WHY WEREN’T YOU ZUSIA?

Once, the great Hassidic leader, Zusia, came to his followers. His eyes were red with tears, and his face was pale with fear.

“Zusia, what’s the matter? You look frightened!”

“The other day, I had a vision. In it, I learned the question that the angels will one day ask me about my life.”

The followers were puzzled. “Zusia, you are pious. You are scholarly and humble. You have helped so many of us. What question about your life could be so terrifying that you would be frightened to answer it?”

Zusia turned his gaze to heaven. “I have learned that the angels will not ask me, ‘Why weren’t you a Moses, leading your people out of slavery?'”

His followers persisted. “So, what will they ask you?”

“And I have learned,” Zusia sighed, “that the angels will not ask me, ‘Why weren’t you a Joshua, leading your people into the promised land?'”

One of his followers approached Zusia and placed his hands on Zusia’s shoulders. Looking him in the eyes, the follower demanded, “But what will they ask you?”

“They will say to me, ‘Zusia, there was only one thing that no power of heaven or earth could have prevented you from becoming.’ They will say, ‘Zusia, why weren’t you Zusia?'”

Source | Doug Lipman, The Storytelling Coach: How to Listen, Praise, and Bring Out People’s Best. (August House, 2006)

CONSIDER THIS

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”Oscar Wilde

We live in a world that has a very strong opinion what we “should” be.  We ”should” be young, thin, beautiful, rich, successful.  We “should” have the right stuff — like the right kind of house and the right kind of car.  And we “should” act like those around us that look the right way and have the right stuff. Where in all of that is authenticity?

Sometimes, without realizing it, we give up ourselves.  We slowly fall prey to the bombardment of the pop culture messages that constantly surround us.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AS YOU ARE

There was once a crow who did not like his feathers.

“I wish I were a peacock!” he would say.

“You are beautiful as you are!” the other crows insisted.

“How plain and dull you seem to me!” he’d complain, and fly off to admire peacocks.

The peacocks strutted about with their colorful tail feathers outstretched. To the delight of the crow, some of the peacock feathers lay on the ground when the peacocks left.

Crow flew down to the ground and stuck the feathers into his wings and tail. He attached a few sticking up from his head.

“Now I am as beautiful as a peacock,” he said.

But, when he went to join them in their strutting, the peacocks poked him and pecked him. What a fuss!

“You are not a peacock,” they said, “Don’t imitate us!”

Bruised and still dragging some broken peacock feathers in his tail, he returned home.

After all his insults, no one wanted his company!

As he sat alone, the other crows said, “It’s foolish to try and be what you’re not. Learn to love the feathers you’ve got!”

Source |  David Holt, Bill Mooney editors, More Ready-to-tell Tales from Around the World
(August House, 2005) pages 169-170

CONSIDER THIS

  • Run away from those well-intentioned helpers who want to assist you in becoming better adjusted to what you aren’t. | David Weale
  • Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.Oscar Wilde

BEING LOVE

Here is a story from Ram Dass

Some years ago I put out a set of records called “Love, Serve, Remember.” The records – which had music, readings from the Gospel of John, and all kinds of neat things – came in an album with a beautiful booklet with text and pictures. It was a wonderful package, and we sold it by mail order for about $4.50.

I showed the album to my father. Dad was a wealthy Boston lawyer – a conservative Republican, a capitalist, and, at the time, the President of a railroad. He looked over the album and said, “Great job here! But, gee, you know – four and a half dollars? You could probably sell this for ten, maybe fifteen dollars, don’t you think?”

I said, “Yeah, I know.”

“Would fewer people buy it if it were more expensive?” he asked.

“No,” I replied, “probably the same number would buy it.”

”Well I don’t understand, then,” he pressed on. “You could sell it for at least ten, and you’re selling it for $4.50? What’s wrong, are you against capitalism or profit or something?”

I tried to figure out how to explain to him how our approaches differed. I said, “Dad didn’t you just try a law case for Uncle Henry?”

”Yeah,” he replied, “and it was a damned tough case. I spent a lot of time in the law library.”

I asked, “Did you win the case?”

And he answered, “Yeah, I won it.”

Now, my father was a very successful attorney, and he charged fees that were commensurate with his reputation. So I continued. “Well, I bet you charged him an arm and a leg for that one.”

Dad was indignant at the suggestion. “What, are you out of your mind? That’s Uncle Henry – I couldn’t charge him.”

“Well, that’s my problem,” I said. “If you find anyone who isn’t Uncle Henry, show me, and I’ll rip them off.”

Source |Ram Dass on awaken

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Ram Dass reflects on this story:

The point I was trying to make is that when you see the Beloved all around you, everyone is family and everywhere is love. When I allow myself to really see the beauty of another being, to see the inherent beauty of soul manifesting itself, I feel the quality of love in that being’s presence. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. We could be talking about our cats because we happen to be picking out cat food in the supermarket, or we simply could be passing each other on the sidewalk. When we are being love, we extend outward an environment that allows people to act in different, more loving and peaceful ways than they are used to behaving. Not only does it allow them to be more loving, it encourages them to be so while teaching them how to be so.