Not long ago a Canadian wrote me about a mysterious encounter he’d had with a homeless man, Helmut, who always carried in his shopping bags spiritual books, herbs, treats and notebooks, and you could imagine that many people thought this ragged man was probably a little crazy. But curiously, he seemed to turn up whenever this man was facing a difficult situation, and then he would say something helpful One night they stood for nearly 40 minutes in the cold outside a Starbucks talking of spiritual matters. “And in a flash I saw the image of a bright Being behind and around him. He was filled with light, and I could see his light.”
At the same time, “I was filled with peace and joy. Was he an angel?” he asked, and then to my surprise: “Or was he simply a human evidencing the light we all emit—the light of love?”
That’s the question, isn’t it?
Listen, we all live and move inside a bubble of spiritual light. In my book, The Art of Intuition, you’ll find a whole chapter about how to see the light in others or in yourself, for we are spiritual beings, as the cliche goes, living a physical experience. And it is incumbent on us to realize that when we see another creature shining—shining, as Helmut the homeless man did, what you are seeing is . . . the Divine.
We say that God is Love, that Christ became incarnate to teach us that God is not some Celestial Psychopath, but unfathomable Love. Love heals the sick and calms the frightened. And it is visible. The whole earth is shining: trees, dogs, grasses, horses, cats, and probably the lions and bears—every living thing is shining with an inner light.
Do you see it? It flares off your hands and fingers, and it is easy to see. Here’s how: Squinch your eyes tight, and when you open them, using soft focus only and in soft light (it’s easiest to see at dusk, or under a quiet light) look at the space above or around your friend’s head or else at the angle between shoulder and head. Don’t look at her face or body, but at the emptiness five or six inches (or even 9 feet high!) around her.
Ask her to think of something she loves deeply. It will be stronger then, for when you are loving, you shine with light. (Think of the bride, shining!) If you are angry or afraid, your aura shrinks to mere inches around you, like a sea anenome that’s been touched. You can see this light around a tree as well, the whole world gleaming, shining with energy and light.
I don’t see the high colors that some mystics do but always I can discern a colorless, wavering light, like heat waves rising from a hot street in summer. Then I am humbled. It is that person’s true self that I am seeing. What if we could all practice viewing it? What if we understood that we are all suffering, that we are all doing the best we can, that we are all spiritual beings pouring out our light? I think we’d have fewer wars or even arguments. Here is a poem I wrote about it once.
i cannot see your face
for the light around you
or hear the words that fall
like watered stones, like black crows
from the convent
of your mouth.
My soul is the silence
of a bell
You know nothing of the light,
the bell, the black crows,
the ignorant stones
smoothed in the stream
of accidents and incidents,
desires and repulsions
that you think and
name as life.
Once while working at my desk i glanced
outside the window
to the spring-leafed Sycamore–
and disappeared—no i–
into the namelessness that later
shifted back into the bark of tree
and worried itself again into
an i and it.
Why, of all that i have seen
along these many years–why is this
what i remember