Monday, December 16, 2013

Don't count time, make time count.

                          "Slow down to a human tempo and things will begin to take shape by themselves."
                          Thomas Merton

                          "It's not how much time you have; it's what you choose to do with it."
                          From movie: 'Spy Kids: All the Time in the World'

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

jedi jokes

There’s a priest, a rabbi and a jedi attending a charity bingo function. The priest requires 2 numbers to complete his card, the rabbi only one, and the jedi requires 5 numbers before he can shout ‘Bingo!’ The priest and the rabbi have large smiles for they feel they’re sure to win. The jedi is not worried though. He takes a quick look at the numbers the other two require and then turns his focus to the tumbling balls in the plastic barrel on the stage. The next number that comes out is one of his, and so is the next and the next. The rabbi and priest lose their smiles and become suspicious. The priest voices their concern, ‘You aren’t using the force are you, because that would be cheating!’

The jedi waves his hand, ‘These aren’t the numbers you’re looking for; you can carry on playing.’

The priest and the rabbi repeat the words and look at their own cards while the next number is drawn. ‘Bingo!’ shouts the jedi knight.

----- ----- ----- -----

Q. Where do baby jedi bikers go for body art?
A. Tatooine

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Q. How many Jedi's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. Just one but he/she must contemplate the amount of force required for the job.

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Finding the courage

"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do.

There is no courage without being scared.
To see what you are to do but not to do it, is lack of courage."

[Note: This was written by someone who is terribly weak and afraid.]

"We are all essentially good and powerless in the face of events."
Donn Ingle

Hospital torture

Let us see more coagucheck devices and fewer needles in hospitals.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Prayer against self-pity

'I pray – because it is no easy thing to do – that no matter what happens to me, I may never feel sorry for myself.'

'May I also never be full of myself.'

Dack (Luke’s gunner): “Right now I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself!”
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

‘We are lambs but we are also lions and Spartans, and we will fight to the end and die roaring!’ 
[See movie ‘300’ (2006)  for King Leonidas’ death-roar]

Friday, September 6, 2013

Taking Risks

“He who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing; for the greatest hazard in life is never taking any risks.”

The above quote is what I remembered. A little googling seems to have furnished the real McCoy:

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”

Leo F. Buscaglia (American, 1924-1998)

‘But take the right risks, dare the right things, chase the right person.’

“He who dares wins.”

“Fortune favours the bold.”
Virgil (Roman poet, 70 B.C. - 19.B.C.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mozart and Maple syrup

There is a Chinese proverb which goes something like this:’ Enjoy yourself, it is later than you think.’

So, play the Mozart or music every day, if you can, and treat yourself to Maple syrup and expensive stuff (don’t break the bank though).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rubbing Hotei’s belly for luck and money

The custom of rubbing Hotei’s belly to procure prosperity and good fortune had its origin in pain! It happened one day that Hotei in his sleep had exposed his belly to the cold air and turning of a sudden in his sleep he caused a muscle in his lower belly to go into a cramp. Hotei had no medicine in his sack to treat the painful affliction, and to buy it would cost a lot of money. All he could do was rub his lower abdomen to keep it warm and try to soothe the muscle as best he could. It was while clutching his tummy that he arrived at a village and the villagers welcomed him happily but soon noticed that he was in pain. Instead of plying Hotei with delicacies as it was wonted it was resolved by the villagers to take up a collection of alms to buy from the apothecary the much-needed balm. All the villagers, including the children and visitors from faraway places contributed to the fund. A small fortune was raised quite quickly and soon the healing ointment was applied to the affected area. A great crowd was witness to this rubbing in of the healing balsam. It was necessary to rub it in well for it to be efficacious. At Hotei’s feet were stacks of coins left over from the purchase of the balm. After a while Hotei’s furrowed brow smoothed and his habitual smile returned, the pain had subsided greatly and he was relaxed once more.  Murmurs of gladness arose in the concerned throng. Ever since have gone together the rubbing of Hotei’s belly and overflowing wealth, good fortune and success.

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A day in the life of Hotei

One sunny day Hotei came to a small village. Now there was nothing Hotei liked so much as to give the little children sweets and trinkets to play with.  He looked in his cloth sack and – nothing! ‘How can this be? I was sure I had something,’ Hotei thought. The children were going to be disappointed. This thought saddened him. He must not let that happen but what could he do or what could he think of to prevent unhappy, sad faces? Should he even venture into the village empty-handed? So, it was that Hotei turned abruptly on his heels, his belly wobbled as he did so, and started back on the path he had been following for many months.

It was not long after this that he met a monk on the dusty road who recognized the illustrious wanderer and saw his chance to ask him some exacting questions. Hotei knew what was coming and smiled a very happy, knowing smile, and awaited the question. ‘What is the meaning of zen?’ the monk inquired, perhaps even thinking that he would be the first to stump the master. Hotei merely dropped his bundle to the ground without uttering a word. Seeing no verbal answer was forthcoming the monk ventured another poser, ‘How does one realize zen?’ Hotei retrieved his belongings from the ground and went on his way.

It was his custom to charge a penny’s worth from those practicing zen, be they lay or monk, for any preachment he might make but on this occasion it was not warranted. Still, he thought how he might scrape enough coins together to buy some sweets for the children of the village he had to avoid for the time being. He was sure an opportunity would come: people delighted in sermons and words, and they were of great benefit to others.

Tired from so much walking Hotei rested under a large shady tree on the roadside. Other travellers had put together a crude stone table and seats so he was thankful he didn’t have to sit on the ground. He looked into his sack and retrieved a morsel of rice cake and nibbled on it. Now you might wonder how such spare dining could result in so ample a waistline as he so obviously possessed. Some believe his appearance was a form of  supernatural disguise to prevent people from assessing him on his erstwhile good looks but it’s more likely the welcoming feasts at almost all the villages he passed through were the real cause of his having put on so much weight. Still, for all that he was quite fit from all the walking and could move as nimbly as any man should it be required of him; for example, if he quickly had to get out of the way of a rushing carriage.

He admired the tree under which he was sitting – it put him in mind of the tree under which the founder of Buddhism had so long ago first attained enlightenment. Hotei had a special fondness for trees. He really could sit for hours in contemplation of the beauteous trees he encountered on his travels, and in fact, he often did. His water bottle was nearly empty and it was time to find a stream to replenish his supply. He got up and walked until he came to a stone bridge. Before crossing it he went to the river’s edge and filled up his water bottle, then he returned to the bridge to cross it but lo and behold there was a creature there that blocked his way. It looked fierce and wore a nasty expression. ‘Er, may I pass?’ inquired Hotei.

