DESERT OR BEACH?

Did you hear about the guy from Brooklyn who was in the Sahara Desert in swimming trunks, for heaven’s sake, and a towel?  Walking in the Sahara Desert, he meets an Arab, and he says, “Hi.”  And the Arab says, “Hi.”  He asks, “How far away from here is the sea?”

“The sea? For heaven’s sake,” says the Arab, “that’s a thousand miles away from here.”  And the guy from Brooklyn says, “Boy, some beach you guys have out here!”

Source | Anthony de Mello, Rediscovering Life, page 102

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • A beach? Now is this optimism and a positive outlook on reality or radical ignorance verging on stupidity?
  • What is the difference between a sandy beach and a desert?
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GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS

A camel trader is walking across the Sahara Desert. The party pitches a tent for the night.  And the slaves drive pegs into the ground and tie the camels to the pegs.  Then they come in to say to the master, “There are only nineteen pegs and we’ve got twenty camels.  How do we tie the twentieth camel?”

And the master said, “These camels are stupid animals.  just go through the motions of tying the camel and he’ll stay put all night,” which is what they did, and the camel stood there, convincing everybody.  And the next morning they lifted the tent and continued on their journey, the slaves came to complain that all the camels were following except this one.  This one refused to budge.  And the master said, “You forgot to untie him.”

They said, “Oh, yes,” so they went through the motions of untying him.

Source | Anthony de MelloRediscovering Life, Pages 63-64

PONDER AND CONSIDER

This is an image of the human condition.  We’re scared about things that are not.  We’re tied to things that don’t exist.  They’re illusions.  They’re falsehoods.  They’re beliefs; they’re not realities.

 

BABY MOUSE TUTORED BY MOTHER MOUSE

Once upon a time there was a Baby Mouse and Mother Mouse. They lived in a hole in the skirting board in a big, warm house with lots of cheese to eat, where they wanted for nothing. Then, one day, Mother Mouse decided to take Baby Mouse outside of their home. Waiting outside for them was a huge ginger tomcat, licking it’s lips and waiting to eat them both up. “Mother, Mother! What should we do?” Cried Baby Mouse, clinging to his mother’s tail. Mother Mouse paused, staring up into the beady eyes of the hungry cat. But she wasn’t scared, because she knew exactly how to deal with big, scary cats. She opened her mouth and took in a deep breath. “Woof! Woof! Bark bark bark!” She shouted, and the cat ran away as fast as he could. “Wow, Mother! That was amazing!” Baby Mouse said to his mother, smiling happily. “And that, my child, is why it is always best to have a second language.”

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Do you speak a second language? And by second language I don’t mean only “language” as the dictionary defines it, but also another point of view, another possibility, a different way forward. In other words, are you flexible enough to think outside your box?

WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS

A couple were going on vacation but his wife was on a business trip.

The husband went ahead to the destination first and his wife would meet him the next day.

When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick email.

Unfortunately, when typing her address, he mistyped a letter and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher’s wife whose husband had passed away only the day before.

When the grieving widow checked her email, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint.

At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:

Dearest Wife,

Just got checked in.  Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. Sure is hot down here!

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Miscommunication, conscious or unconscious, intended or unintended, can in fact shift the whole tenor of a conversation and deform what could have been a vacation with a taste of paradise into a dreaded visit that tastes and feels like hell!

THE MAN WHO SWALLOWED AN EGG WHOLE

Once upon a time a man swallowed an egg whole. He was afraid to move because he was afraid the egg would break. But he was equally afraid to sit still because he was afraid it would hatch.

Source | Adrian Rogers, Ten Secrets for a Successful Family, Crossway Books, p. 71.

PONDER AND CONSIDER

In this day when we are supposed to have so many devices to save time, I’ve never seen so many hurried and restless people! If the computer, the laptop, the cellular phone, and all of these other technological wonders are supposed to save us time, why do we have so little time for the things that  really matter?

Are you perhaps in that place where you are afraid to move and afraid to sit still, allowing yourself to be paralyzed in the process?

 

THE DUCKLING

The Sufi saint Shams of Tabriz tells the following story about himself:

I have been considered a misfit since my childhood. No one seemed to understand me. My own father once said to me, “You are not mad enough to be put in a madhouse, and not withdrawn enough to be put in a monastery. I don’t know what to do with you.”

I replied, “A duck’s egg was once put under a hen. When the egg hatched the duckling walked about with the mother hen until they came to a pond. The duckling went straight into the water. The hen stayed clucking anxiously on land. Now, dear father, I have walked into the ocean and find in it my home. You can hardly blame me if you choose to stay on the shore.”

Anthony De Mello, SJ | Song of the Bird

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Are you living up to your original vocation, your deepest call, that is?
  • Are you living up to your potential or perhaps leading a mediocre, non-committed kind of life?
  • Are you satisfied with simply staying on the shore or bold enough to risk entering the waters?

THE GRAMMARIAN AND THE BOATMAN

A grammarian once embarked in a boat. Turning to the boatman with a self-satisfied air he asked him:

‘Have you ever studied grammar?’

‘No,’ replied the boatman.

‘Then half your life has gone to waste,’ the grammarian said.

The boatman thereupon felt very depressed, but he answered him nothing for the moment. Presently the wind tossed the boat into a whirlpool. The boatman shouted to the grammarian:

‘Do you know how to swim?’

‘No’ the grammarian replied, ‘my well-spoken, handsome fellow’.

‘In that case, grammarian,’ the boatman remarked, ‘the whole of your life has gone to waste, for the boat is sinking in these whirlpools.’

Source | Tales from Masnavi, Jalal al-Din Rumi
translated by A.J. Arberry

PONDER AND CONSIDER

You may be the greatest scholar in the world in your time, but consider, my friend, how the world passes away – and time!