Virtues are spiritual qualities. They’re our spiritual possibilities
– already within us as spiritual potentials, the seeds of our soul. Yet in order to be actualized, they have to be realized & developed.
Suggested meditation steps:
( Meditation-on-virtues can be very simple, so we don’t want to complicate it.
But if you read these suggestions before meditating, and you do this a few times,
then your meditation will not be complicated yet will be more effective )
This kind of meditation can be just 5-10 minutes.
Meditation requires focus, but also a relaxed and open-minded attitude.
In this kind of meditation we use reflective thinking, reasoning and intuition, in meditating on a quality (or virtue). Having questions in mind is helpful for this purpose. A question helps focus the mind on a topic of inquiry and understanding. Therefore, consider a question, or even an idea, then use reasoning to gain understanding, while also being
open-minded to intuitive understanding (or spiritual intuition).
Also helpful is to first imagine being the quality or expressing it. Then, the meaning and value of the quality can be derived from this foundation of self-experience. In other words, by first experiencing the quality, or at least using imagination to experience it, as best as possible; this self-experience will then be a foundation to better understand the quality and its value.
Here are three kinds of questions, regarding a self-quality (or virtue), to think about in meditation, which will help to understand and develop the quality. Spend a few minutes on each of these kinds of questions, or however long you need. These questions are just suggestions. One could use other ways to phrase a question, as long as one considers the three kinds: meaning, value, and responsibility.
– to understand the expression or experience.
For example, what is the expression of kindness?
How is kindness experienced?
- How can this quality be described?
- How is this quality expressed?
- What other qualities are similar to this quality?
- Also imagine examples – to help understand the quality.
– to understand the important value of this quality.
For example, what is the positive value of kindness?
Why is kindness important in life or in the world?
- What is the positive value of this quality?
- Why does this quality have importance?
- What are its positive effects in life and world?
– to understand one’s own responsibility in expressing
or manifesting this quality.
For example, how can I manifest kindness?
How can I express kindness in the world?
- How can I express this quality?
- What can I do to manifest this quality?
- Affirm the intention to be this quality
Thinking about the Meaning helps to mentally clarify the virtue, considering the Value helps motivate our aspiration for the virtue, and recognizing Responsibility helps to initiate efforts to develop the virtue. So to increase this virtue-quality in oneself, one needs to understand what it is, be motivated by its value, and be responsible for developing it.
Yet, meditating on a spiritual or virtue quality is not just for understanding. The meditation should also include being and experiencing the quality. So the next part of this meditation is Being the virtue-quality, to experience and actualize it. So now, Be the quality. Experience being this quality. Feel being this quality. Meditate for a while in this particular quality of being. In meditation, be this quality. Essentially, you are being in the energy of this quality, giving the quality some time in meditation to be assimilated into all of your personal self.
If you get stuck and cannot experience being the quality, then use visualisation and affirmation. Visualise being the quality or expressing the quality. Then mentally affirm that you have this quality and are now increasing it. This will help bring you into the being experience.
Here is an example of meditating on the quality of kindness
It can be helpful to first begin with imagining being kind
or expressing kindness.
What is kindness?
How is kindness expressed?
What are some similar qualities to kindness?
What is the positive value of kindness?
Why is kindness important?
What are its positive effects?
How can I express kindness?
What can I do to be kind?
I affirm my intention to be kind.
Meditate on Being kindness.
Feel the quality of kindness.
So, these are useful steps in meditation – to understand and develop a virtue, or self-quality. Also, one can circulate through these parts of the meditation. In other words, after meditating on the being aspect, return again to the three kinds of questions, in order to acquire more understanding.
We can also add in a final step in this kind of meditation, which is to consciously radiate out this quality into the world. Or be a conscious radiance of this quality. Visualisation can also be used in this step. Visualise this quality streaming into humanity. Or visualise this quality manifesting in the world.
Don’t expect a complete understanding about a virtue in just one meditation. In each meditation practice, you might have just a few insights, and that’s great. You might realize somethings one day and other things the next day. In one meditation period you might just do one or two parts of these suggestions, or just ask one or two of the questions, then in the next meditation session you might consider other questions. In other words, it’s not necessary to do all of these suggestions in each and every meditation. No expectations, no pressure, no judgment. Every meditation time will bring its own unique success.
Here is an additional meditation practice:
* Visualise walking up a sacred mountain.
* Stand on top and open your arms to the sun.
* Imagine the virtue quality streaming from the sun into your being.
* Breathe-in the Virtue with three fully conscious breaths.
* Then with three conscious breaths, breathe-out and radiate-out
this Quality to the whole world.