Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Moonshadow, moonshadow..."

"Oh I'm being followed by a moonshadow,
 moonshadow, moonshadow.
Leapin' and hoppin' on a moonshadow, 
moonshadow, moonshadow..."

It was 1971.   Cat Stevens' "Teaser and the Firecat" album played on the living room turntable so often, that our dad threatened to break it into a million little pieces if he had to hear "Moonshadow" again.  We didn't believe him...the album did not survive.  So, we saved our pennies and bought another one.  This time we were smarter.  We didn't subject dad to lyrics he thought were mind-numbingly inane, but which we considered absolutely transcendental. 

I still love this album, and moonshadows...

I love the way moonbeams play a path of light across the sea.  I could sit and watch their soft glow till dawn.  There is something almost hypnotic, and deeply poetic, in their gentleness.  The shadows cast by moonlight seem to have kinder edges.  Nothing seems sharp, bright or harsh in the presence of the moon. 

But I've started to notice something about my love for all things mooncast.  Something that reaches down towards a place of deeper spiritual self-awareness.  I have long-lived by "borrowed light."  And moonlight is, for all its beauty,  borrowed light.  

The moon has no luminance of its own.  The moon only shines by the light it reflects from the sun.   There is no energy, no warmth, no inner radiance coming off the moon.  The moon is actually cold and dark. 

Lovely to look at.  But still, no light of its own. 

The sun, on the other hand is not easy to look at.  

The sun, however, is a direct source of light, energy, warmth.  It has the power to urge cell growth, photosynthesis, produce energy, define the seasons, insist evaporation, and through phototropism encourage the direction of plant growth.  

Direct light rocks the universe.  

Yes, the moon's borrowed light is lovely, inspiring, poetic.  But it's only power is a tidal ebbing and flowing...what the ancients referred to as lunacy.   The tidal pushing and pulling of emotions, societies, bio-systems.     

You may wonder where all this is coming from, where it is leading, and why it has...literally...has me stopped in my tracks.  I think it is because I've spent most of my life living by borrowed light, and thinking it would make me grow.  

Analogously, my expectations for moonlight were not fair to the moon.  The moon, itself, wasn't promising me anything more than a lovely glow.  But, I've been looking to the moon for something it could never give me...sunlight to grow by. 

I've read thousands of books, prolifically quoted the world's great thought-leaders, explored the philosophies, doctrines, and theories of inspired teachers, sages, and scientists...but is this what I'm seeking.   Not really.  What I really want, is to be transformed by "the renewing of the mind," as Paul encourages.   And, for me at least, that can only be done through a direct relationship with the source of all light, inspiration, true knowing...Mind, God. 

As inspired, beautiful, lovely, evocative as all those books, quotes, ideas, and insights have been...they are not my life-transforming truth.  They are the truths that have come to other seekers,  in their moments of communion with God.   

Now, I know how hard it is to not want to share insights and inspiration that have been life-altering to you....I'm doing it here.  And I soooo enjoy watching the colors, textures, and poetry of what, are for me, beautiful thought-paintings...images flowing onto the waiting page -- or, in this case, screen.  

But there is a difference between pouring out (or soaking in) the inspired beauty and glow of borrowed light, and being transformed by direct light.  

If I am reading someone else's inspiration, I might find it amazing, inspiring, astounding...but it will not transform me, or cause me to grow, change, transform. 

 Just as matter how bright and beautiful they are...will not cause your tomatoes to grow, your trees to photosynthesize, or water to evaporate and re-cycle.  Indirect inspiration can only, at its best, inspire me to seek the Source of that light myself.   And often, it does.  But it can never replace going to the Source myself.

Moonbeams inspire me to write poetry, ponder the heavens, sing lullabies, and bask in the touch of the sea at my ankles...back and forth, back and forth...against the beach.  And I love, love, love these examples of reflected light.  

But when it comes to growing, I need the sun.  I need direct light.  

I've been wrestling with this for months now.  Do I continue to share quotes?  Do I persist in writing these stories? 

The quotes, not so much right now.  The stories, I think for a while yet, with this disclaimer...they are not direct light.  They are the natural effect of turning one's face towards the Sun. 

You may enjoy these stories, but I do not believe that you will grow spiritually (or in any other way) by reading them.  I can only reflect what I am seeing....sometimes funny, often beautiful, and, occasionally, insightful.   I share them with you, as I would share my appreciation for the dance of moonlight on water.   

I can point out the old man's face in the surface of the moon,  the sun's illumination distant craters, my interpretation of what I think it symbolizes for me.  You, in turn, may be led to share, with me, insights from what you are seeing through the moon's softer light.  

And perhaps in our mutual sharing, we'll each be more interested in discovering the Truth about where all that glowingly lovely light is actually coming seek the Source.  But we aren't going to grow in moonlight.   

The Light that causes growth...well, you've gotta go to the Source.  

Jesus replies, when asked where to find the kingdom of heaven, 

"Neither lo here, or lo there, 
behold, the kingdom of heaven 
is within you." 

God is your only Mind, your only direct source of inspiration...right now.  And God is Truth.  So, the only place you are going to find your Truth, is to go listen deeply for that still small voice that has always been there.  It is quietly urging you to let Love lead you, to listen to your heart, and act with courage.  

If you want to bask in the soft glow of indirect light...that's fine.  It's even beautiful and sweet, companionable and comforting.  

But, if you want to grow, you have to go to the Source. You need to have a direct, immediate relationship with the Divine. 

It may not be as soft, gentle or easy to look into, as indirect light...the sun rarely is.  But it will awaken the day in you, invigorate your purpose, inspire transformation, grow you "in grace," give you new courage, and resurrect hope. 

shared with Love, 


Even though I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Cat Steven's version, I've grown to love this Mandy Moore recording of "Moonshadow" too...  

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