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Record Type: Review   ID: 84

Light in My Darkness

Keller, Helen

 This book, which is an expanded edition of Keller’s My Religion, originally published in 1927. The present title is apt, because Keller herself longed to be "a light-bringer to the souls of men who are lost in the horror of great darkness" (p. xv). Undoubtedly it has long served as a beacon for the blind, whose fate of living in darkness Keller shared. But she was able to live fully and affirmatively in that dark (and in her case, silent) world because of the great light she had found and that she shares in this book: Swedenborg’s version of Christianity. For Keller his teachings "have been my light and a staff in my hand, and by his vision splendid I am attended on my way" (p. 34). Thus her book is offered as a guide to those who live in spiritual darkness also. Finally, it is a book of light for, as the editor, Ray Silverman, points out: Keller’s style was that of a "Prose Poet," who wrote "in bursts of radiant light" (p. xiii). For Keller, the act of living in the world itself was a Project of Transcendence, calling her out to travel the world bringing her message of light in darkness. It is very appropriate that her exceptional experiences were those of enlightenment, from that first world-changing moment when she recognized that her teacher was showing her the word for water, which henceforth led her to rapidly gain a large vocabulary and enter the world of human discourse using Braille and other means. In her darkness, any new knowings, whether it originated from within herself or outside, was probably often enlightening, because her only door to consensus reality and beyond had to originate in her mind. In addition to the incomparable support given to her by her famous teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, there was Keller’s spiritual guide, Immanuel Swedenborg, and through him, the teachings of Jesus. In this beautiful work Keller describes the light she saw in these lines from what could be called her credo: "I believe that life is given us so that we may grow in love, and I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower—the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence" (p. 15). In many chapters, especially "The Mystic Source," "The Great Message," and "My Final Awakening," it is evident that Keller was in touch with the Experiential Paradigm. She writes: "There is not only an objective physical world but also an objective spiritual world. The spiritual has an outside as well as an inside, just as the physical has an inside and outside. Each has its own level of reality. There is no antagonism between these two planes of life, except when the material is used without regard to the spiritual that lies within and above it" (p. 145).
Publisher Information:West Chester, PA: Chrysalis, 1995. xv + 168p. Ind: 165-168; 13 photos; 1 port; Sugg. Rdg: 163-164
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