Qualities, Virtues And Powers

Innate or basic characteristics are properties that are unchangeable. It’s impossible to take the heat out of the sun or sweetness out of sugar. Heat and sweetness are part of the unchanging make-up of the sun and sugar respectively; they are the basic properties of each of them. In the same way, in spite of whatever I have become as a human individual, my deep basic characteristics are still the same ones that have always existed in me. It’s my inner core of qualities that in fact inspires me to seek the ideal in whatever I do. The impulse to seek and to dream comes from my own store of innate attributes that is just waiting to be found and brought into practical activity.

The innate qualities of the soul are those that are the most basic: Peace, Truth, Happiness, Love, Purity, Power and Bliss. They are so basic that they themselves are the foundation of all virtues and powers. They are like primary colors and virtues and powers are secondary colors. Just as orange (a secondary color) is made of red and yellow (both primary colors) and blue is made of yellow and green, virtues such as patience, tolerance, courage, generosity etc. and powers, are obtained by mixing the basic qualities e.g.

Patience – peace, love and, power
Humility – love, peace and truth
Courage – power and truth

The aim of meditation is to emerge and enhance my qualities so that my behavior becomes full of virtues and powers.

Positive Reflections For The Day are messages sent by the Brahma Kumaris. If you are not receiving Positive Reflections already and would like to receive it daily, from the Brahma Kumaris, please send an email to the email address awakeningwithbks@bkmail.org with – Subscribe – written in the subject.

Charity

… written by Carol Lipthorpe

As we embark on the holy month of Ramadan, many will be following the fourth of the five pillars of Islam, that is, fasting.  However there is another pillar of faith that is just as important at this time: that of charitable giving.

The whole notion of fasting at Ramadan is that one should aim to conquer the senses and selfish desires, and instead give a thought to the tribulations of those who may be less fortunate.  It is intended to be a time for quiet contemplation, to empathise with the less fortunate, and to remember that many in this world are suffering hardship, poverty and starvation.

In Islam there is the principle of giving a fixed portion of one’s wealth (zakat) in charity and beyond that there is voluntary giving (sadaqa).  Every Muslim is encouraged to think of the welfare of others.  At Ramadan, if fasting cannot be adhered to it is possible to give designated sums of money to the poor as a substitution.

The idea of charity and charitable giving is embedded in every faith.  There is a deep significance in sharing one’s wealth and assets with others.  It reminds us that we are all connected, and that caring for each other is a fundamental human requirement for us all to not only survive, but thrive.

In fact real giving is an attitude rather than an action.  The giving of money and food is a real and necessary part of life, especially in a world where the rich getting richer means that the poor are inevitably getting poorer.  However in some ways, just as important as the amount we give, is the sentiment behind the giving.  To give from the heart rather than from compulsion will certainly imbue the donation with a different kind of energy.  And the one who gives from the heart is more likely to give unselfishly, and to give when and where they see a real need.

This is when we begin to understand that giving is also receiving, for it’s well known that people who are ‘givers’, that is, who act from a place of real generosity, are healthier, happier, live longer, and enjoy better relationships.

Charity need not only be monetary. There are so many ways in which we can give: uplifting someone with a smile, showing kindness, volunteering and sharing time, knowledge or skills with others, or just being a listening ear when it’s most needed.  These things cost us nothing, but bring an unlimited reward of satisfaction.  And, though a businessman may give thousands, it’s possible that a small, unseen, thoughtful good action may reap an even greater return in the karmic bank account of life!

In a similar way to that great time of celebration in the Christian calendar, that of Christmas, the Ramadan message can easily be lost in the practice.  Iftar feasts can become a time of gross overindulgence in the same way that Christmas can become a time of senseless spending and unnecessary excess, all of which are totally contradictory to the essence of the celebrations. When greed and selfishness enter the equation, then the spiritual principle behind the event is inevitably lost.

Charity, or real giving, is something that dissolves the selfishness in our nature and reminds us that we belong to a larger family – the human family.  Pleasure in our relationships is derived from giving and receiving in return.  This is a credo that we can live by every day – not just on special occasions.

