6:50 AM. Breakfast

I am getting irritated and am bordering on anger when I suddenly realize that this past year I have become callous and thankless in relation to my family because of the stress and anxiety of my job. I have been avoiding the guilt associated with this and feel ashamed of myself.

This is an example of the emergence of the virtues into the consciousness of the practitioner. The consistent practice of when-which-how opens us to the sensitivity of the heart, and as a result, the virtues begin to emerge in our awareness. These intelligences will emerge if we do the needed work. In this case, compassion and appreciation emerge in response to our practitioner’s awareness of his callousness and thanklessness. This is because compassion and appreciation are the polar opposites of callousness and thanklessness.

In the section on meditation, we discussed results. This sudden emergence of an awareness of a deficiency in compassion and appreciation is the effect of the meditation and his effort in applying when-which-how. Without getting too technical or complicated, it should be noted that meditation and application of when-which-how are two forms of practice. In actuality, meditating on the virtues and applying the virtues are practicing emotional self-mastery. Meditation is a pro-active subjective or internal form of practice and applying the virtues in our daily encounters is a pro-active objective or external form of practice. Both are valuable and support one another.

It’s like a feedback system. We meditate on the virtues, keep some notes in a journal and during the day we suddenly realize a deficiency in our application of the virtues. We take action and apply when-which-how. During our next meditation session, we may recall subtle details leading to deeper insights concerning the objective aspect of the previous day’s work with the virtues. These insights now become integrated into our overall store of wisdom in emotional self-mastery.

This practice is different from many spiritual disciplines of the past in that more emphasis is placed on objective practice (applying when-which-how in daily encounters) than on subjective practice (long hours spent in meditation). Again, both are necessary, but with a new emphasis.

I don’t know what comes over me, but I spontaneously decide to try the Six Heart Virtues Grid Meditation that I read about in “Living from the Heart.”

This continues where we left off above. As you can see, our practitioner decides to do the grid meditation. The interesting part of this is that he is performing the meditation in the kitchen, at breakfast, with his wife and kids scurrying around getting ready for the day’s activities.

So, even though he is not performing his usual meditation session, he is still essentially actively engaged in a subjective form of practice. In other words, he is performing an active meditation.