‘You may not unless you pay the toll!’ it demanded.
‘What is the toll?’ asked Hotei.
‘500!’ the clawed hand of the half-human half-monster gestured.
‘500!’ blurted Hotei.
‘Yes, or 300 and 2 rice cakes.’
‘I don’t have anything right now,’ Hotei explained.
‘Then you cannot pass!’ the creature retorted.
Normally a very happy person Hotei felt a tinge of unhappy confusion. He could not go forward since he had no money and he could not go back to the village children empty-handed. It was useless to explain this to this hard-hearted savage-looking thing. He had no choice but to turn around and head in the direction of the village again.But he thought - happy once more - perhaps I will encounter some people on the road with charitable natures?

And under the very tree he had rested at earlier on that day he spied from a distance that there were a few people gathered. He rejoiced and quickened his pace. Soon he was among them and they were pleased to see him and offered him food and drink. There were even a few children with their parents and the children pressed close upon him basking in his friendly radiance and he delighted in speaking with them about things that would usually have their parents’ ears close ere long. He had no sweets for them but they didn’t seem to mind and so he took heart that the village children might be the same. All was working out so well he found himself laughing happily out loud which made the children laugh too, and even their parents laughed and a merry time was had by all even as the sun was setting and the fires were lit for the night.

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Definition of Quoteitis: satiety in the reading of quotations.

Squa tront! Spa fon!

EC Comics fans – you are my brothers!
Long live EC!

Seeing stuff you rather wish you hadn’t seen

With regard to the adult content on the web one can apply filters to reduce the amount of explicitness you’re exposed to but nowhere is there a button for a moral filter.

 “If thou would’st not Sin, don’t Desire; and if thou would’st not Lust, don’t Embrace the Temptation: No, not look at it, nor think of it.”
William Penn in ‘Some Fruits of Solitude’

A few words on loss

 There are minor griefs such as the loss of a girlfriend or boyfriend, and major griefs such as the death of a relation or friend. These words mostly apply to both.

“Mourn for a period and then return to life. Do not let grief put you into an early grave.”
[Old Testament]

“Lose yourself in action lest ye wither in despair.”

“Let joy catch you unawares.”

“I’ll never get over the death of my son  – I never should.”

“All the pain of the loss can come back to haunt you at any time.”

“Giving all your love to someone is no guarantee that they’ll love you in return.”

“If you love something, let it go; if it comes back to you, it was love; if not, it was never meant to be.”

“It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved.”
[Tennyson, Alfred Lord]

Sorrow is of the black wolf in us. But it seems there’s more to the story of the black and white wolf:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.” It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”
You might heard the story ends like this: The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:
The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on: 
“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.
"You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.
"How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”
–Cherokee Story

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On being rebuffed

“Every soft feeling for another has, thus far, become a bruise.”
Donn Ingle

"Love unrequited, robs me of me rest,
Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers,
Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on me chest,
And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers."
This is the beginning of The Lord Chancellor's Nightmare song from Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe.

“Rejection is God’s protection.”
[widely quoted on the web.]

"God keeps us safely within His will."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Know your worth!

"Actions are the only way in which love can be shown; actions are the only way in which love can be known."
[Source was a manual on how to live or love, can't remember author unfortch.]

"If they're not gonzo about me then I'm gonzo!"
[Source was a small inspirational book, the title of which escapes me.]

"The door must be opened by the willing hand, ere the foot of Love will cross the threshold."
[George MacDonald in C.S. Lewis' George MacDonald: An Anthology. First published in 1946.]

Every day of your life is a special occasion!

Our priest told us this story a while back. One day a man bought his wife a beautiful cashmere sweater. The wife his it deep in her cupboard. She wore her cheaper jerseys instead. Her husband remonstrated with her, asking her why she never wore the sweater he had bought her. She said, 'I'm saving it for a special occasion.' Then one day this woman died and her  husband was going through her things looking for something smart in which to dress his wife for her casket. He found the sweater. At the funeral everyone looking upon the woman in her open casket could see she was dressed in the most beautiful garments including a cashmere sweater.

What is the moral of the story?
"Never save anything for a special occasion- every day of your of your life is a special occasion!"
[Of course, this  doesn't mean you go and jump into bed with someone asap. You gotta do all the right things not the wrong things. If you do the wrong things you'll probably find life will continue and you'll have to deal with the consequences]

On a related note, and also from this same priest:

"Do not delay anything which will bring laughter and joy into your life, and into the lives of others."

"Live as you have never lived before and love as you have never loved before. Don't own it as your own property (the love comes from God) and don't try too hard (loving) when you're trying too hard." 

Sometimes we try too hard and the love is forced or almost fake, if you will. You want to love the person - great! Don't try too hard, though : )

Saturday, August 10, 2013


it's said and sung: 'life is life.'
life is very confusing sometimes
life is pretty amazing sometimes
life sucks a lot of the time
life is bad news most of the time
life is a mystery to some
life is interesting and fun to explore to some
life ends too soon, it's said
life goes on and on but
life is short
'Life is a breath,' the Buddha said.
Wisdom great I've read and read,
some think wine and women are its best use;
others, many, hope for greater moose!
Life is plain crazy too!
Life - time to do something else.
Enjoy your life; I hope it's not filled with too much strife.

About a million things not said here about life: #999 999: Life is simple and complex.

Homely looks and bad complexion


  • SONG — FREDERIC: Oh, is there not one maiden breast
Oh, is there not one maiden here
Whose homely face and bad complexion
Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man's affection?
Of such a one, if such there be,
I swear by Heaven's arch above you,
If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be, I'll love you,
However plain you be,
If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be I'll love you,
I'll love you, I'll love, I'll love you!
from Gilbert & Sullivan's 'The Pirates of Penzance'


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Scary bedtime story #2

There was a bear, a big bear that knew how to scare. One day the bear attacked a man who was very scared but the bear didn’t kill him, only hurt him very badly. The man was scared for a long time afterwards and didn’t go back into the woods where the bear was still hiding. But when the man was better and braver he went back into the woods. This time there was no scary bear anywhere and he was glad but he knew next time the bear could be very near and he would have to leave very quickly so that he wouldn’t be hurt again or worse. It’s not a good idea to go where there are big scary bears that can hurt you or worse. You’ve got to be very careful in this world because bad things can happen anywhere, not just in the woods with a bear but in the city or the suburbs – anywhere – and mostly the scariest things are people who want to steal or kill you or hurt you, usually for no good reason. If it happens to you or to me I hope we get better and braver like the man who was attacked by a bear. He doesn’t really blame the bear because bears are wild and he was kind of in their territory and maybe he scared the bear and a scared bear will attack anything. But it’s much harder not to blame people because people aren’t supposed to be wild and people don’t really scare that easily most of the time and even if you scared them they don’t just attack – at least, I think they don’t. People don’t really have an excuse like the bear when they do bad things to other people or animals or forests or sea animals. I wish I were as strong as the bear then maybe bad people would think twice before trying to hurt me. Be as careful as you can be, and try not to be too afraid of bad people and big bears. I don’t know what else to do or tell you. So, good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bear bugs bite!

