Polish Rabbi, Author, Prominent Ethics and Morals Teacher, Spiritual Leader of the Mir Yeshiva in Poland
When a person is born, he finds the world in a certain organized fashion. As he grows up, he tries to adjust himself to the assumptions that are accepted in the world. He views each event that occurs with the same perspective as the other people of his generation. These perspectives originated in the past and have been handed down from parents to children. These assumptions are taken for granted to such an extent that most people react to the accepted perspective of the world as if they were laws of the universe that cannot be changed. They are accepted as reality and are not challenged. Only a small minority of people obtain the necessary wisdom to look at the world with complete objectivity. They take a critical look at teach and every thing and try to understand everything as it really is instead of accepting the general prevalent outlook. Those who try to investigate the origin of every perspective will perceive everything in a much different light than is commonly accepted.
When unable to fulfill a specific desire, we tend to exaggerate its importance for our happiness... Become aware of your tendency to consider something more important than it really is when you lack it.
Who is a righteous man and who is an evil man? Many people think a righteous man is one who does not transgress, and the evil person is one who constantly transgresses. But even the very righteous also transgress and even the very wicked perform good deeds. The essential difference between the two is that a righteous person tries to overcome his desires to do wrong and the evil person does not.
Woe to a person who is not aware of his faults, for he does not know what he has to correct. But double woe to a person who is not aware of his virtues, for he is lacking the tools for correcting himself.
Peace of mind is essential for obtaining many virtues. Its absence leads to all types of shortcomings. When you have peace of mind, you can use your mind constructively. Lack of peace of mind breeds anger and resentment. The quality of one’s prayers and blessings is dependent on the mastery of one’s thoughts... Only when a person has peace of mind can he really feel love for humanity. Lack of peace of mind leads to animosity towards others. Peace of mind leads to love.
People become so used to being unhappy they are unaware of the needless misery they cause themselves. They imprison themselves by filling their minds with thoughts of resentment, hatred, envy, and desires. It is amazing how they tolerate living such a life. The only reason they do tolerate it is because they have become so used to living with such thoughts they fell it is the normal picture of life. They mistakenly think it is impossible for life to be any different.