When I say that I was searching for the fundamentals it is partly fiction. After leaving the Bible church with the desire to “show them,” I began searching for things that made sense to me regarding spiritual issues; in my way, through my life experiences, from my perspective. I am, for as long as I can remember, a soft-hearted, soulful sort of person. A cool breeze in the mountains, with the misty clouds caressing the hill sides and valleys doesn’t just give me the shivers, but a tear to the eye. I feel a soulful presence in a day like that. It speaks to me clearly. The sun setting (or rising) over the ocean brings a similar response. I have always been sensitive to this sort of natural beauty and grandeur. What I’m trying to say is that at first there was not this specific organized plan to find and categorize a set of guiding principles.
The idea occurred over a long period of time as I let myself follow whatever mystery caught my attention. So as I wandered about in history, science and philosophy I began to notice that there was this sort of web of interrelated points in time and purpose. Stories of successful people were always related to sets of certain principles or virtues. The fact that certain, either real or mythical personas rose up always exhibiting nearly identical traits began to really attract my attention. I referred to the 100th monkey events I kept running across in my reading and they too fascinated me to no end. Same stories, same virtues similar outcomes repeated over and over in various cultures and peoples throughout written history. I found all of that strangely exciting and I realized that I was searching for fundamentals of life. I began to follow those connections and created a long list of virtues, fifty or so, and realized that this system of guiding truths should not be too long and difficult; nothing complex – remember we begin in a much more simple state.
Fifty or so virtues is too many, my feelings about a teaching system suggests something much more basic. So I took the long list of virtues and began ranking and pairing them: integrity for instance can easily be paired with such concepts as truthfulness and honesty and trustworthiness and so on. While in that exercise I run across the four cardinal virtues known as wisdom, justice, courage and moderation. Their history, ranking and ideal were perfect for my organizing the long list into a much shorter comprehensive listing. Their title “cardinal” virtues came from St. Ambrose at about 350CE, the phrase coming from the Latin word “cardo” meaning “hinge” the four virtues upon which all the others “hinged.” Later I added discipline because there needed to some repetition, training or exercise of the system to make it work correctly. Also I change the concept from the term virtue, which implies a thing done to the concept of principle a thing sought after. All of this took years as I was searching for an answer to my issues and my life experiences. I wanted to figure out a way to attain harmony in my life in a spirit filled way and here is where my search has led me.
While searching fundamentals, I have been around the world and searched through history for a way to find peace in my experience and these five principles: Wisdom; Justice; Courage; Discipline and Moderation are the fulfillment of that search. The combining of these creates a simple check list system that helps me balance my daily aspirations and desires. They help me balance the bombardment of information that I receive each day. They help me see a way to peaceful coexistence each day. Our lives were meant to achieve our legitimate desires and dreams. We were meant for harmony and abundance, and not reaching those aspirations is usually a direct result of our own ignorance, laziness, misdeeds, cowardice, arrogance and ego. We can do better. We must do better…