light in a cage

Harmonize Your Brilliance

As I had my morning cup of coffee outside, I pondered these words.

“A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”  Jesus of Nazareth

Why did I wake up thinking this?

Well, I did just write a post about letting yourself shine, however, there seemed to be more to it.

And it occurred to me that I haven’t been allowing myself to shine as much as I could.  I’ve been hiding my light under a basket, so to speak.

But why?

Why wouldn’t I let the glory of God-within shine forth to illuminate my fellow man?

And I realized that I had somehow cross-referenced myself with a verse from the Tao Te Ching.


Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the Earth.
This is primal union.

~Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching ch. 56 (Jane English and Gia-Fu Feng translation)

“Mask your brightness.”

I’ve pondered that line over and over again.

I wondered if one should “mask” the “brightness” to allow the light surrounding to have some effect.

Or maybe shining too brightly would be an invitation to some sort of attack?  After all, Lao Tzu does get into some fairly marshal terms throughout the Tao Te Ching.

But then it struck me; perhaps this translation doesn’t convey everything Lao Tzu meant!  (No translation ever will.  Words are fickle friends, indeed!)

Looking in the translation by James Legge, we have “attemper the glare,” with “attemper” meaning “to modify the temperature of

The Jonathon Star translation states it as “temper the glare,” suggesting much the same thing, and in the verbatim translation section of Mr. Star’s edition, we have the Chinese word “ho” which means “harmony/harmonizes/dim/soften/blend with/temper/mask”

That is a HUGE difference in meaning!

We could take it further, using the reference, and translate it as “Harmonize your brilliance.”

So we take the two Teachers’ words together, and we can state:

“Let your light shine forth, but let its brilliance be harmonious.”

But what does that mean, really?

Have you ever seen a preacher on a street corner yelling at passersby who just seem to ignore him?

No matter what he’s saying, whether it be “The end is nigh!” or “The Universe loves you!”, no one is listening.

That’s because his light is too harsh.  It’s not harmonious.  He didn’t attemper his glare.

When we put a lampshade on a lamp, we’re not trying to block out the light of the lamp.

We’re just softening it, making it more appropriate to the ambiance of the room it’s in.

Likewise, we must do the same with ourselves and our own inner light.

Let that light shine, but let it be harmonious.

You see, we are Creators.

Our present situation has been created by us to bring to us those experiences we require.

If we are out of balance with that situation, we are out of balance with our Self.

There is nought but You.

As without, so within.

As above, so below.

If you blend your light with those around you, you balance your light within.

There’s an exercise here.

Did you find it?

As always, I look forward to hearing from you in the comments area below!

May your light shine harmoniously!



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