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What Guides You?

What ideas, values, concepts that guide your actions and interactions? What are the ideas that keep you on your chosen path? Do you have them written down and can you easily explain them to a stranger? I have been working on this for quite a while and I currently have 12 Guiding Lights that keep me balanced. They are humility, kindness, present, friendly, gratitude, openness, loving, considerate, nonjudgmental, supportive, positive, and forgiveness. Each of these concepts have very specific definitions. Some are obvious. Most are not. I will forgo details unless there is a specific interest. How about all of you. What are your Guiding Lights? #Values

arca2027 6 Mar 24

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The force ( what can I say a misspent youth watching star wars) Mostly logic with a tad of spider sense, lessons not forgotten of past mistakes.



Siri mostly

I'm joking of course.

I don't really know. My mother for sure has been a huge guiding force, as well as many other important pieces of my past. Right now my desperation to live happily is my driving force

way to hop in with a quick first comment and amend it later! I'm learning.

@CallMeDave I figured someone may not appreciate me making a joke in a serious question without actually answering so I added in a legitimate answer to avoid upsetting someone. Not to get the points bonus, if that's what you're implying.

I liked the Siri answer too πŸ™‚


"All creatures love life. All creatures fear death. Therefore do not kill, or cause to kill."

Kill --> violence --> emotional violence, a.k.a. hatred --> trying to erase ill will from my heart and replace it with compassion and loving kindness for all beings.

"As farmers direct water to their fields, as arrow makers make their arrows straight, so the wise shape their minds."

There's a lot...

It has the ring of the Dao De Jing...πŸ™‚

@ASTRALMAX Dhammapada, actually



Eight Fold Path. Nature. If it wasn't created by nature, i question it, and the motives behind it. Nature and people first. Also, philosophies from the past. As fsr as 500 B.C. Confucius warned about materialism. Society still is clueless.

Many believe we are also "nature", not separate from but very much part of.


The Tao te ching.

Which passage moves you the most?

@arca2027 "The tao is like the emptiness of the vessel"


The love of learning and the laughing and exploring that it has caused me to do.

Share your love of learning, I am thirsty for it .. and laughing is the best medicine ...


Deep down I am quite primitive, I accept that we are just animals/life forms and our role is to project our dna into the future. I woudl like to think teher is a future for it to be projecetd into. I try and assist my kids as much as possible and I like to enhance all life around me. Beyond that, do no harm.

This is one of those, "you said exactly what I think," moments. Key phrase being, "deep down I am quite primitive."

It's always pleasantly surprising to find that another person feels the same as you do.

The notion that we are just biological delivery mechanisms for our DNA has many supporters but there are lot of interesting stories we tell ourselves along the way. I’m no sure what primitive means in this context. Can you elaborate? ( @donotbelieve )

You wanna explain it? You're obviously better at expressing these things than I am.

@arca2027 By primitive, I meant that I would be subject to the same driving forces that affect all life since the beginning. Jelly fish birds, anything living procreates by some means. I accept that I am the same and that by having children I have fulfilled this. Some animals lay an egg and off they go. Some hatch the egg and nurture their young. Mammals need to nurture their young for longer and humans are extreme, our babies are the most helpless and this nurturing goes on for decades. (Pretty amazing in itself). But we take it further, we build wealth for our children, inheritances, in some rare cases dynasties. In my case I see that I can help my dna into the future by ensuring (or trying to) that the world remains livable and suitable for my descendants. I still see this in the same terms as early life forms multiplying by the millions to increase the survival of some.


The GPS feature on my phone.

Thought you would have maps and a sexton in you glove box. lol

@azzow2 Since I don't drive anymore, it's too hard to read maps, or a sexton, and no more glove box. I need the phone to talk me through it. πŸ˜‰



Moral, decency and, above all, common sense.

What is moral, decent, and common? πŸ™‚

@arca2027 You could call it my motto.


I am guided by the sum total of my knowledge, experience, reason, and instincts. Needless to say my compass has become more accurate over the years...

Yes, as one ages, wisdom gains strength

Anything specific items included in that compass?

@arca2027 Everything is included in my compass. It is a daily work in progress. If you want specifics I lift myself up daily by increasing my knowledge, my experiences, also the dimension and precision of my reason.These areas of my consciousness inform my instincts. As I rise I reach out and help to lift others. I lift and repeat daily. The growing wisdom resulting from this process is my compass in all decisions and thoughts...


Probably mostly my animal instincts, but I wrote an entire religion for myself, just to help keep things focused.

skado Level 8 Mar 25, 2018

Can you share that religion?

Yes, I’m happy to share but it’s quite lengthy and dense. Hard to know where to start in a few sentences. I’ve spent the last two years trying to wrestle it into book form, with the hopes of publishing within a few more years.

