Hindu: Diwali – celebrating knowledge, light and compassion

November 5

Diwali, the Festival of Lights affirms a faith in the victory of light: knowledge over ignorance, good over evil. 

From “StarWars” to “Spiderman”, from “It’s a wonderful life” to “the Sound of Music”, we feel the world is re-aligned when good triumphs. Our hearts tell us that good must win and that dispels despair and inspires a hope that enables us to live heroically.

What about the light of knowledge? Good mental health has this in common with a healthy religion/spirituality: it recognizes knowledge gained through empirical research, senses, and lived experience. 

Knowledge from empirical research opens an understanding to the laws of nature and continues to inspire hope, in physical and mental health care, in ecology, in agriculture and in the application of research in many other fields.

Sensory knowledge is known by our bodies through the senses, (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.) Self care includes noticing aches and pains so that I do not continue in a practice that hurts me.

Lived experience gives us another type of knowledge. While living in the Global South in Africa where malaria is debilitating, I gained knowledge of a people who work when they are sick, help their neighbours in times of hardship, and stop work to grieve the death of a community member – every community member whether Christian or Muslim. Such is the kind of knowledge that shines a light into our stereotypical understandings of Africa.

As global communications make the world smaller, I feel hope that we can meet others with curiosity and wonder and more and more recognize our common humanity.

All knowledge is indeed a light when it is directed toward serving and supporting life on earth.  

Gratitude Prompt: What light in my life gives me hope?