“But our Lord spoke in humility from heaven, that in humility the heads of His church might speak. And if any one should say, ‘Wherein did our Lord speak humbly with Paul? For lo! The eyes of Paul were grievously smitten;’ let him know that it was not from our merciful Lord that this chastisement proceeded, who spoke those word in humility; but from the vehement light that vehemently shone forth there. And this light did not strike Paul by way of retribution on account of his deeds, but on account of the vehemence of its rays it hurt him. …
“O Paul, how did the glorious light become a blinding light to thee thyself? The light was that which, according to its nature. … For the light was both grievous and pleasant. It was grievous and violent towards the eyes of the flesh; and it was pleasant and lightful [sic] to those who are fire and spirit.
“For I saw a light from heaven that excelled the sun, and its light shone upon me.” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian
Paul and his Eyes
Many Christians are not aware of the story of Paul who looked upon the bright morning sun in such a way that he causes permanent damage to his eyesight. St. Ephraim appears to be saying that Paul should not be blamed for this. It was the “vehement light” that harmed him, so blame the light, not Paul. While he has a point, Paul cannot be considered blameless in this.
If you stick you hand in a fire, and your fingers get badly burned, it is at least as much your fault as the fault of the fire. The fire is not out to get you because it is mean, vehement.
Likewise, sunlight from both the physical sun and the spiritual sun is neutral. It is not trying to destroy us. It is not trying to destroy anyone. Nor is it trying to make us blind. But such things can happen when you misuse its power, and that is what Paul did.
Paul was not one of the true Apostles, and was not trained by Jesus. He knew that the disciples of Jesus practiced some form of sungazing, but he didn’t know the details. He stared directly at the physical sun, and in a state of mind that was probably not peaceful and loving. Accordingly, he took in frequencies of energy that nearly blinded him. This did not happen to the real Apostles who were taught how to sun gaze properly and in the correct state of mind.
The light which St. Ephraim calls “Vehement” is actually very neutral. It is not trying to kill or harm anyone. But this light of the physical sun is very powerful and must be looked upon carefully, and with the right attitude. If you don’t know what you are doing, it is best to not look upon it at all.
Beyond the light of the physical sun is a higher light. That Light comes from the spiritual sun. Or to be more exact, it comes from God to the spiritual sun, then to us. This light is always pleasant, always helpful. Yet it can be destructive, in a way. It can and will burn up the evil in the world. That is part of its mission.
If we practice sun-gazing in a way that has us looking only at the physical sun, very little of this light will reach us. Even that small amount is helpful, especially if we are in the right state-of-mind. A peaceful, loving person is attuned to the proper frequencies better than a negative, hateful one.
With proper training though, one can look towards the physical sun, yet be looking mostly at the spiritual one. In this way, he takes in more of the spiritual light needed for spiritual growth while limiting his intake of the physical light which promotes good physical health, but also materialism. By taking in a balanced amount of both, one can thrive and grow.