It’s often said that we are eternally making choices in an age-old battle of “Good vs. Evil”. Some perceive this ongoing conflict as the ultimate contest between the forces of “Light” (those who embody the qualities of good, positivity, and love) and those of the “Dark” (representing evil, negativity, and fear).
While there are countless examples of this theme in popular culture, the “Star Wars” saga, created by George Lucas, impresses me as being one of the best. Through this epic odyssey, the heroes, heroines, and their counterparts are locked in a mortal struggle in which one (the “Dark Side”), seeks absolute dominance while the other seeks only to be liberated from the “evil masters” and their minions.
One of the recurring lessons within these stories is that all of us, even those who ultimately stand for the good, have our darker sides. Conversely, even the most black-hearted villain has the potential for good hidden somewhere deep inside the darkest corner of his or her soul.
As a young boy, I was raised in an environment of occasional (if not frequent) conflict, both at home and in school. Several experiences with bullies and my father’s advice soon taught me that it’s important to stand up—not only for myself and the things I believe in, but also for those who aren’t able to stand up for themselves. I discovered that, by standing strong in my own Truth, like the embattled heroes in Star Wars, I could hold a small place for light to take hold. I’ve learned that, by refusing to lower myself to the level of fear, hatred, or control, I may often make it possible for the good in others to rise to the surface.
I remember reading a “Peanuts” comic once, one of many in a classic series created by the late Charles Schultz. In the strip, Charlie Brown encounters his friend Linus, who is holding a lit candle. When Charlie Brown asks Linus what he is doing, Linus says, “I’ve heard that it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” The comic continues with Charlie Brown’s comment that there will always be those who disagree—and ends with Linus’ irritable sister Lucy, shouting from a darkened room, “Stupid darkness!”
The saying that Linus quoted impressed me so much, even as a child, that I made a poster of it as a project in an elementary school art class. Even now, several decades later, I see even more relevance in its wisdom. There doesn’t have to be a battle between light and dark—or any other faction for that matter. There is no need to judge, fight, or argue with one another, for we are all one. By simply expressing the deepest Truth that lies within each of us and standing confidently in the knowledge that we are all unique, sovereign beings, we may find the strength to gracefully accept the differences in each other as unique expressions of that Truth.
Insofar as the “Light” and the “Dark” are concerned, both must be appreciated—for life requires both in an appropriate balance. Take day and night, for example. In a harmonious, eternal exchange, one smoothly flows into the other. Each has its own domain, yet each also strikes its own balance within the other—darkness becomes shadow during the day, and the light from countless celestial bodies casts its glow through the night. And isn’t it interesting how the most beautiful times of day—dawn and dusk, are the times when these opposites merge together, equally sharing the same space and time?
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