What we must learn to develop more than anything else is the truest expression of who we are, our SQ, our soul quotient. Yes, we need to let it shine!
In honor of the holiday of lights, Chanukah, I may get a bit more spiritual than usual so hold on tight and stick with me. Of course, it all leads to a very grounded direction in living our lives. There’s no better way to give your brain muscles a healthy stretch.
Imagine you were to walk into a completely bare room and I were to ask you, “So what is in the room?” The answer would be, you! If I were to then walk into the room and ask you the same question again, “So now what is in the room?” The answer would be, you and me. Nothing too deep. This does reveal to us, though, what is so unique about light. If there is darkness in a room and you suddenly bring in some light, there won’t be darkness and light in the room, there will only be light. This demonstrates the power of light. Light is overwhelming, in a very good way.
In this scenario, we used the example of physical light. We all know, though, that light shows up in many different forms, not just physically. Did you ever ask someone to enlighten you? Enlighten you? What does that mean? It means giving you a new understanding about something that you may still be in the dark about. This new understanding enlightens you. In fact, not only are you enlightened, you are no longer in the dark. Not only are you no longer in the dark, you can’t turn the darkness back on. The new idea has enlightened you to the point of no return. You can no longer go back to the darkness you were in beforehand. I hope you’re grasping the power of all this.
There’s another level of light. Deeper than physical light and deeper than intellectual enlightenment, there is energetic enlightenment. What’s this? This is when we create positive energy in any given environment. Good energy, positive energy, and holy energy are all synonymous and in Jewish mysticism, they are all referred to as light. This light is the most powerful because it is not limited to physical light or to an intellectual awareness. Good energy raises up everything around it. Have you ever left a friend’s home and said, “I don’t know what it is but their home exudes good energy.” There’s no question that your friends home is built on good values and is dedicated to doing good things. It’s even more common to experience this energy from people. There are certain people who simply give off a very positive energy. Yes, some are born with a more positive energy than others. However, people who exude good energy have typically put effort into that by dedicating themselves to a prescribed value system and by infusing their life with good deeds. We all have the ability to raise our level of good energy and it all begins with dedicated ourselves to more inherently good and positive things and by leading more selfless lives, which is the bedrock of goodness, living less about ourselves and more about our purpose.
In fact, in Hebrew, every letter has a numerical value. We call this numerology, gematria. Very often we discover great revelations when finding two words whose letters add up to the same numerical total. The Hebrew word for light is ohr, aleph, vav, raish or 1 + 6 + 200 = 207. The Hebrew word for secret is raz, raish, zayin or 200 + 7 = 207. Our mystics indicate that this teaches how everything in the universe is embedded with light, illumination or energy. When we want to know the true identity or core of somethings real being, their secret, if you will, it is by revealing the energy of that thing, of that person or place. It’s the energy of any given thing that truly captures what it is or who they are.
I was raised within a particular Jewish spiritual philosophy known as Chabad philosophy, where we learn to make our lives a source of light for others. We are taught to be lamplighters. To be a lamplighter we must first illuminate our own life and then spread the light to others. To live life as a lamplighter is to always ask ourselves, how I can enlighten this moment, this situation, this discussion, this room. It’s a value system that demands. It demands that we ask, in every encounter that we have, “am I the beneficiary of this encounter or am I the benefactor?” “Will this encounter influence me or will I influence it?” These encounters don’t necessarily have to be with people, they can also be with things. “Am I enlightening this place or these objects with a purpose or are they enlightening me?” “Am I using this in a way that I am only taking from it, or am I also offering something through my engagement with it?”
Surely there are times when we come to receive, to be a recipient, to be influenced. However, in all other situations, we must be shedding light. I’ve heard it said that life is like an escalator going in a downward direction. If you’re not making a determined effort to move up, you automatically start going down. If we don’t become a source of light, we automatically become influenced instead of the influence.
King Solomon wrote in his book of Proverbs, the candle of G-d is the soul of man. Our light shines from our soul. There is nothing more powerful than someone whose soul shines out with very little filter. In our fear of discovering who we really are, we settle for a mediocre self. It feels safer to us. We filter the light of our soul so we shouldn’t appear too different. We filter the light of our soul through our limited minds and hearts. If our minds can’t grasp it or our hearts can’t feel it we don’t accept it. We develop IQ, intellectual quotient. We develop EQ, emotional quotient. What we must learn to develop more than anything else is the truest expression of who we are, our SQ, our soul quotient. Yes, we need to let it shine!
So the next time you light Shabbat candles or Chanukah candles or for that matter, any candles, look at that light, remember it’s power to obliterate the darkness and ask yourself, “Are you ready to let your light, your soul, shine?”