The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.Muriel Rukeyser
The Bank of I.D.E.A.S. both in its creation and evolution has been influenced by many people from around the globe.
One such person is Anthony de Mello, a Goan Jesuit Priest who through his wonderful publications (e.g. Song of the Bird, Prayer of the Frog etc) has taught the importance of the story. In his own words, he captured so well this reality:
‘It is a great mystery that though the human heart longs for truth in which alone it finds liberation and delight, the first reaction of human beings to truth is one of hostility and fear. So the spiritual teachers of humanity, like Budda and Jesus, created a device to circumvent the opposition of their listeners – the story. They knew that the most entrancing words a language holds are – “Once Upon a Time…” that it is common to oppose a truth, but impossible to resist a story. Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata says that if you listen carefully to a story you will never be the same again. That is because the story will worm its way into your heart and break down barriers to the divine.’
Below is a range of inspirational fables from across the globe that teach simple truths about personal and community development. Enjoy, but in the words of Anthony de Mello:
‘Even if you read these stories only for the entertainment, there is no guarantee that an occasional story will not slip through your defences and explode when you least expect it to. So you have been warned’.
If you have a story, please share it with us.
PLEASE SELECT FROM ONE OF THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES BELOW:
Years passed. One day, the eagle, now grown old, saw a magnificent bird above him in the sky. It glided in graceful majesty against the powerful wind, with scarcely a movement of its golden wings.
Spellbound, the eagle asked, “Who’s that?“
“That’s the king of the birds, the eagle, “said his neighbour. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to earth—we’re chickens.”
So the eagle lived and a chicken for that’s what he thought he was.’
Months passed and the problem didn’t go away. The elders debated and issued a second invitation to the wise women. In advance of her arrival, they coached the villagers.
When the woman arrived the second time, the village gathered. Again she asked, “Do you know what I am going to tell you?” The villagers shouted in unison, “YES”. She stared at the people. “If you already know, then I have nothing to tell you.” She left.
The village became even more frustrated, but after many months, the issued a third invitation. This time they were ready for the wise woman
“Do you know what I am going to tell you?” Half the villagers shouted “YES”; the other half shouted “NO”. The wise woman looked at the people and said, “Those who know should now get together with those who don’t; and then you will all know.”
She rose left and never returned.
That night, an elderly woman had a dream. “Last night, a voice told me the meaning of the message from the wise women. She wanted us to know that really important knowledge can be derived from our own community and our traditions, not from outside experts. We already have the knowledge. We already know that the wisdom of locals will always exceed the knowledge of the experts. We just don’t have the confidence to believe in ourselves.”
He said, “Go and find out for yourselves.”
To guide them he drew a map of the river. They pounced upon the map. They framed it in their Town Hall. They made copies of it for themselves. And all who had a copy considered themselves experts on the river, for did they not know it’s every turn and bend, how brood it was, how deep, where the rapids were and where the falls were? But no one took the journey. No one wanted to experience the journey themselves!
On the way to battle they stopped at a Shinto shrine. After praying in the shrine Nabunaga came out and said, ‘I shall now toss a coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal herself.”
He tossed the coin. It was heads. The soldiers were so keyed up for the fight that they wiped out the enemy.
Next day an aide said to Nabunaga, ‘No one can change destiny.” “Right”, said Nabunaga showing him a doubled coin that was heads on both sides.
Who makes Destiny?
Gandhi sat for a while in silence and then said: ‘Bring your daughter back in three weeks’ time, and then I will speak to her.’
The mother and her daughter returned after three weeks. This time Gandhi quietly took the daughter aside and in a few simple words pointed out to her the harmful effects of indulging in sweet food. He urged her to abandon the habit. Thanking Gandhi for giving her daughter such good advice, the mother then said to him in a puzzled voice, ‘Still, I would like to know, Mahatma, why you did not just say these words to my daughter three weeks ago when I first brought her to you’.
‘But,’ explained the Mahatma in reply, ‘three weeks ago, I myself was still addicted to eating sweet foods.”
“I was hoping you’d take me over to the garage to pick up my car.” “How far will we have to drive?” “Just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.” After several minutes, I had to ask, “Where are we going? This isn’t the way to the garage!” “We’re going to my garage the long way,” Carolyn smiled, “by way of the daffodils.” “Carolyn,” I said sternly, “please turn around.” “It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.” After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign that read, “Daffodil Garden.” We got out of the car and each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns-great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon, yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored Variety Was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own River With its own unique hue. * There were five acres of flowers. “But who has done this?” I Asked Carolyn.
