The circle of joy

EM PORTUGUES AQUI: O circulo da alegria
EN ESPANOL AQUI : El circulo de alegria

Illustration by Ken Crane
And old story tells that one day, a countryman knocked hard on a monastery door. When the monk tending the gates opened up, he was given a magnificent bunch of grapes.

– Brother, these are the finest my vineyard has produced. I’ve come to bear them as a gift.

– Thank you! I will take them to the Abbot immediately, he’ll be delighted with this offering.

– No! I brought them for you. For whenever I knock on the door, it is you opens it. When I needed help because the crop was destroyed by drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a cup of wine every day.

The monk held the grapes and spent the entire morning admiring it. And decided to deliver the gift to the Abbot, who had always encouraged him with words of wisdom.

The Abbot was very pleased with the grapes, but he recalled that there was a sick brother in the monastery, and thought:

“I’ll give him the grapes. Who knows, they may bring some joy to his life.”

And that is what he did. But the grapes didn’t stay in the sick monk’s room for long, for he reflected:

“The cook has looked after me for so long, feeding me only the best meals. I’m sure he will enjoy these.”

The cook was amazed at the beauty of the grapes. So perfect that no one would appreciate them more than the sexton; many at the monastery considered him a holy man, he would be best qualified to value this marvel of nature.

The sexton, in turn, gave the grapes as a gift to the youngest novice, that he might understand that the work of God is in the smallest details of Creation. When the novice received them, he remembered the first time he came to the monastery, and of the person who had opened the gates for him; it was that gesture which allowed him to be among this community of people who knew how to value the wonders of life.

And so, just before nightfall, he took the grapes to the monk at the gates.

– Eat and enjoy them – he said. – For you spend most of your time alone here, and these grapes will make you very happy.

The monk understood that the gift had been truly destined for him, and relished each of the grapes, before falling into a pleasant sleep.

Thus the circle was closed; the circle of happiness and joy, which always shines brightly around generous people.


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Bread and circus

There is a very known saying – that goes back to the Ancient times – that states that the people only need, in order to be happy, to have “bread and circus”.

Do you think this still applies today?

Phrases about happiness

By Paulo Coelho

I do not try to understand why I believe in happiness; but I believe I can understand what it is to be happy. (Saint Anselmo)

A child on the farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse and thinks of home. (Carl Burns)

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The best way to serve God
is by going in search of your own dreams.
Only the happy can spread happiness.
(By the river Piedra I sat down and wept)

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Happiness … is a warm gun?

Today, I came upon this interview in The New York Times with Dr. Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness”. This particular part of the interview caught my eye :

Professor Happiness: The interview
by Claudia Dreifus The New York Times

(…)

Q. DO MOST OF US HARBOR UNREASONABLE NOTIONS OF WHAT HAPPINESS IS?

A. Inaccurate, flawed ideas. Few of us can accurately gauge how we will feel tomorrow or next week. That’s why when you go to the supermarket on an empty stomach, you’ll buy too much, and if you shop after a big meal, you’ll buy too little.

Another factor that makes it difficult to forecast our future happiness is that most of us are rationalizers. We expect to feel devastated if our spouse leaves us or if we get passed over for a big promotion at work.

But when things like that do happen, it’s soon, “She never was right for me,” or “I actually need more free time for my family.” People have remarkable talent for finding ways to soften the impact of negative events. Thus they mistakenly expect such blows to be much more devastating than they turn out to be.

Q. SO, IF WE DIDN’T HAVE THESE MECHANISMS, WOULD WE BE TOO DEPRESSED TO GO ON?

A. There may be something to that. People who are clinically depressed often seem to lack the ability to reframe events. That suggests that if the rest of us didn’t have this, we might be depressed as well.

(…)

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/23/healthscience/22conv.php