Living an Authentic Life | Podcasts on Character

Podcast Excerpt: It is characteristic of many wild animals that they rarely raise their gaze above the level of their own eyes. To be safe from attack, we need only climb a tree, and watch the beast that stalks us pass blindly underneath. Isn’t it a curious thing that humanity, observing and knowing such a thing, doesn’t see the object lesson in it? Let us raise our eyes!

I raise my gaze above the level of my eyes, and what do I see? Everything that is worthwhile. Am I a creature of a two-dimensional world that I should see nothing that has height? No; nor do three dimensions bound my vision. I see within. And there is where I find every true standard of life awaiting my discovery. What has “what others are doing” to do with me?

I see people prospering, while to me they appear to be doing nothing right. Others who seem to be saints have neither health nor wealth nor happiness. What about them? How can I judge? I do not know another person’s circumstances; I do not know their habits: physical, mental, or spiritual.

I see people who work hard and accomplish nothing worthwhile. I see people who seem to loaf and yet achieve. But how do I know that the hard worker doesn’t defeat themselves by their thinking, and that the loafer’s real work is done in their thoughts. I cannot judge either of them with any accuracy of course, so how can I judge the advice they may give me?

The most dangerous critic I have among other people is the one who challenges me with “Physician, heal thyself.” When I am not successful in solving all my own problems, when there are still obvious defects in my way of living, when I go directly contrary in practice to what I preach, then this critic finds me vulnerable indeed.

But should I mind? Aren’t they really helping me — helping me to see how I might be a much better person than I am, how I might have a much finer experience than I am having, how I might rise to greater heights? Their criticism may sound destructive, but if I see it as constructive I shall simply gain by it — perhaps, immeasurably.

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