I went to meditation services this past Sunday at the Self Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades, California. During the lecture, the monk talked about virtues. He told us a story of a clay 11 foot Buddha statue in Thailand that belonged to a poor ashram. The poor ashram had to move the statue because it couldn’t afford it’s current location.
When the monks lifted up the statue to move it, it fell and there was a huge crack in the clay that revealed gold underneath. The statue was in fact covered in clay and underneath was a pure gold Buddha statue. The statue is now in a museum and is worth a hell of a lot of money.
The monks point in telling this story is to say that we all have gold underneath our clay exterior and the gold within us is our virtues. A virtue is a spiritual behavior showing high moral standards. We’ve all got at least one virtue. See the list below to see which virtue resonates with you.
For me, I’ve got perseverance, creativity and humor in spades. I’ve got many others to lesser degrees. The monk encouraged us to pick a virtue, practice it and cultivate it. I’ve got a few that I’d like to cultivate so I will work on those.
What struck me most during the monk’s talk was that he explained that your soul is immortal and eternal. I have to remember that when I’m stressing about my external and temporary existence like my age or weight. If we turn our focus inward towards our eternal souls and to the golden light within then we will have self worth and be much happier people.
List of Virtues
Acceptance: Embracing life on its own terms. Acceptance allows us to bend without breaking in the face of tests. To consider circumstances, especially those that can not be changed, as satisfactory.
Accountability: The willingness to take full responsibility for our choices.
Appreciation: Seeing the good in life. Freely expressing gratitude.
Assertiveness: Telling the truth about what is just, setting clear boundaries.
Awe: Reverence and wonder, deep respect for the source of life.
Beauty: A sense of wonder and reverence for the harmony, colour, and loveliness of the world. Calling on our creativity to add to the beauty in the world.
Bravery: A quality of spirit that enables you to face danger of pain without showing fear. caring
Caring : Giving tender attention to the people and things that matter to us. Listening with compassion, helping with kindness.
Caution: Avoidance of rashness, attention to safety.
Charity: A giving heart, a generous way of viewing others and caring for their needs.
Cheerfulness: Seeing the bright side, looking for the good in whatever happens.
Cleanliness: Keeping our bodies, our thoughts and our spaces clean. An environment of order and beauty brings peace to our souls.
Commitment: Caring deeply about a person, a goal or a belief. Willingness to give our all and keep our promises.
Compassion: Deep empathy for the suffering of others. Compassion flows freely from the heart when we let go of judgments and seek to understand.
Confidence: A sense of assurance that comes from having faith in ourselves and in life. Confidence allows us to trust that we have the strength to cope with whatever happens.
Consideration: Giving careful thought to the needs of others. Holding a decision in a contemplative and thoughtful way.
Contentment: The awareness of sufficiency, a sense that we have enough and we are enough. Appreciating the simple gifts of life.
Cooperation: Working together for a common goal, calling on the different gifts each of us has to offer.
Courage: Transforms fear into determination. Embracing life fully, without holding back, doing what must be done even when it is difficult or risky. Courtesy: Treating others with kindness, tact and graciousness.
Creativity: The power of imagination. Being open to inspiration, which ignites our originality.
Curiosity: A desire to find out and know things.
Decisiveness: Firmness of mind in taking a stand, reaching a conclusion, making a decision. It requires both courage and discernment.
Defiance: Bold resistance.
Detachment: Experiencing our feelings without allowing them to control us. Stepping back and thoughtfully choosing how we will act rather than just reacting.
Determination: Firmness of purpose.
Devotion: Commitment to something we care about deeply. Wholehearted service to our life’s purpose. A great love or loyalty, enthusiastic zeal.
Dignity: Honoring the worth of all people, including ourselves and treating everyone with respect.
Diligence: Doing what needs to be done with care, concentration and single-pointed attention, giving our absolute best.
Discernment: Applying the wisdom of our intuition to discover what is essential and true, with contemplative vigilance. Clarity of the soul.
Discretion: Being discrete in ones speech, keeping secrets.
Endurance: Practicing perseverance and patience when obstacles arise hones our character and educates our souls. We welcome all that we are here to learn.
Enthusiasm: Being filled with spirit. Excitement about life and openness to the wonders each day holds. Acting wholeheartedly, with zeal and eagerness, holding nothing back.
Excellence: Giving our best to any task we do and any relationship we have.
Fairness: Seeking justice, giving each person their share, making sure that everyone’s needs are met.
