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How Character Builds a Nation

If character builds a man and man builds a nation, then the character of every individual is responsible for their nation’s success and failure. We can blame our President and elected officials on the direction of our country and whether we are moving forward, backward, upward or downward –  but ultimately, it comes down to the single individual and how they have contributed to their countries current conditions.

James Garfield, the Twentieth President of the United States, stated rather poignantly,

            “Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.…”

I have observed, working for the public these past twenty years, a shift in American consciousness and not for the better. Where once it was rare to hear a person blame others for their mistakes and hem and haw at their current circumstances, now it seems pretty rare to hear an individual say, ‘well, that was my fault and I am sorry for it.’ Honesty seems to be a rare find, too.

Man has been fallible since the beginning of our existence. The duality of righteousness and wickedness entertains us on a daily basis. Heaven is without evil and hell without goodness and yet we choose our self-created purgatory because we fail to recognize that we are the creators of our life responsible for our faults, our greatness, our love, our hate.

Take a look around you. If you are what you think and what you think is who you are, would you find it important enough to make a conscious effort to think differently if your currently surroundings are less than ideal?

The concept that our thoughts create us is not new, but it has certainly been buried by the concept that ‘society creates the man and is responsible for his consciousness’. Nothing could be further from reality.

A version of Buddha’s path to destiny goes,

Watch your thoughts: They become your words.
Watch your words: They become your actions.
Watch your actions: They become your habits.
Watch your habits: They become your character.
Watch your character: It becomes your destiny.

A Nation is made up of persons whose individual thoughts ultimately create individual destinies. And, if the majority of these destinies were made up of honorable and prosperous thoughts then would it be fair to say that the character of a Nation would be honorable and prosperous.

Krishnamurti said,

What you are the world is and without your transformation, there can be no transformation of the world.

How important is it for the individual to acknowledge that we cannot change the world unless we change ourselves and we cannot change ourselves unless we change our minds. The process is not easy or quick which will make the effort in an era of instant gratification rather difficult to achieve. But we have a choice. We always have a choice.

We can admit that we are too lazy and lack the will and determination to change our selves, blaming others for our circumstances and remain in our self-created purgatory.

Or, we can acknowledge that we are our own creators and put forth a solid effort to change our circumstances by focusing on thoughts of love, prosperity, gratitude and self-forgiveness. You cannot have two opposing thoughts at the same time. It is virtually impossible. Focus on love and you negate hate. Think of gratitude, bitterness falls away. Envision prosperity, poverty diminishes its hold.

The secret to a prosperous nation is in its people. Not in its government. But, the government made up of her nation’s people must find a way to encourage individuals to look for their own solutions by way of personal attention and awareness and not government assistance.

James Allen wrote in the Mastery of Destiny,

            “Great will be the peace and prosperity of a nation when there shall arise within it a line of statesmen who, having first established themselves in a lofty integrity of character, shall direct the energies of the nation toward the culture of virtue and development of character, knowing that only through personal industry, integrity, and nobility can national prosperity proceed.”

Industry, integrity, nobility are the characteristics of a great nation. May we all, as individuals of the United States of America, become fully aware just how our personal character creates This Great Nation and the lack thereof will destroy it.

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