All the great faiths of the world share in the belief of light’s divine ability to illuminate and guide us.
For Quakers this light is sought from within and is most commonly known as the Inner Light is in every human being. Friends experience the light as a manifestation of the divine that can be communicated with. This light is personal spiritual revelation, a source of enlightenment from within oneself.
The Inner Light allows the seeing and knowing of a greater truth. Some may think of it as a compass, a spur to action or peacefulness in times of need. Whatever it is goes beyond what words can describe and for every person the flame of the Inner Light flickers in a different way.
For Friends, silence is often the most transformative way to harness the power of the Inner Light. From Quaker Faith & Practice:
“In silence which is active, the Inner Light begins to glow – a tiny spark. For the flame to be kindled and to grow, subtle argument and the clamour of our emotions must be stilled. It is by an attention full of love that we enable the Inner Light to blaze and illuminate our dwelling and to make of our whole being a source from which this Light may shine out.
Words must be purified in a redemptive silence if they are to bear the message of peace. The right to speak is a call to the duty of listening. Speech has no meaning unless there are attentive minds and silent hearts. Silence is the welcoming acceptance of the other. The word born of silence must be received in silence.”
Pierre Lacout, 1969
Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry. Sunlight. Torchlight. Candlelight. Neon Incandescent lights that banish the darkness from our caves to illuminate our roads and the paths we seek. Floodlights for football. Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep.
Light is more than watts and foot-candles. Light is metaphor. Light is knowledge. Light is life.
Within us the Inner Light gives freely of itself filling all available space and seeks nothing in return, asking not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and thereby not changed nor diminished.
Friends are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed from the Inner Light within. You cannot hold a torch to light another Friend’s path without brightening your own.