July 31     

Today's quotation:

"Ideals are like stars," Carl Schurz wrote.  "You will not succeed in touching them with your hands.  But like seafarers on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny."  Ideals do not determine what we do to make a living in life; They govern what we become as we do it.

Joan Chittister

Today's Meditation:

Ideals are a necessary part of life if we're going to live fully and completely, for they are the guides that help us to move in positive directions, adding quality to our lives so that we're not simply moving through life without direction.  If I have no ideals or if I abandon them, then I'm literally taking the wind out of my own sails, or turning my ship in a direction that most definitely will not turn out to be for my best.

We see people abandoning their ideals constantly, especially in the world of politics.  The person who was elected because they spoke of honor and integrity during the campaign so often turns out to start making decisions based not on ideals, but on expediency or party lines-- or even money.  Unfortunately, they get away with it very often, and our young people have fewer and fewer role models to follow who stick to their ideals and live their lives according to them.

Ideals most definitely shouldn't be static-- they'll change and shift as we learn more about life and specific situations-- but they should be respected because if we don't have any guides in life, it's far too easy to do and say things that are simply harmful to ourselves and others.  I want my ideals to hold me up, to support me, to guide me, and to provide me with strength when I need it.  I want to follow my ideals because there are no other guides available to me that are so personal and so strong.  My ideals will be centered around love and compassion and acceptance and many other concepts that allow me to see and respect the individuality of those people with whom I share this planet for a short while.

Ideals can be complex, but the best ones are the most simple.  "Choose the path that causes no harm to others" is a wonderfully simple ideal that would have very positive effects if we were to follow it.  But no matter how simple or complex, it's very important that we know what they are and follow their lead, for our lives otherwise would be a rudderless ship on a tumultuous sea.  While I don't claim to be able to control my life completely, ideals give me a solid base upon which to depend when I'm making decisions.

Questions to consider:

What are some of your most important ideals?

Why is it so easy to ignore or neglect our ideals?

How do we affect ourselves if we desert our ideals?

For further thought:

You donít get old from living a particular number of years:  you get old because you have deserted your ideals.  Years wrinkle your skin, renouncing your ideals wrinkles your soul.  Worry, doubt, fear, and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.

Douglas MacArthur

more on ideals



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