January 24


Today's quotation:

To me, the essence of keeping the soul nourished is obedience to one's conscience.  I don't think that the soul can be nourished unless people have a strong sense of conscience that they have educated and developed and soaked in the universal and timeless principles of integrity and service.  This way, the individual's soul becomes part of the universal soul of service, contribution, and making a difference.

Stephen R. Covey

Today's Meditation:

What is my conscience?  Some call it the "still, small voice within."  Others say that it's the voice of God inside of us, that's supposed to keep us on track.  Some say that we all have a conscience, while others say that some of us may not have them, which might explain deviant criminal behavior.  I know that I have one, though I couldn't explain to you exactly what it is.

What I like most about Covey's passage is the focus on the idea that people can educate and develop their consciences.  That's something that I'd truly like to do, for I know that my conscience lets me down sometimes--or rather, that I don't listen to my conscience at times.  I don't know why I ignore it--perhaps I don't trust it completely?  Perhaps I'm afraid that if I follow my conscience, I'm going to miss out on something important and/or enjoyable.

Maybe the question that I have to explore is how to educate and train my conscious mind to trust the conscience, no matter what.  Maybe the best thing that I can do for myself is to learn to keep in mind the fact that my conscience truly is an important part of who I am, and that I should do my best always to listen to it and trust it, rather than rationalizing and coming up with reasons not to heed what it's telling me.  After all, it is a part of who I am, and not paying heed to my conscience is, in theory, not paying attention to a higher part of myself, even if I don't understand exactly what it is.

I do need to train my conscience, and I need to make sure that it doesn't hold on to thoughts and ideas that are based on ways that I used to think, and things that I used to believe.  But I also need to be sure that my conscience isn't just a lonely voice in the wilderness of my mind, but a wise friend who is an important part of who I am.

Questions to consider:

Are you more likely to listen to your conscience or to your "rational," logical mind?

What has happened when you've ignored the messages of your conscience?  How many people have been affected?  How?

How can we "train" our conscience?

For further thought:

It is not because people's desires are strong that they act ill; it is because their consciences are weak.  There is no natural connection between strong impulses and a weak conscience.  The natural connection is the other way.

John Stuart Mill

more thoughts and ideas on conscience



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