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Illumination from Within

One of my favorite movies is Cocoon because of the vivid demonstration that our human bodies are merely shells to our incredible light within. In one scene in the pool, the alien easily slips out of her shell and shares her essence, a light so bright it’s almost blinding.

I used that movie to teach my daughters we are all in a costume of sorts harboring the brilliance of our true self. Awareness of who we are varies as the colors in a rainbow. Awareness changes as we grow through life experience.

In the same sense, consciousness is like a flashlight. Our awareness shines on what we know. Life is full of lessons. Things happen in our lives and this consciousness flashlight widens its illumination and suddenly we can see and understand so much more. We learn, we adapt and we grow in more awareness. And still there’s more. John O’Donohue expresses a view on this in the following poem:

“There is a beautiful complexity of growth within the human soul.

In order to glimpse this, it is helpful to visualize the mind as a tower of windows.

Sadly, many people remain trapped at the one window,

looking out every day at the same scene in the same way.

Real growth is experienced when you draw back from that one window,

turn, and walk around the inner tower of the soul

and see all the different windows that await your gaze.

Through these different windows,

you can see new vistas of possibility, presence, and creativity.

Complacency, habit, and blindness often prevent you from feeling your life.

So much depends on the frame of vision –

the window through which you look.”

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Great reading, I like the window on the soul. I’s about being able to see things from more than one viewpoint. I’ve learned I can say ‘I hear you’ even if I don’t agree with someone. I try to understand where people’s anger is coming from. I try to look for a grain of truth and try to understand things from their viewpoint. I am a lifelong learner

  • I love his image of the tower of windows. During the meditation, I explored the tower like a cat, standing at different windows.

  • I was remembering the meditation image from a few days ago about the concrete walls surrounding us coming down. How the walls surround the soul wandering around to emerge. Today, I replaced the walls with a tower of windows. I could see our own beauty. I could see the yellow rose outside my window. I thought of the petals. I moved between windows and saw different things. In one, we're in full bloom. I like that window. In another, the petals are dropping, like we are going back to the earth. As I walk, I take a rose and drop the petals.

  • During the meditation, I thought of the essence of the cocoon. I thought of the essence of my mother who passed away five years ago. I realized I’ve been looking at her shell, where she was judgmental. This morning, I sat with the beauty of my mom, and focused on what we agree on as we sat. I let the rest go.

  • I thought about the multiple points of view and focused on the process of my work. We are a help center for people with disabilities. We get oodles of calls, with lots of complaints and hostile conversations. I tell my staff, these are not rude people; they are angry and fearful. Put yourself in their place. I tell them to let the client vent and then ask ‘what can I do to help?’. It brings them to a compassionate level.

  • Understanding of the tower and metaphor helps

  • This was an interesting metaphor. I have a best friend who is playing an playing important role for me right now. We used to live together in her flat on the ground floor. She always said the window is her TV because we would watch the comings and goings on the street. Today, I look out my window onto woods. I see nature, a coyote, groundhogs, squirrels. It’s an interesting view. I love being calm and not distracted. During the meditation, I was looking out the window, thinking about people

  • My meditation was a process of going back forth between breathing and thinking about my melanoma. It was about 8 minutes before I could settle down.

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