In a particular desert land peaches were very scarce. Some holy people of the land had a revelation which they put down in the following code: ‘Thou shalt not eat more than two peaches a day.’ Later some found the means to convert the desert into a garden. Trees started flourishing, peaches grew in plenty, so much so that they were falling from the trees and rotting on the ground. The young people began to rebel against the law on peaches, but the holy people were determined to maintain the law as they claimed it had been revealed by God. There were some people who ate more than two peaches a day and they were feeling guilty. Others also ate more than two peaches, and they didn’t feel guilty. Those among the young people who proclaimed, ‘It is all right to eat more than two peaches a day’ were punished. (Anthony de Mello)
Source: Aurel Brys and Joseph Pulickal
We heard the Bird Sing: Interacting with Anthony de Mello
(Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1995) pages 30-31
Does your own code of morality stand up to reason?
Does it work in practice or does it bring more inner tension than peace?
Does it make you a less loving, a less happy person?
Where does it go against common sense, and if it does, how do you deal with that?
A mother and a baby camel were talking one day when the baby camel asked, “Mom, why do we have these huge two-toed feet?
The mother replied, “Well son, when we trek across the desert, our toes will help us stay on top of the soft sand.”
Two minutes later the young camel asked, “Mom, why do we have these long eyelashes?”
“They are there to keep the sand out of our eyes on the trips through the desert,” the mother said.
“Mom, why have we got these great big humps on our back?”
“They are there to help us store water for our long treks across the desert, so we can go without drinking for long periods of time.”
“So we have huge feet to stop us from sinking, long eyelashes to keep the sand out of our eyes, and these humps to store water.”
“Yes dear,” said the mother.
“So why are we in the Toronto Zoo?”
- Skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences are only useful if you are at the right place.
- Where are you now?
A man was caught in a flood. First he was called and told to evacuate his home. He calmly refused, saying God would save him. The waters rushed the streets, climbing the foundations of the homes. When the streets were filled, a rescue team in a rubber raft called to him, and he again refused, saying God would save him. The power of the water deepened and the flood was crashing through the windows of his home. He was now perched on his roof. A helicopter came and he still refused, saying yet again that God would save him.
The flood did what floods do and he drowned. On the other side, he was angry and bitterly questioned God, “Why didn‘t You save me?! I kept my faith till the end!” And God, perplexed, replied, “I tried. I called and sent a raft and a helicopter. But you wouldn’t come.”
Source | Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening, pages 307-308
PONDER AND CONSIDER
Like the thought of love, God starts in everything unseeable, but comes to us plainly in the things of this world.
We don’t let go into trust until we’ve exhausted our egos. | Rob Lehman
- Close your eyes and pray for one thing you need.
- Breathe deeply until the prayer loses its words.
- Open your eyes and enter your day listening to the things around you, for they carry what you need.
A man was standing in the middle of the town square. While lighting his pipe, he accidentally started his beard on fire. To the townspeople witnessing this event, he seemed to just stand there, doing absolutely nothing about it! Thinking that he somehow was unaware of the growing blaze, they ran up to him and shouted, “Your beard is on fire! Your beard is on fire!” and the man replied, “Yes, yes, I know – can’t you see that I’m praying for rain?”
Source | Story as told by Anthony De Mello
PONDER AND CONSIDER
Indeed, when it does rain, the rain is available! But in the meantime you better watch what you’re doing! And if your beard does catch fire don’t wait for the rain. Do something. Praying for rain does not help.
Two monks were out for a walk one day
One older, the other much younger. They had both taken vows of silence and chastity. As they continued along the trail, they came to a creek where they saw a girl standing on the bank, she told them that she needed to get across. Without hesitation the older monk picked her up in his arms and waded across the creek with her. Once they both got to the other side, they went on their way.
An hour on down the trail the younger of the two broke his vow of silence,
“You know with our vow of chastity we are not to even touch a woman, let alone make eye contact with one!”
The older one, who had been admiring the beauty of the woods and the songs of the birds, replied, “Brother, I set her down on the bank an hour ago. You, however, are still carrying her.”
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- Let go of your past and you will be able to enjoy the present in its fullness.
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!
There was once a man who was on his way back home from market with his camel and, as he’d had a good day, he decided to stop at a mosque along the road and offer his thanks to God.
He left his camel outside and went in with his prayer mat and spent several hours offering thanks to Allah, praying and promising that he’d be a good Muslim in the future, help the poor and be an upstanding pillar of his community.
When he emerged it was already dark and lo and behold – his camel was gone!
He immediately flew into a violent temper and shook his fist at the sky, yelling:
“You traitor, Allah! How could you do this to me? I put all my trust in you and then you go and stab me in the back like this!”
A passing sufi dervish heard the man yelling and chuckled to himself.
“Listen,” he said, “Trust God but, you know, tie up your camel.”
Source : The Essential Rumi. Renditions by Coleman Barks
A young man went to a great master of wisdom and said to him, ‘Master, so great is my trust in God that I didn’t even hitch my camel out there. I left it to God’s providence, for God to take care of it.”
And the wise master said, ‘Go back outside and tie your camel to the post, you nincompoop! There’s no point in inconveniencing God with something that you can do yourself.’
Source: Walking on Water by Anthony de Mello
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- If your leave the jar of honey open, by morning it may be full of ants!
- Trust is always and necessarily a cooperative venture between your inner knowing or spirit, and the world in which you live. Trust is active, aware and alert. It is not blind and unknowing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the famous nineteenth-century poet and essayist, was out one day trying to get a calf into the barn.
But he made the common mistake of thinking only of what he wanted: Emerson pushed and his son pulled … But the calf stiffened his legs and stubbornly refused to leave the pasture.
The Irish housemaid saw their predicament. She couldn’t write essays and books; but on this occasion at least, she had more horse sense, or calf sense, than Emerson. She put her maternal finger in the calf’s mouth, and let the calf suck her finger as she gently led him into the barn.
Source : Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Never allow your stubborn attitude to cloud your judgement, especially when considering what is the right thing to do next!