What if you stopped thinking about your ideas as things you need to let out of you, but things you need to let in to you? Things you need to be ready to receive?
In one of his rare writings, the Sufi sage Hafik comments on the idea of travel;
“Accept with wisdom the fact that the Path is full of contradictions.
Many times the Path will contradict itself, just to stimulate the passenger to discover what will happen at the next curve. If two travelers take this journey together, it is almost certain that one of them is on the wrong Path.
Each person must run his own risks along his Way, because there are no set formulas to achieving the Truth.
Only the ignorant try to imitate the ways of others. The intelligent men don’t waste their time with that, and develop their own set of skills.
They know that no two leaves in the forest of a million trees are exactly the same. No two Paths on the Journey of Life are exactly the same.”
I like to add a last thought. Either as inspiration or as a post-rationalisation. Whatever fits best at the time or situation: “Diversity is the path to enlightment”.
There’s a difference between arrogance and convinced.
And that word is not stubborn.
When you think you know it all, there’s not a lot to learn.
Animal Zen masters: The Mola
Nature delivers the greatest Zen masters in learning how to live in the now.
The mola is the heaviest of all the bony fish, with large specimens reaching 4.3 m vertically and 3 m horizontally and weighing nearly 2,300 kg. They are frequently seen basking in the sun near the surface and are often mistaken for sharks when their huge dorsal fins emerge above the water.
Mola can become so infested with skin parasites, they jump out of the water up to 3.0 metres in the air, in an attempt to shake the parasites (and they are lousy swimmers). They’ll also often invite small fish or even birds to feast on them.
.It’s wiser to share burdens, then to drown under their weight.
To see a World
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
It takes a long time to become young.
The Indian Chicken and the practically Blind Mole
There are two kinds of chicken: Normal chicken and abnormal chicken. In between there’s nothing or at least not much to talk about. This story however is about a chicken that is beyond abnormal or better ‘absurdormal’ and there’s a lot to say.
This particular chicken lived in India and she was unhappy. She felt out of place and misunderstood. The way she talked, dressed and shared her ideas about the world did not resonate with her sister-chicken. In fact, it gave her a kind of separate status, in other words: Nobody dared to talk to her anymore.
One day she was strolling through the field alone, when the wind blew a piece of paper in her face. When she shook the paper off she saw it was a fashion magazine from America. She was amazed with what she saw and immediately knew what she had to do: Go West, going to America.
She didn’t wait long and left (chickens just travel light, because there’s not much to bring along and besides, how can chicken carry things?). She started walking and left the ground she was born and raised on and stepped into the unknown. But the unknown didn’t stop her, how could it, it was just a metaphorical barrier, and she went on with clear goal: The horizon.
After a while she realized that the horizon was a pretty abstract concept and wasn’t sure this ‘landmark’ would bring her to America…. When she sat down the most amazing thing happened: The earth moved. For the chicken it was clear. It was a sign from above: she was moving in the right direction, while actually it was a sign from below. To be more precise, it was a mole getting rid of his dirt.
“Anyone there?” asked a small mole with a pink nose, “I thought I heard a kind of squeak, I hope I haven’t scared anyone? The thing is, I am as good as completely blind and as a result I bump into things.”
The chicken was too flabbergasted to speak sense. The only thing she’d seen come out of the ground were worms, so the most sensible thing for her to say was: “Hi, it’s me, the Indian chicken that wants to go to the west, to America”.
“America?” the mole replied, “Why on earth would you go to America? Getting halfway would take a lifetime and it’s not better then things are here. Besides, you’re going in the wrong direction!”
“I don’t care”, said the chicken, “nobody understands me here, I need to go away! To America. I need to go to a place where people understand me! I saw it in the magazine. Look at me, I am gorgeous, but nobody wants to see it!”
“Well, I am kind of blind as I told you” said the mole, “so I can’t see it either, but the way I sense your presence, you’re a beautiful creature. At the same time, listening to the words you say, I’d say it isn’t about them not understanding you, it’s about you not understanding them”.
