Saturday

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know. 
His house is in the village though; 
He will not see me stopping here 
To watch his woods fill up with snow. 

My little horse must think it queer 
To stop without a farmhouse near 
Between the woods and frozen lake 
The darkest evening of the year. 

He gives his harness bells a shake 
To ask if there is some mistake. 
The only other sound’s the sweep 
Of easy wind and downy flake. 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.

Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds  Launch Audio in a New Window
By William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever

from Endymion
By John Keats

A Poetic Romance

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast,
That, whether there be shine, or gloom o'ercast;
They always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimm'd and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finish'd: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end.
And now, at once adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

Aloneness vs Loneliness

Summary: In dictionaries, loneliness and aloneness are synonymous - they are same; in life they are not. Loneliness is a negative state of mind. Loneliness is a state of mind when you are constantly missing the other. It is miserable, always worried, missing something, craving for something, desiring for something. Loneliness is beggarly; all around it there is begging and nothing else. It has no grace around it. In fact it is ugly. Loneliness is a dependence. In loneliness you are off centre. Loneliness is always concerned with others. Aloneness is positive. Aloneness is the state of mind when you are constantly delighted in yourself. It is blissful, deep fulfilment, tremendously content, happy, celebrating, not going out, Aloneness is beautiful. It has an elegance around it, a grace, a climate of tremendous satisfaction. Aloneness is sheer independence. One feels as if one is one’s whole world, one’s whole existence. In aloneness you are centred and rooted. Aloneness is concerned with oneself. The aloneness is total and complete. The aloneness is total and complete. Not loneliness but aloneness. Loneliness is always concerned with others; aloneness is concerned with oneself.

Aloneness is the joy of being just yourself. It is being joyous with yourself, it is enjoying your own company. There are very few people who enjoy their own company. And it is a very strange world: nobody enjoys his company and everybody wants others to enjoy his company! If they don't enjoy he feels insulted -- and alone he feels disgusted with himself. In fact, if YOU cannot enjoy your own company, who else is going to enjoy it?

Aloneness, solitude is positive. It is overflowing joy for no reason. It is our very nature to be joyous; hence there is no need to depend on anybody else. There is no other motive in it, it is simply there. Just as the water flows downwards, your being rises upwards. Just give it a chance -- give it solitude. And remember again, solitude is not solitariness, just as aloneness is not loneliness.
Only a no-thought is pure, because then you are utterly yourself, alone, nothing interfering. Jean-Paul Sartre says: The other is hell. And he is right in a way, because whenever you are thinking of the other you are in hell. And all thoughts are addressed to others. When you are in a state of no-thought you are alone, and aloneness is purity. And in that aloneness happens all that is worth happening.
Your aloneness is your essential being. Meditation is total freedom, aloneness, the flight of the alone to the alone. There is no other, so there is no question of drowning yourself, but one hundred percent mindfulness will be needed -- less than that won't do.
Meditation means being ecstatic in your aloneness. But when you become ecstatic in your aloneness, soon the ecstasy is so much that you cannot contain it. It starts overflowing you. And when it starts overflowing you it becomes love. Meditation allows love to happen. And the people who have not known meditation will never know love. They may pretend that they love but they cannot. They will only pretend -- because they don't have anything to give, they are not overflowing.

You can be alone, but that aloneness may not be true aloneness. It may be only loneliness, and you may be thinking and fantasizing about all kinds of things. Aloneness comes out of awareness; it has nothing to do with where you are in the outside world but where you are in the INSIDE world.

Through aloneness, the ego is shattered. It has nothing to relate to, so it cannot exist. So if you are ready to be alone, unwaveringly alone, neither escaping nor falling back, just accepting the fact of aloneness as it is -- it becomes a great opportunity. Then you are just like a seed that has much potential in it. But remember, the seed must destroy itself for the plant to grow. Ego is a seed, a potentiality. If it is shattered, the divine is born. The divine is neither "I" nor "thou," it is one. Through aloneness, you come to this oneness.

Consciousness has come to the point now where you know that you are alone. And only in aloneness can you attain enlightenment. I am not saying loneliness. The feeling of loneliness is the feeling that comes when one is escaping from aloneness, when one is not ready to accept it. If you do not accept the fact of aloneness, then you will feel lonely. Then you will find some crowd or some means of intoxication in which to forget yourself.

The first thing we must do is to accept aloneness as a basic fact and learn to live with it. We must not create any fictions. If you create fictions you will never be able to know the truth. Fictions are projected, created, cultivated truths that prevent you from knowing what is. Live with the fact of your aloneness. If you can live with this fact, if there is no fiction between you and this fact, then the truth will be revealed to you. Every fact, if looked into deeply, reveals the truth.

If you become aware of your aloneness, then you become aware of the aloneness of others also. Then you know that to try to possess another is trespassing.

You must make a distinction between two words: lonely and alone. In the dictionary they carry the same meaning, but those who have been meditating, they know the distinction. They are not the same, they are as different as possible. Loneliness is an ugly thing; loneliness is a depressive thing -- it is a sadness; it is an absence of the other. Loneliness is the absence of the other -- you would like the other to be there, but the other is not, and you feel that and you miss them. YOU are not there in loneliness, the absence of the other is there. Alone? -- it is totally different. YOU are there, it is your presence; it is a positive phenomenon. You don't miss the other, you meet yourself.

