Friday, 30 November 2007

No School for Living

If you are still dazed by all these questions about life, its meaning and your role in it, consider this; When we were young, we were made to go to school – I was anyway. We didn’t know why we had to go to school, but we went, and we did what we could. As we progressed from one year to another in school, we gradually know the reason we go to school. It was to learn how to read and write, and to get an education.

So it is with life with us now. We may not know why we are here, or the part we play in Nature’s scheme of things, but we do what we can. We progress from one year to another, doing the best we can with what we have, until such time when our destiny is made known to us.

Leo Buscaglia said, “There is no school for living, and a dearth of teachers of life. If we look to formal education for answers, we are most often given knowledge without judgement and facts without meaning. If we expect answers from religion we are often persuaded to make the leap into faith, for which many of us are sorely unprepared. When we are incapable of complying, we are often made to feel incompetent and dependent. If we try to learn from life itself we find that often it seems full of unforeseen dirty tricks for which we are not ready and from which we seem to glean little. If we attempt to learn from examples, we find too few models.”

How true! So how do we know that we are living right, and doing what is required of us? How do we know that we are on the right path? We don’t. We find our way through trial and error, through our tribulations in life. As we journey on in life, the knowledge and experience we acquire will be our guide.

The gist of the matter is we are all given a chance to make full use of our ‘term’ here on earth. We are equipped with the means and capability to carve a life for ourselves, put meaning into it, and in the process, find out our role in the scheme of things. We might not have the means now, but they are out there waiting for us to claim them for our use.

Now, consider the little character in the computer game. He starts out with nothing when the game begins. But on his way to slain the dragon, or his pot of gold, or whatever is the objective of the game, he collects a sword, or a shield, or whatever ammunition he needs to help him battle obstacles along the way, so as to achieve his purpose.

So it is with us. We started out with nothing. But as we progress in our journey through life, we equipped ourselves – with knowledge, experience, wisdom, and whatever we need to handle the obstacles in our lives, so as to fulfill our purpose.

There are many parallels to be drawn from the simple computer games if you would think about it. For example, we have a time span – just like the character in the game – to finish the tasks that are required of us. If we succeed, we move on to the next level, (remember the struggle of the caterpillar before it turns into a beautiful butterfly), and if we failed, or if we messed up, we start from scratch again, and again and again.... until we succeed.

Can you identify yourself with the little character in the game?

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

A Time for Everything

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:-

A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to pluck that which is planted;
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to caste away stones and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get and a time to lose;
A time to keep and a time to cast away;
A time to read and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time of war and a time of peace.

- Ecclesiastes

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Do not undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others; It is because we are different that each of us is special.

No two lives are alike, yet each life holds a divine pattern of unfoldment, a great and holy destiny, rich in achievement and honour. As you live true to the pattern of yourself, that deep, inner self, you will unfold as perfect, as joyous, as naturally beautiful as the tree will reach its full measure of fulfilment. No one can keep you from reaching your highest destiny if you will follow your own true pattern of life. No one can live your life for you, for only you hold the key to your own pattern of sublime, glorious, complete fulfilment. Such is the destiny written in the soul of every man and woman who comes to earth. None are without it, that completely individual highway of full expression and glorious achievement. - Analee Skarin

Life is simply time given to man to learn how to live. Mistakes are always part of learning. The real dignity of life consists in cultivating a fine attitude towards our own mistakes and those of others. It is the fine tolerance of a fine soul. Man becomes great, not through never making mistakes, but by profiting by those he does make; by being satisfied with a single rendition of a mistake, not encoring it into a continuous performance; by getting from it the honey of new, regenerating inspiration with no irritating sting of morbid regret; by building better to-day because of his poor yesterday; and by rising with renewed strength, finer purpose and freshened courage every time he falls. - William Jordan

Monday, 26 November 2007

A few suggestions

Found the following in my scrap book. Reasonable suggestions, I think.

When in doubt – ask
You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what is it.

Watch where you are going
Setting clear objectives and directions could save you from potential pit falls.

Work hard
Work hard but work smart. Where possible delegate. You can’t do everything yourself.

Give yourself some space
When you are up against the wall, stop. Take a deep breath or go for a walk. Some fresh air will do you a lot of good.

Break away from routines
It is essential to leave gaps and interludes for spontaneous action. It is often in consequence of these very moments that our life paths take their most interesting turnings.

Speak you mind
If you have something to say, say it. Keeping frustrations to yourself will do you more harm than good.

Free your mind
Think outside the box and you won’t paint yourself into a corner.

Manage your time
Juggle your time well and you’d end up with enough time for both work and play.

