This Light of Mine

Lughnasa                                                  Full Harvest Moon

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman was a theologian who studied with the Quaker mystic, Rufus Jones.  His work, which I had forgotten until I read this quote yesterday, reaches deep into the human heart.

The Quaker concept of the light that leads from within influenced many theologians, including Thurman who, in turn, influenced Martin Luther King.

In Scientific American Mind a recent article referred to the human “self-schema.”  Created due to our ability to see into our past and project ourselves into the future, this organization of thoughts, experiences and natural gifts produces the Self, that ever elusive entity at the heart of our life.  Self-schema strikes me as a scientific description of the Self I refer to here from time to time, that Self that pulls us into the future, that can challenge us to live a deeper, richer, fuller life.

This Self is the light that leads us, a light whose brilliance and warmth comes not from a supernatural realm, but from a super natural one.  When Thurman challenges us to find what makes us come alive, he asks us to dig deep into our Self, to use our imagination and our deep heart to find vitality within it.

When we can locate a path, our own ancientrail, that knits together the genetic gifts, the particular experiences and the most exciting prospects we can imagine for our future, then we can come alive to the personhood for which we each yearn.  We can become alive in every fiber of our being. Such persons live.  They burn with an incandescence available only to those who feed all of themselves into the furnace of their Self.

You know such people.  Martin Luther King was a such a person. Perhaps you are.  I know for sure you can become one.

This is a spirituality that holds nothing back, that demands it all, all you have and all you will have.  This is a humanist spirituality, a call to kindle the light of your true Self, the one light only you can bring into this world.