Friday, August 21, 2009

Practise Forms Talent and Reality Informs Character

“A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world’s torrent”

–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

The polymath, Goethe, is recognised for many works and had an amazing array of influence during his lifetime (1749-1832). He lived this quote above. And it seems we too can learn a great deal, and achieve a great deal of peace, by instituting this mentality in the work of our lives.

I used to be greatly troubled by investing more of myself than I felt I could sustain. I’ve had times when I’ve done so much I felt my heart was going to burst or my mind might melt down. I’ve hence sought solitude and momentary escape; and this from the ‘world’s torrents.’

As I consider the figures of fame in my lifetime I can only consider what stresses of life these people must contend with--the price of fame and influence, I suppose.

I recall the voice of Eugene Peterson, one of the contemporary world’s most eminent Christian visionaries, suggesting that his hour or two of prayer and quiet time each morning before the business of life started only preceded time when the heat and ‘business of life’ necessitated the actual practice of prayer i.e. prayer in the mix of life is vital.

Living life requires strength of character and an unerring application of resilience.

We practise our techniques for years. At times we hardly think they’ll ever be put to good use. But talent is converted to hard works in the form of character as we go about life. And so we need both... not just talent and character, but stillness and relative freneticism.

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