Saturday, 25 February 2017

Achievers

Sometimes we experience a slump.
It can be quite bad and sometimes it seems to last quite long.
I was reading a book by Ryuho Okawa and he had the following wise approach

If we do get in a slump, it means we are belonging somehow to high achievers.
If we experience a fall from high enough, so that it hurts badly, it means we
had climbed high enough to reach these levels in the first place.
Slumps tend to be temporary and being aware that somehow we belong
to the group of people who achieve quite high, may be a reason to be grateful throughout.

Then when a slum arrives we feel we have fallen to the lowest.
That may be true when we compare with our immediate peers or competitors,
but if we compare ourselves to all graduating from our same school or
all people of our age, we tend to be still way above average.

Then Okawa gave the next wonderful story:
Only very few people reach station 8 while climbing mount Fuji
Most people give up somewhere  at station 4 or 5. 
But then the few who reach that station 8, all believe they will win.
All believe they will reach the top first; that is partly  why they reached so far. 
If they "fail" at that point, they can get very depressed.
Maybe they are the weakest among the 10 people reaching station 8,
but among all starting the climb, they are still among the top 1%.
I think this story illustrates what is written in the two paragraphs above it very nicely.

Hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did.
Please give your comments below.
 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

bank of justice

"We do not believe that the bank justice is bankrupt"
The words of Martin Luther King Jr in his famous speech,
I have a dream.

The bank of justice will be never bankrupt.
Somehow we were made just
and if we violate this intrinsic nature of ours,
it always hurts.

So, let us make it silent,
look at our true nature
and make this a just world
where justice love and kindness reigns.

We were made to love each other
we cannot violate our nature without being hurt
So let the love and kindness just flow
Let the bank of justice thrive
and enjoy

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

When enough is enough

Just now I read the last words of Steve Jobs
It was an ode to love.
I think he was pleading with whoever has accumulated enough wealth,
to get focused on other things in life than the further accumulation of wealth.

And I think he was so right in saying that.
We need wealth in our life.
But much more still we need love
and arts and kindness and beauty

Let us all get every day our ten or fifteen minutes spent to just indulge in beauty:
a sunrise, a flower, a tree, field of grass, a butterfly, a bird, another human being,
a beautiful song, a masterpiece of music,  a sublime poem, a fable, a verse, a quote.

Let us all spend some time loving, helping, simply being kind,
Let us all spend some time in positive thoughts, grateful for all we have
Let us all spend some time with our nearest and dearest,
Let us all live a life filled with purpose and love,
unconditional love...

Friday, 17 February 2017

Assertiveness

Assertiveness means to effectively offer your opinion an get what you want.
It is not manipulation, it is not getting angry and using force/authority.

I hope so much my children are assertive.
Polite, but not shy to give their opinion,
to express effectively what they want.

Too many times we tend to be so keen on approval by others,
that we ignore our own feelings and what we really want.
A simple example is when we come out of a movie.
Let's say we really liked the movie and it moved us to tears.
We meet two friends who recently saw the same movie
and they said that the movie was so boring.
How often will we hide our true opinion of the movie?

How often do we not voice out what we want in fear of rejection.
I think too often rejection is met with dejection (sad and depressed feeling)
It is so important to understand:
If our request is not getting a positive reply, we do not get what we want.
If we do not make the request, it is 100% sure that we do not get what we want.
By requesting something, we may get what we want, but it is possible that we get rejected.
If rejected, we are in the same situation as not having made the request.
So why should rejection made us feel any worse than not making the request.
At least now we have tried and we know that simple question will not solve our problem

So, let us think about it.
Let us throw away fear of rejection. Rejection is a normal thing.
But so acception. If we do not ask for sure we do not get.
I remember now the story about a university asking for support from an old lady, mentioned already once in an earlier blog posting here: asking 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

anti or pro



In the last few weeks, I have been reading too much news, I think.
There is a part inside of me that is worried, 
really worried about what Donald Trump will do to the world. 
I have been reading news more, much more than usual and even been 
getting half "addicted" to shows/videos ridiculing Trump and his administration.

