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112. Lumination

Light in the dark

I recently had the luxury of going on a four-day silent retreat. The retreat director was a life-long Jesuit and college professor. Over the four days, we sat and listened to ten different talks about all sorts of things that were Jesuit-y and wonderful. 

One of the words and concepts he introduced us to was illumination. While I know what the word means, I don’t think I have ever used the word in my daily life. His challenge was a simple one – what lights up your life? What brings light, clarity and understanding to your life? 

In order to process this for myself, I did a little research on the different contexts for lighting up my own life. And as I hope you have come to understand, I feel compelled to share a lot of my own processing with you. Apologies or your welcome? 

What does it mean to illuminate?

  • In a spiritual or mystical sense – illumination is a state of enlightenment, understanding, or spiritual insight. This can be when we suddenly see or experience truth in our life. 

  • From an art and design perspective, illumination can refer to decoration that includes elaborate designs and embellishments or literally lighting a room or something up!  

  • Intellectually – illumination could mean clarifying or explaining something leading to more insight. 

  • In general, illumination implies that we are bringing light, clarity or understanding to something. 

How can we create more illumination in our lives? 

  • We can learn and do new things to essentially illuminate new neural pathways. 

  • We can find meaning in the mundane or ordinary – to illuminate our path or trail. 

  • We can pursue something creative that allows more beauty, joy and new perspectives into our lives. 

  • We can invest in meaningful relationships that can illuminate our lives with love ad connection. 

  • We can create spiritual practices that illuminate our life by allowing us to connect to/with a higher power.  

Part of my fascination with old churches is walking into a cold and dark place with no insulation, with no fabric comforts and seeing candles lit. It suddenly makes a cold and dark place feel warm.

Today, I wish you the warmth of illumination.

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