by Éric Le Reste from The Daily Guardian
We have not been able to celebrate the festivals that mark the passing of the seasons with the pomp and show we usually do because of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic. It seems a good time to reflect on how to experience the inner celebration of Diwali to ignite and keep alight the light of the soul.
If we want our car to move, we have to start it by turning on the ignition. The ignition creates a spark that creates a contact and then there is power. In the same way, the spark of the soul creates life in the body. We become human beings. We love babies so much because we can almost see the soul through the eyes of a baby because there are no filters, just pure light. As the body begins to grow and experience one thing after another, the soul becomes more and more identified with the body and becomes almost caged in there.
We need a second ignition which we find when we begin a spiritual life. When I learnt about the light of the soul and the power and reality of the soul, it was like a second ignition. Suddenly I had a completely new perspective. I could see the connection between the soul and the body, I could understand the eternality of the soul. That was when the flame of the soul began to appear. However, the flame can easily be extinguished by the winds and storms out there in worldly life.
When I began, many years ago now, to embrace this wonderful and illuminating spiritual journey, I wanted to go and sit on a mountain and hold on to the experience so that the inner light could burn brightly and consistently. It took me a while to realise that the purpose of my life was to maintain a deep spiritual life while maintaining an active and successful professional life. I had to put the teachings into practice. It was only through this that I could teach those concepts and explain the teachings because it came from authenticity.
It became clear to me that one of the main values for keeping the flame alive was self-esteem. This was not something I could arrive at by going to a workshop or listening to a class. It is developed following a long succession of achievements. It is similar to going on a pilgrimage, for example. There are many steps on the way to the final goal, and yet each step has its own reward. Every step is meaningful.
In my own life, time is telling me to check the inner light, my own personal Diwali. I need to see that I am doing what needs to be done to be enlightened, to celebrate it internally by doing the inner work that is needed. I find that I am developing an authenticity that does not have to prove anything, that there is a surprising humility, and I do not have to defend or pretend. I need less from others. I listen to others more easily and give them the respect they deserve.
This light cannot be sustained only by myself. There is a Supreme light, a Supreme Soul, and what helps me to keep my own inner light bright and shining is my connecting with that Supreme light. If it were not for this amazing relationship with God, this extremely powerful and immensely loving Supreme Being, I would have lost courage and my inner light would not have kept burning. May this year be a time of an inner celebration of Diwali.
Eric Le Reste is a journalist and producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and coordinates the activities of Brahma Kumaris centres in Canada.