REMEMBER RULE NUMBER 6

Two Prime ministers were sitting in a room discussing affairs of state.  Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and baning his fist on the desk.  The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying.  Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.”  Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague:  “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this.  Would you be willing to share with me the secret of this Rule Number 6?” 

“Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister.  “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.’”

“Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.”

After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

Source: Benjamin Zander & Rosamund Stone Zander,
The Art of Possibility
(Penguin Books; revised edition, 2002) page 79

CONSIDER THIS

As we encounter stress and anxiety, fear and worry, let’s call to mind rule #6! When it shows up, pay attention to the negative, deconstructive inner dialogue and intentionally stop it in its tracks. Remember:

  • “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”  -Oscar Wilde
  • “Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.” -G. K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy“The Eternal Revolution”)
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I LOVE YOU SO MUCH

At the end of a busy day, a man and his wife were sitting at home on the veranda in the quiet of twilight, broken only by the sounds of the gentle wind and the swash of the waves. They were enjoying a glass of wine together.

As the sun slowly sank below the mountains, she broke the soothing silence saying, “I love you so much I don’t know I could ever live without you.”

The husband, a tad surprised, asks, “Is that you or the wine talking?”

She replies, “It’s me … talking to the wine.”

And the two burst out laughing!

Source: Recycled and retold by Philip Chircop sj

CONSIDER THIS

Learning to laugh a little more just may save your life, not to mention your marriage. To paraphrase Henry Ward Beecher, “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.”

Still not convinced? Listen to these other voices:

  • Laughter is an “instant vacation”. | Bob Hope
  • You can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh.” |  Jay Leno
  • We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh. | Agnes Repplier

ARE YOU A MONUMENTAL BORE?

A pious old man prayed five times a day while his business partner never set foot in church. And now, on his eightieth birthday he prayed thus:

“Oh Lord our God! Since I was a youth not a day have I allowed to pass without coming to church in the morning and saying my prayers at the five specified times. Not a single move, not one decision, important or trifling did I make without first invoking your Name. And now, in my old age, I have doubled my exercises of piety and pray to you ceaselessly, night and day. Yet here I am, poor as a church mouse. But look at my business partner. He drinks and gambles and, even at his advanced age, consorts with women of ques­tionable character yet he’s rolling in wealth. I wonder if a single prayer has ever crossed his lips. Now, Lord, I do not ask that he be punished, for that would be un­christian. But please tell me: Why, why, why… have you let him prosper and why do you treat me thus?”

“Because,” said God in reply, “you are such a monumental bore!”

Source | Anthony de Mello, Prayer of the Frog I published in the USA as Taking Flight page 27

 

PONDER AND CONSIDER

The Rule in a monastery was not, “Do not speak,” but, “Do not speak unless you can improve on the silence.”

Might not the same be said of prayer?

RULE NUMBER 6

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him:  “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?”

“Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damned seriously.’” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

Source | Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander,  The Art of Possibility 

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Humour, laughter and lightheartedness can bring us back down to earth and back to reality. Humour has the power to  put our life and situations in proper perspective. When we let go and lighten up, we can free the demanding, critical, and controlling parts of ourselves and open up to a world of “what’s possible.”
  • As often as possible lighten up and get out of your own way. Step back from your intensity and your compulsive need to be right. Smile and breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Daily try to approach the unfolding day’s events and happenings from a position of what’s possible rather than what can’t be done.