“Look at the stars! Look, look up at the skies!” – Gerard Manley Hopkins
“Inner and Outer Light”
Fiction. Based on a True Musing on Light.
by Starry Teller
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
When it rains outside, we never think the rain is coming from below us. Yet how often do we look up at the sky when it rains? Far, far more often we are looking down at our feet as we slosh through puddles, failing to stay dry. We hardly ever look up at the sky when it is raining for the practical reason that water falling quickly from the sky does not feel wonderful to open eyes. However, by not looking up at the sky during the rain, we miss seeing the stars. We miss seeing the light.
As human beings, we interact with the world on several levels. We experience the physical world, the emotional world, and the spiritual world. We usually think of the former as tangible—the aspects of the world we can touch. However, a significant part of the physical world affects everything but is intangible: light. The intangible yet vastly powerful phenomena works in conjunction with carbon dioxide to determine the life or death of plants, animals, and human beings on Earth. It also very practically provides the means by which we go about living—for it would be terribly difficult to function in a state of permanent darkness. Our bodies respond to light because it not only helps us live, but because it explains the essence of how we are alive.
On another level, we experience the world through the light within us. As Mick Lorusso says, “The light within is experienced in so many different ways.” We can categorize light as it physically exists in the world and as it spiritually exists in our human bodies—for it does indeed exist. All of us experience this light in different ways. For some, it is in the form of religion; for others, kindness; for others, love. For some people, the light within us is simply that: the light within. It doesn’t need to be explained. It doesn’t need to be figured out. It simply exists, just as we simply exist.
However, the essence of existence is never simple. It is deep and complex and beautiful. It is wrapped around light, and exists within and through light. Existence itself is light. When Gerard Manley Hopkins tells us to “Look at the stars” and to “Look, look up at the skies” he is referring to the light which permeates the universe from billions of light years away. The stars above us appear as small holes in the canopy of the sky, and can often seem to disappear on a rainy night. However, the light of stars never ceases or falters. Even when it rains, the sun is still aflame with light, regardless of whether we see it or not. In a similar way, the light within us never ceases or falters. Even when the physical world seems chaotic and our emotional world is stormy, the light within us never dies. It helps us live because it also is the essence of how we are alive.