“… whose only beacon
is this unlit light”
Although it might seem to be the case if the three little words are taken literally and out of context, THIS UNLIT LIGHT does not refer to some kind of light – mystical or mundane – that needs to be lit, like a candle or a light bulb. In some scriptures there are references to mystical light that must be lit, but that’s not what is referred to here. Let’s be clear about this beloveds, so that we’re dancing on the same page.
The phrase “this unlit light”, as I use it, refers to a light whose brilliant origin cannot be found – a light that was already alight prior to the “big bang” moment, and every moment imagined, dreamed, or experienced in any way by anything possessing sentience. It’s described as “unlit” because it has never been ‘turned-on’ or ‘lit’ by any known technology, mental or otherwise.
This self-luminous light is sometimes called transparent, nondual present awareness; it is seamlessly intimate to every sentient being – so close it cannot be perceived, yet present as the awareing of every perception.
“this unlit light” points to the luminous clarity of awareness that knows, and in which knowing all existence and experience are birthed and named, even as it remains unmoved. Actually, to say that it “knows” is a step too far. (Even to say it “alights” is untrue, for it does n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Words about the ineffable are automatically a contradiction in terms.)
If readers of this little blog have scrolled down to the bottom of the page they will have come upon these words from J Krishnamurti – they have been there since its launch 3 years ago –
A mind that is awake, intelligent, free, why should it need,
why should it have, any “experience” at all?
Light is light; it does not ask for more Light.
Light is light. Nothing is required for this light to be alight; both darkness and brilliance are as its shadow.
“this unlit light” – like Bankei’s “Unborn mind” – is right now awareing these strings of words displayed on this brightly lit screen. Simply awareing. Not judging, reacting or even understanding; not labeling or seeking meaning. Those functions are the province of thought and memory – and the miraculous movement of creative story-smithing. Stories are without number, and if one of them includes the need for the Great Light to be lit, no problem – enjoy the dance!
It might sound outrageous and irreverent, but “this unlit light” couldn’t give a toss about nonduality or any other philosophy. It couldn’t care less whether we’re spaced-out in the absolute, or beavering away heart-fully in the relative, or perfectly aligned in wisdom-compassion. It couldn’t care less whether we’re a hip Advaita teacher or a fierce dispeller of ignorance, a serenely blissful yogini or a story-sabotaged suffering seeker. It’s utterly unaffected.
It simply abides. Receiving everything; rejecting nothing.
That’s why it’s felt as unconditional Love; that’s why it’s called Beloved.
Your true nature is something never lost to you,
even in moments of delusion,
nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment.
It is the nature of your own mind,
the source of all things,
your original luminous brilliance.
You, the richest person in the world,
have been going around laboring and begging,
when all the while the treasure you seek is within you.
It is who you are.
~ Huang Po
SIMPLY REST IN THIS PURE DIAMOND-LIKE AWARENESS – TRANSPARENT, YET REFLECTING THE ENTIRE MIRAGE OF CREATION
Dedicated, with deep appreciation, to
Ah, miriam louisa – you have crafted yet another magnificent expression of the ineffable nature of Reality. And yet, expressions can only be penultimate at best, since non-expression is also emblematic of “this unlit light”.
Reality is inevitable and forever beyond description. It tries to defeat itself by pretending to be something, anything, everything, nothing. That pretense is also intrinsic. All manifestation is “as if” ONLY. The only thing that will not disappear is that which is incapable of disappearing – Reality. That’s us!
Ah, Willie R – superb comment, thank you. Indeed: expression, non-expression, pretense and manifestation – where would it all be without – US?
“It tries to defeat itself by pretending to be something, anything, everything, nothing.” – a nice concept summing up the apparent game. The “as if” – and “us” – stories are created, the lights go up on the playing field, and something we call ‘It’ plays hide and seek with itself.
Yet “this unlit light” awares all, unmoved and unmoving, doing nothing – not even witnessing. That’s US!
In great joy
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Ah, yes! Beauitful Miriam! Shine on, shine on, shine on…
Thank you dear Ben – and sorry for the delayed response.
I’d been ready to change the blog sub-title for a while, just awaiting the perfect phrase – your words were the inspiration I sought!
Shining on ~ ml 🙂
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