Thursday, October 4, 2012

Few Quotes

Who killed Goliath - 3

Continuing on our earlier post, last Sunday I checked the Orthodox Bible about the verse we discussed and it is misprinted there as well.  I was surprised and still am. It is the same way in the Malayalam Bible too. The orthodox version went into print as recently as 2008 and I cannot believe no scholar in the orthodox community pointed this out.

It is a simple misprint and who really cares - right? Why should I make such a fuss about a simple typo in the Bible? That too, about an historical account that took place few thousand years ago!!

It could be me trying to be perfect and expect the Biblical manuscript to be 'bug free'* It could be because I cannot tolerate the fact that there is an error in a Holy Book which I consider sacred. It is not within my capacity to go around correcting all those versions out there. Nor do I intent to consult about this error with my priest or church authorities - they have larger problems to deal with.

Let's move on - I corrected mine and hope you do the same too.

*bug free - a term used in the software world to indicate it is free of any wrong lines of code. 

Secret of Happiness

A father sent his son to learn about the secret of happiness from the wisest man in the world. The boy wandered through the desert for 40 days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop a mountain. It was where the wise man lived.

Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our hero, on entering the main room of the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and went, people were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and there was a table covered with platters of the most delicious food in that part of the world. The wise man conversed with everyone, and the boy had to wait for two hours before it was his turn to be given the man's attention.

The wise man listened attentively to the boy's explanation of why he had come, but told him that he didn't have time just then to explain the secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy look around the palace and return in two hours.

"Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something", said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. "As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill".

The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the room where the wise man was.

"Well", asked the wise man, "Did you see the Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?"

The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.

"Then go back and observe the marvels of my world", said the wise man. "You cannot trust a man if you don't know his house".

Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had seen.

"But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?" asked the wise man. Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone.

"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you", said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil in your spoon".

Credits: Paul Coelho

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Meeting John

Today, I had to travel to a different office location to attend a project related meeting. My role in there was to be in a listening/observation mode, since I am relatively new to this project.

The man who was leading today's meeting was John Reynolds. John is responsible of delivering a large project, of which my project is a subset of. The project in itself is huge with some parts being available only in 2017. Being present there, I noticed was the passion, commitment and dedication with which John was driving the project meeting. It was quite evident how hard this man is working towards making this project a success. I do not come across people like him everyday.

What I wanted to share here is that, there are few individuals around us who work diligently making things a reality. These individuals provide the inspiration and motivational energy for people like the rest of us to be at our best.

Saying what you think

Martin was returning to work in his London office after spending two weeks with his brother over in New York. He was coming back with a heavy heart. It was not just that it was the end of a wonderful holiday; it was not just that he invariably suffered badly from jet lag; it was that Monday mornings always began with a team meeting and, over the months, he had grown to hate them.

Martin was aware that colleagues approached these meetings with hidden agendas; they indulged in game-playing; and he knew that people were not being honest and open. The meetings themselves were bad enough - but then there was all the moaning afterwards. "The usual people saying the usual things". "I could have improved on that idea, but I wasn't going to say". "I was thinking of making a suggestion - but I couldn't be bothered".

As this morning's meeting began, Martin braced himself for the usual moroseness and monotony. But, as the meeting progressed, he became aware of a strange background noise. At first, he thought that he was still hearing the engine noise from the aircraft that had brought him back to London - he had had to sit over the wing and the droning was terrible. But, as he concentrated on the noise, it became a little clearer.

He realised - to his amazement - that he could hear what his colleagues were thinking as well as what they were saying. As he concentrated still harder, he found that he could actually hear what they were thinking at the same time as they were speaking. What surprised him, even more than the acquisition of this strange power, was that he discovered that what people were saying was not really what they were thinking. They were not making clear their reservations. They were not supporting views which they thought might be unpopular. They were not contributing their new insights. They were not volunteering their new ideas.

Martin found it impossible not to respond to his new knowledge. So he started to make gentle interventions, based more on what he could hear his colleagues thinking than on what he could hear them saying. "So, John are you really saying .." "Susan, Do you really think that …" "Tom, Have you got an idea on how we could take this forward?" He was aware that his colleagues were unsettled by how insightful were these interventions. They looked at him mystified. In truth, he felt rather proud of his newly-acquired talent.

Emboldened now, Martin forgot his usual misery at participating in such meetings and began making comments of his own. However, he became aware that some of his colleagues were looking at him quizzically. One or two even had a gentle smile playing on their lips. Only gradually did it dawn on him - they could hear his thoughts and he was not really saying what he was thinking.

As the meeting progressed, Martin became aware of changes to the tone and style of the event. It was clear to him now that, one by one, each member of the meeting was learning how to hear the thoughts of all the others and this was subtly changing how they inter-acted with one another. The game-playing started to fall away; people started to speak more directly; views became better understood; the atmosphere became more open and trusting.