Plan ahead
Learn from your mistakes. Make full use of what you have learnt to avoid going round in circles.

Chill out
When the pressure starts to rise, don’t get cooked. Let off some steam. Do something you enjoy.

Saturday, 24 November 2007


The universe is one great kindergarten for man. Everything that exists has brought with it its own peculiar lesson. The mountain teaches stability and grandeur; the ocean immensity and change. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes--every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man. - Orison Swett Marden

One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. - Albert Einstein

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. - Henry Miller

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Window

 Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour a day to drain the fluids 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 about everything. And every afternoon when the man in the bed next to 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 window overlooked a park with a lovely lake, the man had said. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amid flowers of every colour of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, 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 detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
            One day, he thought: Why should he have all the pleasure of seeing everything while I never get to see anything? It didn’t seem fair. As the thought fermented, his envy turned into resentment. He began to brood and found himself unable to sleep. “I should be by that window.” he thought - and that thought now controlled his life.
            Late one night, the man by the window died in his sleep. The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she called the hospital attendant to take it away - no works, no fuss.
            As soon as it seemed appropriate, the 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. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed...........
            It faced a blank wall.

            Life is what you make it out to be. It can be radiant and vivid, exploding with sound and colour, or it can be dull and embittered. Don’t envy the happiness in other people’s lives. Rather, make it happen in your own. Seek delight and pleasure in your most difficult moments, and your darkest night could be your brightest day.
            Very often, the grimness of the circumstances which surround us is a product of our own mind. Perceived negatively, an unfortunate turn in your life could become devastating. When seen in a positive light however, the worst of adversities could be your greatest triumph.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


Everyday, we awaken with another chance at life. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are and we often forget to appreciate the little things around us, that mean so much. Here's a poem I wish to share with you.

Too often we don't realize what we have until it is gone;
Too often we wait too late to say "I'm sorry - I was wrong."

Sometimes it seems we hurt the ones we hold dearest to our hearts;
And we allow foolish things to tear our lives apart.

Far too many times we let unimportant things into our minds;
And then it's usually too late to see what made us blind.

So be sure that you let people know how much they mean to you;
Take that time to say the words before your time is through.

Be sure that you appreciate everything you've got
And be thankful for the little things in life that mean a lot.

Source unknown

Monday, 19 November 2007

Life is in Living

There is no way to attain to life except by living it - by being alive. Life is not somewhere waiting for you. Life is a process. It is happening in you. Whatsoever you are is your life, and if you start seeking meaning somewhere else, in some dogma, in some philosophy, in some theology, that is the sure way to miss life and its meaning.

There is meaning in anyone's life: A man who had been condemned to a life of forced labor for wrong doings, was shipped to devil's island. On the high seas a fire broke out on the steamer. The convict, a strong man, was released from his handcuffs to help, and he saved the lives of ten persons. His sentence was commuted for the act of heroism. If one had asked him before if his life was worth saving, he probably would have shook his head. - Source Unknown

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Life is Living

Through the years, I have collected quite a few parables. The following is one pertaining to the Meaning of Life.

            Some years ago a successful man had a serious identity crisis. He sought help from psychiatrists but nothing came of it, for there were none who could tell him the meaning of life - which is what he wanted to know.
            By and by he learned of a venerable and incredibly wise guru who lived in a mysterious and most inaccessible region of the Himalayas. Only that guru, he came to believe, would tell him what life meant and what his role in it ought to be. So he sold all his worldly possessions and began his search for the all-knowing guru.
            He spent eight years wandering from village to village throughout the Himalayas in an effort to find him. And then one day he chanced upon a shepherd who told him where the guru lived and how to reach the place.
            It took him almost a year to find him, but he eventually did. There he came upon his guru, who was indeed venerable, in fact well over one hundred years old. The guru consented to help him, especially when he learned of all the sacrifices the man had made towards this end.
            “What can I do for you, my son?” asked the guru.
            “I need to know the meaning of life,” said the man.
            To this the guru replied, without hesitation, “Life,” he said, “is a river without end.”
            “A river without end?” said the man in a startled surprise. “After coming all this way to find you, all you have to tell me is that life is a river without end?”
            The guru was shaken, shocked. He became very angry and he said, “You mean it is not?”

