Recently, someone very close to Loss of Eden asked me to add a familiar text to the blog – one that he feels speaks directly to his current situation, and to a pattern of envy that he has seen time and again. The passage was given to him by a friend years ago in a similar time of struggle; you’ve probably heard it before:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This is perhaps the best known passage of Marianne Williamson’s writing. It comes from her book, A Return to Love, and has been quoted recently in two feature films, Coach Carter and Akeelah and the Bee, and also in the inaugural speech given by Nelson Mandela in 1994. While my spiritual work doesn’t generally lead me to hang with the Williamson/Deepak set, it’s hard to deny that this passage has an appeal that continues to speak to us all of the fear of owning exactly who we are – even the very best parts of who we are. And when we think of a thing like envy, and I don’t mean envy of physical possessions, but the envy of who a person is, aren’t we really talking about a fear that our own unique light is somehow not what the world truly wants from us, a fear of what might happen if that unique shine were discovered, if we let that light be seen? To hide one’s own light that another might feel brighter is simply to keep everyone in the dark. Let each to his or her own way that the path may be illuminated for all that seek to shine.