The following is an excerpt from The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz. In it, you will find a powerful analogy that will help you better understand your capacity for love and how relationships can squander love if you’re not careful. We hope it helps! Enjoy 🙂
Imagine that you have a magical kitchen in your home. In that magical kitchen, you can have any food you want from any place in the world in any quantity. You never worry about what to eat; whatever you wish for, you can have at your table. You are very generous with your food; you give your food unconditionally to others, not because you want something in return from them. Whoever comes to your home, you feed just for the pleasure of sharing your food, and your house is always full of people who come to eat the food from your magical kitchen.
Then one day someone knocks at your door, and it’s a person with a pizza. You open the door, and the person looks at you and says, “Hey, do you see this pizza? I’ll give you this pizza if you let me control your life, if you just do whatever I want you to do. You are never going to starve because I can bring pizza every day. You just have to be good to me.”
Malcolm X’s Alma Mater – And How Choosing Between ‘Dead Time’ and ‘Alive Time’ Can Change Your Life.
Malcolm X was a criminal. He wasn’t Malcolm X at the time – they called him Detroit Red and he was a criminal opportunist who did a little bit of everything. He ran numbers. He sold drugs. He worked as a pimp. Then he moved up to armed robbery. He had his own burglary gang, which he ruled over with a combination of intimidation and boldness – exploiting the fact that he did not seem afraid to kill or die.
Then, finally, he was arrested trying to fence an expensive watch he’d stolen. He was carrying a gun at the time, though to his credit he made no move to fight the officers who had trapped him. In his apartment, they found jewelry, furs, an arsenal of guns, and all his burglary tools.
He got ten years. It was February 1946. He was barely twenty-one years old.
A few years ago I presented a workshop on negotiation and decision-making strategies to the members of one of the Australian divisions of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). (This is a wonderful organization of young executives who can turn to one another for guidance, for advice, and sometimes just for an ear. They are also completely committed to learning as much as they can about leadership.) Several of the participants traveled from Western Australia to attend our sessions in Sydney, and I had several conversations with one of them.
He was a remarkably conscientious, self-aware leader, and our conversations touched on a variety of topics during the three days of the workshop. At one point he mentioned that he only hired people who put their family before their jobs; he didn’t want people in his organization if they put their jobs first. He felt strongly about this, saying that family-first people were the type of individuals he wanted to work with. He seemed both sincere and enlightened.
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.
”I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.
There is the story of a young martial arts student who was under the tutelage of a famous master.
One day, the master was watching a practice session in the courtyard. He realized that the presence of the other students was interfering with the young man’s attempts to perfect his technique.
The master could sense the young man’s frustration. He went up to the young man and tapped him on his shoulder.
“What’s the problem?” he inquired.
“I don’t know”, said the youth, with a strained expression.
“No matter how much I try, I am unable to execute the moves properly”.
“Before you can master technique, you must understand harmony. Come with me, I will explain”, replied the master.
The teacher and student left the building and walked some distance into the woods until they came upon a stream. The master stood silently on the bank for several moments. Then he spoke.
“Look at the stream,” he said. “There are rocks in its way. Does it slam into them out of frustration? It simply flows over and around them and moves on! Be like the water and you will know what harmony is.”
The young man took the master’s advice to heart. Soon, he was barely noticing the other students around him. Nothing could come in his way of executing the most perfect moves.
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Read also: The Pointer – A Short Zen Story
The Zen teacher’s dog loved his evening romp with his master. The dog would bound ahead to fetch a stick, then run back, wag his tail, and wait for the next game. On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him – a boy so intelligent that he became troubled by the contradictions in Buddhist doctrine.
“You must understand,” said the teacher, “that words are only guideposts. Never let the words or symbols get in the way of truth. Here, I’ll show you.”
With that the teacher called his happy dog.
“Fetch me the moon,” he said to his dog and pointed to the full moon.
“Where is my dog looking?” asked the teacher of the bright pupil.
“He’s looking at your finger.”
“Exactly. Don’t be like my dog. Don’t confuse the pointing finger with the thing that is being pointed at. All our Buddhist words are only guideposts. Every man fights his way through other men’s words to find his own truth.”
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“Are you saying I’m at fault for my father beating me as a child?”
“Of course not,” I replied. “This isn’t a matter of being at fault for being abused. This is a matter of being responsible for how you act in response to those events now. When you were little, you were right to do everything you needed to do to protect yourself. The question is, are you still curling up in a ball to fend off the blows of life, or are you standing tall?”
