The Better Angels of our Nature

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot’s grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when touched again, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

For better or for worse, each one of us is born into a mixed state. Surrounded by truths and falsehoods, imitations and the real thing, we think and feel our way through life with the hope of fulfilling purpose, imparting meaning, finding happiness and leaving a legacy of victory.

You may call on man’s institutions – churches, schools, families, counselors and the like – to give you guidance, but don’t be fooled, for purpose and meaning are not established from the outside in, but from the inside out. Weak minds and timid hearts yield to the outside-in approach, while strong minds and fearless hearts find the means of establishing the necessary points in consciousness to allow for the revelation of the better angels of their nature.

What are these points in consciousness? A refined character. A noble bearing. An uncommon poise. And an active stillness. These are the gateways through which the better angel of your nature finds expression in and through you. Your inner greatness must be clothed with an appropriate array of thoughts, words and deeds to be given outer expression into the world around you. Your better angel cannot bypass you and express directly into the world at large.

You are the interlocutor.

When you look back through the pages of history, each one who made his or her way clear of the thicket of strained passion found a way to sing the unmistakeable and irrepressible chorus of the union. They found a way to rise above the petty differences between men – those individuals close in and in relation to the body of mankind as a whole – and to express what they knew to be right, true, wholesome and correct, regardless of the consequences.

So why not you? Are your enemies any more significant or powerful than theirs? Do you have some kind of doctor’s note or special pass that exempts you from being who you know you should be at the end of the day? I think not. The good news is that you needn’t overcome the whole world, you only need to establish victories in the little slice of it for which you are responsible.

When you reveal your highest and finest in all that you do, when you allow yourself to be touched again by the better angel of your nature, when you have relinquished the sense of entitlement to all forms of excuse for giving anything less, then and only then will you be given the words to the chorus, by none other than the mystic chords of memory!

6 thoughts on “The Better Angels of our Nature

  1. Pingback: Providence » Blog Archive » Boldness, Providence and Magic | Gregg Hake's Blog

  2. Colin

    I think that everyone knows the next step that they need to take when traveling down the path to greatness (and that is something different to each person). It seems like very few actually have the wherewithal to take those steps one after another, but the ones that do have an enduring power that is undeniable. It seems trite, but the the only one to stop you from taking that next step really is you. No one is holding you back, because they can’t. You might think that your next step should be a big one, but maybe there are some little steps that you can take to get some momentum, so that your path to greatness becomes your habit, instead of being a string of excuses about why you couldn’t get there.


  3. Coco

    Beautiful prose that penetrates the acceptable behavior of our era to discomfort the lethargy. Realizing it can’t happen unless we consciously act makes perfect sense to me. Human beings aren’t here as unwitting participants in some drama. We are here to take an active role in creating a world where things flourish and wonders are our daily fare. Pettiness never stays small it is mearly the root of ugly hate.
    I love your message to rise above. My higher angel awaits, thank you!


  4. DeeDee

    I love that – “the better angels of our nature”. A beautiful meditation to live by every day, but especially coming out of Memorial Day weekend I appreciate your words very much. Thank you!


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