Going beyond tolerance

In BG 2.14, Krishna gives a nice formula for tolerance: The periodic appearance and disappearance of happiness and distress are like appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. Therefore, one should learn to tolerate them.

Tolerating an event becomes much easier when we know the event is temporary.This is based on an intellectual conviction of this basic principle.

However, Krishna furthermore recommends that a serious practitioner of a spiritual path should aspire to go beyond the “gritting the teeth” sort of tolerance. At this stage, the practitioner sees every situation as an opportunity to receive grace of God. This is only possible if one accepts the situation with a sense of responsibility, understanding that others are simply acting as instruments of one’s own karma, and one maintains the commitment (and strengthens his will-power) to enthusiastically follow the prescribed regimens of the spiritual path.

Such a committed person embraces an adverse circumstance with (1) Yes (“I accept the situation”), (2) Thank you (“for this opportunity to grow”), and (3) Please (“help me”) – calling out for a power beyond one’s own to receive the necessary realization to bolster one’s relationship with God in this circumstance.

 

King with four wives

Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved his 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem he could confide in her and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the 1st wife. Although she loved him deeply he hardly ever noticed her.

One day the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, “I now have 4 wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I am dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked his 3rd wife, “I have loved you all my life now that I’m dying will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No!” she replied “Life is too good! When you die, I am going to remarry!” His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can send you to your grave.” Her answer came like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.”

The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was so skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said “I should have taken better care of you when I had the chance!”

In truth, we all have four wives in our lives:

Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort was lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others.

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our souloften neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However our identity as a spirit soul is going to be maintained wherever we go, whatever bodies we acquire and whatever destination we achieve. So, we should cultivate, strengthen and cherish this existential reality now.

Woodcutter and an axe

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter asked for a job from 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 eighteen trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on in this way!”

Very motivated by the boss´ words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring fifteen trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he only could bring ten trees. Day after day he
was bringing lesser and lesser 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”, said the woodcutter.

Moral of the story:

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 and to read. We all need time to relax,
to think and chant, 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, The only way by which you can do your job more effectively and add a lot of value to it is by proper PRACTICE and CULTIVATION.

Positive Attitude

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.  -Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.  -Oscar Wilde

If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.  -Cavett Robert

It’s so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to.  –Annie Gottlier

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  -Winston Churchill

Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same.  -Francesca Reigler


Lessons from a butterfly

A man found a butterfly cocoon and decided to save it. One day a small opening appeared, and the man sat and watched for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through the little hole.

At one point the butterfly seemed to stop making progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther. The man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily.

But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would dry in the warm air and open wide enough to support the butterfly’s body. He thought, too, that the body would contract. But neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening was God’s way of forcing fluid from the butterfly’s body into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it had freed itself from the cocoon.

Lesson: Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need. Each hurdle in life is sent by God to make us stronger in our pursuit of Truth. Never lose heart in the face of impossible odds.