Living A Luminous Life
Luminous – emitting or reflecting light; startling bright; inspiring; radiant; resplendent; stunning; splendid
That sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it?
Luminosity, as I’ll use the term, is about both an inner state of being which involves shining your light in a self-directed way with awareness. It’s also a way of choosing how to experience the world in a fully engaged way so that the actions you take and the doing you do are done with grace, in a relaxed yet focused way which gives you access to clarity.
A mind that trusts itself is light on its feet and able to see clearly. Clarity is doing what you need to do and being who you truly are because you are honoring the very highest in you, as you play the game called life. There is nothing less than happiness at stake, so that to me is a game worth playing, and it also means the stakes are high. The problem is many folks simply don’t really believe happiness is really possible or they are convinced it exists only in a set of certain conditions. Without clarity, happiness becomes increasingly difficult. As strange as it may sound, we must have the courage to be happy without self-sabotage.
So how can we use luminosity to make our life brighter, lighter, happier?
Close your eyes and imagine you are a light bulb. You are a very special light bulb that has no number on it, meaning you can be 10 watts or 10 thousand. How you choose to illuminate your path is up to you. At times you will be brighter than other times. That’s okay. At times you will have different energy currents running through your life. The challenge is to see how you can travel your path with the least amount of resistance. Less resistance = more energy flow = brighter luminosity.
Awareness: a spotlight
Whatever we shine it on in any moment is what we will become aware of. You could say the world is a vast dark room and we wander around and see whatever we shine our spotlight on. But what do we do as soon as we shine it on something? We start judging and expecting and then we are living somewhere else. Light is light. It doesn’t think, “Oh this is good,” “This is bad.” It just shines. Now imagine that we are always able to emit our light and shine our awareness on anything. Things get brighter if we shine some kind of internal light on a situation. It’s a practice of saying to yourself, no matter how dark this place is or no matter how stuck I feel or how broken I think something is, I can shine whatever light I have in this moment, even if it’s very dim, and that is already making the situation brighter. It’s making it conscious. Whatever the present moment contains, we accept it as if we had chosen it. And from that place of non-judgment, we create our future as best we can.
To be luminous means we think of nothing as either good or bad. We just shine our awareness on it and don’t judge it. It’s a tiny shift — with huge implications When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Lao Tzu
A Little Exercise
Think of something good that happened to you recently, and how it affected your mindset. Now think of something bad that happened, and what that did to your mindset. But what about truly horrible tragedies, like a plague or tsunami or war or sickness? Of course they cause tremendous suffering, and like all tragedies, we can spend a lifetime trying to figure out why. Many great breakthroughs had their birth in human suffering. All we can really say is life is a mystery. Sometimes it’s hard to say what is what.
If you have not read Victor Frankle’s book “Man’s Search For Meaning”, this is a man who exemplifies luminosity. He went through tremendous suffering and cruelty and the horrors of the holocaust and yet they were unable to take his dignity away from him. This was a man who lived in a state of high luminosity, even at some of the most horrible moments of his life. Death and sickness will always be a part of the mystery we live in but war and cruelty and suffering and greed and lust for power, we could eliminate all of these as a collective if we chose to live in the light of luminosity. Imitation happiness causes us to create a vast amount of human suffering that is self-created, which leads to the same problems over and over again. Just pick up a history book if you don’t believe me.
So now we dare to drop expectations. Not lower them, but eliminating them. As a mentor, I see this often – people will make the most elaborate plans, which often turn out quite differently, and they become disappointed, frustrated, angry, which bleeds into their mind and causes luminosity to be extinguished. This is a pretty interesting place to work in. How people fail tells you how they will recover. They usually are not as excited about failure as I am. When you expect something of a friend, coworker, family member, spouse, and they don’t live up to that expectation, then you are upset or disappointed. But what if you had no expectations?
Then their actions could not cause within you any disappointment or anger. When people disappoint you, it’s not their fault. They’re just being who they are. If they could have done better, they would have. Your expectations cause the pain. Somehow people really believe that expectations will make them happier, except it’s impossible. When we judge, we don’t seek to understand — we’ve already come to a conclusion. It’s like we turn off the light and sit in a dark room. We can stop ruining our happiness with our thinking if we choose to.
Increasing The Luminosity Factor
How do we start doing this? In small steps. First, start by being aware. Throughout the course of the day today, note when you make judgments, note when you have expectations, and when things don’t live up to them. Over time, you’ll notice this more and more, and be much more conscious of these types of thoughts. Next, pause each time you notice a judgment or expectation. Take a breath. Then tell yourself, “No expectations, I’m turning up my luminosity here.
Third, seek to see things as they are, and to understand. Be curious as to why things are the way they are, why people act the way they act. Investigate, empathize, try to put yourself in people’s shoes. See the landscape of your life as it actually is, without the filter of expectations. Next, take what comes. Experience it, in the moment. React appropriately, without overreacting because it isn’t as you hoped or wanted. You can’t control life, or others, but you can control how you react. Then, accept. When things happen, accept them as they are in that moment. Accept people for who they are. Accept yourself. This takes practice.
Finally, know that the present moment, being as it is, also contains infinite possibilities. And those possibilities are opened up once you see things as they are, without judgment or expectations. Now you can act from this place of power.
One of the lines that I really like in Gaylon Ferguson’s book Natural Wakefulness is, “Distraction is married to discontent.” You could test this out for yourself. There’s nothing as real and direct as being present with yourself, just as you are, with your emotions just as they are. As difficult as that can be, the result of that training is non-struggle: not rejecting your experience, fully engaged with yourself, with the world, there for other people.
Another result of coming back to being with yourself, just as you are, is that emotions don’t escalate. Drop a stone in the water and what happens? The ripples go out. If the stone is big enough, it can rock a rowboat on the other side of the lake. It’s the same, generally speaking, when an emotion arises and you acknowledge, Oh, I’m getting worked up. Oh, my heartbeat is going faster. Oh, I’m feeling fear. Oh, I’m feeling resentment. Or just, I’m activated. When you acknowledge it, there is an opening. Just by the very act of acknowledging you’ll find that space—and in that space lies your ability to choose how you’re going to react.
You can stay present with whatever it is you’re feeling—with the intensity or heat or edginess or shakiness of the emotion—or you can spin off, caught in the momentum and carried away, which usually means you start talking to yourself about what’s going on. You churn it all up more and more, and it’s like the ripples go out and start rocking every boat in the vicinity.
Insight training is letting the rock, the emotion, drop without the ripples. You stay with the emotion rather than turning to the automatic reaction, a reaction that has been habitual for you for years and years. And believe me, two seconds of doing something so radical as not setting off the chain reaction, completely opens your life. And if you don’t reject the emotions, they actually become your friends. They become your support. Your rage becomes your support for stabilizing, for returning the mind to its natural, open state. Your worst enemy becomes your greatest ally. Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.
Each of us has such a bank…
Every morning, it credits you with… 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.” You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success.
May you have great luminosity in all of your days.
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