What Is Light?

An Excerpt from LUMINOUS LIFE

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Dr. Jacob Israel Liberman

What Is Light?

An Excerpt from Luminous Life by Jacob Liberman

Since humanity’s first sunrise, seers have wondered about the nature of light and suspected that this mysterious and all-pervasive phenomenon must be fundamentally related to our deepest questions about God, life, and the meaning of existence. The Bible tells us that life began with the dawning of light, and virtually every spiritual tradition identifies light with the Creator, speaking of the “divine light,” the “light of God,” and describing spiritual evolution as the process of “enlightenment.”

Health and well-being are commonly thought of as an emanation of light — or “glow” — a radiance that cannot be described. Glowing physical health is primarily a function of the power of our “inner sun,” and our glow seems to increase as our awareness expands. At full illumination, this radiance becomes visible to the naked eye, which is why great actors are often likened to “stars,” and saints are traditionally depicted as being surrounded by brilliant halos and described as “illumined.”

Many of our verbal expressions also illustrate the countless ways in which light manifests in our everyday lives. We say that pregnant women are “glowing,” and when we feel inspired we say we have had a “flash” of insight. When someone is very smart, we say they are “brilliant”; and when they have changed their beliefs or thinking, we say they have “seen the light.” When we speak of a new idea, we might say “a light bulb went off.” When we want someone to calm down, we might suggest they “lighten up.”

Scientists have also puzzled over the nature of light. In 1640 the Italian astronomer Galileo wrote a letter to philosopher Fortunio Liceti stating, “I have always considered myself unable to understand what light was, so much so that I would readily have agreed to spend the rest of my life in prison with only bread and water if only I could have been sure of reaching the understanding that seems so hopeless to me.” Around 1917 the physicist Albert Einstein wrote to a friend, “For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is!” By 1951 he confessed that he had spent fifty years of “conscious brooding,” trying to understand the nature of light yet was no closer to the answer than when he began.

In the process of chasing the mystery of light, however, Einstein developed the theory of relativity, establishing that at the speed of light, time ceases to exist. In addition, a photon, which has no mass, can cross the cosmos without using any energy. So for light beams, time and space do not exist.

More recently, however, quantum physicists have described light as the foundation of reality. This is profoundly significant when we realize that quantum theory is considered the most successful scientific formulation in history and that 50 percent of our current technology is based on it. According to theoretical physicist David Bohm, “Light is energy and it’s also information, content, form, and structure. It’s the potential of everything.” We live in a universe that appears to be created and nourished by light. According to German writer and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “All life originates and develops under the influence of . . . light.” This becomes obvious when we experimentally place plants, animals, or humans in darkened environments and notice that their vitality and well-being gradually diminish, bringing their lives to a halt. Without light, there is no will to live. We are literally robbed of the spark that propels our spirit.

With such recognitions, the artificial distinctions we have between science, health care, and spirituality are dissolving, and each is being traced back to light. Mystics, scientists, and healers now agree, in their respective terms, that light holds the secret to human awakening, healing, and transformation.

Dr. Jacob Israel Liberman’s discoveries in the fields of light, vision, and consciousness, have been enthusiastically endorsed by luminaries in the fields of health, science, and spirituality, including Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, and Eckhart Tolle. He is the author of Light: Medicine Of The Future, Take Off Your Glasses And See and Wisdom From An Empty Mind. His newest book, Luminous Life: How the Science of Light Unlocks the Art of Living, reveals how light guides our every step, so we may fulfill our reason for being.

Excerpted from the book, Luminous Life. Copyright © Jacob Israel Liberman. Reprinted with permission from New World Library.

Written by Jacob Israel Liberman

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