In The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz begins by telling the story of “a human just like you and me.” This human is dreaming in a cave, and in his dream he sees himself going out, looking up into the starry night sky, and discovering something very wonderful.
In the middle of that night, he realizes that all that space between the stars is not empty. It isn’t dark, it isn’t filled with some mysterious ether, but it is filled with light! You look at the night sky and it looks dark, but when you put any object out there you discover that light hits it from all sides. Our sun, which sends so much light to the Earth, is sending light out in every direction — at 186,000 miles a second — and it is going at that speed, without slowing down, forever, in all directions. That is true of every single sun/star in the universe. That’s a lot of light. So any point in space is filled, absolutely filled, with all light from everywhere passing through that one point.
When the human looked up and saw that phenomenon he said, “If I see mostly light and some little pieces of matter spread around, then this universe is not made up of matter, it is made of light. Light makes up the bulk of the universe.” Looking down at his hands in his dream, he saw that they, too, were made of points of light. We call them atoms. They’re little points of light and they have little “planets” going around them, just like the sun. It’s mostly space in between them, just like in the sky. And he realized that the space in his body was filled with light, also, and that it was the same light as “out there.” He realized that if his body is mostly light, and the universe is mostly light, then there is no boundary where one light stops and some other light begins. That light is everywhere.
The human saw that light is the messenger of creation, the messenger of Life. The light is alive, and is carrying the message of Life from the source, or the Creator, which we also could call God. The Toltecs call this messenger of creation the “Nagual,” and the manifestation of that message, or creation itself, the “Tonal.” Someone who frees himself from identification with the Tonal, and knows himself as the light and Creator, is thus referred to as a “Nagual.”
I’m talking about light in a very broad way here. I’m not talking about just visible light, because as you probably know, there’s a wide, wide band of what we think of as light. Visible light — what we see reflected — is just a little, tiny part of that band. If you move just a little bit into the infrared band, you won’t see it with your eyes. The light is only received by that which has receptors for the light. We could say that radio waves are light. So you are sitting there, immersed in radio waves. If you were able perceive all of the radio waves that are coming through you as light, right through the space that you are right now, it would be absolute chaos. Can you imagine? A rock ‘n’ roll station is playing in your head, right along with three talk shows and a basketball game! So, even when we have a radio that receives that light as radio frequencies, we use a system to tune up and down and choose one frequency on the radio — out of the hundreds that are passing through everything all of the time. You can even do it in a building; the light comes right through the walls. The wall is mostly space, filled with light.
When I say the universe is full of light, I am saying that all the information it takes to run a universe is being communicated by the light in every place in the universe, all of the time. Humans are designed as receivers of one particular band of that light.
The light we receive comes mostly from the sun. It is reflected off that particular tonal to us. Most of the light is actually reflected again off of some other part of the tonal. As you learned in school, when you are looking at an object, what you are seeing is not the object. What you are seeing is the light reflected off of the object.
The light is the living messenger, carrying the message of creation/the tonal to you. The light has memory and can travel across the universe for billions of years. When it’s received in a telescope it remembers and communicates exactly what was going on when it started on its journey. If it leaves a star, and travels for 13 billion years to get to you, it remembers exactly the event that occurred 13 billion years ago. It has perfect memory. That light is reflected off of the object, with perfect memory of what the object is. It hits your organ of perception, your eye, which is designed to perceive the light perfectly. This “message of light” has to travel through channels inside of your mind to get to the place where you actually perceive it in some neurological, conscious way.
The human in don Miguel’s story discovered that those pathways in the mind are contaminated by belief systems and fears and expectations — they distort the light coming in from creation. He saw the nature of the dream and the truth about the distortion of his perceptions. He wanted to be sure he would remember what he had learned when we woke up. So he called himself “The Smoky Mirror.” He had learned he was a perfect mirror for the Divine. Nobody could see that perfect mirror, though, because of the “smoke” that comes from distorting the light. The stored light of your perceptions distorts the truth of the message of the Divine in the light…like smoke distorts an image in a mirror.