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Miscellaneous Qualities from The Book of Positive Qualities


APPROPRIATE

Definition: especially suitable or compatible; fit or proper; relevant; to do exactly what is required under the circumstances

Synonyms: becoming, congruous, adapted, particular, apt

Comment: To do exactly what is required under the circumstances may be something very bizarre if you’re a prisoner in a concentration camp, a kid in the ghetto, or even a housewife in the suburbs. But as long as you are sincere and conscious of doing the “correct” thing, then you are making a choice and you are acting in your right mind.

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COMPASSIONATE

Definitions: (1) possessing sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it; (2) a disposition to pity; inclined to show mercy

Synonyms: tender, soft, indulgent, kind, clement, gracious

Compatible Qualities: empathetic, sympathetic, pity, understanding

Proverb:
If you want to help others, practice compassion; if you want to help yourself, practice compassion. — Buddhist

Quotes:
You should have compassion on each other and leave judgment to God. — Saint Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin

Every human being has the potential for compassion. I have chosen to pay more attention to it. — The Dalai Lama, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize

A human being is a part of the whole called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He [she] experiences the self, thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of (the personal) consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. — Albert Einstein

I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible selfdenial, and above all, compassion. — Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound

I know that most ... can seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as obliges them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed,... of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives. — Leo Tolstoy
Note: In your struggle to help others “see the light,” it is important to understand the hold the past has on them, that what they have experienced and fought for is often fused with their identity. Realize this about yourself, too, and be sensitive to the truth contained in different beliefs.

Mythology: Androcles was a Roman slave who while seeking freedom had removed a thorn from a lion’s paw. When he was caught, he was doomed to fight a lion that turned out to be the befriended animal. Since the lion fawned on him, he was freed.

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DUTIFUL

Definitions: (1) performing the tasks expected or required; respectful; obedient; (2) proceeding from or expressive of a sense of obligation

Consequential Quality: loyalty

Quote:
Duty does not have to be dull. Love can make it beautiful and fill it with life. — Thomas Merton

Symbol: the ox

Fiction: Javert, a character in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, is the personification of Duty and Devotion.

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FREE

Definitions: (1) able to move in any direction; loose; (2) unhindered; unhampered; (3) able to choose for oneself; not restricted by anything except one’s own limitations or nature; (4) spontaneous; (5) not constrained or stilted; smooth, easy, and graceful; (6) generous; liberal; lavish; profuse; abundant; copious; (7) frank; straightforward; (8) open to all

Kindred Quality: respect. When people feel freedom without any constraints, they know that they can do anything. This includes taking what they want even if it belongs to someone else. Add the quality of respect for person and property, and freedom then has some dignity.

Compatible Qualities: artistic, expressive

Saying:
Freedom is the power to choose your chains.

Comments:
• An individual or a society experiencing fear is usually willing to give up freedom in favor of security and protection, which oftentimes means the reduction of personal freedoms.
Freedom is a given, like gravity, but our choices (which is also a universal principle) restrict our freedom. We restrict ourselves by agreeing to the rules of society (driving on the right side of the road) or religion (going to church on Sunday). Or control by others. In the workplace conformity is wise not only to keep your job but to keep from being branded a trouble maker.

• If you are possessed by your possessions, you are not free.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.

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HARMONIOUS

Definitions: (1) adapted to each other; having the parts combined in a proportionate, orderly, or pleasing arrangement; congruous; (2) having similar or conforming feelings, ideas, or interests; in accord or agreement

Saying:
Sing in harmony—live in harmony.

Quotes:
We need to rediscover the vast, harmonious pattern of the natural world we are a part of, the infinite complexity and variety of its myriad components, the miraculous simplicity of the whole. We need to learn again those essential qualities in our bodies, the alertness of our minds; curiosity and the desire to satisfy it, fear and the will to conquer it. — James Ramsey Ullman, Age of Mountaineering

As long as you are working for your selfish little self, you’re just one cell against all those other cells, and you’re way out of harmony. But as soon as you begin working for the good of the whole, you find yourself in harmony with all of your fellow human beings. — Peace Pilgrim, Steps Toward Inner Peace

No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony. — Peace Pilgrim, Steps Toward Inner Peace

Reflection: Relationships in harmony make music.

Comment: An individual needs to have a sense of self that is in harmony with a healthy worldview. When one changes, the other must also change. If they are out of sync, one will experience anxiety during the process of reestablishing the balance.
The key is to include in your worldview the realization and acceptance of the fact of changes, and to include in your inner being an expanding ability to deal with change. The qualities to focus on are flexibility, growth, wisdom, tolerance, courage, understanding, and acceptance.
There is no getting away from conflict, but one must always seek to harmonize the difficulty.

Question: The bible says man should be dominant over nature but it also says the lamb will lay down with the lion. Which do you think is the best way: domination or harmonization?

Colors: blue, green

Symbols: 1) the lyre; 2) three; 3) justice (Tarot); 4) the whale

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JOYFUL

Definition: feeling, expressing, or causing a very glad feeling; happiness; great pleasure; delight

Synonyms: rapture, ecstasy, exultation

Quote:
Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. — Samuel Clemens [Mark Twain], Puddin’head Wilson

Comment: Krisnamurti advises us to be “Joyfully Discontent.” In other words, be satisfied that you have made it to where you are but be dissatisfied just enough to keep on growing.

