Reverence

Reverence is an ennobling sentiment; it is felt to be degrading only by the vulgar mind, which would escape the sense of its own littleness by elevating itself into an antagonist of what is above it. He that has no pleasure in looking up is not fit so much as to look down.

Those who have the humility of a child may find again the key to reverence for, and kinship with, all of life.

The Indians were religious from the first moments of life. From the moment of the mother’s recognition that she had conceived to the end of the child’s second year of life, which was the ordinary duration of lactation, it was supposed by us that the mother’s spiritual influence was supremely important. Her attitude and secret meditations must be such to instill into the receptive soul of the unborn child the love of the Great Mystery and a sense of connectedness with all creation. Silence and isolation are the rule of life for the expectant mother... Silence, love, reverence - this is the trinity of first lessons, and to these she later adds generosity, courage and chastity.

He who does reverence to his own sect, while disparaging the sects of others wholly from attachment to his own, with intent to enhance the glory of his own sect, in reality by such conduct inflicts the severest injury on his own sect. Concord therefore is meritorious, to wit, hearkening and hearkening willingly to the Law of Piety, as accepted by other people.

Many are the natures of men, various their manners of living, yet a straight path is always the right one; and lessons deeply taught lead man to paths of righteousness; reverence, I say, is wisdom and by its grace transfigures - so that we seek virtue with a right judgment. From all of this springs honor bringing ageless glory into Man’s life. Oh, a mighty quest is the hunting out of virtue.

Good is all that serves life, evil is all that serves death. Good is reverence for life...and all that enhances life. Evil is all that stifles life, narrows it down, cuts it to pieces... Dostoevsky said, "If there is no God, then anything is possible." I would say that if there is no love, nothing is possible. Man absolutely cannot live by himself... Uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible.

Reverence the highest, have patience with the lowest. Let this day’s performance of the meanest duty be thy religion. Are the stars too distant, pick up the pebble that lies at thy feet and from it learn the all.

True religion teaches us to reverence what is under us, to recognize humility, poverty, wretchedness, suffering, and death, as things divine.

Our reverence is good for nothing if it does not begin with self-respect.

Hate ruins the very savor of food, the peace of sleep, all reverence in the soul.

Esteem incites friendship, but not love; the former is the twin brother of Reverence; the latter is the child of Equality.

The attempted transformation of the Indian by the white man and the chaos that has resulted are but the fruits of the white man’s disobedience of a fundamental and spiritual law. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love of truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas. For after all the great religions have been preached and expounded, or have been revealed by brilliant scholars, or have been written in fine books and embellished in fine language with finer covers, man - all man - is still confronted with the Great Mystery.

Our reverence for the past is just in proportion to our ignorance of it.

A man who is to educate really well, and is to make the young grow and develop into their full stature, must be filled through and through with the spirit of reverence. It is reverence towards others that is lacking in those who advocate machine-made cast-iron systems.

Reverence requires imagination and vital warmth; it requires least actual achievement or power. The child is weak and superficially foolish, the teacher is strong, and in an everyday sense wiser than the child. The teacher without reverence, or the bureaucrat without reverence, easily despises the child for these outward inferiorities.

Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live unreflectively and begins to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to raise it to its true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will to live.

Only by means of reverence for life can we establish a spiritual and human relationship with both people and all living creatures within our reach.

Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, to harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world - that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all round me - is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life.

What we call love is in its essence Reverence for Life. All material and spiritual values are values only insofar as they serve the maintenance of life at its highest level and furtherance of life. Ethics are boundless in their domain and limitless in their demands. They are concerned with all living things that come into our sphere.

Reverence is an ennobling sentiment; it is felt to be degrading only by the vulgar mind, which would escape the sense of its own littleness by elevating itself into an antagonist of what is above it. He that has no pleasure in looking up is not fit so much as to look down.