Thursday, October 4, 2012

Blessed Are the Meek

Scott Bradley

Greatness of soul is not so much mounting high and pressing forward, as knowing how to put oneself in order and circumscribe oneself. It regards as great all that is enough and shows its elevation by preferring moderate things to eminent ones. There is nothing so beautiful as to play the man well and fitly, nor any knowledge so arduous as to know how to live this life well and naturally; and of all our maladies the most barbarous is to despise our being.
-- Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-1592) (The Enlightened Mind; Mitchell)
This French gentleman was a worldly man. He endeavored to live "the good life"; and yet he understood how to do so could be an expression of spirituality. It need not necessarily be so; it must be tempered by a profound humility and thankfulness.

I doubt that many of you are contemplating living in a cave or on top of a pole in the pursuit of spirituality; asceticism is not something much in vogue these days. But there is another kind of asceticism, one which despises what it is to be human, that is very much among us. We are told, for instance, that self is wrong, something to be eradicated. Yet, how much more true to our being, and how much more difficult, Montaigne suggests, it is to find our spirituality in the being that we actually are.

The pursuit of a spirituality that to our minds makes us unique and special is little different than the pursuit of wealth and fame. It is just one more expression of our desire to "be someone". One true test of our intention is to ask ourselves if we can be content in being small — no one special.

When one is able to simply be the ordinary someone he or she is, then that one can enter a cave or pursue the good life with equal beneficial effect. It is not so much what one pursues in life, but how and why one pursues it, that makes all the difference.

These are just some of my responses to the quote above. And as I often say, your responses are really the only ones that can matter for you. So, if you feel so inclined, I'd refer you there.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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