Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Stories Around the World

Mosaic Aspects of the Golden Rule

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the greatest benefits and downfalls of the social order is, being subject to and as well as adding to the actions and behaviour that affects not just own but also others. Ranging from the work place to the general market, local stores, neighbourhood and community fronts or even on the routine commute; one comes across a number of situations where direct involvement or even being an indirect viewer; where one may object to an “n” number of things. Yet dealing with those situations should be done in a very tact, moralistic and delicate manner, learning not to impart offense but to be at peace aftermath.

“When a man is guided by the principles of reciprocity and consciousness, he is not far from the moral law. Whatever you don’t wish for yourself don’t do unto others.” Confucius

One of the Golden Rules of the Social Order often quoted in almost every religious and ancient philosophical writings of behavioural and social precepts like the New Testament, Talmud, Koran, the Analects of Confucius and many more; state that one should behave and act towards others as one would want it to be done to one’s self. To quote one of the earliest appearances in English is Earl Rivers’ translation of a saying of Socrates ( Dictes and Sayenges of the Philosophirs , 1477): “Do to other as thou wouldst they should do to thee, and do to none other but as thou wouldst be done to.”

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Mathew 7:12)

One of the commands based on words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, this Mosaic law holds a parallel commandment: “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.” Despite the universal saying of “What goes around, comes around”, at times the temptation to strike back is very high. Yet the effect, guilt, regrets and remorse aftermath is more min and conscience numbing. Instead holding back may be more internally satisfactory for one. Whether the behaviour we unto others may benefit us at a later stage or not, is irrelevant for by doing the right then, we will be so much more at peace within for a long time.

“The reason for our success is no secret. It comes down to one single principle that transcends time and geography, religion and culture. It’s the Golden Rule – the simple idea that if you treat people well, the way you would like to be treated, they will do the same.” Isadore Sharp

Two Neighbors

A wise and successful man bought a beautiful house with a huge orchard. But, not all were happy for him. An envious man lived in an old house next to him. He constantly tried to make his fellow neighbor’s stay in the beautiful house as miserable as possible. He threw garbage under his gate and made other nasty things. One fine day the wise man woke up in a good mood and went into the porch to notice buckets of garbage thrown there. The man took a bucket , cleaned his porch. He carried a bucket and went to knock his envious neighbor‘s door. The envious neighbor heard a knock at his door and gleefully thought, “ I finally got him!”. He answered his door ready to quarrel with his successful neighbor. However the wise man gave him a bucket of freshly picked apples saying, “The one who is rich in something, shares it with others.”

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” Benjamin Disraeli

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Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Work

From the Ashes to Hope

“The darkest hours are just before dawn.” English proverb

Of recent times, the town had seen a couple of new start ups’, businesses that have been flourishing over the past three years. Initially they had started small, one had crashed in between and had later had caught on; while few others had stayed steady on from the beginning. Yet what comes to mind on walking down the market road, was how fragile time is and how we must learn to rise up every now and then from the ashes of our efforts, similar to the phoenix.

“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” Jonas Salk

 

As per the Greek mythology, the phoenix (Ancient Greek: φοῖνιξ, phoînix) was a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. The phoenix is believed to die in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again. Among the different traditions concerning the lifespan of the phoenix, by most accounts the phoenix lived for 500 years before rebirth. Among the old records of Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, Pope Clement I, Ovid among others, the retelling and transmission of the phoenix motif has been done in detail. As per these historical records, the phoenix symbolized renewal in general as well as the sun, time, the Empire, metempsychosis, consecration, resurrection, life in the heavenly Paradise, Christ, Mary, virginity, the exceptional man, and certain aspects of Christian life”. In the Old English Exeter Book,  an anonymous 677-line 9th-century alliterative poem has been written consisting of a paraphrase and abbreviation of Lactantius, followed by an explication of the Phoenix as an allegory for the resurrection of Christ.