Faith: A relationship of trust. Belief in the reality of Grace.
Faithfulness : Loyalty to our beliefs, regardless of what happens. Being true to the people we love.
Fidelity: Abiding by an agreement, treating it as a sacred covenant. Complete faithfulness in our relationships.
Flexibility : The ability to adapt and change amid the fluctuating circumstances of life. Going with the flow. Adaptable, able to be changed to suit circumstances.
Focus: Concentrated awareness and effort.
Forbearance: Tolerating hardship with good grace. Not allowing the trials of life to steal our joy.
Forgiveness: Overlooking mistakes, and being willing to move forward with a clean slate. Forgiving others frees us from resentment. Forgiving ourselves is part of positive change. To cease to feel angry or bitter towards a person or about an offence.
Fortitude: Strength of character. The will to endure no matter what happens, with courage and patience.
Friendliness: A spiritual essential. Reaching out to others with warmth and caring. The willingness to be an intimate companion.
Generosity: Giving fully, sharing freely. Trust that there is plenty for everyone. Giving or ready to give freely, free from meanness or prejudice.
Gentleness: Moving wisely, touching softly, speaking quietly and thinking kindly. Moderate; mild, quite; not rough or severe.
Grace: Openness to the bounties of life, trusting that we are held in God’s love through all circumstances. Reflecting gentleness and beauty in the way we act, speak and move.
Gratitude: Freely expressing thankfulness and appreciation to others and for the gifts of life.
Gratitude: Being thankful.
Helpfulness: Doing useful things that make a difference to others. Taking time for thoughtfulness.
Honesty: Being truthful, sincere, open, and genuine. The confidence to be ourselves. sincere; not lying or cheating.
Honor: Living with a sense of respect for what we know is right. Living up to the virtues of our character. Keeping our agreements with integrity.
Hope: Looking to the future with trust and faith. Optimism in the face of adversity.
Humanity: Having an attitude of caring and mercy to all people.
Humbleness: Modest; not arrogant or boastful.
Humility: Being open to every lesson life brings, trusting that our mistakes are often our best teachers. Being thankful for our gifts instead of boastful.
Humor: The ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is amusing, comical, incongruous, or absurd.
Idealism: Caring about what is right and meaningful in life. Daring to have big dreams and then acting as if they are possible.
Independence: Self-reliance. Making our own choices confidently without undue influence from others. Perceiving the truth, with trust in our own discernment.
Industry: Diligent, hardworking.
Initiative: Daring to be original. Using our creativity to bring something new into the world.
Innocence: Guileless, not guilty.
Integrity: Standing on moral high ground. Keeping faith with our ideals and our agreements.
Joyfulness: An inner wellspring of peace and happiness. Enjoying the richness of life. Finding humor, even in the midst of hard times.
Justice: Being fair in all we do. Making amends when we have hurt or wronged others. Protecting everyone’s rights, including our own. Fair, impartial, giving a deserved response.
Kindness: Showing compassion. Giving tender attention in ways that brings others happiness. Friendly, helpful, well meaning.
Love: The connection between one heart and another. Attraction, affection and caring for a person, a place, an idea, and for life itself. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
Loyalty: Unwavering faithfulness and commitment to people and ideas we care about, through good times and bad. Steadfast in allegiance to one’s homeland, government, or sovereign. Faithful to a person, ideal, custom, cause, or duty.
Majesty: Great and impressive dignity.
Mercy: Blessing others with our compassion and forgiveness. Extending our tenderness beyond what is just or deserved.
Mindfulness: Living reflectively and meaningfully, with conscious awareness of our actions, our words and our thoughts.
Moderation : Being content with enough. Using self-discipline to create balance in our lives and to keep from overdoing. Healthy stewardship of our time and resources. The avoidance of extremes in one’s actions or opinions.
Modesty: Self-respect and quiet confidence. Accepting praise with humility and gratitude. A sense of respectful privacy about our bodies.
Nobility: Having high moral standards. Doing the right thing. Keeping faith with our true value as spiritual beings.
Obedience: Following what we know is right. Compliance with the law. Abiding by our deepest integrity and conquering our misplaced passions. Willingness to obey, to be controlled when necessary, to carry out orders.
Openness: Willingness to consider new ideas. Listening to others with humility and sincerity. Being receptive to the blessings and surprises of life. Openness: Ready and willing to talk candidly. Unsecretive.
Orderliness: Creating an environment of peace and order. Planning step by step instead of going in circles.
