Light & the Divine Surrounding & Inhabiting All Beings

By defining our bodies as specially organized light, physicist David Bohm is employing the metaphor of the Divine that may be the oldest and the most universal of all metaphors for God: That of light. 

Relief representations of Horus and the Sun Disk at the Komombo temple, Aswan, Egypt. Photo by Dennis Jarvis on Flickr.

From the ancient tombs of the Egyptian dead, to Buddha who is “always shining, always emitting light,” to Buddha’s admonition to be “lamps unto yourselves;” to the Christ’s words that “I am the light” and Jesus admonishing us not to “hide your light under a bushel,” to Hinduism’s celebration of Brahman as light: “The cosmic waters glow.  I am Light!  The light glows.  I am Brahman!”  

In this ancient tradition light is both around us and within us, both transcendent and immanent. 

There is a Light that shines above this heaven, above all worlds, above everything that exists in the highest worlds beyond which there are no higher-this is the Light that shines within man. 

Flowering trees dancing with Light. Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

The oldest creation story in the Jewish Bible honors God as “clothed in majesty and glory, wrapped in a robe of light!” (Ps 104) and Moses experienced God in a burning bush.    

  Of course, given today’s science, we all know that every bush is a burning bush.  Just as every body is a burning body, because every atom in the universe contains photons or light waves that are present in all things. 

Science helps to democratize the experience of the burning bush, the experience of the Divine presence as light, the experience of the Cosmic Christ or Buddha Nature or Image of God everywhere.

Humans are indeed illuminated beings who live alongside other illuminated beings.  As Hildegard of Bingen put it:

I, the fiery life of divine wisdom, I ignite the beauty of the plains, I sparkle the waters, I burn in the sun, and the moon, and the stars.

And in all material beings on earth.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp.151f. 

And Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells, pp. 61-70.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Morning Shining.” Photo by Kiochi Hayakawa on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize every bush as a burning bush and every being as a burning being, yourself included and Mother Earth included and each creature on her included?  What follows from that?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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9 thoughts on “Light & the Divine Surrounding & Inhabiting All Beings”

  1. Avatar

    As humans, we are unique, in the way in which we can express the diverse unlimited potential of this unmanifested light of the Divine, that is within the all and the everything; as we are determiner’s of this energy. Through introspection and intuition we become aware of this light that we hold within, and the mystery of this light that determines to birth itself into manifestation. Through meditation and contemplation we receive the knowledge and wisdom needed, in order to determine how to thoughtfully, with mindfullness make manifest this light. Through openhearted trust and innocence we learn to give from the true heart of this light, determining the movements of its outgoing continuous flow. Through the gift of illumination and enlightenment, we determine a vision of what we are to make manifest as revealed and made known to us, from the Great Mystery of this unmanifested potential of the Spirit of this eternal Divine Light.

    This is the life-long journey, the transformational process of our learning to become co-creators, given the unique gift of becoming and being consciously aware determiner’s, in partnership with this living presence and essence of eternal Divine Light, whom desires to make manifest a fuller expression and measure of the yet unmanifested potential already present, seeded and sealed within our humanity, the manifestation of our true divine nature.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Today you write, “Through meditation and contemplation we receive the knowledge and wisdom needed, in order to determine how to thoughtfully, with mindfulness make manifest this light.” I wanted to talk about two important ideas in Creation Spirituality. The first is as Eckhart wrote, “What we plant in the soil of contemplation we shall reap in the harvest of action,” Matthew begins in contemplation but then acts some way in the world–that is the way of what he calls “the Mystic-Prophet” and it is the way of the Via Transformativa. The second point I would make is that in Creation Spirituality we have a different approach to meditation than most traditions. Matthew makes a distinction between what he calls, “introvert meditation” and “extrovert meditation.” Introvert meditation he sees as Via Negativa practice–this is what most people think of when they think of meditation–sitting meditation, where one concentrates on one’s breath or a mantra, etc. Extrovert meditation on the other hand, is a Via Creativa practice–this is what Matthew also calls “art-as-meditation” which is active because we are creating–whether it be in painting, writing and music, or cooking, gardening, or hiking. I write these things so you will have a better idea of what meditation means in Creation Spirituality, and what comes from it…

  2. Avatar

    My sense is that we are actually saying the same thing, however from a different angle. The extroverted creative action in the process I spoke of within my comment comes from following through, with determination, on all that one has experienced through each step of the determining process. This process helps one to learn to determine one’s part, which co-creatively contributes to the larger vision of the Great Spirit, whom desires to assist us in co-creatively manifesting this yet umanifested potential of Divine Light.

    What I call co-creative determining and what you call the via creativa, I do believe are in agreement with one another, as they both involve an introverted and an extroverted active participation, cooperation, and collaborative relationship of communion with, the One whom is the source of this greater vision of Divine Light that desires to be made manifest within, for and through humanity. The process of determining this, which I spoke of in my comment, refers to how we can come into alignment, balance and harmony with this larger vision; by firstly determining one’s part to contribute and then following through on this, in order to birth forth this yet unmanifested potential from within, for the greater good of the whole. Without this clarity, and the means and process of arriving to this, humanity determines its own vision of reality, which is out of balance, harmony and alignment with the greater vision of that which is to be realized, that which the Great Spirit desires for us.

  3. Avatar

    For people who are “intuitive introverts,” the ONLY way to access their deeper understanding of issues in order to act upon them and create from them, is to withdraw into themselves and let the information sink down into the unconscious layers of the brain. This takes time for it to process, like water seeping into the ground. Extroverted people often get impatient with introverts and just silence their input. They also often mistake the delayed timing of responses from intuitive introverts as demonstrations of stupidity. It doesn’t help that extroverts are the most highly valued and rewarded employees in our materialistic, fast-paced, time-is-money workplace. Their voices are amplified and celebrated, while the thoughtful, measured, creative and quieter voices of intuitive introverts are bulldozed over.
    Intuitive introverts use their “time within” to step inside the idea or problem, rest within it, let it sink deeper into inner layers of themselves, let it seep into all the hidden nooks and crannies of their innermost layers of processing, let it keep flowing and processing, hidden and silent, until they receive images and intuitions, feelings and nudges, hints and flashes of insight blossoming up from their inner selves. The more variety and richness of depth of information and ideas they process, the richer the intuitions that flow upwards. It takes time for this, but artists, writers, musicians, poets, and mystics seem to make it worth the wait.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Melinda, When Paul likened the Church to the “Body of Christ,” he said like a body, it has many members, with none being unimportant. He says, “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you” nor again the head of the feet, “I have no need of you”–meditate on chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians where Paul speaks of “viva la difference.” But I think you’re right–sometimes the extroverts need to give up the microphone to the introverts–we need to be inspired by what they are hearing. Again the ideal is to be a “mystic-prophet”–a balance of the two…

  4. Avatar

    How appropriate that this meditation is on Dec 13th. In the Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Dec. 13 is the feast of Lucy of Syracuse. In Sweden they celebrate St. Lucia day with the eldest daughter wearing a crown of lit candles signifying that the light is returning.
    Coincidentally, my group chose Saying #24 from the Gospel of Thomas to do a Lectio Divina on.
    His students said to him, “Take us to the place where you are, since we are required to seek after it.”
    He answered them, “Whoever has an ear for this should listen carefully!
    Light shines out from the center of a being of light and illuminates the whole cosmos.
    Whoever fails to become light is a source of darkness.”
    To me a clear reference to the Big Bang. The light of God’s creation flowing into the universe.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Daniel, Thank you sooo much for your comment. I was once involved in a St. Lucia celebration myself… very beautiful…

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