Þisses fugles gecynd fela gelices
bi þam gecornum Cristes þegnum;
beacnað in burgum hu hi beorhtne gefean
þurh Fæder fultum on þar frecnan tid
healdaþ under heofonum & him heanna blæd
in þam uplican eðle gestrynaþ. (In the Original Old English)

This bird’s nature is much like
to the chosen servants of Christ;
pointeth out to men how they bright joy
through the Father’s aid in this perilous time
may under heaven possess, and exalted happiness
in the celestial country may gain. (In Modern English translation )

Source:Thorpe, Benjamin; Corson, Hiram (1842). “Codex exoniensis. A collection of Anglo-Saxon poetry, from a manuscript in the library of the dean and chapter of Exeter”. p. 244.

 

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller

In the various phases of one’s life, we have all our “phoenix” moments, to rise from the ashes of downfall. With the turn from winter to spring, nature teaches us time and again that hope will bear fruit as long as we aim to work for it. With the new crops planted in the last few weeks, one can hardly believe that few months ago it was the time of cold, dry and rainy days of the winters. As the season changes and time moves on, staying stuck lasts only as long as we allow it to be so. Like all plans and dreams that may be fulfilled or go astray; it’s the will to survive that beats the intermittent thunders and storms in one’s life as well as to dust ourselves from the ashes to start rebuilding.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu

 

I will return as grass in spring,
I’ll try to reach you, germinating,
As buds reach forward to the green
When they are waiting to awaken.

To start the blossoming anew
One morning, secretly and shyly,
Already sparkling with the dew,
That dries away if sun is shining.

The sun arises every time
To warm the humid earth for seeding,
It reaches joyously your eyes
But I already do not see it.

It cannot raise my heavy eaves,
My closed eyelids, cannot force them.
And it’s ridiculous to grieve
For me as for a single person.

For I am grass and autumn leaves
That fly and fall to putrefaction,
But there is nothing new in these
Banal ideas and reflections.

It’s the eternal hope and dream –
To be, to stay, at least, as grass does,
To grow through the soil in spring
And join the life, the new one, lasting.

Gennady Shpalikov

 

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes

Unexpected Rays of “Providence”

“Every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, which will ‘turn the necessity to glorious gain.” C.S. Lewis

Unexpected occasions arise in one’s life at different points in their time frame. Yet while one mayn’t look for it, help often comes by His Grace.

Often unexpectedly, at a good hour, one may meet a person who disperses the clouds that have gathered in our soul, unwittingly resolving some of our personal problems.

” “Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? “They are high as the heavens, what can you do? Deeper than Sheol, what can you know? “Its measure is longer than the earth And broader than the sea.” (Job 11:7-9)

Often it may be so that one happens to hear from another person a word that pleases them, or to say someone an encouraging word. Or suddenly one may receive a letter from someone, and precisely when it is necessary be it at a low point in one’s life or when one has been waiting for the “lost” opportunity for some time.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Often when one is deeply entangled in the circumstances life has thrown them into, when one is desperately trying to reason within their views and thinking, trying to get out of the hopeless situation; when suddenly something happens that radically changes the situation. Thus by inference unexpected meetings, kind words, cherished and promised letters and such situations as well as kind deeds towards oneself are all signs given to as reminders, lessons, admonitions, encouragement or as a call to remind one of the Grace of God and the gift of Providence.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Mathew 6:26)

Among the phrases handed down in the various cultures, there is a Chinese saying that all the darkness of the universe can not extinguish the smallest candle. It would do well to remember this during the dark phases of one’s life. When one knows and learns of this, the most ugly situations and the most terrible people may be viewed by different angles and seek out the spark of light. For Providence does indeed hold out the light, only it mayn’t be somewhere expected. When one believes in His Grace, Faith and Love; along the way one will find the rays that Providence throws offering the sparks and the rays to live.

“Numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had ‘our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.’ We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up.” Samuel Adams

“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)

“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”
― Corrie ten Boom

“……and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation…” (Acts 17:26)

Posted in Christian, Life, Personal Musings, Reflections

Of Easter, Hope and New Beginnings

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25 )

Easter, known as Pascha (Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, occurring on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD.

