Ten Beacons of Light
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | December 2011(edited 2018)
Improving our lives isn't from following items on a simple list. Science, however, has provided some helpful clues to our pursuit of wellness. These ten beacons of light provide direction, lights that illuminate a path to growth.
1. Self Awareness and Mindful Constructive Living: Seek greater awareness of emotions, thoughts, and motivations. Through quiet attentiveness, we become familiar with ourselves. This is living mindfully. With awareness of emotional triggers and behavioral responses, we gain freedom to choose, leading to fulfillment of our intentions.
2. Compassion Towards Self and Others: Compassionately accepting where we are in our personal journey, creates a necessary friendly atmosphere where growth flourishes. Harsh judgments of self hurts. Shortcomings are an inherent part of humanity and living in a complex world. During our practice of mindfulness (Beacon #1), we can recognize critical self-judgements and work to soften those judgments with kindness.
We also give this compassion to others, forming bonds, and creating closeness. We must recognize suffering in others. Be understanding of their weaknesses and imperfections. Constantly reminding ourselves that no one is all “good” or all “bad.”
3. Commitment to Personal Work: Make self-improvement a life practice. Seek ways to improve:
5. Knowing and Honoring Healthy Values: Our increased mindfulness reveals personal standards. This knowledge guides us with choices. Knowing our values, we can strive to align those values with our actions, working to eradicate misguided standards that hurt ourselves and others.
6. Purpose Driven: Life without purpose is mundane. Meaning transcends discomforts, giving hope. Our purpose doesn't need to be fixed. Life is dynamic and as such our purpose may change.
7. Courage: With courage, we act in the face of fear. We use courage to follow values that oppose widely accepted norms. Courage is a motivating power, pushing us forward into the darkness of the unknown.
8. Positive Associations: We need healthy relationships for support in times of trouble. We understand that inner resources are limited and success often requires a group effort. By actively seeking friends that lift, we increase our ability to give.
9. Honest and Open Communication: Effective communication skills are not natural. These skills take effort to develop. Our mindfulness practices open us for connection. We must not coerce, force, compel, punish, reward, manipulate, boss, criticize, blame, complain, nag, badger, or withdraw in order to obtain our desires. Instead, we openly share our wants and needs but accept “no” when appropriate.
10. Contributing to the Whole: We don't live in isolation. We are part of a larger whole. We must live with respect to the environment (world, community, family) and work to improve the world through active participation.