1 Introduction Positive Qualities

ORIGINAL PUBLICATION & COPYRIGHT of The Book of Positive Qualities – 1996

Love is all-embracing of truth, beauty, and goodness. (5:4.6) — The Urantia Book {1955}

• Patriotism is not enough. But neither is anything else. Science is not enough; religion is not enough; art is not enough; politics and economics are not enough – nor is love, nor is duty, nor is action – however disinterested – nor, however sublime, is contemplation.
Nothing short of everything will really do.
— Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894–1963) English writer & philosopher

My parents: Eileen Sheehan Downs, & John Preston Downs
My siblings: Eileen, Johnny, Joey, Jerry, Mary, Shawn, Peggy, Nancy, Dermod, & Vincent
Special loved ones: Fr. Shawn Sheehan, Jenny Tasker, Anita Flora, Judy Kain
Special thanks: Liz Wood, Marie Fox, Coleen Ostlund

         What is more valuable: gold or goodness, platinum or prudence, silver or self‑esteem?

I have always been interested in ultimates and cosmic meanings: Why do we exist? What are the most important things to do and be in life? What are the true values? This book is my answer to these questions. I decided to gather a complete list of positive qualities. After years of searching I have a list over 3,100. One thousand two hundred are featured here.
     These are not just words; they are inspirational ideals with high‑minded meanings and intrinsic value. Word symbols are powerful. They are catalysts for thoughts and feelings. Because of ideas formed with words people make choices and take action. This action either helps or hinders them or others.
     I have no doubt the answers in this book will harmonize with some of your own. I also hope some of your beliefs are challenged. There is no structured system just right for everyone, or for every circumstance. We all wish to move with wisdom through every situation. Positive qualities help us do so.
     I present here a philosophy of responsibility and independence with freedom. We all too often give ourselves over to people or ideas outside of ourselves. By “give over to” I mean, without question or a minimum of investigation we accept: tradition, a philosophy, a political ideology, our religious institution, or the views of our parents, spouses, community, preachers, or gurus. By all means we should use these resources as a foundation, but then put our own conscious stamp on them. If not, we conveniently relieve ourselves of the burden of thinking of ways to transcend the status quo – and even our own thinking.
     When we force our consciousness into crystallized dogmas, we are compelled to ignore, fight, or kill anything that does not fit in.
     The reasons to acquire positive qualities are many: service, religion, self‑interest, humanism, etc. Just by living on this interesting planet, we are acquiring qualities. Our human nature desires others to treat us with kindness, fairness, decency, and compassion. Our higher nature desires us to use these qualities not only for our own good but also for others.
     The qualities are what are important – not what anyone says about them but what you do about them. Decide on your own theories, and proceed with your own positive growth for your own personal reasons. Use this text as a guide to begin the process of becoming your highest ideas and noblest ideals.
     This book is a sampler. You get only a taste of each quality discussed. I hope the qualities interesting to you include some bit of encouragement for you. If not, fill in your own wisdom, and be sure to look up synonyms. Contemplate and affirm your choices and act on them. Use these writings for your private musings, and for discussions with family and friends.
     The sources of my information were a combination of research, intuition, inspiration, revelation, common sense, experience, and discussion.

There is no society in which kindness, sympathy, hospitality, or regard for others and their rights is disapproved. — Richard Booker Brandt (1910–1997) American moral philosopher, A Theory of the Good and the Right {1979}

People of conscience, great teachers, respected traditions, and established religions all espouse the best of their enlightenments in terms of positive qualities. All theses experts and trusted sages encourage their adherents to be loving, honest, compassionate, courageous, patient, wise, et cetera.
     We are all made up of qualities. As we enhance our positive qualities we are becoming a better person. Thought leads to an attitude which leads to a choice which, in turn, results in an action. When we take action, we have an experience. Through experiences we become a different person – we grow. There is always another level.
     Humans, in general, all endeavor to pursue what they consider to be positive – often unconsciously and, unfortunately, sometimes with selfish selectivity, but nonetheless this is what moves us forward.
     The quest of positive qualities builds a better self and, therefore, a better universe.

It is regularly recommended to add positive qualities together. The more there are, the greater the probability for a harmonious balance. Positive qualities are like molecules. They are the building blocks of nonphysical reality. When we put them together, we often get unexpected results. Consider that oxygen supports fire and hydrogen is flammable. But when combined as H2O they result in the “magic” substance of water.
     As we become strong, we must also become gentle; if we take the risks of an adventurer, we had better also be prudent; as we seek truth, we should also appreciate beauty; as we focus on goodness it would be wise to coordinate it, and all positive character traits, with love.
     The entire range of qualities is immensely greater than any one quality can be. All qualities are connected; and each is a doorway into the universe. When we work to enhance one quality, we find it connected to every other quality. We need to pay attention to them and bring them into symphonic symmetry.

Because we have the capacity for choice, we have the ability to transcend our limitations. Our capacity is structured, not only by our genetics and environment, but also by our internal landscape, our sense of self, and our desire to become someone better. There is a continuous cycle from perceived potentials to experienced actuals which open up new potentials.
     When we push our subjective limits, we will eventually match our objective limits. We are growing at exactly the rate that is possible for our state of being. This is “enlightenment.” Even if we reach this point, we will still continue to progress on the never-ending journey to infinity.

The first step to integrate any positive quality into our being is to recognize its value.

