Take the High Road

I’d rather be for what I’m for than against what I’m against.” ~ Anonymous

We have become a nation of cause-mongers, devoting the bulk of our energies to fighting that which we are against, while leaving very little to support what we truly believe in. Listen to the messages from the preacher’s pulpit to the politician’s soap box and you will hear beautifully articulated messages which center on the struggle with the opposition in general or a specific scapegoat of some description, be it the political opposition or the devil himself (which incidentally comes from the ancient Greek term “diábolos” or “slanderer”). Whenever you slander another person, place or thing, you are casting your lot with those who oppose virtue, honor and righteousness no matter how justified you feel in your cause.

The greatest of men rally their supporters around a higher vision and not a common enemy.

Religious and secular leaders today seem to have resigned themselves to focusing on what they don’t like, what they oppose and what they fear rather than articulating a vision for a brighter, more harmonious future. I’ve worked with this myself in my writing, as it is typically easier to articulate what not to do than it is to suggest what to do. Likewise, it is usually easier to enumerate those things which you are against than it is to share what you are for.

You can be more effective in living if you learn to emphasize in both heart and mind the right habits, mindset and approaches that constrain to a more generative future. To do so you must refrain from the well-worn tendency to dwell on the problems, failures and disappointments of your recent or distant past. Big is the person who says “I’ll never do that again” and then makes good on the promise without having to be reminded.

Struggle with implies subjection to. When you are subject to something, it is bigger than you are for the moment. When you struggle with a challenging math problem, for instance, you are dwarfed by its complexity. When you struggle with a missing element of character, say patience, that another possesses in abundance, you say “he’s a bigger man than me.” Struggle with invariably implies subjection to.

Conversely, when you overcome a previously maintained bad habit you might say “that is now beneath me.” You are no longer subject to that limitation. Or when you stop fighting with or hating someone you wrestled with for days, months or years, that person no longer “owns” you. You rise up. You are a bigger person. And in so doing you invite the other person to rise up with you. The line is drawn in the sand, not in a confrontational way, but by virtue of your own internal emphasis on doing the right thing.

My hope for the next generation of political and spiritual leaders is that they will come to the point of artfully painting a practical vision for the future, one that inspires those who follow to let go of any struggles they may be pouring their lives into and yield or incline themselves in the direction of their highest vision for the future.

Listen to yourself today. Every time you feel the urge to be “against what you are against” take the high road and be “for what you are for.” If your experience is anything like mine, you will find that the weight of the world is lifted from your shoulders. Moreover, those areas of your life where you feel small, insignificant and powerless will evaporate as the sun of true virtue rises in you.

Give it a shot!

8 thoughts on “Take the High Road

  1. Brigitte

    I’ve always thought that you are what you love, not what loves you. If you love focusing on what’s wrong or hateful things, well, that’s what has you and your life. This is such a practical post!

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  2. Vincent

    “It just ain’t right!” – the galvanizing anthem of political aspirants, religious leaders, economic pudits and most private conversation! There is a permeating sense that things are awry, and it’s true enough, but centering on the wrong thing, the lack, the error, is rarely productive of the right thing. Obviously we need to face and address errors, we need to correct for imbalance, off-track thinking and action, but how can that be possible without a central relationship to what is right? Surely those who rail at the wrongs and the injustice think of their quests as righteous, but resisting evil, centering in what is wrong, can only increase the evil and multiply the wrong.

    Pollyanna’s ‘glad game’ has often been dismissed and ridiculed as a strategy for the weak and unrealistic. Well, it is certainly not effective to hide from the wrong while cherishing some little sprig of ‘good!’ On the other hand, it is utterly practical to start, in any situation, with what is right, stable, proven – with what IS, in other words. No amount of multiplication of what is not will make it into what IS. We don’t hide from distortion, tragedy or limitation. These are prevalent characteristics of the world as it has become. But we are wise to recognize, acknowledge and cherish the starting points of beauty, rightness and radiant motivation that we find. They are the precious seeds, well deserving of our attention and care, that can change the world.

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  3. Coco

    I’ve noted how easier it is to rally or unite people with something they can be against. I’ve watched people who work together or belong to the same social organizations who either disliked each other or vehemently hated one another, become “comrade in arms” based on a common person or cause to hate. It’s always surprising and yet the outcome predictable, they will turn on each other in time. Like vultures feeding on carrion they are more drawn and attracted to what they see as vile then beauty and they will find it in each other soon enough. This path begins with seemingly innocent appetites, enjoying gossip or feeling a little lift from anothers misfortune but like a drug addiction soon develops into a habit that carries you down to the depths of human behavior. I think our appetites, like our friends and habits are of our choosing; we create them, then they create us.
    I enjoy your blog for this very reason. Your interest and enjoyment of the beauty in life and human kind lifts and inspires that part of me that longs to be the most of me. Thank you.

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  4. Ricardo B.

    I see that this makes perfect sense and is a very good economical use of our energies. When you are for what you are for, all the ‘ againsts’ are simply put aside on their own. But if you are consumed by your ‘againsts’, there is no energy left for your ‘fors’ and your whole life is identified by opposition. Nature does not work this way. Nature works on the law of similars and attraction. And so if the attraction is based on fear, spite or any other negative emotion, then well that’s what will become of you and you will not be able to change the outcome for the better until you change your underlying orientation.
    Seems simple, but it can be a hard lesson indeed for many who refuse to change their course. Luckily, life does afford abundant opportunity to take notice of the various warning signs that come up if we are heading in the wrong direction. Like in health, we should pay close attention to the symptoms for they will not fool us; we only fool ourselves if we turn a blind eye and reject the evidence.
    I must say I love the practicality of life and the way all of life really fits together. It’s wonderful to observe the coherence that exists in all matters and your writings nicely emphasize the universality of natural law and order. Our older sciences and religions always emphasized this, for to make sense of the world relaxes the mind and allows our true spirit to shine forth and bless the world in abundance!

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