For the practicing Christian, Easter symbolizes love, forgiveness, renewal and hope. It signifies the ultimate triumph against the inner conflict of sin, that man is always prone to. Easter also highlights the grace of God, the ultimate sacrifice of His Son as well as new beginnings through Christ.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Saint Augustine

Sacrifice is never easy. The modern day concept of love often mars the age old concept of “sacrifice”. Today the love is affirmed by open declarations and shows of splendour, lavishness, gifts and many more outlandish, expensive or exotic ways; all more or less involving materialism, wealth, money and riches. The old love of making a cup of tea for the better half, picking up cloths and socks off the floor to help reduce the chores, helping in the cooking, cleaning, washing and above all, making time to be just there at the most difficult, stressful times as well as lending an ear and hand, all involves “love” of the sacrificial type. To discern the true bonds of love among “better halves”, family and friends, is never easy but involves immense and mutual understanding, kindness, sacrifice, acceptance and forgiveness.

“Love always involves responsibility, and love always involves sacrifice. And we do not really love Christ unless we are prepared to face His task and to take up His Cross.” William Barclay

How more magnificent is the love and grace of God towards his creation, Man. Sacrificing His Son for the sins of man, even though He was innocent. Agape love or “selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love” describes the kind of love Jesus Christ has for his Father and for his followers.” As the Corinthian Love teaches us ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-8), love can indeed go a long way to bring humaneness back into the modern living.

“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:5-6)

The proof of Good over Evil, Right over the Wrong and Truth over Sin, is highlighted by the resurrection of Christ, marking Easter. The significance of Eternal Life is highlighted. Although man decries his own fellow beings with heresy, false accusations, biased notions and framed wrong doings; in the end truth will always be revealed, if not now then later. Through His Resurrection, the war against good and evil is highlighted; bringing second chances as well as hope to man.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Ephesians 1:7-10

The underlying theme of Christian faith is echoed in Easter. Echoed through the concept of living sacrifice, as seen through Easter, the worldly lives don’t conform by the rules of the world, but by the laws of the Lord and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. True Faith involves love, hope, kindness, gentleness and above all, forgiveness for one’s own faults more than others. Easter symbolizes the hope of renewal, love of God, His Grace, His Mercy, His Forgiveness as redemption through Christ. The messages of Easter when echoed through the Christian Life year round, as well as one can, would make a small but huge difference to one’s own life as well as the lives around us. Most of all, one can be at peace within and live the given life on Earth to the tunes of own happiness, contentment as well as harmony.

“The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” Basil Hume

 

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Reflections, Work

Anxious to Spill

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” Charles Spurgeon

One of the worse things of happy times and days when everything goes as per the plan, is the niggling sense foreboding that something bad is going to happen. The problem arise most when we are doing well, yet one doesn’t understand how is it so and we often look for an excuse and cause for concern. One thinks of what will happen in a few years, after the exams, when children attend school or when the economy takes a turn for the worse. Worse of all are the thoughts of what will happen when one dies suddenly, about the events after, especially for loved ones, family, spouse, children, inheritance and life in general.

“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.” Wayne Dyer

Anxiety is a painful condition often invented by man. Consequently we age ahead of our time; torturing ourselves as well as others with our wandering thoughts, imagination, speculations and scenarios that have yet to happen. Learning to put them to rest and submit our concerns to God, time and Faith will limit the “constant anxiety” which tries to pull us down and bind its’ chains around us.

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.” Henry Ward Beecher

What we very often fail to remember is that our life is a gift from God above. Every second and minute is precious. So worry about each problem or issue once and as they come. For each sequence of events can turn out to be different, many a time, beyond our control. Try not to make our mind overrun with one’s imagination based on the present, for that alone is to blame for the scenarios in the mind that are invented, drawing from events that haven’t yet happened. There is a fine line between imagination and discernment. Learning to distinguish between both will help us enjoy the happiness that the present day life offers.

