A Deep Rhythm of Goodness
The vital thing to know if we’re to start breaking vice and building virtue is that we can’t do it by trying to act virtuous. And here’s where the old Aristotelian concept of acting from virtue versus acting according to virtue can help. When we act according to virtue we are trying. We’re hoping to do something we know we ought or should do—we’re performing the virtuous act out of duty. That kind of life can be summed up in Mark Twain’s line, “It is very wearying to be good.” However, when we act from virtue we behave in a way that’s seamless with our character, it’s habitual or second nature, meaning we act from a deep rhythm of goodness. Instead of enduring the wearying life, we acquire the restful life, the one that thinks, feels, and acts with peace, power, and pleasure.