December 3

  

Today's quotation:

Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands.  But like seafarers on the desert waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.

Carl Schurz

Today's Meditation:

What kinds of ideals do you follow in your life?  Have you made a conscious decision to follow those ideals through thick and thin, knowing that they probably won't always lead you through the easiest of journeys?  Have you even ever sat down to consider your ideals, to ask yourself truthfully just what you see as very important in life, knowing that your ideals of yesterday may not be the same ideals that you hold today?

When all is said and done, our ideals are the part of ourselves that define us more than anything else, more than our words or actions or thoughts.  But most of us couldn't even name five ideals that we hold dear in our lives, except perhaps in a very broad manner with words such as "honesty" or "love" or "commitment."  These words, though, mean different things for different people, and it's important that we learn-- or define-- what they mean for us rather than accepting them unthinkingly as generic terms.  As generic terms, quite truthfully, they don't mean much of anything.

If we're going to choose ideals that we can follow as guides to life, then it's important that we know exactly what we mean by the words we use, and how those words and ideas can change through the course of our lives.  My ideals of ten years ago definitely are not my ideals of today, even though I would use many of the same words to describe them.

What are your guides in life?  If you follow those guides, to which destination will they lead you?  Will you end up someplace where you truly want to be, or will you end up in some undefined place that is not completely comfortable for you?  That all depends, of course, on whether or not you take the time to define the guides you will use.  A mapmaker can cut no corners, and must be precise all the time.  Likewise, we must be precise when we set out to learn our ideals, though we must keep in mind that our lives and perspectives change much more often than a landscape or a system of roads.

Questions to consider:

What are some of your most important ideals?  How have you defined them?

How would you answer if someone were to ask you what ideals are and why they're important?

How and why do our ideals change over time?

For further thought:

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Samuel Ullman

more thoughts and ideas on ideals

   

   

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