The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough.*
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Yesterday I was taking part in a conversation in which one participant shared how they wanted to be more superficial;** they were wanting to scratch more at the surface of things, to open them up, to see what happened.
This thought came back to mind this morning as I read these words:
For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.^
I found myself wondering what’s so good about a broken spirit and heart, and then I wondered about how new things get into our spirits and our hearts unless they are broken open in some way.
On a personal level, what are my practices for breaking open my mind and thinking, for breaking open my heart and feeling, and for breaking open my will and doing?
Oftentimes, we are focused on the goal, the deadline. missing out the need to scratch the surface, to be open to more, to create strong openings for more to flow.
These strong openings between the mind, the heart and the will are two way, so what we “produce” when we are open to more reinforces who we are:^^
Virtue, the Stoics believed, was the highest good – the summum bonum – and should be the principle behind all our actions. Virtue is not holiness, but rather the moral and civic excellence in the course of our daily life. It’s a sense of pure rightness that emerges from our souls and is made real through the actions we take.*^
(*Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted in Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key.)
(**From superficies, literally above face.)
(^^The two critical questions are always Who am I? and What is my contribution?)
(*^From Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key.)