Thursday, 28 September 2017

Flow...

Completely getting absorbed in something.
Have you had that feeling?

Seeing something of such great beauty, that it is as if you get completely absorbed by it?
Doing something that is so nice and worthy, that it is as if you get completely absorbed by it?
Hearing a piece of music that is so majestic, that it is as if you get completely absorbed by it?

What a feeling!

I think that the more we strive to be unconditionally loving to all people and to the world,
the more often we can see so many things and situations that mesmerize us and
give us this state of flow, of feeling completely absorbed by beauty.

Working in my garden this morning, i stopped for awhile and had such moment of flow.
The sun was playing such a wonderful game of light that I felt like being in a state of flow,
a state of extreme awe and gratitude, a magical moment of amazing beauty.
Please my friends, go out in nature with a loving heart.
Allow yourself to be amazed...



Monday, 25 September 2017

Human

No matter how good our intentions,
we are all human at any time.

I have written a lot about kindness and my belief in a kindness revolution.
Today, I had quite a stressful day and lost my temper not once but twice.

Luckily nobody saw both events but even those seeing one of the events,
may say, is that the strong writer and "preacher" of kindness?

I think these are real lesson in humility.
We believe in values and principles,
but being human, we cannot live up to them all the time.

Does this mean we should not write or talk about them?
I think we should not judge anybody when they are not kind or loving.
None of us is always kind and loving since we are simply humans.

However, if we are silent about our beliefs and values,
all the negativity in the world will go without any bit of balance.
So i choose not to feel too guilty about losing my temper on and off
even though I try so very hard not to get angry at any time.
Let us talk and write a lot about kindness and the values we believe in;
it may make us stronger in the practice of these principles and values.
At the same time let's be humble, do not judge others and accept our own limitations

Lots of wishes for love and peace to all of you (and for myself too 😌😊😏 ).

Hans


Friday, 22 September 2017

The story of why

Today I want to share a small story, I was writing in poem format in January 2012.
I enjoyed reading it again today, and that is why I share it here with you:


There was once a one-year old boy
He was playing with a knife as a toy
He was having a real great time
How nicely did his lovely knife shine

Then came the father, got the surprise of his life.
As fast as he could, he took away the dangerous knife
The boy felt treated unfair and started to cry
His pleasure ended abruptly, he didn't know why


His tiny mind was not developed enough
to understand that it was his father's love
that was the reason why the knife was taken away
No way he'd understand what happened that day


It is also impossible for any of us to understand
the why of a tsunami or sudden death of a friend
we can go as deep as we can, we can try
but we never will reach the true answer to why.

Just our human mind's capacity is far too small
for us to understand the ultimate reason of all
I believe a supreme reason exists for everything
Sometimes we just have to accept what is happening…

Sunday, 17 September 2017

6 mistakes of mankind

While regular reflection may lead to inspiration and creativity, there are always times where inspiration is not coming as during other times. These are the times we can stand on the shoulders of the giants of the past.

I think Marcus Tullius Cicero was definitely one of these giants. I recently read some of his works and the most striking quotable part is perhaps his list of 6 mistakes of humankind. More than 2000 years ago, Cicero identified the following common mistakes, humans made:

“Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.” 

Wow, what a great insight in human nature.
Why, 2000 years later, we still make these mistakes so often?

 

  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
Feel free to share it, use it in any positive way
Will be grateful if you mention the link http://reflectionsbyhans.blogspot.com/

If you have time, please take also a look at
the inspirational quotes page connected to this blog
some of my poems published under my pen name Aufie Zophy.

Friday, 15 September 2017

At our fingertips!


In the last two decades, amazing things have truly happened. Quite suddenly almost all wisdom and philosophy from the past 2 to 3 millennia became available at the fingertips of anyone with access to the internet. When even as recent as 25 years ago, I read some reference on one of the old Greeks or other philosopher, I sometimes intended to buy or borrow one of their works on my next visit to the bookstore or library, but most often or almost always the intention got forgotten or did not materialize for other reasons. Now, if we read, for example, something about Demosthenes, we can google his name, find his whole speeches and very often also very well written summaries of their work.

