The virtuous man

Photo by Marco Zuppone on Unsplash


The virtuous man who has breadth of character carries the outer world.  When you come, you never want to leave.
China, Wuzhen, water town in Southern China

The quote above came from Wuzhen, a water town in Southern China.  I have a photograph of the man penning it, who sits in a small room surrounded by assorted paraphernalia in what looks like a curio store from a Harry Potter scene.  I’ve often looked at the elegant characters gracing the page, never knowing without the English translation, what wisdom they contain.

What does this mean, and how does it apply to our life?  What can it teach us, what is it inviting us to know?

It seems to me that life teaches us many things, to the end that we come to understand that our life has a purpose, that it is necessary for something important, for something that our life quite literally depends upon.  Not our embodied, corporeal life, but our spiritual life.  Accompanying that, and with  time, comes the gradual separation of ourselves from material things, and a growing love for those things spiritual.

Although it happens gently, in truth it’s a psychospiritual shift which occurs in the mind in conjunction with a reorientation of our spiritual belief-system and world-view.  We find that our way of being in the world is different because our values have changed.  We may seek solitude or nature, our circle of friends may become smaller, our tastes in music, art or literature may change.  Or, we may start to see the material world through the lens of correspondences where we understand the spiritual pattern of the material object.

I understand ‘the virtuous man’ to be an individual who does indeed have breadth of character because of a deep internal spiritual core, which can be palpably felt when in their presence.  This for me is the virtuous man, and if ever you meet such a one, you do indeed never want to leave.

Michele T Knight Written by:

Dr Michele Knight is a Social Worker, Social Scientist, researcher and independent scholar. Her interest and research in the end-of-life has its origin in the lived experiences of her own bereavements, her near-death and shared-death events, the returning deceased and attitudinal responses to those experiences. Since 2006, she has been extensively involved in community development, support and advocacy in both a professional and community services/voluntary capacity in the areas of bereavement and grief, hospital pastoral care, and academic lecturing/tutoring. Her PhD, Ways of Being: The alchemy of bereavement and communique, explores the lived experience of bereavement, grief, spirituality and unsought encounters with the returning deceased.

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