A Virtuous Life
“The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts.
Think only on those things that
are in line
your principles and can bear the light of day.
The content of your character is your choice.
Day by day, what you
do is who you become.
Your integrity is your destiny -
it is the light that guides your way.” ~
Heraclitus, Greek Poet & Philosopher
is a virtue that relates to the quality of a person's character--of
integrating various parts of the personality into a harmonious,
intact whole. Integrity is primarily a matter of keeping the self
intact and uncorrupted. About embracing a point of view that does
not just take the moral high ground, but pursues a commitment to
do what is best. This means that we bring various levels of volition
and desire into harmony and fully identify with them at the highest
level. To do so we are urged to be conceptually clear, logically
consistent, apprised of relevant empirical evidence, and careful
about acknowledging as well as weighing relevant moral considerations.
In other words to operate from our truth, which means that self-knowledge
is crucial as we must know what we value.
What is it to be a person
of integrity? It
means to surrender to the now, to be one, to be ourself, to be
real. Authentic! Of Nature! Self sovereign!
we state our truth in word, action, thought or otherwise, we empower
ourselves by aligning with our personal code of conduct - what
we decide is right for us or wrong for us. We make our own decisions
and operate with integrity in terms of our commitments to specific
kinds of ends, principles and ideals. This care of self allows
us to hold steadfastly true to our commitments, rather than ordering
and endorsing desires.
When we live with integrity we have no reason to lie. We always
win when we reduce confusion about how we feel. Life is uncomplicated
and less stressful. It is much easier to live life when we are
open and truthful because there is nothing to hide.
There are plethora of human characteristics such as capriciousness,
wantonness, triviality, disintegration, weakness of will, self
deception, self-ignorance, mendacity, hypocrisy, arrogance (spiritual
arrogance), dogmatism, fanaticism, monomania, meglomania, preciousness,
sanctimoniousness, rigidity and indifference that drive us to
moral and spiritual failure. All these traits can defeat integrity
in so far as they undermine and suppress attempts to critically
assess and balance desires, commitments, wishes, changing goals
and other factors of being. A person of integrity will always
find a balance point between the excesses of each one of these
vices, or traits or practices that undermines spiritual integrity.
worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of
~Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president
are also many defeaters of integrity who try to waiver us from
operating in our truth. For instance so-called experts seek to
further their own agendas by persuading and manipulating with
half truths to get us to do what they want. The same idea applies
to our family, spouse and friends. Oftentimes inexperience succumbs
to those who appear more knowing and powerful than ourselves,
which causes us to live out of alignment with our truth. Whenever
we abandon what we know to be true and act from the strongest
current desire of the moment, without deliberation or discrimination
as to what desire is more or less worthy, we act without integrity.
Each time we go against our inner knowing we lose a little more
of ourselves. Nothing pulls us further out of alignment and makes
us more miserable than "selling ourselves out" and failing
to stick to our integrity.
When we operate with personal integrity, we agree or disagree simply
based on what we know to be true, not over what others want us
to believe. We know the truth as it is an instant impression that
when we can feel and perhaps even see.
by Max Ehrmann
Garden of Grace ©2013
placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there
may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on
good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too
have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are
vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater
and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well
as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise
caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons
strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical
about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the
years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength
of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress
yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue
and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with
yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees
and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not
it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him or her
to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy
confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham,
drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be
cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds
that you plant.
~Robert Louis Stevenson
business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a
successor to take over the business.
of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided
to do something
different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, "It is time
for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to
choose one of you. "The young executives were shocked,
but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one
of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to
plant the seed,
water it, and come back here one year from today with what you
have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge
plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next
One man, named Jim,
was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He
went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him
get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday,
he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about
three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about
their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three
weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim
didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just
knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees
and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything
to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and
fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went
by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants
to the CEO for inspection.
Jim told his wife
that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to
be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it
was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but
he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board
room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants
grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- in all shapes
and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his
colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived,
he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just
tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees,
and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one
of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden,
the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot.
He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim
was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure!
Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to
the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim
told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone
to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to
the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
he be the new CEO?" the others said. Then
the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this
room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it,
and bring it
back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds;they were dead
- it was not possible for them to grow.
you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.
When you found
that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for
the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage
and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore,
he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
* If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest
So, be careful what
you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.
Give To Life, Life Gives You Back"