Not only have these works become available at our fingertips, also there seems to be a wave of interest in them, generated by popular most often freely available educational website such TED-X, TED ed, Socratica, or popular media outlets.

Educational websites are so useful. Not only for philosophy but just about anything else too. Just yesterday I read something about a black hole and I immediately found a video on the topic, raising my understanding from almost zero to perhaps anywhere between 1 and 30%.

I do think wisdom and understanding of many things and with that increase in knowledge, understanding and wisdom will come tolerance and love, kindness and harmony. They are about to snowball into a wonderful world


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Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
Feel free to share it, use it in any positive way
Will be grateful if you mention the link http://reflectionsbyhans.blogspot.com/

If you have time, please take also a look at
the inspirational quotes page connected to this blog
some of my poems published under my pen name Aufie Zophy.
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The 12 virtues

   Friendliness                    Charity
Truthfulness              Courage            Temperance
      Patience      Magnanimity        Wittiness 
Proper ambition            Modesty
Magnificence               Righteous indignation


 12 virtues, here they are.

Aristotle was writing about these virtues more than 300BC. He wa an apprentice from Plato and thus was in a unique position as a philosopher himself to be exposed to the teachings of two of the greatest philosophers, Plato and Socrates. Below, I give a little bit of background about Socrates and Plato. Bur first about these virtues. Aristotle had a very wise view on happiness and saw the habit of practicing virtues as a highway to happiness. I think today we need his vision more than ever.
He saw the virtues as a mean between the two extremes of excess and deficiency. The next table (source Spark Notes ) will help you understand what he means:


Sphere of action of feeling Excess Mean Deficiency
Fear and Confidence Rashness Courage Cowardice
Pleasure and Pain Licentiousness Temperance Insensibility
Getting and Spending (minor) Prodigality Charity Illiberality
Getting and Spending (major) Vulgarity Magnificence Pettiness
Honor and Dishonor (minor) Ambition Proper Ambition Unambitiousness
Honor and Dishonor (major) Vanity Magnanimity Pusillanimity
Anger Irascibility Patience Lack of Spirit
Self-expression Boastfulness Truthfulness Understatement
Conversation Buffoonery Wittiness Boorishness
Social Conduct Obsequiousness or Flattery Friendliness Cantankerousness
Shame Shyness Modesty Shamelessness

Indignation
Envy Righteous indignation Malicious enjoyment 

If we are busy with virtues, by reading about them, thinking about them, we tend to practice them more. I remember many years ago, I read an essay on politeness. I am a believer in politeness, since my very young years. But somehow in the week following the reading of the essay, I noticed that I was more polite than usual. The reading of the essay had brought politeness from the deep depths of my mind, right to the surface. Things sitting on the surface tend to guide our actions and words in a better way than if they sit somewhere deep within. :)

So let us reminisce, let us think about all virtues on a regular basis. Keep them at the surface. Happiness will never be far away :)

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Now here a bit of background about Socrates and Plato:

Socrates was born to working class parents.
He worked as a laborer and entered the army on three occasions.
It was only when he retired that he started doing what he was best at, what he became so famous for: teaching. He studied wise men in Athens and noticed that they knew a lot but they were not aware that there were many things they did not know either. Socrates was aware that many things he did not know and pointed out through dialogues and questioning that so many who thought they knew, actually did not know. This turned the elite and politicians angry and he was seen as a threat to them, so they trumped up charges against him when he was 70 year. He was convicted and willingly took the punishment of drinking poison, while there were plenty of opportunities to escape.

Plato was a son of two aristocrats. He was a disciple of Socrates and after Socrates death he was so disgusted with politics that he went to study not only philosophy but also sciences. He wrote many books on Socrates (Socrates had not written anything himself). He founded the academy, which some call the first European University. All this happened more than 2300 years ago.

