Path Toward Peace – Step Eleven

morality

The Power of a Moral Character


This is the most difficult blog post I’ve ever written.

It’s the last in a series of eleven posts concerned with the Path Toward Peace.

It’s a summation of all the other posts and a clear call toward embracing the single factor that will assure the other steps in the process are capable of being activated and practiced productively.

From the Financial Times: Paul Newman And A Lesson In Morality

From the Morris County, New Jersey, Daily Record: Morality, honesty will help the nation

From The American Enterprise Institute: Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

From the Irish Times: Sarkozy calls for capitalism with dose of morality

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this series:
Racism, Economic Disparity, Altruism, Nationalism, Religious Strife, Equality of Women and Men, Universal Education, a Global Language, and the Twin Powers of Civilization: Material Achievements and Spiritual Perfections.

Now, we face the one quality that makes us able to bring all the other issues to a harmonious resolution: A Moral  Response to the Crises Stalking Our Human Family.

So, why did I say this is the most difficult blog post I’ve ever written?

* Bringing up the word “Morality” in our ultimately materialized culture can make people fade away very quickly; and, I want people to attend to the issues raised in this blog.

* “Morality” is a word that can induce feelings of stricture–loss of “freedom” and a sense that one has to abide by someone else’s idea of what’s right and wrong.

* There’s a common attitude floating around that we humans are the top of the evolutionary tree (more than likely true) and we have the “right” to do whatever we “think” is best.

* The whole issue of Religion and where our best Guide for appropriate behavior comes from.

* And, most importantly, I’m certainly not the best person to be telling other people what they “should” do…

Still, there are attitudes and actions that work better than others  when we attempt to further the impending realization of Global Peace. And, they are Moral Attitudes and Actions.

Here’s a list of virtues from the Virtues Project that are powerful medicine for enabling us to take the kind of action necessary to advance the process of attaining Global Peace:

assertiveness forgiveness orderliness
caring friendliness patience
cleanliness generosity peacefulness
commitment gentleness perseverance
compassion helpfulness purposefulness
confidence honesty reliability
consideration honor respect
cooperation humility responsibility
courage idealism self-discipline
courtesy integrity service
creativity joyfulness tact
detachment justice thankfulness
determination kindness tolerance
diligence love trust
enthusiasm loyalty trustworthiness
excellence moderation truthfulness
flexibility modesty understanding
unity

I encourage each of you to check yourselves against this list—take an inventory of your moral capability—find out if you have the weapons, at the ready , that will empower you to aid our beleaguered Human Family in its Quest toward Peace and Tranquility…

Spiritual Quotes:

“O people of God! Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind and sanctify the hearts and souls of men. This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly behavior.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 93

“Within the very breath of such souls as are pure and sanctified far-reaching potentialities are hidden. So great are these potentialities that they exercise their influence upon all created things.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, quoting Bahá’u’lláh, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 23

“…the happiness and greatness, the rank and station, the pleasure and peace, of an individual have never consisted in his personal wealth, but rather in his excellent character, his high resolve, the breadth of his learning, and his ability to solve difficult problems. How well has it been said: ‘On my back is a garment which, were it sold for a penny, that penny would be worth far more; yet within the garment is a soul which, if you weighed it against all the souls in the world, would prove greater and nobler’.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 23

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
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23 thoughts on “Path Toward Peace – Step Eleven

  1. The bridge Between manifestation and Reality
    It’s one of the most important things to come to realize as we all walk down the path of self awarness.Where is the bridge that closes the gap between our conscious and subconscious realities?Keep an open mind, be open to any and all possibilties.!

  2. Dear Alex,

    This has been a truly illuminating series, and I appreciate all the hard work you have put in. You have given us a great (daunting!) checklist to refer to. The discussion of the term “morality” I think reflects many people’s sentiments… in a sense there is a tendency to confuse “morality” with “moralizing”, which in turn gets associated with religion. Superficially – and looking at the state of many religious communities – this may be the case.

    But some thoughtful reflection on the essence of true religion will dispel these concerns. In studying the lives of the divine Prophets, reading the lessons in the Holy Books you have quoted from, and paying attention to their inner meanings, we see how they actually (dare I say it) complement one another.

    “Verily, we should consider the divine Prophets as the intermediaries, but mankind has made use of Them as causes of dissension and pretexts for warfare and strife. In reality, They were the intermediaries of love and reconciliation. If They were not sources of love and fellowship amongst men, then undoubtedly They were not true, for the divine wisdom and purpose in sending the Prophets was the manifestation of love in human hearts. Therefore, we must investigate reality. First of all, let us determine whether these Prophets were valid or not by using rational proofs and shining arguments, not simply by quoting traditionary evidences, because traditions are divergent and the source of dissension.”
    ~Abdu’l-Baha

    Warm greetings,
    Nadim

  3. Morality is a thorn to Humanity, For its reality is a discourse founded most often in circumstance, Thus lending itself as directional, most often only to be judged in retrospect for use by those who would aspire to circumnavigate it.

