The Way of Radiance: isn't that the dream that fills your quiet hours, when it is just you, your thoughts, your stories (all true and false that you have on perpetual repeat), and the dreams that you don't want to lose... you want to shine, you want an opportunity for bliss, you want to hold and be held, and you want someone to stop long enough to know that you are worthy of adoration... for just one day, you want to be a sun capable of setting the sky ablaze!
You are tempted to "get real and stay real" -- what have either your desires or your dreams ever gotten you? You've loved -- not enough -- but you keep losing. You have a job -- so you do count your blessings -- but you are still in debt. You have some dear friends, both near and far. You even have a serious spiritual practice... but the "buts" keep your feet shackled to a clock that is steadily running out of time... you never thought that you would be so content with being so deeply unhappy...
But then once again, there are those same few words coming at you like a sticky fly that you don't want to kill but it won't soosh-away: the way of radiance... who first planted that phrase in your head? Every-once-in-a-while it comes seemingly intent on scorching your mind with possibilities... but possibilities for what? And why risk everything for another shot at failure? So tonight you just pull the blanket around you tighter and vainly recite an affirmation of hope...
After an hour of tossing and turning, you sit up in bed and turn the light on: no head is resting on your second pillow and God has slipped away into some blue perfection that has abandoned you... you cry: and then out of the blue, you decide to laugh... not just laugh, but to uproariously surrender to a gut-wrenching, soul-shredding, laugh! "Out of the blue"... you wonder: maybe God didn't, after all, slip away into blue perfection... but maybe God is that precise moment of "out of the blue"... you ponder and then you find incredible delight in pondering "out of the blue"...
What if you were to simply change your mind? What if you were to put down the life-cards you've been thinking you were shuffled, and pick up only "out of the blue" cards from here on out? What would your life look like if you lived everyday for those moments in which you could mimic God and be "out of the blue"? What if you sent a single red rose to your 148 friends... well, you don't really have quite that many, you know, "facebook" and all... but still, a lot of them really are your friends... What if doing something sweet or kind or beautiful -- "out of the blue" -- was to become your spiritual practice... and then your life? What if this -- exactly this -- is the meaning of your life? What if you stopped thinking about yourself, and instead, simply became about "out of the blue" for others? What if God is "less of Me and more of Others"?
And so... one more person discovered the way of radiance...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher.