*An Evening With Lissa Rankin will take place at InsightLA, East Hollywood this Saturday, March 16th, 6-8pm. A copy of her book will be included with your registration fee.
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. The 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 direct merging with your Inner Pilot Light, experiencing moments of clear seeing, transcendental knowing, enlivening ecstasy, bliss, and unity as your unique flame merges with the bonfire of all life. Yet more often than not, your Inner Pilot Light plays hide and seek, like fog creeping into a valley between coastal mountains off an ocean, cooling the luminous flames and quieting the burn back to an ember, then retreating back to sea and revealing your Inner Pilot Light in all its blazing clarity and glory. You may have moments of 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 knows 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, while you are separate from God, maintaining reverent silence and behaving in respectable ways that might be endorsed by the church, temple, or mosque. But because you are simultaneously a spark of Divinity and an embodiment of humanity, it’s very likely that the spiritual essence of your Inner Pilot Light may 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 spring 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 might also cause a bit of a ruckus, like an undomesticated, 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. You may say, “But I can’t do that. That would be crazy!” When you do, 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.”
Excerpted from The Daily Flame: 365 Love Letters from Your Inner Pilot Light, by Lissa Rankin, MD. Sounds True, February 2019. Reprinted with permission.
Lissa Rankin, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine, The Fear Cure, and The Anatomy of a Calling, is a physician, speaker, mystic, and founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute. Her new book is The Daily Flame: 365 Love Letters from Your Inner Pilot Light. Lissa has starred in two National Public Television specials. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.