Then you are alone, alone like a peak, tremendously beautiful! Sometimes you even feel a terror -- but it has a beauty. But the presence is the basic thing: you are present to yourself. You are not lonely, you are with yourself. Alone, you are not lonely, you are with yourself. Lonely, you are simply lonely -- there is no one. You are not with yourself and you are missing the other. Loneliness is negative, an absence; aloneness is positive, a presence.

If you are alone, you grow, because there is space to grow -- nobody else to hamper, nobody else to obstruct, nobody else to create more complex problems. Alone you grow, and as much as you want to grow you can grow because there is no limit, and you are happy being with yourself, and a bliss arises. There is no comparison: because the other is not there you are neither beautiful nor ugly, neither rich nor poor, neither this nor that, neither white nor black, neither man nor woman. Alone, how can you be a woman or a man? Lonely, you are a woman or a man, because the other is missing. Alone, you are no one, empty, empty of the other completely.
"Unless you meditate, the mind cannot be controlled, and unless the mind is controlled, you cannot meditate. So steady your mind and meditate." - Swami Brahmananda
And remember, when the other is not, the ego cannot exist: it exists with the other. Either present or absent, the other is needed for ego. To feel 'I' the other is needed, a boundary of the other. Fenced from the neighbours I feel 'I'. When there is no neighbor, no fencing, how can you feel 'I'? You will be there, but without any ego. The ego is a relationship, it exists only in relationship.

First move from things to thoughts, then from thoughts to the thinker. Things are the world of science, thought is the world of art and the thinker is the world of religion. Just go on moving inwards. The first circumference around you is of things, the second of thoughts, and the third, the centre, your very being, is nothing but consciousness. It is nothing but a witnessing. Drop things and go into thoughts; then one day thoughts also have to be dropped and then you are left alone in your purity, then you are left absolutely alone. In that aloneness is God, in that aloneness is liberation, moksha, in that aloneness is nirvana, in that aloneness for the first time you are in the real.

Ordinarily a man is alone, a woman is alone. Loneliness is there. Even if you are attached to a man or woman or a friend, and it is only the attachment of lust, you will remain lonely. Have you not watched it? Attached to a woman, attached to a man, but still you remain lonely. Somewhere deep down there is no communication with the other; you are cut off, like islands. Even dialogue seems to be impossible. Lovers ordinarily never talk to each other, because each talk creates argument, and each talk brings conflict. By and by, they learn to be silent; by and by, they learn somehow to avoid the other, or at the most, tolerate. But they remain lonely. Even if the other is there, there is space; the inner space remains unfulfilled.

On the path of meditation, aloneness is sought, desired, hoped for, prayed for. Be alone. So much so that not even in your consciousness does any shadow of the other move. On the path of love, get so dissolved that only the other becomes real and you become a shadow and by and by you completely disappear. On the path of love, God remains, you disappear; on the path of meditation, God disappears, you appear. But the total and the ultimate result is the same. A great synthesis happens.

In fact, mountain/valley are one thing, so are love and meditation, so are relationship and aloneness. The mountain of aloneness rises only in the valleys of relationship. In fact, you can enjoy aloneness only if you can enjoy relationship. It is relationship that creates the need for aloneness, it is a rhythm.

Aloneness makes you overfull. Love receives your gifts. Love empties you so that you can become full again. Whenever you are emptied by love, aloneness is there to nourish you, to integrate you. And this is a rhythm.

I have always been alone on my path. Even today I am absolutely alone. Your being here does not make any difference -- my aloneness remains untouched -- because aloneness is so intrinsic. Nobody can enter into your aloneness. You can be in the crowd and absolutely alone, but you may be alone and not alone at all. You can sit in a cave in the Himalayas and still think of the crowd, of the girlfriend and the boyfriend and the marketplace and what is going on there....

Aloneness is also one of the fundamental experiences as you enter silence. In silence there is nobody else, you are simply alone. The deeper your silence will be, thoughts will be gone, emotions will be gone, sentiments will be gone -- just pure being, a flame of light, burning alone. One can get scared because we are so much accustomed to living with people -- in the crowd, in the marketplace, in all kinds of relationships. You may not be aware that in all these relationships -- with friends, with your husbands, with your wives, with your children, with your parents -- you are basically trying to avoid the experience of aloneness. These are strategies so that you are always with somebody.

It is a well-known fact, psychologically established, that if a person is left alone in isolation, after seven days he starts talking... a little like whispering. For seven days he keeps talking inside, keeps himself engaged in the mind, but then it becomes too much -- things start coming out of his mind through his mouth and he starts whispering. After fourteen days you can hear him clearly, what he is saying. After twenty-one days he does not bother about anybody, he has gone insane; now he is talking to walls, to pillars, "Hello friend, how are you?" -- to a pillar, hugging a pillar! And this is true not about somebody special, it is true about everybody. He is trying to find some relationship. If he cannot find it in reality, he will create a hallucination.

You will see: just stand by the side of the road and watch people going from the office to the house, and you will be surprised. They are alone -- although there is a crowd all around -- but they are talking to themselves. They are making gestures, they are telling somebody something... because the crowd around them is not related to them. They are alone in the crowd, so they are trying to create their own illusion. Maybe they are talking to their wife, to their boss -- there are many things which cannot be said but right now they can say them. In front of the wife they cannot say it, but in this crowd, where everybody is engaged in his own thing, everybody is doing his own thing, they can say things to the wife. Nobody is listening, and at least one thing is certain -- the wife is not there! But they need the wife, they need someone to talk to. And after thirty days of isolation, a dramatic change happens: it is not only one- sided; it is not only that they are talking to the pillar, the pillar also starts talking to them! They do both things: first, "Hello, how are you?" and then, "I am good. I am fine, doing well." They answer from the side of the pillar too -- in a different voice. Now they have created a world of their own, they are no longer alone. No madman is alone. Either you are mad or not. If you don't know aloneness, there is something of madness in you.

