Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Human Lighthouses

SEPTEMBER 15, 2007

The Lighthouse Effect

Near an outcropping of majestic seaside cliffs, a lighthouse stands tall and steadfast. Its light alerts ships of the rocky terrain ahead. It informs those who see its light of their current position in the darkness and guides them to safety. 

One may assume that such a radiant lighthouse beamed its light assuredly and confidently from its very first day. Not this particular beacon. During his first days he stood in storms and endured driving rain and winds, as well as dense fog and haze. When the storms lifted and the darkness of night and veils of fog faded, the sun illuminated his surroundings: perilous cliffs and treacherous rocks. Surrounded by storms, darkness, and danger, the lighthouse became frightened.

One day a wise seagull perched atop the lighthouse. She noticed a sense of fear and sadness and asked the lighthouse about his distress.

“I’m afraid of the storms and the rain, the wind and the fog,” the lighthouse said. “At night I’m engulfed in darkness, and during the day I’m surrounded by perilous cliffs and treacherous rocks.”
The seagull replied, “You are a lighthouse. Your strength withstands the strongest storms. Your light beams through the darkness. You are strong and steadfast, and the rocks and cliffs pose no threat to you.”

“But I see the ships in the ocean tossing and turning in the churning waters of the stormy sea,” the lighthouse lamented. “I see the cliffs and rocks veiled in the storms and fog, masked in the darkness of night. I may not be in danger, but I fear for the safety of the ships. They face real hazards, true perilous danger, and I just sit here, beaming this light. I want to stop the storms. I want to clear the fog, to move the rocks and cliffs. I want to illuminate the darkness, but I can’t even do that. I can’t offer enough light to provide clear visibility. I can only beam. I feel I’m not doing enough and I’m angry at myself because I can’t do more to help.”

The wise seagull answered, “You are a lighthouse. You cannot clear the weather or completely illuminate the darkness, and you cannot move rocks or cliffs. Lighthouses do not have these powers. You drastically underestimate the power of your light. You are a lighthouse! You stand in treacherous surroundings, in the midst of storms and darkness, beaming a guiding light; a signal of hope and safety. 

Have you considered how ships see you? They see a beacon; a steadfast signal of guidance and safety. In you they see a being strong enough to stand directly in the chaos and danger while beaming a light that says, ‘Danger lies here. Navigate carefully.’ Your light makes a difference. It may not provide clear visibility, but it offers clear guidance. Your light allows others to navigate to safety.” 

As the lighthouse contemplated the seagull’s words, he realized his new friend spoke words of wisdom. Lighthouses are not built in safe places. They stand amidst chaos and danger, yet are not consumed by these forces. They stand strong in darkness, fog, and storms, and while they do not fight against these forces, lighthouses provide a beam of light that allows others to navigate safely through chaos and storms.

The lighthouse became excited. He realized that he need not fear storms or darkness anymore, because he was a lighthouse, standing strong and steadfast in his power. He beamed even brighter, realizing that his radiance allowed the ships around him to experience a similar feeling of empowerment as they chose their paths based on his guiding light. Lighthouses allow ships to sail the waves of empowerment. The lighthouse does not tell a ship where to go, but provides guidance in the midst of chaos. 

The seagull was right. The lighthouse underestimated his power. From that day forward, he chose to beam his light confidently and stand steadfast as a radiant beacon for all to see.

Many of us who choose to walk a spiritual path can relate to the lighthouse story. We “wake up” one day to find ourselves surrounded by darkness and chaos. As we realize our resilience and choose to stand in our power, we fear for those around us. We wonder what we can do to help them see through the darkness. We want to stop the chaos, settle the storms, and neutralize the perilous terrain. We want to change the world, but we cannot do this; at least not in the way we expect to. 

A lighthouse holds no expectations, makes no demands, and passes no judgments. It stands in the midst of chaos without judging or fighting it, without converting others to fight it, and without being consumed by it. Human lighthouses empower themselves as they choose to shine the light of their truth and their hearts for all to see. As others see this beacon of light and choose their path, they sail the waves of empowerment. Human lighthouses empower themselves and others simply by shining their light.

Lighthouses don’t always see evidence of their effectiveness; they don’t always see ships arrive safely at their final destinations. They only shine within their surrounding environment. Human lighthouses shine in the present moment. We do not often see the “results” of our light. Like the lighthouse in the story, some human lighthouses underestimate the power of their light and the strength of their being. They feel as though they’re not enough and as though they’re not doing enough. Then somehow a wise seagull appears. Perhaps a friend or teacher, a book or an article offers a new perspective, or perhaps their higher self communicates with them. Something or someone helps the human lighthouse realize the inherent power of its light; the Light of our spirit. 

The light of our spirit impacts all who experience it. The light of our spirit differs from candlelight or a light bulb. It illuminates our innate Divine Intelligence. Divine Intelligence works through us and moves energy through us to others in exciting and mysterious ways. We don’t often see this light with our eyes, but we experience its feeling, intent, belief, desire, and passion. 

We broadcast Divine Intelligence through the light of our spirit when we choose to follow a spiritual path, when we are conscious of how we manage our energies, and when we pray and meditate. We share our guiding light with others through simple acts such as listening, laughing, breathing, praying, sharing conversation, and telling stories; we share our light simply by being ourselves and embracing the light of our spirit. 

As human lighthouses, we beam the love and truth of our spirit to those around us and to the world. We live as beacons and share our light in many simple ways. Our light makes a difference in the world, even though we may not see it. Through chain reactions of events that occur as more people become empowered, human lighthouses affect true change in the world.

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