WITHOUT BATTING AN EYE

Once there was a general who was infamous for his viciousness.  He was brutal, without mercy.  He went to attack a very small village that lay in the path of his army.  Everyone in the village, knowing of the general’s reputation, ran away – everyone except one man  When the general entered the village, he found this one man sitting calmly under a tree.  So the general went to the man and said, “Do you know who I am, and do you know what I am capable of?  I can run my sword right through you without batting an eye!”  And the man said, “I know.”  Looking at the general, he continued, “But do you know who I am and what I am capable of?  I’ll let you do it … without batting an eye.”

Source | Paul Coutinho SJ, How Big is Your God
Loyola Press (November 1, 2010) page 31

PONDER AND CONSIDER

This is the difference between practicing religion and developing a living relationship with the Divine. How do we respond when we are attacked?  If our response is still an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth we’re not much better than the general.

But if our response is one of peace and reconciliation, then we offer a better alternative, and that response  can be disarming and a catalyst for change.

How?  If you want to change start by changing a thought, just one thought:  everything begins with a thought.  Change your thinking and you will be a changed person.  The thought will be expressed in your words, will affect your feelings, and will guide your behaviour.  And the words, feelings, and behaviours you send out into the world will affect and slowly transform the world around you.

  • Can you change just one thought?
  • Can you know who you are in your mind, in your consciousness, enough to think peace, act in peace, be peace … without batting an eye?

TASTE AND KNOW

A holy man sitting atop the Himalaya put up a big sign that read “For two cents, I will give you an experience of God.”  People came from all around the world to see him.  He told them to place the money in a little bowl beside him, and then he gave them a few grains of sugar.  He told them to eat the sugar. 

                  Source | Based on Paul Coutinho sj, How big is Your God, page.14.

PONDER AND CONSIDER

The holy man did not ask them to describe the taste of sugar or talk about its sweetness.  He invited them to eat the sugar and experience its texture and its flavour first hand.

What is sweetness?  It can be analyzed in a chemist’s lab.  It can be described and talked about.  But the more you talk about sweetness, the less you know what sweetness is in your mouth.

Sweetness is an experience.  God is an experience.

JUST FOUR PILLS

After visiting the doctor, a man called his wife, crying.
His wife asked, “What’s the matter honey?”
He said, “Well, the doctor has given me these pills, and I have to take one each day for the rest of my life.”
And his wife asked, “So why are you upset?”
He answered, “The doctor only gave me  four pills.”

 

Source | Based on Paul Coutinho sj, HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD.  Page 107

 PONDER AND CONSIDER

To live fully and freely we need to accept the transitoriness of life.  It is all impermanent.  We are just passing through.  Life is a constant flux.  Everything is constantly changing.