Only pure aloneness gives you a clean sanity. You don't need the other; the dependence on the other is no more there, you are enough unto yourself. Language is meaningless because language is a medium to relate with the other. The moment you are no longer dependent on the other, language is meaningless, words are meaningless. In your silence -- when there are no words, no language, nobody else is present -- you are getting in tune with existence. This serenity, this silence, this aloneness will bring you immense rewards. It will allow you to grow to your full potential. For the first time you will be an individual, for the first time you will have the touch and the taste of freedom, and for the first time the immensity, the unboundedness of existence will be yours with all its blissfulness.

So whatever happens in silence -- either sadness or aloneness -- remember, in silence nothing wrong can ever happen. Whatever happens is going to enhance the beauty of it, deepen the charm of it; anything that happens will bring more and more flowers, more and more fragrance to it.

Loneliness is a negative state of mind. Aloneness is positive, notwithstanding what the dictionaries say. In dictionaries, loneliness and aloneness are synonymous -- they are synonyms; in life they are not. Loneliness is a state of mind when you are constantly missing the other, aloneness is the state of mind when you are constantly delighted in yourself. Loneliness is miserable, aloneness is blissful. Loneliness is always worried, missing something, hankering for something, desiring for something; aloneness is a deep fulfilment, not going out, tremendously content, happy, celebrating. In loneliness you are off centre, in aloneness you are centred and rooted. Aloneness is beautiful. It has an elegance around it, a grace, a climate of tremendous satisfaction. Loneliness is; beggarly; all around it there is begging and nothing else. It has no grace around it. In fact it is ugly. Loneliness is a dependence, aloneness is sheer independence. One feels as if one is one's whole world, one's whole existence.
The aloneness is total and complete. Not loneliness but aloneness. Loneliness is always concerned with others; aloneness is concerned with oneself.
Source: Osho Lectures

Wednesday

The Fools Who Wished for a Change

The Frogs were tired of their present governance. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled. No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.

Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government.

To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed.

"How now!" cried Jupiter "Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes."

Be sure you can better your condition before you seek for a change.
Source: Aesop’s Fables

Monday

Three Important Questions

The thought came to a certain king that he would never fail if he knew three things. These three things were
  • What is the best time to do each thing?
  • Who are the most important people to work with?
  • What is the most important thing to do at all times?
And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

Many educated men attempted to answer the king's questions, but they all came up with different answers. The king decided that he needed to ask a wise hermit in a nearby village. The hermit would only see common folk, however, so the king disguised himself as a peasant and left his guards behind to see the hermit. The hermit was digging flower beds when the king arrived. The king asked his questions, but the hermit went on digging rather laboriously. The king offered to dig for him for a while. After digging for some time, the king again asked his questions. Before the hermit could answer, a man emerged from the woods. He was bleeding from a terrible stomach wound. The king tended to him, and they stayed the night in the hermit's hut.

By the next day the wounded man was doing better, but was incredulous at the help he had received. The man confessed that he knew who the king was, and that the king had executed his brother and seized his property. He had come to kill the king, but the guards wounded him in the stomach. The man pledged allegiance to the king, and he went on his way.

The King approached him, and said: "For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man." "You have already been answered!" said the hermit, still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him. "How answered? What do you mean?" asked the King.

"Do you not see," replied the hermit. "If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business.

Remember then: there is only one time that is important--Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else; and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!"
"Remember that there is only one important time and it is Now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person with whom you are, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future? The most important pursuit is making that person, the one standing at you side, happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life." -Leo Tolstoy

Friday

Orpheus & Eurydice

Apollo, a Greek God, gave his son Orpheus a lyre (harp) and taught him how to play. Orpheus played with such perfection that even Apollo was surprised. It is said that nothing could resist his music and melody, neither enemies nor beasts. Even trees and rocks were entranced with his music.

Orpheus fell in love with Eurydice, a woman of unique beauty and grace, whom he married and lived happily with. Later, Eurydice is bit by a snake and dies. Overcome with grief, Orpheus travels to the Underworld to bring her back to life. He convinces Hades and Persephone to let Eurydice go, but her release comes with a condition that Eurydice must walk behind him as they ascend to the upper world, and Orpheus is forbidden from looking at her.

Orpheus was delighted; he thanked the gods and left to ascend to the world. Orpheus thought It was a simple task as he considered himself a patient man. He was trying to hear Eurydice’s steps, but he could not hear anything and he started believing that the gods had fooled him. Of course Eurydice was behind him, but as a shadow, waiting to come to light to become a full woman again. Only a few feet away from the exit, Orpheus lost his faith and turned to see; Eurydice was behind him, but her shadow was whisked back among the dead. Eurydice was gone forever.

Orpheus tried to return to the Underworld but a man cannot enter the realm of Hades twice while alive. Orpheus started playing a mourning song with his lyre, calling for death so that he could be united with Eurydice forever...

