Archives for December 2015

Irish blessing for the New Year

I lay my head to rest
and in doing so
lay at your feet
the faces I have seen
the voices I have heard
the words I have spoken
the hands I have shaken
the service I have given
the joys I have shared
the sorrows revealed
I lay them at your feet
and in doing so
lay my head to rest

Through the dark hours of this night
protect and surround us
Father, Son and Spirit, Three
Forgive the ill that we have done
Forgive the pride that we have shown
Forgive the words that have caused harm
that we might sleep peaceably
and rise refreshed to do your will
Through the dark hours of this night
protect and surround us
Father, Son and Spirit, Three
 

May the God of peace
bring peace to this house
May the Son of peace
bring peace to this house
May the Spirit of peace
bring peace to this house
this night and all nights

The yogi and the wise fool

 

Nasrudin, the wise fool of Sufi tradition, passes in front of a cave, sees a yogi in deep meditation, and asks him what he is seeking.

– I am contemplating the animals, and I learn many lessons from them which can transform a man’s life – says the yogi.

– Teach me what you know. And I will teach you what I have learned, because a fish has already saved my life – answers Nasrudin.

The yogi is surprised: only a saint can have his life saved by a fish. He decides to teach everything he knows.

When he finishes, Nasrudin says:

– Now I have taught you everything, I would be proud to know how a fish saved your life.

– It is simple. I was almost dying of hunger when I caught it, and thanks to it I was able to survive three days.

Christmas Tale : The music coming from the house

 

On Christmas Eve, the king invited the prime minister to join him for their usual walk together. He enjoyed seeing the decorations in the streets, but since he didn’t want his subjects to spend too much money on these just to please him, the two men always disguised themselves as traders from some far distant land.

They walked through the centre of the city, admiring the lights, the Christmas trees, the candles burning on the steps of the houses, the stalls selling gifts, and the men, women and children hurrying off to celebrate a family Christmas around a table laden with food.

On the way back, they passed through a poorer area, where the atmosphere was quite different. There were no lights, no candles, no delicious smells of food about to be served. There was hardly a soul in the street, and, as he did every year, the king remarked to the prime minister that he really must pay more attention to the poor in his kingdom. The prime minister nodded, knowing that the matter would soon be forgotten again, buried beneath the day-to-day bureaucracy of budgets to be approved and discussions with foreign dignitaries.

Suddenly, they heard music coming from one of the poorest houses. The hut was so ramshackle and the rotten wooden timbers so full of cracks, that they were able to peer through and see what was happening inside. And what they saw was utterly absurd: an old man in a wheelchair apparently crying, a shaven-headed young woman dancing, and a young man with sad eyes shaking a tambourine and singing a folk song.

‘I’m going to find out what they’re up to,’ said the king.

He knocked. The music stopped, and the young man came to the door.

‘We are merchants in search of a place to sleep. We heard the music, saw that you were still awake, and wondered if we could spend the night here.’

‘You can find shelter in a hotel in the city. We, alas, cannot help you. Despite the music, this house is full of sadness and suffering.’

‘And may we know why?’

‘It’s all because of me.’ It was the old man in the wheelchair who spoke. ‘I’ve spent my life teaching my son calligraphy, so that he could one day get a job as a palace scribe. But the years have passed and no post has ever come up. And then, last night, I had a stupid dream: an angel appeared to me and asked me to buy a silver goblet because, the angel said, the king would be coming to visit me. He would drink from the goblet and give my son a job.

‘The angel was so persuasive that I decided to do as he said. Since we have no money, my daughter-in-law went to the market this morning to sell her hair so that we could buy that goblet over there. The two of them are doing their best to get me in the Christmas spirit by singing and dancing, but it’s no use.’

The king saw the silver goblet, asked to be given a little water to quench his thirst and, before leaving, said to the family:

‘Do you know, we were talking to the prime minister only today, and he told us that an opening for a palace scribe would be announced next week.’

The old man nodded, not really believing what he was hearing, and bade farewell to the strangers. The following morning, however, a royal proclamation was read out in all the city streets; a new scribe was needed at court. On the appointed day, the audience room at the palace was packed with people eager to compete for that much-sought-after post. The prime minister entered and asked everyone there to prepare their paper and pens:

‘Here is the subject of the composition: Why is an old man weeping, a shaven-headed woman dancing, and a sad young man singing?’

A murmur of disbelief went round the room. No one knew how to tell such a story, apart, that is, from the shabbily dressed young man sitting in one corner, who smiled broadly and began to write.

(Based on an Indian story)

10 sec read – Changing attitudes

A university professor practices Tai Chi with enthusiasm, but little by little he becomes more tired and decides to stop.

– I am sorry, but I cannot go on – he tells his master. – After all, I have dedicated so many years to studying philosophy that I ended up forgetting my body.

– It is a pity that you are giving up. Because I too have dedicated much time to studying philosophy, and that was exactly what reminded me of my body.

