Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Feelings' Island

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge and all of the others, including Love.

One day, it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left. Love was the only one who stayed.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment.

When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a great boat.

Love said: "Richness, can you take me with you?"

Richness answered: "No, I can't. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel:

"Vanity, please help me!"'

"I can't help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by, so Love asked for help: "Sadness, let me go with you."

"Oh...Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice:

"Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder.

Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Love realizing how much he owed the elder asked Knowledge, another elder:

"Who helped me?"

"It was Time," Knowledge answered.

"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?"

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered:

"Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Never Get Distracted

One of the primary strategies of the devil to hinder one's momentum is Distraction, that is, to keep us from bring focused on the plan of God for our lives. You must determine what you really want and know what God wants for you. This will enable us to keep digging for diamonds and to stop chasing butterflies.

We must always learn to pay more attention to the thoughts are working positively in our lives than to the things that are working negatively in our lives.

Most times, people usually tend to devote majority of their efforts, time and attention those things that are never going to be productive in their lives.

Always clear your mind of the things that are out of your control in order to focus and act upon your goals for the day. You will always get lost by trying to find an alternate route for the straight and narrow.

Most times, the words and sayings of others will be one of the primary distractions that will try to hinder you. But then, always try to do just once, what others say you can not do and you will never pay attention to their limitations again. If you let or allow the people stop you, they will.

When you allow yourself to get distracted by the fears and doubts that others want to bring into your life, then you will have a “quick ear for bad news” and “large eyes for troubles ahead”. You will just end up becoming an inventor of things that will never happen. Even Jesus said in Luke 9: 62, “No man, having put his hand on the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God”.

When you are distracted, you tend to lose concentration. Always learn to concentrate on one thing at a time and rule out all influences that do not have bearing on the task at hand. Within your concentration, the rest of the world can not distract you.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Three Doors to Wisdom

A King had, as only son, a young Prince, brave, skillful and intelligent. To perfect his knowledge of Life, he sent him by the side of an Old Wise Man.

"Bring Light to my Path of Life", the Prince asked.

"My words will faint away like the prints of your steps in the sand”, the Wise Man answered. However, I want to give you some indications. On your Path, you will find 3 doors. Read the rules written on each of them. An irresistible need will urge you to follow them. Don't try and get away from them, because you would be condemned to live again, ceaselessly, what you have avoided. I may tell you no more. You have to feel all this deep in your heart and in your flesh. Go, now. Follow this path, right in front of you."

The Old Wise Man disappeared and the Prince entered the Path of Life. He was soon in front of a big door, on which one could read: "CHANGE THE WORLD".

"It was my intention indeed”, the Prince thought, “because if some things please me in this world, others greatly displease me."

And he began his first fight. His ideal, his ardour and his power urged him to confront himself to the world, to undertake, to conquer, to model reality according to his desires. He found there the pleasure and the dizziness of the conqueror, but no peace in his heart. He managed to change some things but many others resisted to him. Many years passed.

One day, he met the Old Wise Man who asked him: "What have you learnt on your path?"

"I have learnt," the Prince answered, “ how to discern what is within my power and what is without, what depends on me and what does not depend on me".

"That's good!” the Old Man said. “Use your strength to act on what is within your power. Forget what's beyond your power." And he disappeared.

A bit later, the Prince was in front of a second door. He could read on it : "CHANGE THE OTHERS".

"It was my intention indeed”, he thought. “The others are a source of pleasure, enjoyment and satisfaction, but also, of pain, bitterness and frustration."

And he rebelled against everything that could disturb him or displease him in his fellow men. He tried to bend their characters and to extirpate their defects. It was there his second fight. Many years passed.

One day, as he was meditating on the utility of the attempts to change the others, he met the Old Wise Man who asked him: "What have you learnt on your path?"

"I have learnt”, the Prince answered, “that the others are not the cause or the source of my joys and my punishments, my satisfactions and my setbacks. They are only opportunities for all of them to be revealed. It is in myself that all these things have their roots."