To exemplify a quality, to demonstrate that we are in possession of it, we must do the obvious: live it. Prove to ourselves, and to others, that it is genuinely one of your characteristics.
     As qualities are absorbed, they are integrated and Infused within the whole person.
     The ideal of being perfect is a shining objective, but awesomely far off. Practicality intervenes between the final Reality and these first finite steps. What can we actually live today? We will forever be looking at ourselves through the filters of our family, socioeconomic status, religious affiliations, philosophical tendencies, metaphysical assumptions, and political proclivities. Nonetheless, spiritual insights can and do shine through.

Choice is the fuel that carries us forward.

     Most people naturally stay within a certain comfort range. Peer over that fence and see what is on the other side. Who do you admire and wish to emulate. What goal(s) appeal to you? Things do change and we can change with them or be proactive and get in front of them. The process of becoming a particular quality begins with a choice, continues with preparation, and culminates in practice.
     Make conscious choices. accept unconscious choices. See extraneous happenings as opportunities. As we continually choose to act and react to both internal and external events with honesty, we empower the qualities to mature and they will naturally become habits.
     We can take a clue from our younger selves or the little children around us. They charmingly are willing to try, fail, and try again until they succeed. Proceed at your own pace, with your own style and grow. You will notice those immature or negative traits will slowly begin to wither. Prune them away with courage; something positive will grow in their place.

Nothing of value is ever lost.

An initial exercise is to create an honest self-assessment. Get yourself a pencil and paper (or its equivalent). Take a quick look through the list of positive qualities. I know it is a very long list. Try not to get too sidetracked. If it takes you a very long time, then be sure to include thorough on your list. You can give them a ranking; put them on a chart, or a grid, or a map. Some qualities will catch your eye and you will say to yourself, “Oh, I need some of that.” or “I could use more of that one.” Have a second piece of paper handy to jot them down.
     We also need a third list – a short one. Which are the qualities that are above all of them? What qualities do I hope to instill in my children? What qualities do I admire in my friends?
     Spend the next few days or weeks watching what you do and say and looking behind your behavior asking, “What quality(ies) prompted that action?” Negative situations beg the question, “What positive qualities would best counter that less than perfect choice?

Life is permeated with the opportunities to live a better life and become a better you. This is done by expanding and making a deeper and fuller use of positive qualities.

Every positive quality is a “pearl of great price.”

Next chose a couple of qualities and overly them onto your personality. Use them in your interactions with others. Write them on the groceries list. Decide on a personal symbol to represent them. Anything to keep the qualities you seek in mind. Use all forms of conscious attentiveness. Begin by evaluating how you already possess the qualities you are trying to enhance. Put your “new” qualities under an umbrella quality you currently possess or admire. There are qualities which complement each other. Find ones that balance yours: E.g. open-minded & attentive listening.

It takes effort and time to transition to a higher self.

Put the qualities on like you would a new pair of shoes. They need to be broken in. No quality will be diminished by your pursuit of any other; they will all meld. As one moves through life, a combination of qualities, and other factors, are applied to every given situation. We cannot change the situation after the fact, but we can modify our behavior for the next situation. We can learn and grow. Let your superconscious guide you.
     Focusing on a new quality brings us face to face with our deficiencies. Part of growth, maybe the hardest part, is dealing with immaturity and emotional blocks. We each have our personal thresholds (as in a threshold of pain). Deciding to have a quality inhabit our mind is not a one time or a single week’s effort. It is a commitment to a value that can change our life’s outlook. It will take sincerity, faithfulness, and persistence. These will ease the way through the obstacles of growth.
     Start from where you are. You do not need to be a saint to begin or continue. You may find you like the person you are when you are with a special friend. Focus on those qualities they appreciate and respond to. Internalize that good feeling and take it with you into all other situations – especially stressful ones. When you are pleasantly absorbed while doing an interesting activity, create a conscious appreciation for the positive qualities that surround that moment. Rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation are important refresher qualities too. Routine responsibilities can also be used to enhance things like efficiency, attention to detail, and gifting the tasks to the person or people you are doing them for.

The positive qualities we demonstrate evoke positive responses from others: “Thank you, I did not expect that.” – gratitude, respect. And the qualities we lack are just as noticeable: “Do your chores.” – cleanliness, tidiness, cooperation. “Why are you so intense?” – self-control, patience, tact, humor.
     There is the probability that some of your decisions will be incorrect or incomplete. It is expected that mistakes will be made, but then they are the nourishment for wisdom. As we experience, we learn and grow.
     Resist fighting evil with evil; it only strengthens evil. Albeit, progress toward the positive may be choosing the lesser of two evils. The best way to overcome evil is to become good. Instead of trying to move away from fear, move toward courage – away from uncertainty; toward knowledge – away from anxiety – toward patience & confidence.

There is a gap between our current selves and our perfect selves. The mind and spirit can see, and even live, ideas and ideals from the future. But the body and soul take time to mature. Appreciate the fact that we will always be becoming our future selves. Relax and enjoy the trip.

If we want to survive physical death, we must exist on more that just the physical plane.

We exist to become the completeness of our highest ideas and ideals. Finding meaning is the main achievement of the mind, but beyond meanings are values. Virtues are spirit essence and are consistently responsive to spiritual gravity just as matter is responsive to physical gravity. Positive qualities are quite literally the keys to immortality; and as a bonus, our lives are much more rewarding while we are living them.