Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, the end of the current Hindu year and the eve of the New Year. It is one of the biggest, brightest and most joyous festivals in the Indian calendar. Diwali signifies and celebrates the triumph of good over evil, of knowledge over ignorance, of love over hate and of our own inner light overcoming spiritual darkness.
It’s this aspect of Diwali that I was thinking about today. We are all of us, always, either working towards or away from those things – goodness, knowledge, love and finding our inner light. We may not necessarily see it in those terms, and very rarely is it a big, dramatic, all-guns-blazing kind of fight.
Instead, I think it’s the myriad ways in which we live our lives on a daily basis. We all have darkness inside us, just as we all have a beautiful inner light. And throughout our lives, throughout our individual journeys, we are making a choice – we are choosing to allow either the dark or the light to guide us.
We demonstrate those choices in a million different ways, the choice to nourish our souls with laughter, with meditation, with music that makes our souls sing. Or to go the other way and drown in the bad news the media are so keen to push, to become irritated by the annoying habits of those we purport to love, or to deprive ourselves of the things that bring us joy. The choices we make with our food, are we nourishing ourselves or making ourselves ill? The choices we make with our time, are we devoting it to making our lives better, or spending it watching other people living their lives instead?
Each of these tiny, seemingly insignificant choices are in fact part of the path we are walking, and on each occasion, at each decision point, we are either choosing to move forward towards the light, or shrinking back into the dark.
Darkness in itself isn’t a bad thing. If it were daylight all the time, we’d struggle to get our bodies to rest and we’d never be able to appreciate the beauty of the moon. Life is all about contrast, about light and dark.
For me, the last few months have been particularly dark, as the light of one of the most precious souls I ever met has flickered and faded away. But he has left love, and the memory of good times. Having enjoyed that light for so long, the darkness of his death is bearable because it’s the natural effect of the light of his life.
And so, this Diwali, I choose to appreciate the beauty of the dark, whilst turning my head towards the light.
I hope the lights of Diwali illuminate your path, allowing compassion, knowledge and love to flood into your life. I hope the brilliant colours of Diwali colour your days with love, laughter and wonderful memories, and I hope the sparkle of Diwali showers you with joy, health and happiness.