On my recent teaching tour in the USA, I was driving with a student along the coast of California and noticed this amazing lighthouse. We stepped out to look around and take some pictures. I noticed that the lighthouse was falling apart and not working anymore, and realized that this was a wonderful metaphor for our spiritual practice.
As practitioners of a spiritual practice, we have to be like a lighthouse. We just shine the great bright light of our true identity out into the world so that others can see their own inner light. A lighthouse doesn’t judge, label, or distinguish; it just shines out its light. Often, out of our ignorance, we judge, label, or distinguish how much light we want to give to others because of our likes and dislikes. But by doing this we start to move away from being an unconditional lighthouse which just shines no matter what.
However, as with this lighthouse in California, we need to look after our light. We need to keep practicing. This lighthouse shone its lights for many years yet no one was looking after it. And one day the lighthouse couldn’t shine its light any more. Thus even if we have rediscovered the inner great bright light of our true identity, we need to keep looking after it. We need to keep practicing, or else one day we might be just like this lighthouse and suddenly realize we are not shining anymore. Out of neglect, our light has gone dark.
The light of our true identity is the light of compassion and clarity. But if we cover it up with ignorance, we can not shine anymore, let alone help others to safety by remembering their true identity. If we keep practicing, keep moving deeper into the light of compassion and clarity, we can help ourselves and others remember and connect with our true identity and keep shining on.Photo by the author.
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