            The first thing to remember if you want to know what life is, is: never seek it without, never try to find out from somebody else. Nobody can give, nor tell you the meaning of life. The meaning cannot be transferred that way. The greatest masters have never said anything about life - they have always thrown you back upon yourself. Nobody, except you, can come upon it. Only in living your life will the mystery be revealed to you.
            Life is already there bubbling within you. Don’t seek life anywhere else. Don’t seek it in scriptures, don’t seek it in clever explanations. Live well, and in so doing, you will find the meaning of life.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Life's guidelines and struggles

Except for some rather vague, broad and nebulous guidelines, none of us is ever taught how to live. We are not told the value of life nor what it means to be fully alive. We have no idea of the wonders we can take from life or of the responsibility we have to give it something in return. We are born into our world, educated to adjust to it according to the dominant and accepted mores and then pretty much left to sink or swim. - Leo Buscaglia

Life is always a struggle – right from the beginning to the end, and from the micro to the macro levels. The sperm struggles very hard to beat millions of other sperms to fertilize the egg. The baby struggles very hard to emerge from its mother’s womb. All through life every cell in your body struggles to take in good energy and give off toxic waste. Your whole organism struggles very hard to co-ordinate every part of your body in a marvellous, wholesome way to maintain life. Your body has done that so naturally that you do not even realize it. You represent the triumph of these struggles. - unknown

Life is like an echo. It always gives you back what you give out! It is a mirror of your actions. If you want more love, give more love! If you want more kindness, give more kindness! If you want understanding and respect, give understanding and respect! If you want people to be patient and respectful to you, give patience and respect. This rule of nature applies to every respect of our lives. Your life is not a coincidence, but a mirror of your own doings. - unknown

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Looking for Answers

Apart from asking ourselves the meaning of life, the next two most asked questions of ourselves are ‘What is my role in life? What am I doing here in this existence, in this time and place?

Here, again the answers vary from one person to the next. For some, their answers will be influenced by their religious belief. But what about the atheists? What do they think?

So, everyone has a different answer, and some don’t care one way or the other. They believe, ‘You life and you die. Period’. Who is right then?

I am afraid these are questions you can argue/debate until Kingdom comes and still no one would be the wiser.

Your role in life, the reason you are here, and the meaning you attach to life; only you will know the answers. No one else can tell you. We are all different, hence our meaning, our role, our reason for being here are all different. So are our answers.

The answers are out there, as well as within you. Seek and you find. While you search out there for answers, don’t forget to take time to look within you for answers too. The answers will not come easy, but they will come - when you are ready, and if you make the effort to look for them.

We are here only for a certain number of years, so, the earlier we start to look for answers, the better. Live your life to the fullest, and live it right. The answers could well be in there. Or the answers could be immaterial then.

Above all else, have faith in yourself, trust in yourself. Trust your intuition, listen to that tiny voice inside you and as you embarked on your journey of self-discovery and exploration, trust that your Higher Self will guide you along the way.

As long as one keeps searching, the answers will come. - Joan Baez

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Moving with the Currents

The following passage is taken from the book 'Memoirs of a Geisha' by Arthur Golden. The metaphor 'leapt' out at me - so to speak, when I first read it. I understand immediately that in life, sometimes we don't have control over certain things that happened to us. Under such circumstances, the best we can do is to accept the situation as 'one of those things in life', and move on.

"We human beings are only a part of something very much larger. When we walk along, we may crush a beetle or simply cause a change in the air so that a fly ends up where it might never have gone otherwise. And if we think of the same example but with ourselves in the role of the insect, and the larger universe in the role we have played, it is perfectly clear that we are affected everyday by forces over which we have no more control than the poor beetle has over our gigantic foot as it descends upon it. What are we to do? We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movement of the universe around us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them."

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. - Orson Scott Card

Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Meaning of Life

We hear people say life is meaningless, life has no meaning. We also hear people searching for the meaning of life. So, is there a meaning to this existence called life? What is Life all about?

I guess we all have our own definition of what the meaning of life is. And life has as many meanings as the number of people being asked. Of course there will be those who say why should life has a meaning, why must life have a meaning.

Anyhow, I believe that the meaning of life can be found in Mother Nature, and in the life we live. If we were but to look a little closely, listen a little more carefully, think a bit more deeply, we will surely find the answers we seek.

They say, ‘When the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear.’ Perhaps when the time is right, the meaning of life will be revealed to you. Meanwhile, we must try to live life to the fullest. It is in living life to the fullest that you are most likely to find the meaning of Life.

Perhaps the more pertinent question for some of us would be ‘How does one live life to the fullest?’

I offer this: Ride with the Currents of Life, and do the best you can with what you have got. How’s that for a start?

