When we pray at a house of worship or go to a healing center we often light a candle or sit in the glow of candles already burning. Some are lit in memory of loved ones, some are lit to empower Divine requests, some are lit in honor of a significant event...in any case we all feel a deeper connection to the Spirit as we enter the dome of that gentle light. Whether it's 100 flcikering Novena candles in a Catholic Church, a Shabbat candelabra or the soft orange glow in a Buddhist sanctuary, we touch something greater than ourselves when we yield to the flame. But it is not the candle itself that acts as a lightning rod; that's merely a symbol. We’ve heard many times that we are the keepers of the flame, but we could dispute that because we are much more than caretakers. We are not the keepers; more accurately, we are the flame itself.
All living beings house the flame, that spark of the Divine. Call it soul, spirit -- it's the essence of the eternal that propels us, more than the simple breath of physical life which Dr. Frankenstein manipulated. It's what Chabad, the sect of mystical Judaism, explains as kelipot (lit. “shells”) the outer covering which conceals the G-dly light within all creation."
The earth, a living energy, also holds the spark of life in its core. Fire has always been a potent cleanser, initially destructive but through organic demolition,it creates new life. The Hindu deity Shiva symbolizes this cycle of destruction and renewal, paralleling the earth’s natural ongoing purification process. Witness how volcanic eruptions send flaming lava past the shore, devouring existing land and creating new land masses that stretch into the sea.
We can ignite our own inner spark for the same cleansing and healing.
In our Western theology, God as the flame is revealed in the book of Exodus when Moses first met God. While many misinterpret the writing, identifying God as a burning bush, it was actually "an angel of the Lord [who] appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed." The context of this encounter was that having heard the cries of his enslaved people in Egypt, God vowed to release them from suffering. As Moses approached the flame, he was ordered to remove his shoes before coming closer because he was "on holy ground."
But where is that holy ground? Must it be in some constructed physical edifice or does any space become sacred when we stand in the awareness that we are a natrual extension of that universal Light? Joseph Campbell asks, "Is it Benares? Rome? Jerusalem?," asserting that it is all of them, the center of wherever we are.
We activate our sacred center when we light candles before meditation, go to church, practice a ritual in a spiritual center of any kind, or steal a silent moment from a busy day, breathing intentionally to tune in to higher energies. The purpose remains the same despite the change in form.
In the New Testament Divine Light is exalted as a healing gift within us all. "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Timothy 1:6-). While this gets a narrow, warped interpretation in some evangelical communities, for the holistic spiritual practitioner it presents historical evidence of our natural center of Light. We cite this as invitation to all healing: Reiki, Healing Touch, auric healing, all of it. And we are all capable of this merely by finding our inner light.
Meditate on the flame within. We don’t need thousand dollar gurus with patented, marketable titles to access our own Divine spark.
Lisa Shaw is an animal communication specialist, Reiki Master, intuitive counselor, writer and professor. Her web site is www.reikidogs.com. Her e-book, "Illumination: Life Lessons from Our Animal Companions," is available on Amazon for Kindle, phone, or computer download.