[This story is dedicated to those who have been hurt by animals.]

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Flight of the ‘Javelin’

After ten grueling years Professor Stone had finally succeeded in building a saucer-shaped craft capable of flight or motion in all environments: space, sea or sky. The force-field surrounding the craft, and generated by it, nullified the effects of gravity on anything inside the force-bubble. The saucer also possessed inertial-dampening devices which meant that the pilots and occupants could accelerate and decelerate at tremendous speeds without feeling the shock of tremendous forces on their own bodies – shocks which could kill.

Professor Stone was eager to do a full test flight of his invention as soon as weather conditions permitted. He waited for a bright, sunny day with few or no clouds. Only a day later was there just such a day. He wasted little time and donned his helmet and strapped on a parachute. He entered through the top of the craft through a hatch which he sealed behind him. Within the saucer-shaped vehicle in the torus surrounding the centre were control stations and even 2 bunks which the professor had placed inside on a whimsy. He seated himself at the pilot’s station on a comfortable office chair. He booted up the computer and began initializing the ship’s power core for immediate launch. The central force-field generator hummed into life and made the ship throb with the energies that were building up in it. Soon, an indicator showed maximum and all that needed to be done was to press Enter and a powerful, gravity-erasing field would encompass the ship and increase in strength. The ship would slowly float free of gradually retracting moorings.

By tweaking this field and allowing just so much gravitational energy to influence it, he could steer the ship in any direction he chose. Excitedly, his finger was poised over the Enter button. Then, aloud, he counted down from 10. On reaching zero he pressed Enter – a schematic on the screen before him showed a circle about a graphic of his saucer. Alongside it percentage numbers were shown increasing. Soon, he felt a butterfly sensation as the saucer floated freely in space.

He opened the electronic doors of his refitted barn, then on the touch-screen pad he pressed the up arrow which was responsible for forward motion. The craft slid forward noiselessly and much faster than he had anticipated so that it fairly shot out of the barn - a group of Fir trees grew alarmingly larger on the far side of the main house. He quickly pressed the stop button and the ship stopped immediately. Then he adjusted the speed to a comfortable level and resumed the test flight. He keyed in a 30 degree climb and pressed the up arrow again. The ship moved up into the open sky at a 30 degree angle.

Leveling out at 500 feet, through a porthole obtained from a bathyscaph, he could see blue skies and wisps of cloud streaming past. On his viewscreen which enabled him to have comprehensive video views via cameras located in a circle on the craft he saw the same scenery. He decided to increase speed and put the craft through its paces. The wisps of cloud seemed to be streaking by at a much faster rate; inside, of course, he felt as though he were at a standstill – he had no sense of forward motion at all. Perhaps, he though he should allow some sensation of motion to affect the occupants? After about 20 minutes of flying he decided he’d best turn back. It wasn’t a question of running out of fuel or power – he had a virtually inexhaustible supply but he was satisfied with the success of this maiden voyage. Still, he was tempted to take her up into space but he felt he should analyze the performance data and make sure there were no obstacles to a smooth trip into space. Also, he thought it would be wise to pack a lunch and to install that chemical toilet that he had put off doing for so long.

He smiled when he thought he had yet to name the ship properly. He referred to it as UFO1 in his notes but now he felt she deserved a more poetic name. He thought a short while and came up with ‘Javelin’. It would do. ‘Time to take Javelin home, folks,’ he said aloud though he was alone on board.

He reversed the direction of the ship and began cruising home to his ranch. He had almost lapsed into a pleasurable reverie involving sipping a blue cream soda on the porch congratulating himself on a job well done, when an alarm sounded loudly. It was a radar alert warning of a potential collision with airborne or immobile objects located on the ground such as a tower or high building. But there were no tall buildings here so it must be a low-flying plane. He hurriedly looked through the porthole – nothing. Then he shifted his attention to the viewscreen – nothing. He manipulated the viewscreen controls, flipped through each camera in turn – there!

There behind him, coming up fast, a plane. He zoomed in – it wasn’t a plane! It was a flying disc – another saucer! Could someone else have invented one just like his – what were the odds of that and even more astronomically what were the odds that this person would be flying here and now while he was conducting his test flight? No! It beggared belief. It was either some government craft that had detected him or a bona fide extraterrestrial. But would the government dispatch a saucer-shaped vehicle to investigate him or would they not do as they always had done – and dispatch F14s?

He had not installed a radio as yet so there was no way to communicate with the fast-approaching craft. He instinctively or unthinkingly increased his speed. He looked at the viewscreen – it appeared to be gaining. It was fast! It appeared to be made of a whitish metal like magnesium or aluminium. He decided not to run. He pressed stop and waited breathlessly for the scant seconds it would take for the pursuer to catch up to him. Then the viewscreen loomed large with the silvery craft. He hoped it wasn’t hostile. It had not fired upon him so that was good, he thought. It appeared to begin circling him, and he felt the hairs on his nape prickle and stand to attention – perhaps he was being scanned or he was reacting fearfully? But he had no time to ascertain which when as suddenly as it began the craft pulsed into an acceleration from his position – it appeared vanishingly small in his viewscreen and then it was gone. 

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Conformity is the refuge of the frightened." Dorothy Carnegie

"And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."
[From 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran]

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bedtime story #1

Once upon a time the laughing Buddha Hotei or Budai was caught in the rain. Since he was bare-chested, his clothes in rags, he was going to catch a cold if he didn’t find shelter quickly. Being ever-blissful our fat-bellied friend laughed as he began to run. A little ways down the road he saw an inn. Soon he was inside the inn and was drying and warming himself by the fire. The innkeeper who loved wines had a small wineshop for his guests. Since Hotei was poor he knew he could not afford to spend the night at the inn, so he hoped the rain would stop or that the innkeeper wouldn’t mind if he stayed by the fireplace all night long. Fortunately, the innkeeper was a friendly soul, and had his servants bring Hotei a chair to sit beside the fire and a hot mug of soup – cream-of-tomato flavour. It was one of the best nights Hotei ever spent.

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Nothing is impossible

"To believe that something is impossible, is to make it so. Persevere and you will overcome all obstacles." Dandemis

"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve."
Jules Verne

So, it's possible then to build a flying saucer or craft that has a main method of propulsion that isn't based on rocketry or jet engines. Also, beyond ducted fans and hovercraft principles. It's a flying machine beyond helicopter or aeroplane technology. Any ideas, anyone?

