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.

 

SOCKS, SHOES AND CONNECTIONS

With Christmas coming  grandma was out shopping for gifts for her grandchildren.  While she was at the toy store going through her list she noticed a small homeless girl outside wistfully looking into the store.  Grandma’s heart went out to this little girl.  She invited her into the store and asked her to pick out a gift for herself.  As they walked out of the store, the little girl held Grandma’s hand and looked into her kind eyes and asked “Are you God?”  Grandma, somewhat embarrassed and somewhat touched said, “No, my dear, I am not God.”  “Then who are you?”  continued the little girl.  Grandma thought for a moment and said, “I am a child of God.”  The little girl, fully satisfied and smiling, said, “I knew there was a connection!”

Source | Paul Coutinho,  How Big is Your God? , page 1

______________________________

Another version of the same story

A little boy about 10 years old was standing before a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold. A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?” “I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,” was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand and went into the store and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with a towel.

By this time the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes. She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, “No doubt, my little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?”

As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears his eyes, answered the question with these words: “Are you God’s Wife?”

Source Unknown

  • When people come into your life do they see a divine connection?