[0015]Discovering values

May you discover the things that matter

Your values are literally what’s valuable to you. Human beings are inherently goal-oriented and we tend to act in ways that get us to the things we want. Even at our noblest, we want to achieve something or get somewhere; whether to God, or love, or strength, or self-esteem, or security, or any of the other commodities that social order deems valuable and necessary. We want these these things for us and we want others to treat us in a ways that facilitate our goals, for evolution has made us social animals and there is a certain amount give-and-take and “playing by the rules”. But all the while, these ethical and moral norms of good social behaviour are what you more stringently hold others to while the same rules are more flexible when applied to yourself, so as to accommodate your own highly desired personal goals. You expect others to be truthful, kind, compassionate, humble, charitable, and so on towards you so that you can be comfortable and secure. But as you think and act within loosely constrained ethical and moral codes, conflicts inevitably develop as it is in our human nature to constantly align thought with action. Action that is contrary to thought diminishes your own self-confidence over time. If on the other hand, you were to give up your personal goals and uncompromisingly accept ethical values, you will no longer be conflicted by your personal half-values. 

It is said that the bodhisattva (बोधिसत्त्व) has assimilated moral and ethical values to the point where they simply act. They do so not because they have resigned themselves to the rules, but because they embrace a spirit of openness. They already love, feel loved, are able to love, feel respected and have self-respect so they are not desperately grasping for the things of this world. They ask themselves questions like: What are the moments which give me the greatest satisfaction? … What are the most rewarding moments in my work and in my life, moments that make my life worthwhile? When you’re in the presence of such people it’s like entering another realm. They always appear to act correctly, always seem to do the right thing at the right time. So like the bodhisattva, when you give up wanting ordinary things and look for the simple things that you really need, life as a whole becomes simpler.

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