Four small incidents in Erin

There was a pretty blonde Irish lass in Cork who worked in a coffee shop. One day some guy she never met before, speaking English but with a strange accent, came up to her (she was behind the counter) and warned her that the sign above the coffee shop door was loose and would doubtless fall soon if left unattended. ‘Tanks a million,’ she replied. The fellow paused – was she being a little sarcastic? She looked peeved. The man smiled inwardly (betraying a little of it outwardly too, no doubt) because she looked even prettier when she was angry. The man returned to his seat. A short while passed and then a crash! The sign had fallen to the ground – luckily no one was underneath it when it happened.

Will she remember those events, that customer? I think she’ll remember, if she does, that she was having a bad day once, when she was working in her early twenties.


It was bitterly cold – one of the harshest winters in Ireland, they said. There was a shop – a small general store, I believe ‘twas in Courtmacsherry (CĂșirt Mhic Seafraidh – pronounce that if you can!). The woman who ran the shop said to us as we were leaving with our ice creams (oh, yes! – ice cream in winter’s good!) that we should remember them. What she meant was that we should remember them in Ireland suffering from the cold when we experience once again our warm and sunny climes in our own country. I don’t think I’ll ever forget.


An electrician had been called to deal with a problem where we were staying in Courtmacsherry. The owner of the place asked if I’d lead the electrician to the source of the problem. I had to get up early to do so, and it was very cold, and overcast. A very grey day. I met the electrician, We exchanged hello’s, and as we were walking to the electrical box or metre or whatever it was that was causing the problem, he completely surprised me! What he said that astounded me was, ‘It’s a beautiful day today.’ Such simple words but I was amazed. He wasn’t joking or pulling my leg. He meant it. I almost felt like telling him he should see my country to appreciate a beautiful day but I kept silent. All I could muster was a feeble: ‘Yes, but yesterday was also beautiful.’ What a lost opportunity! What should I have said to this remarkable person? I should have said, ‘Yes, it is,’ and smiled my warmest smile.


We had to take the bus to Cork. We made a few stops to pick up people. Two young girls boarded and took their seats. My brother caught a snippet of their conversation. One of them said, ‘It’s lousy!’ My brother repeated it to me afterwards trying to say it as they said it, ‘Lowssy!’ Not even close. He was very amused by it. It’s funny how a simple phrase can make two young gals very loveable.

On the same bus a man came in by himself. I guess it was the day he had chosen to go to Cork to do some shopping – perhaps buy a book or two. It was his outing day. He was not old but no longer young either, perhaps in his late forties or early fifties. He sat down. At some point, I can’t remember precisely when, we glanced at each other. We paused. I didn’t have to say a word. He didn’t have to say a word. There was complete understanding between us. He was probably the only man in Ireland with whom I would have dearly loved to talk but it wasn’t necessary. He smiled. I must’ve smiled too. It’s rare to meet someone on the same spiritual level as you are. It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone in this world.

Friday, August 2, 2013

taking the time to look at home

Imagine the day, if it ever comes, when we, from afar, contemplate the majesty of our own galaxy.
Then, knowing we could gaze forever at the spectacle, with awe growing greater as we look; we turn to our duties elsewhere on the ship.

special group

Thursday, August 1, 2013


  1. A dinosaur park or museum nearby.
  2.  Life-size Easter Island heads (moai) at my local park.
  3. A personal flying machine.
  4. Universal free internet.
  5. Universal free medical.
  6. For classical music to come back into vogue

Pollyanna prejudice or really too schmaltzy?

I have been accused that my piece on why you should read Pollyanna is too schmaltzy and too full of ‘I’s. This is an attempt to redress that.

I will endeavour to write (and be):
like a basilisk or common lizard basking,
like an ibis on one leg, beak buried in its breast,
like maple syrup but not golden syrup.

The reason why you should read ‘Pollyanna’ and ‘Pollyanna Grows up’ by Eleanor H. Porter, is because they are well-written, entertaining works of fiction, with an original take on optimism.


Why you should read Pollyanna.

 The Pollyanna Tonic

“I have never believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought that it is far better to greet the unknown with a cheer.”

“Pollyanna does not pretend everything is sugar-coated goodness but she is positively determined to find the good in every situation.”

Both quotes above are by Eleanor H. Porter who wrote the first two Pollyanna books, known as the ‘Glad Books’ because ‘glad’ is Pollyanna’s favourite word. The first book was published in 1913, and was simply titled Pollyanna, the sequel followed in 1915 and was titled Pollyanna grows Up.

In the books (and movies) you will find out about a radical idea or way of looking at life that is called The Glad Game. Simply put it entails finding something about everything to be glad about. It may not be such a new idea. Optimism has always been around it could be argued, just as its opposite, Pessimism has been. Still, it is a highly original take on optimism, and a very practical tool besides.

My chief interests are the two books and the 1960 film for which Hayley Mills won an honorary Academy Award for her performance as Pollyanna Whittier.

My chief desire in writing this is that everyone should read these 2 wonderful books, at the least. That is the real tonic; anything I may say here is simply to get you to read those and to find that positive outlook, that cheerfulness in the face of adversity which can help transform our lives and those of others for the better.

Nowadays classics are not children’s first choice in reading matter so it’s up to parents and friends to encourage the reading of the classics, even though they might be a bit more demanding at times (keep a good dictionary handy).

That pain and suffering exists and is inescapable for any human being is a given. I am not proposing, see Eleanor H. Porter’s quotes above, that we should try and escape or run away from suffering; nor that we should seek it out either for that matter but that the trials that we are going to have to go through inevitably can be a means for our growth and betterment, spiritually-speaking.

That being cheerful in the face of adversity is indeed a tall order is not going to be disputed by me. To be cheerful in general is actually difficult and rare. To be so when all you want to do is swap bodies with someone healthier is a far more demanding exercise, and is in my opinion ultimately impossible without divine assistance.
I do not wish to dwell too much on religious or spiritual matters. They are of utmost importance but it is not my desire to produce a religious work in the Christian tradition. There are also so many views and philosophies from all religions that are highly beneficial that in the end an eclectic piece of writing is going to be the outcome of my efforts.

I am reaching for something a bit more elusive, I think. I want to make you see something that’ll change your life; that’ll mean you’ll never worry again…ever again.
To get ‘there’ you must first be willing; then you’ve got to do the reading; then you’ve got to put what you read into practice. Then you’ve got to persevere when it seems that it’s not going to work, that it’s an impossible thing to expect of anyone. Then you’ve got to spend the rest of your life developing mastery. You’ll probably never reach perfection but it’s demanded that you keep on trying for it, and never give up. You will pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on. And I can promise you that you will change, that you will be stronger and you will know joy and content. You will have changed beyond what you thought possible when you first started out. It is God and His grace that is responsible for this transformation. I must give credit where it is due.

If you can’t find the books they are available at Project Gutenberg: for free.

You know it's love when...

