Luminosity: A State of Being That’s Well Within Your Reach

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain

This week, we look at something that has captured my heart for years. I hope to introduce you to luminosity in a way that also grabs hold of your heart!

The Encarta Dictionary defines luminous as “emitting or reflecting light, startlingly bright, inspiring, radiant, resplendent, stunning, splendid.”  Our experience is luminous not when we think about living our lives but when we are fully engaged with life, doing what we are meant to be doing. The experiences that are luminous for us stay with us our whole lives. 

Let’s look more closely at luminous experiences. Think about times in your past that were great, that you’d characterize as “the best.” Where were you? What were you doing? And that is the crucial question: what were you doing? 

Were you handing in the final copy of your book, mentoring a colleague, taking your kids on a hike next to a beautiful lake, planting a garden, talking with a patient or client, cooking a sumptuous dinner for friends, or comforting a family member? Was it a moment when you called a friend just to say you love and appreciate them?

As a result of that action, you may have experienced some of the features associated with a luminous moment.  Whatever you were doing, look at the quality of that instant.  Perhaps you experienced something like this:

  • You are filled with joy.
  • Your heart opens. You might have a body sensation associated with this, such as warmth around your heart.
  • You know you’re going to remember this event for a long time.
  • You are grateful to be alive and living your life.
  • You appreciate and delight in something present in that moment: the color of a flower, the sound of someone’s laughter, the smell of wet grass.
  • You have compassion, your generous nature is awakened, and you want only the best for whoever is there around you.
  • You know in that instant that all is well.

I’ll give you an example. About 15 years ago, my Uncle Arnold was turning 80. It was a big deal! Everyone was excited about it. My Aunt Gloria, however, was tired because, at 75, she was still teaching at a small elementary school.

I told my aunt not to worry. I would coordinate with the family to make the best possible birthday party for my uncle.  I interviewed him about what would make the perfect birthday celebration. He was an introvert. That means that he only wanted 15-20 of his closest friends and family to be there on a Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m. to celebrate.

Being an extrovert, I want to have multiple celebrations next year when I turn 80 myself. They don’t have to be big or extravagant, but I want the whole year to be filled with times when I see the people I love so I can let them know how much they mean to me.

Back to Uncle Arnold. The family, including my cousins, helped. We got him the perfect wine, birthday cake, small decorations, and delicious hors d’oeuvres.

At precisely 1 p.m., there was a knock on the door. My uncle went to open it. I was standing a little back of him and to the right. Three of his friends were there. They said in unison: “Happy birthday, Arnold.”

At that moment, my Uncle did something I’d never seen him do. He threw back his head, smiled, and laughed as though he was 16 or 18. He was filled with joy! I will never forget this moment! Right then and there, I remember saying something like, ”I could die right now, absolutely complete.”

Has that ever happened to you? It’s not that I wanted to die. It’s that I had an extraordinary experience, namely,  that I did something that contributed to another human being in a significant way.

I know that you’ve experienced this yourself. It’s that luminous moment when you recognize that all is well and that you’re doing what you came to do with your life.

Luminosity, that state of being we’ve looked at, is well within your reach. Right here. Right now.  How to grasp it? Here are some suggestions:

  • Get yourself a small, pocket-sized notebook dedicated to the following purpose.
  • Go on a “Luminosity Expedition.” Look at the moments you experienced like the ones described above.
  • If you don’t find any, relax!  They’re there. It’s just that we’re not looking for them, so they remain hidden from us.
  • With each experience, ask yourself: “What was I doing? Who was there? How did it feel?”
  • Look at the following: Do I see how I experience this moment, years later, when I look for it?
  •  Prime yourself for luminous moments. Sometimes, your brain needs prompting so that it’s open to luminosity. 
  • To do the above, make notes each day, for the next ten days, of what has been working for you, whether personally, professionally, or recreationally.
  • Ask friends or family about their experience of luminous moments.

After a while, you’ll see your past as a path, along which hang some beautiful paper lanterns, each casting a specific glow along the way, whether it was a light or dark part of the trail. Each represents a moment when you did something to contribute to another person. That is when you did what you were meant to be doing.

Let me know what you see!

Until then, may you find luminous moments easy to find and even easier to generate all along your path.

1 Comment
  • Elaine Burgher
    Posted at 11:02h, 08 September Reply

    Thank you Maria! For this idea and it’s framework and challenge. I’m starting today even though I’m just staying home from work to do chores and ties up loose ends. I WILL let you know!
    Elaine Burgher

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