ALWAYS THANK THE LORD

A man goes to see his rabbi. “Rabbi”, he asks, “you told us a story – something to do with praise?”  The rabbi responds, “Yes, it is thus: when you get some good news, you thank the Lord, and when you get some bad news, you praise the Lord.”  “Of course,” replies the man. “ I should have remembered. But Rabbi, how do you actually know which is the good news and which is the bad news?” The rabbi smiles. “You are wise, my son. So just to be on the safe side, always thank the Lord.”

Source | Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander,  The Art of Possibility, page 105

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Today do your very best to be consciously thankful and grateful for all that blesses you, including the adverse, painful and perhaps disturbing moments.
  • “Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” | Kahlil Gibran
  • “My task is simply the breathing of this gratitude from day to day, in simplicity, and for the rest turning my hand to whatever comes, work being part of praise.” | Thomas MertonThe Intimate Merton

THE MESSIAH IS AMONGST YOU

A monastery had fallen on hard times. It was once part of a great order which, as a result of religious persecution lost all its branches. It was decimated to the extent that there were only five monks left in the mother house: the Abbot and four others, all of whom were over seventy. Clearly it was a dying order.

Deep in the woods surrounding the monastery was a little hut that the Rabbi from a nearby town occasionally used for a hermitage. One day, it occurred to the Abbot to visit the hermitage to see if the Rabbi could offer any advice that might save the monastery. The Rabbi welcomed the Abbot and commiserated. “I know how it is” he said, “the spirit has gone out of people. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore.” So the old Rabbi and the old Abbot wept together, and spoke quietly of deep things.

The time came when the Abbot had to leave. They embraced. “It has been wonderful being with you,” said the Abbot, “but I have failed in my purpose for coming. Have you no piece of advice that might save the monastery?” “No, I am sorry,” the Rabbi responded, “I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.”

When the other monks heard the Rabbi’s words, they wondered what possible significance they might have. “The Messiah is one of us? One of us, here, at the monastery? Do you suppose he meant the Abbot? Of course – it must be the Abbot, who has been our leader for so long. On the other hand, he might have meant Brother Thomas, who is undoubtably a holy man. Certainly he couldn’t have meant Brother Elrod – he’s so crotchety. But then Elrod is very wise. Surely, he could not have meant Brother Phillip – he’s too passive. But then, magically, he’s always there when you need him. Of course he didn’t mean me – yet supposing he did? Oh Lord, not me! I couldn’t mean that much to you, could I?”

As they contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect, on the off chance that one of them might be the Messiah. And on the off off chance that each monk himself might be the Messiah, they began to treat themselves with extraordinary respect.

Because the forest in which the monastery was situated was beautiful, people occasionally came to visit the monastery, to picnic or to wander along the old paths, most of which led to the dilapidated chapel. They sensed the aura of extraordinary respect that surrounded the five old monks, permeating the atmosphere. They began to come more frequently, bringing their friends, and their friends brought friends. Some of the younger men who came to visit began to engage in conversation with the monks. After a while, one asked if he might join. Then another, and another. Within a few years, the monastery became once again a thriving order, and – thanks to the Rabbi’s gift – a vibrant community of light and love.

Source | Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander,  The Art of Possibility
Also found in M. Scott PeckThe Different Drum

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A variation of the same story called The Bishop’s Gift

Once a church had fallen upon hard times. Only five members were left: the pastor and four others, all over 60 years old.

In the mountains near the church there lived a retired Bishop. It occurred to the pastor to ask the Bishop if he could offer any advice that might save the church. The pastor and the Bishop spoke at length, but when asked for advice, the Bishop simply responded by saying, “I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.”

The pastor, returning to the church, told the church members what the Bishop had said. In the months that followed, the old church members pondered the words of the Bishop. “The Messiah is one of us?” they each asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility, they all began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off, off chance that each member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves with extraordinary care.

As time went by, people visiting the church noticed the aura of respect and gentle kindness that surrounded the five old members of the small church. Hardly knowing why, more people began to come back to the church. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends. Within a few years, the small church had once again become a thriving church, thanks to the Bishop’s gift.

Source | Unknown

 PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Remember the Rabbi’s humble gift – the no advice that was the best advice ever – “I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.”
  • Within each one of us we carry the capacity to heal the wounds that sometimes block recovery, healing, and transformation.
  • What would happen if we start treating each other as if all of were the Messiah?  What if we start holding others and ourselves in higher esteem—a process that facilitates becoming whole again?

 

 

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.