You Are A Child Of The Universe

The ancient wisdom of looking beneath the surface of things teaches us that while physical attraction alone can move the earth and sky, there are eternal truths more superior and profound. Few would deny the value of character. What matters most is the heart and soul. INTEGRITY. This is the deepest index to one’s character. The idea actually goes beyond the principles of honesty and trustworthiness. More than anything else, it serves as a solid anchor to the Real You. It provides a shield from the things that violate the inner self. Being firmly grounded helps you develop the confidence to deal with life and the tolerance needed in a quite imperfect world. The key word is ‘consistency’. As Thomas a Kempis said, “The testimony of a good conscience is the glory of a good man; have a good conscience and you shall ever have gladness.” Find yourself – but don’t quit your job. INDEPENDENCE. The greatest achievements of feminism is the Dutch Treat. Honestly speaking, we find women who know what they want and how to get it incredibly attractive. An independent woman is a survivor, she’s destiny’s child. So assert yourself and learn to cook – but don’t be dominant, we really hate that. Oh, except in romance. Actually, Chapter 3 verses 7-8 of his Second letter to the Corinthians show the ideal lifestyle: “You know how you ought to imitate us. We did not live lives of disorder when we were among you, nor depend on anyone for food. Rather, we worked day and night, laboring to the point of exhaustion, so as to impose on any of you.” LOYALTY. Life is a constant change but some things remain for a lifetime like family and friends. Lovers come and go but a friend is forever. It is brainless when a successful career alienates the people who really matter. Discern your real friends and stick to them through the ups and downs – yours and theirs. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Adversity is the crucible in which friendship is tested” How they perceive you is a measure of your life. It’s nice to have peer support – but avoid borrowing money if you can help it. SOCIAL AWARENESS. It’s one thing to meet to a drop dead gorgeous vamp in a social gathering but it’s another to know that she divides her life between parties and parlors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a little fun before you die but a purpose in life makes it meaningful. There are certain things you can do to make this planet a little cleaner. Maybe we can’t change the world – or maybe we can? Audrey Hepburn once said that if you want to lose weight, share your food with the needy. Light your little corner – but you don’t have to be gloomy about it. As Bismarck said, “A really great man is known by three signs – generosity in the design, humanity in the execution, moderation in success.” INTELLIGENCE. Believe it or not, there are actually people out there who don’t know there’s a middle ground between Startalk and Battle of the Brains. We admire girls who can speak their minds with eloquence and passion but less on the former and more on the latter. Be somewhere between CNN and a brick on the wall. Talk sense but don’t talk too much. It is insufferable to be with a girl with opinions about everything – and I mean everything. As Thomas Aquinas said, “A scrap of knowledge about sublime things is worth more than any amount of trivialities.” ENTHUSIASM. Greet the sunrise, stand on top of a mountain, gaze at the sea, watch the clouds sail across the deep blue sky and hear new born babies cry – then ask yourself if life is worth living. There are two sides in a coin: you can either sing Napakasakit Kuya Eddie – or What A Wonderful World. As Plato said, “The world is God’s epistle to mankind -- His thoughts are flashing upon us from every direction.” SELF-ESTEEM. Few things in the universe are more repugnant than a person who will do anything just to get attention. Having a healthy regard and mature acceptance for oneself is the secret key to happiness. The worth of a person comes from within. So there’s no reason to jump into bandwagons or to get that Satanic henna tattoo just because everybody is wearing it. As Swami Radhakrishnan said, “Only the man of serene mind can realize the spiritual meaning of life. Honesty with oneself is the condition of spiritual integrity.” HUMILITY. Did you ever notice that those who try to overwhelm you with their superior knowledge inadvertently betray their lack of it? Only a handful of people on this planet know how to actually listen, most of them are too busy displaying their achievements and sophistication, or sometimes just plain brilliance. And the way things stand, you can either be like them – or be yourself. As Diogenes said, “Modesty is the color of virtue.” DISCIPLINE. It’s like sunshine, basking everything in it’s glow. It manifests itself at all levels of your being: mental, physical, spiritual, emotional -- at the same time reflecting on how you go about doing those things you do. The good news is that it can be improved and developed and sharpened if one really works at it. But whether one has it or not, it will show – like sunshine. As Confucius said, “The superior man is slow in his words and earnest in his conduct.” DISCRETION. Finding fault with everyone and everything 24/7 until Doomsday will not add a single iota to your value as a person. Constructive criticism, if it is really sincere, should be done in such a way that it will not offend the dignity of the person involved. And making fun of people is about as funny as a child molester. As Lavater said, “If you are pleased at finding faults, you are displeased at finding perfection.” COMMON SENSE. As Descartes said, “That our will is free is self-evident.” If you’re invited to a wedding and you accept -- then got hit by a bulldozer on the way to church, you don’t blame God, or the priest, or the bride, or the groom, or the guests, or the caterer, or mass media, or MalacaƱang, or the CIA or your evil seatmate in third grade. But then again you never know: it might be a conspiracy between aliens from Andromeda and marijuana growers from Bondoc Province. SIMPLICITY. Anybody with a technicolor hairdo should get a shrink. And if your friends think your nose-ring is cool, then you’re in the wrong company. It’s better to heed Socrates’ prayer: “I pray Thee oh God, that I may be beautiful within.” STRENGTH. Of character, that is. Let barbarians stay at the gate. As Thackeray said, “True courage and courtesy always go hand in hand. The bravest men are the most forgiving and the most anxious to avoid quarrels.” Courage under fire, grace under pressure, that sort of thing. Remember, gold is purified by fire. And if you find I Will Survive too scintillating, you might want to try Go The Distance by Michael Bolton, Second Wind by Billy Joel, Never Surrender by Corey Hart and Angel by Sarah McLachlan. After all, as Goethe said, “One can’t always be a hero, but one can always be a man.” SELF RESPECT. Billions would rather look foolish in public because they’re afraid to be alone. Are you one of them? Being the life of the party doesn’t mean being the object of ridicule. Your self-worth does not depend on other people’s opinions. You can spend the weekend being a puppet – or spend a quiet Saturday afternoon reading The Book of Proverbs – which is more worthwhile than office memos. As Aristotle said, “Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.” EMPATHY. The mere fact that you have someone who tries to understand your situation by putting himself in your place shows how blessed you are. And if you become a person like that, some sort of walking 700 Club, then in your own little way, you make this world a better place. The key word is ‘Consideration’. If you have ever given comfort to someone in distress, have been a shoulder to cry on, have been a sanctuary to a weary soul, then you have not lived in vain.-- but of course the more the merrier! As Albert Einstein said “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” FAITH. Everything we’ve been talking about is meaningless without it. With Jesus Christ as the essence of your heart and soul comes a sense of tranquility that is absolutely indescribable – and absolutely real. He says so Himself: “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened for you. For whosoever asks, receives, whoever seeks, finds, whoever knocks is admitted.” [Luke 11:9-10] Photo courtesy of EagleVision. This story originally appeared in Philippine Panorama, February 6, 2006 Your comments and links are welcome

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