We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us. - Thomas Merton

The earth has music for those who listen. - unknown

Friday, 9 November 2007

The Dash

         I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the the end.
            He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. (1934 -1998)
            For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth ... And now only those who loved her, know what that little line is worth.
            It matters not, how much we own - the cars... the house... the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
            So think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left, that can still be rearranged.
            If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real, and always try to understand, and be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more, and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
            If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile… Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
            So, when your eulogy’s being read with your life’s actions to rehash... would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

One good anecdote is worth a volume of biography. - William Ellery Channing

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

My Interest

My interest in collecting anecdotes, parables, proverbs, aphorisms, idioms, adages, quotes, words of wisdom, points to ponder etc... started in my school days. I was in awe of the knowledge and lessons taught in these short sentences or parables. Every time I come across a phrase, a sentence or a paragraph which so impressed me, I would painstakingly put pen to paper, and with great joy too! I practically grew up on them. They served as signposts on my journey through life.

Do not underestimate the power and the impact of a simple parable – simple to you may be, but they are usually profound lessons - or a simple aphorism, or a common proverb. The right words at the right time could change a person’s life, for the better.

I believe anecdotes, proverbs, aphorisms ... etc, have a place in society. And it is comforting to know that there are others who feel the same way too.

The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages is preserved into perpetuity by a nation's proverbs, fables, folk sayings and quotations. - William Feather

Whenever words fly up at me from the printed page as I read, I intercept them instantly, knowing they are for me. I turn them over carefully in my mind and cling to them hard. - Ray Stannard Baker

Exclusively of the abstract sciences, the largest and worthiest portion of our knowledge consists of aphorisms, and the greatest and best of men is but an aphorism. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some useful truth in a few words. - Samuel Johnson

Aphorisms are portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feeling. - William Rounseville Alger

A collection of anecdotes and maxims is the greatest of treasure for the man of the world, for he knows how to intersperse conversation with the former in fit places, and to recollect the latter on proper occasions. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Precepts or maxims are of great weight; and a few useful ones on hand do more to produce a happy life than the volumes we can't find. - Seneca

Quotations help us remember the simple yet profound truths that give life perspective and meaning. When it comes to life's most important lessons, we can all use gentle reminders. - Chriswell Freeman

Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted than when we read it in the original author? - Philip G. Hamerton

A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool. - Joseph Roux

The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote someone who is. - Mary Pettibone Poole

Stronger than an army is a quotation whose time has come. - W. I. E. Gates

I quote others only the better to express myself. - Michel Montaigne

By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. - Douglas Jerrold

Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think it’s time you start your collection of anecdotes, aphorisms ….etc too.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A Parable

              One day, a small opening appeared in a cocoon A man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to free its body through that small hole.
              Then, it seems to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and no further.
              The man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped open the cocoon.
              The butterfly was able to emerged easily. But it had a withered body, tiny and shrivelled wings.
               The man continued to watch because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand, and the butterfly will take flight.
               Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly.
              What the man, in his kindness and goodwill did not understand was that the restricting cocoon, and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Moral of the story: 
1. Our struggles in life are designed to make us stronger.
2. One cannot force nor hasten the scheme of things in nature. Things happen when the time is right, or you could say that there is a time for everything.
3. While we might like to help, sometimes we have to let people fight their own battles. 

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Welcome to my Blog

Dear Friends and Netizens,

First of all, a big welcome to my Blog on this Auspicious Day!

Many of you will wonder what this Blog will be about. Well, as the title suggests, it will be about This Wonder-ful Life.

There will always be periods of sunshine and periods of storm in our lives. Still, if we were to sit back and look at our surroundings, we will see the Wonders of Mother Nature. Watch closely, listen carefully, and think profoundly. Therein lies the answers to this existence called Life. When you comprehend Mother Nature, life takes on a new meaning. You will find peace in your life, and joy in living.

As I am not very good with words, I will be using 'the next best thing' - anecdotes, parables, maxims, aphorisms, proverbs and quotes to get my message across.

I hope this Blog with be interesting enough to keep you coming back. And if you know of anyone who might appreciate a Blog of this nature, please tell them about it.

To start off, I have this parable to share:-

A man saw a butterfly struggling to break free from its cocoon. His kind and compassionate nature prompted him to help the butterfly with its struggle, freeing it from the cocoon. To his amazement, the butterfly flapped its wings a couple of times and dropped to the ground, unable to take flight.

What the man didn’t realize was that it is the process of struggling free from the cocoon that gives the butterfly its strength, so that it can then take flight immediately.

When I first read this parable, I thought what great lessons this teaches us about our struggles in life. Firstly, though tedious and difficult at times, struggles are part and parcel of life. They make us strong so that we are better prepared for life. Secondly, one cannot force nor hasten the scheme of things in nature. Things happen when the time is right. And thirdly, while we might like to help, sometimes we have to let people fight their own battles.