As I described in the post Your free, lifelong subscription to the Nature Channel – I feel that we have a real advantage that there are many people in the world who can hear what nature (the universe?) is saying to us more clearly than we can, and they are willing to share what they comprehend with us. By listening to them, we can gather knowledge and potential understanding more quickly than we can on our own. I like to call these people “Life Beacons” because they’re helping to show us the way.
On this page I’m going to list and briefly describe the people that I currently believe are Life Beacons for me. People I believe are truly seeing and understanding nature clearly and can help me understand my life and what I need to do. The people on this page will change from time to time and I’ll list them with my most favored Life Beacons at the top. If I sense that someones prime motive is to sell something, then I tend to disregard them quickly as a Life Beacon.
There are two sides of Life Beacons, some are mostly occupied by the health side of life and some most occupied by the spiritual side. It’s rare that a Life Beacon can ignore one side completely, but sometimes they heavily favor one side over the other. I found that once my health improved, I quickly started asking myself the question “Ok, I’m getting healthier, now what?”. This is when more spiritual thinking starts to arise. I think our natural state is to be healthy and spiritual and that poor health seems to dull our spiritual sensitivity (by the way, by using “spirituality” here I’m not talking about religion).
The first person I’m going to list as a Life Beacon is Eckhart Tolle.
I first came across Eckhart Tolle when I found one of his quotes which was;
We depend on nature not only for our physical survival. We also need nature to show us the way home, the way out of the prison of our minds. We got lost in doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating – lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems. We have forgotten what rocks, plants and animals still know. We have forgotten how to be – to be still, to be ourselves, to be where life is: here and now.
For whatever reason, this quote struck a cord with me and I wanted to know more about Eckhart. He’s a German man whose life radically changed at age 29. He calls this change and “inner transformation” after which he became a spiritual teacher. I’d say his antenna was abruptly tuned when he was aged 29 and since then he’s been able to more clearly see what nature is trying to say to us. It seems like the purpose of his life is to try and help lead people along the correct path.
I started to look for videos of Eckhart on the internet and I found that his way of talking was very sincere and absolutely engaging. The things he says seem to resonate with me 90% of the time. I’m very happy to listen to him. You can find a couple of examples of Eckhart talking on the pages The Divine Purpose of the Universe and The Depths of Who You Are. Since then I’ve subscribed to eckharttolletv.com and watched a lovely interview with Jack Kornfield and an interesting discussion between Eckhart and Deepak Chopra.
I have no hesitation in saying that Eckhart Tolle is my clear #1 Life Beacon at the moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote the lovely book called “The Miracle of Mindfulness“. Just based on this book alone, it’s easy enough to see that he is a valid Life Beacon, but following him on Twitter (@thichnhathanh) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh) and seeing some of his quotes really confirms it.
He was born in Vietnam in 1926 and entered a Buddhist monastery at age 16 and ordained as a monk in 1949. He was heavily involved in non-violent peace efforts during the Vietnamese war and was denied permission to return to Vietnam in 1973. He then took exile in France, where he lives today.
The website for his Plum Village Mindfulness Practice Center in France is http://plumvillage.org
One of his quotes that I really like is;
It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community—a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth.
I first heard of Lissa through her book “Mind Over Medicine“, which was a very good book for me to read at the time (also see her TEDx talk on this book – “Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?“). Following on from this, I signed up to one of Lissa’s regular email updates (not sure where I signed up for this – it could of been at lissarankin.com), and it was from reading what she had to say in these emails that I started to realise what a deeply spiritual person she was, and how well connected she was to what’s going on in this universe.
It’s a rare combination to have a medical doctor who’s deeply spiritual, and inspiring on both sides.
Recently (I’m writing this in October 2016), I found Lissa’s TEDx talk about loneliness (see Loneliness – what it means for our health) and this has cemented my feelings about Lissa. She truly is a Life Beacon for all of us. It’s worth listening to what she says and letting the words sit even if we don’t like them. There’s truth behind them if we accept them and allow them in. One example quote from this talk is “We come from love and when we die we go back to love”, which might a bit like a line from a song, but the depth of truth behind these simple words is hard to underestimate.
I certainly thank Lissa for being brave enough to get her messages out there, and I look forward to more inspiration from her.
The 14th Dalai Lama
We all know about the Dalai Lama and it’s hard for me to say when I first became aware of him. Years ago, I just thought he was some weird, nutty, religious guy, so I assume that’s the commonly held belief. Today, I respect him as a man that’s only trying to do good in the world and trying to help us all do better. On the Quotes page you can find many of the quotes he’s made that I really like. Listening to some of his quotes alone is enough to recognize that he’s a true Life Beacon.
In Dean Radin’s book Supernormal, I learnt that the Dalai Lama has held several conferences with scientists in an attempt to reconcile some of the differences between religion and science. I think that’s very admirable and provides evidence that he aims to do good in the world.
I’m not a Buddhist and I don’t know that much about Buddhism, but the story of the Dalai Lama is interesting. He was born in 1935 in Tibet and at the age of two he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama’s “are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity” (see http://www.dalailama.com). He entered a monastery at the age of six and has spent his whole life trying to do good and spread peace. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet, spread messages of peace in over 67 countries, won over 150 awards, written over 110 books and participated in many inter-religion dialogues promoting harmony and understanding.
I really can’t any evidence that the Dalai Lama is acting with any other sentiment that good. He appears to want the best for all humanity, not just Buddhists.
One of my favorite quotes of his is;
We are but visitors on this planet. We are here for ninty or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contibute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.
I will write more about Deepak Chopra, but for now just take a look at this article he has written – Be the Presence of Compassion and Peace – and you’ll see why he’s on my list of Life Beacons.
Kim McMillen (1944-1996)
The only exposure I have to Kim McKillen is her book “When I Loved Myself Enough” that she wrote in 1996. Apart from this, it’s hard to find out much about her. However, the words in her book are so touching, meaningful and laden with wisdom, that I consider her to be a valuable life beacon.
This is the introduction she wrote for her book;
For many years I lived with a guarded heart. I did not know how to extend love and compassion to myself. In my 40th year that began to change. As I grew to love all of who I am, life started changing in beautiful and mysterious ways. My heart softened and I began to see through very different eyes. My commitment to follow this calling grew strong and, in the process, a divine intelligence came to guide my life. I believe this ever present resource is grace and is available to us all. For the past 12 years I have been learning to recognize and accept this gift. Cultivating love and compassion for myself made it possible. The following steps are uniquely mine. Yours will look different. But I do hope mine give voice to hunger you may share.
These words are very special for me. Kim found the right direction in her life and we can take advantage of what she’s been through to make our path a little easier. You can find some of the quotes from her book on the Quotes page.
It’s easy to dismiss Richard Branson as a rich, brash playboy who’s really only interested in having fun. I used to think that, but really that’s so wrong. Recently I’ve become aware of his beliefs more and he really is someone who’s in touch with the real essence of himself and the real essence of life. I certainly find him inspirational.
One of my favorite pages I’ve seen of Richard’s is – My illustrated top 10 tips for success
I’ll write more about Richard Branson here soon.
More Life Beacon updates coming soon…