PEACHES AND COMMON SENSE

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

CONSIDER THIS

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?

THE WISE TEACHER

Johnny was at a wedding.  He saw Mr. Clark, one of his high school teachers.  Johnny said to him, “Do you remember me?”

Mr. Clark answered, “Not really. Who are you?”  Johnny introduced himself.

“Ah, you were my student…  third grade… you were my student. Wow! I haven’t seen you for so many years.  How’s your life? What are you involved in?”

Johnny said, “I’m a teacher.”

“That’s wonderful!” said Mr. Clark. “What inspired you to become a teacher?”

“What inspired me to become a teacher was you”,  Johnny continued.

Mr. Clark said, “Tell me, how did I inspire you to become a teacher?”

Johnny said, “I saw what an impact you had on me and I realized what an impact I could have on children and teenagers.  I decided to go into education.”

Mr. Clark said, “So what type of impact did I have on you?”

Johnny went on to say, “One day, in between classes I stole a beautiful, expensive pocket watch from Fred, one of my classmates.  It was his mother’s birthday present to him. Fred showed up after lunch break, telling you and the whole class that somebody had stolen his watch.”

Johnny continued, “I remember vividly how you addressed the class that afternoon asking that the watch be returned. I was too embarrassed to fess up and return the stolen watch.”

John went on to say, “You, Mr. Clark,  you locked the classroom door and asked the class to line up and close our eyes. And you went from pocket to pocket. You came to my pocket and you found the watch and you gently pulled it out.  You did not stop there. You continued, moving from pocket to pocket all the way to the end of the line. And you told us that it was OK for us to open our eyes.

You returned the pocket watch to Fred!  On that day you saved my soul. You saved my dignity. You never said anything about the incident to anyone, not to Fred who was happy to get back the pocket watch, not to anyone, and most surprisingly, not even to me.”

John, with a hint of tears in his eyes, went on to say, “Wow this is what a teacher is.  This is what a real educator is.  This is what I want to do with my life.”

Mr. Clark, listening attentively, says,  “That’s amazing, but truth be told, I don’t remember much of the story you just shared with me.”

John, curious, and wanting to learn, said, “But tell me Mr. Clark,  you really don’t remember the story? When you see me and you hear my name?  I’m sure you remember the story…  that I stole the pocket watch! I’m sure you remember that unique and unusual ritual of lining us up and how not wanting to embarrass the ‘thief’, you asked everybody to close their eyes!  You really don’t remember that I’m the person who stole the watch.”

And Mr. Clark said, “Actually I don’t. I don’t remember!”

“Why not? It’s a pretty dramatic story” Johnny said.

And Mr. Clark  concluded, “As I moved from pocket to pocket my eyes were closed too.”

Source: Unknown. Retold as remembered when I first heard it.

CONSIDER THIS

What do you think?  If you were the teacher in that classroom, how would you have acted? What would you have done differently?

 

LETTING GUILT GO

Once upon a time there were three men. Each man had two sacks, one tied in front of his neck and the other tied on his back. When the first man was asked what was in his sacks, he said, “In the sack on my back are all the good things friends and family have done. That way they’re hidden from view. In the front sack are all the bad things that have happened to me. Every now and then I stop, open the front sack, take the things out, examine them, and think about them.” Because he stopped so much to concentrate on all the bad stuff, he really didn’t make much progress in life.

The second man was asked about his sacks. He replied, “In the front sack are all the good things I’ve done. I like to see them, so quite often I take them out to show them off to people. The sack in the back? I keep all my mistakes in there and carry them all the time. Sure they’re heavy. They slow me down, but you know, for some reason I can’t put them down.”

When the third man was asked about his sacks, he answered, “The sack in front is great. There I keep all the positive thoughts I have about people, all the blessings I’ve experienced, all the great things other people have done for me. The weight isn’t a problem. The sack is like sails of a ship. It keeps me going forward.

“The sack on my back is empty. There’s nothing in it. I cut a big hole in its bottom. In there I put all the bad things that I can think about myself or hear about others. They go in one end and out the other, so I’m not carrying around any extra weight at all.”

Source | H. Norman Wright, The Perfect Catch
(Bethany House, 2000) pages 28-29

PONDER AND CONSIDER

What are you carrying in your sacks as you journey through life?

Reread the story about the three men and their sacks. With whom do you identify the most?

  • The one who forgets what is good in his life and remembers all the bad things that have happened to him?
  • The one who has the tendency to remind others about the good he has been doing, while hiding the mistakes he has made, not really letting those mistakes go?
  • The one who remembers all the blessings, while acknowledging and letting go of negativity and judgment toward self and others?

ONE SOCK

Once upon a time a young man, on a bicycle ride around the world, stopped awhile in a West African Village to help build a bakery. It took several months to build the bakery. They made bricks from crushed anthills.  Every day the village children came to help.  None of the kids had shoes but one happy little guy always wore one sock – no shoes, just a sock.  He was about ten years old.  He got nicknamed One Sock.

One day someone, curious, asked, “One Sock, tell me about this one sock you always wear.”

He said proudly, “My mum washes it every night.  I wear it every day.”

“Yes, but why do you wear one?”, the other continued.

One Sock seemed surprised by this silly question, and then smiled broadly and said, “Because I only have one!”

Source | Based on Andrew Matthews, Happiness in Hard Times

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Are you content with what you have? Or are you always wanting what you don’t have? Perhaps you have lost  something: your job, an opportunity or a precious possession. Perhaps you have lost someone: a spouse, a friend or a business colleague. Perhaps you are in that space of feeling lost and don’t know what to do next. Here is the first thing and perhaps the only thing you can really do: accept where you are.  Embrace the present reality.

For a change to happen one must first make peace with the present situation. Drop the the blame, the guilt, the shame. Drop the “what ifs” that choke and limit.  Growth and maturation unconditional acceptance.

Acceptance does not mean “I want to stay here.”  Acceptance means: “This is where I am – and now I choose to move in the direction of my deepest urgent longing of my heart.”