January 25


Today's quotation:

The universe does not favor the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious, although on the mere surface it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous.  All the great teachers of the ages have declared this in varying forms, and to prove and know it a person has but to persist in making him or herself more and more virtuous by lifting up his or her thoughts.

James Allen

Today's Meditation:

It often seems that the bad people always get away with things, and that they're never called to account for the bad things that they've done.  Hollywood tends to glamorize the mobsters and the crooks, often turning them into heroes instead of the awful people that they tend to be.  On the surface, it often seems that the people who live on the wrong side of the law or who spend their lives hurting others are rewarded with lots of money and power, while the "good guys" finish last, often having little to nothing to show for their lives.

But the way things seem aren't necessarily the way things are.  We all know this in our hearts, but it's hard to keep it in mind sometimes.  We see the bullies in school who almost never get punished, we hear our friends brag about their speeding or about cheating on their taxes, and they never seem to get caught.  But the most important question is this:  who are these people becoming?  What are they making of themselves?

What I do is up to me, and I choose to try to help others and to try to help myself to grow into a person that I'll be proud of.  I try to live my life as I see right, and I don't need to concern myself with what other people seem to be.  After all, what I see is only a small part of the story.  I know that when people see me, they find out absolutely nothing about who I am as a person, unless we get to know each other much better.

So my task is to continue to be who I am without worrying about the "fairness" of the universe.  The selfish, cruel, and dishonest people may seem to be getting away with what they do, but if I have faith in justice (and I do), I know that justice will come in its own time, when it's the most effective, and in its own way, and it's not up to me to decide when or how it shows itself in their lives.  I know what I want to be, but it's not up to me to turn others into what I think they should be. 

Questions to consider:

Why does it seem to us like so many people "get away" with so much?

How much of this perspective comes from impatience--thinking that "rewards" and "punishments" should happen much more quickly than they do?

Can we be sure that people who hurt others truly learn how harmful their actions are?

For further thought:

Despite all the doom and gloom that constantly assaults our senses, there is a way for us to ransom our lives and reclaim our futures:  it consists in turning away from the world to recognize what in life makes us truly happy.  For each of us, what that is will be different.  But once we obtain this inner knowledge, we will possess the ability to transform our outer world.  "You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself," the pilot and writer Beryl Markham reminds us.  We cannot let this continue to occur.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

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