“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
The recent tragic event in Las Vegas is sad proof of the darkness that abounds in our world. We are all in a grief-stricken state of shock and disbelief that for many often turns to anger and a desire to curse, blame and retaliate. While that’s a totally natural and understandable reaction, we must remember that it doesn’t work. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” You and I must be a light in this world. We must never allow the darkness in the world to overtake us and snuff out the light of goodness that is in each of us. How do we do this? We start by changing the only corner of the universe over which we have control: ourselves
In times like this when we feel helpless, we must remind ourselves there is much we can do to increase the amount of light in the world. We can take a step back, take a few deep breaths and begin the yogic practice of svadyaya, or self-study. We can focus on the areas where we can improve ourselves. Maybe we can have more patience, be less judgmental, be more loving. Though it’s much easier and less painful to point out the weakness of others, we all need to begin a serious program of self- improvement. If this world is to be a better and a brighter place, it must begin with the man or woman in the mirror. We must uncover and root out the darkness that is in our own souls and replace it with love, kindness, patience, understanding, and all the good we can get in there! We must have light before we can give it
“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.” – Desiderius Erasmus
Svadyaya, or self-study, is only one thing we can do to become better. Another is selfless service. When we reach out to serve others in need, we are giving the light of hope to someone while lighting our own souls and the world in the process. Service helps us forget about ourselves while we are developing the better angels of our nature. When we make life better for anyone, we make life better for everyone.
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle
In closing, I encourage you to focus on the light. We can rise above the darkness. In Philippians 4:8, the Apostle Paul said, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” This is still sound advice today. Give someone a hug, a helping hand or a sincere compliment. Always look for the good and be a light.