Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Spirit of Gift

The Spirit of Gift
by Satish Kumar

We have learned much from the native Americans, the Australian Aboriginals, the indigenous people of India (adivasis) and the Bushmen of Africa. We have been guided by Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Mohammed and Mahavir. We have been inspired by Valmiki, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Jane Austen and many other writers. We have benefited from the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King. 
They were not motivated by fame, fortune or power.  Buddha claimed no copyright on his teachings, and Shakespeare received no royalty cheques. We have been enchanted by music, paintings, architecture and crafts of many cultures, from time immemorial. We have received a treasure house of traditions as a free gift. In return we offer our work, our creativity, our arts and crafts, our agriculture and architecture as gifts to society to present and future generations. 
When we are motivated by this spirit then work is not a burden. It is not a duty. It is not a responsibility. We are not even the doers of our work. Work flows through us and not from us. We do not own our intellect, our creativity, or our skills. We have received them as a gift and grace. We pass them on as a gift and grace; it is like a river which keeps flowing. All the tributaries make the river great. We are the tributaries adding to the great river of time and culture; the river of humanity. 
If tributaries stop flowing into the river, if they become individualistic and egotistical, if they put terms and conditions before they join the rivers, theywill dry and the rivers will dry too. To keep the rivers flowing all tributaries have to join in with joy and without conditions. In the same way, all individual arts, crafts and other creative activities make up the river of humanity. We need not hold back, we need not block the flow. This is unconditional union. This is the great principle of  'dana' (offering). This is how society and civilizations are replenished.
When we write a poem we make a gift. When we paint a picture or build a
beautiful house we make a gift. When we grow flowers and cook food we make a gift. When all these activities are performed as sacred acts, they nourish society. When we are unselfconscious, unacquisitive, and act without desire for recognition or reward, when our work emerges from a pure heart like that of a child, our actions become a gift.
--Satish Kumar, in You Are, Therefore I am

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Truly Caring

Legendary American actor, Al Pacino, in an interview for Esquire, said, "We were in New York, filming the burial of Don Corleone. We'd shot all day. It's six at night and I'm going home. I see Francis Coppola sitting on the gravestone, and he's crying. Literally bawling. 'Francis,' I say. 'What's happened? What's the matter?' And he says, 'They won't give me another setup.' Meaning, they wouldn't let him shoot the scene again. So he's sitting on the gravestone crying, and I thought, This guy is going to make a movie here. If he's got that kind of passion, that kind of feeling about one setup--that was the moment. I could feel it. This guy truly cares. And that's it. That's the way to live--around people who care."

 Yesterday I sat in a large meeting room where the subject was public education. Several very powerful observations were shared, but not everyone heard them. Had more people truly understood what was said, more people would have been engaged and, who knows, something more than talk might have occurred. 

 Not everyone cares enough to truly listen and get involved. At times it seems to me that we are living in a sea of preoccupied, self-centered people. Their bodies are present, yet their minds are not. And, they even believe that other people don't notice. What a powerful insult they're delivering, and they don't even care. 

 I agree with Al Pacino about being around caring people. I am going to spend more time with people who truly know how to listen, love to openly and honestly engage, and have more to share than typical small talk. 

 In the very short span of time we call our life, the most rewarding moments we will ever have are when we are sitting with someone who truly cares about us, knows how to listen and knows how to point out one of our faults without hurting our feelings. These special people are truly rare. Yet, without their help we can easily walk off a cliff without evening seeing it.
 Assuming you want a full and rewarding life, please never forget that honest feedback is required to get there. Therefore, hold tight to the truly caring people and allow the rest to slip away. 

Dick Warn

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



by Randy Gage
Isn’t it nice when you get some encouragement, and people tell you that you’re doing a great job and on the right track? It helps to keep you motivated. And that’s why I post this blog. To give you some encouragement to stay on the path of personal growth.
But what happens when no one is offering you any encouragement?

That’s when you have to suck it up and encourage yourself! Sometimes you’re going to get it from external sources. But sometimes you have to manufacture it yourself.

Remember that you’re amazing. Remember that you are capable of epic things. Remember that you are just beginning to tap into your incredible potential…

Then just get going again!

- RG

Randy Gage's Blog Encouragement

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Free Cheese

Mousetrap with cheese

Free Cheese

by Randy Gage

I’m down in Key West, finishing my book, so the posts may be sporadic this week. But Annie raised an issue on the last post that is worth addressing, and is actually part of the new book. And it leads to the real, bigger issue, which is what is the role of government?

In many places around the globe, we have crossed over a line that spells ominous trouble for the future…

The people who are receiving government assistance now outnumber the people who are producing and paying into the kitty. Government entitlement programs have run amuck. And once you provide an entitlement for someone, they begin to see it as their “right.” We’ve lost sight of one of the basic tenets of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. To quote Thomas Jefferson:

To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

So now we have millions of people around the world who believe it is their government’s responsibility to provide sewers, roads, hospitals, airports, sports arenas, and hundreds of other infrastructure requirements better left to the private sector. They also believe they are now entitled to education, medical care, retirement plans, insurance, and prescriptions.
They believe they’re entitled to these things by virtue of the flag they were born under. As citizens, they believe it is their human right to receive these things free from the government (meaning taxpayer), and they’re not concerned with how they get paid for – as long as it isn’t by them.

The problem with all this soak-the-rich philosophy is it is in direct violation of the laws that govern prosperity. And, ironically, the real victims of this philosophy are actually the poor. They’re the last to get hired, the first to get laid off, the most in need of assistance, and the least likely to have the resources to deal with adversity.

Some of these economic theories would have you believe governments get to operate by a different set of rules than the rest of us. But they don’t. The prosperity principles for governments are no different than they are for people.

The only free cheese is in the mousetrap.

- RG

Randy Gage Blog Free Cheese