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Christmas Stories (e-book)

Christmas-Stories Contes-de-Noel
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Contos-de-Natal Cuentos-de-Navidad
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Zehn-Weihnachtsgeschichten
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10 Powerful Life Lessons from The Alchemist

by Thai Nguyen Huffington Post

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of the best-selling books in history. The story of Santiago, the shepherd boy on a journey to realize his “Personal Legend” has inspired people all over the world to live their dreams.
Here are ten of the most popular passages and lessons to apply to your life:

1. Fear is a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
Any new pursuit requires entering uncharted territory — that’s scary. But with any great risk comes great reward. The experiences you gain in pursuing your dream will make it all worthwhile.

2. What is “true” will always endure
“If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.”
Truth cannot be veiled by smoke and mirrors — it will always stand firm. When you’re searching for the “right” decision, it will be the one that withstands the tests of time and the weight of scrutiny.

3. Break the monotony
“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
Gratitude is the practice of finding the good in each day. Life can easily become stagnant, mundane, and monotonous, but that changes depending on what we choose to see. There’s always a silver lining, if you look for it.

4. Embrace the present
“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”
There’s no point dwelling in the past and letting it define you, nor getting lost and anxious about the future. But in the present moment, you’re in the field of possibility — how you engage with the present moment will direct your life.

5. Your success has a ripple-effect
“That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
Growth, change, and evolution are weaved into the fabric of reality. Becoming a better version of yourself creates a ripple effect that benefits everything around you: your lifestyle, your family, your friends, your community.

6. Make the decision
“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he has never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the unknowns and finer details of your dreams. Actions will flow out of having confidence in your decision; sitting on the fence will get you nowhere.

7. Be unrealistic
“I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.”
Some of the greatest inventions would not have happened if people chose to accept the world as it is. Great achievements and innovations begin with a mindset that ignores the impossible.

8. Keep getting back up
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
Because the eighth time could be your breakthrough. Some of the greatest novels in history were published after receiving hundreds of rejections. Thankfully, those authors never gave up.

9. Focus on your own journey
“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
It’s easy to be influenced by others, but you’ll be miserable if you end up living someone else’s life. There’s nothing wrong with taking advice and learning from others, but make sure it aligns with your desires and passions.

10. Always take action
“There is only one way to learn. It’s through action.”
You can study, read, and listen until you turn blue in the face, but the full experience is when you take action, and let the rubber meet the road. Once you’re done aiming, pull the trigger.

Character of the week: Chaplin

“A day without laughter is a day wasted. Despair is a narcotic: it lulls the mind into indifference.

I do not have much patience with a thing of beauty that must be explained to be understood. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has fulfilled its purpose.

Life could be wonderful if people would leave you alone. Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.

I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.

I suppose that’s one of the ironies of life doing the wrong thing at the right moment. What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning

I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man. That´s the trouble with the world: we all despise ourselves

In the end, everything is a gag.”

Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin, KBE (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor and film director of the silent film era.

20 sec reading: “I’d rather be in hell”

 

Illustration by Ken Crane
As soon as he died, Juan found himself in a gorgeous place, surrounded by all the comfort and beauty he had dreamed of.

A fellow dressed in white approached him and said, “You have the right to have whatever you want; any food, pleasure or amusement.”

Charmed, Juan did everything he dreamed of doing during his life. After many years of pleasures, he sought the fellow in white and asked, “I have already experienced everything I wanted. Now I need to work in order to feel useful.”

“I am sorry,” said the fellow in white, “but that is the only thing I am unable to give you. There is no work here.”

“How terrible,” Juan said annoyed, “I will spend eternity dying of boredom! I’d much rather be in hell!”
The man in white approached him and said in a low voice:

“And where do you think you are?”

I don’t know God

Sometimes we criticize lack of faith in others.
We aren’t capable of understanding the circumstances in which this faith has been lost, nor do we try to alleviate our brother’s misery – and this causes revolt and incredulity in the divine power.

Humanist Robert Owen traveled all over England talking of God.
In the 19th century it was common to use child labor in heavy work, and one afternoon Owen stopped at a coal mine where an undernourished twelve-year-old boy was lugging a heavy sack of bricks.
‘I am here to help you talk to God’, said Owen.
‘Thanks very much, but I don’t know him. He must work in another mine’, answered the boy.

How can you expect a boy in those conditions to be able to believe in God?

Understand that you are not alone when you want Divine Justice to make itself manifest on this Earth. In the Middle Ages the Gothic cathedrals were built by several generations. This prolonged effort helped the participants to organize their thoughts, to give thanks and to dream.
The desire to build a better world remains in our heart. We are building the cathedrals of tomorrow. Let’s meet the right people and do it together

Becoming yourself

Isn’t there some sure way of establishing this dialogue with the Divine, like meditation, for instance? Or endeavoring to make myself better every day?

This question reveals a person committed to an idea, and if that question can always be kept present, everything will fit together.
The ideal conditions that we are looking for don’t exist. We shall never be able to get rid of certain defects.

The trick lies in knowing that despite all our flaws you have a reason for being here, and we have to honor that reason.

Try to go beyond the limits that you are used to. For ten minutes a day, be that person you have always wanted to be.
If the problem is shyness, stimulate conversation.
If the problem is guilt, feel approved. If you think that the world ignores you, try consciously to attract everyone’s looks. Y
ou will experience the occasional difficult situation, but it’s worth it.

If for ten minutes a day you can manage to be what you dreamed, you are already making great progress.