Did it give me peace of mind?
It almost ruined my usual level of peace of mind!
Did it help me in any way?
Can not think of ANY benefits of spending hours reading all of the nonsense,
seeing all these videos highlighting politics 

All i can see is that it created more hatred in myself 
For long I have tried to remove hatred from my heart 
and practice at a level at least a bit closer to the ideal level of unconditional love
Well, all my attention to the news and the parodies and cynicism coming from the USA
has brought me not a bit closer but perhaps a lot further from such an ideal.

When before, I let the news come to me, rather then me going to the news,
I think I did not miss out on any of the major happenings in the world. 
Sometimes I heard things on the radio or from friends, a few hours or even a day late,
but I was aware at large of what was happening in the world. 
It gave me lots of time for reflection, for reading, for actively pursuing peace of mind

Rather than letting news inundate us with negativity,
(and I think there has been more negative in the air than ever)
we can search for positive things in this world.
And if you sincerely look around at how much love and charity and kindness
you can find in your own neighborhood, in your own city,
you will be able to see that there are more good things happening than ever too.

It is important to remain focused on what we want
Mother Teresa never participated in ANTI-war rallies.
She claimed: organize a pro-peace rally and I will be there.

The more attention we give to what we do not want,
the more attention the media give to, let's say, war, or Trump,
the stronger they become. 

So let us get focused 
focused on love and kindness. 
The upcoming week is the international week of RAK
Random Acts of Kindness.
Let us do our part, publicize this important week appropriately 
and love and be kind to everyone we meet.
Remain focused on that.
I will do that instead of swallowing passively all news that wants to inundate my mind.
Are you with me in that?




Saturday, 4 February 2017

Clean

In the peak of the raining season, waves tend to be big.
A lot of litter, perhaps that was thrown from boats,
or perhaps that was thrown in the rivers that flow into the sea,
tends to be washed ashore in this season.

Since I came to live close to the beach, about 17 years ago,
I have taken the habit to clean up the beach whenever it looked
really as being littered in a bad way.
Often I get the help of my sons or neighbour.

Seeing litter on the beach somehow makes me feel not too good.
So, I thought, what is the best action.
I cannot prevent the litter from arriving at the beach.
I can choose to be upset about it most of the time 
and condemn all people throwing the things in the sea or in the rivers.
I can also choose to accept that we are all not perfect and 
different people do have a different set of values
and consider the cleaning up of the beach as a form of exercise,
that helps to burn some excessive calories. 

So, I have definitely chosen the second attitude  and
yesterday morning the son of my neighbour and I
have taken all garbage of quite a long stretch of beach.
After we saw the result of our "physical exercise"
we felt truly proud of what was accomplished:
A impeccable stretch of beach.
The colors of the sea were superb and it looked all so nice.

I love to do physical exercise, it is good for health.
If we do the exercise and in the mean time something else
which is good results from it, it is all the more rewarding....
 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Why Do Babies Die?

A question that keeps me busy quite often.
I am working in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU),
and just last week there was a day when I was facing two deaths,
in a matter of minutes: one baby who was born with huge hole
in his diaphragm (the muscle between our chest and our abdomen)
and the other baby had a syndrome that was not compatible with life (Patau).

In such instances, the question tends to intensify a bit in our mind:
Why do babies have to die?

First, if you hope to find a definite answer on this question,
I do not think there exists one. But I share here with you some
results of contemplation that crossed my mind in the past > 20 years.

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First, I think there are a few negatives, a few myths regarding death
that are quite thoroughly debunked by the death of babies.

