“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals.”
Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Think of virtues as humanistic super-powers. They are also spiritual props. They protect your soul from the grime of the world. Your most precious affluence, your most powerful privileges, what makes your soul pleased with itself is your sense of ethicality. Every religion, every spiritual philosophy on Earth gives us a talk about morality.
The Christian Cardinal Virtues
The Latin phrase “Agir avec prudence” means “to proceed with caution.” I like cautious people, for they don’t make accidents.
They are careful with the things entrusted to them. They don’t play dice with their fate. They do not take unnecessary risks for their soul, spirit, and body. They can be called “responsible.”
I also like less cautious people, for they jump with bungee, and they say Earth rotates around itself in times when claiming things that are not obvious could get you in trouble. They throw themselves in adventures, trusting only in God. But let us speak in favor of the Christian virtue.
Basically, having prudence means making choices you will never regret. This is obviously not always possible. It requires careful contemplation of all your actions.
There is an exotic Bulgarian saying: “measure thrice, cut once,” which means you have to plan carefully, with the results in mind. Your prudence navigates you in life.
“The great must submit to the dominion of prudence and virtue, or none will long submit to the dominion of the great.” – Edmund Burke
Once upon a time, I dreamt of becoming a lawyer – “justice” was synonymous to “greatness” to me.
Cornel West says: “Tenderness is what love feels like in private. Justice is what love looks like in public.”
Justice is what love looks like in public. I love this sentence.
Just people are the angel-guardians of this world. They are great problem solvers and wise in judgment. They are fair and benevolent, brave and soulful. We have heard stories about them. People like Martin Luther King, heroes of the world, people who make history, people who know what “right” is.
In all circumstances, one should not give up fighting for things they believe in. But we should also care about people, who are not that great. For them this is not always possible. One should always do what feels right and help protect the more unfortunate ones. For some people this is very hard to perform.
What applies to everyone is that you can’t be indifferent if the world is to evolve. Indifference to people’s sufferings is a treacherous poison.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate…”
Temperance is to me the art of restricting oneself, so that others may not be able to restrict you. It is also essential to practice temperance in your diet and similar earthly cravings. You can’t have everything – where are you going to place it?
I also like people who are not that temperate – people with passions. All the poets of the world, are utterly passionate creatures, they cry their souls out of extreme states, and they stir and inspire everybody.
Temperance, however, is very cool.
Temperance was celebrated in the society of Ancient Greece, by its sages. It was one of the principles of Plato’s Ideal City, a craved heavenly place based on justice and human fineness. Plato used to call temperance “self-restraint.”
Benjamin Franklin said: “Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation.” It could be worded in another way: moderate your appetites. Less is more. Temperance can be important for your health and vitality. Keep Calm!
Yet the Bible reminds us to eat and drink, and be merry, for there’s no better thing under the sun.
“I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night – he’s got to be strong, and he’s got to be cool and he’s got to be fresh from the fight…”
Your courage zone is outside of your comfort zone. Courage means handling things you’ve never tried, exploring new opportunities, serving your higher duty. It means to not give up on things you are afraid of, adventures, or difficult things. All of these are important for your personal evolution.
Being courageous means also that you are self-confident, a person in motion, who is constantly on the go…for without action, even compassion is only observation.
I happen to like a certain cowardly lion – from the Wizard of Oz. Here’s what he says about courage:
Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
“It takes courage to stand up and speak, it also takes courage to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
Theological Virtues: – and they cannot be defied
Faith is actually your ability to expect miracles. Christ says about faith: “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Faith is great. Be careful not to bestow your faith in things you don’t really want.
Faith is the opposite of doubt, which is the great electric current that cripples us and prevents us most from happiness. You have to believe in things until they manifest into your reality. Faith has always been and will always be at the root of any meaningful practice or challenge.
We, humans, have the ability to hope against all odds, and that’s one of our default soul settings. Hope helps us overcome our fears. All our decisions should be based on hope and probability. Pain ends, and hope knows this. Even this shall pass! – hope whispers in times of darkness. So choose hope to support your reality. Your eternal choice is hope.
We all know about those little spiritual adventures called “random acts of kindness.” To donate food, or smile at everyone, or give free hugs…all those things the world needs to keep on turning. Some people need food, and some people need socks, and you don’t need another reason to help them out. This is a challenge. Thus you give back the good energy that comes your way, and you subscribe yourself to more of it. If you can’t feed a thousand people – you can feed one.
The Chivalric Code
Knights were significant figures in the past. Knights were God-fearing and religious people. They believed in service, they protected the weak and the defenseless. They tried to not offend people, they lived for honor and glory and fought for the welfare of all, but most for those placed in authority. Fellow Knights’ honor was important to them; they despised deceit and kept the faith. At all times, they spoke the truth; they persevered in their projects, never refused a challenge and respected the honor of women. A woman of virtue attracted a man of honor.
According to Chaucer, a knight in his times of training looks and acts somewhat as an elf: “His clothes were embroidered red and white, as it were a meadow of fresh flowers. All the day he was singing or playing upon a lute, he was as fresh as the Month of May. His coat was short, with long wide sleeves. Well could he sit a horse and ride, make songs, joust and dance, draw and write. He loved so ardently that at nighttime he slept no more than a nightingale. He was courteous, modest, and helpful, and carved before his master at table.” Knights used to make good citizens, it is unfortunate that the chivalric virtues are so obsolete.
According to the Dalai Lama, the most humane quality is compassion. He says: “If you can’t help people, at least don’t hurt them.” Compassion does not mean pity, it means you see the light in others and you connect with them in a profound way. It means instead of judging, to offer your hand. You can always be a positive example to the world, but that’s not easy. In order to have compassion, you should be able to walk in other people’s shoes.
One can recognize a spiritual being by the shine in their eyes. No wonder they say eyes are the mirror of the soul. When eyes meet eyes, for a second everything changes. This is how you know your soul-mates the moment you meet them, they speak to you only with eyes.
The most sexually exciting things to me are manners and personality. The little things about yourself, which make you differ from anybody else: the way you smile or toss your head, your tango bearing, all things about you which make other people thrilled, wanting to be as close to you as possible.
Gentleness, tenderness, and kindness are manners of the soul. Dress with them. Be polite to everyone, grand and low. It is princely to converse with all people as with equals, no matter your authority, or position. Good things will come your way.
But I also like rough, passionate and confident men, men who take challenges and pursue ideals and talk hard in special moments.
Being in Love
I like people whose life is hard – romantic people.
Romance is really an interesting situation. Everything is sublime and it is going to last forever. Eternity is yours, so is Love and Joy and you are on a certain way to Enlightenment.
Yearning for love’s paradise is really a strenuous time. Being focused on a person elevates you spiritually, it also helps you see and understand life. People in love live I – the rest simply exist. John Mark Green says: “And if love be madness, may I never find sanity again!”
Artistry and Creativity
Creativity is an adornment of the soul. Artistic people share their souls with the world. Their imagination takes them places, they think outside the box, they are simply more prone to fun. To create is a compelling need for the artist. Talented people are a bit zany, but hey, that’s what the best people are.
I also love people who are not that creative, for they make a good audience for us, the daffodils of this world.
Virtues and vices are balanced by wisdom. Sometimes you will fail, but this shouldn’t discourage you. Stick to what you believe in, do not strive for consummation and you are fine with me!