“Say again?!” the chicken said. She was almost walking around like a headless chicken, and in this particular case, with the head still attached. The mole sensed her amazement and continued, “Yes, it is not about them, it’s about you. Think of it: It’s much easier to change yourself then to change the world, even when the world is the small field you have been livng on. The thing is, every one of them has created his own reality and they feel comfortable in it! Who are you to change it?”
“No!” the chicken replied, “I have to go West, and do not want to stay here in the East. I know for sure everybody will understand me in the West, it is there I belong. The only thing I need to figure out is where The West is and how long it takes me to get there.
Funny you mention it like that, because actually The West is nearer then you think.
“Is it?” said the chicken, “but just seconds ago you told me it takes a lifetime to get there! So please make up your mind before I go out of my mind!”
The mole looked at the chicken, but didn’t see her of course because he was practically blind and responded: “Well, the thing is The West is always next to The East. It is just a matter of how you look at it. And in your case, I think that might do the trick for you to be happy again”.
“Next to me?”
“What do you mean?”
“I really don’t understand it anymore” the chicken replied and almost fainted (of course a chicken brain isn’t that big and this overload of information that was countered by the double amount of questions, more or less made that steam came out of her ears, which in the case of a chicken are hard to find).
The mole intuitively knew the chicken almost went berserk and quickly said “Let me explain by telling you a story about a friend I have”, and he began:
The story within the story
“He was one of those fanatic runners (he was a rabbit), running every day and when you asked him what he loved about running, he said “I love running in nature, because nature takes out all the negative things I have inside, and afterwards I feel refreshed and reborn!”
But then he broke is paw and wasn’t able to run, even after it had healed he wasn’t able to run anymore so stayed inside his rabbit hole and became depressed. He couldn’t run anymore, so the negativity build-up inside him and wasn’t released while running in nature, even his fur turned grey.
At one point I ‘accidentally’ dug a tunnel into his hole and I saw him sitting there. Depressed, down, out of shape and looking 12 years older, so I reminded him that he could also stroll through nature, without running.
He looked at me for a second and realised he’d been a fool for a long time! “Yes” he said, “of course! How could I be so stupid! It is not about the running, it is about the nature and it doesn’t matter how I experience nature I just need to experience it!”.
And after that he went out (and really needed to get used to the light, because he was so much used to the darkness of his hole), so after a few stiff blinkers with his eyes, he started walking slowly and realized how great the trees were and how green the grass and how good nature was in absorbing negativity. Almost instantly he felt happy and never lost that feeling again. I asked him afterwards: “What did you learn that day?” He said: “Every time I feel depressed, I turn around, take a step back and think about the situation from the other way. By doing that I create a new perspective, which gives me so much energy! I realize everything that happens, is just the way I see it, experience it and interpret it. In fact, other rabbits gave me a new name ‘Grabbit’. Grab life the way you want”.
“Good” I said “and just hearing to those words makes me happy”
Less steam came out of her hard to find ears when she said “OK, but how does that apply to me?”
“Well” the mole answered, “It’s like I said, it isn’t about them not understanding you, it’s about you not understanding them. Maybe instead of trying to change them, it is better to understand that your judgement is based on what is happening inside you. It’s this what creates the negative perspective. Therefor, in my humble opinion, is easier to accept that you are ‘weird’ and enjoy it”.
The chicken looked like a sheep, but didn’t seem to be running away anywhere soon, so the mole continued: “It’s like doing the opposite of your first impulse. That small moment is exactly when you can change perspective from East to West (or the other way around of course, or north to south, whatever feels good at that time). And instead of reacting defensive, react open heartedly, instead of panic see the challenge, instead of angry, react with a smile, just try it and you’ll see, live gets easier and much more delightful.
