Archives for October 2017

Incompetence behind authority

Jean was walking with his grandfather through a public square in Paris.
At a certain point, he saw a shoemaker being mistreated by a client, whose footwear showed a flaw. The shoemaker listened calmly to the complaint and apologized, promising to correct the error.

Jean and his grandfather stopped to have coffee at a bistro.
At the table next to them, the waiter asked a man to move his chair a little in order to make space. That man burst into a torrent of complaints and refused to move.

“Never forget what you have seen today,” Jean’s grandfather said, “the shoemaker accepted the complaint, while this man next to us didn’t want to move.

“Useful men, who do useful things, don’t mind being treated as useless.

“But the useless always judge themselves as being important and hide all their incompetence behind authority.”

 

Taken from “Like a flowing river”

20 SEC reading: the rich and the poor boy

An old Arab story goes that two boys – one rich and the other poor – were returning home from the market.

The rich boy bought honey-covered cookies and the poor one, a piece of old bread.

‘I will let you eat my cookie if you play the dog for me,’ the rich boy said.

The poor boy accepted and, on his fours on the walkway, he began to eat the rich boy’s goodies.

The wise man Fath, who was watching the scene, said:

‘If this poor boy had a little bit of dignity he would find out a way of making money.

‘But he prefers to turn into the rich boy’s dog in order to eat his cookies.
‘Tomorrow, when he is grown up, he will do the same for a public office and will be capable of betraying his country for a bag of gold.’

Elk-Shaped Structure Discovered in Russia

A huge geoglyph in the shape of an elk or deer discovered in Russia may predate Peru’s famous Nazca Lines by thousands of years.

The animal-shaped stone structure, located near Lake Zjuratkul in the Ural Mountains, north of Kazakhstan, has an elongated muzzle, four legs and two antlers. A historical Google Earth satellite image from 2007 shows what may be a tail, but this is less clear in more recent imagery.

Excluding the possible tail, the animal stretches for about 900 feet (275 meters) at its farthest points (northwest to southeast), the researchers estimate, equivalent to two American football fields. The figure faces north and would have been visible from a nearby ridge.


A man named Alexander Shestakov first discovered the glyphs using satellite images. He alerted researchers, who sent out a hydroplane and paraglider to survey the giant structure.

This has since progressed to an on-the-ground excavation by a team led by Grigoriev. They’ve found that the stone architecture of the geoglyph is quite elaborate. When they excavated part of a hind leg the largest stones were on the edges, the smaller ones inside. This past summer they also found the remains of passageways and what appear to be small walls on the hoof and muzzle of the animal.

“The hoof is made of small crushed stones and clay. It seems to me there were very low walls and narrow passages among them. The same situation in the area of a muzzle: crushed stones and clay, four small broad walls and three passages,” Grigorievwrote in an email to LiveScience. He cautioned that his team didn’t excavate all the way down to the bottom of the walls, not wishing to damage the geoglyph.

(read this very interesting article by CLICKING HERE )

20 sec reading: the giant tree


By Paulo Coelho

A carpenter and his apprentices were travelling through the province of Qi in search of building materials.
They saw a giant tree; five men all holding hands could not encompass its girth, and its crown reached almost to the clouds.

‘Let’s not waste our time with this tree,’ said the master carpenter. ‘It would take us for ever to cut it down. If we wanted to make a ship out of that heavy trunk, the ship would sink. If we tried to use it to build a roof, the walls would have to be specially reinforced.’

The group continued on its way. One of the apprentices remarked:

‘Such a big tree and no use to anyone!’

‘That’s where you’re wrong,’ said the master carpenter. ‘The tree was true to its own destiny.
“If it had been like all the others, we would have cut it down. But because it had the courage to be different, it will remain alive and strong for a long time yet.’

Illustration by Ken Crane

Men and women were not as they are now

“According to him [Plato], at the beginning of creation, men and women were not as they are now; there was just one being, who was rather short, with a body and a neck, but his head had two faces, looking in different directions. It was as if two creatures had been glued back to back, with two sets of sex organs, four legs and four arms.

“The Greek gods, however, were jealous, because this creature with four arms work harder; with its two faces, it was always vigilant and could not be taken by surprise; and its four legs meant that it could stand or walk for long periods at a time without tiring. Even more dangerous was the fact that the creature had two different sets of sex organs and so needed no one else in order to continue reproducing.

“Zeus, the supreme lord of Olympus, said: ‘I have a plan to make these mortals lose some of their strength.’

“And he cut the creature in two with a lightning bolt, thus creating man and woman. This greatly increased the population of the world, and, at the same time, disoriented and weakened its inhabitants, because now they had to search for their lost half and embrace it and, in that embrace, regain their former strength, their ability to avoid betrayal and the stamina to walk for long periods of time and to withstand hard work. That embrace in which the two bodies re-fuse to become one again is what we call sex.”

– Ralf Hart (in Eleven Minutes)

1 min leitura: As duas jóias

Um rabino muito religioso vivia  feliz com sua família – uma esposa admirável e dois filhos queridos. Certa vez, por causa de seu trabalho, teve que se ausentar de casa por vários dias.

Justamente quando estava fora, um grave acidente de carro matou os dois meninos.

Sozinha, a mãe sofreu em silêncio. Mas sendo uma mulher forte, sustentada pela fé e pela confiança em Deus, suportou o choque. Entretanto, como dar ao esposo a triste notícia? Embora também sendo um homem de fé, ele já tinha sido internado por problemas cardíacos no passado, e a mulher temia que o conhecimento da tragédia acarretasse também a sua morte.

