Monday, April 18, 2022

22. Grace

The Lines

Bottom. [9] A novice who is not really the kind of person who should put on a big show must take responsibility for his own progress and how he conducts himself. He avoids pretentiousness, and if there is an opportunity to pretend he is someone he is not, or that he is of a rank that he does not deserve, the person of integrity rejects such artificiality. He prefers to be who he is and present himself as he is, rather than gaining ground by being a fake.
2. [6] To turn one's entire attention to form and appearances betrays a certain egocenteredness. Such a man is not bent on accomplishing any great and substantial work, but only in having the appearance of someone who is important. He spends all his time and effort on cultivating that appearance rather than actually performing the necessary work. Only when his own accomplishments are coordinated with the image he portrays is he without blame.
3. [9] After a man has made a certain amount of advancement, he finds himself in very comfortable circumstances. He is pleased with himself, with his life, and with all the fine things that his life has brought him. It is easy, however, for the pleasantness of his existence to swallow him up, so that he abandons the efforts that are needed for him to continue to advance. He loses the enthusiasm of the determined effort that got him this far. But his entire future depends upon his breaking out of this stage of indolent self-satisfaction.
4. [6] A man is faced with a choice: to continue to pursue life in the fast lane with its flash and glitter, or to return to a simpler mode of living that includes more substantial relationships and opportunities to develop his mind and himself as a person. He knows instinctively that the superficial existence is not for a man of substance, yet there are many aspects of that life that are enjoyable and that he will surely miss. The opportunities for a simple but richer life are before him, and the choice is clear, even if reluctantly made.
5. [6] If a man withdraws from a life of ostentation to one of simplicity and substance, he may find that there are not many who share his sentiments. He wonders what he has to offer to those who do, and after taking inventory finds that he has very little. But this should not deter him. It is not the flashy, ostentatious things that impress real companions, but honest friendship, good conversation, and genuineness of spirit. And this illustrates the difference between the ostentatious and the real. The former companions have no mind things that matter, and the latter care for nothing else.
Top. [9] The sage has perfect beauty of form in everything he does. But this is beauty without ostentation, and appearance without pretentiousness. Rather than being an outward, added element, the graciousness of the sage reveals his inner self, so that everyone who comes in contact with him experiences him in depth and fullness. His simplicity, tranquility and clarity are a window revealing the sincere beauty of his inner being.
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