A lot of things were going on in the little chicken brain, but none of them were about traveling soon or changing wardrobe, most of it was preoccupied with not tipping over and processing the word of the mole. Suddenly she heard a series of clicks went on in the tiny chicken head, so loud, even the mole could hear it and he was practically blind, then she said: “I see your point, I never looked at it like that”.
The mole smiled and said “good to hear and by the way… the direction you travelled when I bumped in to you wasn’t west. It was east. The way back to your field is…west.”
The moral of this story should be pretty clear, I hope and is about changing perspective. The funny thing is that we’re so caught up in habits and impulse that we forget that maybe the source of change lies within ourselves. Even the realization of this fact will have dramatic effects on any outcome. Take the time to realize.
It reminds me of a nice quote I once read:
“To cause an avalanche you can shake the mountain or find the right place to drop a snowflake”
You’re that snowflake; find the right place.
The Indian Chicken and the practically Blind Mole is part of The World Of Beat collection.
The Silent Parrot
The Peacock was making a lot of noise when he told the parrot that he didn’t understand why the Peahen from around the corner didn’t give him a moment’s notice. His plumage was wide open and the pattern of blue eyes was shining in the sun. He was dancing and hopping up and down furiously and kept complaining, asking the Parrot how on earth it was possible that he crashed and burned like this.
Quizzically the Peacock looked at the parrot.
The Parrot bowed his head to the left.
The Peacock said: You’re right, maybe I am overdoing and maybe she just doesn’t like the jumping, Yes! I shouldn’t jump, so she can see my feathers and me better.
Again the Peacock looked quizzically at the parrot, while his mind kept spinning.
The Parrot bowed his head to the right.
Plumage! That’s it, I am intimidating her with my feathers. She doesn’t have a tail like mine, she’s probably sad and that’s why she doesn’t look at me. I have to go see her without my plumage up.
This time the Parrot blinked his eyes twice, but didn’t move his head.
The Peacock wasn’t bothered by the earsplitting silence of the parrot and realized another thing. I shouldn’t be so loud! Because of my cackling she actually can’t hear me!
Oh? the Peacock said.
The Parrot said absolutely nothing.
You think I should go talk to her? Without the jumping, the plumage and the cackling? And don’t talk? Just sit next to her, looking at the clouds and the beautiful flowers gleaming in the sun?
Thanks pall, I’ll go right to her!
Sometimes the best way to entertain people is to say nothing.
What makes you laugh?
What makes you adore?
What touches you?
Most of the time it is something out of the ordinary. Out-of-the-ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary is derived from the Latin word Ordianarius, meaning orderly. Ponder on that for while. Scary word, orderly…
Yesterday I saw a number of great artists performing. They definitely were out of the ordinary and the crowd that went wild was humongous! It gave energy.
The same for Guernica from Pablo Picasso, the numerous paintings of Salvador Dali or the coloured squares of Piet Mondriaan. All paintings that were out of the ordinary and touched a lot of hearts (and souls).
And yet, we most of us try not to be out of the ordinary, but try to blend in. Being ordinary. When everybody’s doing that, the world would become a very boring place and everything will stay the same…
And a boring place is like a still standing pond of water. It becomes cloudy.
So with this post, I challenge everybody to go extraordinary once in a while. Do something that is against conventions. Take something ordinary and turn it around. Challenge people at work, challenge your friends or family by thinking and doing different. Not matter the outcome, it will always be different than the situation before.
That is the start of change.
Stirring the pond.
De-clouding the water.
I believe every one of us has something extraordinary and with that extraordinary thing you can change the world!
But it is scary to be extraordinary.
That’s why I invented a Magic Potion. Magic Potion Number YOU.
It’s very simple: Take a glass of water add a drop of lemon or citron, then a pinch of salt. Stir it three times clockwise, than slam it on a table and drink it.
You’ll instantly feel a twinkle to do something extraordinary. It was already in you and the potion freed it!
This one’s for inspiration:
One last thing: When you use the potion, you become the magical touch that makes a difference.
Be the magic!