The Tree of Knowledge
Some Inspirational Stories
Inspiring spiritual stories and events are one of the ways of imparting knowledge. We need not necessarily look far beyond our daily happenings to find such meaningful events and stories about people who spread goodness in the world like this one from Lady Oscar , as published in a recent edition of ‘Le Mauricien’ titled ‘Fo travay pou gagne so pain…’ “Ils sont 40 000 à avoir quitté femme, enfants, mère et père pour notre Eldorado. A défaut de transformer notre oasis en terre d’immigrés, on se contente de faire d’eux des invités, sans la guirlande de frangipanes, et sans aucun droit permanent. Des marchandises importées, ces travailleurs étrangers… C’est ainsi que des mois durant, mon quartier a été la proie des tracteurs, d’énormes mastodontes, menés par des hommes de tout âge, venus d’ailleurs. Du jour au lendemain, mon voisinage s’est transformé en “Bronx”, le passage obligé pour l’installation des systèmes de tout-à-l’égout. Qu’est-ce que j’ai gueulé !
“Jusqu’au jour où il a fallu leur ouvrir le portail. Tous mes préjugés sont partis en fumée et j’ai ravalé mon crachat. Devant moi se tenaient des hommes respectueux, des bosseurs. Qu’importe s’ils se permettaient une petite somme sous la véranda après la pause déjeuner. Durant trois jours, ils ont animé les résidents de ma maison, avec leur sonnerie de téléphone “Made in China” et leurs échanges tonitruants les uns avec les autres, de temps en temps ponctués de rires stridents, qui contamineraient même le xénophobe le plus pernicieux ! Interpellée par la nourriture fadasse et peu appétissante qu’ils avalaient au déjeuner, disposée dans un minuscule récipient “kouler la soufrans”, ma mère s’est faite Mère Teresa, leur procurant limonade et galettes pendant leur séjour chez nous. Leur situation diffère-t-elle de celle de nombreux Mauriciens, appelés à faire des sacrifices face à la cherté de la vie ? La réponse est non. Alors, qu’importe s’ils m’ont gâché mes grasses matinées bien méritées, une fois n’est pas coutume, dans un langage très simple, je souhaite leur dire merci. Pour leur circonspection salutaire, le travail bien fait et surtout pour leur respect envers l’autre – bref que des valeurs qui feraient rougir bien des “mal élevés” que l’on croise tous les jours !
The Principle: Love is seeing God in the person next to us; meditation is seeing God within us, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Having a spiritual life doesn’t just mean sitting and doing some practices mechanically. When we realize that life is sacred, when we celebrate life, care for others and share whatever we have with those less fortunate than ourselves, then our vision broadens and our life becomes ‘spiritual’. If we can see the Divine (or spirit) in all forms around us — in air, water, fire, trees, people and animals – then we will also be able to see it in ourselves. However, the general tendency is to negate the Divine from everything in the world and try to find it elsewhere, but if you cannot see the Divine in the form, you will not be able to see or experience the formless Divine.
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Change Your Thinking: Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene. One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out of the window besides the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’
The Principle: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is sorrow halved, but shared joy is happiness doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy. ‘‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present…’
Source: Inspiration stories contributed by Nandini Sobarun