Patience: Waiting peacefully. Quiet hope and faith that things will turn out right. The ability to endure delay, trouble, pain or hardship.
Peacefulness: Inner calm and tranquility. Giving up the love of power for the power of love. Resolving conflict in a just and gentle way. Freedom from mental agitation; serenity.
Perceptiveness: Clarity of insight. Understanding that is intuitive, discerning and accurate.
Perseverance: Staying the course for however long it takes. Steadfastness and persistence in pursuing our goals.
Prayerfulness: A relationship of faith and gratitude with a power and presence greater than ourselves. A conversation with God.
Prudence: Wise or careful in conduct. Shrewd or thrifty in planning ahead.
Purity: A process of freeing ourselves day by day from influences and attachments that keep us from being true to ourselves and to what we know is right. Physical and spiritual cleanliness.
Purposefulness: Awareness of the meaningfulness of our lives. Living by a clear vision and focusing our energy on the goal before us.
Reliability: Being dependable. Being a promise keeper. Taking responsibility with trustworthiness. Can be trusted to do something.
Respect: An attitude of honoring oneself and others through our words and actions. Treating every person with dignity and courtesy.
Responsibility: The willingness to be accountable for our choices and also for our mistakes. Taking on what is ours to do with strength and reliability. Having control over and accountability for appropriate events.
Reverence: An awareness of the sacredness of life. Living with wonder and faith. Having a routine of reflection.
Righteousness: Living by a code of spiritual rectitude. Impeccable integrity to what we know is right. Calling ourselves gently back when we go off track.
Sacrifice: The willingness to give up what is important to us for what we know is more important. Giving our all for our beliefs. Making our life a sacred offering. Self-Discipline: The self control to do only what we truly choose to do, without being blown off course by our desires. Establishing healthy and ennobling habits.
Sensitivity: Heightened awareness of oneself and others within the context of social and personal relationships.
Serenity: Tranquility of spirit, with trust and faith that all will be well. Peacefulness in the midst of trials.
Service: Doing helpful things that make a difference to others. Investing excellence in everything we do. The contribution we make is the fruitage of our lives.
Simplicity: Straightforward; not complex or complicated. Unpretentious.
Sincerity: Being open and genuine. Our words and actions reflect a truthful heart. Free from pretence or deceit in manner or actions.
Sobriety: Serious, solemn and calm. Free from intoxication.
Spontaneity: Natural, not planned.
Steadfastness: Being steady, persevering and dependable. Having the strength to remain true to our purpose in spite of obstacles that arise.
Steadfastness: Firm, resolute; determinedly unwavering.
Strength: The inner power to withstand whatever comes. Endurance in the midst of tests. Capable of exerting great force.
Tact: Telling the truth kindly. Thinking before we speak, aware of how deeply our words affect others. Discerning what to say, when it is timely to say it, and what is better left unsaid.
Temperance: Moderation in our speech and our appetites. Using self-restraint in the midst of temptation.
Thankfulness: An attitude of gratitude for living, learning, loving and being. Generosity in expressing appreciation. Focusing on the blessings in our lives.
Tolerance: Being open to differences. Refraining from judgments. Patience and forgiveness with others and ourselves. Accepting things that we wish were different with humor and grace.
Toughness: Strong and durable; not easily damaged.
Tranquility: Serenely quite and peaceful; undisturbed.
Trust: Having faith. Positive expectation that all will be well. Having confidence that the right thing will come about without trying to control it or make it happen. Being sure, in the depths of our being, that there is some gift or learning in everything that happens. Having confidence in others; lacking suspicion.
Trustworthiness: Being worthy of the trust others place in us. When we give our word, we stand by it. Keeping our agreements faithfully. Able to be trusted or depended on; reliable.
Truthfulness: Truth is the bedrock of integrity on which we build all our other virtues. An ongoing commitment to live by what is most real and authentic in our own nature. Honesty in all our dealings.
Understanding: Being insightful in our perceptions of ideas and feelings. Listening with compassion and accuracy to others’ feelings.
Unity: Inclusiveness. Finding common ground in our diversity. Seeking peace in all circumstances.
Uprightness: Following what is right and moral. Standing up for honesty and justice. Living in integrity.
Wisdom: Having a discerning mind, based on experience and mindfulness. Making wise decisions based on our deepest intuition.
Zeal: Fervent enthusiasm for what we believe to be important. Living by a strong sense of the value of life and faith.