Light is the great metaphor. It is used to describe love, understanding, joy, goodness, and even God. In the book of Genesis, the first words attributed to God are, “Let there be light.” People in eastern traditions seek enlightenment, which suggests a filling up with light, or the light going on. We need light to live. The earth is habitable because of its access to the sun’s light. Light is energy. It stimulates growth. It is associated with warmth and healing. It affects our emotions. Bright sunny days usually seem happier than dark cloudy ones. Some people even become clinically depressed from lack of light in winter.
Since light is energy, we can empower ourselves by visualizing light. When we feel empty, we can work on our mood by filling the emptiness with light. When we feel weak or ill, we can send mental energy to our bodies in the form of light imagery. When we feel confused, we can invite clarity by turning on the light.
Here are suggestions for working with light in meditation:
To get started, you might light a candle and focus your attention on its flame. Just observe the flame and allow all of your attention to center on it. Let go of any thoughts that might cross your mind and bring your focus back to the candle flame when your mind strays. Let the light of the candle be the center of your attention.
Allow your breathing to relax. Release any tension that restricts your breath. As you exhale, just let the breath fall. Don’t rush the in-breath. Let it come in when it’s ready. Expect that when you breathe out again your lungs will empty a little more than they did before. When you breathe in, you may notice that you take in a little more oxygen than you did before. Allow your breath to come and go calmly and expect that it will become slower and more peaceful.
Sit up straight, so that your spine is unkinked. We want energy to flow up and down your spine freely, so just as you would take the kinks out of a garden hose to improve the water flow, you relax and straighten the spine to enhance energy flow.
Now close your eyes, and imagine a beam of light from above shining down to the top of your head. Imagine that light entering your body at the center of the top of your skull, the site of the crown chakra.
Draw that light down to the next chakra or energy center. This chakra is below the crown chakra behind and a little above your eyes. You can think of it being in the very center of your head. The head chakra is often described as if it were a third eye that looks out from the space above your nose between your eyebrows. This third eye corresponds with the location of the pineal gland, which regulates many of the body’s systems.
Take your time, and imagine you are bathing your pineal gland with soothing, healing light. Let this light shine into the rest of your body. Let every cell be touched by the wisdom of the pineal gland and the light that shines from it.
Turn your focus now to the throat chakra. Allow bright healing light to shine in the area of your Adam’s apple. This part of your body allows you to express yourself verbally. Let the light dissolve any blocks to the flow of energy of communication and self-expression.
When you are ready, move your focus to your heart chakra. Shine your mental light into the center of your chest. Let the light bathe your heart in peaceful warmth and brightness. Allow the light to shine into the darkness that obstructs the free flow of loving-kindness. Spend as much time as you like glowing your heart chakra. See where the light shines from there.
When you are ready, turn the beam of your attention to the area of your Solar Plexus. Notice the name of this region near your stomach. Solar: pertaining to the sun. Plexus: a network or tangle, especially of nerves, veins or lymphatics. The solar plexus is a great network of nerves that connects with all the abdominal viscera. It has sometimes been called the abdominal brain. This is the geographic center of your physical system. Sense the power of the sun in your solar plexus. Bask in the glow of this center of intelligence in your body. Shine that light-- that intelligence, into the organs of your abdomen. Invite the light to cleanse and heal whatever needs to be taken care of.
Next, focus on the sacral chakra. This is your balance point. The Japanese call this spot the hara. It is a few inches below your navel. It is your center of gravity, and it is related to the reproductive system. It is a seat of power that can be cut off by fears related to sexuality. Let light grow in this area. Let it glow and spread down your legs through your hips, knees, ankles and feet. Feel life flowing into your legs and let it shine up into your abdomen, though your chest and out through your arms to your fingertips. Light flowing from this chakra is creative, generative, and powerful. Claim your power though this light.
Finally, become aware of the light shining at your root chakra. This energy center is at the base of your spine. Energy flowing through this chakra connects you with the earth. It grounds you. Imagine light connecting the base of your spine with the center of the earth. This is your planet. You belong here. Your life is connected to it and depends on it, just as it is connected and dependent on the life giving power of the sun.
Notice now, that light energy flows through you above and below. You receive the power of the sun and the earth. The power circulates in you and moves out of you in a constant exchange. You are alive. You are connected with immense sources of energy. In your body, light becomes love. In your life, you have the possibility of spreading the light. With a light touch, you can be extremely powerful in the expression of love. You can heal yourself and share your light with others.
Before you finish, sit quietly with the image of your body filled with light. No part of it is left in the dark. Every cell is nourished by the warm, loving, empowering light. Let the light grow and notice that your body is not entirely opaque. Light inside your body shines out from it. Every cell is a center of life energy. The light of this life shines out from your body. You have the capacity to share your light. See where the light goes. See where it might lead you.
© 2002 Tom Barrett