When we refer to developing virtues what we really mean is that we are going
to remove all obstacles to experiencing our innate spiritual nature. We are
actually uncovering what is naturally already within us. Our natural state is
one of pure love, truth, righteousness and peace. Our basic spiritual nature
which has been covered by our fear and defense mechanisms. This is why it is
said that man is created in the image and likeness of divine.
This is also the reason we seek this qualities in ourselves and others. We
seek the perfection which is actually within us: we seek our true self. We
will never feel totally happy and satisfied until we manifest our loving and
peaceful selves in our daily reality.
We must however avoid the traps of pride and guilt in this process. Our
religious education is usually laced with feelings of spiritual pride when we
can act righteously and guilt when we cannot.
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I would suggest that such an approach is not the best. Both pride and guilt
are based on the ego and comparing ourselves with others and also with an
image of our possibly perfect self. Fear is often the motive to be
"good". Being "good" out of fear, it has no value. Only
when we are free to chose to be good out of love and the realization that we
are all one being, can we speak of actual goodness.
Also we are not worthier or more lovable because we are loving, truthful and
peaceful. All beings regardless of ability and ethics have the same divine
worth as expressions on one divine consciousness. We are simply freer and
happier when we are ethical and loving. We are not longer controlled by our
fears and defense mechanisms.
Let us approach this goal of inner perfection without pride and guilt or
self-rejection viewing it a process of self-maturation and self-liberation
from our ignorance and weakness. Let us view it a path of joy and discovery as
we free ourselves from whatever obstructs our love, peace, truthfulness,
humility and kindness.
We can do this alone but it is often much more successful in groups. A group
can mirror us and help us to see ourselves more clearly. Also it can support
us in this process.
Let us also remember that we can be responsible only for the quality of the
effort and not for the results.
The family of Spiritual Qualities
Spiritual qualities or virtues are like rays which radiate outward in
different directions from a common center. They all originate in our inner
self and penetrate into our personality.
Developing any virtue brings forth all the others. With faith we feel secure
and are enabled to feel love and understanding and compassion, selflessness
and peace. These are all aspects of our inner being. One enables the other.
Ways in which we can develop our virtuous nature
1. Group work is very important and helpful. Our present society does not
encourage us to develop love and truthfulness. We are taught that we have to
be distrusting and defensive if we do not want to be used, hurt or cheated.
We need a support group of others who have the same goal in order to achieve
this goal. This group can meet regularly (weekly is best) and discuss, share,
pray, meditate, chant, or contemplate on the spiritual truths which enable us
to be fearless in world.
2. We can pray for help in developing the qualities which seek.
3. We can read the scriptures of the various religions as well as the lives of
persons who have been living examples of the strength and clarity necessary
for this development.
4. We can contemplate on the meaning of all teachings and how they might apply
to our daily lives.
5. In this series you are presented with a number of descriptions of how one
might, feel think and act when he or she has perfected specific qualities. You
may want to write your own descriptions. These function as inner thought forms
allowing us to develop inwardly towards that image which we have in our minds.
Such descriptions can be written or spoken onto a cassette and then read or
listened to daily before sleeping and or upon waking, This will strengthen
these qualities within us.
6. We can relax our mind and focus on a specific quality and ask that our
subconscious present a visual symbol for that quality. We can then draw it at
place it where we can see it daily so that we are reminded of that symbol
7. Relaxation techniques in general bring us into contact with inner peace and
clarity, thus augmenting all positive qualities within us. We have a wide
variety of possible visualizations for this purpose.
The mind may at times, rebel against the development of various qualities out
of fear that it will lose some comforts or imagined forms of security or
self-worth. If the mind reacts in negative ways we will need to be objective
witnesses and find a balance between moving forward and allowing the mind to
We neither want to suppress ourselves nor do we want to remain stagnant. We
need to find a friendly balance with our subconscious and inner child.
8. Meditation can bring us into contact with higher aspects of our nature.
With time this daily contact will transform our personality.
9. Contemplation is a process in which we focus on a specific quality or
teaching and seek to understand its deeper meaning and application in our
lives. Such understanding enables us to live this quality much more fully.
For example is we are contemplating on "Love" we might ask:
a. What is Love?
b. What does it mean to love one’s spouse, child, parent, friend, neighbor
c. When do I behave without love? In which situations and in relationships to
which persons or behaviors?
d. Where do I want to love more deeply and or steadily?
e. What do I need to do or believe in order to love even in those
10. We can analyze why we lose our love, peace of ability to be truthful in
various situations, seeking to discover the fears and beliefs which cause us
to become defensive or closed. Having discovered those aspects of ourselves,
we can move forward to changing them.
11. Behaving as if we have already developed a quality can help us to align
ourselves with it. Most religions follow this path of adjusting our behavior.
This can be useful but can also create a split personality. We need to align
our behavior to our highest values but also at the same time be honest to
ourselves about what is going on within us.
12. Selfless service towards those who are in need is a wide field for
developing various spiritual qualities. We are able to see our ego more
clearly and can learn to put others’ needs above our comforts. We have the
ability then to develop selflessness – an extremely important inner quality.
13. Imagining that we are the other and seeking to determine his or her needs,
feelings and beliefs enables us to develop compassion, understanding and love.
Once we are free from identifying exclusively with ourselves, we can then be
more aware of the others. This is basic to spiritual development
14. Developing inner security is also basic to spiritual growth. Inner
security is a prerequisite too love, peace, truthfulness, selflessness and all
15. Self-acceptance is another extremely important prerequisite to feeling
secure enough to love and understand others. Most often when we lose our peace
and love it is because we feel that our self-worth is being undermined
Robert E. Najemy, author of 25 books and life coach
with 30 years of experience, has trained over 300 life coaches and now does so
over the Internet. Become a life coach. Over 600 free article and lectures at www.HolisticHarmony.com/
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