Imbibe is a funny word. It usually relates to drink and if you don’t make it too obvious what kind of drink, people are likely to assume it is alcohol. Yet the word imbibe is often used by many in the context of virtues. We might say that we are drinking in the scenery when we see the beauty of Nature. It is almost as if we need to practice ‘drinking’ in virtue as opposed to vice as we go about the busi-ness of our day. Why? If we were alert we would consider a vice to be a poison to our mind.
There are many virtues for example, love, kindness, compassion and acceptance being a few of the most important. (I will include a list at the bottom for your reference.) Virtues bring joy and happiness and make us feel elated as opposed to the vices like anger, greed, ego, which very often in the moment can give us the illusory feeling of empowerment. But just like when we imbibe alcohol we will see our blood sugar levels spike, and then they can very quickly fall. This instant high, and not far behind low, can make us feel depressed and resentful. In essence it is fair to say that virtues will bring us joy in our lives and vices will bring us sorrow.
Turning to the topic of imbibing virtues: How is it possible? As you go about your day today, why not try to be like a sponge absorbing virtue. Specifically look for a virtue, something positive, in everything that you see and do today. It will be like a game of ‘spot the virtue.’ Even when it seems to be going wrong, there must be a hidden benefit. Yes, there has to be! This is the first and easy way. Secondly as you meet and connect with people, look for a definitive quality in them, make it a game in your mind, as though you are trying to find a diamond in the haystack! No matter how difficult the person may be, even if it seems as though they are so persistent and their life’s mission is to make your life a difficult one! Even that has to be applauded!
Once virtues are noted and registered, there is one more step of ‘divinizing’ them. Love can be seen as a quality and a virtue. So what is the difference between the two?
There was once a story in which one elder sister, known as Dadi, pointed out to her junior that she had the virtue of sweetness. But that the soul now had to ‘divinize’ that virtue of sweetness. The younger soul looked perplexed. Then Dadi went on to explain that: sweetness is a good quality, but it now has to be protected and protective at the same time. Dadi continued, too much sweetness can mean all the ants can cling to you and so that is not healthy for either party on a spiritual path! Learning to keep a balance of being loving and detached is the key.
Also more importantly when the virtue is divine, it will be consistent, natural and inclusive. So the virtue of love will be consistent and for all and not biased for just a few. Whereas the quality of love can be for a few and it will change according to the time, place, mood, person etc. It will have gradients and an element of comparison – good, better best. In this case although there would be love there, once there is a grading system in operation, then that will be coming from the ego passing judgements on another’s worthiness. This can never make that virtue divine, although still a virtue, it will not be divine because of the mixture of other non-virtues, attachment and ego, that have become mixed with that virtue.
…if you live from virtue, and have protected your virtue, you will remain stable because you do not need anything in return.
Someone with virtue will be dignified, and they will not have any trace of ego, nor have jealousy or comparison. Whereas the one who simply has the basic quality, (without it being divinized) will still have a hunger, a need for acknowledgement and recognition and will be full of ego. When you just have the good quality you can be affected by both praise and defamation. You will be affected by the ‘outcome’ or ‘result’ of sharing your qualities. But if you live from virtue, and have protected your virtue, you will remain stable because you do not need anything in return. You will be like a flower that is simply sharing it’s fragrance with whoever passes through the garden.
When I was at school, I did metal work and created beautiful colourful steel pendants. There was a part of the process in which the paint on the metal/pendant had to be placed into a kiln for it to be solidified and made permanent. I see ‘divinization’ in the same way. We need to put ourselves into the fire of meditation, the fire of humility, the fire of detachment, in order to solidify the virtue so that the colour of the virtue does not fade with people, place or power.
When I am seeing virtues in everyone,
I am NOT doing the other person a favour!
When I am seeing virtues in everyone, I am NOT doing the other person a favour! I am being the master of my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I start directing my senses of sight and sound to the best and highest place to promote peace in the self. I regain my peace of mind. Then because of this practice I have fewer unnecessary and waste thoughts.
Finally, a spiritual person will add virtue to everything that they do. It will be like sprinkling magic dust wherever you go. Then you only take in the fragrance of virtues and not be coloured or tainted by the vices.
We have more virtues than we think. Here is a simple list for you to reflect upon… there are many more to explore.
Acceptance |Assertiveness | Attainment | Authenticity |Awareness |Balance |Beauty | Brilliance | Caring | Cleanliness | Compassion | Commitment | Confidence | Consideration | Contentment | Co-operation | Courage | Creativity | Detachment | Determination | Dignity | Discipline | Encouragement | Enthusiasm |Ethical |Excellent |Faith |Fairness |Flexibility |Forgiveness | Friendliness | Generous | Gentle | Gracious | Gratitude | Happy | Harmonious | Helpfulness | Honesty | Honourable | Hope | Humility | Integrity | Imaginative | Joyfulness | Kindness | Lightness | Love | Loyalty | Learning | Optimistic Orderliness | Passionate | Patience | Peace | Perseverance | Preparedness | Purposefulness | Reliability | Respect | Responsibility | Resourceful | Reverence | Self-Discipline | Serenity | Service | Simplicity | Sincerity | Temperate | Tenacious | Thankfulness | Tolerance | Tranquil | Trust | Truthfulness | Understanding | Unity | Unique | Visionary | Wisdom | Wonder|
It’s Time… to divinize our life by divinizing our virtues and to spread magic dust wherever you tread!