Wednesday

The Greatest Salesman in the World

  1. Habits are the difference between success and failure.
  2. Love can be developed by always looking for the best in people.
  3. Every failure moves a man closer to success.
  4. We must concentrate on the task at hand.
  5. Live each day as if it were your last.
  6. We are masters over our emotions.
  7. This too shall pass.
  8. Seek out opportunities and experiences that will multiply in value. We must set goals, short-term as well as long-term.
  9. It is better to act now and risk failure. Fireflies give light only when they fly.
  10. A true believer will pray for guidance, not only for help.
Hafid is a master salesman and a trader; a very wealthy man. He lives in an elegant palace equipped with every possible comfort. One day towards the end of his life, he requests a meeting with Erasmus, his trusted servant and friend. He asks Erasmus how much money is in the treasury and tells him to estimate the worth of his property. It is a large sum. Hafid then directs Erasmus to sell all his possessions in exchange for gold, and suggests to his long practice of distributing half his annual profit to the poor. Now, says the salesman, he wishes to divide all his riches with the most needy, keeping only enough to live out his remaining days in peace. He requests that Erasmus turn over each of his emporiums to the person who manages it, together with a reward of 5,000 talents and bequeaths upon him his palace and warehouse. Though Erasmus can hardly comprehend this , Hafid again orders him to do as he has asked, assuring the servant that on his return he will share with Erasmus a long-kept secret he has imparted to no one except his wife.

When Erasmus arrives back at the palace after distributing Hafid's property, he is led to a room kept boiled for a long as anyone can remember. The only object within the room is an old chest. Hafid unlocks the chest - empty, except for some tattered scrolls. Hafid then speaks: "All the success, happiness, love , peace of mind, and wealth that I have enjoyed is directly traceable to what is contained in these few scrolls. My debt to them, and to the wise one who entrusted them to my care, can never be repaid."

Hafid explains that each of the ten scrolls contains a principle, or law, that together will enable their possessor to accumulate all the wealth he desires. Long ago he was commissioned by the one who gave him the scrolls to share them only with one person, and was told he would be given a sign to know who that person was. He petitions Erasmus to stay with him until he receives this sign. The faithful servant agrees to do so.

The story then shift back in time:

Young Hafid, a camel boy traveling with a caravan, beseeched the leader of the caravan, Pathros, to grant him the chance to be a merchant. After some argument, Pathros gave him approval and agreed to allow Hafid to sell a finely woven robe. However, he warned the boy that he would be confronted with temptations, and that his handling of these temptations would determine his success, both in life and as a salesman. Pathros then dispatched that would-be merchant to a poor settlement - Bethlehem - to sell the garment.

For three days Hafid worked to peddle the robe, but without success. On the night before he was to rejoin the caravan, Hafid sought out a stable to tend to his donkey. There he discovered a young couple with a shivering newborn baby. Both husband and wife had wrapped their own cloaks around the infant, trying to warm him, but to little avail. Hafid gave the worried parents back their cloaks and wrapped Pathros's fine robe around the beautiful child. The boy then commenced his trek back to the caravan, considering himself a failure and trying to find an excuse, some story to cover up what had done.

When Hafid reached the caravan, Pathros was waiting outside his tent. He had observed a bright star that followed Hafid back to the camp. Something extraordinary had taken place. Hafid, in tears, blurted out the story of the robe; but instead of chiding the boy, Pathros assured Hafid that he had not failed. He would explain everything, said the merchant, once they returned to their headquarters.

There, the dying Pathros summoned the lad to him. He told how he once had rescued a traveler, and how this grateful traveler had insisted that Pathros come to live with him and his family. During this stay, the traveler conferred upon Pathros a chest containing ten scrolls, some money and a letter. For a year Pathros memorized the scrolls, incorporating their wisdom into his life. After leaving the traveler's home, the opened the letter, which instructed him to forever share with the poor half of his wealth, but never to divulge the information in the scrolls, except when he received a sign telling him of the person who would next guard the scrolls. As he watched the star following Hafid home that night, Pathros had come to realize that his was indeed the awaited sign.

Pathros's story ended, whereupon he instructed Hafid to go to Damascus and purchase a small supply of rugs. Hafid was to open the scroll, study it until he fully understood its contents, and begin selling the rugs. He must proceed to study each scroll thoroughly in the same way, applying the principles one by one as he learned them. Finally, he was not to share with others the knowledge contained in the scrolls, nor show the scrolls to anyone, until he himself was given a sign.

Hafid set out to inquire of the scrolls as he sold the rugs, and was taught the keys to prosperous and triumphant living:

Scroll I: Everyday a person is reborn - he can forget the failures of the past. Habits are the difference between success and failure. Therefore in order to achieve success, it is necessary to form good habits and become their slave. This first scroll teaches the best way to learn the meaning of the others. Each successive scroll will contain a principle enabling the reader to replace a bad habit with a good one. Each scroll must be read three times a day - the last time a loud - for thirty consecutive days. This way, the scrolls' wisdom becomes both a part of the active and subconscious mind.

Scroll II: Love can be the salesman's greatest weapon, for even if people reject many particulars concerning the salesman's wares, love will soften them. Love can be developed by always looking for the best in people. Each time we meet someone we should state silently, "I Love You." But in order to love others, we must love ourselves, treat ourselves with respect, and not be satisfied with anything but our finest efforts.

Scroll III: "I will persist until I succeed." People are born to succeed, not to fail. Defeat will not be considered, and word such as quit, cannot, unable, and impossible are not part of the growing disciple's vocabulary. Every failure moves a man closer to success. When the day ends and the salesman wants to quit, he must force himself to make one more sale; to end the day with success.