“It’s just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the Property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well kept a frame house That Looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to The House. On the patio, we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions I Know You are asking” was the headline. The first answer was a simple one.”50,000 bulbs,” it read. The Second Answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very Little brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.” There it was, The Daffodil Principle. For me, that moment was a Life-changing experience.
I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than Forty years before, had begun-one bulb at a time-to bring her vision of Beauty and Joy to an obscure mountain top. Still, just planting one bulb at A Time, Year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had Forever Changed the world in which she lived. She had created something Of Ineffable (Indescribable) magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.
The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest Principles Of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and Desires One Step at a time-often just one baby-step at a time-and learning to Love The Doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.
“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years.
Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct Way. “Start tomorrow,” she said.
It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put this to use today?”
Author Unknown We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough and we’ll be more content when they are. After that, we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.
We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his Or her act together, when we get a nicer car, when we are able to go on a nice vacation, or when we retire. The truth is there’s no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges. It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.
Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special to spend your time with… and remember that time waits for no one.
So, stop waiting…
….. until your car or home is paid off. Until you get a new car or home. Until your kids leave the house. Until you go back to school Until you finish school. Until you lose 10 lbs. Until you gain 10 lbs. Until you get married. Until you get a divorce. Until you have kids. Until you retire. Until summer until spring. Until winter. Until fall. Until you die. There is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination …..
….. so work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one’s watching.
“You must answer the essential question: What is the true meaning of the black belt?”
“The end of my journey,” says the student. “A well-deserved reward for all my hard work.”
The Sensei waits for more. Clearly, he is not satisfied. Finally, the Sensei speaks.
“You are not yet ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”A year later, the student kneels again in front of the Sensei.
“What is the true meaning of the black belt?” asks the Sensei.
“A symbol of distinction and the highest achievement in our art,” says the student.
The Sensei says nothing for many minutes, waiting. Clearly, he is not satisfied. Finally, he speaks.
“You are still not ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”A year later, the student kneels once again in front of the Sensei. And again the Sensei asks: “What is the true meaning of the black belt?”
“The black belt represents the beginning – the start of a never-ending journey of discipline, work, and the pursuit of an ever-higher standard,” says the student.
“Yes. You are now ready to receive the black belt and begin your work.”
Bonita silla, 100 pesos for usted!
I take one.In fact the American man owns a handcraft shop somewhere in the West coast of the States and, after his holidays, sells the chair for a good price. He then decides to fly back to the Andes to buy more chairs…When he arrives at the market place, he finds the same man and says:Hola, you remember me?
Si senor, the man of the chair, hola!
I want to buy more chairs, muchos sillas, you understand?
Si, si, yo entiendo, cuantas sillas? How much sillas?
Well, we are going to make a good business.. You and me: negocio! – Cuantas sillas?
Let say about two hundred first and then we see… Dos cientos sillas, mucho negocio por ti!The craftsman doesn’t answer or look at the man… So the businessman says:OK, OK… How much for one silla? Cuantos pesos one silla?
One silla 200 pesos… answers the Bolivian
What, are you mad or what? I bought one chair for 100 pesos and now you want 200 pesos for one lonely chair? Tu loco!
No senor, yo no loco, una silla OK, but more sillas is mucho problemas: I have to contract people, rent a bigger shop, work a lot, have troubles with my wife and my kids, muchos problemas, more chairs, more expensive, OK?The moral of the story is:
- Working is not automatically linked to a better life
- First world people have a special relationship with work
Welfare concept (development concepts?) should include criteria other than exclusively growth…’
History and contemporary society is full of amazing stories of young people who have made a huge difference to their world. The Bank of I.D.E.A.S. is beginning to collect these stories and circulate them. Did you know for example:
- Joan of Arc lead 3,000 French knights to victory in the Battle of Orleans at age 17
- Mozart composed his first symphony at age 6
- Einstein wrote his first paper on the theory of relativity at age 16
- Steven Spielberg wrote and directed his first large scale movie – ‘Firelight’ at age 16.
If you have a story, please share it with us.
One day Thomas returned home from school with a note from his school principal explaining he was being expelled from school due to his slowness and poor academic performance. His mother responded by teaching Thomas at home within a loving and accepting environment. Soon, Thomas started to develop a new appreciation of learning, and began devising new inventions.
When Thomas finally died, an entire nation – The USA – honoured him by switching off the lights throughout the USA for one minute. This Thomas was Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the light bulb and phonograph.
Wilma persisted until she eventually threw away her crutches for good. She progressed to running, and by the time she was sixteen she won a bronze medal in a relay race in the Melbourne Olympics. Four years later, in the Rome Olympics, Wilma Rudolph became the first woman in history to win three gold medals in track and field.