1. "Death is a punishment of God". Why would God punish babies who are just a few days old?
What did they do wrong? I know most of the readers of this blog will have given up long ago the concept of death as a punishment of God but up to today there are still so many people believing in this myth. Death as a punishment, does not make sense to anyone reflecting regularly about life-matters, but death of newborns, often after days of suffering, is refuting completely the above notion. How cruel would it be to punish newborn babies who are by definition perhaps the most innocent beings on earth.
2. "Early death is a result of wrong thinking habits." If you listen to the positive thinking 'gurus', it is likely that you will have heard that all diseases are the result of wrong, negative thinking patterns. While I understand and take it for a truth that there is a great value in positive thinking and positive living, the results of these, are not as absolute as the gurus want us to believe. How wrong would the thinking of a newborn baby have been if he develops a severe and deadly disease. Some may say it is the parents' negative thinking, but that would be extremely unfair to the baby too. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions and positive actions can definitely improve health. I am a believer. But to say that all diseases are curable or preventable by positive thinking, is quite an overstatement, if we think why babies become ill and do die.
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Now some other thoughts. Thoughts based on religious beliefs. Mentioning these thoughts here does not mean I agree with them but still they are thoughts about why babies have to die.
A. I heard from one friend who believes that we all have to go through 7 lives, in which suffering can be quite prominent, before we can reach the ultimate heaven (Nirwana). "Babies who die are the ones who had in the previous life lived a in a very good way, since they are given like a life for free, which means one less life to go through before reaching the highest heavens."  From that point of belief, it makes a certain sense, but to make this work for anyone, that anyone has to believe in reincarnation and in the dogma of the 7 lives before Nirwana.
B. Babies dying become angels who will take care from the heavens of their closest family members
C. God was loving so much these souls, he wanted the babies to be with Him.
D. Others believe that the death of babies and other natural disasters are a proof that a good God does not exist.

I think B and C  are really valuable concepts to alleviate the pain of parents and the closest relatives of the child if they do have a strong religious background. But somehow they do not really explain the why of why babies do have to die. Still why would God let them be born in the first place if He really wanted them to be with Him?
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And yet...

One thing is quite certain, the world as experienced by us is not perfect. Still I think a non-perfect world does not prove that God does not exists or that God would have some egoistical traits.

While we may not fully understand the reason of so many imperfections in our world and the reason of so much suffering, the thought of a perfect world may sound quite scary as well. I have written a small poem on the non-understanding of reasons why things do happen as they do. (if you have the time, please read the poem and give your honest comments on it below it by clicking on this link ). I truly believe our God does what is done for the best. We have to be careful not to over-interpret and acknowledge that we do not understand the why of certain things.

On imagining how a perfect world would be like, I have written an entry in this blog (the third entry I wrote, back in 2014; if you have the time, please read it by clicking here). I think there is quite a bit of wisdom in just imagining how much more dreadful the exact of opposite of what we tend to dread, could be.

If I think about the extremely difficult question of why babies die, I think I value very much the understanding that all of us are different. We have different life spans, different gifts, different deficiencies, different bodies, hearts and souls. And yet there are so many similarities as well: we have quite often very similar feelings and spiritual experiences.

In summary, I think that by accepting three pieces of wisdom and combining them with each other, can be helpful:
a. We can accept that we are all different.
b. We can accept an imperfect world as a gift (as opposed to a perfect world), to a creative mind, caring heart and loving soul (see reflection 3).
c. We can accept that we do not understand everything that happens in this world, even though our God may have an ultimate reason for it (as proven by so many events that are experienced as negative but later are proven to huge blessings in disguise).
If we accept all the above (a,b and c) in this paragraph, I think the question, why do babies have to die, tends to becomes a little bit less painful and a bit more easy to accept...

What do you think?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ocean waves; and then there is light

We have sometimes 
A wave of greed
A wave of racism
A wave of hatred
A wave of anxiety
A wave of abuse
A wave of lies and deceit

These waves are like the ripples on the ocean.
They can be strong, though!
Storms can make them really big
But whatever the size of the waves, 
they will always crush on the shore
As they approach the shore they may gain in size
But that sudden swell often means their end is in sight.

Then there are also 
waves of kindness
waves of helpfulness
waves of respect
waves of love
waves of wisdom
waves of peace.

These waves are NOT like waves on the ocean
They are like waves of light
Traveling fast and furious 
They are like waves of magnetism
unstoppable, penetrating everything
Not dying, forever going on
Waves of electricity

Not destructive, not capricious
but steadily growing as humanity completes its own evolution

I look forward to a world with calm seas, calm oceans
with the waves of hatred just ripples
still alive among the smallest minority of people

I look forward to a splendidly bright world
in which the light of kindness will touch the hearts 
of all 7 or 8 billion billion humans on earth.