In terms of limited resources such as wealth and food, as Mahatma Ghandi wisely stated “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed”.  But in terms of the inner resources of love, compassion, caring and generosity, these are provisions that can never run out because the more we share them, the more they grow.  Both giver and receiver will benefit.  It is the ultimate win-win situation!

It’s time… to remember that fulfillment is to be had in the giving rather than taking.  Satisfying the self is ultimately less rewarding than sharing with others.  Become a true ‘giver’ and watch your internal treasure store of happiness (and good karma) increase!

Share these thoughts!
It’s Time is spreading far and wide!  Feel free to forward this wisdom, but to avoid any karmic rebound, please acknowledge its source – 

‘It’s Time’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London

Connecting To The Qualities Of Others

Meditation adds immense value and depth to my relationships. It also brings closeness in them. Many obstacles and barriers, both on a physical as well as a subtle level, come between me and others when my consciousness and as a result, my perception are struck primarily in the physical dimension. If I hardly know five to ten per cent of myself, and that too mostly on the surface, my relationships are going to be similarly superficial.With my self-respect built on very weak foundations, it will tend to be delicate and I’ll be prone to trying to maintain it by thinking about and focusing my energies on others’ weaknesses, sometimes real and sometimes even imagined. I’ll also find it hard to realize and appreciate their qualities. Such is the state of so many human relationships today.

In meditation, I go into the depths of myself, and deep within my inner being, I find the beauty of peace, love and happiness that is there inside me. I also realize that this same beauty lies inside each soul. Then naturally and very easily, without any effort, I get connected to the same qualities in others. I also find the strength to do the same. I am no longer judgemental seeing others’ temporary sanskaras of negativity. I find qualities that are basically there inside every soul: the original qualities or ‘sanskaras’ of each spiritual being. It’s like a basic prototype for the whole of humanity, which I deeply see and realize.

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Positive Reflections For The Day are messages sent by the Brahma Kumaris. If you are not receiving Positive Reflections already and would like to receive it daily, from the Brahma Kumaris, please send an email to the email address awakeningwithbks@bkmail.org with – Subscribe – written in the subject.

Creating Positive Habits

Some habits do not upset us, but others can cause irritation, frustration and desperation. We want to rid ourselves of them: but how?

When we look at the creation and fulfillment of thoughts, it looks like a closed system: the thoughts lead to actions, the actions create a series of impressions (sanskars), and these impressions are responsible for similar thoughts, which lead us to similar actions, this is a vicious cycle.

If we want to change a habit, then where do we start? In other words, where do we change the system or how do we get out of the cycle? First of all, we can try changing our negative actions: for example, stop a negative habit like smoking. In many cases, although we change our behaviour, but because we have not understood deeply why we wanted to do it, is quite possible that one day we will go back to this old habit.

We can try changing this system in our subconscious. By analysing what is recorded in our subconscious, through different therapies, the results are not altogether satisfactory. There is always some traumatic event, or painful experience behind a fear which causes us to cling on to a negative habit. And although we can see and recognise our fears and anxieties, if we do not replace them with something better, with a more beneficial and healthier alternative, very often we will feel tempted to cling on to these old systems, even though they do not work and they make us unhappy. To eliminate certain things we have recorded in our subconscious, meditation and silence are the most effect non-violent methods.

Another method is to try and change our beliefs with positive affirmations (thoughts) that strengthen our willpower, and thus introduce a new habit to replace the old one. It is vital not to repeat this affirmation mechanically, but to introduce it into the system of beliefs we hold, and act as if we already were what we express in this affirmation.

Natural Qualities and Acquired Qualities

When we look at ourselves from outside we can only see the surface of what we have become. We can’t see or perhaps cannot even imagine the inner core (center), which, like in the example of the coconut, is the only part that really can nourish us and give us energy. The shell (in the case of the coconut) serves as a protection but we certainly can’t eat it.

In our case, the core (center) consists of natural or inner qualities such as peace, love, power, truth, happiness and so on. The shell is the ego which consists of features or personality characteristics we have acquired through the journey of our lives such as experiences, abilities, memories, learning, habits and beliefs – in short, all that we are referring to when we say: ‘I am so-and-so, from such-and-such family or organization or city’.

