Tulsa, Oklahoma is where I was born and raised, and — back in those days — every summer brought evangelical tent Revivals to town. My parents were not only ‘not religious’ people, they were non religious Jewish people. They were also open-minded liberals, though, so if I wanted to go with neighbors to the Revivals, they let me. And I did. I didn’t understand the premise of sermons or much of what was said, but I loved the passionate singing and dancing and bursts of “Hallelujahs!” (though I shouted ‘hallelulu’ :P) My two favorite songs from those days are still two of my favorite songs: This Little Light of Mine, I’m Going To Let It Shine and Amazing Grace (I once was lost and now am found. Was bound and now am free.)
Back then, while I loved singing the songs, I didn’t understand the meaning of those lyrics. Not like I do, today. First, I had to live through some “lost” times. I had to experience my light “hidden” and feel my way through darkness.
Those who read my book (see: Care and Feeding of Dragons) know that I lived my “Dark Night of the Soul” as a street-kid on the streets of Chicago and Toronto. During those two years, I wandered adrift, like a feather on the wind. I was blind in many ways to the inner world of my Soul and the meaning of Life’s events. Still, my inability to see never inhibited a guiding force from keeping me safe from the many harms that can occur in that culture… and never stilled a soft urging of encouragement to better choices. I just didn’t see or hear them behind the confusion that curtained my access to light.
As a street-kid, I lived the Jungian metaphor of the “dark night of the soul” in a more concrete and literal manner than most, but the meaning led to the same awareness: When we are asleep in darkness, the curtains have to be pulled back to let the light in to help us awaken.
As far as I can tell, this awakening project is all about bringing light into places within the psyche rift with shadow and dissolving the flawed constructs of belief that inhibit the flow of light and love. And it is a process. I have yet to meet anyone who was immediately “enlightened” by an experience. Rather, I find many who open incrementally to expanded states of awareness through the commitment to awakening.
So, for my many peeps who journey this path with me, this is the latest nugget of insight in my Life to share with you in the hopes it brings greater light into yours:
The mind does not live in the brain. It abides in the heart. The mind does not function through logic and detachment. It functions through connection and intuition. Through the awakening of the heart-mind, we realize the connections of light and love that imbue life with vitality.
Rumi says, “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” This knowing, my friends, is the doorway out of every dark night of the soul and into amazing Grace.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!
I love you. Thank you.