Marjaneh and I have an electronic picture frame that hangs on our living room wall. From our recliners we can easily see it. We have about 500 pictures in it at this time. Most of them are of our children and grandchildren. A few of them are of ourselves.
What I see when I look deeply into the pictures of our grandchildren is a kind of light and joy. It is most noticeable in their eyes, but you can see it in their smiles and their adventurous nature.
When I see the light I think of something that Alan Watts once said: “What is it like, to wake up, having never gone to sleep? What is it like, to go to sleep and never wake up? It’s very mysterious.”
I agree with Alan. Seeing the light puts me in a reflective state of mind. My interpretation is that we come into this world full of wonder and undamaged.
If we are fortunate, we grow up and do not fully lose the light. Or if we lose it for a period of time, we may somehow reacquire it. As we go through life, however, we will accrue damage of one kind or another.
This damage may be simply growing old. Our bodies become less and less able to repair themselves and they lose their youthful vigor. Eventually we pass away.
We may also be damaged by what we see as the actions of others. And just as easily, we may be damaged by actions that we see as our own that are unkind and lacking in true compassion for others.
As I grow older I see my own light dimming in different ways. My spiritual component, however, refreshes the light to some degree. But I think the dimming until it is eventually extinguished does continue.
This dimming does not worry me. Dylan Thomas in his poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” suggested that we should “Rage, rage, against the dying of light.” So my view is a little different. I don’t see the need to rage against it, because I don’t think the light ever dies.
At my death, I expect the light – my consciousness – will remain, even after all memories or sense of my life – will die with my body. So I will lose my identity but my consciousness, or just consciousness, will remain. Eventually, that consciousness will be reincarnated in another person. And the light will shine brightly from that child’s eyes, as part of an eternal cycle.
There really is nothing to fear, ever, in this world of Mayá.