Change Yourself, Change the World

This is not to say that we should just be contented with what we see around us. This is also not an argument against working for changes in our society. Neither were we wrong when we marched against corruption and abuse of power by our leaders.

Rather, this emphasizes the need (for us) to also change ourselves in order to become credible agents of change. We cannot talk against  corruption if we too,  pay bribes. We cannot talk about human rights if we too, abuse our own workers and household helps.

I am quoting one of the most popular inscriptions written to inspire us how we  could make a difference in this world.  According to the book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” this was written in the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the crypts of Westminster Abbey in 1100 AD. I verified if there really is/was an inscription written in the tomb of Westminster Abbey from its website. There is no such inscription. Nevertheless, this does not diminish the proposition that we should focus on ourselves first, to make ripples in the world.

 

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my death bed, I suddenly realize that had I only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.”

                                                                                                                -Anonymous

What about you, do you agree that changing yourself first is a necessary requirement before you can change your community and your country?

 

 

 

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Annoying Little Things: Lessons from 911

English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes in...
Image via Wikipedia

 

From My Inbox : Annoying LIttle Things

On this day, two planes rammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.  The terrorists timed their attack at the hour where people have already started reporting for their day’s work. Most of those who were there on time, did not survive the attack. And those who were late for work on that day were saved from sure death. Let me share with you an inspiring article about some of those who did not arrived at the World Trade Center on time.

Here are the circumstances of some of those who were lucky enough not to be in the WTC at a appointed time when they were supposed to be there:

  • The head of a major company survived the tragedy of “9/11” in New York because his son started kindergarten.
  • Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.
  • One woman was late because her alarm clock didn’t go off in time.
  • One was late because of being stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike because of an auto accident.
  • One of them missed his bus.
  • One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.
  • One’s car wouldn’t start.
  • One went back to answer the telephone.
  • One had a child that dawdled and didn’t get ready as soon as he should have.
  • One couldn’t get a taxi.
  • One man put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.

They did not get to the building on time and that is why they are alive today.

Now when you

– get stuck in traffic

– miss an elevator…

– turn back to answer a ringing telephone…

– all the little things that annoy you…

Think to yourself. This is exactly where God wants you to be at this very moment.

The next time your morning seems to be going wrong,

– the children are slow getting dressed,

– you can’t seem to find the car keys,

– you hit every traffic light…

Don’t get mad or frustrated; God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things – and may you remember and appreciate their possible purpose.

Author Unknown

 

 

 

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The Mongoose

Mongoose
Mongoose (Photo credit: Bryn Davies)

I only know of two mammals that can fight and defeat snakes: Cats and Mongooses.  When we were living in the barrio, I witnessed a fight between our pet cat  and a snake. At another point, while sleeping at night, we woke up to the noise created by our pet cat and later on we saw him with a snake on his mouth. The snake may have climbed into our house and cat who was there promptly fought with the snake.

The other animal is the Mongoose which are well known for their ability to fight and kill venomous snakes, particularly cobras. They are adept at such tasks due to their agility, thick coat, and evolved acetylcholine receptors, which render them resistant or immune to snake venom. 

I also witnessed one such fight, although, in a snake farm located in  the outskirts of Bangkok.  It is one of the attractions for tourists, where a cobra is pitted against a mongoose. 

It is against this backdrop that I share with you this short story of a woman and her pet mongoose.

 

A woman had a pet mongoose. It was very faithful. One day she went to the market, leaving her baby in the care of the mongoose. At that time a big cobra entered the house. The mongoose killed it after a long and fierce fight. When the woman came back she saw the mongoose lying at the entrance. She noticed its blood-covered mouth. In her haste the woman thought that the mongoose had killed her baby. In a moment of sudden fury, the woman threw the water pot on the mongoose and killed it. Alas! When she entered the house she was filled with remorse. Her baby was playing cheerfully. Nearby a big cobra lay dead. The woman shed tears of grief fondling the carcass of the mongoose. 

 
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The Dove and the Ant

The good things that you  do today will bear fruit in the future.

 

 

Once, a dove saw an ant struggling in the water. 
 
He took pity on the ant and threw down a leaf. 
 
The ant climbed on to the leaf and reached the shore safely.
 
After some days, the ant saw the hunter aiming an arrow at the dove flying above. 
 
He wanted to save the dove. So, he bit the hunter’s leg. 
 
The hunter missed his aim and the dove flew safely. 
 
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The Greed Trap

This is a story normally used by motivational speakers to inspire people to let go of their old perceptions.  Alternatively, it could also be used to show how greed could be used to tie up or trap people.

There is a kind of monkey trap used in Asia. A coconut is hollowed out and attached by a rope to a tree or stake in the ground. At the bottom of the coconut a small slit is made and some sweet food is placed inside. The hole on the bottom of the coconut is just big enough for the monkey to slide in his open hand, but does not allow for a closed fist to pass out. The monkey smells the sweets, reaches in with his hand to grasp the food and is unable to withdraw it.

The clinched fist won't pass through the opening. When the hunters come, the monkey becomes frantic but cannot get away. There is no one keeping that monkey captive, except the force of its own attachment. All that it has to do is open its hand. But so strong is the force of greed in the mind that it is a rare monkey which can let goy

You know why the monkey gets trapped? Because of its greed. Because his greed won’t allow him to let go of the rice and take out his hand, the monkey remains trapped, a victim of his own greed, until he is captured; forever a captive of his greed.

Would this story be also true of people?
 
It is true of most of us too. Certain desires, ambitions, and biases keep us trapped.  Just like the monkey, all we need to do is "open our hands",  let go of ourselves, our attachments, and be free. What do you think?
 
 

 

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The Alarm Clock

alarm clock, bought from IKEA
An Alarm Clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The alarm clock is only useful if you follow what you wanted it to do for you,  that is, to wake up as soon as it rings. How you react to an alarm,  especially if  you personally set it,  is a reflection of your personality.

Designed to Remind Us to Wake Up

An alarm clock is designed to make a loud sound at a specific time.  These types of clocks are used to awaken people from their night's sleep or short naps.  They are sometimes used for other reminders as well. To stop the sound, a button or handle on the clock is pressed; but most clocks automatically stop the alarm sound if left unattended long enough. A classic  alarm clock has an extra hand or inset dial that is used to specify the time at which to activate the alarm.

With modern technology, digital gadgets have added the alarm functions to their capabilities. So alarm alerts are now standard features of  wristwatches and cellphones.  Many cell phones feature built-in alarms that do not require the phone to be powered on for the alarm to go off. Other cell phones feature the ability for the user to set the tone of the alarm, and in some cases music can be downloaded  to the phone and then chosen to play for waking.

But the way man interacts with the "alarm clock" remains the same, as when it was first used – to warn people about certain thing sthat they have to do once the alarm sounded.

So here the gist of the message I am trying to convey today:

We set our alarm clocks to a certain time before we go to sleep. We  want to wake up early enough so as not to be late for work or for our early morning rituals.

But waking up and starting to prepare for work or commencing our morning  routines are two different things.

When the alarm rings, we immediately push either its stop  or its snooze button.  We do not want to get up: we either want to go back to sleep or we just like to stay  in bed.  In some instances we even forgot that we were the one who set the alarm. And foolishly curse  it: saying it is still too early or  that it has goben off sooner than the time it was set, etc.  

But what most of us do is to re-set the alarm to a later time.   And when it rings again, we hit again the snooze or the stop button. And goes back to sleep beacuse it is still too early.

Yes, with the help of an alarm clok, all of us can really wake up early.  But waking up early does not mean rising up up from the bed early.

Because we seem to have a lot more time, if we feel lazy.

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