As advent begins, Christians all over the world will be lighting candles, and gazing at their flames-beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit and the Christ. So specially for this season, here is an extract from Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov on the flame as a symbol of the divine spirit that lives within each of us:
‘A flame is something so fragile that the slightest breeze can extinguish it. But if you nourish a tiny flame it will become a great blaze, and the winds that once threatened its existence will fan it until it burns so fiercely that nothing can resist it. How is that the same cause, the wind, can produce effects so diametrically opposed? The reason is simple: it is because the flame- and we -react differently to the same thing, depending on whether we are weak or strong.
A flame is a symbol of the spirit, and if you neglect it and fail to nourish it, the least difficulty will extinguish it. However, those who have strengthened their spirit through prayer, meditation and contemplation, do not allow the obstacles they meet to impede their progress, On the contrary, they are stimulated by them; a difficulty spurs them on to further progress and they face up to the obstacles in their path with even great ardour.
In this way, difficulties that defeat the weak strengthen those who are truly animated by the spirit. But do not simply rely on the spirit and do nothing to help yourselves on the pretext that the spirit is well- armed and will always come to your rescue. The spirit will always be powerful and well- armed only if you continue to nourish it
Each one of you has a flame within you, and however feeble that flame may be, it is in your power to feed it until it becomes an immense blaze. But be careful how you begin; do not expose yourself to draughts that could extinguish your faith, hope and love. Do not associate with people indiscriminately; do not read anything and everything; do not indulge in any and every form of entertainment. Choose emotional, intellectual and spiritual food that will make you inwardly stronger.
Once you are really strong you can stand up to anything; encounters with people or circumstances that would have destroyed you before will actually enhance your light and peace. When a fire has been fed until it is a blaze, the wind can no longer blow it out; on the contrary, it will only fan the flames to greater heights.
At this stage, you will even be capable of lighting other flames and spreading the divine fire to the whole world. Those who have succeeded in lighting their own candle (their spirit) and their vigil light (their soul) at the divine flame are capable of setting the souls and spirits of those around them on fire.
To be sure, this can take a very long time. It may take years to achieve because they often allow too much rain and wind to enter them, but one fine day, they will succeed: their candle will be alight and will begin to radiate some light around them. Seeing this their neighbours will say, ‘Ah, there is someone who can give me some light!’ and they will come and light their own candle. Then another will come and another, until the whole world is filled with lighted candles.’
Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov The Mysteries of Fire and Water
This thought from the master reminds me of walking the advent spiral – a practice common in esoteric Christian communities. A candle is lit and then all participants light their own candle from the flame before placing it within the spiral. SJJ