You were born in a dark room. You have lived your whole life in total darkness, then one day someone opens the door to your room, just a crack, and the smallest sliver of light from a candle in the next room falls upon the floor before you. You are stunned, then sink to your knees and give thanks, for you believe you have seen the sun.
This is where most truly stand as they proclaim their enlightenment. The light, at first, may come with a sting, as they are unaccustomed to it, but their eyes adjust and they find the light gentle, harmless. If they had truly glanced at the sun, they would not become so comfortable so quickly, and they would have to quickly turn away to avoid serious damage to their eyes. The sun is bright beyond what is tolerable for us; it hurts the eyes and often burns the skin. Its heat can kill.
The sliver of candlelight falling before you on the floor to your room is useful; it illuminates the darkness, allowing you to finally see the shape and structure of the room in which you live; in fact, it allows you this understanding of a room in the first place, as without this light, you could not have known there was a door to be opened, and that it was only a particular space you inhabited, instead of all of existence.
This light is also beautiful, certainly, gentle and safe. From these truths we know that it is good that someone opened the door a crack, and it was good that this sliver of light fell upon the floor before you; it opened your eyes and explained to you what you could not have understood before about the nature of yourself, the world, and your place in it. But it is not the sun.
The sun is beautiful and sustains life, but it isn’t gentle or safe. So go ahead, remain safely in your room praying to the sliver of candlelight at your feet. Believe that it is the sun, if what you really want is safety, comfort. The truth is, it isn’t the sun that gives comfort when it’s high noon at midsummer, however, it’s the shade. For comfort people will always flee the searing heat and blinding brightness of the sun. Very few willingly brave the discomfort and experience the heat. Usually, if you have experienced a taste of the true power of the sun, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
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