In short, it finds a scientifically plausible path through ancient religious traditions by way of metaphorical interpretation (as opposed to literal). The path involves years of study in the sciences (particularly evolutionary biology and psychology) as well as religious studies and daily practices. The aim for the laity is reduction of suffering in self and society; for the dedicated practitioner, permanent spiritual liberation. No woo. No belief. No sky-daddy. Just focused cognitive development.

Your Guiding Lights sound like excellent directions. I’d be interested in hearing whatever specifics you care to share.


Drives me nuts ..all ready to respond, β€˜the Sun’ … to find it’s a far more complex question πŸ™‚

OK… I’ve never written guidelines down, it always feels easy to determine how to respond in a situation. I can attribute various influential people in my life for helping develop my morals, but everything’s become a gut response or action and very rarely indecision.

Varn Level 8 Mar 24, 2018

It is a challenge to take it from your head, heart and gut and put it on paper. I find it a worth while exercise.

@arca2027 Yes!


I'm lucky, as my guides were set down a couple of hundred years ago. As a Quaker atheist, I follow the SPICE guidelines that all Quakers know: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality.

Let me also write this well-known Quaker phrase and explain it after: "Walk cheerfully over the whole earth, acknowledging that of God in everyone." I was a Quaker before I became an atheist, but after, found no problem with giving this explanation to anyone who didn't know what Quakerism is. In my mind, I would like to be able to acknowledge that QUALITY of god in everyone, those qualities that the "perfect god" would be if there ever was one. Seeing people this way allows me to ignore their religion and beliefs, and recognize those things (yep, sometimes I admit to seeing only one thing) that are good in them.

There's an interesting true story of a British woman who was sent to France in WWII as a spy because she grew up in France and was fluent in the culture. Eventually, she was captured by the Gestapo, tortured and questioned. She never gave up any Resistance fighters' names, despite the horrible treatment, and at one point, the commander, frustrated with her quiet determination and composure, jammed a gun to her head and screamed that this was her last moment. She looked deeply into his eyes and said, I see that of God, even in you. Shaken, he suddenly dropped his weapon and left abruptly. She was released a few days later. Wish I had that strength!

She got to his humanity, she took the chance that he had some. It saved her life. It could just as easily been different. But what ever happened she was true to herself and free to choose how she was to take what was going to happen to her. Hard to do but what other choice is there to make and be free. Free as in open to what was going to happen, not free as in free to choose what someone else was going to do or not do.


HA! You Wazer.


Kudos for systematically figuring out your values and having a list to evaluate each action by. I haven't actually formally written them down like this. There's some argument I guess that if they are sufficiently internalized and incorporated into your thought processes, it won't be strictly necessary, but everyone has different ways of doing that.

To your list I'd add integrity and loyalty.

None of these values can or should be adhered to unless you have a clear personal definition though.

For example, loyalty cannot be stolidly defending the indefensible or supporting the unsupportable, out of some blind obligation based on accidents of relation. For example parents don't deserve unconsidered, irrevocable loyalty simply because someone is their child. They desrerve, I think, a default loyalty but can un-earn it through harmful or irresponsible discharge of their duties as parents -- through being harmful or neglectful. Also, loyalty in such edge cases can consist of having compassion and empathy even while having and enforcing healthy interpersonal boundaries. I know someone who was terribly both neglected and abused emotionally and mentally by their parents, yet has not disowned them or demonized them for it, even while distancing themselves from day to day interactions that inevitably turn toxic and disrespectful. That, too, is loyalty. Anyone but a parent would probably simply be shut out of their life and forgotten.

I think that gratitude also has to be carefully defined as it is so barnacled with religious ideation. Gratitude is by definition expressed to some other being, and in most majority-Abrahamic countries we are conditioned to some imagined deity demanding most of that gratitude for itself when it should be going to the REAL actors to our benefit -- family, friends, teachers, physicians, various elements of society. Also, you can't have gratitude for situations and circumstances because they have no agency and are indifferent to praise or condemnation. What people tend to call gratitude there is actually appreciation and humility. Appreciation for the benefits of your socioeconomic situation, and enough humility to acknowledge the role of dumb luck in your life, such that whatever success you have isn't 100% down to your own brilliance.

Agreed. I do have working definitions for all of my Paths. Of course this is a living document and I generally don't share any of this with the public but this seemed to be an appropriate venue. Gratitude for me has a much more grounded definition, but I get your concern. I will look at your suggestions. Thanks!


Humility is something I was born with. I am at AWE looking at a night sky and see these twinkling lights, we call stars. I feel insignificiant. Spring, the awakening of Life. Kindness and Friendly are companions, I am not even aware of. Gratitute is a personal trade. I show instant delight in any gift I receive, may it be an invitation to lunch or dinner, may it be a flower, a compliment, yet my greatest appreciation I feel every morning when I get up in the early morning hours and see the sky, the light of the sun and know that I am still alive. A Gift, so very precious. . All lives matter to me, the smallest creature is a child of Mother Nature. I do not kill. Loving towards those whom I trust and open in my expressions of thoughts and feelings. I know no hypocricy .. that is in belief of qualities I do not have or do not approve of. When I wass younger I was oftn afraid of hurting the feelings of someone if I did not agree with them, even though every fiber of me was against their belief. No more. I am true to myself .. will express my feelings to others in a tactful way even if it is in opposition. I am judgemental in some cases. Not always positive as we are surrounded with so much negativeness Forgiveness I learned and found it liberating me of ballast I carried, but there are thigs that happened to me I can't forgive nor forget. My Guiding Lights? Always hope that things will get better .. that there is no doomsday, that hate will turn into acceptance and love.

