Character Check

“Live in such a way that if someone speaks badly of you, no one would believe it.” It would be beneficial to conduct a character check every now and then. An internal scan of the mind, to seek and determine where we stand with reference to our character. Is it in alignment with our higher self? If we are open and honest in our assessment, we will have the answer. In the traditional Yoruba culture ìwà [ee-wah] is paramount and is the basis of moral conduct and overall well being. Ìwà pẹle [pueh-lay] and ìwà rere [ray-ray] speak to our character. Ìwà meaning character; pẹle meaning gentle; rere meaning good.

Our character says everything about us. To name a few, character determines our level of honesty, decency, and integrity. It brings about harmony and balance…internally and externally. It determines the energy we give out and the energy we take in. To achieve blessings of a prosperous and long life, our character must be in tact. In the sacred Odù, Ogbe Otura, Ifá [ee-fah] teaches us that ahead of any possessions we might have or any position we might hold, it is most important to have good character. It is in this way that we receive continuous blessings and achieve good things in life.

Sometimes we may ask, “Why aren’t people helping me?”, “Why do people react so negatively towards me?” When our character is out of balance, it causes road blocks in our way. Not many people will help someone who is malicious, mean, or ungrateful. We must always present our higher self in our interactions with others and in everything that we do. It will open our way and clear our path.

Maintaining good character at all times is no easy feat but it is doable and it starts within. It cannot exist without unconditional love for ourselves and our fellow human beings. Yes…even the ones who pluck our last nerve! Unconditional love within us taper our reactions to bitter things we see or hear. It’s a love that while it acknowledges the negatives, it chooses to focus on the positives. While we cannot control the actions of others, we can certainly control our own actions. For the sake of mind, body and soul and to live a good life, balanced ìwà is something we should all consistently strive to achieve.

Ire o!

Ogbè Òtúrá
Ká mù rágbá ta igbá
[if we strike rágbá gong against a calabash]

Ìwà là nwá
[good character, that which we are after]

Ká mù rágbá-rágbá ká fi ta okuta
[if we strike rágbá-rágbá against a rock]

Ìwà là nwá
[good character, that which we are after]

Díá fun Ọ̀rúnmìlà
[these were the declarations of Ifá to
Ọ̀rúnmìlà]

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