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Sunday, 17 February 2019

Too Much Darkness, Not Enough Light? Design Your New Lifestyle!

I recently came across a quote, unattributed, which struck chord with me.


"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"


The distinction between light and darkness permeates all religions and a great deal of literature where light is always seen to overcome the negativity of darkness.


2,000 years ago the sages of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, referred to light overcoming darkness at the creation of the universe. The sage Isaac Luria in the 16th century said that there was a spark of light in the nothingness (darkness) that contained all of space and time. Please note, Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity defined the concept of the space/time continuum in the 20th century.


When the spark expanded the universe was created and darkness retreated. Again please note, Rabbi Luria wrote this 500 years ago.  


It is a remarkable description of the Big Bang theory of creation and long before clever scientists espoused it.    In essence it describes light as being both a physical and a spiritual phenomenon.


Now we talk glibly of distances measured in “light years” but do we ever stop to consider the enormity of the statement.  Light travels at 186,000 miles per second so for each light year it travels:

60 (seconds) X 60 (minutes) X 24 (hours) X 365 (days) X 186,000 and that doesn’t take leap years into account .  


When we consider that the farthest end of the universe according to eminent scientists is probably in excess of 1,000 light years away and is constantly expanding anyway, some of the light that we are seeing started out at or just after the Big Bang so what are we really looking at?


We are certainly not looking at what is happening on any planet, star or galaxy right now and we never will.


The remarkable facility of light to overcome darkness is exemplified by lighting a candle in an empty football stadium at midnight and even though there is total darkness all around, the candle light can be seen from any angle.


It is a wonderful metaphor for positive and negative thinking.  


There are even "light" and "dark" words in our vocabulary that can create an atmosphere in a conversation even without realising it.  For example:


Light Dark
Yes No
And BUT
Happy Sad
Bright Dull
Grow Diminish
Like Dislike
Love Hate


and there are many many more. The most intrusive is that all-pervasive word "BUT".  Someone once told me that word eliminated everything said before it and everything said subsequently was negative.  Quite a thought.


In fact we had a speaker to my Vistage CEO peer group some time ago who banned the use of BUT for the whole morning and it was quite extraordinary how the level of discussion turned to the positive.


We live in a world where the vast majority of media news is sad, bad or generally dark and it takes an effort of will to overcome it.


I do recall someone saying that he was constantly reading about the dangers inherent in alcohol so he had given up - reading.


Do a test this year.  Just listen out for DARK words insidiously intruding into your conversation and either eliminate them or try to replace them with LIGHT words. The whole tenor of the conversation can change and for the better. It is certainly worth a try.


We need light in our lives more than ever and anything that we can do to achieve that end is to be applauded.  


It is never too late for a notional New Year Resolution so try this one:


"You gotta accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr In-between",


in the words of the old song.


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