Because our life and our life circumstances change it is helpful to be in a constant stage of re-evaluation and redefining our core values, essential needs, and commitments. However without a trained and committed conscience an individual will find it difficult to see the difference between having a moral standard and walking the slippery slope of expediency. Doing what is right and not just what feels right is what keeps us on the true path of morals and ethical behavior.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Jack had committed to visiting a nursing home to read to the elders twice a week. In doing so he developed meaningful relationships with several of the aging residents. But now he has an opportunity to take a part time job that will allow him to earn enough money to take the vacation he’s always wanted. If he takes the job he won’t have time to fulfill his commitment to the people at the nursing home. What should he do?
Dorothy has recently taken a vow of non-harm but her boy-friend Duncan wants her to go deep sea fishing with him. Duncan doesn’t really understand Dorothy’s spiritual aspirations so she’s afraid to tell him about her new vow. She decides she’ll just go along for the ride- she doesn’t have to join in the fishing after all. But when they’re out to sea Duncan encourages her to take his fishing rod. He puts his arms around her and tells her how much it means to him that she’s his special girl, someone he can share his life with. She’s been hoping to get closer to him. What should she do?
Moral growth isn’t possible without regular evaluating discussions with others we trust. This means developing a relationship with a spiritual counselor, teacher, or minister who can act as our spiritual guide helping us to remain true to our ideals. Remember that to truly walk the monastic path or any path of spirit we must assess our thoughts and actions in terms of the spiritual values that form the community to which we belong.
The journey of spirit toward a transcendent ideal never ends; there is always room for improvement. Probably the values of the society to which you aspire are idealistic, uncompromising, and perhaps impossible to fully realize, which is why they are part of a spiritual community. This may seem discouraging at times; so it’s helpful to think of this as an opportunity to realize your full potential instead of a chance to measure your imperfections.
As you gain skill and even recognition as a spiritual practitioner staying on the path of discipline and moral rectitude gets harder. The temptations of power and privilege are tougher to resist as witnessed in the story of Bart and Helen. Many are the spiritual leaders who have fallen into emotional entanglements with students, secret love affairs, and the fulfillment of impulsive desires because they felt they were above the common lot. Constant vigilance is needed to train the unruly human mind to hold the course.
Since it isn’t easy to stay on the narrow way- we need assistance. Therefore it’s important to associate with colleagues who share our commitment and idealistic values. This doesn’t mean they are “perfected” beings who never make mistakes. It means we are seeking to surround ourselves with people of like mind, like goals, and determined purpose.
Great Spirit Mother & Father I Bow
I bow to those who have reached omniscience in the living body
and teach the road of everlasting bliss and perfect knowledge.
I bow to those who have experience self-realization of their souls
through self-control and self-sacrifice.
I bow to those who understand the true nature of the soul
and teach the importance of the spiritual over the material.
I bow to those who strictly observe the five great vows of conduct
and inspire us as role models to live a virtuous life.