"You are right,” the Wise Man said. “According to what they wake up in you, the others reveal you to yourself. Be grateful to those who make your enjoyment and pleasure vibrate. But be also grateful to those who create in you suffering or frustration; because, through them, life teaches you what is left in you to learn and the path that you still have to walk." And the Old Man disappeared.

A bit further, the Prince arrived in front of a door, on which these words were written: "CHANGE YOURSELF".

"If I am myself the cause of my problems, it is indeed what's left in me to work on", he said to himself.

And he began his third fight. He tried to bend his character, to fight his imperfections, to abolish his defects, to change everything that did not please him in himself, everything that did not correspond to his ideal. After many years of this fight, in which he met some success, but also, some failures and some resistances, the Prince met the Wise Man who asked him: “What have you learnt on your path?"

"I have learnt”, the Prince answered, ”that there are things that we can improve, others that resist to us and that we can't manage to break."

"That's good!" the Wise Man said.

"Yes”, the Prince went on, “but I am beginning to be tired of fighting against everything, against everybody, against myself. Won't there be an end to it one day? When shall I find a rest? I want to stop fighting, to give up, to abandon everything, I want to let go!"

"It is precisely your next lesson“, the Old Wise Man said. “But before going any further, turn round and behold the path covered." And he disappeared.

On looking back, the Prince saw in the distance the third door, and noticed that it was carrying a text on its back, saying: "ACCEPT YOURSELF."

The Prince was surprised not to have seen this writing when he went through the door, the other way.

"When one fights, one becomes blind”, he said to himself. He also saw, laying on the ground, scattered around him, everything he had thrown away and fought against in him: his defects, his shadows, his fears, his limits, all his old worries. He had learnt then how to recognize them, to accept them, to love them. He had learnt how to love himself without comparing himself to the others any more, without judging himself, without reprimanding himself.

He met the Old Wise Man who asked him: "What have you learnt on your path?"

"I have learnt”, the Prince answered,” that hating or refusing a part of myself, it is to condemn myself never to be in agreement with myself. I learnt how to accept myself, totally, unconditionally."

"That's good!” the Old Man said, “It is the first rule in Wisdom”. Now you can go back through the third door.”

He had no sooner reached the other side, that the Prince perceived far away the back side of the second door, on which he could read: "ACCEPT THE OTHERS".

All around him, he could recognize the persons he had been with all his life through; those he had loved as well as those he had hated. Those he had supported and those he had fought. But the biggest surprise of all for him was that now, he was absolutely unable to see their imperfections, their defects, what formerly had embarrassed him so much, and against which he had fought.

He met the Old Wise Man again. "What have you learnt on your path?" he asked him.

“I have learnt”, the Prince answered, “that by being in agreement with myself, I had no more anything to blame in the others, no more anything to be afraid of in them. I have learnt how to accept and to love the others, totally, unconditionally."

"That's good!", the Old Wise Man said. “It is the second rule in Wisdom. You can go back through the second door.”

On reaching the other side of the second door, the Prince perceived in the distance the back side of the first door, on which he could read: "ACCEPT THE WORLD".

“Strangely enough”, he said to himself, “that I did not see these words on the first time”. He looked all around him and recognized this world which he had tried to conquer, to transform, to change. He was struck by the brightness and the beauty of every thing, by their perfection. Nevertheless, it was the same world as before. Was the world which had changed or the glance he had on it?

He met the Old Wise Man who asked him: "What have you learnt on your path?"

"I have learnt”, the Prince said, “that the world is a mirror for my soul. That my soul can't see the world, it sees itself in the world. When my soul is cheerful, the world seems cheerful to it. When it is overcome, the world seems sad to it. The world itself is neither sad nor cheerful. It IS there; it exists; it is everything. It was not the world that disturbed me, but the idea that I had of it. I have learnt to accept it without judging it, to accept it totally, unconditionally. "

“It is third rule of Wisdom”, the Old Man said. “You are here now in agreement with yourself, with the others and with the World.”

A profound feeling of peace, serenity, plenitude, filled the Prince. Silence was in him.

"Now, you are ready to go past the last Threshold”, the Old Wise Man said, “the one that goes from the Silence of Plenitude to the Plenitude of Silence ".

And the Old Man disappeared.