A search for the Inner Light

There is a creature, which takes in ideas just as it takes in vegetables, processing them and continually changing. It is made in the image of God, so is loving, creative, powerful, beautiful. It shines.

I don’t give up until I am dangling on the end of a rope. I was helping build something, struggling to do the work as quickly as the experienced man I was working with, and my boot slipped on wet metal. The safety harness caught me and I was in mid-air, arm covered with bruises, shouting. I had not before realised how much I devote myself to that which I devote myself. My ardour has achieved worthwhile things and got me into trouble.

The creature does not know itself, but does not need to. It simply is.

When I was suicidal, one of the ways I argued myself out of it was to consider the beauty of my hand. I did not like to hurt a spider: how could I kill my hand? Then I left the office at lunchtime, planning to go home, leave the door on the latch, and take a hot bath, hot chocolate and my sleeping pills. I sat in my living room and realised I did not want to kill myself, just to get out of that situation now. The unconscious and conscious self had communicated. I did what I wanted, and understood it after. I find what I want when I see what I do, often. I wanted that, but I only realised looking back.

I realised aged twenty that I saw myself as utterly worthless and at the same time as the centre of the Universe. Neither self-image is true. If every insight I gain is proof of my stupidity- why did I not think of that before?- it is a sign my inner critic is too harsh. I realised I compared myself with Perfect Me, which wanted what I ought to want and achieved it without effort. I trailed after it through deep mud which it skated over, being illusory so weightless.

If all my inner light can say is NO how can it be other than worthless? Why was she born at all? Is it Light or illusion? I had the sense of a vulnerable part, in a locked chest in a locked room in a locked house on a moor I never visited. Then on 14 February 1999 when I was Born Again I let her out. How could she be a Real Me? She was clearly too flighty or ridiculous or stupid or worthless or unable to do the right thing to have any value at all. So all I could say from my heart and integrity was NO.

And yet. When I fought to keep up in that safety harness, I was doing what I wanted to do, in that moment. The understanding which I could state, to you or to myself, appears to be a discrete part of me that devalues this- whatever-it-is. Real me. Vulnerable bit. Despised curse. Light.

I write, and I want to understand with words. There is a wordless understanding, which is present, which is confident that it sees what is, and a verbal understanding. When I know I do not understand I may grope my way to greater understanding. Conscious and unconscious, verbal and non-verbal, dance together in increasing understanding, for I want to understand. And the “I” writing here is the conscious I, and there is a- chimera? A Real Me, dancing, just out of view.

A poem can emerge almost full-formed in my mind, and the Greeks said it must be inspiration by a muse. I can stand in worship and minister and say words I would not have thought of saying. What is speaking is Christ Within, or the Inner Light, or the Best of me, my essence, my truth. I can write a poem then run from it, fear its implications, understand it years later.

The safety harness story is from 2015. It is practised. I can tell it easily even if I do not understand it fully with my verbal self. And I am depressed. So many colours form when you do not clean the basin in the bathroom for a month! I really ought to. What would people think? And that does not motivate me at all. I have only illusions about what people would think, anyway.

Then I just clean it. This week. And I cannot tell you this story because I do not have a story yet. It does not seem like self-discipline suddenly winning through, because it seems to me that self-discipline is the problem. It seems that I cleaned the basin for the sheer joy of it, from my real self. I am in doubt and confusion.

A Friend gave me “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle and I have just found Jonice Webb. Reading helps. There is a creature, made in the Image of God, filled with love and ardour, need and desire. It is not Good as anyone understands Good, not even Quakers listening earnestly to the words of George Fox. I understand- Help my incomprehension! God in you understands too. Maturity is making the unconscious conscious.

I loved a line from Audre Lorde: The white fathers said, “I think therefore I am” but the Black mothers say “I feel so I can be free”. I identify my inner light with my emotional being. Perhaps this is because the emotional part is what I particularly work on, now, to bring into consciousness.

I had the thought that all the intellect and sensitivity, all the intelligence, I sense, belongs to me not to part of me, and can all be one.

Could I let go of my need for understanding and simply know? What would that look like? Is it like diving into water and swimming? It seems my conceptions and my need for them get in the way. I am reading and thinking. I hesitate to call it “praying”- perhaps I am thinking in a way which might lead to changing what I think. So this that I wrote two days ago is now not enough, and I want to reframe it.

2 thoughts on “A search for the Inner Light

  1. Your latest signal is acknowledged. As usual, it is full of thoughtful material. I was tempted to add “will sail to comply”. But then I noticed that, under God, we are steering different courses. So perhaps my signal is “Where From? Where bound?” You seem headed in an apophatic direction rather than a lee shore. So dance on rather than sail on.


    • Thank you. A lee shore, I remember from Hornblower, is a bad thing, limiting the courses available. And in Perelandra, God gave CS Lewis’ new Adam and Eve the command not to sleep on the single rocky island, rather than not to eat an apple.


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