Archives for July 2013

Twitcam 31/Jul/2013

The story of the pencil

in “Like a flowing river”

Guadalupe

Juan Diego is walking towards Mexico City when he sees a lady covered in light.
juan-diego-virgen-guadalupe
“Go to the Bishop; I am the Virgin, I want to be honored here,” says the apparition.

Diego obeys her, but nobody pays him any attention.

The lady asks time and time again, but the Bishop says that Juan is lying.

“You could have picked someone more respected and educated – that’s the only way the Church will listen,” complains Juan to the Virgin.

“I shall send them a sign,” she said.

And flowers bloom in the middle of the desert.

Juan fills his poncho with the flowers and takes them to the church.

They still do not believe it.

When Juan opens his poncho to leave the flowers on the table, the image of the Virgin is imprinted on the cloth.

This image became known as the Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the Americas.

Until this day, all the tests to prove it false have been negative.

How to discover if something is important

The master was strolling through a field of wheat when a disciple came up to him: “I can’t tell which is the true path. What’s the secret? What does that ring on your right hand mean?” asked the master.

“My father gave it to me before dying.”

“Well, give it to me.”

The disciple obeyed, and the master tossed the ring into the middle of the field of wheat.

“Now what?” shouted the disciple.

“Now I have to stop doing everything I was doing to look for the ring! It’s important to me!”

“When you find it, remember this: you yourself answered the question you asked me. That is how you tell the true path: it is more important than all the rest.”

The right question

Gun-Zai and his disciples were walking in the country and talking about God’s miracles, when it began to rain.

They all ran to a cabin that stood close by.

When they reached there, the master turned to his pupils and said: “I shall only let you in if you give me the right answer.”

Intrigued, they all remained there under the downpour, not knowing how to please Gun- Zai.

They trembled with cold, but could not find the right answer.

Finally, after nearly two hours in the rain, one of them said: “Master, you haven’t asked any question, and here we stand like fools, looking for explanations.It isn’t wise to look for problems if we weren’t posed any problem.”

“Congratulations, that’s how we should behave in life. You may come in,” said the master, opening the door.

The camel and the critic

(Arab oral tradition)

An administrator, a painter, a poet and a critic were crossing the desert.

One night, to kill the time, they decided to describe the camel that was accompanying them.

The administrator went into the tent; in ten minutes he wrote an objective report on the animal’s importance.

The poet also took ten minutes to describe the animal’s nobility in beautiful verses.

In a few rapid strokes, the painter offered his friends a drawing.

Finally the critic entered the tent.

He came out two hours later, by which time they were all annoyed at how long he was taking.

“I tried to be quick, but I discovered flaws in the animal,” said the critic.

“It doesn’t run. It’s uncomfortable. It’s ugly.”

And he handed his friends a wad of pages with the title:
“The perfect camel, or how God should have made the camel.”

Forget this idea of seeking happiness

Countries where income is under US$ 10,000 a year are countries where the majority of the population is unhappy. However, it was discovered that from that figure upwards, monetary difference is not all that important.

A scientific study conducted on the 400 richest persons in the United States shows that they are only slightly happier than those who earn US$ 20,000.

The logical consequence: of course, poverty is something unacceptable, but the old saying that “money does not bring happiness” is being proved in laboratories.

Happiness is just another of the tricks that our genetic system plays on us to carry out its only role, which is the survival of the species.

So, to force us to eat or make love, it is necessary to add an element called “pleasure”.

However happy people say they are, nobody is satisfied: we always have to be with the prettiest woman, buy a bigger house, change cars, desire what we do not have.

This is also a subtle manifestation of the instinct of survival: at the moment when everyone feels completely happy, no-one will dare to do anything different and the world will stop evolving.

Therefore, both on the physical plane (eating, making love) and on the emotional plane (always wanting something we do not have), the evolution of humanity has dictated one important and fundamental rule: happiness cannot last.

It will always be made of moments, so we can never get comfortable in an armchair and just contemplate the world.

Conclusion: Better forget this idea of seeking happiness at any cost and look for more interesting things like unknown seas, strangers, provocative thoughts, risky experiences.

4 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure

by Grace Gordon, Huffington Post


1. Accept that failure is a reality.

Let’s be real here. No matter how much you learn and move forward from a failure in life, the fact of the matter is that failure does happen – even to the best of us. But you know what? Who cares! I’ve personally found that as soon as you accept failure as a reality, it won’t be this big, frightening thing that you once thought it was. You’d be surprised at how much freedom that gives you to move forward, try new things, and experience successes you might not have otherwise.

2.Remember past failures.
No really – think about the last failure you had in life. Did your world come crashing down around you? Even if it did (it has for me), chances are you’ve moved on, gotten past it, and have become stronger and wiser because of it. So the next time you find yourself not taking a certain chance or being crippled by the fear of failure, remember that you’ve overcome failure before…and you will again.

3.Listen to other people’s stories.
Something that has always encouraged me when it comes to taking risks despite the threat of failure is learning the stories of people who have achieved great things, or at least have gone through similar situations. Some of the biggest innovators and most successful people will admit to having gone through multiple failures before arriving to where they are now. The reason why brings me to my last point…

4.Learn, reflect, and learn some more.
You can study and memorize facts all day long, but there’s nothing that compares to the learning that comes from personal experience. Like I said before, failure is just a part of life – the key is how you deal with it. Not only is overcoming failure a huge step in building character, but reflecting on how and why the failure took place is what will set you up for success moving forward.

