Sunday, March 20, 2011

Donkey's wisdom

Once there was a donkey.

It served its master with  loyalty and dedication. Like many masters, he did not appreciate the services of his donkey.

Donkey grew old and its master got more and more contemptuous of his donkey.

One day the donkey fell into an empty well.

Luckily it was not hurt but it could not come out. There was no way at all.

So, it started howling  the way donkeys do - very distinct.

That bothered its master who was enjoying his siesta.

He came to the well and took a look.

It was a useless well. No water there. He was planning on filling it up and use the created space to grow something. He had not had time to do it.

Now he became motivated. He could get rid of the wailing useless old donkey and also fill up the well. At least he thought he could.

So, he rounded up his family, friends and started to dump  dirt, mud, gravel into the well.

Donkey got scared. It became obvious that its master was not interested in rescuing it but he was going to bury it alive.

As the mud and dirt poured down and fell over the donkey, it shook up its body, got the dirt off its back, stomped on it.

It continued the process with every load of dirt that was dumped on it. Shake, shake, thump, thump, thump and repeat.

What was the outcome?

With every load of dirt, the donkey moved up - may be a couple of inches at a time. Slowly but steadily.

It's stupid master and his clan was so busy in getting the dirt and filling up the well that they failed to notice the smartness and initiative of the donkey.

After doing this smart thing over a long time, the donkey was just a couple of feet from the top. It was very tired but it pumped up its any remaining energy into its legs and gave one strong leap and with that it was out of the well.

Before leaving its cruel master for good, it dashed to him, bit him the ass and ran away. Hopefully to a better place.

Moral of the story. There are two morals actually.

Life will dump dirt on you without fail. That's the nature of life. With every boatload of dirt that is dumped on us, we all can shake it, stomp on it and raise ourselves up. This kind of raising ourselves up makes us feel good about ourselves.

Practical example  - somebody is rude to you? Go extra mile and be specifically nice to him or her. Somebody slandered you? Do not dignify such thing with your rebuttal. If it is not true, it is not going to become any more truer with your explanation. Just shake it up, use that dirt to move up.

Other moral - if you try to cover your ass, it comes back to bite you later. :)


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Effective Cleaning

So, suppose that you got to clean a room. Vacuum it, dust it, mop it and what not.

You also have all the needed equipments - vacuum cleaners  (best quality), mops etc.

What do you think is the most effective way to complete the task?

How about if you empty the room first? Say, remove furniture, pictures etc.

Does it not become easier once you have enough working space? You can move the vacuum cleaner with ease, reach all corners, dust off easily. Overall, it seem to become easier.

I think most of us clean our places like this. We move the  stuff temporarily to other rooms, clean one room and then bring it all back.

Makes sense?

How about cleaning the mind?

Like the powerful vacuum cleaner, we have the most powerful tool - that is MEDITATION.

But, our mind is cluttered. So much junk is accumulated that there is hardly any working space at all. To make things worse, we can not easily chuck out the junk from our minds the way we can possibly move stuff out of our rooms when we need to clean.

So, we have a challenge.

We have a heavily cluttered mind full of junk - thoughts, feelings, opinions, prejudices etc. We have the equipment to clean but need to make some space.

Fortunately, meditation is more versatile than any vacuum cleaner. It really does not demand much space at all. Just a little space to enter into our mind and start cleaning. All meditation asks is to give our best for at least a few minutes a day. Say 30 minutes of dedication.

But, there is one thing to keep in mind. As said before, we can not easily chuck out junk from our minds. Our tool - meditation- is versatile that it not only cleans up the mind but also destroys all that junk slowly but surely. So, we do not have to worry about it any more. Takes several years to clean up the junk accumulated over our lifetime. Slowly but surely.

In the mean time, can we do ourselves a favor? That is to limit the new junk that we bring in. If the rate at which  junk enters exceeds the rate at which our trusted tool - meditation - is working, it is not going to make much difference.

When we are practicing spiritual disciplines with all the sincerity, we need to do everything to limit external inputs especially tantalizing, sensationalizing inputs. We all take in a lot of external stimuli - news, movies, radio etc. Start reducing the amount of sensory inputs you take and see how better you start feeling.

Even if you want to take  in sensory inputs, do it with discrimination and purpose. Let the radio not blare music or news unless you are able to pay full attention to listen to it. Same thing with news, movies etc.

As you reduce new mental clutter, meditation continues to slog relentlessly at cleaning up your old clutter. Accumulated over not just few years but few life times. So, its a process of slow but steady transformation.

It does not take years, even months to start seeing the differences. After limiting the amount of TV you watch, amount of time you spend on the Internet or talking to friends and family or doing other mental-clutter-generating activities and steadily practicing meditation and allied disciplines, you will start seeing the calmness and purpose in everything you do very soon.


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