Our Inner Light and refuge

Writing on this blog is a spiritual exercise. The discipline of waiting to hear what I should write is usually the foundation for my path for the rest of the day. Or week. Or year. Or lifetime.

During the rest of the day I try to continue to be attuned to this, listening to the Inner Light. When I first wrote that previous sentence, I realized I am not listening to my Inner Light, but to ours, together. During the day I sometimes hear what I should write about the next day. If I am blessed to have another day.

Many years ago I found walking and photography had also become spiritual practices. Praying while walking. Seeking quiet places to walk. Walking with my camera as I nearly always do. To the extent that people will ask me where my camera is if they see me without it.

When talking with my friend Diop Adisa about photography once, I said even if I don’t have my camera with me, I still take photos in my mind. He laughed and said he did the same thing. We came up with the term “Zen photography”.

Photography can be a spiritual practice. Looking for an image to capture helps keep me grounded in the moment. I became aware of a spiritual connection between being immersed in the Inner Light that would hold a channel open, so when I discovered an image, that visible light connected to the Inner Light.

Years ago the Spirit taught me the connection between the Inner Light and visible light can be bidirectional. The Inner Light would sometimes uncover the visible image. I learned to stand before a subject, in silence, and wait for the image to photograph to be revealed to me. At the times when that occurred, I would be both focused on the physical place where I was, and taken out of that place to where the Inner Light was shining.

I was astonished years ago when I became aware that I was talking to the Spirit when I held the camera. Saying things like ‘that’s a beautiful flower you created’. Or, ‘you know what I’m trying to do here. Could you help me out?’ There were sacred times when I received an answer.

In order to deal with the chaos that exists in the world today, you need some grounding. That grounding best comes from knowing who you are.

– Michael Ray –

Some of this reflection was stimulated by what I found on a new, for me, website, Dumbo Feather.

From the very first issue, Dumbo Feather magazine has provided a platform for people to tell their stories. The people in our pages are not necessarily famous. They are changemakers, leaders, artists, writers, lawyers, activists, philosophers, teachers, builders, scientists. They use their craft to make the world a better place and, by telling their story, they are motivating others to do the same. [see “All the we are is story” below]

Less than two months ago, when so many of us were feeling alarm around the bushfires and wider climate emergency, we shared a resource for turning that alarm into much-needed action. Now we are in the midst of another emergency that is forcing us into varying states of economic distress, isolation and anxiety. We are united in our vulnerability and our courageous attempts to think and live differently as the fragility of the economy reveals itself to us.

There is a deep desire among us to find freedom and imagination in this moment. Much of the work, of course, is in cultivating the resources within to help weather the storm. As we at Dumbo Feather navigate the turbulence and uncertainty of this time, and strive for moments of clarity, peace and a re-imagining of what’s possible, we are committing to sharing ideas that are helping us find refuge. We will keep adding to this list as inspiration strikes and new resources come our way.

[ Following is one section of those resources.]


  • Be in nature and observe life, maybe spend time with a particular tree and enter a regular conversation with it
  • Stay present to what you’re feeling, your emotions are probably changing on an hourly basis; observe them, be curious about what’s triggering them
  • Celebrate the wins for the planet as a consequence of this de-growth period. Join in its relief. We are part of nature, after all
  • Plant seeds and grow a garden (even if it’s pots on the balcony)
  • Create a routine for your day. Include break times, walks, coffee chats with loved ones via Zoom
  • Order books from local bookstores – many bookshops are offering free delivery to surrounding areas. Buy food from local businesses and grocery stores

Everywhere people ask, “what can we do?”
The question, what can we do, is the second question.
The first question is “what can we be?”
Because what you can do is a consequence of who you are.
Once you know what you can be, you know what you can do.

Arkan Lushwala

All this brings to mind the concept of Spiritual Warrior. I hadn’t thought in those terms until I received a message from my good friend Joshua Taflinger.

I am inspired to share with you all more directly a post I wrote, because I consider you an established & effective nature/spiritual warrior, and believe that there is a need for the perspectives shared in the attached post to be more common thought in the minds of the many.

If you feel truth from this writing, and are inspired, I highly encourage you to re-write your own version, in your own words/perspectives, and post to your network.

With the intention of helping us all wake up, with awareness, clarity, and direction.

..spreading and weaving reality back into the world….

What has risen to the surface at Standing Rock is a physical/spiritual movement. Learn how to quiet your mind. To find the silent receptive space to receive guidance. To learn to adapt and follow the pull of synchronicity to guide you to where you will find your greatest support and strength.

What I have found in my time praying in the indigenous earth based ways, is that it’s not about putting your hands together and talking to god…. It’s about quieting and connecting with the baseline of creation, of nature. Tuning into the frequency and vibration of the natural world, the nature spirits. The beings and entities that have been in existence, for all of existence, the examples and realities of sustainability and harmony.
It’s about becoming receptive to these things. Being open and flowing with them. The spirit guides us, but we have to make ourselves receptive to feel, sense, and respond to this guidance.

Joshua Taflinger

The Spiritual Warrior is a person who challenges the dreams of fear, lies, false beliefs, and judgments that create suffering and unhappiness in his or her life. It is a war that takes place in the heart and mind of a man or woman. The quest of the Spiritual Warrior is the same as spiritual seekers around the world.  

Toltec Spirit

Each Warrior of the Light contains within him the spark of God. His destiny is to be with other Warriors , but sometimes he will need to practice the art of the sword alone; this is why, when he is apart from his companions, he behaves like a star. He lights up his allotted part of the Universe and tries to point out galaxies and worlds to all those who gaze up at the sky. The Warrior’s persistence will soon be rewarded. Gradually, other Warriors approach , and they join together to form constellations, each with their own symbols and mysteries.  

Coelho, Paulo. Warrior of the Light: A Manual (p. 89). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

For us, warriors are not what you think of as warriors.  The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another’s life.  The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others.  His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves and above all, the children, the future of humanity.

Sitting Bull

ALL THAT WE ARE IS STORY. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship — we change the world one story at a time.

Richard Wagamese (October 14, 1955-March 10, 2017)

Here is a link to some Quaker Stories https://quakerstories.wordpress.com/

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