Scroll IV: People are nature's greatest miracle. Each person is different in appearance as well as ability, and we should capitalize on, rather than despise, these differences. We must concentrate on the task at hand, not allowing ourselves to be preoccupied with problems of home while in the marketplace, or of the marketplace while we are at home. We each have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind with which to think. This is everything we need to thrive.

Scroll V: Live each day as if it were your last. Dwelling on the failures or misfortunes of the past is useless, for we cannot change them. Nor should we think about tomorrow. The present hours and minutes, pass too quickly and are gone forever, and so, they must be traded only for things of value. We should always treat our family and our friends as if today were our last day together.

Scroll VI: We are masters over our emotions. Although we daily pass through different moods, each of us has the power to control them; to "create our own weather." If we bring joy and enthusiasm and brightness to all that we do, others will react in a similar manner. "Strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts." No matter how we feel when we arise in the morning, we can sing or laugh and make ourselves feel better. No matter what other people do or how they react, we can decide to be positive and understanding.

Scroll VII: " ... Cultivate the habit of laughter." Man is the only creature who can laugh, and the best thing to laugh at is ourselves. Whenever things seem to serious or dismal, repeat the word, "This too shall pass, " and all troublesome thoughts will seem lighter. Laughers puts events - successes as well as failures - into perspective. Only with laughter and gratitude can we enjoy the fruits of prosperity.

Scroll VIII: Seek out opportunities and experiences that will multiply in value. A grain of wheat has not choice as to what it will become - whether it will be ground into bread or planted in the earth to multiply - but each human being has a choice - to grow or to perish. In order to "multiply in value," we must set goals, short-term as well as long-term. We must not worry if we experience initial failure in reaching our goals; we compete only with ourselves. Upon reaching goal, we multiply again by setting another, and by striving to constantly make the next hour better than the present one.

Scroll IX: Our dream and plans are of no value without action. Procrastination comes from fear, and we overcome fear only through action. It is better to act now and risk failure, than to refrain from action and certainly struggle. Fireflies give light only when they fly. Through doing, we become like them, giving off light amid the darkness. Only action gives life significance. If success is offered now, we must act now.

Scroll X: Almost everyone, in a moment of terror or anguish, will turn to God for help. But a true believer will pray for guidance, not only for help. He calls on God not for material things, but for the knowledge to understand the way to acquire what is needed. Nevertheless, we must realize that sometimes we will not be given the sort of guidance we ask for - this, too, is an answer to prayer. Pray for ability equal to the opportunity, for good habits, for love, to use words well, to humbly forge through all obstacles, to reach worthwhile goals.

It is now three years since Hafid has sold all his goods. Together with his wife and Erasmus, he lives a simple life. One day on unkempt traveler comes to see him. It is Paul, follower of Jesus. Paul relates to Hafid his conversion to Christ, tells about Jesus' life, and declare that Jesus has sent him to find the greatest salesman in the world and ask him to share his miraculous secrets for converting others. At last the man to whom Hafid can confer the sacred instructive scrolls, has arrived.

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

Sunday

Learn to Change and Reshape Your Habits

Learn to change and reshape your habits for the better by following these steps…
  • Identify the routines you follow – look at your CUEs, ROUTINEs & REWARDs.
  • Experiment with different rewards – isolate what you are actually craving when you do something habitually – alternatives - look for a better, safer, healthier reward.
  • Isolate the CUE that triggers your habit – what it is that signals that it’s time to do that thing.
  • Develop a new plan – what you will do differently the next time that CUE arises.
"First, there is a cue , a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine , which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward , which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future."
66 Days To Change Your Life

Scientists say it only takes 66 days to change your life, If you’re strong enough.
There’s no denying that we are, indeed, creatures of habit. Our minds and bodies are dependent on stimulants, actions and patterns that come to define who we are. Our habits are our security blankets, enveloping us in their consistent presence and comfort of familiarity.

We do them unconsciously, sticking fingers and cigarettes in our mouths and cracking our knuckles only to find that we can’t remember when this habit began.

According to Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit," habits are not born, but created. Every bad, good or insignificant habit starts with a psychological pattern called a "habit loop."

Duhigg reported to NPR, the "habit loop" is a three-part process.

The first step is the trigger that tells your brain to let a certain behavior unfold.

The second step is the behavior itself, or the routine it creates.

The third step is the reward, or "something that your brain likes that helps it remember the ‘habit loop’ in the future."

Once we’ve formed habits, they are hard to break because, many times, we forget we’re doing them. Because of the habit loop, we are able to do other things without thinking about our habit.

We will be working on something else while simultaneously biting our nails, not realizing the moment we put them in our mouths.

We become slaves to our habits. They become inhibitors and some have the power to control our lives.

Though some substances we use have addictive qualities that make the habits almost impossible to break, there are ways to replace those bad habits with good ones… and all it takes is 66 days.

In a study released in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Phillippa Lally and her team of researchers surveyed 96 people over a 12-week period to find exactly how long it takes to start a new habit.

Over the 12 weeks, the participants chose a new habit and reported each day how automatic the behavior felt. At the end of the period, Lally analyzed the results and found the average time it took for the participants to pick up a new habit was 66 days.

While her results were focused on the time it takes to create a habit, we can look at it inversely, and the time it takes to kick an old one and pick up a better one.

If a habit does not include addictive additives or stimulants, which make the withdrawal and brain processes different, who’s to say it won’t take you 66 days to cut out all those nasty habits that have been overtaking your life?

