Understanding Reverence for Elders and Teachers

Reverence: 1) A feeling of profound awe and respect and often love; veneration. See Synonyms at honor. 2) An act showing respect.
The Free Dictionary | http://www.thefreedictionary.com

Synonyms: respect, admiration, worship, awe, veneration, astonishment, amazement, devotion
Antonyms: contempt
ABC Thesaurus | wwww.resource.org

  • Reverence is loyalty — faithful to obligations and commitments.
  • Reverence is deference with love — obedience, compliance, not just on the outside but from within.
  • Reverence is devotion — with an earnest attachment.
  • Reverence is honor — highest respect.
  • Reverence is adulation — praise and high flattery.

Benefits of Reverence

  • Reverence provides holiness — sanctity and sacredness.
  • Reverence provides humility — acceptance that our life and existence is no more significant than that of anybody or anything else.
  • Reverence provides a moral compass — by acknowledging where we are when compared to some others.
  • Reverence provides balance — a sense that all living beings are equal.
  • Reverence provides awe — a sense of wonder and amazement.

Acts of Reverence

  • The Bible — The Hebrew word, shachah (pronounced shaw-khaw'), is defined as "falling down" and leads to the prostration of the body. It is used to express the attitude and bearing toward another who is considered superior.
  • Albert Schweitzer — He believed and wrote about Jainism and in kindness and mercy not only to human beings, but to all living creature.
  • Meditation — When people meditate, they put all their focus into silence and stillness epitomizing reverence for the target of their mental energy.
  • Going Green — Those people truly active in maintaining as much of our earth's integrity as they can, and not simply jumping on the bandwagon of being energy-conscious, show a genuine respect and reverence for our planet and the cycle of life.
  • Positive Parenting — Create and maintain an atmosphere of respect for each other, 'outsiders' and all living things. Speak lovingly and gently to each other. Stop to consider the other person's feelings, not only your own. Live with kindness toward all living things.

Methods for Achieving Reverence for Elders and Teachers

  • Live a Value-filled Life — We revere those things that mean the most to us.
  • Respect Principles — Know which ones guide your own choices and be respectful of those held by others.
  • Stay Close to your Spirituality — Feeling and staying connected to God promotes reverence for all living things.
  • Set Healthy Boundaries — Limits are good when they are placed appropriately and respectfully.
  • Work with Opposites — Refer not only to positive examples of reverence, but learn about the destruction and damage of irreverence.

Golden Mean

Disrespect, Contempt, Insolence, Impertinence, Impudence
Reverence for elders and teachers
Obsequiousness, Servility, Docility, Abasement

Quotes for Reverence

By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life, we become good, deep and alive.
- Albert Schweitzer -
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
- John Milton -
If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life.
- Albert Schweitzer -
Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.
- Plato -

Recommended Reading

Reverence for Life: The Ethics of Albert Schweitzer for the Twenty-First Century — by Marvin Meyer

Not for the light-hearted, this book is intensely thought-provoking and extremely profound. An impressive collection of the writings of Albert Schweitzer, one of the most well-known humanitarians of our times.

Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue — by Paul Woodruff

A wonderfully down-to-earth rendition for the non-philosophical reader. Mr. Woodruff writes about reverence across various culture, some from a religious view and some from a more secular view. A nice balance, well-written and thorough.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Always and in everything let there be reverence. Confucius