Who Turned Out the Lights?

Mar 5, 2012 by

Who Turned Out the Lights?

“Life offers contradictory truths:
We are separate,
yet we are one.
Accidents happen,
yet there are no accidents.
Death is real,
yet death is an illusion.
Our experience of reality
and truth depends
on our state of awareness.”

Dan Millman

Have you ever felt lost, alone and in the dark? Have you ever desperately sought the light at the end of the tunnel? Do you know the feeling of life humming along quite nicely, where everything is going as you think it should; and then in an instant, the lights go out? All of a sudden you find yourself alone and in the dark, unable to see your way out or forging ahead to touch that glimmer of light just off in the distance?

When I am in this place, I often distract myself with trying to figure out “who” turned out the lights. Surely it must be someones’ fault since life had been humming along just fine before the light went out. We can be quick to blame someone else for our darkness, or someone else for the abrupt stop to “all is well”. Why, just yesterday I felt oh so self aware and knew where I was heading and how to get there. No GPS needed, as I was the epitome of enlightenment, rising higher and higher. Dan Millman, author of many books, from whom the quote above was taken, speaks a truth I have been able to hear, and shines a light I have been able to follow. The following illustrates “Our experience of reality and truth depends on our state of awareness.”

I will never forget a serious disagreement I once had with a co-worker. We were unable to resolve our differences between ourselves so we went to mediation with our supervisor. She brought us both together to tell our side of the story. I told mine first, priding myself in being able to quote him word for word as to what occurred. When I finished, my co-worker said he didn’t recall it going down like that. He then told his story; which I can only say flabbergasted me, as it sounded like a whole different incident. In an escalated state, I explained how I didn’t even recognize the incident from his telling. I further said I wondered if it were even the same incident. My coworker made some remark about my having my own reality. I countered with some statement about there being only one truth. He pretty much ended the discourse by saying that my story was based on my perception, and my perception was my reality.

I became speechless and angry, but I never forgot this encounter, or the words he so calmly spoke while I was in my escalated state. This coworker and I became fast friends and developed a high mutual respect for one another. Now, when it is my turn to mediate disagreements among my staff, I recall those words; “your perception is your reality”… and I ponder the truth in these words. The key to resolving disagreements is often about getting both parties to open their minds, in order to be able to see one another’s realities.

Our state of awareness can often vary, according to the circumstances in our lives and how we process and handle those circumstances. Life does indeed offer contradictory truths… understanding that we are one, yet separate, requires a state of awareness that allows us to see the connectedness of everything, and our connectedness to everything and everyone. Knowing that accidents happen, yet knowing that everything happens for a reason, tells us there are no accidents really. Finally, the big one; knowing, feeling and understanding in your heart that Death is real, as we suffer the grief and loss of a loved one who has transitioned from this earth and our material lives, yet having the peace and knowingness that death is really an illusion, for our spirits live on. Believing this can melt away the pain and sorrow of our grief, and help us to accept the reality of seemingly contradictory truths. For in death, those that are left behind can feel they have lost the light in their lives and the joy in their souls. As we experience the grief and the pain and suffering of our loss, it can be hard to hold onto the faith and belief, that no one ever really dies. Our loved ones are never far from us.

To evolve to the point where we can face and understand life’s contradictions, without being left in the dark, requires continuing our search for the path of enlightenment. It requires that we don’t seek the answer to the question; “who turned out the lights?” Rather we should ask the question, “How do I get back to the light?” Or as Dan Millman puts it;

“The path to personal evolution isn’t showy; there are no glowing signs to identify an evolved being. Awakened people often behave in quiet, ordinary ways.”

So awaken my brothers and sisters, and pay attention to the quiet ordinary ones, for they can help you turn the light back on.

LilyDale NY at sunrise - photo by Donna Morask

“Welcome each new moment with open arms!”

Photo by Donna Morask


  1. The power in your reflections is filled with the depth of introspection I know to be your truth. Thank you, for these wise and thoughtful words. I very much enjoyed what they evoked. Peace be with you, my sweet friend.

  2. Donna Morask

    I am humbled John, thank you. You are one of my amazing greats as well. Namaste. Donna

  3. John W. Strobel III

    Wow! Donna, you have become one of my “Amazing Greats”…JWSIII