If you take the habit out of your life, the same way you put one into your life, you will find yourself free of the unconscious and, many times, detrimental patterns that habits cause. You could replace those old bad ones with new good ones.

Instead of watching Netflix before bed, you make yourself read a book. Maybe instead of soda with dinner, you make yourself drink water for 66 days.

Whatever your motives, this research should be the catalyst you need to kick those bad habits and start picking up some good ones.

Because there is no better time to turn over a new leaf (or habit) than in the fall.

Be Obnoxious (Days 1- 22)

Shout about it. Tell your friends, family and coworkers you are on a mission. Enlist them as officers to patrol when you’re slipping back into your old ways or not keeping up on your new ones. Tell them you want them to yell at you, bother you and constantly remind you.

Add extra pressure on yourself. The pressure of disappointing other people and going back on your word will make it that much harder to go back to your old ways.

Because sometimes it’s easier to disappoint ourselves than it is other people.

Self-Analyze (Days 22- 44)

Take a good look at your life. This is the time to really dig deep and do some soul-searching. What do you want in life? Why are you doing this? How do you want to represent yourself?

Whether you’re quitting a bad habit or picking up a healthier one, get to the core of why you’re doing this and how it’s going to affect your life.

If you can find that reason buried deep in your unconscious, you will be able to carry out these 66 days much easier. You will have an internal force pushing you.

Find The Light (Days 44- 66)

The third stage is the final push. As far as you’ve come, you still have to make it these last 22 days. It’s easy to burn out, get tired and forget why you are doing this. It’s easy to revert to your old ways because, up to this point, you have yet to rid yourself of the habit.

At this stage, you must find something to hold on to. Something that will that push you to that final goal. It’s the last 22 days that prove how strong and willing you really are.

At this point, it’s about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about realizing that though you can’t see the other end, you can still see glimpses of it.

Treat Yo’ Self (66 +)

The only way to solidify the end of an old habit or the birth of a new one is to celebrate it. Throw a party, have some champagne, shout it from your Brooklyn rooftop. Make a day of it or call up your friends and have a swanky dinner party.

If it’s a habit people have been hoping you would break they will be more than willing to celebrate with you. Who knows, you can even make it a yearly tradition.

Reference: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is a book by Charles Duhigg

Try these 4 habits for next one week and experience the difference in yourself.

Habit #1 - Create your own thoughts and opinions. Your OWN: Every day, you likely to hear lots of ideas, suggestions, thoughts and viewpoints of others. But, it is not necessary that what worked for them, probably work for you. So, create your customized thoughts, viewpoints and opinions. By customized I mean that it shouldn’t be influenced by crowd opinion. Have your OWN!. Here’s how you can practice it: Collect ideas. You never know which idea can work when. So, always welcome others’ thoughts and ideas. Collect them. It’ll allow you to have a pool of ideas to create own. Have your why. When you think about an idea to consider, connect why with it. Figure out how it can help you and could be better than others. This is called critical thinking. It’ll help you to get own ideas.

Habit #2 - Do intense physical workout: To train your brain to be strong, start with doing intense exercise. By intense here means going beyond comfort zone. Lets say if you comfortably do 150 push ups daily, make it 155–160. It’ll allow your mind to feel strength when you hit that mark. You’ll gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment. You’ll get a sense of "I can". In the words of -Bob Miglani, "A strong mind can will a complacent body to action."

Habit #3 - Boost your knowledge and understanding: Why do elders say that experience makes your mind strong. Because with the amount of experience, you gain better insights, knowledge and understanding about things. You feel less nervous about the consequences of anything. The better your knowledge will be, the stronger your mind will be. Here’s how you can practice it: Read books. A great source of knowledge. It allows you to expand your ability to understand things and situations. And, allow you to deal with it in effectively manner. Interact and listen others. Whenever you interact with someone, they share a great piece of knowledge and experience with you. If you listen attentively, you’ll grab it easily. And, it’ll be a great addition to your knowledge and understanding.

Habit #4 - Develop Self discipline and control on yourself: What if Bill Gates scared of initial failures and didn’t put efforts to make Microsoft a grand success. Probably, we wouldn’t know him today. So, delaying the regret and stay focused to make consistent efforts in whatever we do, allow us to stay disciplined and control ourselves. It is your self-discipline and control that you reached school or workplace daily on time regardless of what challenges you faced. Try one or all of these habits to develop and practice daily to boost the strength of your mindset.

By having a strong mindset, you can achieve anything, accomplish something daily, overcome your fears and deal with the troubles effectively.

Thursday

What is the 20-20-20 rule

It's a handy tool you can use at work or at home to reduce eye fatigue.

Being surrounded by screens - from laptops to desktops to cell phones, TVs and tablets - our eyes are experiencing more screen time than any time in history, and it’s taking a toll.

Designed to reduce eye fatigue, the 20-20-20 rule says that every 20 minutes of screen time, you should look away at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

These regular screen breaks give your eyes some much-needed rest and help prevent eye strain.

Tuesday

How do you use a chronograph watch?

A chronograph is another name for a watch with a stopwatch function. The buttons, or pushers, on a chronograph start, stop and reset the stopwatch. The watch tells time as usual, even while using the chronograph.

Start the timing: Press the top button on the right side of the watch to start the timer. When the timer starts, the longer second hand starts to move. For every complete rotation the hand makes around the dial, an increment of time is recorded in a subregister, or recorder, on the watch. The subregister displays the recorded time in seconds, minutes and possibly hours.

