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

Seeing through “Piper’s” Eyes

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Aldous Huxley

As a part of restricting “media-time” for my toddler, an allotted period of one hour is given for viewing any “smart screen” device. Being too small to understand complex cartoons, the tastes range from the all-time favourite of “Mickey Mouse”, to “Tom and Jerry” among the few that he likes. Yet once in a while, animation movies feature in the list, especially over the weekend. Last week it was “Piper”, the Oscar Animation Movie Winner (2018) which though lasted for around three minutes carries a wealth of meaning.

“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” Jon Bon Jovi

This short animation film revolves around the dog who when accompanying his master on the morning fishing trip, chases away a heron who tries to repeatedly snatch the worms stored as bait in the can. After the successful attempt of chasing it away, the dog watches as it flies back to its’ nest of three young kids where its’ small young ones refuse to feed on the “hard” fish and are crying for “soft” food. With understanding and compassion on its’ face, the little dog offers an entire ball of worms to the stork. A little while later, the dog is startled when the fish is being dropped on the deck by the heron. Realizing that the numerous fish caught in the heron’s beak is for them, in return for the kindness shown earlier, both the dog and the master are elated with the morning’s outcome.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” W.B. Yeats

Highlighting the concept of “humaneness”, this movie brings to light how the “real life” may actually differ for one person, when another views them as a “nuisance”. Each one of us have their own set of struggles everyday. Some will receive help, others will not. Few will use the help the right way, while the rest may waste it away. With varied sets of worries wearing one down, no one can be viewed as “bad” unless given a chance to “reform” and set things right.

Humanity does matter, for there in lies the core of man’s social co-existence and inner peace. When one opens the doors of humanity, one realizes that the “shades of gray” do colour the world and set a different picture from what was initially perceived. Each one of us need to give others’ a second chance and deal with others’ with humanness; for one day when we are in despair or in a downfall, we may need it too. As we learn to practice the art of humaneness with patience, fortitude,  love, kindness and hope; the chain of events started off will make a difference for the better in the lives of those around us too. 

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” William Blake

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

The “Atmosphere” Around Us

Once a wise man was asked: “How can you recognize a good man?”
The sage replied: “This is not what he says or what he seems to be, but the atmosphere that is created in his presence. That is what evidence is. For no one is able to create an atmosphere that does not belong to his spirit.”

In the daily, once-in-a-while or chance encounters in our life, there are numerous people that we meet. Like the colleague from another department whom we meet when at lunch once in a while or the acquaintance at the gym or at the coffee shop line up whose times match ours and so on. The list is endless. Yet some people stay on in our minds. While these people may have done something remarkable, friendly or not; their presence is noted by us and at times we look forward to those encounters. What makes those “chance encounters” significant ? May be its’ because we like to meet them or they remind us of ourselves or simply put, it may be because of the aura or atmosphere around them.

“People are sent into our lives to teach us things that we need to learn about ourselves.” Mandy Hale

Each person has a presence about them, reflecting their state of mind. When one is happy, we spread the happiness. When one is constantly plagued by troubled thoughts and insecurities, the “feel” around us would be one of “worries”. Likewise this “feel around us ” is what others perceive. We reflect ourselves around.

“It is when you lose sight of yourself, that you lose your way. To keep your truth in sight you must keep yourself in sight and the world to you should be a mirror to reflect to you your image; the world should be a mirror that you reflect upon.” C. JoyBell C.

Whether is it really important to concern ourselves with ” the atmosphere” we create, is a matter of perspective. In today’s society, life has innumerable opportunities and chances. Yet by constantly blocking them with the “negative vibes” around us would cause more regrets and lost “chances” down the lane. When a person has a good feel around them, spreading the happiness; we internally learn to deal and overcome the sorrows that we hold. Life is not always a cup of tea. Even for the “most rich and bountiful” it holds true in some aspect or the other. Just as no one is perfect, a person with a really perfect life is an abstract thought or reality. Each one has their own share of difficulties; but whether we chose to carry them like a “heavy bucket” along with us or learn to use them to “water other opportunities” in our lives; is in our hands. The choice is always one’s own.

“Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others, because the world outside you is only a reflection of the world inside you.” Unknown

More than words or emotions, it’s the vibes around us that stay on. We need “happiness” to live life with serenity. The “vibes” we create, tempered with kind thoughts, honest words and sincere actions, goes a long way in giving the “good feel” within us. The latter is what goes around and helps us in the quest of finding as well as living with happiness.

“The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.” Iyanla Vanzant

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Of the White Handkerchief

” We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many of us, during our school or college days, may have those “friends” who were a part of needless teasing and mocking group who had often made days miserable, troublesome and quite depressing, in those times. Fast forward years later, when emails and contact with them were kept to a bare minimum or ignored to prevent emotional setbacks, thinking of those days. Suddenly out of the blue, a phone call or an appointment with the very same people who were directly or indirectly involved then. Will it be within each one of us to forgive them or not ? The old adage, “let bygones be bygone” may sound simple; but when faced with reality, it will never be easy.