The meeting ended. As people left the room, Martin found that he could still hear what they were thinking. "That was the best meeting we've ever had." "All meetings should be like that." "In future, I'm going to say what I think".

Credits: Roger Darlington

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

John meets Sam

Two college professors were arguing over which one had the dumber child. Each professor thought his son was the bigger idiot. The first professor yells to the other, "There is no way that your son is dumber. My son has to be THE stupidest kid on Earth."

The second professor says "No way, Jose. My son is the bigger idiot."

The first professor says "Let me prove it to you. Hey John, I don't know if I left myself at the office or not. Would you run there and find out. If I'm there then tell me to come home and eat dinner."

John says, "Sure dad" and runs off.

The second professor not to be outdone says "Oh Yea! Watch this! Hey Sam! Come here! Here are two pennies. With one penny buy a car and the other buy a microwave."

Sam says "OK Dad." and leaves. The professors continue arguing.

John and Sam meet in the street. And they start arguing which one has the dumber father. John says, "Well listen. My father told me to find out if he is at the office or not. Duh - All he had to do was to call the office and find out himself. Two minutes and he would be done. That is stupid if I've ever heard it."

Sam says, "Well that is nothing. My dad told me to buy a car with one penny and a microwave with the other. But he didn't tell me which penny was for the car and which one is for the microwave."

John and Sam share a good laugh.


Peace of mind

Once Buddha was travelling from one town to another town with a few of his followers. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, “I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.”

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy and turbid. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!” So he came back and told Buddha, “The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.”

After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit for consumption. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be and the mud settled down on its own – and you got clear water. Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.”

Moral: Having 'peace of mind' is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment, such that people around you start feeling that peace and grace.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Candles on a cake

A story written by Joseph Mazzella that explains how to grow younger.

I have a birthday coming up soon, but I decided not to put any candles on my cake this year. I thought that 46 of them might ruin the icing or set off the smoke alarm. The funny thing, though, is that when I looked in the mirror this morning I didn’t see a middle-aged man looking back at me. Sure there was gray in the hair and wrinkles around the mouth and eyes. The skin wasn’t as smooth and the hair wasn’t as thick either, except in the ears. Yet, when I saw his smile and the twinkle in his eyes I felt as vital and alive as I ever had. I saw the young, loving spirit living inside this aging body and knew that is who I really am.

I remembered too one of the quotes on a beautiful plaque that my daughter gave me as an early birthday present. It was by Edward Bulwer Lytton and it said: "It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart.

It is such an amazing thing that we can grow younger on the inside while we grow older on the outside. Some of the most loving, joyous, and vital people I know live inside ancient bodies that have seen far better days. These people live from the soul. They love from the heart. They have an enthusiasm for life that is contagious. They smile often, laugh a lot, and take life one day at a time. On the inside they are far younger than I could ever hope to be. They remind me that old bodies don’t always make for old hearts.

I hope then that when your own birthday comes around that your heart will feel as young as ever. I hope that you will remember that you are not numbers on a calendar or candles on a cake. You are instead a being of light and a Child of God. You are an eternal, loving soul. You are a forever young spirit. Your body may age, weaken, and eventually die, but you never will. May you live all of your days with love, laughter, light, and joy.

Credits: Joseph Mazzella

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Help assembling puzzle

A little silver-haired lady calls her neighbor and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a neat jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."

Her neighbor asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The little silver-haired lady says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

He takes her hand and says, "Secondly, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then," he said with a deep sigh:

"Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."


No doubt I am going to be like the little silver-haired lady soon, and hopefully I will be blessed with a neighbor who can help me look at the puzzle from a different angle.


Quotes on friendship

Few quotes on friendship:

Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) English Author and Clergyman
The firmest friendships have been formed in mutual adversity, as iron is most strongly united by the fiercest flame.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish Playwright
The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself.

Euripides (480-406 BC) Greek Playwright
It is a good thing to be rich, it is a good thing to be strong, but it is a better thing to be beloved of many friends.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish Dramatist and Poet
Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.

Arnold H. Glasow
A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they're not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they're not so bad.

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) American Author and Speaker
You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.

A friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.

Mark Twain (b: Samuel Langhorne Clemens) (1835-1910) American Author and Humorist
He liked to like people, therefore people liked him.

Randolph S. Bourne (1886-1918) American Writer
Good friendships are fragile things and require as much care as any other fragile and precious thing.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 BC) Roman Writer, Statesman, and Orator
Friendship was given by nature to be an assistant to virtue, not a companion to vice.

Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) English Priest and Hymn Writer
Many a friendship -- long, loyal, and self-sacrificing -- rested at first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.

Wilma Askinas (1926- ) American Author
A friend is one who sees through you and still enjoys the view.

Swedish proverb
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American Poet and Essayist
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship.