Even when we feel overwhelmed by mental darkness, the ever-presence of light means there is always the possibility to stop and step back and to see clearly what's going on—that’s called awakening! Instead of being lost in self-identification with some suffering sense of self, when we remember to be present and pay attention, we immediately gain a larger perspective. We gain freeing insight into the self-feeling, self-thought of being overwhelmed by "my" pain, "my" sorrow, "my" suffering. The light breaks the "self" illusion, giving us rays of hope.
Well, who or what is able to have such a remarkable, freeing perspective, such awakening awareness, except a mind informed by light itself? If it was all darkness within us, we wouldn’t even know suffering as suffering! We wouldn’t even have the feeling or thought, “I’m overwhelmed by my pain, my sorrow, my suffering.” We would just suffer dumbly, forever in ignorance of any other possibility.
The ability to see, to have perspective, to step back, to come back to our center, indicates our native ability to awaken. That’s the light! It's always present. Nothing can take that awakening capacity from us; it’s just built in to the very nature of consciousness itself. Even the impetus to wake up comes from that native light of mind. We are never really alone; we companion with the light, always.
So, remember, when doing deep self-investigation, it is the awakening light, not mental darkness, that always has the upper hand and last word. Light leads the way when we look within ourselves seeking to discern the causes of suffering. Light means attention and paying attention. But it’s more, for coming back to our anchor, the breath, and paying attention, we come to know light as a power and a living presence. This awakening light is not passive! It enlivens us. It's not a thought, but it is mind. It's not a feeling, though we feel it. The awakening light dispels the darkness of fear, pain, sorrow. Light is life!
Sometimes our simple waking up to the light within us removes the dark without process or mental argument or struggle. Other times, we may have to very consciously and mindfully shine the spotlight onto the whatever is dark and hidden, and we have to courageously persist. In either case, never forget that light always remains victorious in itself, is never defeated, and the darkness never overcomes it.
Nothing can take this light from you. Look deeply, letting go of self, and you realize you are the light. Our great life work is to awaken to that great truth and power. Aligning ourselves with light, loving the light, always remembering the light, holding fast to the light, we find this inner illumination is faithful, reliable, trustworthy. Mental storm clouds may hide it, even as clouds can hide sun, and at times we may despair. But the original radiance of mind exists beyond all conditions and is always ours to have and to know.