MORE PRECIOUS THAN DIAMONDS

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me something more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Another version of the same story goes like this:

The sannyasi [wise man] had reached the outskirts of the village and settled down under a tree for the night when a villager came running up to him and said, “The stone! The stone! Give me the precious stone!”

“What stone?” asked the sannyasi.

“Last night the Lord Shiva appeared to me in a dream,” said the villager, “And told me that if I went to the outskirts of the village at dusk I should find a sannyasi who would give me a precious stone that would make my rich forever.”

The sannyasi rummaged in his bag and pulled out a stone. “He probably meant this one,” he said, as he handed the stone over to the villager. “I found it on a forest path some days ago. You can certainly have it.”

The man gazed at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably the largest diamond in the whole world, for it was as large as a person’s head.

He took the diamond and walked away. All night he tossed about in bed, unable to sleep. Next day at the crack of dawn he woke the sannyasi and said, “Give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily.”

“The Diamond” from The Song of the Bird by Anthony de Mello SJ

The same story is also recounted in
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everyting: A Spiritual Guide to Real Life by  James Martin, SJ

THE DAILY PAPER

A guy buys a newspaper every day from a newspaper vendor.  The newspaper vendor is always rude to him.  So a friend of his says, “Why do you buy your paper from this guy? He’s always rude to you.  Why don’t you buy it from someone else just next door?”

Says the guy, “Why should the vendor decide where I buy my newspaper?  Why should he have the power to decide that?”

Source: Anthony de Mello, Rediscovering  Life: Awaken to Reality

Who is managing your life? Who is pulling your strings?

I’VE COME FOR FREEDOM

The master asks the disciple, “What have you come here for?”

The disciple says, “Moksha.”  Moksha is the Sanskrit word for “freedom.” “I’ve come for freedom.”

“Oh freedom,” says the master. “Go and find out who has bound you.”

The disciple goes back and meditates for a week, returns to the master and says, “No one has bound me.”

“Then, what do you want freedom for?” says the master.  And in that very instant the disciple’s eyes are open and he attains freedom.  He attains liberation.

CHIP IT AWAY

There is a story about a man who had a huge boulder in his front yard. He grew weary of this big, unattractive stone in the center of his lawn, so he decided to take advantage of it and turn it into an object of art. He went to work on it with hammer and chisel, and  chipped away at the huge boulder until it became a beautiful stone elephant. When he finished, it was gorgeous, breath-taking.

A neighbor asked, “How did you ever carve such a marvelous likeness of an elephant?”

The man answered, “I just chipped away everything that didn’t look like an elephant!”

James W. MooreSome Things Are Too Good Not To Be True, Nashville: Dimensions, 1994, p. 32.

  • “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”Michelangelo
  • “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michelangelo
  • “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”Michelangelo

REFLECTION

Every person is like a slab of marble, pregnant with potential and possibility. There is greatness and radical goodness within, but it has to be tapped into and gently carved out.

If you have anything in your life right now that doesn’t look like love, kindness, mercy and compassion, gently find ways to chip it away!  If you have hatred or prejudice or vengeance or envy in your heart, gently find ways to chisel it away, thus setting free the true identity of who you were intended to be from the beginning!

THE ANSWER IS IN YOUR HANDS

Once there was a wise old man and a smart little boy.  The boy  was driven by a single desire – to expose the wise old man as a fool.  The smart boy had a plan.  He had captured a small and very fragile bird in the forest.  With the bird cupped in his hands, the boy’s scheme was to approach the old man and ask him, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?”  to which the wise old man would reply, “You have a bird, my son.”

Then the boy would ask, “Old man, is the bird alive or is it dead?”  If the old man replied that the bird was dead, the smart boy would open his hands and allow the bird to fly off back into the forest.  But if the old man replied that the bird was alive, the smart boy would crush the bird inside his cupped hands, and crush it, and crush it, until at last the bird dies.  Then the boy would open his hands and say, “See, old man, the bird is dead!”

And so as the story goes, the smart boy went to the old man and he said, as planned, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?”

The old man replied, “You have  a bird, my son.”

“Old man”, the boy than said, his voice dripping with disdain, “is the bird alive or is it dead?”

Whereupon the old man looked at the boy with his kindly old eyes and replied, “the answer is in your hands, my son.”

Source |  Gerry Spence, How to Argue and Win Every Time
St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996) page 142

CONSIDER THIS

TWO HANDS

I am a fist,
A sign of fear
A sign of anger
A sign of greed
A sign of tension

I can pound a desk
I can hoard money
I can try to scare you
I can punch you
In the mouth.

I am a fist.
What do you think of me?

I am an open hand,
A sign of calm,
A sign of ease,
A sign of peace,
A sign of relaxation.

I can dial a phone,
I can shake a hand,
I can change the diapers,
I can play cards,
I can break the bread,
I can pass the wine,
I can heal the hurt,
I can write the poem.

I am an open hand.
What do you think of me?

Andrew Costello CSSR, “The Two Hands” in Listenings (Chicago: Thomas More, 1980) page 107.

STILL PART OF THE GARDEN

Nadia spent the whole autumn sowing and preparing her garden.  In the spring, the flowers bloomed and blossomed, and Nadia noticed a few dandelions that she had not planted.

Nadia pulled them up.  But the seeds had already spread, and others grew.  She tried to find a poison that would kill only the dandelions.  An expert told her that any poison would end up killing all the other flowers too.  In despair, Nadia sought help from a seasoned gardener.

‘It’s just like marriage,’ said the gardener. ‘Along with the good things, there are always a few inconveniences.’

‘What should I do, then?

‘Nothing. They may not be the flowers you intended to have, but they are still part of the garden.’