Few things are mentioned in connection with the Divine as often as love and light. Since we can express love ourselves, we appreciate it more readily. But light can tell us a great deal about the Divine, the universe and our own true nature. Light has several meanings in spiritual teachings, but science has recently contributed information that can take our understanding even further.
In Christianity, the contrast between light and darkness are often used to symbolize the duality of good and evil. John 3:20-21 reads in part, “For everyone who does evil hates the light. . .But he who does what is true comes to the light.” Light is also used as a metaphor for God’s word as Psalm 119:105 makes clear, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount likens light to good works that reflect God’s love, “You are the light of the world. . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16) But the meaning changes when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jesus wasn’t saying he was special; he was inviting everyone to have the same realization he had and recognize they were also the ‘light of life.’ The theme that light and life are the same is seen in many spiritual traditions.
In Christian gnostic writings, the Divine is often described in terms of life-giving “perfect light.” The Secret Book of John explains, “The One is the immeasurable light. . .Not that the One possesses this. Rather, the One gives immeasurable and incomprehensible light.” These words reflect the sentiments of the Katha Upanishad written about 1500 years before Jesus, “There shines not the sun, neither moon nor star, nor flash of lightening, nor fire lit on earth. The Self is the light reflected by all. [Source] shining, everything shines after him.”
Science is also beginning to think about light in new ways that support the observations of spiritual sages. We usually think about light in terms of the energy released from stars that illuminates our world, and we use the speed of light as a measure to help define the parameters of space/time. But it’s also becoming evident that light serves as a foundation or matrix for the material portion of the universe.
The “zero-point field” is the name scientists give to the 2/3 of our universe they once thought was taken up by a vacuum or empty space. Instead, they’ve discovered a field of quantum light energy so potent, the energy contained in a single cubic meter has the potential to boil all the water in the oceans of the world. Although classical physics assumes that all matter has mass, new quantum theories propose that mass is an illusion created by the light energy of the zero-point field. Simply put, we live in a universe of quantum light.
This theory finds surprising support in an ancient Jewish manuscript called the Haggadah, which reads, “The light created at the very beginning is not the same light emitted by the sun, the moon and the stars, which appeared on the fourth day.” An early gnostic writing, Creation of the World and the Alien Man agrees, saying, “There is no boundary for the light and it was not known when it came into being. Nothing was when light was not, nothing was when radiance was not, Nothing was when the Mighty Life was not, there never was a boundary for the light.” Rumi adds:
Concentrate on the Light…The light streams towards you from all things….One matter, one energy, one Light, one light-mind, endlessly emanating all things…Ground yourself, strip yourself down to blind loving silence. Stay there, until you see you are gazing at the Light with its own ageless eyes.
Scientists have also discovered that tiny particles of light, called biophotons are emitted by all living things. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus took this description a step further when he recognized the Divine quality of light:
If they say to you, “Where have your come from?” Say to them, “We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established itself, and appeared in their image.” If they say to you, “Is it you?”’ say, “We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.
Science is beginning to agree with spiritual masters who knew we are beings of light that are one with Divine light. But sages also tell us that something happened to diminish that light. The Gospel of Thomas says this problem occurred when we separated ourselves from oneness, “For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.” And the Dialogue of the Savior agrees, “As long as your hearts are dark, your light…is far from you.”
Although we’ve convinced ourselves we’re separate from Divine light, Rumi assures us, “There is a rope of light between your heart and Source that nothing can weaken or break, and it is always in His hands. That’s why masters like Jesus have told their followers not to “hide their light under a bushel” but to recognize their eternal oneness with Divine light. But the Divine light we radiate in this world is a reflection, not the light itself.
To BE light once again, we must return to oneness, return to our Source. Rumi spoke eloquently about our true nature as beings of Divine light when he said, “You think you are earthly beings, but you have been kneaded from the Light of Certainty. You are the guardians of God’s Light, so come, return to the root of the root of your own Self.” During Rumi’s last illness, a friend wished him a quick recovery. He answered, “Don’t you want the Light to unite with the Light?”
To learn more about science and spirituality, download sample chapters of our book The Beginning of Fearlessness: Quantum Prodigal Son, or sign up for a free video eCourse “Obstacles to Spiritual Growth” we invite you to visit http://www.thebeginningoffearlessness.com