Light, Color, and Tikkun Olam

by Janice Lines

I have been thinking about what we discussed in class a couple of weeks ago, that spiritual pursuit and education is a privilege that not all get to enjoy. We felt humbled and somewhat ashamed that we are able to take classes, attend workshops, read and study, work on our faith and life purpose while so many  people are out of work, hungry, sick, and we sit in our Zoom rooms, studying spiritual things.

I believe that with privilege comes responsibility – and we will, and do, have opportunities to ‘pay back’ the time and the work that we have and do in study. I know I will be called on to be kind, loving and hold to a higher truth, a higher standard in my daily living. I am to share all that I’ve learned and shine my light through my actions, my words, and everything I do.

I grew up in the mountains and we occasionally would see ‘lightning bugs’ in the summer. Those fireflies were magical and rare. We’d try and let one land on our hand so we could see it blink on and off. They were a childhood fascination and always a joy to see on those rare occasions. I moved to the Midwest for my career and one summer night I was driving from Chicago to Champaign/Urbana, home from a conference. The drive is through miles and miles of open corn and soy-bean fields. As I got out of the city lights, I could see dots of light in the fields – the fireflies were out. As I continued to drive and get farther from artificial light, the fields gathered more and more light from the bugs. Each side of the road, for as far as I could see, was a cacophony of blinking sparks – on and off, on and off. The accumulation of hundreds, thousands and probably millions of those tiny twinkling lights gave the sky a golden glow of light. I was mesmerized by them, by how such tiny little sparks could gather together and actually light up the summer skies.

This is what I see us doing – being the fireflies, the ‘lightening bugs’ of loving kindness, of gentleness and caring and peaceful interaction. By letting our individual light shine by itself, and with others, we bring light into the world. It is our responsibility, it is our way to pay-back the gift of study and reflection, THIS is ours to do. And so I see my time in Kabbalah, in New Thought, in Religious Science as stepping stones to my purpose. My study is a privilege that I have accepted knowing that there is a great responsibility ahead (and here now) to share the light I’ve been shown. And when I sit in our Kabbalah class I feel that connection of our lights –  my light is brighter because of the light of each of my classmates. We shine bright in our sangha, our minyan, our class… and that light follows me each and every day. I only need to share it more.

This past summer I attended a Kabbalah Experience class, Powers of Ten: From 1 through 10 and Back Again taught by Rabbi Jamie Arnold. During one class Rabbi Jamie shared a way to visualize the restoration of the Light through an example of the rainbow – imagining the light, the ‘sparks’, as the colors separated through a prism. It is still one light, yet divided into colors. When the prism is taken away the colors return to their wholeness, which is pure white. His explanation brought me to write the following story for my class project. From one color to many (colors) and back again.

This is the story of the pure white light of Spirit descending into the world, down the Tree of Life – Keter to Malchut. The vessels were packed and sent, but the pure white light was too bright for the world and the light shattered and the sparks scattered and fell everywhere. As the sparks of the pure white light fell, all the energy of Spirit was refracted into uncountable colors! Each color manifested in its own frequency and its own unique hue, and tint, and shade. A beautiful rainbow of the earth and of humanity and of all creation from one source, one pure white light.

…And we were fascinated and distracted by the colors and we forgot why we came down the Tree. It was a long time before we remembered and called to Spirit “come and see all the colors!” and there was no answer…  “Where are you?” …… “We can’t see you – we’re afraid!” ……. “Please tell us what to do to find you again!”

Spirit heard and answered and told us that our life purpose is to gather up those colors, to collect them, joining and combining their energies to re-create the pure white light. And we learned that when we have gathered enough colors, the light will be restored and the repair of the world will be complete – we will return to Keter, to the beginning.

And we asked, “How do we do this?”

And we were taught –

“With every blessing you say, with every act of kindness, with every expression of love, with every story you tell of life and compassion, you create the energy that collects those colors, joining and combining them.  On your life journey, you will be attracted and distracted by the many colors, the dark ones, the bright ones, the pale ones. You’ll go off the path to explore and learn and each time you will bring back some of that refracted light, that energy, with you. Add that color to your other colors and you will get one shade closer to the pure white light.

Stay open to ALL the colors – the sad ones, the happy ones, the lonely and the connected – and to all experiences – the joyful, the sorrowful, the difficult and easy, knowing that they are all Spirit and all are needed to restore the pure white light. Embrace the energies of ALL the colors.”

And we rejoiced and shouted THIS IS OUR STORY! And this is our journey! And we celebrated finding the way back up the Tree, from 10 to 1, to the remaking of the pure white light, to Keter.

And today we are grateful and filled with love for we are reminded that this is our life purpose and this how we restore Oneness and repair the world (Tikkun Olam) – one color at a time.


robertocorn1949 · December 17, 2020 at 9:44 am

Janice. You write beautifully. I absolutely love your visual of the fireflies lighting up the fields and equating each spark to an act of love, kindness, caring and all other good deeds. Really, really, beautiful!

Claudia,r Trevithick · December 17, 2020 at 2:00 pm

absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing

Claudia,r Trevithick · December 17, 2020 at 2:01 pm

THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. Thanks for sharing

Deb M · December 17, 2020 at 2:06 pm

What a lovely story reflecting the reality of our lives, so beautifully written & eloquently expressed. Thank you 🙏💜

bettina · December 17, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Amazing. Please write more.

Laura Drury · December 17, 2020 at 9:06 pm

What wonder clarity and a beautiful story to guide our way!

Jackee Leonard · December 23, 2020 at 7:41 pm

I love the images in this. It is written in such a sweet yet profound way – pure Janice 💖 thank you for sharing this

Wendy Davis · December 26, 2020 at 7:21 pm

Thank you for your beautiful and wise story.

Mitch Snow · January 10, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Janice, thank you so much for sending me the link to this. I too was moved by your memory of the fireflies lighting up the night. Lovely stuff.

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