1. The disciple approached his master: "For years I have been seeking illumination," he said. "I feel that I am close to achieving it. I need to know what the next step is." "How do you support yourself?" the master asked. "I haven't yet learned how to support myself; my parents help me out. But that is only a detail." "Your next step is to look directly at the sun for half a minute," said the master. And the disciple obeyed. When the half-minute was over, the master asked
him to describe the field that surrounded them. "I can't see it. The sun has affeced my vision," the disciple said. "A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind," was the
2. The disciple said to his master: "I have spent most of the day thinking about things I should not be thinking about, desiring things I should not desire and making plans I should not be making." The master invited the disciple to take a walk with him through the forest behind
his house. Along the way, he pointed to a plant, and asked the disciple if he knew its name. "Belladonna," said the disciple. "It can kill anyone who eats its leaves." "But it cannot kill anyone who simply observes it," said the master."Likewise, negative desires can cause no evil if you do not allow yourself to be seduced by them."
3. A 32 year old patient sought out the therapist, Richard Crowley. "I cannot stop sucking my thumb," he complained. "Don't be too concerned about that," Crowley told him. "But suck on a different finger each day." The patient tried to do as instructed. But each time he brought his hand to his mouth, he had to make a conscious choice as to which finger should be the object of his attention that day. Before the week was over, the habit was cured. "When a vice becomes a habit, it is difficult to deal with," Richard Crowley says. "But when it requires of us that we develop new attitudes, make new decisions and choices, we become aware that it is not worth the effort."
4. An explorer, a white man, anxious to reach his destination in the heart of Africa, promised an extra payment to his bearers if they would make greater speed. For several days, the bearers moved along at a faster pace. One afternoon, though, they all suddenly put down their burden and sat on the ground. No matter how much money they were offered, they refused to move on. When the explorer finally asked why they were behaving as they were, he was given the following answer: "We have been moving along at such a fast pace that we no longer know what we are doing (for money). Now we have to wait until our soul catches up with us."
5. Do not always try to be consistent. Saint Paul, after all, said, "The wisdom of the world is madness in the eyes of God." To be consistent is always to wear a tie that matches one's socks. It is to have the same opinions tomorrow as one has today. And the movement of the planet? Where is it? So long as you do no harm to another, change your opinion once in a while. Contradict yourself without being embarrassed. This is your right. It doesn't matter what others think -- because that's what they will think, in any case. So, relax. Let the universe move about. Discover the joy of surprising yourself. "God selected the crazy things on the earth so as
to embarrass the wise men," said Saint Paul.
6. Saint Anton was living in the desert when a young man approached him. "Father, I sold everything I owned, and gave the proceeds to the poor. I kept only a few things that could help me to survive out here. I would like you to show me the path to salvation." Saint Anton asked
that the lad sell the few things that he had kept, and -- with the money -- buy some meat in the city. When he returned, he was to strap the meat to his body. The young man did as he was instructed. As he was returning, he was attacked by dogs and falcons who wanted the meat.
"I'm back," said the young man, showing the father his wounded body and his tattered clothing. "Those who embark in a new direction and want to keep a bit of the old life, wind up lacerated by their own past," said the saint.
7. When the wanderer was ten years old, his mother insisted that he take a course in physical education. One of the activities required him to jump from a bridge into a river. Early in the course, he was paralyzed by fear. Each day, he stood last in line, and suffered every time one of those in front made his jump -- because it would shortly be his turn. One day, the instructor -- noticing his fear -- made him take the first jump. Although he was still frightened, it was over so
quickly that the fright was replaced by courage. The master says: "Often, we can afford to take our time. But there are occasions when we must roll up our sleeves and resolve a situation. In such cases, there is nothing worse than delay."
8. The wanderer is at the feast of Saint John, with its tents, archery contests and country food. Suddenly, a clown begins to mimic his gestures. People laugh, and the wanderer laughs, as well, and invites the clown to have coffee with him. "Commit to life!" says the clown. "If you are alive, you have to shake your arms, jump around, make noise, laugh and talk to people. Because life is exactly the opposite of death. "To die is to remain forever in the same position. If you are too quiet, you are not living."
9. There is an Australian legend about a shaman who was walking with his three sisters when they met the most famous warrior of the time. "I want to marry one of these beautiful girls," the warrior said. "If one of them marries, the other two will suffer, said the shaman. "I am looking for a tribe that allow its men to have three wives." For years, they walked the entire Australian continent without finding such a tribe. "At least one of us could have been happy," said one of the sisters when they were old, and sick of walking.
"I was wrong," said the shaman. "But now it's too late." And he turned the three sisters into blocks of stone, so that all who passed by would understand that one person's happiness does not mean others must be sad.
10. "Who is the best swordsman?" asked a warrior of his master. "Go to the field near the monastery," his master answered. "There is a rock there. I want you to insult the rock." "But why would I do that?" the disciple asked. "The rock will not respond." "Well, then attack it with your sword," the master said. "I won't do that, either," the disciple answered. "My sword would break. And if I attack the rock with my hands, I'll injure my fingers and have no impact on it. That wasn't what I asked. Who is the best swordsman?" "The best is the one who is like the rock," said his master. "Without unsheathing a sword, it demonstrates that no one can conquer it."