Radiance

Listen to this post:

There are some things in life that have a certain quality that is attractive to most living beings. And by “attractive” I do not mean in a consumptive, possessive, sexual, I-want-to-have-a-full-blown-karmically-entangled-relationship way. This kind of attraction perks us up subtly. It nudges us to notice that some thing is reflective and is illuminating our own inner source back to us. This quality beckons us to recollect our inner light, our source of shine!

When an object is radiant, it tangibly emits light. It is lustrous! People can be like this as well; they can have a glow that permeates the field surrounding them. This light shines, even sparkles. The air around it dances and wakes up. There’s a palpable recognition of what the word “yes” feels like when it is embodied, when it has permission to live from within. For even a split second, regardless of what emotional or physical challenges we’re facing, we can sense a deeper truth about what is possible—for ourselves, our environments, and our relationships with one another. 

When present to radiance, it’s as if tiny electrical currents zap us into the now. It sings to us, “Hey, remember what things are supposed to be? It’s all possible! Don’t give up.” If radiance was a text message, I’d include a smiley face emoji with pink, flushed cheeks, and the one grinning ear-to-ear like a Cheshire cat with bursting stars for eyes. You get me. 

What you also likely get is that often, shortly after these moments of recognition of this saturation of a rainbow-prismed brilliance, a “Yes, but…” door slams closed on that feeling. We’re reminded, literally re-minded, of the litany of reasons we are not radiant, why we think the world is a bad place, or of all the reasons we are not like the shining, radiant, engrossing, person, place, or thing in which we just saw ourselves reflected. We unconsciously allow our thoughts to slide us back into a stream of wishing things were different than they are, or maybe why they cannot possibly be the way our heart desires them to be.

I often marvel when a friend, student, or stranger comments on my eyes, or skin, or even my physical space and feel “plugged into something.” We are taught, unless we had the good fortune of being raised in spiritually enlightened homes, that the “other” is responsible for us having the uplifting, enlivening feeling. But it is not any one individual, it is the universal field of Shakti (immanently experienced divinity through the infinitely creative Goddess) that those individuals are aligned with and riding. It is an all-pervading power that one can reside in by tapping into, and acting from, as the source of fuel for their highest creative unfolding. She is an abundant reservoir of supply, when honored and respected. 

Learning to do this is both entirely easy and requires consistent effort. As it is often taught, “The bird of liberation has two wings: effort and Grace.” We cannot fly without practicing flying. And we all need a little help. I will talk about effort, the aspect we decide. 

Effort, in its pure form, is not something we can purchase. It would have no meaning in our development if we could. Many businesses, teachers, schools, and religions would like us to conveniently believe we can buy our way to freedom. The atmospheric clutter and persistent static of social media can trick us into believing we’re making an effort to tap into our higher, more potent wisdom by reading memes and imbibing photos of someone or something other than us who we think knows better than we do. S T O P.

The truth is that the effort that will lead you to freedom, and your most radiant self, is most likely not the one your nervous system prefers. The effort that will lead you to freedom can be hard, especially early in the process. But like a mother figure who truly loves you and has your very best interests in mind, I can promise that if you begin to develop different, nonhabitual neural pathways, you will slowly and definitively move yourself toward that radiant, alive expression to which you are attracted. You will become the radiant, alive expression of “yes” you have felt when paused by encountering its splendor. 

I am Gen X, so the ways I do this are perhaps outdated to those of a younger generation who may be reading this! Though the principles can be applied to anything and will still result in good outcomes. These are some ways I make daily effort to align myself with Shakti’s power and its enveloping field of shimmering radiance:

Most importantly, I choose what I read. I don’t allow myself, as often as I consciously can, to be led. I lead. What you read is one of the most important diets you can follow! Words matter. Words create worlds. Content creators have mostly one intent in mind, to influence you into thinking you need them. You don’t. I select stories, books, and subjects that aim to create more of what I want to see created in our world. 

Secondly, I watch my thoughts. When I catch myself feeling dull or hopeless or pessimistic, I ask, “What am I thinking about?” Sometimes it is a simple thought, “I didn’t get enough done today.” Other times, I can recognize I’ve spent the the past hour down a rabbit hole of analyzing some public policy that hasn’t worked over the past umpteenth decade and wondering why politicians continue to push it as gospel? After the thought’s been seen, I  S T O P. 

I redirect my brain to choose any single action that will allow me to contribute to something, anything, I care about. Maybe it’s as simple as watering plants with the water I just rinsed my vegetables with (environmental). Or I might call a friend struggling with an illness (human connectivity). Sometimes it’s more involved, taking a dedicated block of time to write about or theme a class on the ways I will see our world become more functional for more people. I make a choice to redirect myself into a portal of creative possibility and remove myself from the dimming tunnel of tidal hopelessness. 

Though there are dozens more of these directional efforts I can think of, I want the last practice of this post to be the simplest and most practical: I watch my breath. In yoga, the breath is the Goddess Herself. It is the unyielding lifeforce that breathes us, sustains us, and loves us perpetually open from the inside out as well as the outside in. 

To watch your breath, S T O P. Relax your tongue. Let it float up softly from the floor of your mouth. Let it descend a touch from your upper pallet. Allow space to exist between your teeth and your tongue. Gently rest your two lips on top of one another, like a barely detectable kiss—an essence of touch. Notice the sensations elsewhere in your body as you create and hold space in the cavity of your mouth around your tongue. Now observe your breathing and rest your eyes for one minute. Even a split second of conscious awareness can open a door to the infinite radiance.

I ask one thing of you as I sign off from this blog reflection: Today or tonight I want you to look for radiance somewhere around you. It might be in your child’s eyes, or a pet’s. Maybe it is in a fully opened flower, or some other natural scape. It might be in a special piece of art or your own reflection in the mirror. Wherever you locate it reveals the eternal truth that radiance exists within–you cannot experience anything outside that you do not have and see within yourself. 

Now, I gently encourage you to recognize outer radiance as a daily practice. I enthusiastically cheer you on in remembering and associating yourself as this inner radiance of which you are made! 

Go S H I N E! 

Image credit: Nappy