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Friday Inspiration - 20 February 2010
By Melissa Bult

 
Virtues
   
 
 

Hello everyone,

This week I have had to call on many virtues and practice living them in order to stay centred and see things from a higher perspective.  It got me thinking about how the practice of certain virtues can give us strength and help us to stay in the light when we are tempted to fall into darkness (seeing only through the ego).  So today I want to talk about a few virtues that I find very helpful. 

Virtues could also be considered values, virtue is simply an older word or to me a more mystical terminology.  Virtue comes from the Latin word virtus, which means moral excellence.  It is a character trait or quality valued as being always good in and of it-self.  Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting individual and collective well being.  

Here are a few virtues to reflect on:

Compassion: Compassion is an emotion triggered by another’s suffering and causes us to want to somehow alleviate that suffering.  We may not be able to help but we can always give our support and understanding to others.  The Buddha said of compassion - Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. 

Patience:  Patience is one I have often struggled with, especially where my ego is involved because the ego has much attachment to time and getting what it wants.  Patience can mean a state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which could require persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.  It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.  

- Gratitude: Gratitude, thankfulness, or appreciation is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.  We have heard a lot about practicing gratitude in the last few years and with good reason.  We cannot feel bad when we are in gratitude and focusing on our blessings as opposed to focusing on what we feel we are lacking.  

Courage: Courage is also known as bravery, will, intrepidity, and loyalty, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.   We all need courage especially if choosing to walk a spiritual path because we will most certainly be challenged along the way.  Courage is essential to helping us overcome our deepest fears, take bold steps when we are guided to and stand our ground when required. 

Kindness: Kindness is the act or the state of being kind and marked by charitable behaviour, mild disposition, pleasantness, tenderness and concern for others. It is a recognized value in many cultures and religions.  We all have the option to choose to be cruel (persecute, judge, punish) or kind (loving, supportive, thoughtful) to others in any given situation and I think the old adage of ‘treat others how you wish to be treated’ springs to mind when talking of kindness.  

Humility: Humility is the quality of being humble: modest, not proud. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of transcendent unity with the universe or the divine, and of egolessness; by contrast, some schools of thought are sharply critical of humility.  Humility for me is about overcoming the ego’s control over your thoughts and actions.  In Buddhism, humility is equivalent to a concern of how to be liberated from the sufferings of life and the vexations of the human mind.  It is our ability to overcome attachment to things, image and being ruled by our pride which can influence our decisions out of fear of humiliation.  The fear of being humiliated can prevent us from following our intuition or stop us from pursuing our dreams.  

Truthfulness: There is no agreed one definition of the word truth.  One’s truth will vary from person to person and only we can know what is true for us.  However, your job is not to impose your truths onto another only to live in your truth and what is true for you.  We must be able to be honest with ourselves and those around us.  This is not meant to be an excuse to project your feelings/ideas/beliefs onto someone else but rather to acknowledge what is true for you and let others express what is true for them, while each respecting the others truth.  

Wisdom: Wisdom is a deep understanding of people, things, events or situations, empowering the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results. Wisdom is something that is acquired through experience; it is the capacity to consider the consequences of our actions.  ‘Wisdom gives us the strength to recognize that life cannot be lived without pain, but we can minimize our suffering by learning to make wise choices.  If we don’t learn from our experiences, we are fools and, as the wise adage warns, destined to repeat mistakes.  Experiences are meant to be our teachers, events from which we extract lessons about the choices we make.’ – Caroline Myss from her book ‘Defy Gravity’ 

There are of course many more virtues and we will value some more than others.  Virtues are not designed to create a sense of guilt within us nor to make us feel we must be perfect at all times but rather give us something to aim for.  We can each decide which virtues we wish to live by and learn to master them as we move through our soul’s evolution.  

 

Love and blessings

Melissa x

 
 
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