Illuminating Thoughts

We speak of the sun’s light as “pouring down on us,” as “pouring over us” in all directions. Yet it’s never poured out. Because it doesn’t really pour; it extends. Its beams (“aktai”) get their name from their extension (“ekteinesthei”).

To see the nature of a sunbeam, look at light as it falls through a narrow opening into a dark room. It extends in a straight line, striking any solid object that stands in its way and blocks the space beyond it. There it remains – not vanishing, or falling away.

That’s what the outpouring – the diffusion – of thought should be like: not emptied out, but extended. And not striking at obstacles with fury and violence, or falling away before them, but holding its ground and illuminating what receives it. 

What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.” – Marcus Aurelius

The human heart and mind are bound by the temporal, but have the capacity to clothe the eternal. To assume as the poet, painter and scholar often do that the capacity for giving is finite is to mistake the mortal capacities of body, mind and heart for the source of being.

Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. If there is darkness around you, it is neither to be feared nor disdained, in fact, it is nothing more than an empty canvas upon which you can and must extend your illuminating thoughts. Reaction to darkness invariably prevents the outpouring of light.

Where are the enlightened men of our day?

7 thoughts on “Illuminating Thoughts

  1. Joshua

    A precious thought, that inspires action.
    Abiding outside ourselves, responding to that which is right and true, allows for growth.
    It is sobering, to realize we are always creating something, and freeing when the choice is Light.
    Humbling is this consideration, for it has illuminated areas where the magic of life can now be rightfully restored!
    Thanks Gregg!


  2. Carol

    I’ve really appreciated the quotes from Marcus Aurelius and how you’ve filled them out Gregg. Nearly two thousand years later and what was expressed has relevance now. It’s a very different time but the attitudes that prevent us from being that beam of light are still present. Our thoughts and words need to extend out a blessing in order to live the good life. That’s what imbues our life with meaning. I know I’ve said this a few times before but thanks so much for the gift of this blog. It points the way to a meaningful life.


  3. Joy

    Wow, what an amazing train of thought, highlighting so beautiful that all the darkness in the world is merely a canvas upon which I, and each of us, can allow beauty to be born.


  4. Lady Leo

    We’d certainly consider Marcus Aurelius as one of the enlightened but I wonder if the people of his day recognized him as such. Some of those I think of as enlightened were often appreciated for other gifts, such as humour as Mark Twain or statesmenship as with Teddy Roosevelt. Yet to read their record and writings I am deeply impressed with their scope of thought, depth of understanding and legacy that continues to beam their erudite blessings. It’s a good question to pose as I’ve no doubt they are here; as are prophets, but alas one of the cursing of mankind is, such as with the prophets, they are seldom recognized in their own country. I appreciate the beam your daily posts shine!


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