While we are limited to these acquired characteristics, our true qualities remain inaccessible. Through deep reflection and meditation we can break the shell and activate our inner qualities from which our values or principles are born.

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Positive Reflections For The Day are messages sent by the Brahma Kumaris. If you are not receiving Positive Reflections already and would like to receive it daily, from the Brahma Kumaris, please send an email to the email address awakeningwithbks@bkmail.org with – Subscribe – written in the subject.

Honesty

Who is the most honest person? An honest person is like a rose, he can bear all thorns and yet smile always. Because his heart is clean, the smile is the natural reflection of his state of mind. Thorns don’t prick him. Honesty is of two kinds: one is honesty with the self that makes me to stay with the thorns and the second is honesty with God that makes me smile.

Honesty is like drinking a glass of clean water. It quenches your thirst and you are assured of the safety of cleanliness. Honesty is what draws God’s help.Why do we need to be honest? Honesty can help soften the most bitter of hearts. When we are honest in our effort and honest about our intentions, we attract the natural love from everyone. An honest person is one who sits on the heart throne of God.

Honesty means being completely accountable for every thought. Honesty means never to stop in the middle of the journey, but to accept the necessity of signals and halts. If we are not honest with ourselves, we will lose our self worth. Honesty is like a jewel worn on the crown of the self. It increases our true worth in our eyes. To walk on the path of truth, honesty is extremely essential, for it makes way for you to follow what you believe in.

Honesty with God is of a different kind. God seeks our honesty as insurance for ourselves. When god knows this child is honest, He is ever ready to help, because He knows the thorns (misdeeds and weaknesses) will be truly confessed to Him. God doesn’t know everyone’s heart but He knows an honest heart. He can help to clean it easily as He knows what lies therein. So honesty with God draws immediate love and care. By being honest, we help God to help ourselves.

The task of God is to purify us to the extent that we become images of Him. When we are honest with our every thought and how we use our time and breath, then we make His task easier. Then He knows what it is to cut (short) and what is to (add to) increase (the beauty of his creation). Hence, God is pleased with an honest heart. He guarantees (that) such a child the right to His legacy.

Honesty makes us selfless. When we are greedy for anything, whether they are gross physical things or subtle things as name, position, then we cannot be truly honest. When we are honest, it is enough to realise that as long as I am following God’s advice, I do not need a single penny more as my future is already created.

When we understand this we want not to take but to give to others. We find opportunities to give and giving brings blessings from others and God. Hence, honesty helps me to earn the very thing I sacrificed. This is the beauty of this virtue. When we are honest about our vices, our desire to receive; our innocence is what compels others and even God to give us what we miss.

This is why the rose is smiling always. It doesn’t try to hide its thorns nor say, ‘come and pluck me, I smell nice’. But the thorns are so honestly visible that people still want to pluck the rose for its fragrance and at times even save it from its own thorns. God wants to care so much for such a soul that He constantly shows him the way to remove the thorns and wave and dance to his destination of truth. (He is the fragrant spiritual rose, Khushabudar Ruhe Gulab, the king of the flowers.)

A story related to this virtue –

A Pound Of ButterThere was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to the baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting a pound and he found that he was not. This angered him and he took the farmer to court.
The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure. The farmer replied, “Honour, I am primitive. I don’t have a proper measure, but I do have a scale.”

The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?”

The farmer replied, “Your Honour, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker.”

What is the moral of the story: We get back in life what we give to others. Whenever you take an action, ask yourself this question am I giving fair value for the wages or money I hope to make.

Honesty and dishonesty become a habit. Some people practice dishonesty and can lie with a straight face.

Others lie so much that they don’t even know what the truth is anymore. But who are they deceiving?

Themselves – more than anyone else.

Honesty can be put across gently. Some people take pride in being brutally honest and in the process hurt others straightway. It seems they are getting a bigger kick out of the brutality than the honesty. Choice of words and tact are important whilst expressing the truth.