Light and Darkness

light and darkRecently I have been reflecting on the contrast between light and darkness. At this time of year when in our northern hemisphere the days are getting shorter it focuses my awareness on light or the lack of it.

This interaction of light and darkness is present right from the beginning of the Bible. In the first day of creation light is separated from the darkness. This divine allegory of the spiritual creation of humankind begins with the coming of light or the enlightenment
of inner darkness. This dynamic is echoed throughout the Bible and in particular in the Christmas story with its theme of light coming into the darkness.

John’s Gospel reminds us of our spiritual creation when it starts with the words In the beginning was the Word. In John 1:5 we read

“the light shines in the darkness”.

This particularly struck me when I read it again recently; the light shines in the darkness. The presence of the darkness highlights or intensifies the presence of light. It reminds me of other contrasts between clarity and confusion, the unknown and the known or wisdom and ignorance. The light of truth shows up the darkness of ignorance, illusion and lack of loving kindness within the human spirit, mind and heart.

Our human understanding is limited to see just what is around us or just ahead. What the future might bring lies in the darkness and is unknown. Swedenborg expresses this in the following quotation:

“The first step is taken when we begin to realise that goodness and truth are something transcendent. People who focus exclusively on externals do not even know what is good or what is true; everything connected with self-love and love of worldly advantages they consider good, and anything that promotes those two loves they consider true. They are unaware that such “goodness” is evil and such “truth” false. When we are conceived anew, however, we first begin to be aware that our “good” is not good. And as we advance further into the light, it dawns on us that the Lord exists and that he is goodness and truth itself.”  (Secrets of Heaven: 20)

However, Divine Light raises up human reason into a greater light, bringing a higher perspective. And in its wake comes a deeper appreciation of the quality of Divine Love and the Divine Purpose for all humankind to be in loving connection that is The Way. Perhaps it is possible to see the experience of both light and darkness as a necessary part of the dance that is spiritual development. We are called to be children of the light and allow the light to be born in us and shine forth.

Copyright 2013 Helen Brown

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