Aristotle studied and taught at the academy of Plato for 20 years. He was a prominent teacher but there were differences in thoughts between him and Plato.The 12 virtues were written about, by Aristotle in his book called the Nicomachean ethics (his father and son were named both Nikomachus). He considered virtues the mean between deficiency and excess.





















































Thursday, 14 September 2017

The path

The path!

This morning, at 6.30 AM, I could see that the very early morning skies carried the potential to erupt into a wonderful sunrise. I walked down the path of my garden. Step by step I reached the front gate and there I was in a beautiful place facing an amazing sky.

Sometimes I wish in life it would be a bit like this too. We wake up, see exactly where to go and what to do and end up in the most beautiful place thinkable. But life is a bit more complex.

However, it is still worth waking up on time and take a brief look into the future with all potential paths we can walk that day. Try to guess which one will bring us to the nicest place, not so much the nicest place physically, but the nicest place emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I think believers, ask the help of our Creator to find that most beautiful path. But you do not have to be a believer to take the time to think and plan our day in the best way.

I think the place we arrive at the end of the day is usually in bed or just before bedtime in a relaxing chair, either doing some reading, some computering or watching TV. If we take also at night a few minutes of our time, to look back at the path we took and how much true joy it brought us, we will enjoy the beautiful things not only once but twice.

Doing the evening or nighttime reflection, it usually are the smiles we could bring on the faces of other people that create most beauty beauty in our mind, in our heart and in our soul. It usually are the small kindness, the small random acts of love, that make us inside joyful.

Thinking about that path in our life, that path we took and the path we will take tomorrow or later today, can make so much difference in the true joy we experience. :)😉😃




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Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
Feel free to share it, use it in any positive way
Will be grateful if you mention the link http://reflectionsbyhans.blogspot.com/

If you have time, please take also a look at
the inspirational quotes page connected to this blog
some of my poems published under my pen name Aufie Zophy.

Matter



A small app on my phone tells me I have made 6000 steps today.
How many steps really mattered?
Perhaps my little morning walk did matter.
These small walks may contribute so much to my health.
Maybe just a bit to my physical health because the walks are really small
But much more perhaps to my mental and emotional health.
The deep breaths of morning sun filled air
A few poetic thoughts crossing my mind.
The joy of the greenery and the scanty flowers along my path.

Did anything else matter a lot today?
I hope I managed to inspire my students today.
I did enjoy the session myself. I really hope they did too.

But maybe some of my grumpiness has mattered in the wrong way too.

I somehow feel that
The more of our actions mattered in a positive way,
The happier we are and the more peace of mind we experience.





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 Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
Feel free to share it, use it in any positive way
Will be grateful if you mention the link http://reflectionsbyhans.blogspot.com/

If you have time, please take also a look at
the inspirational quotes page connected to this blog
some of my poems published under my pen name Aufie Zophy.





Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Flowers


When we send flowers to someone,
flowers need to be plucked, which is a kind of killing them :(

Today I sent flowers to my wife but I did not pluck any, nor bought any.:)
I saw in our garden some really beautiful flowers that had started blooming.
I took a picture and sent it to my wife via WA. :)

It was an unusual gesture, I had not done it before. Since sending real flowers is not part of the culture where we live, it still created some happiness, at least a smile.

Sending pictures of flowers to our loved ones will give them flowers that do not wilt, flowers seen from a very personal viewpoint, with a very personal touch... 😉

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

What a dilemma!

Being faced with our own shortcomings and inherent human weakness
we are quite often reluctant to demand of others a very much needed improvement.
Surely if we actively try to obtain something from others,
they may turn around and point out our own weaknesses.

The ever important and ever true giant saying of
start with improving yourself first is standing strong.

However if things go obviously wrong and
just because we are far from perfect ourselves (we will never be perfect),
does this mean we have to remain silent.

Another important saying is
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to remain silent."

