光明道 The Way of Light and Clarity
(Calligraphy by Audrey Liao)
I recently have been meditating on the Chinese words 光明.
“Guang” means light or illumination. “Ming” means brightness or clarity.
I came upon these words while listening to a pastor give a sermon in Chinese. Rather than trying to understand his whole lecture, my mind grabbed onto the two simple words “guang” and “ming.”
Since then, these characters have been on my mind a lot. I visualize them. “Guangming” is something I’d like to cultivate within myself so that I can radiate it onto others. This requires a lot of mindful practice and is an ongoing way of life. I’m calling it the “光明道 (guangmingdao)” or “the way of light and clarity.”
How do I define guangming then? It is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual orientation, as well as the extension of that, a set of behaviors and practices.
I actually believe that it’s more beneficial to look at the three characters, “guangmingdao” in reverse order.
道, meaning way or road, is the road that you will be walking along as you live your life. Breathing, waking up, eating, drinking, traveling, working, interacting, feeling the range of human emotions from anger and depression to love and joy, and my favorite: sleeping. It’s your job to do those things.
明 is next, again, meaning clarity. Clarity derives from self-knowledge and a knowledge extending beyond the self. I believe that clarity comes from the asking of questions, from curiosity, and from a deep desire to understand all that is. This may mean reading books, listening to speeches, interacting with different kinds of people, traveling to new places, moving the body in exploratory forms, or anything that allows for expansion of the mind and exposure to ideas that you might not be exposed to in your immediate environment. Knowledge has been passed onto you by your family, your residential community, in your primary and secondary education, and perhaps even beyond at the university level or grad school, but is this knowledge really knowledge? It’s up to you to decide. I encourage people to push their limits and move into uncomfortable areas of thought for deep contemplation.
光 is last, meaning light or illumination. Through the previously mentioned deep contemplation and cultivation of knowledge, one becomes aware of many things, most importantly, the value of human life and the present moment. From this place of great security in oneself and sense of purpose, there you can radiate your energy onto others. You are readily available to smile, help, empathize, counsel, lead, and inspire.
Guang. Ming. Dao: simultaneous processes because you will always be in a state of dao, living your daily life; always in a state of ming, being a curious observer of the world; and always in a state of guang, beaming your energy onto others.