There’s a common near-death experience where people describe seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel.
Hearing about that end-of-life light often makes me think of the medium in 1980s movie Poltergeist trying to bring a little girl back from the spirit world. The light represents the other side, the ghostly world that’s not our physical plane.
Recently when I was meditating with my eyes closed in a dark room, I saw a white light that got brighter and brighter. Eventually it felt like I was staring at the sun.
For a second, I worried I was dying. I mean, I was seeing a bright light that clearly wasn’t there …
But then I had a different kind of flash, as a powerful thought hit me.
So many people describe seeing a bright white light when they’re dying because it’s the first time they stopped to notice it. That light is always there, trying to glow into our lives, but we’re too busy with our distractions and pursuits to notice. Until it’s too late.
I paused to meditate and saw that the light was there, right now.
Go to the light, my heart said. BE the light.
What is the light? I’m still mulling that. It’s esoteric even to me.
I grew up going to Catholic church every Sunday and was confirmed Episcopalian, but when I started Googling “Be the light,” I was surprised to find all manner of T-shirts, wall hangings and jewelry mentioning a Gospel passage:
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I didn’t recall the Matthew story until I re-read it. That’s essentially what it felt like this light was telling me: Shine my light into the world, be a light in the world. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
I want to keep pondering what it means. To remind myself, I commissioned a necklace with two pendants.
One says “go to the light” and the other says “be the light.” It hangs near my heart.