Stop the timing: Press the top button a second time to stop the timer. The total time elapsed is displayed in the subregister. The amount of time recorded depends upon the capabilities of the watch. A chronograph can record anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours.

Reset the stopwatch: Press the bottom button to clear the stopwatch, which resets the subdial and the longer second hand.

Use the tachymeter: Some chronographs also feature a tachymeter, which allows the wearer to calculate speed based on the time recorded and/or distance travelled based on the speed. The tachymeter is the scale of numbers featured on the outside of the watch. The standard scale converts between the duration of the event in seconds and the number of times the event occurs in an hour. To calculate the speed, travel a known distance, and use the stopwatch function. Divide the 3,600 seconds in an hour by the number of seconds recorded by the stopwatch. To calculate distance, hold your speed constant. When the second hand reaches the mark on the scale equal to the speed, the distance travelled is equal to 1 mile.

Saturday

How to start your own business?

"Starting your own business means giving more of what you can offer and receive more of what you can get."
Well, unless you make the first step, nothing is going to change. That’s for sure. There are risks involved, that’s for sure. But the reward is fantastic. It’s not the only freedom you get, although it feels very nice. It’s not only the money, although it does count. It’s the ability to control the throughput of your generated value. You can give as much as you want. If you’re looking for excitement, for creativity, for joyful effort, for big rewards, then this lifestyle is for you.

It requires discipline, hard work and clarity. All these abilities can be trained, you know. And, if I would choose only one out of these three, I think discipline would be the most important.

So, how to start your own business?

First of all, plan ahead: Be sure you have at least one year covered when it comes to self-sustenance. Risk is good, but too much risk is extremely bad. If you don’t have at least one year covered, you will start to feel the pressure of day to day living. While some may advocate that this pressure is good for your entrepreneurial approach, by making you strive even harder, I'm not following this path. I found that too much financial pressure will adversely affect your creativity. You may strive harder, but your output may be of a lower quality, if money is your only goal.

Second, find a real problem: I saw too many times entrepreneurs claiming their idea was so awesome, because it was solving a very important problem. Their problem. But they didn't reach out to see if there were at least one other person with that problem too. In other words, they didn't have a market. I call this business "one client businesses". Their problem is real, the solution to the problem is, very often, brilliant, but, alas, there is only one person with that problem: the entrepreneur. It will never work like this. If you really want to have customers, reach out. Ask around. Test. Identify a real problem to solve.

Third, stick to it: Don’t give up. But only if you’re sure you won’t have to compromise your work quality and only if you’re sure you found a real problem. If you have the first two points listed above, then all you have to do is to stay there. Because it will be difficult. No matter if it’s your first business or your tenth, each one is different. You simply don’t know everything there is to know about each specific business and a lot of difficulty will come from not knowing exactly your market or your clients. You will also have to work with people and people are also different. And, most of the time, difficult. I'm talking about your own team here. Depending on your situation you may have to inspire, to support, to teach, to motivate them. Oh, and you will have to pay them, one way or another.

Thursday

What is Maya

Narada
Narada was a sage who lived for thousands of years and wandered freely through all the regions of consciousness from heaven to earth. Narada was on very intimate terms with the Lord, here in the form of Krishna, so he could ask him all forms of questions. And while they were walking, he asked the Lord, "Sir, can you please explain to me the secret of this magic called maya?"

Sri Krishna hesitated, because to understand maya is to understand the whole of life. After a few days Krishna asked Narada to make a trip with him towards a desert. After walking several miles Krishna said, "Let’s lie down here in the shade and I shall tell you everything. But first, Narada, it's terribly hot; would you get me some water?" "I will go right away and get you water." Narada promised, and he set out across the desert.

Narada entered a nearby village and knocked at a door which was opened by an extremely beautiful young girl. At the sight of her Narada forgot everything and began talking with the girl. That talk ripened into love; he asked the girl’s father for the daughter; they were married, lived there and had three children. After twelve years his father-in-law died and Narada inherited his property. He lived, as he seemed to think, a very happy life with his wife and children, his fields and his cattle, and so forth.
"Ocean is Concealed, Waves are Revealed; Wind is Hidden, Dusts are Visible; Mind is Unknown, Thoughts are Known"
Then came a flood. One night the river rose until it overflowed its banks and flooded the whole village. Houses fell, men and animals were swept away and drowned and everything was floating in the rush of the stream. Narada had to escape. With one hand he held his wife, and with the other two of his children; another child was on his shoulders and he was trying to ford this tremendous flood. After some time the child on his shoulders fell and was swept away by the current of the water. In trying to save that child, Narada lost his grasp of the other children who were also lost. At last his wife was also torn away from his tight clasp and Narada was thrown on the bank, weeping and wailing in bitter lamentation. Everything that he loved and lived for – his lands, his cattle, his house, especially his beloved wife and all their children - were swept away. Narada fell to his knees and cried for help from the very depths of his heart. "Krishna! Krishna!"

At once, the raging floods disappeared and there was Sri Krishna, standing casually on the fields where they had walked what seemed to be so many years before. "Narada," the Lord asked gently, "where is the water? You went to fetch a pitcher of water for me, and I have been waiting for you; you have been gone for quite half-an-hour." "Half-an-hour!” Narada exclaimed! Twelve whole years seemed to have passed through in his mind; but in fact all these scenes had happened in half-an-hour only. And this is Maya.
"Unless you meditate, the mind cannot be controlled, and unless the mind is controlled, you cannot meditate. So steady your mind and meditate." -Swami Brahmananda
Symbolically - Narada moving away from Krishna is like we moving away from the Supreme Truth and getting entangled in fleeing pleasures. Try to solve the puzzle of happiness - when we are pure bliss.

