Seneca says, in his Moral Letters, that, “Good people will do what they find honorable to do, even if it requires hard work; they’ll do it even if it causes them injury; they’ll do it even if it will bring danger.” (76.18)
I get where he’s coming from, but that word in the first phrase is where things go off-track. Honorable. Honor. What a sticky and tricky word is honor. The operating definition I use for “honor” came to me in the text Living the Martial Way (1992), by Forrest E. Morgan, Lt.Col. (Ret.), USAF. Friends of mine who I considered to be “in the know” when it came to legit budo books (as opposed to the Ashida Kim flotsam that litter the shelves of used book stores across the world) turned me on to this book when I was in my early twenties, and the framework around “honor” has made sense to me for nearly thirty years since that point; may it always hold true and good.
What Morgan says about honor is this: it’s made up of three parts - obligation, justice, and courage. Obligation is just that - to whom or what in this honorable moment is your highest obligation? There’s your first answer. Justice is knowing the difference between right and wrong, and doing the right thing. Courage is the intestinal fortitude and all-out heart that it takes to maintain one’s honor, no matter the personal cost.
Easy right? No. Of course it isn’t.
But nowhere in these writings, or my talks from the pulpit, or in any class, lecture, or presentation I’ve delivered did I say it was. Furthermore, anyone who is being honest with you and tells you that living with integrity IS easy, they’re both full of shit, AND definitely delusional. Well, I shouldn’t say that… I should say that it’s highly unlikely that there are people out there that don’t have to struggle with intense personal decisions, or being selfish, or anything that could pull that person off the road of Virtue, and unless the person telling you things are easy is THAT person, then the above qualifiers apply.
One step at a time. Do what’s in front of you. Be present.
Anything else makes things harder than they already are.
(See y’all tomorrow)