The journey within...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” - Benjamin Franklin

For years and years I completely ignored the spiritual side of my self. I did not work at developing my spiritual qualities or virtues. I closed off the side of my self that wanted to grow and develop, to become more than what I was. I had no interest in anything other than fulfilling my human needs, my physical desires, my selfish thoughts.

Now that I am trying to grow and develop and focus on my spirituality I have found that it is a constant challenge to remain focused on my goals. Who do I want to be? How do I want to act? What qualities do I want to exhibit? How can I function effectively in a world that doesn't seem to value spirituality? Or care about focusing on the transcendent?

In my mind (now that I realize it) there is nothing more important than striving to become better, to focus on developing your spiritual self - to become more patient, more compassionate, more just, more thoughtful, more loyal, more brave, more polite, more honest...more loving.

What do you think about growing and developing? Do you believe in striving to become better? What "philosophy" on growth do you adhere to? Thoughts? Quotes?

"...until material achievements, physical accomplishments and human virtues are reinforced by spiritual perfections, luminous qualities and characteristics of mercy, no fruit or result shall issue therefrom, nor will the happiness of the world of humanity, which is the ultimate aim, be attained." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 283)

"Happiness consists of two kinds; physical and spiritual. The physical happiness is limited; its utmost duration is one day, one month, one year. It hath no result. Spiritual happiness is eternal and unfathomable. This kind of happiness appeareth in one's soul with the love of God and suffereth one to attain to the virtues and perfections of the world of humanity. Therefore, endeavor as much as thou canst in order to illumine the lamp of thy heart with the light of love." (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 472)

Let no one cling to what is pleasant or unpleasant.
Not to see what is pleasant is painful,
as it is to see what is unpleasant.
Therefore do not become attached to anything;
loss of what is loved is painful.
Those who have neither likes nor dislikes have no chains.

From pleasure comes grief; from pleasure comes fear.
Whoever is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear.

From attachment comes grief; from attachment comes fear.
Whoever is free from attachment knows neither grief nor fear.

From greed comes grief; from greed comes fear.
Whoever is free from greed knows neither grief nor fear.

From lust comes grief; from lust comes fear.
Whoever is free from lust knows neither grief nor fear.

From craving comes grief; from craving comes fear.
Whoever is free from craving knows neither grief nor fear.

Whoever has virtue and insight,
who is just, truthful, and does one's own work,
the world will love.

The one in whom a desire for the ineffable has arisen,
whose mind is satisfied
and whose thoughts are free from desires
is called one who ascends the stream." (Dhammapada, Sayings of the Buddha 2)

"So he that journeys on the road and makes the ascent to God must needs be habitually careful to quell and mortify the desires; and the greater the speed wherewith a soul does this, the sooner will it reach the end of its journey. Until these be quelled, it cannot reach the end, however much it practise the virtues, since it is unable to attain to perfection in them; for this perfection consists in voiding and stripping and purifying the soul of every desire." (St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel)

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."(King James Bible, 2 Peter)

"To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah" (The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 5)

"There comes a day, O Spitama Zarathustra! or a night, when the master leaves the cattle, or the cattle leave the master, or the soul leaves that body full of desires; But his virtue, which is of all existences the greatest, the best, the finest, never parts from a man."(The Zend-Avesta, Avesta Fragments)


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