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From Denny: When you were growing up how many times did adults speak to you about developing good character? And if you became a parent or a teacher, did you also teach the same? But did you ever consider just how to go about developing and honing good character - or did you just follow the rules of life hoping that was enough to accomplish the goal?
The Way to Developing Good Character
Many times people confuse knowing about what defines good character versus actually developing it. It does seem to be a bother that the intellectual mind thinks it "knows it all" once it has familiarized itself with a subject.
But the problem lies in the areas of the emotional and spiritual minds, getting them disciplined so they can act in harmony to our benefit. It's one thing to memorize the facts yet quite another to apply them.
So, how do we apply what we think we know? Just sit still long enough and a life test will come your way in short order - just keep it in the back of your mind to be ready whenever it shows up on your doorstep. It's like the Universe is listening and says, "Looks like they are ready for the test. Let's see if they pass or fail." Invariably, life tests do not appear in a neat little package labeled "Life Test, Do Not Open Until Ready."
Those tests always catch us off guard until we are engaged into the drama and we suddenly realize what vortex we just got sucked into for a twilight zone experience. The key to doing well is to keep your emotions grounded, your rational mind ready to help you reason and your spiritual mind constantly praying to pave the way as you journey through the test. Many tests last for weeks and months, some years. Those that last a long time are comprised of stages of one large test. The harsher you are tested the more responsibility will be required of you.
You can have been trying to be a good person all your life and then suddenly you get hit with some harsh experience or a series of them. Getting tested isn't about being disciplined in the way of punishment. Think of it as a final exam on what you think you already know. By the time the test is finished - and you feel like one whipped puppy ready for a long nap - you will have truly learned that information from so many angles that there is no way you will ever need notes to teach on the subject. That information will have become as familiar and easy to access as the nose on your face by the time the spiritual Universe is done with you.
Oh, and don't worry, points are not deducted for griping, fussing and cussing from time to time when you are frustrated and don't fully understand what is expected of you. You will figure it out as you go and the frustration will ease up.
In the end, the only way to truly develop good character is to engage in life in the most unexpected and unplanned situations that come your way. Don't run from the responsibility because it will just chase you down later and be a much tougher test. In fact, each test you reject gets backlogged and heaped upon you with other tests all at once for what can feel like a crushing weight.
Do your best to keep a good humor and accept each test that comes your way. What you will find is that each test builds upon the previous one to help you build your character foundation. Each test is tailored to your personality and where you are in life that very moment.
The Way to Developing Our Talents
Have you ever noticed that you may be geared to action or passivity? You might be a person who finds it easy to make decisions. Your life tests will most likely be to wait and make no big decisions for months or years at a time. That can be quite maddening to an action oriented person used to being in charge of their life - and probably the lives of others around them. It will be a testing with immense frustration and impatience until you learn to conquer your will and learn patience and trust.
If you are a person who hates to make decisions and would prefer others to make them for you - you guessed it - your life tests will be to make decisions every time you turn around, often in a rapid fire sequence that will take your breath away. You will learn how to prioritize, organize and delegate or accept as your responsibility to carry out. It will be a testing fraught with intense fear until you conquer that fear.
So, what does all this testing have to do with developing your talents? Developing your talents requires a lot of solitude. During those down times while you are resting from the flurry of life tests you will seek out time alone to refresh and regroup. As you cultivate time to think deeply you will also cultivate your innate talents naturally.
Whatever you are drawn to do during these introspective sessions will mature over time. For instance, a coping skill for the stress you are experiencing during a life test could be working on some art project. It will soothe your rattled emotions, engage your curious intellect and give some time to your spiritual mind to do some more work without interference and interruption.
I always figured as I was going through my life tests that I wanted to have something to show for all that introspective time. :) So, I have plenty of interesting art that engaged my spiritual creativity, soothing tactile needlework when my emotions were turbulent, photography to record my natural world with my current perception and recording my thoughts, often as poems, as proof I lived those moments. Along the way, my skills improved and grew richer. A win-win in my book.
The thing about spiritual life is learning balance and timing. Life tests and deep thinking time, working as a team, help us achieve a richer balanced life.
* Talent is formed in solitude, character in the bustle of the world. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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