Every year, millions of homes line up their walk ways and entrances to their properties with bright lights and lamps resembling that of the Fourth of July. Family and friends visit one another delivering sweets, clothes and other various gifts showing appreciation for the decades of love and happiness. Temples are filled with worshipers who pray to the Gods above showing their loyalty and asking for blessings. The holiday is known as Diwali, and it is celebrated by Hindu worshipers worldwide during the months of October to November.
Growing up in a Hindu family, I never truly understood the meaning of this festive holiday until I came into prison and was able to spend some time in the library researching it. Diwali honors Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Families and business owners pray to Lakshmi during the festival for prosperity and the lamps and lights are placed outside to help Lakshmi find her way into the homes of the faithful. The lamps also symbolize the perseverance of the human spirit to breakthrough times of darkness with lights. And that is what this blog post is about: Breaking through darkness.
Religions tend to use metaphors and stories to drive home points of resolution for life’s contentions. While we may not actually believe that Moses parted the sea or that Jesus was able to turn blood into wine, these events are told to educate us on adversity we may face throughout our lives. Here is a visualization for you: picture yourself sitting in a dark room, pitch black, with no doors or windows. Just four black walls, a black ceiling and a black floor. On one of the walls you notice a small pinhole of bright light that is shining through, hitting the floor like a magnifying glass. After you process through the darkness of your situation, you begin to stare right into the stream of white light; obsess over it; letting it consume you. As the hours and days go by you begin to dig into this pinhole with your fingernails. Eventually ripping it open, allowing yourself to escape the darkroom and into the bright light taking in all of the positivity it has to offer. This is my personal metaphor on life and working through adversity. No matter how difficult the situation once you’ve accepted the current outcome (more on this to come later) you can start to flip the negative into a positive by searching for a slither of white light and letting it consume you. Putting all your energy into it and breaking the darkness with light, just like the Hindu’s do every year.
It took me sometime to process through my felony conviction – especially knowing I would be facing time in federal prison. Depressing questions would continue to surface: what would happen to the life I built? What career would I have being branded a felon? How would I maintain my sanity during my incarceration? With so many unknowns I firmly positioned myself into a darkroom. But I found a white light; spinning my negative situation into a positive one by focusing on self-growth and being able to help and inspire others. My time would not go down in vein, rather, I get to emerge a stronger, smarter, and sharper individual in virtually every aspect of life. I get to write this blog and document my journey, while teaching others on the way both at this institution and those from around the globe. I spend my down time reading the works of published authors, biographies, studying technical analysis on financial markets, researching all of the curiosities I have of this great world through the writings of others. And most importantly, I get to focus on sowing seeds with society and working to give back to those in need along with helping to reform the justice system.
So think about the last time you were in a difficult situation. Maybe you are facing one right now? How were you able to break the darkness? What was your white light? And if you haven’t found it yet, stay focused, it will come to you just as it did to me.