Symbols: 1) the butterfly (Chinese); 2) a ship plowing through the sea

Mythology: Euphrosyne, one of the three Graces of Greek Mythology—these three sisters had control over Pleasure, Charm, Elegance, and Beauty in human life and in nature.

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NOBLE

Definitions: (1) having or showing superior moral qualities or ideals; (2) famous, illustrious, or renowned; having eminence, dignity, excellence, or fame; worthy; (3) grand; stately; splendid; magnificent; magnanimous; (4) a courageous or gallant spirit

Derivation: Latin, “to come to know”

Synonyms: exalted, majestic, high, imperial, August, generous, lofty

Quote: Noble aim, faithfully kept, is as a noble deed. — William Wordsworth

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POWERFUL

Definitions: (1) great physical ability; strong; forcible; mighty; intense; (2) great moral force; able to persuade or convince the mind; (3) possessing great energy; producing great effects

Kindred Qualities: An overabundance of the desire for safety and security leads people to focus on the qualities of power and strength. These not balanced with the kindred qualities of compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, and gentleness lead to violence.

Too Far: The positive qualities of desire and power taken too far end in greed. Every action can be and is justified by pointing to positive qualities.

Motto:
Cedant arma togae (Latin): Let arms yield to the toga [Let military power give way to civil power]. — Wyoming state motto

Quote:
Nonviolence is more powerful than all the armaments in the world. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Consideration: If a person who is immature, insecure, and fearridden is given power, the power will have to live within the person’s emotional limits and will be subject to the constraints of the undeveloped personality. Decisions are made that reflect the desires of the decision maker.

Observation:
Power can be impersonal—like the power of the ocean—or it can be personal. If      personal, it can be negative or positive.

Comments:
• We are still in the age of “might is right,” and will be for hundreds of years. The question is how, in the face of power, to do what you know is right. Sometimes it takes great courage.
• The powerful are often intent on retaining their own power. And to that end, all else      becomes subordinate.
• People in power will allow the governed to expand only to the level of the consciousness that they themselves possess. Conversely, if the peoples’ consciousness outgrows the consciousness of those in power, then there is a revolution or rupture of some sort. This turmoil results in one of two possibilities: a crackdown that holds the old way in place for a time or the birth of a new system to bring things back into balance.
• The temptation to enhance those qualities that serve only your personal needs is great, and the personal rewards for doing so is seductive. If you choose your needs unfairly over the needs of others, the results will also be unfair.

Colors: golden orange, orange

Symbols: 1) the crocodile; 2) a hammer; 3) a crown; 4) gold; 5) the Emperor (Tarot); 6) the whip (Egyptian)

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RESPONSIBLE

Definitions: (1) expected or obligated to account for something to someone; (2) answerable to the cause, agent, or source of something <Who is responsible for this state of affairs?>; (3) accountable for actions, obligations, or duties <a responsible position>; (4) able to distinguish between right and wrong and to think and act rationally, and hence liable for one’s behavior; (5) trustworthy; dependable; reliable; (6) able to pay debts; meet business or personal obligations

Kindred Qualities: humble, grateful, sunny

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STABLE

Definitions: (1) not easily moved or thrown off balance; not likely to break down, fall apart, or give way; steady; fixed; (2) firm in character, purpose, or resolution; steadfast; (3) resisting change; permanent; enduring; (4) capable of returning to equilibrium or original position after having been displaced; flexible

Kindred Qualities: changeable, lively, adventuresome

Too Far: stagnant

Quote:
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. — Henry David Thoreau

Symbols: four, the cube

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UNDERSTANDING

Definitions: (1) comprehension; knowledge; discernment; (2) the power or ability to think and learn; intelligence; judgment; sense; (3) friendly or harmonious relationship; an agreement of opinion or feeling; an adjustment of differences; (4) fully aware not only of the meaning or nature of something but also of its implications

Consequential Quality: tolerance

Sayings:
Damnant quod non intelligunt (Latin): “They condemn what they do not understand.”

Tout comprendre c’est pardonner (French): “To understand all is to forgive all.”

Walk a mile in another person’s moccasins. (American Indian)
This saying is encouraging us to see things from someone else’s perspective. Even though you will then be better able to see things how they see them, the common misunderstanding is that you will then agree with their point of view. As always, you will retain your own unique understanding. You cannot “become” the other person no matter how accurately you understand them. Knowing is not agreeing.

Quotes:
The hardest thing to understand is why we can understand anything at all. — Albert Einstein

It is good to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding. — Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. — Viktor Frankl

Consideration: Sometimes you have to suspend your position to understand someone else’s. It is important to do both: know what your understanding is and allow for the other person’s understanding. If you can do both you will be able to incorporate some of the other’s ideas, feelings, and sensibilities into your own. It is only fair to get a good idea of the other side, if for no other reason than to know where to draw the line.

Comment: When someone does or says something from left field, it is your left field that you are referring to. It is probably their pitcher’s mound.

Colors: indigo, yellow

Symbol: a silver key

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WONDER

Definitions: (1) a cause of astonishment or admiration; a marvel; (2) the quality of exciting amazed admiration; (3) rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new and beautiful to one’s experience

Synonyms: appreciation, curious, reverence, surprise

Quote:
Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity. — R. I. Fitzhenry

Tip: Deal with what happens as an answer and not as a question.

Symbol: a wideeyed child

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