“13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

As life and time teaches us again and again; there would be nothing good in fostering the hatred, regrets or dark memories. While those may have happened, it’s how we move on ahead that matters.

” 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ( Ephesians 4:31-32)

On abetting the bad memories, we often lose out on enjoying and gaining our own happiness in life. When one part of us says, “forgive and move on” and the other holds us back with “the memories”; learn to chose the right one.

” 3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” ( Luke 17:3-4)

All of us have been bad in someone’s books; which we may or mayn’t know about. When given a chance or opportunity to “do good”, do so without letting the memories of “what has happened with them” keep us from doing the right thing. We all need forgiveness from somebody at some point of our life, be it at the resent, in the past or the future. As life and the scriptures teach us, unless we learn to hold the olive branch; no one will lend us one or share the one in our hand. Above all what goes around, comes back to us; so despite all the setbacks and disappointments or dark memories of people, be kind, forgive and do good; if not for their happiness but for our happiness as well as one’s own peace of mind.

“25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

White Handkerchief

Freed from imprisonment, he returned home by train. The railway ran through their native places, and approaching its station, it would certainly pass by its native home. But the closer the house came, the more restless it became in his heart. It was hard for him to realize; how much grief he brought to his parents.
Despite the fact that the separation lasted for many years, he loved his parents and dreamed of meeting with them. The fact that he often neglected the love of his parents was even more his than the crime he committed.
He was not at all sure whether they would accept him at home or not. Therefore, he wrote home a letter in advance asking; hang a white handkerchief in the yard if parents are ready to take it. If the scarf will not …
However, the closer the house came, the stronger the heart beats. The house is still far away, but he does not take his eyes off, looks intently into the distance, to the place where people endlessly close to him live.
They are waiting for me at home, or I, the outcast, have to roam the world; for many days these thoughts have not given him peace.
As slowly as this train goes, it seems that it deliberately intensifies its suffering with its slow speed.
And in the distance they appeared at home. Soon will be his home. There is a white handkerchief in the courtyard of the house or not …
And suddenly … tears gushed from his eyes. He saw his home and yard, which was covered with large white sheets … ( Translated from Russian)

This above story may have been shared with similar versions across the world, either by word of mouth or in some forgotten book or been told an acquaintance or friends as “real stories” to those known by them. Maybe this story is one of those that emerge every few years, told new in one form or another. Even though the setting and the people may shift; the message endures. The feeling that it did happen, somewhere and at sometime helps one to believe int he spirit of forgiveness as well as the kindness, love and humaneness of man and society.

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Meltzer

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World

To Say Something

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”.

For avid animation film viewers or parents of children, Bambi may have made an appearance on their screens or watch list. As the original movie Bambi (1942) revolves around the life of a fawn, who would be the future guardian of the forest; one of his close friends was an eager, energetic rabbit named Thumper.

When Bambi, newly born, was being presented to all the forest creatures as the future young prince of the glen, Thumper remarks accurately that he is “kinda wobbly” whereupon his own mother inquired if he remembered what his father had impressed upon him earlier that day. Thumper, drawing circles with his hind left foot, says haltingly, “If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all.” Also known as the “Thumperian principle”, “Thumper’s rule” or “Thumper’s law”; this principle holds true then and even now.

“Be nice. And if you can’t do that, just don’t be mean.” Richelle E. Goodrich

When looking deeply into the growing society, one often sees unkindness, thoughtless words, bullying and impolite talk becoming more rampant day by day, especially towards those on less social standing than oneself. In order to instill a sense of pleasantness, kind thoughts and gracious behaviour; Mayor Keith Summey of North Charleston proclaimed June 1st as “Say Something Nice Day” (2006). Joined by Dr. Mitchell Carnell, the author of Say Something Nice: Be a Lifter at Work, the South Baptist Convention and the Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery; this day was recognized to remember and celebrate people who provide society with a variety of services from bus drivers, teachers, healthcare workers, law and order. Additionally it was marked as a day to be kind to the special people in our lives, like children, grandparents and the elderly. Above all, this day offers a great opportunity to apologize to people that one may have wronged or hurt them through one’s behaviour, especially when done intentionally be it when in range or fit of anger.

