Since I started writing The Daily Flame emails ten years ago, people often ask me to define “Your Inner Pilot Light.” What is it? What is it not? How can you tell if you’re dialed into it? Can other scared, protective, or agenda-driven parts of your psyche trick you into thinking they’re your Inner Pilot Light? How does my notion of the Inner Pilot Light fit into other theological concepts? Honestly, I still wrestle with how to talk about the ineffable nature of this divinely mystical aspect of our humanity. But because our minds are desperate to understand what is essentially a felt sense, I tried to answer some of these questions in the introduction to my new book The Daily Flame: 365 Love Letters From Your Inner Pilot Light, which I’d like to share with you here.
Excerpted From The Daily Flame Book
Welcome, precious one! You are about to embark upon a sort of pilgrimage with your “Inner Pilot Light.”
What is your Inner Pilot Light? Poet Mark Nepo describes it best. “Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God”.
Every life begins when a small spark of the Eternal Flame of cosmic consciousness splits off like a glowing ember of a universal bonfire. This unique spark ignites as the Organizing Intelligence that creates your organs, divides your cells, and develops you perfectly into a precious being decorated with thoughts, preferences, gifts, talents, emotions, and eccentricities. Your Inner Pilot Light begins in every baby as the untainted, radiant, buoyant light of God/Goddess but often gets filmed over by trauma, conditioning, and the illusion of separation from the Eternal Flame from which this unique spark arises.
Although your Inner Pilot Light may grow dim as life’s inevitable challenges threaten to snuff out the full brilliance of this luminous fire, rest assured that your Inner Pilot Light never burns out. Even when you die, the spark returns to the Eternal Flame, adding the brilliance of this unique fractal of light to that which creates all life.
In mystical moments, you may be graced with a glimpse through the film that veils your Inner Pilot Light, experiencing moments of enlivening ecstasy, bliss, and unity as your unique flame merges with the bonfire of all life. Yet, this veil usually creeps back in like fog pouncing into a valley between coastal mountains off a cool ocean, cooling the luminous flames and quieting the burn back to an ember. When the fog retreats back to sea and your Inner Pilot Light flares up, you may have moments of clear vision, deep knowing, and a true remembering of the Oneness that links us all. Then the fog rolls back in, and you may forget once again that your singular flame is also part of the One bonfire.
Over time, the fog may roll in less, and the fire within you may gain fuel from the practices that connect you to the Eternal Flame, stoking your inner fire with your devotion, your discipline, your prayers, your humility, and your longing to reconnect with that which once burst you into life. As you peel away all that is not love to allow more oxygen to fan the flames of consciousness in your original spark. as the inevitable trauma of human life heals, and as the center of your love is unveiled, this flame within you grows to fill your cells. This original spark fills your whole body until it bleeds through your skin as an invisible field of love that touches the spaces around you, lending this warmth to all who come near.
Your Inner Pilot Light loves boundlessly but selectively, discriminates between what is and isn’t authentic to your true nature, and has the skinny on how to connect straight to Source. It guides the path, lights the way, navigates the journey, and asks only that you trust a mysterious process that won’t necessarily make sense to your rational mind. While making contact with your Inner Pilot Light is not quite as simplistic as rubbing a lamp and calling forth some inner genie that can magically make your life easy, you do have mystical magic within, which you can access through your sincere desire to connect with this inner divinity.
Your Inner Pilot Light may not always sound trustworthy, because you may have been conditioned to believe that God is a man with a long beard who lives in the sky and loves you from afar, maintaining reverent silence and behaving in respectable ways that might be endorsed by the church, temple, or mosque. But it’s very likely that the spiritual essence of your Inner Pilot Light may also like to wear purple peasant skirts, dance around the campfire, ignore the phone when it’s judgmental ol’ Aunt Gertrude, laugh inappropriately in the midst of something sacred, and bathe naked in a hot springs under the stars. Your Inner Pilot Light may guide you to sit in the lotus position and meditate while wearing long robes, but this Divine Spark is also likely to be a bit of anundomesticated wild stallion—hard to tame, in touch with the messiness of nature, and prone to galloping through open fields of wildflowers in the rain-soaked mud.
You may worry that your Inner Pilot Light will get you in trouble—and truth be told, it might. After all, if you listen to that voice inside of you, you might wind up doing something crazy, like leaving that soul-sucking job that requires you to compromise your integrity in exchange for a paycheck or ditching your untrustworthy partner because you deserve to be treated with respect or moving to Hawaii to photograph rainbows or choosing to follow your dream of being a musician. Your Inner Pilot Light might care so much about the plight of the rainforests or the orphaned refugee children or the stolen lands of the indigenous people that it pushes you out of your comfort zone and into activism. It might instruct you to dance on bar tops, play the accordion, write a tell-all memoir, or liquidate your retirement account so you can transform a villa in the south of France into a sanctuary for others who are learning to connect with their Inner Pilot Lights.
Your Inner Pilot Light will listen compassionately to the part of you that resists, justifies, rationalizes, and protests. When you say, “But I can’t do that that. That would be crazy!” Your Inner Pilot Light will hold you close and whisper gently, “You don’t have to do anything right now, sweetheart. You only have to make peace with what’s true.” Then you will relax into the relief that comes with finally admitting what you’ve known all along—that transformation is seducing you, like a lover, and that you will surrender to this seduction when you are ready for change, and you will be held in a kind of grace until that time arrives.
What if you can’t feel your Inner Pilot Light? Does it ever burn out? No, my darling. You can rest assured that although your connection to this Divine Spark may feel tenuous or even absent at times, your Inner Pilot Light still fires away, even at the darkest times of your life. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, you’ve been unfaithful, your heart got broken, you lost your job, your child cut you off, you’re dealing with a financial crisis, you’re addicted, you’re depressed, you’re suicidal, you’re having a crisis of faith, you’ve been the victim of a crime, or you’ve done something you can’t bear to face. Times like this can make you question whether your Inner Pilot Light still exists. To doubt is human. To wonder if you have been abandoned by the Source of all love—and to feel pain in the doubting—is natural and understandable. But rest assured that while your Inner Pilot Light may hibernate as a glowing ember, it is never extinguished, not even when you die. You may even find that at the lowest times in your life, this inner spark sidles up closest.
The Daily Flame book is intended to support the kind of intimacy, comfort, nourishment, and grace that happens when you make contact with this source of love that fuels your very existence. Regardless of your spiritual orientation, consider this book a prayer of sorts, one that invites you to gently, quietly reunite with the purest, most loving core of your being, the part that will help you navigate the in-between space in your spiritual life.
How might this miraculous reunion with what religious leaders might call “The Imminent Divine” happen? It is your longing for this reunion that will fuel this prayer and throw lighter fluid on your Inner Pilot Light. Once this prayer is offered with sincerity and humility, it is like casting a wondrous spell. A great magic is invoked, because the Universe wants nothing more than to help you reconnect and remember. That which you are seeking is desperately seeking you.
So sit back and get ready for a magical ride. Your beloved Inner Pilot Light is waiting to welcome you back to the home that’s always been your true sanctuary.
PREORDER THE DAILY FLAME BOOK NOW & GET:
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Thank you for your love and support, and please feel my gratitude for those of you who care about what I write.
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