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Tools for Building Character from the Spiritual Toolkit

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Lists are popular ways of visualizing our future and focusing on what are important achievements for us. In his book, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (itself a list!), Deepak Chopra recommends we make a list of our desires (page 79) https://www.chopra.com/community/online-library/the-seven-spiritual-laws... Here is a list of some “top ten” action quotes in my collection that I’ve used as a foundation on which to build a philosophy of living, and focus on cultivating a strong character to achieve my goals. I keep these character-building quotes in different places. Some are in a little Punjabi recipe box (from Kashmir it says on the bottom) found in a thrift store. Some are pinned up on our kitchen cupboard. Others are held up by a magnet on the refrigerator door. I stayed with ten topics here and occasionally snuck in another quote. Of course there are more than ten aspects to building a righteous character.
Teachers like Karen Armstrong recommend we learn from the point of view of other religions besides our own. It doesn’t mean we are asked give up our own faith or belief, but that we avoid a circumscribed perspective, a possible fundamentalist trap, by learning to recognize the truths found in other religious teachings. Against the current odds, I prefer to hold on to the viewpoint that every nation, tribe, race, age group, ethnicity, man or woman speaking every language, longs for the same things: love, peace and goodwill towards humanity. In spite of appearances to the contrary, we are all essentially moving toward the same spiritual goal, the world establishment of a human community where peace reigns and wars have been brought to an end. Here is a universal action plan that can be implemented no matter what religion you give your loyalty to.

Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda wikipedia.org

Paramahansa Yogananda

Allow Joy:
   Do what gives you joy and do it in public!
   “No matter what causes it, whenever a little bubble of joy appears in your invisible sea of consciousness, take hold of it and keep expanding it. Meditate on it and it will grow larger … keep puffing at the bubble of joy until it breaks its confining walls and becomes the sea of joy.” (Metaphysical Meditations by Paramahansa Yogananda)

Thomas Edison by Abraham Archibald Anderson
Thomas Edison by Abraham Archibald Anderson wikipedia.org

Thomas Edison by Abraham Archibald Anderson

Embrace Possibility:
   “Remain open to an infinite number of unexpected possibilities which transcend your own imagination and capacity to plan.” (Thomas Merton)

   "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." ~ Thomas A. Edison

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Hoffman
Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Hoffman wikipedia.org

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Hoffman

Learn Trust (and Faith):
   “Jesus turned to James, asking, "James, do you trust me?" And of course James replied, "Yes, Master, I trust you with all my heart." Then said Jesus: "James, if you trust me more, you will be less impatient with your brethren. If you will trust me, it will help you to be kind to the brotherhood of believers. Learn to weigh the consequences of your sayings and your doings. Remember that the reaping is in accordance with the sowing. Pray for tranquillity of spirit and cultivate patience. These graces, with living faith, shall sustain you when the hour comes to drink the cup of sacrifice.” (Jesus a New Revelation, Michael Foundation)

“Open yourself to the Tao, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place.” —Tao Te Ching, Verse 23

Arjuna with Krishna
Arjuna with Krishna wikipedia.org

Arjuna with Krishna

Accept Divine Mercy:
   “The shining lamp of knowledge dispels the darkness of ignorance. In your hearts I will place this mercy.” (Bhagavad Gita, 10:11)
   The Reverend at the Unity Church in my area introduced this theme from the Hindu literature into his talk one Sunday.

Buddha
Buddha wikipedia.org

Buddha

Show Love:
   “In this world hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and eternal.” (Dhammapada, Ch. 1)
   I once saw my daughter use this quotation in a speech she gave in high school. That was inspirational!

A W Tozer quote
A W Tozer quote repinned.net

A W Tozer quote

Enhance Your Power:
   “With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures.” How about some of that good old Protestant confidence from A. W. Tozer: http://www.awtozerclassics.com/page/page/4891818.htm

Jesus in nature
Jesus in nature truthbook.org

Jesus in nature

Be Courageous:

   Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! (Luke 12:22-24)

Author Karen Armstrong
Author Karen Armstrong npr.org

Author Karen Armstrong

Express Compassion:

“We have…seen that many of these pivotal teachers and prophets were living in societies that had problems similar to our own: they were dealing with violence that seemed to be getting out of hand and an economy that marginalized the poor.  It is now time to apply what we have learned from them to our own circumstances and to the society in which we live.” (Karen Armstrong, founder of http://charterforcompassion.org/)

Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton wikipedia.org

Thomas Merton

Develop Focus and Concentration:

   “A small amount of focused concentration can expand into the subconscious mind to implant joyfulness, love and forgiveness. Expansion is the only way out of depression. Unless you remain consciously aware of yourself, you will mechanically create your childhood circumstances over and over again in your workplace and in your home.”
(Guidance from Within, by Ernest F. Pecci, http://drpecci.com/)

Fools Crow in ceremonial regalia
Fools Crow in ceremonial regalia Thomas Mails author

Fools Crow in ceremonial regalia

Engage in Service:

   "We begin by letting the Powers know that we are willing to be their servants to others."
--Fools Crow, Lakota. As a Lakota Sioux person, he was taught to understand there was no limit to what the higher powers could do through him. “What we hollow bones really become is the pipeline that connects Wakan Tanka [Great Spirit] and our community together.”
http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/frank-fools-crow-footprints#sthash.F9rI9qqA.dpuf

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