Symbols To Live By

Color illustration of walking man holding a ball of light. Artist: Jeff MooresWhat is your heart’s instant response to this image?  This isn’t a trick question.  There’s no right answer.  What do you feel?

Then ask yourself: If this symbol were all you knew about, say, a school, an airline, a medical center, an organization combatting pollution, a computer company, a design studio, a hotel, a restaurant, a clothing store, you name it pretty much––

  • Do these folks know what they’re doing?
  • If you walked into their headquarters, how would you be received?
  • If you were their customer and unhappy about how their product or service was working for you, when you called to say so, how do you imagine that call would go?
  • What’s your sense of who they are committed to being or die trying?
  • How would you feel about your son or daughter working in this community?

The purpose of this exercise is to suggest a couple of things:

  • We are fabulously intuitive: able to make all sorts of deductions based solely on a tidbit of information.
  • Some tidbits are more powerful than others––specifically those related to universal symbols of well-being.  For instance: an apple (Apple); a heart (I ❤ NY); a star (Starbucks)…and in this case, a ball of light.

To be sure, there’s a lot more to creating an institution’s identity than connecting that identity with a timeless symbol of inspiration.  But when such a link works (by being employed in a manner that is fresh, enjoyable, relevant, honest), we have tapped into a life-affirming awareness that has been part of human consciousness since darn near forever.

It can make establishing a rapport with the world that much easier.

Perhaps an even deeper point:
There are many well-known symbols in the world.  But only a few that, without us knowing what institution or explicit cause they represent, encourage us to consider ourselves at our best.  Only a few are symbols that, on their own, can guide every choice we make.

To me, this quality is what distinguishes the symbol I call Light Man.


  1. Having had two death experience’s (commonly referred to as NDE’s) very young I know the experience of light. I see now even my unconscious choices are ‘the’ lights way of bringing me back to light consciousness. Life is an interesting experience, glad I got the chance to go with it.

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"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth