Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget… another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
If we help someone without expecting anything in return, the simple act of kindness is not wasted. And there may come a time when that act of kindness can be repaid in unexpected ways. We can make a very loyal friend by being kind and selfless.
Aesop was fond of this notion, and used it in the fable of Androcles and the Lion, and also the Mouse and the Lion.
A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled
to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a
Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee,
but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and
went up to him. As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which
was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge
thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled
out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able
to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion
took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat
from which to live. But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the
Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to
the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several
days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle,
and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the
Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring
towards his victim. But as soon as he came near to Androcles he
recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands
like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned
Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the
slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native
Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
The Lion and the Mouse
A LION was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his
face. Rising up angrily, he caught him and was about to kill
him, when the Mouse piteously entreated, saying: “If you
would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your
kindness.” The Lion laughed and let him go. It happened
shortly after this that the Lion was caught by some hunters,
who bound him by strong ropes to the ground. The Mouse,
recognizing his roar, came and gnawed the rope with his teeth
and set him free, exclaiming:
“You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you,
expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favor; now
you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to con benefits
on a Lion.”
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses” says Alphonse Karr.
What this is telling us, is that we can choose to see the positive side of something, rather than to focus on the negative.
Artwork: Plinio Nomellini (1866–1943)
You are Life passing through your body, passing through your mind, passing through your soul. Once you find that out, not with logic, not with the intellect, but because you can feel that Life, you find out that you are the force that makes the flowers open and close, that makes the hummingbird fly from flower to flower. You find out that you are in every tree, and you are in every animal, vegetable, and rock.
You are that force that moves the wind and breathes through your body. The whole universe is a living being that is moved by that force, and that is what you are. You are Life.
— Don Miguel Ruiz
photos Karl Blossfeldt
Image: ‘Stargazer’ – Sam Wolfe Connelly
“There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught. Be prepared for conflicts, Joseph Knecht — I can see they have already begun.” – Hermann Hesse; Glass Bead Game
“I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.” – Hermann Hesse; Damien
“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.” – Pythagoras
“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”- Edith Sitwell
“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. – Amir” – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
“For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of – to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others… and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.” – Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse
“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.” – Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
“In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.” – Rumi
“I don’t think…” then you shouldn’t talk, said the Hatter.”- Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
“Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.” – William S. Burroughs
“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot
“It is always assumed by the empty-headed, who chatter about themselves for want of something better, that people who do not discuss their affairs openly must have something to hide.” – Honore de Balzac, Pere Goriot
“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.” – Elbert Hubbard
“If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…maybe we could understand something.” – Federico Fellini
The night knows nothing of the chants of night.
It is what it is as I am what I am:
And in perceiving this I best perceive myself
And you. Only we two may interchange
Each in the other what each has to give.
Only we two are one, not you and night,
Nor night and I, but you and I, alone,
So much alone, so deeply by ourselves,
So far beyond the casual solitudes,
That night is only the background of our selves,
Supremely true each to its separate self,
In the pale light that each upon the other throws.
Wallace Stevens, Re-Statement of Romance, 1935
image: Giacomo Balla – Poste
You don’t survive in me
because of memories;
nor are you mine because
of a lovely longing’s strength.
What does make you present
is the ardent detour
that a slow tenderness
traces in my blood.
I do not need
to see you appear;
being born sufficed for me
to lose you a little less.
Rainer Maria Rilke
image: Moon Kissed — Endymion by Arthur Wardle RBI RBA, 1864-1949.
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