Sunday, June 04, 2017

Day 4: Define Values, Nurture Virtues

Commander Mark Divine (U.S. Navy SEALs, Retired) in his book The Way Of The Seal leads the reader to consider the question, "What do I want most out of life?" The answer to that question is the starting point for the lifelong learner to discover one's values and in turn begin to nurture those values into virtues.

If one is committed to personal growth and seeks to reap a bountiful harvest as the result of that growth, then one must gain strength holistically; that is, through balancing the physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual areas of his being. Identifying one's values not only helps one answer the question, "why am I here?" but also helps a person on their journey to being whole.

Commander Divine suggests that one identify five values to move toward, and five "toxins" to move away from. This is not a new idea but a reiteration of a very ancient teaching encouraging one to "put off the old" and "put on the new." It is impossible to merely cease one habit without replacing it with another. For example:
  • Instead of lying, story-telling, fact twisting or embellishing, simply tell the truth simply;
  • If one struggles with anger, don't let matters simmer overnight;
  • Instead of using your hands to take from others, go to work for what you need and share any excess you gain by your work so somebody else is not tempted to steal;
  • Use your mouth to build others up, not tear them down; 
  • Stop being bitter, angry, holding grudges, nurturing rage, being annoying, yelling at others and instead always be humble and kind, tender, giving no place to hate, be compassionate, gentle, stay calm, be forgiving, quiet.  
  • Treat people as persons, not as objects who exist for your gratification in any sense of the word.
  • Fight for peace.
A virtuous man (or woman) will be hard after what is good not only for himself or herself but for the good of others.

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