This is a dilemma: Good men keep silently improving themselves without ever reaching a state of true goodness (perfection) or Good men become a bit noisy and demand that others improve themselves along the way ? 

While writing this, I get the idea that demanding others to improve themselves may be a futile effort. It may be better to inspire. But then again some people are just in quite powerful positions and may never be inspired by good examples...

I have not good answer to the dilemma. 
If we follow the examples of great leaders,
we accept a risk and we are not silent about obvious problems... (???)

Please share your ideas in the comments section :)



Monday, 11 September 2017

Honesty

Honesty, sung by Billy Joel,
what a wonderful song

Honesty playing in our mind,
what a wonderful word

And then I think:
do I really  manage to be honest ALL the time?

No matter how much I value it,
sometimes I catch myself with little lies.

It makes me feel like a bit of a failure:
betraying on and off a thing I cherish

But then we have to accept
we are all humans. None of us is perfect.

If we keep our values in front of our eyes,
at the surface of our mind as much as possible,
we may try to live up to our values as much as we can.
We may never succeed to respect our own values all of the time,
but the more we try, like training muscles,
the better we may become at it.

I pray, I hope, I keep becoming stronger at living my own values.
Honesty is among the most cherished ones,
I ask God sincerely to help to live it as much as possible...

The thing I have learned,
that reading about our own values,
being mentally busy with them,
makes them generally a bit stronger,
keeps them a bit more at the surface of our mind.

If we do not think or read about them,
sometimes they sink to deep depths of our conscience...

I love you
See you soon
Can find more value-talk in the archieve
just click on the black blob on the upper right of this page.



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Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
Feel free to share it, use it in any way (perhaps except for commercial purposes)
Will be grateful if you mention the link http://reflectionsbyhans.blogspot.com/

If you have time, please take also a look at
the inspirational quotes page connected to this blog
some of my poems published under my pen name Aufie Zophy.

Friday, 8 September 2017

How many people?

How many people will we make happy today?
I wanted to start my day with this wonderful question.
Can we make a positive difference in the life of some people today?
At least give a smile to someone?
Or find a lonely soul to make small talk with?

How many people will we give a smile to today?


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 Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
Feel free to share it, use it in any positive way.
Will be grateful if you mention the link http://reflectionsbyhans.blogspot.com/

If you have time, please take also a look at
the inspirational quotes page connected to this blog
some of my poems published under my pen name Aufie Zophy.

The apple cloud



In the desert: a scorching heat!
It is the temperature of greed.
In the sky almost uniformly blue,
there is a little cloud too.


As if magic, it takes the form of a grape.
It swells and grows into a big apple’s shape.
And from my wonderful apple cloud,
Sweet drops of wisdom start raining out.

And as if by the hand of God
A grassy carpet forms on the sand so hot
The raindrops of wisdom are spreading love
A wonderful kindness coming from high above

On the grass, soulful flowers start to grow
And all over gentleness and harmony flow
In the meantime, still wisdom is pouring out
From that wonderful apple cloud.

Oh, no my friends, this is not just a dream,
In our world now still full of greed, soon will stream:
 A flow of love causing a true wisdom revolution:
That will be the pinnacle of God’s planned evolution!

Maybe needs a bit of explanation :)
The first few stanzas may seem like a strange dream.
But looking how the world is evolving, we have gone though the desert of abominable wars, prosecution, cruelties. We still have those things around but the people being free from these things and who are willing to stand up and speak up and act against these things is ever growing. Once these numbers reach a critical point, kindness and wisdom may capture the world in avalanche speed. 
I am quite sure we are not too far away from that turning point :)
You may call this overly optimistic, but the future will show what evolution is leading to. :) 


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Hope you enjoyed this reflection by Hans Van Rostenberghe
Feel free to share it, use it in any way (perhaps except for commercial purposes)
Will be grateful if you mention the link http://reflectionsbyhans.blogspot.com/

If you have time, please take also a look at
the inspirational quotes page connected to this blog
some of my poems published under my pen name Aufie Zophy.