Nice words. Thanks for sharing.


As I posted on another thread, I am a person that values actions over words. Thus, it is actions that guide me, both actual past and potential future, not words.

In effect, what guides me is a reflection on past actions and an analysis of what has worked to make life, and those around me, better. This is not the same as having a list of qualities that guide me though in many cases it will lead to the same future actions as I'll try and explain.

For example, I am not guided by kindness. There is a time to be kind and a time to be cruel. For example, an enabler enables bad behaiviour by being kind. It is better to be cruel, enact "toughlove" for that will make your life and that of the other, ultimitely, better. Thus, I look at my past to cases where kindness has made my life, and those around me better, and try to emulate those circumstances in the future and case where kindness has not made my life, or those around me, better and try to not emulate those circumstances in the future.

Another example is humility. There is a time to be humble and a time to be proud. There are many accomplishments in our life that we are right to be proud about and being humble about them is disengenous to the world and psychologically harmful for it downplays the contributions you've made to the world. Thus, I look to the past and see what things I should rightfully be proud for, things that I accomplished that have made my life, and those around me

On the topic of friendly, gratitude, and consideratenes I am not so much guided by these but rather see these as behaiviour that we should all adopt all the time for any circumstances. There is no situations, IMO, that benefits from being unfriendly or inconsiderate or ungrateful.

Now, it may seem like "making my life, and those around me" is what guides me but I view that as the metric to see that I'm going in the right direction, a gauge to measure the effect of my actions, but it dont' see it as guidance per se.

useful perspectives. thank you.


We all have values, that influence the way we act, but we don't always follow these guides, many times we act against our own values. We are confronted with multiple possibilities all the time, and many times we are conflicted as to which choice to make. Do I follow values that are normatively given or do I let my desire rule my choice, do I act against myself.

I guess if there is a 'guide', it is learning from one's mistakes, which is still no guarantee that desire will not overturn what was learned in the past... life is too complicated to fit into a fortune cookie.

cava Level 7 Mar 25, 2018

Acting against your own beliefs is a betrayal of yourself. We sometimes do this in a compromise, because we think that this consideration towards another person. Circumstances are always the stumbling stones we have difficulties avoiding.

@gemini31 I know I am weak, I sin against my self.

Yes is a challenge and we don't always live up to our own standards. I think is useful to have guidelines to reflect upon.


I don't have a chosen path and don't have a guide I just play it as it comes I don't feel the need of any explanation or a list of things. I think I am probably just playful and have emotions that come and go and ideas I'd like to try out - I am not a planner by any means just meet what comes to me . Yesterday my neighbours garden was a mess and I tidied it up for her as it needed doing. Someoen needed me to be kind to them and it was no big deal so I was - I think my life is simple enough for me to just live it.

Sounds like your list is being fully Present. That is nice.


I like yours - they are good ones to keep a person balanced and likable in the world.

Many years ago I came up with 12 values I hoped to teach my kids to refelct in their choices and actions, sort of as our "family values" I guess. I don't really think about them anymore, hopefully they just come naturally to me and to my kids. I suppose if I got introspective again, I might come up with different ones, or expand them. I was trying to keep them to 12 for a special reason.

Here are my 12 β€œPoints of Light”


I like your 12 points .. wish everyone would live by them.

looks pretty great to me. Thanks for sharing

I like your list. I almost skipped by but though "why would anyone want to live otherwise?" I cannot fathom being that as it would make me something else than I am and I kind of like what I am. I do have my moments, I will say something really stupid, realize just how stupid it is and get past it. Actions are different than thoughts.


My motto (taken from Abaram Hicks teachings) is to "Follow your bliss!"
If you're not happy, it's not worth it.

Happiness is a very challenging goal. Thanks for sharing.


All I know is that if I had to carry all those words with me all the time, I'd never get any work done. (-:

I learned how to live from watching my parents, peers, teachers and strangers, and from reading.

Mentors are good resources


I like what you have said. We have some parallel philosophies.

Thanks you. It's a process but worth the time.


Greg Laden summed it up as "Don't be a chimp".
Trying to do as little harm as possible.
Remembering that I've got it better than more than 99% of the world (only 10% of Australians fall outside the 1%)
Being aware of the power I do have and trying not to be careless with it.

thanks for sharing


Moral, decency and, above all, common sense.


I guess kindness is guiding me.

that is a good one and sometime difficult to keep

@arca2027 Yep.

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