"You know it's love when all you want is for that person to be happy, even if you're not part of their happiness."

"But you hope that they choose you to be a part of their happiness."

[don’t know who authors are.]

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Wisdom of Dandemis

The Wisdom of Dandemis, an Indian sage living around the time of Alexander the Great. He is also known as Dandamis and Dandi Swami.

“Do not defer till the evening what the morning may accomplish; for idleness is the parent of want. Do not be slothful lest you become a burden to yourself. Do not loiter about, lest the hours hang heavy on your hands through not knowing what to do. Do not let your days pass away like the shadow of a cloud which leaves behind it no trace for remembrance. Do not let your body become diseased for want of exercise, lest you should wish for action and find that you have no power to move. When you see with your eyes, and when you hear with your ears, do not sit still with no resolution shaking your head and wishing, lest ruin come upon you like a whirlwind. If your soul thirsts for honour and if your ear finds pleasure in the voice of praise, raise yourself from the dust and exalt your aim to something that is praiseworthy; but let him who does good beware how he boasts of it, for rarely is it of his own free will. Is not the event of an impulse usually from without: born of uncertainty; suggested by accident; dependent on something else? – to these, then, is the praise due. Beware of irresolution in the intent of your actions, and beware of instability in the execution of them: so shall you triumph over two great failings in human nature. Do not esteem an action because it is done with noise and pomp; for the noblest soul is he who does great things quietly. When you do good, do it because it is good – not because men praise it; and when you avoid evil, avoid it because it is evil – not because men speak against it.”

“Be careful to do nothing while you are in anger: why put out to sea in the violence of a storm? Give a mild answer to an angry man, for it is like water on fire: it will abate his heat; and from an enemy he will become a friend. Anger always begins through folly or weakness; but remember, it seldom concludes without repentance.”

“Do not esteem a man for his titles, nor condemn the stranger because he lacks them: you cannot judge the camel by his bridle.”

“Is not your hand a miracle in itself? Why was it given to you but that you might stretch it out to the assistance of one another. Why, of all things living, are you, alone, made capable of blushing, unless it be that if you allow your soul to do a shameful thing the world shall be able to read the shame upon your face. Why do fear and dismay rob your face of its natural colour? Avoid guilt, and then you, and the whole world, shall know that fear is beneath you, and that, to you, dismay is unmanly. You, alone, of all creatures of the earth, have the power of speech. Be thankful for your glorious privilege; and pay to Him who gave you speech a welcome and a rational praise.”

“Do not trust a man before you have tried him; yet do not mistrust without reason, for that is uncharitable. When you have proven a man to be honest, look upon him in your heart as a treasure and regard him as a jewel of inestimable worth. Do not accept favours of a mercenary man, lest they be but snares to your virtue. Do not join with the wicked, lest it bring grief to your soul. Endeavour to reach the top of your calling, whatever it may be; and do not let anybody surpass you in well-doing. Nevertheless, do not envy the merits of another, but improve your own talents by watching his example; neither depreciate the endeavours of those who excel you, lest you put an evil interpretation on all their doings. Be faithful to your trust, and do not deceive any man who relies upon you; for, be assured, it is less in the sight of God to steal than to betray.”

“From the creatures of God man can learn wisdom; and he can apply to himself the instruction they give. Go into the desert, my son. Watch the young stork of the wilderness, and let him speak to your heart. He bears his aged parent between his wings; he carries him into safety – and he supplies him with food. Be grateful, then, to your father, for he gave you life; and likewise to your mother, for she nurtured you and sustained you. When your parents utter words of reproof, they are spoken for your own good; so listen to their admonition, for it does not proceed from malice, but is provided by love.  Your parents have watched over your welfare, and they have toiled that life shall be easier for you. Honour them, therefore, in their age; and let them not be treated with irreverence. They ask no reward for what they have done for you; but see that you do not repay them with ingratitude. Think back on the years of your helpless infancy, lest you forget to help them through the infirmities of the decline of life. So shall their heads go down to the grave in peace; and your own children, in reverence of your own example, will do the same for you.”

“Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. May you not both be in error?”

“Repentance follows much speaking; but in silence is safety. Do not deride another, for it is dangerous: a bitter jest is the poison of friendship; and whosoever speaks of another’s failings with pleasure, shall hear his own with shame. Let the words of your mouth be the thoughts of your heart; so will you be far above the meanness of dissimulation. Do not mask your words in a semblance of truth, lest you become like the hypocrite whose business in life is only to deceive…. The pride of emptiness is an abomination, and to talk much is the foolishness of folly. Nevertheless, it is part of wisdom to bear with fools, to hear their absurdities with patience, and to pity their weaknesses. Do not become puffed-up, nor boast of superior understanding; for the cleverest human knowledge is but little better than blindness.”

“Perils, misfortune, want, pain, and injury come the way of every man who comes into the world; therefore, you should fortify your mind with courage and patience from your youth up, that you may bear with resolution any part of calamity that may come your way. Let courage sustain you in the instant of danger, so that the steadiness of your mind shall carry you through; for calmness alleviates the weight of misfortunes, and by constancy you are able to surmount them. In the hour of danger be not embarrassed; and in the day of misfortune, do not let despair overwhelm your soul.”

“If you would learn to die nobly, let your vices die first; then, when your hour comes, you will be happy from having nothing to regret. Man is not punished for the good that he has done; therefore, to the man of virtue, there is nothing in death to fear. No man knows but that to-day’s setting of the sun may be his last here on earth. To-morrow, when he stands in the presence of his Creator, when, in a flash, he sees the purpose of life, when he is asked what progress he has made, happy will he be who has exercised the principles of virtue, for he will reap of the seeds he has sown during the fitful years of his visit to Earth.’

“Pay the debts which you owe; for he who gave you credit relied upon your honour, and to withhold from him his due is both mean and unjust.”

“Your food, your clothing, your convenience of habitation, your enjoyment of the pleasures and comforts of life you owe to the assistance of others; and you could not enjoy them but in the bands of society.”

“You have been given the power of free-will – a power that is divine, and by it you are able to do good and also to do harm. Be careful that you direct your line of freedom along the paths of virtue. Because of your freedom the soul is rash; therefore, guard it. Because of freedom it is irregular; therefore, restrain it. As a sword in the hand of a madman, so likewise is the soul to him that lacks discretion.”

