Lighting Our Shadows

By Igwe C. Amakulo 

Man has always found himself in a queue of shadows, the two ends of the queue extending to infinity. From our Christ center, the upward-extending shadows follow one after the other till the chain disappears in the kosmic universe, which in turn is swallowed up in the endless deep. The downward stretch of the chain again extends to infinity. Next in line with us is our very own shadow. We can see a few of the links in the chain beginning with our own, yet billions of shadows disappear in the cosmic universe which is swallowed in the same womb of nature.

Less do we know that we follow him whose shadow we are, as our own shadow follows us. As our inner spark, the silent voice from within, is always beckoning us to turn to it for guardian, so shall we beckon the next in line to turn to us for guardian. It is a pity that it never occurs to many that we are, individually, spiritual mothers to a host of dim light-centers down along our individual chain of cosmic life. The point of focus at which our down-trending karmic ray converges creates a life-center. It is the shadow of the life-atom we always see next to our physical body, the temple of our inner self. The fact that our actions on this plane affect other life-atoms, especially those born from our karma, is all the more reason why we should be very careful in life.

As long as man continues to be callous and choked with passion while walking in the part of this universe which is of dreams, delusion, and egoism, there is no parting with the illusive shade from which the chain of individual shadows is made manifest. I am still thinking how it touches the guardian of our race the way human beings rush to receive divine gifts and all that grace entails with sullen mind where angels dread to tread. Being in haste can only lead us to make the load, which the teaching of the sages has already lightened, to become too heavy for us to lift, not to talk of carrying it. No one can skip one rung of the ladder of experience; in fact, each and every one must with patience wash himself clean in the water of life before he can qualify to ask for divine favors.

We have not to forget that every action produces an effect. Those misdeeds which are so distant from our power to remember have not really disappeared never to catch up with us. The Lords of Karma with their faithful diligence and sense of direction neither leave any good action uncompensated nor any bad action unatoned. This law with mathematical accuracy allows every individual to draw from his karmic storehouse the effects of his former actions in such a way that no one will be overloaded with the harvest of his past lives. Karma cheats nobody, it only lets us reap as we sow.

There is a Nigerian proverb which says, "Debts do not decay"; they get dry and await the debtor. In the same manner, one's past karma never decays or disappears but matures and awaits the sower. The reaping can be done free-willy, or one may be pressed to it by the law of karma if one tends to dodge.

As my shadow follows me, as if to give me the message from those very dim light-atoms of my creation, I look at them with pity. The more I look at them the more I feel for those life-centers; if we owe a debt of forgiveness and love to one who has wronged us, what debt do we owe to a life-atom, a center of dim light which we brought into existence?

There is no other way known to me through which I can help this creation of mine than by keeping the golden rules of life. Such rules make for esoteric discipline of our complex nature; through esoteric discipline the secret of self-knowing will be unveiled; knowing our self will earn us the key to forgive ourself and we will thereby add to the weight pan of positive karma. Surely, by so doing, the burden of our negative creation, whose shadow follows us as the cart follows the ox, will greatly be lightened. It seems natural that man, reflecting the dual nature of the divine in manifestation, creates down-trending light-centers. At the same time, because we have been shown the way, the truth, and the life, the hope for those dim light-centers lies in our hands: to help them to burn brighter and brighter until they merge once more with the mother flame.

(From Sunrise magazine, June/July 1986; copyright © 1986 Theosophical University Press)

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