Humility is an essential attitude for success in the spiritual life. Any self-conceit, whether nurtured by superior intelligence, wealth, a high position, or the praise of others, is an obstacle on the path. Genuine humility is not posturing. It requires a constant willingness to deny oneself, to be critical of oneself, and to be open to Heaven’s guidance even when it differs from one’s own preconceived concepts.
“To be treated well you must first treat others well. You reap as you sow. Sow evil to reap evil; sow goodness to reap goodness. Your concern should be how to give, and how to give well. As for the return to you, you must trust in God. He will take care of it.” – Reverend Sun Myung Moon
The wisdom of old age is the fruit of a lifetime of living a moral life and practicing the discipline of a religious path. However, the effort which it takes to realize the fulness of spiritual wisdom should be undertaken from one’s youth. Strength and adaptability are required, and once old age has drawn nigh, it becomes too difficult to practice and too late to change. Old age is a time to manifest either the wisdom gained as the fruits of that effort or the decrepitude of a wasted life.
When a truth is learned, it must be practiced. Indeed, knowledge that is not put into practice is not truly learned; it soon fades away like a mirage. The person who claims to be wise and devout, but who never acts on his wisdom, is engaging in Hypocrisy. Conversely, action without learning is also foolish. In the East, people are taught the virtue of being reserved and taciturn in order that they might not display knowledge that they not yet mastered in practice. It is far better first to act on an idea in private and see to its result than to announce it to others while it is yet untested and unmastered. This reserve is especially apt in the case of religious and moral teaching, whose practice is not easy. Only a teacher who has first mastered and embodied his teaching is worthy of respect.