“The noblest employment of the mind of man is the study of the works of his Creator. Cast your eyes towards the clouds. Do you not find the heavens full of wonders? Look down at the earth. Does not the worm proclaim to you: “Could less than Omnipotence have formed me?” The planets follow their courses and the sun remains in his place; the comet wanders through Space and returns to his destined road again. What but an Infinite Wisdom could have appointed them their laws? Look down upon the Earth and see her produce; examine under the surface, and behold what it contains. Has not Wisdom and Power ordained the whole? Can the meanest fly create itself? – could you have fashioned it? You, who see the whole as admirable as its parts, cannot better employ your eye than in tracing out your Creator’s greatness; or your mind than in examining the wonders of Creation. What is the study of words compared with this? Wherein lies Knowledge, but in the study of Nature! For the rest, whatever science is most useful, and whatever knowledge has least vanity, is to be preferred. All other sciences are vain; and all other
knowledge is boast unless it makes a man more good and more honest. Adoration of your God, and benevolence to your fellow-creatures: are they not your great studies? Who shall teach you the one, or who shall inform you of the other, like unto the study of His works!”

“Who is there who does not either judge too highly of himself, or thinks too meanly of others? Our Creator himself does not escape our presumption: how, then, shall we be safe from one another! Man, who fears to breathe a whisper against his earthly Sovereign, does not hesitate to arraign the dispensations of his God. He listens to the sentence of the magistrate with silence, yet dares to plead with the Eternal: he attempts to soothe Him with entreaties; to flatter Him with promises; to agree with Him upon conditions – he even murmurs at Him if his requests are not granted! Why is he not punished for his impiety? This is not yet his day of retribution! Man, who is truly but a mote in the wide expanse, believes the whole world to have been created only for him: he thinks the whole frame of Nature is only interested in his well-being. As the fool, when the images tremble on the face of the water, thinks that trees, towns, and the whole wide horizon are dancing to do him pleasure, so man, while Nature performs her destined course, believes that all her motions are but to entertain his eye. While he courts the ray of the sun to warm him, he supposes that it was made only to be of use to him; and while he traces the moon in her mighty path, he thinks she was created simply to entertain him. Man is not the cause why the world holds its course: for him only were not made the vicissitudes of summer and winter. No change would follow if the whole human race ceased to exist: man is but one among millions of species that are blessed in Creation. Do not exalt yourself to the heavens, for the angels are above you; nor disdain your fellow-inhabitants of the earth because they are beneath you: are they not the work of the same Hand? Do not set your judgment above that of all the earth, neither condemn as falsehood that which does not agree with your own understanding. Who gave any of us the power of determining for others: when was the right of free choice taken from the world? Remember how many things have been rejected which are now received as truths; and those which are now received as truths which shall, in their turn, be despised. Have not truth and falsehood the same appearance in any subject we do not understand? What, then, but our presumption determines between them!  We easily believe anything which is above our comprehension – or we are proud to pretend it – in order that we may appear to have wisdom. Is not this folly and arrogance? Who is it that affirms most boldly? Who is it that holds to his opinion most obstinately? He who has most ignorance, because he has most pride. Every man when he lays hold of an opinion desires to maintain it, but most of all he who is an egotist, for he is not content with betraying his own soul into it, but he tries to impose it on others to believe in it also. Do not say that truth is established by years, or that a multitude of believers makes a certainty: one human proposition has as much right of authority as any other, if reason does not make any difference? Of what, then, can man be certain? Do all the good that you know, and you shall have happiness: happiness is more your business here than wisdom!”

“Do not attribute the good actions of another to bad causes. You do not know his heart, but the world will know that your own is full of envy.”

“Are not your eyes the sentinels that watch for you? –yet, how often are they unable to distinguish truth from error!”
“Have courage in truth; but fear to lie. Learn to blush at falsehood, so that, in speaking the truth, you may have a steady eye.”

“The promises of hope are sweeter than roses in the bud; but the threatenings of fear are a terror to the heart. Nevertheless, do not let hope allure you, nor fear deter you from doing right; for thus you will be able to meet all events with an even mind. In all your undertakings let a reasonable assurance animate your endeavours; and remember, if you despair of success you cannot hope to succeed.  Do not terrify your soul with vain fears, neither let your heart sink because of the phantoms of imagination: fear invites failure; he that hopes, helps himself. As the ostrich, when pursued, buries its head in the sand, so the fears of a coward expose him to danger.”

“Do not bestow on any man the flattery of unmeaning words. You know that when he returns them to you, you heed them not; he knows he lies to you – and that you know it, yet he knows you will thank him for it. Always speak with sincerity, for then you shall hear with instruction.”

“There is nothing so easy as to revenge an offence; but there is nothing so honourable as to pardon it. The greatest victory man can obtain is over himself; and he who disdains to feel an injury, returns it upon him who offers it.”

“Let your happiness depend not upon Fortune and her smiles, so that, when she frowns, you will not be dismayed. As the water that passes from the mountains on its way to the ocean kisses every field that borders the river, so Fortune visits the sons of men: her motion is incessant; she does not stay in one place; she is unstable as the winds; she kisses you, and you are blessed – but, as you turn to thank her, she has gone to another. The wise man makes everything the means of advantage; and with the same countenance he looks upon all the faces of Fortune – he does good, he conquers evil; and he is unmoved in it all.”

“He who wisely gives away his treasures, gives away his plagues; but he who retains their increase, heaps up his own sorrows. Do not refuse unto the poor that which he needs; and do not deny unto your brother even that which you want for yourself: there is more delight in being without what you have given away than there is in possessing that which you do not know how to use.”

“All her words were decent, so that the music of her speech had delicacy and truth. She showed prudence in her gestures; she let wisdom walk before her; she went hand-in-hand with virtue, so that the tongue of the licentious was dumb in her presence, and the awe of her pureness kept it silent…. Her heart was a mansion of goodness, so that she does not suspect evil in others, and they do not look for it in her. When scandal is busy, and the reputations of others is being tossed from tongue to tongue, her sense of charity closes her ears and the finger of good-nature rests upon her lips…when a woman allows these precepts to sink into her heart, she charms her mind and adds grace to her form, so that her beauty, like a rose, retains its sweetness long after the bloom itself has withered.”
“Acknowledge your obligations with cheerfulness; and look upon your benefactor with love and esteem. If it is not in your power to return it; nourish the memory of it in your breast with kindness: forget it not all the days of your life.”

“The rich should not presume in his riches, nor the poor despond in his poverty; for the providence of God gives happiness to both of them – and the distribution of happiness between them is more equally divided than the fool would believe.”

“Do not envy the appearance of happiness in any man, for you do not know his secret griefs.”

“Every man may be viewed in two lights: in one he will be troublesome; in the other, less offensive. Choose to see him in that light which least hurts you – then you will not wish to harm him.”

“Be more ready to love than to hate; so shall you be loved by more than hate you.”

“What health is to the body, so is honesty to the soul.”

“Teach men to be honest, and oaths will be unnecessary.”

“Let the tongue of sincerity be rooted in your heart, so that hypocrisy and deceit have no place in your words. Never try to be more than you are, lest the wise man strip off your disguise and the finger of derision be pointed at you with scorn.”

