Last week I offered you First steps to build your mind.
This week I am offering you first steps to build your spirit.
Why build your spirit?
Because the world needs your light.
To become light
we have to fight the darkness in ourselves.
The constructive part of our mind
needs to become stronger than the destructive part.
We must shift the inner balance of power in our favor.
Thus, the first steps to build our spirit
are actually the same
as the first steps to build our mind.
But how do we then build up our spiritual strength?
What strengthens our spirit
Light coming from God
and from the constructive part of ourselves and others.
Here is a passage from the Bible (John 12:35-36 )
that strengthens my spirit every morning when I read it:
Jesus said to them: The light is with you for a little longer.
Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you;
he who walks in darkness does not know where he goes.
While you have the light, believe in the light,
that you may become sons of light.
Quakers speak of Inner Light, or Inward Light,
which is the direct awareness of God
that allows a person to know God’s will for him or her.
God is in every man is a key teaching,
and that having the Inner Light
should lead to working for the good of others.
Yes, this is what it means
to be the light the world needs!
As Emerson puts it:
The man is only half himself,
the other half is his expression.
we are not pans and barrows,
nor even porters of the fire and torch bearers,
but children of the fire, made of it.
What qualities build our light?
Gratitude and forgiveness.
Developing these qualities
is what allows the light to shine from our eyes.
Every morning let us give thanks for the new day!
Let us begin each day grateful to God for our life,
for whatever level of health we have,
for the people we love,
for whatever home and food we have,
for our families,
and our world!
Let us bring a grateful heart
into each new day,
realizing each day is a gift.
For more on gratitude,
please see my previous post
How can I become a more grateful person?
Becoming more grateful prepares our hearts
and leads us in the direction of forgiveness.
Becoming a forgiving person
does more to open us to the light
than anything else I know.
Only a forgiving person is capable
of building relationships that last–
in love, in work, in the community.
In person or online.
A forgiving person sees all persons–
as both constructive and destructive.
The balance of power between them
is different in each individual.
To become a forgiving person,
we must be able to find the best in others
(and in ourselves)
and forgive the worst in them (and in ourselves.)
We must pray for the person who is hurting us.
Then stop them!
By setting the boundary where it is needed.
Who is the main person you most need to forgive?
(And be grateful for…)
I hope you will see my previous post
What is the most important relationship in my life?
Living in the light
Some people are living in light,
some are living in darkness,
and most of us are somewhere in between.
Wherever we are on that spectrum,
let’s move a little more toward the light!
Let me ask you this:
Do you know a person who glows?
One whose eyes shine with so much light and love
that you can feel it when they walk in the room?
The first such person I think of is Dolly Parton.
That woman has spirit.
She is living in light.
Actually, she IS light.
That woman lights up the world
with her songs, her love, her caring presence.
What she and all others who glow have in common is:
They have more light in them than darkness.
But you probably also know someone who does not glow.
Whose eyes do not shine with light and love.
They walk in the room and you can feel their inner misery.
The lights have gone out, and they look empty.
I won’t name anyone who is like this, but I’m sure you can.
What all those walking shadows have in common is:
They have more darkness in them than light.
We are all vulnerable
No one glows all the time,
though some people are extremely good at acting
and can keep up quite a show.
We are all vulnerable to losing our spirit.
It is a daily battle.
What is important to realize
Is that we are never helpless in this battle.
There are many things we can do
to strengthen our constructive and positive inner self
so that we become less vulnerable to inner (or outer) attack.
We can develop gratitude and forgiveness.
And we can pray.
Pray that we can BE the light.
That we can BE the fire.
That we can light the spark of life and hope in others.
Find the best, forgive the rest,
and BE the little bird
in these words of Paul Dunbar:
It is a little dark still,
but there are warnings of the day,
and somewhere out of the darkness,
a bird is singing to the Dawn.