Kindle the candlelight of your heart to fire the collective torch that will lead us out of our present darkness
As we enter the latter months of 2020, we can agree it has been the most challenging year we have faced in decades for most or all of us. Who ever imagined 2020 would be so relentlessly dark and devastating? Sometimes it seems as though we are in a dream and will wake in the morning to say, “Oh, thank God it was only a dream!”
Sadly, we must accept this reality and move forward.
If, however, we wish to not only survive this crisis but to emerge better than we were before, we must first consider how we got here in the first place. Once we understand our errors, we can learn from them and amend them. And in order to create a bright, sunlit future for everyone, we must individually and collectively choose love and unity as our standard bearers as we overcome the hardships and difficulties we face today.
As we wonder, “Why is this happening to us now?” and grasp for the so called “new normal,” I believe there is a lesson we need to learn. Perhaps God is giving us an opportunity to realize that we have been too arrogant, acting as though we are the creator of the universe. Maybe we ought to be more humble and grateful for what we have been given and stop taking our gifts for granted. Perhaps we ought to stop being so self-centered and start thinking more about the happiness of others.
Twiceborn, a new biographical Japanese art film about Ryuho Okawa, the founder of the global spiritual movement Happy Science, is a testament to the power of humility, self-reflection and love. The story reminds us to reflect on our own lives, to ask ourselves what kind of life we have been seeking and walking, to contemplate more deeply what our purpose and mission in life may be, and to share our love unconditionally in order to fulfill that purpose.
Twiceborn is the story of Satoru Ichijo, a successful and promising businessman who awakens to his calling and true mission. Relinquishing all the material glories and stature of life he had accumulated, he instead seeks “Universal Truth” and dedicates his life to “spreading the message of hope and love” to the world while remaining humble, hardworking and caring.
One of the main principles that Saturo follows in his quest to fulfill his mission is to “bring happiness to others without consideration of your own benefit.” Similar to the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” (Matt. 7:12) — Saturo tries to treat others as he would like to be treated and to give love without taking. The idea sounds simple, but it is quite difficult to actually live by every day. Difficult but not impossible, for in reality, truly successful and happy people continually execute this principle.
Consider how you have applied this principle to your life until now. Ask yourself these simple questions: “How much have I been giving to others without expecting anything in return?” “How egotistical am I? Have I always put myself first before others?” I am sure most of us would answer, “Yes, my life has been about me first, about my success first, then others.” It is very typical and normal to think this way, because it is important to think about your own success and your happiness in order to kick start the laws of attraction. However, to attain true success and happiness, you need to go beyond “Me” thinking and instead put others before yourself.
If your mindset becomes too self-centered, you will probably attract what you want. But in so doing, you may create an “ego” and “arrogance” that will clash with others, causing friction that can devolve into all types of negative energies such as hatred, anger, betrayal, distrust, fear, jealousy, self-denial, and so on. At the end of the day, you may end up with a very unhappy life. You might blame others for it or denounce the laws of attraction as a lie, but in fact, it would have been your own doings and your own mindset that attracted such a result.
Ironically, although it may seem as though you would be making a sacrifice and lose something by giving of yourself for others, you would actually gain so much, from the point of view of “Universal Truth.” Let us, just for a moment, stop thinking about ourselves, let go of our selfishness and ego, and do the things we want done for us, for our loved ones, our families, co-workers, and neighbors. If we do, we will find a wheel of fortune and circle of happiness beginning to turn! Keep giving — give, give and give. That positive energy will be emitted to the universe, and sooner or later, everything you have given will be given back to you. The light that you have shared from your heart will flare and light others’ hearts, fueling a torch of love that will someday light the way for you and all.
A shadow has crossed our planet this year, warning us of our derelict ways. Now is the time for all of us to come together with love to banish that shadow and restore the light. Love can overcome any differences we face: gender, ethnic background, culture, religion, philosophy. United love is even stronger still. One soul’s candlelight may be small and weak, but by coming together and sharing our light we can become a torch of love to illuminate the world and change it for the better.
Yes, the sun will rise again for us all!
I would like to leave you with words of wisdom from Ryuho Okawa.
“Imagine what you will see
When the flame of this candle overflows upon this world.
I will tell you that you shall see the light of day,
Like the rays of the sun cast upon the world.
You have been living within the darkness for many years,
The touches of daylight may have vanished from your memory,
But look upon my candle,
Look upon not only my own candle, but those of your peers.
See how your peers are also holding candles.
Imagine just how brightly we will glow if these flames come together.
Even if our candles have only a modest glow,
There is no reason to be ashamed.
There is no reason for self-limitations.
There is no reason to despair.
It is just the beginning of all things to come.
You mustn’t forget
That those who set eyes upon your light,
Will be reminded of the memories of their original home.
Within us all, there remains
The power to believe in our hopes once more.
We must never allow a sliver of doubt,
In this power within us all
To imagine our dreams once more.
I am also not more than one glowing candle.
But, if this flame can set light to a million more candles,
Then there will be a million more candles to cast light upon this world.
And what’s more, the light of these candles can be passed on,
And passed on again, to spread forth infinitely.
I hope you will join me on this journey to create a world of light.”
— From “Life of Triumph”