“True wisdom is less presuming than folly: the wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; but the fool is obstinate and does not doubt – he knows all things save his own ignorance! The wise man knows his own imperfections; but the fool peeps into the shallow stream of his own mind and is pleased with the pebbles which he sees at the bottom – he brings them up, and shows them as pearls, and the applause of other fools delights him. A fool boasts of attainments in things of no worth; but where there is a shame in his ignorance, he is void of understanding.”

“The slightest health is less noticed than the slightest pain. Do you not know that the thought of affliction wounds deeper than the affliction itself? If you do not think of your pain when it is upon you you will avoid what hurts you most.”

“Be resolute, and direct an even and an uninterrupted course; so shall your foot be upon the earth, and your head above the clouds. Though obstacles appear in your path, do not deign to look down upon them, but proceed with resolution, guided by right, and mountains shall sink beneath your tread; storms may roar against your shoulders, but they will not shake you; thunder will burst over your head in vain – the lightning will serve but to show the glory of your soul.”
“As the torrent that rushes down the mountain destroys all that is borne away by it, so does common opinion overwhelm reason in him who accepts it without first asking: “What is the foundation?”

“Evil is not requisite to man; yet, how many evils are permitted by the connivance of the laws! Do not say that justice cannot be executed without wrong; for, surely your own words will condemn you! Teach men to be just, that there may be no need for repentance.”

“Learn to esteem life as you ought; then you will be near to the pinnacle of wisdom. Do not think with the fool that nothing is more valuable, nor believe with the pretended-wise that it is to be despised: life is not for itself, but for the good it may be of to others. Gold cannot buy it back for you, neither can a mine of diamonds purchase back the moments you have lost of it; therefore, employ all your moments in the exercise of virtue. Do not think it would have been best not to have been born; or, if born, that it would have been best to have died early; neither ask your Creator: “Where had been the evil had I not existed?” Remember that evil is but lack of good, and that good is within your power. So, if your question to your Creator is a just one, does it not, of itself, condemn you! A good death is better than an evil life; but while your life is worth more to others than your death, it is your duty to preserve it.  Do not complain with the fool of the shortness of your time; for you should remember that with your days your cares are shortened. Take from the period of your life the useless parts of it, and what remains? Take off the time of your infancy; your sleep; your thoughtless hours; your days of sickness – and even in the fullness of years, how few have been your hours of usefulness! He who gave you life as a blessing, shortened it to make it more so. To what end would longer life serve you? Is it that you may have the opportunity of more vice? Or is it that you wish to have the opportunity of doing more good? As to the good, will not He who limits your span be satisfied with the fruits of it! If it is that you wish to improve your wisdom and virtue, have you employed the little time that you have? If not, why complain that more is not given you? Man, who dares to enslave the World when he knows that he can enjoy his tyranny but for a moment, what would he not aim at were he given all things before he has learned how to use the few that he has!”

“When modesty and virtue enlighten her charms, the luster of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven. The whiteness of her bosom transcends the lily, and her smile is more delicious than a garden of roses. The innocence of her eyes is as of an angel; and simplicity and truth dwell in her heart; her kisses are sweeter than honey; and the perfumes of Arabia breathe from her lips. Do not shun the tenderness of love; for if its flame is pure it will ennoble your heart, and will soften it to receive the fairest impressions.”

“Weak in strength and knowledge as you are, and humble as you ought to be – yet you are able to contemplate Omnipotence displayed before your eyes by examining your own body. You are wonderfully made; and, of all creatures, you only stand erect. There has been added to your body something which you cannot see, and this something speaks to you in a way that is different from your senses. The body remains after this unseen part has fled, so it is no part of the body. It is immaterial; therefore eternal. It is free to act; therefore accountable for its actions. Know Yourself, therefore, as the pride of Earth’s creatures. You are the link uniting Divinity and Matter. There is a part of God himself in you; therefore, remember your own dignity and the command and superiority you have been given over all other creatures. Be faithful to the Divine spark which is You; and rejoice before your Creator with thanksgiving and praise.”

“She remembers that woman was created to be man’s companion, and not the slave of his passions. She assists man through his life, and soothes him with that tenderness which is the divine possession only of a woman.”

“When you feel uneasiness, and bewail misfortunes, you should examine the roots from which they spring – even down to your own folly, your own pride, or your own distempered fancy. Do not murmur, therefore, but correct yourself.”

“Why should a man’s heart give up joy when the causes of joy have not been removed from him! Why be miserable for the sake of misery! Ask men if their sadness makes things the better, and they themselves will confess to you that it is folly; they will go even further and praise him who bears his ills with patience, and who makes headway against misfortune with courage. Be not deceived with fair pretences, nor suppose that sorrow heals misfortune; for sorrow is a poison under the colour of a remedy: while it pretends to draw the arrow from the breast, it plunges it into the heart. It is not in our nature to meet the arrows of ill-fortune unhurt – nor does reason require it of us; but it is our duty to bear misfortune like men. The greatest misfortune is not to be reckoned from the number of tears shed for it: the greatest griefs are above those testimonies, as are the greatest joys beyond utterance.”

“Do not clothe yourself in rich attire in order to court observation, lest you become puffed up in your own imagination. Nothing blinds the eye, or hides the heart of a man from himself, like vanity. Remember that it is when you do not see yourself that others see you most plainly. Do not say, “To what end my gorgeous raiment; to what purpose are my tables filled with dainties, if no eye gaze upon them, or if the world knows it not?”
Better would it be if you gave your vestures to the naked, and your food to the hungry; for thus you would be praised, and thus you would deserve it…. Do not treat inferiors with insolence, lest your own superiors look down upon your pride and folly with laughter. As a plain garment best adorns a beautiful woman, so is modest behaviour the greatest ornament of wisdom…. When you do anything worthy of praise, do not let your joy be to proclaim it; for men do not say: “Behold! He has done it!; what they say is: “See how proud he is of it!”

“If you believe a thing impossible, your despondency will make it so; but if you persevere, you will overcome every difficulty.”

“Do not let your recreations be expensive, lest the pain in purchasing them exceed the pleasure of their enjoyment…. Be moderate in your enjoyment, and it will remain in your possession; let joy be founded on reason, and then sorrow will be a stranger to you.”

“Days that are past are gone forever, and those that are to come may not come to you; therefore, enjoy the present without regretting the loss of what is past, or depending too much on that which is not yet here. This instant is yours; the next still belongs to futurity, and you do not know what it may bring forth.”

“As the tulip, that is gaudy but without smell, so is the man without merit who sets himself on high.”

“To bear adversity cheerfully is difficult; but to be temperate in prosperity is the height of wisdom. Good and ill are the tests by which you are able to know the degree of your constancy; and there is nothing else that can so well tell you the powers of your own soul.”