    ~Kem

  4. Ah yes Alex – morality…this is indeed not an easy subject to approach. My experience with this is that in some religions people feel obligated to be a certain way…have a certain “moral code” instead of following their human essence and hence act out in all sorts of ways.

    The truth is when we look deep within we know what is “right” and what is so called “wrong” in our actions and words towards others. We do not need anyone to guilt us into doing or saying anything or believing anything. We only need to look within and snap back into the consciousness of light that we are.

    Ah, but that is the problem….how many people really look within themselves?

  5. Evita,

    Yes, how many do look within–gets hard for them with all the outer sensationalism going on…

    This sentence of yours is a true Gem: “We only need to look within and snap back into the consciousness of light that we are.”

  6. Another perspective is that no path to peace exists. If you believe that love and peace are part of human essence, then the path described may be understood as the path to removing self-created illusion. You have all you need and do not choose to realize it. Instead, you prefer to learn lessons on your way back to realizing the truth of who you are.

  7. Imagining that people are not suffering from a lack of global peace, persisting in a self-induced dream-world of there-really-are-no-problems, will not aid our Human Family.

  8. You can view the “path to peace” as an individual perception and/or as a collective situation. You can begin to grasp cosnciousness as an individual and also as a collective experience. As you evolve to discern energy at different levels, you begin to feel stability and inner peace in comparison to what stability and inner peace are not. What you think about will attract situations and events of a similar energy vibration. You will perceive those vibrations that are most like how you feel. If you choose to think or talk about “lack” of anything, then you will sense these things more strongly. If you choose to think about peace, then you will invite more of that.

    Another way to look at this is to consider “peace” demonstrations versus “anti-war” demonstrations. The mindset and energy vibrations of participants in each event differs. Some people unknowingly contribute to conflict in low energy. They are confrontational. Imagine how people you associate with peaceful mindsets. People like Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and others promote global peace in their word choices, writing and particular behaviour. Every human being is a student and a teacher. We learn from all.

  9. I’m not sure where in the world you’re writing from but where I live, in the U.S., the problem with the word “morality,” especially when it’s used in conjunction with “family,” is that it tends to be used by politicians and media to mean “sexual puritanism.” What it DOESN’T mean in our public discourse is compassion, pacifism, or concern for the poor and downtrodden–in fact, those tend to be associated with communism. It also doesn’t mean caring for the earth and the air and water we all depend on, since that implies pagan earth worship or, again, communism. From what I see, something similar has happened in most parts of the world where religion plays a large part in public life. As such, religion seems, more often than not, to be the enemy of the morality that you describe here, and far moreso than “materialized culture” (particularly as a lot of religion, such as the extremely popular “prosperity gospel,” actually encourages materialism, just as churches throughout history, and throughout the world today, have encouraged war).

    In your kind response to my previous comment you described you own religion, differentiating it from what I had been describing. I’m aware of Bahai, somewhat, as well as a number of other faiths that do seem to be truly working in a spirit of peace and love. Then, I can say the same for a lot of atheists and agnostics (in the interest of full disclosure, I consider myself a committed agnostic–not in the wishy-washy sense of not knowing what to believe, but in the sense of believing strongly that neither I nor anyone else can ever truly know. Thus, I consider doubt a far greater virtue than faith). Thus, again, while I think that you and I share many values, I do not see religion as the solution to anything.

  10. Remember that your character is your destiny.
    If you don’t believe in God,besides being a atheist,you will be very lonly.I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases.
    Put your heart mind,intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.!

  11. YogaforCynics,

    You said, “I do not see religion as the solution to anything.”

    I feel it depends on the specific religion.

    If it does the things you’ve said, promoting war or extremely materialistic living, then, no, it is not part of the solution.

    Then, again, one must differentiate between the religion and the way it’s followers practice it. Most religions, in their pure state (just after the Messenger of God manifested) were potent solutions for human ills. It’s when the humans begin to dogmatize the teachings and interpose their limited thinking that things go sour…

  12. Wonderful, Kem !!!

    I’m familiar with the type of children’s classes described in the link you provided. The consensus is that most parents want something like this!!

  13. The reality of death is not the fear of human, its how they die is being feared of. Most of us wants to be remembered and loved during our absence. How we can achieve this?

    The reward will only attain its position if you reflect and polish your character. Character is weigh on the morale values one carry upon themselves. In whatever position you may be, if your decision is based on a platform of pure heart and good thoughts & character, success is always by your side.

  14. dear bahai friend,
    It is very very difficult for me to write about morality.
    purity is my morality. be pure in both way (words and also in actions)here are some verses about this topic.
    “Be pure,o People of God,be pure;be righteous,be righteous”——–
    “Let the remembrance of death be the patched coat you wear,let the purity of virginity be your way in the world,and let faith in the lord be your walking stick”.
    your’s saincerly,
    Hardeep Zinta,
    Ukraine.

  15. dear bahai friend,
    I took first spirtual quote from Bahai faith and second quotation from sikhisem.
    your sincerly,
    Hardeep Zinta,
    Ukraine.

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