The Good We Do Sustains Us
“All of the pleasurable experiences we’ve had in our lives will be of little help when we are faced with challenges and despair. Rather, what will sustain us is all the good we have done.” John Bruna
It is quite normal to seek pleasure and try to avoid suffering in life. In fact, it is quite healthy. However, if our lives become a quest to have as much pleasure as possible without regard to meaning and purpose, we will miss the opportunity to develop our inner reservoir of value and purpose, a reservoir we can draw upon to sustain us in times of adversity. We can only develop such a reservoir by engaging in meaningful activities that have value and substance to us. We truly come to know our own worthiness and value when we engage in these activities.
In general, we all prefer to hear kind words rather than criticism, to be able to acquire the things we would like and to avoid losing them, to have people think well of us instead of poorly of us, and to experience pleasure instead of pain. This, in and of itself, is not a problem. However, it does become a problem when those preferences become our primary motivations, overriding our own values and ethics. Unfortunately, this happens more frequently than most of us are aware. For example, we can rationalize little lies to get what we want, avoid criticism, or to impress people.
When we go against our values and ethics, even in small ways, we drain our inner reservoir of integrity. Though we are not perfect, we can add to our reservoir on a daily basis by doing the best we can to act in alignment with our values. Of course, we will make mistakes and it is important to be gentle with ourselves and give ourselves credit for slow and steady progress. In doing so, not only do our lives become more meaningful, we cultivate the inner peace and resiliency that arise from genuine happiness.
I invite you to try to be as aware as possible of your motivations. Do your best to let your decisions be guided by your values and ethics. John Bruna
The above is an excerpt from one of the daily inspirations sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community.
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