“My anxiety doesn’t come from thinking about the future but from wanting to control it.” Hugh Prather

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27).

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Set the Glass Down

“Goodnight. Sleep tight.”

As we say these words to the young and dear ones, flashbacks of our younger days come to mind. If one remembers our childhood nights of bedtime stories and goodnight hugs; the nights today would have a feeling of uneasiness at times with night with “insomnia” or related like event, when the nights are spent in restlessness. Looking over the years, as we grow up sleepless nights became the trend. From blissful sleep of childhood, pulling an all-nighter with friends; then later on around the exams and finally in college to adult life; the trend of “staying up all night” transformed from being a trend to “the norm”. The thought that surfaces to mind is , “when was the last time we slept well?”

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances.” Andrew J. Bernstein

Analyzing the nights where we toss and turn the bed covers, not sleeping a wink would be reasons ranging from a newborn to sick child or pending work, spouse’s absence, health issues and the list is endless. While some of these reasons are not in our hands to control or fathom; others’ can be controlled by containing our thoughts and putting our trust into our Faith.

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” Hans Selye

Life has given us whole causes for sleepless nights. Yet in the face of the hurdles, once we learn to lighten the burden with reason, immense Faith and Hope; the world tomorrow mayn’t be so bad. Whether we drive ourselves crazy with worry or not, what will happen will happen. Is it worth losing our sleep on these things ?

“Stress and worry, they solve nothing. What they do is block creativity. You are not even able to think about the solutions. Every problem has a solution.” Susan L. Taylor

“Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical ‘glass half empty or glass half full’ question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, ‘How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?’
Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds. She replied, ‘From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.’

As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, ‘Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.’”

“‘Sunrise Sunset’ is about trying to get to a place where life is simple and not letting the stress and happenings in the world get in the way of your happiness.” Benny Cassette

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

Once Upon A Time

“…..And they lived happily after.”

One of the many endings often read; fairy tales and bed time classics have been going around for years, doing their fair share of imagination, creativity and togetherness during the childhood years. From the far-fetched tales of talking animals to almost realistic tales; fairy tale also known as magic tale or Marchen is a folklore genre, which typically features dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants to list a few. The common thread between various folklore tales across the globe is the “moral sense” of right and wrong being instilled in the young minds.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Neil Gaiman

As we grow up, we start cross examining these stories with reality. Then why do we need fairy tales? What are we seeking for in them? Do fairy-tales help us dream of good, affection, triumph over evil ? Are fairy-tales and classics a mirage that hide the true realities of life from children ?

“There is many a monster who wears the form of a man; it is better of the two to have the heart of a man and the form of a monster. ” -Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast

In the fairy tale, joy and love wins with everything being fair especially at the end. From the brave princes to Snow White and mermaids, kind old dwarf to naughty elves; fairy tales bring to life cozy home, adventures and dreams. Yet is the reality different or can we chose to make the best of the beginnings and endings that we receive ?

“Outside, on the bough of a tree, sat the living nightingale. She had heard of the emperor’s illness, and was therefore come to sing to him of hope and trust. And as she sung, the shadows grew paler and paler.” -Hans Christian Andersen, “The Nightingale”

Far from being extinct, fairy tales do have reasons to stay. The start of any fairy tale is one of adventure, inspiration and dreams. As the story unfolds and trials start; the fight against evil, the power of hope and reassurance that despite all odds things will turn out to be alright in the end when we believe in the true power of love, kindness, honesty and persevere for our dreams. Reassuring us to be ourselves, being honest and treasuring the gifts of life are few of the many subtle messages hidden in a fairy tale or the classics.

“You’re entirely bonkers, but I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In the modern era of “smart technology”, preserving the art of reading aloud, bonding together and family time would go a long way into modeling our children for the future. So read them fairy tales once in a while. Give them stories to love, cherish and dream on. Maybe later in this world it would be easier for them to survive, cope, adapt and live life to their dreams.

“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” Hans Christian Andersen