“If you had the ear of a stag, or the eye of an eagle, or were your smell equal to that of the hound, yet without Reason, what would they avail you?”

“The end of the search is the acquisition of Truth; and the soul’s means of discovering it are by reason and experience. Perception of yourself. Is that not plain enough before your face? Then what more is there that you need to know?”

“Disdain the man who attempts to wrong you, for you not only preserve your own peace, but inflict on him all the punishment of revenge without your stooping to employ it against him. Poorness of spirit actuates revenge; whereas greatness of soul despises the offence.  Why seek revenge? With what purpose would you pursue it? Do you think you will pain your adversary with it? Do you not know that revenge gnaws the heart of him who is afflicted with it: that the revengeful feel its greatest torment! Revenge is painful in the intent and dangerous in the execution: seldom does that axe fall where he who lifted it up intended. While the revengeful seeks to hurt his enemy he often brings about his own destruction: while he aims at one of the eyes of his adversary, he often puts out both his own. If he does not attain his end, he laments; if he succeeds, he repents of it. When you meditate revenge, you confess that you feel the wrong; when you complain, you acknowledge yourself hurt by it. Would you add this pride to the triumph of your enemy?
There is nothing so easy as to revenge an offence; but there is nothing so honourable as to pardon it. Noble behaviour in yourself will make a man ashamed to be your enemy; and the greatness of your soul will terrify him from the thought of hurting you.”

“Sadness is an enemy of the race; she poisons the sweets of life, therefore, drive her from your heart. She raises the loss of a straw to the destruction of a fortune, and while she vexes the soul with trifles she robs the attention to the things of consequence. Do not let sadness cover herself with a face of piety: do not let her deceive you with a show of wisdom.  Remember that religion pays honour to your Creator, so let it not be coloured with melancholy.”

“As the soundest health is less noticed than the slightest pain, so the highest joy touches us less deeply than the smallest sorrow. Do you not know that the thought of affliction wounds deeper than the affliction itself? He who weeps before he needs, weeps more than he needs.”

“Thought; understanding; reason; will, do not call these your soul. They are the actions of the soul, but not the soul itself. Do not think that you can hide from your soul in the crowd; or that you can bury it in forgetfulness, for your soul is You, yourself.”

“When you envy the man who possesses honours; when his titles and greatness raise your indignation, seek to know how he obtained them…. The favours of princes may be bought by vice; rank and title may be purchased by money, - but these are not true honours. Crimes cannot exalt a man to glory; neither can gold make men noble…. There is no such thing as nobility except that of the soul; nor is there any honour except that of virtue.”

“It is not the receiving of honour that delights a noble mind: the pride and honour is in deserving it! Is it not better that men should say: “Why is there not a statue to this man?” than that they should ask: “Why has he one?”

“Truth is but one. Your doubts are of your own raising. He who made virtues what they are, planted also in you a knowledge of their pre-eminence; therefore, ask your soul, and if you act as that dictates to you, the end shall be always right.”

“Inconstancy is powerful in the heart of man; intemperance sways it whither it will; despair engrosses much of it, - but vanity is beyond them all. The hero, the most renowned of human characters, what is he but a bubble of this weakness? The public is unstable and ungrateful; so why should a man of wisdom endanger himself for fools!”

“Be virtuous while you are young; and in your age you will be honoured.”

“It is said that grey hairs are revered, and in length of days there is honour; yet, without virtue, age plants more wrinkles in the soul than on the forehead.”

“Learn that it is not abundance that makes riches, but economy and the application of what you have…. The man to whom God gives riches should be careful to employ them in the right way. You should look upon your wealth with pleasure, for it gives you the means to do good. You should protect the poor and the injured; and fight against the mighty when they oppress the weak. Do not let the benevolence of your mind be checked by your fortune; so shall you rejoice in your riches, and your joy will be blameless.
Do not heap up wealth in abundance to rejoice in its possession alone, lest woe comes unto you. Do not grind the faces of the poor: consider the sweat of their brows. Do not thrive on oppression, lest the ruin of your brother disturb your heart. Do not harden your heart with love of wealth, lest grief and distress soften it again.”

“An immoderate desire for riches is poison to the soul: it contaminates and destroys everything that is good in it; and it is no sooner rooted there than all virtue, all honesty, and all natural affection is driven out. Riches are servants to the wise, but to the soul of the fool they are tyrants.”

“Learn wisdom from the experience of others; and from their failings you will be able to correct your own faults…. The first step towards being wise is to know that you are ignorant; and if you wish to be esteemed in the judgement of others, cast off the folly of trying to appear wise.”

“Do not use to-day what to-morrow may need; neither leave anything to chance which foresight may provide for, or care prevent.”

“Be moderate in your enjoyment and it will remain in your possession; let joy be founded on reason, and then sorrow will be a stranger to you. The delights of love are ushered in by sighs, and they terminate in languishment and dejection; and the object you burn for nauseates with satiety, and no sooner is it possessed than its presence is wearisome. Join esteem in your admiration; unite friendship with your love; be moderate in all things – so shall you find in the end that contentment surpasses raptures: that tranquility is worth more than ecstasy.”

“As a man, take to yourself a wife, and obey the ordinance of God: so shall you become a member of society. On your choice depends the happiness of your wife, your own, and that of your future children; so use care and discretion. If much of her time is given to dress and ornaments; if she is enamoured with her own good looks; if she is delighted with empty praise of herself; if she talks with a loud voice; if her feet are seldom in her father’s house; or, if her eyes rove with undue boldness towards the faces of other men, then, even though her beauty be ravishing, turn your eyes from her charms. Do not allow your soul to become ensnared by the allurements of passion. But, if you find sensibility of heart with a softness of manner, and an accomplished mind with a form that appeals to you, then she is worthy to be your friend; your companion through life; the wife of your dreams, and the mother of your children. Cherish her as a gift sent from heaven; and let the kindness of your behaviour endear you to her heart. Make her the mistress of your home; and treat her with respect, that all who know her may respect her also. Do not oppose her wishes without just cause: she is the partner of your cares, so make her the companion of your pleasures. Reprove her faults with gentleness; and encourage her to point out your own, that you also may profit. Do not exact obedience from her with rigour: her nature is gentle, so be gentle also. Trust her with your secrets and you will not be deceived, for her counsels will be sincere. Be faithful to her: she is your temple, and the mother of your children. When pain and sickness assail her, let your tenderness soothe her; for one look of pity from you will alleviate her grief, will mitigate her pain, and will be more helpful than ten doctors. Remember the delicacy of her sex, and the tenderness of her frame. Be not severe to her weaknesses; but remember your own imperfections. Honour her; and she will lead you to the gates of Heaven."

[Obtained from ‘Wisdom of the Ages’ by Mark Gilbert. First published in 1936.]