Saturday, 31 March 2012

Being Aware of What We Have.

Love On the Rocks

How easy it is to get complacent about life and the good things that we have.  Yesterday I went to visit the home of a man who has asked me to do a painting for one of the walls in his new house. He has just moved into a little flat in the village. Slowly but surely he is getting it just the way he wants it.

I keep promising myself that I will take no more commissions for art. They certainly put a lot of extra pressure on the artist to produce. When I saw the pride my friend had in his little flat and the excitement of having a painting that he had some input made it impossible for me not to say that I would give it a try. I now know that he will ask me every time he sees me when it will be done. I did say to him, “everything in it time.” I would have been just as well talking to the carpet on the floor.

As I left and walked down to meet my old friend Archie for what we call here is Scotland, “a wee blether.” I was reminded of the story of the man who went to the Taoist calligraphy writer with his request.

He went to the man and asked him to write something for the continued prosperity of his family so that it might be treasured from generation to generation.

On his return he obtained a large sheet of paper on which was written:

“Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.”

The man became angry. “I asked you to write something for the happiness of my family! Why do you make such a joke as this?”

“No joke is intended,” explained the wise man. “If before you yourself die you son should die, this would grieve you greatly. If your grandson should pass away before your son, both of you would be broken-hearted. If your family, generation after generation, passes away in the order I have named, it will be the natural course of life. I call this real prosperity.”

Rejoice in the things we have and the natural order of life as it moves from day to day. Let the unexpected be a joy to you. 

The artwork above is mentioned on my other blog: Love On The Rocks

Friday, 30 March 2012

Happiness and the Drops of Oil.

Happiness and the Drops of Oil.

It is amazing how ones attitude can change the whole of life. When you are feeling upbeat and happy everything around you can look the same. When you are feeling down, for whatever reason, even the most beautiful of sights can seem dark and dismal.

A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about the secret of happiness from the wisest man in the world. The lad wandered through the desert for 40 days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop a mountain. It was there that the wise man lived.

Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our hero, on entering the main room of the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and went, people were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and there was a table covered with platters of the most delicious food in that part of the world.

The wise man conversed with everyone, and the boy had to wait for two hours before it was his turn to be given the man’s attention.

The wise man listened attentively to the boy’s explanation of why he had come, but told him that he didn’t have time just then to explain the secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy look around the palace and return in two hours.
“Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something,” said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. “As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill.”
The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the room where the wise man was.
“Well,” asked the wise man, “Did you see the Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”
The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.
“Then go back and observe the marvels of my world,” said the wise man. “You cannot trust a man if you don’t know his house.”
Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had seen.
“But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?” asked the wise man. Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone.
“Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,” said the wisest of wise men.

“The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”

Another way of thinking about this is to see the marvels around us because we are also aware of the joys inside us and the blessings we have. 

This blog is linked to my other blog where i use the artwork posted here. The Going Down of the Sun