Letters to Tom — Illumination

Dear Tom:

After yesterday’s letter about light, I read that when someone is initiated into Sufism you say, “May you find the path that leads to the purpose of your life, illumination.” That a Sufi’s work is to help other become conscious that they are beings of light. I think I have written you before about people who have an aura. My friend, William, talks about Mother Theresa in that regard. Another friend, Ellen, says she felt surrounded by light when she was in the presence of the Dali Llama. Other friends talk about a grandmother, an Aunt or Uncle, that seemed to exude a certain spirit that made them calmer, at peace, and good about themselves and life. I think all of us know someone or somebody who just carry themselves in a special way, where being in their presence seems like being sprayed with magic water.

Perhaps that is what Sufis mean by helping other be conscious that we are all beings of light. I think of entering a beautiful church lit by candles and golden rays of sunlight pouring through stained glass windows. I am drawn to just sit in the pews and soak in its awe-inspiring magnificence, and as I sit, I am stirred by something words fail to describe. I think a part of my true nature is awakened by the illumination of the church.

So my question is how do I infuse into my daily life the illumination I sense when alone in the pews? How do I bring to friends and others that same consciousness, I feel? Is this illumination thing limited to the saints or can anyone bring to the room an aura of light that brings peace and healing?

I don’t know the answers, but I suspect if I try harder at bringing that feeling I have alone in the pews to my relationships, my work, my writing, and my physical activities that feeling would be reinforced by others who sense that feeling in themselves as well.

Again, I am not sure where it will lead, but I sense it is worth pursuing. Suzy and I were talking yesterday about a friend who because of a broken marriage has turned negative. We were wondering why she had such a hard time attracting happiness in her life. We both concluded that being negative doesn’t attract positive happenings in life. Contrary to magnetism, opposites do not attract in some personal cases. Whatever, we both discussed making sure we were not negative in our outlook, no matter what the reality. In some way and on a very small scale I realize now we were talking about illumination in our everyday life.

Your friend. Webb

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

1 Comment +

  1. Dear Webb,

    This is a fascinating topic, illumination. As in everything “Sufi,” I am far from an expert. But I do know what you mean about having people in our lives who carry with them a presence, an aura of specialness that seems akin to illumination. Indeed, you strike me as one of those people through your presence, your spirituality, and your self expression. I don’t think you have any idea about how you are impacting people through your writing!!

    Knowing you will likely push back on what I just said, let’s look at the question you ask (paraphrased slightly): How do I bring to self, friends and others that same consciousness, the consciousness you experience when alone in the pews. Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Kahn in his book “Awakening” says it is important to “let go of your personal vantage point – the lens through which you have thus far viewed your life, problems, and values…. Rather than attempting to do that through will or discipline, he suggests “departing the shores of the everyday world, sailing toward distant horizons of unexplored realities.” Methods he suggests include silent retreats, music, breathing and meditation exercises, imagination and imagery. And at the center of all this is coming to know God deeply through prayer and contemplation.

    What I know to be true for me is that when I am in my ego space (wanting to look good, or in fear, being a victim about life, or in any of the multitude of other ways ego manifests, I am the antithesis of illuminated! And in those spaces, I will not be a positive force for anyone else either. I am impacted negatively by others who have taken up residence in their lower selves as well!

    It is difficult to know if this is making sense, inputting it into my iPhone at a snail’s pace. But it seems to me that a partial answer to your question lies in deepening love for God, doing spiritual practices that include some of those suggested above, being in inquiry, staying as present in the moment as possible (and free of the past – the source if our fear, guilt and other ego spaces), and being in service to others (which you are doing in a big way) – these actions will strengthen our personal illumination and help draw in others in our lives. In other words, your illumination is helping illuminate others.

    Just a word about your friend – I absolutely believe that we attract to ourselves that energy that we put out there. As Kahn says in the book, “…the future is not just waiting to happen; instead it is taking shape right here and now in the attitudes we hold, the choices we make, and the values we cherish.”

    Your friend,

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