the tree light the candles on each branch of the Tree.

Breathe out. Light the star at the summit of your tree.

Breathe out. As you come down touch your flame to the lit star at the top of the tree, and to each lit candle, until the spark in your hand has become a huge and shining light.

Breathe out. Standing at the foot of the Tree, put the huge and shining light into your heart. Now that the Tree and your heart are lit up, what happens when you look at the Tree?

Breathe out. Open your eyes.

Let us join with all the people in the world longing for sanity and peace, who are willing to sweep away their doubts, put aside their fears and hostile belief systems. Let us hold hands and let our hearts shine. Together we can repair the world.

Happy Feast of Light,