when you would cheer your heart

(Adapted from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, VI.48)

When you would cheer your heart,
consider the several excellencies
of those that live around you.

Consider the activity of one,
the modesty of another,
the generosity of a third,
and the other virtues of the rest.

Nothing rejoices the heart
so much as instances,
the more the better,
of goodness manifested
in the characters of those around us.

Let us,
have such instances
ever present for reflection.

Now I invite you to join me in shared reflection with this text.

Let your spirit visit the homes of those whom you have known and admired. Forget, for a moment, whether they are "around you" in any physical sense— just focus on whatever it is that brings you together.

Now, consider:

And now, a benediction.

(Adapted from the Analects 4.25)

Confucius said,
"Virtue is never solitary;
it always has neighbors."