“Aspirations should remain lofty and far-sighted. Look to the precedents of the wise. Detach from emotions and desires; get rid of any fixations. Elevate subtle feelings to presence of mind and sympathetic sense. Be patient in tight situations as well as easy one; eliminate all pettiness.
“Seek knowledge by questioning widely; set aside aversion and reluctance. What loss is there in dignity, what worry is there of failure?
“If your will is not strong, if your thought does not oppose injustice, you will fritter away your life stuck in the commonplace, silently submitting to the bonds of emotion, forever cowering before mediocrities, never escaping the downward flow.” ~ Zhuge Liang (Kongming)
Kozo, author of a great blog I read, Everyday Gurus, posted about having lofty goals of becoming awakened and making a difference in the world. It reminded me of the above passage I read as a teenager that changed my life. It reminds me to not just have dreams of helping others, but to have BIG dreams of helping others.
I think Kozo makes a fantastic point in his post, that society is okay with people aspiring for material greatness- a greatness that will die with them- but, often times, looks at visionaries of social justice like they’re crazy or they’ll never achieve their goals. We acknowledge the greatness of world-changing historical figures and their ideas, but many turn away from anyone trying to make a difference today.
I think it’s time to hold up people like Kozo today with great figures of the past like Kongming. I have found his words and his deeds as important and thought provoking as the philosophy books on my shelf. The world today needs more people dedicated to peace who have Kozo’s courage to stand up for a better way.
I wanted to re-blog Kozo’s original post here, but I think you’ll find it much more rewarding to explore Kozo’s blog on your own. Here are some posts that have really inspired me in the past:
Compassion Can Make You More Attractive