Judith Lambert’s memoir of her spiritual journey opens with a dream sequence that has her rising through darkness until she encounters a bright light. “I am drawn irresistibly to it. Instantly it is near, and at once I experience an overpowering physical sensation of Love in my chest.” She almost immediately realizes that she’s had an experience not unlike those she’s read about called near-death experiences, or NDEs. All of what she’s read about NDEs describes them as a close encounter with a pure light that brings with it a feeling of well-being, surrender, and boundless love.
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This dream changes her life and the rest of The Light follows her as she tries to explain the dream to herself. She gently and skillfully brings the reader along, through the examination of myths and representations all of the major religions use to explain that God is the Light and the Light is God.
In pursuit of the answers to questions she hasn’t fully articulated to herself yet, Lambert travels to Egypt, Syria, India, Nepal, and Japan. Along the way, she begins to understand that the teachings of all of the major religions, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism (with mentions of others along the way) find common ground in their use of Light to represent the face of God. She shares her own doubts and confusion as she follows her serendipitous path across Asia.
She finds guides along the way who help her manage her reactions to the cultures she finds herself immersed in. She finds lessons from each and finally realizes her own dependence on these gurus is something she must overcome.
The Light is not a preachy book and the reader is encouraged to find their own way along with the author. Perhaps the best summation of how the story unfolds can be found in the quote: “God does not have a religion.”
Lambert also brings science into the mix, with quotes from Albert Einstein and conversations with her dear friend and traveling companion, Gloria, who is a scientist in her own right. These conversations don’t focus on the traditional irreconcilable differences touted between science and religion, but rather on what science has to say about the relationship between human beings and physical light. For example, why is the pineal gland, located in the center of our heads, sensitive to light? It is an interesting balance Lambert maintains between traditional religious philosophies, science, and New Age thinking. All have more in common than first meets the eye.
In her Postscript, Lambert freely admits: “This memoir, like many others, is a mixture of fiction and fact.” The story she’s chosen to share fits together with the precision of a novel and the tone throughout is pure storytelling, which enhances the book and makes for a very compelling read.
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Interview with Judith T. Lambert
Q. What was your inspiration for The Light?
A. Oh my goodness… The Light: A Modern-Day Journey for Peace represents a progression from my early life beginning somewhere around my mid-twenties until the present day… some forty years later! The Light is a realistic account of a series of dreams that prompted my life’s mission. My dreams of the Light were so profound they gave me a full-time vocation that has guided me in one fashion or another most of my life.
Q. What was the most daunting obstacle as you worked on the book?
A. Making religion palatable, easy to understand, and entertaining at the same time were the biggest challenges in writing The Light. In addition, the day-to-day interruptions often put my “books” on hold. For many years I felt I was in a flight pattern that might never let my books land! Finally, the moment came and they are out in the world.
Q. How has writing The Light enhanced your spiritual life?
A. As detailed in my book, I went from dream experiences and more of a dabbler in religion to becoming an active meditator by midlife. Today, my meditations incorporate light and sound… just like the book! In the process of writing you’re constantly reminded of your path and that constancy slips into your daily thoughts, which then became my spiritual purpose.
Q. How has the book been received by colleagues not in your immediate circle?
A. The intention of The Light was meant to set all of us free. I think most everyone who reads it realizes that and breathes a sigh of relief knowing we are united by a fundamental principle that can be charted. Most everyone I’ve spoken to feels a sense of liberation and is uplifted after reading it. Additionally, The Light: A Modern-Day Journey for Peace recently won first place in its category in the International Excellence Body, Mind, Spirit Book Award Contest for 2017, and just received a bronze medal at the Independent Publisher Book Award – further validating its place in the spiritual books genre.
Q. Has the book started any new dialog with people who are devout believers in a specific religious dogma?
A. With The Light, the reader hopefully finds out they are just fine the way they are and where they are. Live and let live can actually be achieved moving us beyond tolerance to true acceptance of other paths. I don’t think people feel threatened by this book.
Q. In your Postscript, you say: “While most of this narrative is true, some sections were embellished for the reader’s enjoyment.” Can you speak to those embellishments and how they affect the overall theme and feel of the book?
A. Oh… let me give you some examples! Embellishments were put in for some fun or to provide plot tension. For instance, I’m not a combative person, but in Chapter 6, Rishi and I become antagonistic towards one another because I wanted to portray my own growth and in fact, as one would hope, I have grown! In another chapter, although the Egyptian Museum guard might have been able to unlock a case and pluck one of King Tut’s golden necklaces from the case (in those days things were poorly guarded) that never actually occurred, but I was able to get the guard at Cheops, the Great Pyramid, to close it down to tourists for an hour during a slow period, so I could meditate in the King’s Chamber! In Chapter 5, I twirl and bang my leg on the bed as I attempt Sufi practice in the sliver of moonlight entering my room… ha, this too was an embellishment! On a larger scale, no matter how much I always planned, I never made it to Tell El Amarna, site of Akhenaten’s fabled city. I was fortunate to travel to Egypt numerous times but it was a difficult journey to Amarna and it was a hotbed of political unrest. But a writer wants to have some fun and I wanted the reader to come along and identify with my journey. Reading should be pleasurable and spirituality should never be boring. I wanted the book to be entertaining and not a dry treatise on religion and I think the tone of the work was enhanced by these kinds of additions.
Q. The Light is relentlessly positive but are there safety issues for people who try to attempt their own personal relationship with experiencing The Light?
A. Spiritual growth isn’t something we force. Spiritual growth is gradual, requiring sincere introspection, prayer, and meditation. While spirituality unfolds for each of us differently according to it’s own timing we can support it. Because spirit is guiding each of us individually, I don’t think there are safety issues as long as one is using age honored methods and techniques. My personal meditations include color visualizations while adding sounds such as Oooooo or Mmmmm. Visualizing colors is very generic and any person (those with or without faith) can do this. I find a daily gratitude reverie very helpful. Pilgrimage is a wonderful vehicle for growth too. Lastly, I should mention dreams. Dreams are pathways to the subconscious and beyond. My dreams have been a wonderful resource and a way to chart my growth. These are all safe and easy methods that anyone can add into their daily routines.
Q. Do you have any notions about writing other projects?
A. Oh, writing more always calls. But producing more books isn’t probably what I need to do. For now, I am moving out into the world with both books; The Light: A Modern-Day Journey for Peace and A Mother Goddess for Our Times: Mary’s Appearances at Medjugorje. This is where I think I’ll be most valuable to others.
Q. Now what? Are you hitting the road, either physically or virtually, to sell the book and carry its message to more people?
A. The road is indeed digital these days! By searching, Judith Lambert Books you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Goodreads and LibraryThing and a few book club websites too! The books can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes &, Noble and they are distributed by New Leaf. I have a website: www.judithlambertbooks.com. Here you can read my blog about climbing the Great Pyramid or meditating in the King’s Chamber. Additionally, I am available via Skype or in person for podcasts, interviews, and speaking engagements.