“Be nice to each other. You can make a whole day a different day for everybody.” Richard Dawson

To one’s surprise and perhaps the biggest truth, is that, it doesn’t take much to be nice for a day. True that each one has their own share of likes, dislikes, opinions, understanding, perceptions, assumptions, expectations and thoughts, and so on. Yet the beauty of coexistence as a humane society is that there is place for all. From appreciation of others, noticing or acknowledging their presence by kind words or simple courtesy greetings to complimenting personality traits to styles, or simply greeting others with pleasant words are few of the many ways to be spread ” the happy feel” around oneself. While each one of us may have our own personal inner struggles, it doesn’t give a leeway to be rude or obnoxious to others. Life has always it’s curves and it’s how we navigate the choppy waters and narrow hard beaten roads that makes all the difference during the travel. These roads that we take are what matters more than somehow just reaching the final destination.

“The main thing that you have to remember on this journey is, just be nice to everyone and always smile.” Ed Sheeran

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

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

Far from the Blanket

“Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.” Wayne Dyer

One of the benefits of shopping over the weekends is the discount sales that are commonly offered. Yet on closer scrutiny at the price list, our requirements, the discount amount with the manufacturing and expiry dates, at the end of the day; the weekend rush isn’t worth the effort for the offered discount. For the days when we need them, they do help. But when weekends are the only day to recuperate from the busy week, spending some personal time as well as family time may be more worth with the treasures of memories.

“It is with our judgments as with our watches: no two go just alike, yet each believes his own.” Alexander Pope

Comparing this with few situations in our life, many a time we make judgments under the guise of certain notions or thinking. Yet on close scrutiny, one may discover that not everything is as it seems to be. Very often, we tend to put people under an umbrella. Like during school days, the scholarship as well as class toppers were believed to be geeks; yet imagine the surprise when their added talents ranged widely in the field of music, arts and some in sports as well. Similarly at the workplace or the community, when one is busy labeling the others; we lose out not only on their friendship but also the kinship that we would establish once we really get to know them. No one is like the other; neither do all fit under one blanket. When asked about ourselves, this dictum would be what we would prefer others would use to view us; then why not the same for them too. In life, open minds and kind words go a longer way than sudden opinions, quick judgments and hasty impressions.

“In our judgment of human transactions, the law of optics is reversed, we see most dimly the objects which are close around us.” Richard Whately

Not everyone who is punished is guilty.
Not everyone who is acquitted is not guilty.
Not everyone who called himself a brother is a brother.
The unity of souls is not due to blood.

Not everyone is a friend who held a hand,
Not every enemy really hates.
Raised dagger is not so dangerous,
Like a thirst for revenge in the most hidden form.

Not everyone hugging is in love,
And standing on the side is indifferent.
Not everyone is inspired by the bright feeling,
Who flies his ears with flattery.

Not everyone falls under the pattern,
but each created it once.
And he does not suspect that he is the
same for someone “not everyone” ..
– Rus Svyataya

“Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.” Dandemis

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World, Work

Cups, Perfection or Happiness

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Abraham Lincoln

As per the recent health surveys, the growing levels of stress are increasing steadily, not only among white collar workers, but also among young adults, adolescents and even at school level. In 2016, an estimate of over 1.1 billion people worldwide ( 1 in 6 or 15-20%) had mental or substance use disorder with around 4 percent of population had anxiety disorder ( Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease study). As per the Cigna 360 Well Being Survey (2018), around 9 in 10 Indians suffer from stress. With all this statistical evidence and data of mental as well physical health correlations, the glaring fact or query is whether happiness or health is defined by the boundaries of pre-defined standardized success or by the quiet inner serenity of “being successful within”.

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Albert Camus

One of the reasons why we often sink into the pits in our journey in life, is because we are too busy looking around to notice our own. One becomes too busy in concentrating on how “our coffee cup” is shaped, styled and modeled in comparison to others either by wealth, career, assets or other parameters. Unfortunately in doing so, we fail to enjoy to taste, flavours and pleasure of indulging in the freshly brewed coffee in our own cup. Wouldn’t it be better if we enjoyed our own cup in the short time that we have?

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer

To attain the happiness in life, doesn’t imply to concentrate only on the cup that we have. Perfection doesn’t define happiness. Rather define what is important to one and find comfort and peace of mind in those. The choice to remain at peace and serene lies within us and our thoughts. Choose to stay calm, happy and content by finding the value and worth in things that really matter to us and our inner peace.

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” Aristotle

A Cup and Coffee

A group of highly established alumni got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation among them soon turned into complaints about their stressful work and life. The professor went to his kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups, including porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive and some exquisite. The professor told them to help themselves to the coffee. After all the students had a cup of coffee in their hands, the professor said: “ Did you notice all the nice looking cups are taken and only the plain inexpensive ones are left behind. While it is normal for everyone to want the best for themselves, but that is the source of problems and stress in your life. “ “ The cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most of the cases, it’s just more expensive and hides what we drink.”, the professor continued. “What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but all of you consciously went for good looking expensive cups and then began eyeing on each other’ s cups.”
“Let’s consider that life is the coffee and the jobs, houses, cars, things, money and position are the cups. The type of cup we have, does not define or change the quality of our lives.”