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Section 2

More About the Virtues

The inner qualities of your nature naturally radiate outwards into your everyday life. If they are submerged, it is you and you alone who is submerging them. This pushing down of your inner qualities takes a continual moment to moment effort to maintain. The resulting inner tension and strain results in emotional and physical tension too. If you could simply stop the pushing down of your inner qualities, they would rise up into your everyday life of their own accord. When you lovingly reaccept a part of your nature, the semiconsciousness connected with it disappears and so all corresponding beliefs/habits collapse like a house of cards. Having reestablished friendly relations with an aspect of your being, you have released an inner tension. There is then no pool of dark semiconsciousness for any further corresponding beliefs/habits to form.

*Exercise Three: Awakening the Virtues*

By their very nature the virtues within you are loveable. Simply focussing your awareness on a virtue will help natural reintegration.

Relax physically and inwardly. Choose a virtue that you want to reclaim. Let go of any false beliefs you may still be holding about it. Silently affirm that you love and accept that part of your nature and visualise it as a light flowing from within, nourishing and fulfilling every part of your being: actually imbuing every part of your being with the special quality of the virtue. Silently affirm that you are willing for yourself and your circumstances to change and be assured that the changes can only be beneficial. Now concentrate your efforts on the virtue opposite to the one you have chosen and repeat the same procedures. Allow yourself to see the two virtues as a single harmonious state. Let go of any preferences you have for one virtue over another: They are both an essential part of your being.

Repeat the exercise a couple of times with each virtue you want to work on. Over time you should work systematically through all the virtues. A good quality matrix from Exercise One will ensure that none of the virtues are missed.

The Virtues Are Interconnected

Every virtue is reflected in every other virtue. To uplift one virtue is to help uplift every other virtue. To perfect one virtue is to perfect all virtues. For example, perfect bravery must also be humble, gentle, spontaneous, patient and compassionate and so on, through every other virtue, otherwise it would not be perfect.

By reintegrating bravery you are, to some extent, automatically reintegrating it into every other aspect of your being. So if your patience or compassion for example falter when danger is near, then boosting your bravery will help heal your patience and compassion. This general principle can be harnessed to a greater extent by reuniting virtues in a conscious way.

*Exercise Four: Reuniting the Virtues*

Relax inwardly and outwardly. Choose two virtues you wish to reunite (eg spontaneity and gentleness). Allow your spontaneity to be gentle and allow your gentleness to be spontaneous. See them as two separate qualities merging and mingling into each other, glowing with loving cooperation. Know that in reality they always have been one with you and each other. Realising this, manifest them in your everyday life. Let the qualities (in this example: spontaneous gentleness and gentle spontaneity) infuse every part of your nature.

Every Virtue is Useful in Awakening the Other Virtues

Every virtue is a unique power that is ever ready to help you in awakening the other virtues and in all ways maintain balance and harmony. Thus every virtue is an individual pathway to overall wholeness and well-being.

Examples of Individual Pathways

If you attain complete spontaneity, your every thought and action can only arise from the virtuous mind. Living continually in the present moment you bypass any beliefs or habits which you will notice are always linked to past or future: never the present reality, which can only be perceived directly.

If you attain complete bravery then all the fears and aversions which acted as barriers to the various aspects of your being will collapse.

If you attain complete compassion you naturally love and accept all the previously rejected aspects of yourself thus fully reintegrating all your inner qualities.

*Exercise five: Unifying your Virtue Matrix*

Write down and contemplate as many "individual pathways" as you can. Choose a virtue and try to consciously use its special quality to further awaken itself and all the other virtues within you. Visualise all the virtues as one light, one awareness, beyond labels and in unity with you now.

Vices: Yours

As you gain an understanding of the virtues and vices, you will begin to notice imbalances in your character that you had previously glossed over: either being unaware of them, mistakenly considering them to be positive or mistakenly seeing them as inevitable and inescapable flaws in your character. This recognition of previously unnoticed imbalances is certainly not a cause for dismay, on the contrary it is a sure sign of welcome progress towards the ideal state of perfect contentment and perfect concern. Living in such a state means you have avoided the twin imbalances of over concern (ie worry) and over contentment (ie complacency).

All your own vices are caused by a lack of love. There is nothing particularly wishy washy or new age about this statement: it is a fundamental principle upon which this work is based. Accepting this principle deeply will protect you from any feelings of self loathing which only serve to maintain or worsen the particular imbalance.

If you can condition yourself to feel compassionate and loving towards yourself despite any vice that you have just noticed yourself displaying, you will find that it will dissipate. Your natural virtuous nature will then resurface effortlessly.

*Exercise Six: Dealing with Your Own Faults*

Silently affirm to yourself that you are loveable even when in error. Forgive yourself for past sins. Allow yourself to feel new and act differently in the future. View your past faults as temporary clouds covering your innate sun of goodness. As you breathe in draw the necessary lessons and wisdom from your past. As you breathe out let the synthesis of your understanding affect your attitude and behaviour in your everyday life.

Love and accept the vice you are working to resolve as well as the vice opposite to it. Contemplate the simple truth that by loving and accepting the extremes we effortlessly embody the middle way that is a synthesis of both qualities.

Summary of Exercise Six: Dealing with Your Own Faults

In performing this exercise you have reduced the possibility of the vice reoccurring and should it reoccur its negative potency will be lessened.

Vices: Other Peoples

The outside world and other people in particular, act as mirrors to our inner state. If someone with a particular vice creates a negative reaction within you, you can be sure that you have a corresponding inner problem regarding the associated virtues. Such people act as a useful guide, showing you where to direct your efforts of reintegration. Making an effort to love those around you will have a direct effect on the corresponding parts of your own nature. Making an effort to love your inner aspects will have a corresponding effect on how you view others and so how they react to you. Now I must make it clear what I mean when I say "love other people". It does not mean that we do everything for them or always put their needs above our own. The love I am talking about is virtuous love: all the virtuous opposites are at one with it. For example: prudence as well as generosity and steadfastness as well as flexibility.

*Exercise Seven: Accepting Others Despite Their Faults*

Relax inwardly and outwardly. Allow the problem person to be new: don't hold onto any negative expectations about them. Inwardly declare that you forgive them. Visualise them surrounded by the lovely light of unconditional love. Imagine the light actually penetrating their temporary negative behaviour and outer personality: penetrating gently and beneficially to the painful and rejected parts of their personality. Actually love and accept those parts of their selves that they presently cannot. Know that in doing so you are helping your own inner qualities resurface.

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