February 13

To know what is right
and not do it is the
worst cowardice.



Today's Meditation:

I've been a coward.  Much more than I'd like to admit, actually.  There have been many times in my life when I've known that something was right, but I've taken a different path for whatever reason.  As a kid, I remember saying hurtful things about other kids because I was trying to impress someone.  A few times when I've been desperate, I've taken money that didn't really belong to me.  Most of these things happened when I was very young, but they've stuck with me all through the years.

I don't beat myself up about what I've done--I simply acknowledge it and hope that the lessons that I've learned from not doing what was right will stick with me and guide me through the next decisions that I have to make that may present me with a similar dilemma--do what's right, or do what's expedient (or what will make someone else happy, or will bring gain to me, and on and on).

There's much that could be said about cowardice, but Confucius' main point here is not cowardice.  His main focus is knowing what is right and not doing it.  Hearing your conscience speak to you and not following it.  Seeing the high road but following the low road.  No matter which words you want to use to describe it, the bottom line is that our lives are full of choices between right and wrong, and if we truly want to make something special of our lives we need to be prepared always to follow the right, no matter what the consequences.

I want to avoid being a coward, not because I fear being called that name, but because I know that cowardice is me not being the person I'm supposed to be.  My sincere hope in life is that no matter what happens, I'm able to recognize the right path and follow it, for my sake and the sakes of everyone else who may be involved in anything that I do.

Questions to consider:

How do we distinguish between right and wrong?  How do logic and conscience interact when we're trying to do so?

Why do we have such a negative view of the word "coward"? 

In what types of situations have you not acted based on what you know is right?  Is there a pattern to the types of situations?

For further thought:

The truth of the matter is that you always know
the right thing to do.  The hard part is doing it.

H. Norman Schwarzkopf


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