The Essence Of Life

essence-of-lifeThere is an important insight that is shared by many cultures and spiritual traditions that there are three principle virtues you must possess to live a happy and fulfilling life: superior wisdom, superior conduct and superior viewpoint. In order to put these virtues into practice you have to treat them as one because in the material world conduct, insight and wisdom cannot really be separated.

The first of these principles, superior wisdom says that you should give your best effort on behalf of others. At first this principle can sound more like a commandment but it’s really a matter of pure self interest. Remember this is a principle of superior wisdom not necessarily a principle of righteous behavior.

When you think in depth about this principle the lesson has more to do with how you feel about yourself rather than about other people. Keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted to cut corners in your work or personal relationships. Giving less than your best is a very short sighted decision and it disconnects you from spirit regardless of the effect it might have on other people.

Think for a moment about the approach you’re taking to the most important areas of your life; your career, your personal relationships and your health. Are you giving all that you can or do you cut corners?

It’s true that the wisdom of spirit teaches us to go with the flow, to follow the path of least resistance in the short term but this can often create chaos and turmoil further down the road. Ultimately wisdom is the ability to see the beginning and the end, to see the fully grown tree that’s hidden in the tiny seed.  Be sure to consider this perspective in asking yourself whether you’re really doing your best.

In looking at the second principle of these important life virtues you need to ask yourself this question, “Have I been honest and trustworthy in all my dealings with other people?” It’s important to understand that meaning of these words to one person may be very different from what they mean to another.

In your dealings with other people you must define for yourself what honesty and trustworthiness really mean.  Creating this definition involves much more than looking the words up in the dictionary. Knowing how you feel and what kind of a person you want to be is what will give you the true meaning.

It’s a matter of personal awareness. It is not how you want to be thought of by others but rather how you think about yourself.

The third principle of virtue, superior viewpoint is perhaps the most demanding of all; ask yourself, “Have I expected anything from others that I haven’t expected from myself?” It’s amazing how often we do this. For many people it becomes a natural way of relating to the world.

For example, suppose you have a bad back and it’s really flaring up and hurting, you want some sympathy for the people around you, but if someone else has a bad back it’s really amazing how other people don’t really feel anything. In fact they may think that the person wanting sympathy is an imposition on their time.

As long as you have that self-centered view of the world the wisdom of your spirit teaches that you can never be virtuous, that you can never be wise. In the absence of virtue and wisdom you can never be truly happy and fulfilled.

The secret of a happy and fulfilling life can be summed up in a simple by the Golden Rule which dates back to Confucius and is shared in different forms in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. It simply states; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is the essence of life, everything else is just commentary.

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