Restava apenas rezar para que Deus lhe aconselhasse a melhor maneira de agir. Na véspera da chegada do marido, orou muito – e recebeu a graça de uma resposta.

No dia seguinte, o rabino retornou ao lar, abraçou longamente a esposa, e perguntou pelos filhos. A mulher disse que não se preocupasse com isso, tomasse seu banho, descansasse.

Horas depois os dois sentaram-se para almoçar. Ela lhe pediu detalhes sobre a viagem, ele contou tudo o que tinha vivido, falou sobre a misericórdia de Deus – mas tornou a perguntar pelos meninos.

A esposa, numa atitude um tanto embaraçada, respondeu ao marido:

– Primeiro quero que me ajude a resolver um problema que considero grave.Enquanto você esteve ausente, um amigo nosso visitou-me e deixou duas  jóias de valor incalculável, para que as guardasse. São jóias muito preciosas! Jamais vi algo tão belo! Ele vem buscá-las e eu não estou disposta a devolvê-las, pois já me afeiçoei a elas. O que você me diz?

– Ora mulher! Não estou entendendo o seu comportamento! Você nunca cultivou vaidades!

– É que nunca havia visto jóias assim! Não consigo aceitar a idéia de perde-las para sempre!

E o rabino respondeu com firmeza:

– Ninguém perde o que não possui. Retê-las equivaleria a roubo! Vamos devolvê-las, eu a ajudarei a superar a falta delas. Faremos isso juntos, hoje mesmo.

– Pois bem, meu querido, seja feita a sua vontade. O tesouro será devolvido. Na verdade isso já foi feito.

“As jóias preciosas eram nossos filhos. Deus os confiou a nossa guarda, e durante a sua viagem veio buscá-los. Eles se foram…”

O rabino compreendeu na mesma hora. Abraçou a esposa, e juntos derramaram muitas lágrimas – mas tinha entendido a mensagem, e a partir daquele dia lutaram para superar juntos a perda.

1 min reading: the two jewels

A deeply religious Rabbi lived happily with his family, an admirable woman and two dear sons. One time, he had to be away from home for several days due to work. When he was away, a serious car accident killed his two boys.

Alone, the mother suffered in silence. But being a strong woman, backed up by her faith and trust in God, she endured the shock with dignity and bravery. However, she constantly worried how she was going to break this sad news to her husband. Even though he was a man of faith, he had already been admitted to the hospital for cardiac problems in the past and his wife feared that learning about the tragedy would kill him too.

On the eve of her husband’s arrival, she prayed earnestly and was given the grace of an answer.

On the following day, the Rabbi returned home, embraced his wife warmly and asked for their sons.
His wife told him not to worry about that, he should take a shower and rest.

Hours later, both of them sat down to have lunch.
She asked him for details about his journey, he told her about everything he had experienced, spoke of God’s mercy, but asked about the boys again.

His wife, in a quiet embarrassed posture, answered her husband, “Leave them alone, we’ll worry about them later. First I want you to help me solve a problem I consider serious.”

Her husband, already worried, asked, “What happened? I noticed you are worn! Tell me everything that goes through your soul and I am sure we will solve any problem together, with the help of God.”

“While you were away, a friend of ours visited me and left two jewels of incalculable worth for us to save. Those are very precious jewels! I have never seen something so stunning! He is coming to get them back and I don’t want to give them back to him as I have already taken a liking to them. What do you say?”

“Well now, woman! I don’t understand you! Vanities have never appealed to you!”
“It is that I had never seen such jewels! I can’t accept the idea of losing them forever!”

And the Rabbi answered:
“No one loses what he doesn’t own. Keeping them would be like stealing! We are going to return them and I will help you get over them. We will do that together, today.”

“Very well, my dear, as you wish. The treasure will be returned. In truth, that has already been done. The precious jewels were our sons. God trusted us their guard and during your trip he came to get them. They are gone…”

The Rabbi embraced his wife, and together they shed many tears, but he had understood the message and from that day on they fought to overcome the loss together.

All we need is today

“All we need is the morning. As long as there is sunrise, then there is the possibility that we can face all of our misfortunes, celebrate all our blessings, and live all our endeavors as human beings.
Spirituality is something that has become necessary in these troubled times. Yet it is inherently superfluous.
We need it to remind ourselves, to bolster ourselves, to integrate ourselves, to fulfill ourselves.
If we could simply acknowledge the mystery of night and the glory of morning, we would need neither civilization nor spirituality.

At its simplest, life begins with dawn. That is blessing enough. All else becomes fullness immeasurable. At dawn, kneel down and give thanks for this wonderful event.
We may think mornings are so common they are unworthy of veneration, but do you realize most places in the cosmos do not have mornings?

This daily event is our supreme goodness. Greet the dawn. That is your miracle to witness. That is the ultimate beauty. That is sacredness. That is your gift from heaven.
That is knowledge that life is not futile. That is enlightenment. That is your meaning in life. That is your directive.
That is your comfort. That is the solemnity of duty. That is inspiration for compassion. That is the light of the ultimate.”

~Deng Ming-Dao from 365 Tao: Daily Meditations

The name of the angel

A baby asked God, “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”

“Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.”

The child further inquired, “But tell me, here in heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy.”

God said, “Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel’s love and be very happy.”

Again the child asked, “And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don’t know the language?”

God said, “Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”

“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?”

God said, “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.”

“Who will protect me?”

God said, “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it’s life.”

“But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.”

God said, “Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.”

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, “God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”

“You will simply call her, ‘Mom.'”

 

(unknown)