October 28
  The one thing that doesn't
abide by majority rule is
a person's conscience.

Harper Lee


Today's Meditation:

Sometimes I think that Harper's words here should read "The one thing that shouldn't abide. . ."  In our world we all see people doing things that they know they shouldn't do just to be cool, or just to be accepted, or just because others expect to do something.  When we deal with our internal conflicts with our consciences, there's often a good chance that we will rationalize the decision that makes things the easiest for us or the one that's going to get us accolades and/or acceptance.  And here's the scary part--we often allow ourselves to justify what we've done by adjusting our consciences to make the action okay.

Do we have the ability to adjust our conscience?  Can we truly convince ourselves that something wrong is actually right, and not feel the least twinge of remorse for doing that thing or for not feeling wrong about it?  Sometimes, I believe we do--but I also know that not everyone is willing to do so.  Most people aren't even willing to try to do so.

Why is it so difficult to listen to our consciences, though?  Why do we not want to acknowledge what it's telling us to be true or wrong or right?  It really does seem to be that pressure from others that makes things difficult for us, be they friends or colleagues.  But no matter what pressures we face, the final decision about whether to follow our conscience or not rests with us; and the final decision about whether to accept what it tells us lies with us, also. 

Our conscience should not abide by majority rule.  Many people squelch the important voice inside themselves by telling themselves that everyone else thinks a certain way, so why should I think any different?  But the question is not whether you're thinking differently or not, but whether you're following what you know in your heart and soul to be true.

Questions to consider:

What are some of the pressures that weigh against us following our consciences?

Why is it so easy sometimes to just go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing, whether we agree with it or not?

How might you be sure that you keep yourself open to the messages that your conscience is sending you?

For further thought:

Conscience, as a mentor, the guide and compass of every
act, leads ever to happiness.  When the individual can
stay alone with his or her conscience and get its approval,
without knowing force or specious knowledge, then he
or she begins to know what real happiness is.

William G. Jordan


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