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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Be like a pencil....and other thoughtful stories

Once upon a time........A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked:

‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’

His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:

I am writing about you,... actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special.

‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’

‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’

‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’

‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.’

‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’

‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’

Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’.
-The rebirth concept. Interesting !!!!!

The Egg
By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

 You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

 “Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

 “All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

 “So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

 “Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

 “Oh lots. Lots and lots. And in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

 “Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

 “So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

 I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

 “There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

 “All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

 “Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

 “Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

 “And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

 “And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

 “Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

 “An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

Muhammad Ali's advice to his daughters...Powerful!

An incident transpired when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were quite revealing.

Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:
“When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchangedmany hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to.

Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.
Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them.”

He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

From the book: More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali's Life Lessons Through His Daughter's Eyes.-

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 back of 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.

“A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”
Feeling sorry for yourself & your present condition is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.  

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason,the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work. The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!” Very motivated for the boss’ words, the woodcutter try harder the next day,but he only could bring 15 trees. The third day he try even harder, but he only could bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked. “Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees.”

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the axe.” In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy than ever. Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp?

There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But God doesn’t want us to get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like taking time to pray, to read. We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow.

If we don’t take time to sharpen the axe, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness. So start today. Think about the ways by which you could do your job more effectively and add a lot of value to it.
_________________________________________________Benefits of speaking less
One of the most common complaints in the workplace (and even at home) is a failure to communicate effectively.The next time you are in a crowded food court or on a bus, take note of people carrying conversations with one another.Are they actually listening to one another or are they simply waiting for their turn to speak?
Try speaking less and listening more. It has its benefits.
1) You will think before you speak

Given time before you speak, you will put a little more thought into what you want to communicate to the other person. Take in what he or she is saying, and use their suggestions to support or dissuade your argument. Also, you will not end up saying something you did not intend to divulge.

2) You can process what the other person is talking about

When someone is speaking to you, it’s easy to zone out and just focus on snippets of what they’re saying.
 Listen carefully to what they are saying, how they are saying it. 
There may be an underlying issue of which you weren’t even aware, the person may be upset.
 Make sure you hear them out completely.
 3) You will only say what’s important
 If you decide to listen more, and speak less than you normally would, it would make sense to only say what needs to be said. Why waste your time talking about things that don’t matter, or don’t deserve the energy?
If you want your opinions to make an impact, you should keep your points succinct. Try to make yourself as clear as possible so that there is no room for confusion. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; Avoid trifling Conversation.”

4) You will have all of the facts before decision-time
If you spend most of your conversations listening, and you absorb the information given to you, you’ll likely have a well-rounded opinion on the outcome of any decisions that are made.
For example, if you are in a meeting with several people who have concerns about a particular issue, let each person have their say before a decision is made. If you collect all of the facts, you will be able to make a well-informed decision on the outcome.

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