Useless?

taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

The younger people realise that the world is full of huge problems, which they dream of solving, but no one is interested in their views.
‘You don’t know what the world is really like,’ they are told. ‘Listen to your elders and then you’ll have a better idea of what to do.’

The older people have gained in experience and maturity, they have learned about life’s difficulties the hard way, but when the moment comes for them to teach these things, no one is interested.
‘The world has changed,’ they are told. ‘You have to keep up to date and listen to the young.’

That feeling of uselessness is no respecter of age and never asks permission, but corrodes people’s souls, repeating over and over:
‘No one is interested in you, you’re nothing, the world doesn’t need your presence.’

They don’t understand that religion was created in order to share the mystery and to worship, not to oppress or convert others.
The greatest manifestation of the miracle of God is life.

Walk neither faster nor slower than your own soul.
Because it is your soul that will teach you the usefulness of each step you take.
Sometimes taking part in a great battle will be the thing that will help to change the course of history. But sometimes you can do that simply by smiling, for no reason, at someone you happen to pass in the street.
Without intending to, you might have saved the life of a complete stranger, who also thought he was useless and might have been ready to kill himself, until a smile gave him new hope and confidence.

 
 

Those who were never defeated

Those who were never defeated seem happy and superior, masters of a truth they never had to lift a finger to achieve.
They are always on the side of the strong. They’re like hyenas, who only eat the leavings of lions.

They teach their children: ‘Don’t get involved in conflicts, you’ll only lose. Keep your doubts to yourself and you’ll never have any problems.
If someone attacks you, don’t get offended or demean yourself by hitting back. There are more important things in life.’

In the silence of the night, they fight their imaginary battles: their unrealised dreams, the injustices to which they turned a blind eye, the moments of cowardice they managed to conceal from other people – but not from themselves – and the love that crossed their path with a sparkle in its eyes, the love God had intended for them, and which they lacked the courage to embrace.

And they promise themselves: ‘Tomorrow will be different.’

But tomorrow comes and the paralysing question surfaces in their mind: ‘What if it doesn’t work out?’

And so they do nothing.
Woe to those who were never beaten! They will never be winners in this life.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

The Purpose of Religion

By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

My daughter, Heather, recommended a book to me and I have started to read it. It is called Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho and Margaret Jull Costa. As I have begun to read it, I found these two lines that struck me. “They don’t understand that religion was created in order to share the mystery and worship, not to oppress or convert others. The greatest manifestation of the miracle of God is life.”

Wow, what a mouthful. Simple, yet so difficult for most of us to do, which bothers me to no end! Last week, I was able to participate in the Valley Beth Shalom honoring of my friend and teacher, Rabbi Ed Feinstein. Ed has spent the last 20 years sharing the mystery and worship of God with all of us in Los Angeles. He has honored life and truly sees the reflection of God in each and every person. So, what stops the rest of us from doing this better?

Because we think that money, power and prestige are all that matters. Because we think that narcissism is natural and right. Because we believe that oppressing/blaming someone else will make the truth we know about our own shortcomings and errors go away! Because we believe that without converting others to “our way” we must be wrong. Because we don’t believe in anything really, so we must make another believe in “our way.”

I suggest that we follow Rabbi Ed’s example. He reaches out to the poor and gives them a meal, not a thrashing. He welcomes the stranger and gets to know them, again over a meal, without trying to convert them. He cares for the sick, the orphan and widow with words of comfort and love, not blame and disdain. Rabbi Ed is a master teacher. Yet, his actions speak so much louder than his words.

I don’t want to oppress you or convert you. I do want you to join me in being addicted to redemption. Why? So that all of us can appreciate the Miracle of God, life, a little bit more. So that all of us can share the mystery of life and God with each other and everyone else. So that all of us can join together to find the path to worship through caring for each other. So that each us can live lives of meaning, purpose and passion. Your way is good, Her way is good, and my way is good if we all are on the way to worshiping, enlarging, sharing and enjoying LIFE a little more each day.

READ THE ORIGINAL POST HERE

Glory is light

A certain warrior received a medal for each battle he won.

His friends admired his courage and the women adored his charisma.

After some years the medals were so numerous that they covered his whole uniform.

One afternoon, in the middle of a difficult combat, the warrior was almost hit by his enemy’s sword.

“I have always been the best, and today I nearly lost,” thought the warrior.

But immediately he realized what the problem was: the weight of the medals prevented him from fighting with agility.

He tossed the tunic of his uniform to the ground, returned to the battle field, and defeated his enemies.

“Victory can give me confidence, but it must not become a weight to be carried.”

Colors of belts

Wang Tsing, who is a professor of Tai Chi Chuan, now lives in Argentina, after having spent almost a decade in Sí£o Paulo.

At the age of 82, he still teaches his pupils that inner harmony is fundamental for outer happiness.

One of his disciples told me that once he wanted to know from Wang Tsing why Tai Chi does not use the system of colored belts that other martial arts use (to indicate the grade of apprenticeship).

“If you have money, you don’t carry it in your hands, you carry it in your pockets,” answered Wang.

“If you have lots of money, you don’t stuff your pockets with it, you keep it in the bank. What is the sense of walking around wearing a big belt that everyone can see, revealing all that you know?”

“A good warrior knows that strategy is far more important than vanity.”

He who loves, rejoices

A picture must possess a real power to generate light and for a long time now I’ve been conscious of expressing myself through light or rather in light.

I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have a light joyousness of springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me.

An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc.

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.

I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me. I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.

He who loves, flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free and nothing holds him back.

Work cures everything.

by Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954 )