Archive for October, 2011

The Tao of Time and Place

Posted by Freddy on Oct-30-2011

One of the philosophies that influenced my character, I must say, is Tao. I have contemplated on the tiny, yet brilliant specks of intelligence seen in nature, in the ways animals and birds respond to natural situations. Tao helps in unraveling the principles behind such acts of nature. Sharing with you this week one such Gem.
Heron stands in the blue estuary, Solitary, white, unmoving for hours. A fish! Quick avian darting; The prey is captured.

People always ask how to follow Tao. It is as easy and natural as the heron standing in the water. The bird moves when it must; it does not move when stillness is appropriate.

The secret of its serenity is a type of vigilance, a contemplative state. The heron is not in mere dumbness or sleep. It knows a lucid stillness. It stands unmoving in the flow of the water. It gazes unperturbed and is aware. When Tao brings it something that it needs, it seizes the opportunity without hesitation or deliberation. Then it goes back to its quiescence without disturbing itself or its surroundings. Unless it found the right position in the water’s flow and remained patient, it would not have succeeded.

Actions in life can be reduced to two factors; positioning and timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us.

Almost anything is appropriate if an action is in accord with the time and place. But we must be vigilant and prepared. Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts.

When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to sieze it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.

The Power of Encouragement

Posted by Freddy on Oct-22-2011

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.
Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.
He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “Oh, these are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.”
Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Your son?” “No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

Puppies for Sale

Posted by Freddy on Oct-15-2011

It’s a fine weather on board my ship this time of the year. Not much work. Just sailing on until we hit the docks of the next destination. This is also the time to mingle with the crew members on a friendly and lighter note. I was narrating an incident that I knew to one of my crew members the other day and I could see that he was moved. I believe it is worth sharing to my readers.

A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies for Sale”. Signs like that have a way of attracting small children and sure enough, a little boy appeared by the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from Rs 300- Rs 500.”

The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have 25 rupees,” he said. “May I please look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled, out of the kennel came a lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind.

Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veterinary doctor had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.”

The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”

The little boy got quite upset. He looked into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you 25 rupees now and the same amount per month until I have him paid for.”

The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”

To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”

How Rich Are We?

Posted by Freddy on Oct-8-2011

One day a father and his rich family took his son on a trip to a village with the firm purpose to show him how poor people can be. They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“Very good Dad!” replied the son.

“Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked.

“Yeah!” the son replied.

“And what did you learn?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the garden; they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard; they have a whole horizon.” When the little boy was finished, his father was speechless. His son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how ‘poor’ we are!”

Isn’t it true that it all depends on the way you look at things? If you have love, friends, family, health, good humor and a positive attitude towards life — you’ve got everything! You can’t buy any of these things. You may have all the material possessions you can imagine, provisions for the future, etc.; but if you are poor of spirit, you have nothing!

Nails and the Fence

Posted by Freddy on Oct-1-2011

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later.