These stories provide an insight into one of the principal doctrines of Hinduism which says that the phenomenal world is simply an emanation of divine energy that has been filtered through Maya. This is reiterated in the Mahabharata when the voice of a Yaksha asked Yudhishtir: 'Of the entire world’s wonders, which is the most wonderful?' the celebrated reply was: 'that no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die'. This is Maya.

Story of dividing the elephants

A man died, leaving behind 17 elephants as his only wealth. He had three sons, According to his will; the first son should get one-half of his wealth, the second one-third and the third one-ninth. Now how could the sons divide 17 elephants among themselves in the manner stipulated?

The king, who happened to be passing by on his elephant, said he would solve the problem. He alighted from his elephant and put it beside the 17 of the dead man’s. He said he had added his elephant to the 17 to make the number even. So the first son got one-half of the 18 that is nine elephants. The second got one-third of the 18 that is six. The third got two, one-ninth of the 18 elephants. The king said: "This leaves one elephant, the one I added to your father’s collection. I take it back now that the division of the elephants among you is over." The sons were happy that the division was in accordance with their father’s will.

However, was the division indeed in accordance with their father’s will? It was not. It was a mere illusion that they had kept to the provisions of the will. Such is the nature of illusion that we take comfort from what we see as just and get upset over what we perceive as unjust.

The truth when endowed with maya is called Iswara, the Creator of the world. Sarva Upanishad describes maya as that power which is beginningless and contains within it the seeds to create the entire universe. It is neither real (because it has no power or independent existence separate from Brahman), nor unreal (because it is apparently perceived and experienced in this world through its expressions of avaranya [veiling, nonapprehension] and vikshepa [agitation, misapprehension]).

"As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it. then it is no longer what you saw."-Shunryu Suzuki

Monday

A Beautiful Story of Forgiveness

The Bridge: A Beautiful and Heart-Warming Story!

This is a story of two brothers who lived side by side in their own farms for many years, until one day, a foolish argument caused a rift between them. This was the first serious disagreement the brothers had in all of their 50 years.

The fight began over a small misunderstanding, which can sometimes happen, but the dispute dragged on and became an angry exchange of words, followed by weeks of silence.

One day, there was a knock on the older brother’s door. When he opened it, he was facing an old, bearded carpenter, holding a toolbox. "I could sure do some work for you, sir" said the stranger. "Do you need any repairs in your farm?" "Yes", replied the farmer. "I've got a job for you".

"Across the creek, there’s a farm that happens to belong to my younger brother. Until recently, the whole area between our homes was green, but then he changed the creek’s path, making it into a border between us. I’m sure he did that for spite, but I’ll show him…" said the older brother.

"You see those trees by the barn? I want you to turn them into a 10-foot tall fence. I never want to see his face again."

The old carpenter thought quietly to himself for a few minutes and eventually said: "I see".

The farmer helped the carpenter carry his tools and the wood, and then drove off to the city on some errands. When he came back in the evening, the carpenter had finished his work. Upon arriving at the creek, the older brother was stunned. His eyes were bulging out, and he couldn’t utter a single word.

Where a fence should have been standing, a bridge stood now. A quaint and special bridge, truly a work of art, with an intricately carved banister.

Bridge

At the same time, the younger brother happened to come to the same spot. He rushed over the bridge and embraced his older brother, and said:

"You're something special… building a bridge, after all I've said and done!" While both brothers were hugging, the old carpenter collected his tools and started walking away. The brothers turned to him and said "Please, stay for a few more days - we have more things that need fixing." "I would have loved to stay, kind sirs," said the carpenter. "But I have many more bridges to build and things to fix in other places…"

We often let anger push us away from our loved ones, and allow pride to come before our love. Don't let it happen to you. Learn to forgive and appreciate what you have.

Remember: The past cannot be changed, but the future can be. No quarrel can spoil a true connection. Build your bridges when you have to, and always cross them with a smile.

Sunday

That's Not My Job

In a hotel, a maintenance engineer was replacing a light bulb in the lobby ceiling. Out of the corner of his eye he notices a woman and her two sons coming from the pool, wrapped in towels but still dripping wet. The woman has her hands full with bags. She fumbles with the door that leads into the lobby, looking exasperated. The man on the ladder becomes alert to her predicament, puts down his tools, climbs down, crosses the lobby, smiles, and opens the door for her.

"Welcome back to the hotel, ma'am," he says. "Let me help you with your bags. How was the pool? Did your two little guys have a good time? What floor are you going to?" He presses the button, exits the elevator, and heads back toward his ladder.
Learn to recognize and respond to the needs of your customers before they are expressed - sometimes before your customers even realize they have a need.
The customer expressed a need, and the employee responded energetically. He got off the ladder rather than saying 'That's not my job'. Reactive service is a pretty ineffective way to create loyal customers. To get on the fast track to customer loyalty, your company needs something better.

The magic happens when you, your systems, and the employees throughout the ranks of your business anticipate the needs of your customer, learning to recognize and respond to the needs of your customers before they are expressed - sometimes before your customers even realize they have a need. That is the difference between providing a normal service by merely reacting to customer requests and building loyalty through true anticipatory service.