She just stared at me, puzzled. It was time to help her understand the difference between living at Cause and living at Effect.
SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh!” (With his head down).
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”
The father was furious.
DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.” Continue reading
“One night that stood out in my mind is when my mom had made dinner for us after a very long and rough day at work – she placed a plate of jam and extremely burned toast in front of my dad.
Not slightly burnt but completely blackened toast.
I was just waiting to see if anyone noticed the burnt toast and say anything. But Dad just ate his toast and asked me if I did my homework and how my day was. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember hearing my mom apologizing to dad for burning the toast. And I’ll never forget what he said:
“Sweetie, I love burned toast.”
Later that night, I went to tell my dad good night and ask him if he really liked his toast burned. He put his arm on my shoulder and said,
“Your momma put in a very long day at work today and she was very tired. And besides, A burnt toast never hurts anyone but you know what does? Harsh words!”
Then he continued to say “You know, life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like every other human. What I’ve learned over the years, is that learning to accept each others faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences, is one of the most important keys for creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship. Life is too short to wake up with regrets. Love the people who treat you right and have compassion for the ones who don’t.”
Enjoy Life Now.
So many people want to avoid any hint of a problem or challenge, yet surmounting difficulty is the crucible that forms character. Many people don’t discover their heroic nature until a major difficulty or life-threatening situation occurs and they must rise to the occasion because there is no other choice. The next time you find yourself in a tough spot, decide to make a difference in that situation and take action, no matter how small it seems at the time. Who knows what consequences you will set in motion? Identify yourself as a hero so that you can act as one.
Many people look at a person like Mother Teresa and assume that she was born to heroism. They claim that she’s just an incredibly spiritual woman and that she’s always been set apart by her commitment and selfless contribution to the poor. While it is true that she is a woman of extraordinary courage and compassion, it is also true that Mother Teresa had some crucial moments that defined her role as one of the great contributors of our time. Mother Teresa did not set out to help the poor. In fact, for over twenty years she taught the wealthiest children in Calcutta, India. Every day she overlooked the impoverished slums that surrounded the well-to-do neighborhood in which she worked, never venturing outside her tiny sphere of influence. Continue reading
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”
The following is an excerpt from The Rise by Sarah Lewis. It is an inspirational story of Julie Moss’s near win in the 1982 Ironman when she lost complete control of her body and how, out of sheer will and determination, was able to cross the finish line crawling on her knees. It’s a story that will motivate you to push a little harder the next time you go to work out – That’s for sure. Continue reading
Chef Sati – a chef and Buddhist teacher – invited us to dinner to introduce us to the art of mindful cooking and eating. He promised that his dishes would enlighten our senses and that the evening would simply be an opportunity to touch the joy of life, but we would all have to take an active part in the meal.
He placed an array of colorful vegetables, whole grains, and spices on the counter. As we washed the vegetables, he said, “In these vegetables, I see the sun, the earth, the clouds, the rain, and numerous other phenomena, including the hard work of the farmers. These fresh vegetables are gifts of the universe. Washing them, we know we are also washing the sun, the earth, the sky, and the farmers.” Because we were attentive to what we were doing, we touched the interdependent nature that makes life possible and felt deep joy to be living in the present moment.
The following short story was derived from Alan Watt’s Book, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. We have also included his prelude and postlude thoughts for context.
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“Myth is the form in which I try to answer when children ask me those fundamental metaphysical questions which come so readily to their minds: ‘Where did the world come from?’ ‘Why did God make the world?’ ‘Where was I before I was born?’ ‘Where do people go when they die?’ Again and again I have found that they seem to be satisfied with a simple and very ancient story, which goes something like this:” Continue reading
Antwone Fisher was born in an Ohio correctional facility after his father had already been dead for two months and while his mother was incarcerated. As a result, he grew up a ward of the state in foster care. For over thirteen years, he lived with a couple who abused him horribly. Daily he was beaten down – physically, verbally, and psychologically. He never received a Christmas gift or a dime of allowance from his foster parents. For years he was the victim of sexual abuse. And he was often tied to a post in the basement and beaten. His foster mother used to brag that she had once beaten him until he was unconscious.
By the time Fisher entered the third grade, he had lost any natural love for learning. In addition, the constant admonition from his foster mother that he was the worst child in the world had convinced him that he couldn’t learn and had no future. He failed fourth grade and was scheduled to repeat it. But then something wonderful happened. His foster family moved, which put him in a new school district. His new teacher was Mrs. Profit. “If there is such a thing as human beings who act as angels in our lives, Brenda Profit was that for me.”