Friday, February 28, 2014

THE APPLE SEEDS














 Pic.: Sherry Haridas



“You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.

 When you teach, you will never know how many lives you will influence…

you are teaching for eternity.”


-Jensen 
Yesterday was Mahashivratri. At 8, at night, I was on my way home when I saw someone hurrying towards me. “Good evening sir; do you remember me?”


“Oh yes, yes... I do,” I said extending my hand to the young-man, “So, what’s happening?”


“Sir, you used to repeatedly remind me about studying well and focus on my career;” the young-one said genuinely, “but, I never listened to you... I, now, regret.”


In times like this, I do not remind the young-ones about their past mistakes, all over again. So, I pressed the young-man’s hand and said, “Don’t worry, tell me what you have been doing since I saw you last?”



The last time I had seen the young-man was some six years ago. He was a very affectionate kid, but, always, got distracted by the friends around him... He kept bunking his college and classes... and I would, constantly, remind him, that, if he did not realize his mistake, he might later regret.


That was six years ago...


The very next year, his younger brother came to learn from me... And, I had an identical young-kid in hand! I would constantly try to put sense into this one, too... but, the same indifference would I get in return...


So, like the elder brother, the younger one, too, disappeared, once I finished teaching him the twelfth-standard course... I had no idea what happened after that.


Last night, the elder-one was very regretful, particularly for being a bad example to his younger brother. “Sir, I have been doing some odd jobs after my twelfth. But, I know, I will go nowhere with such jobs... So, I have decided to join, coming year, Mumbai University graduation course (through correspondence). Will you help me?”


“Come on, you will get help not only from me, but also from any one around,” I told  my ‘Prodigal-student’ warmly, “When you are eager and humble, you will always find help.”


“Thank-you sir, and sorry for hurting you so much,” my young-one couldn’t hide his relief, “Today is Shivratri... I had been fasting!”


“Only God can count the apples in a seed,” goes the famous saying. “You and I are just mortals... we can only count the seeds in an apple!”


As Jensen said, as a teacher, I am privileged to sow these apple-seeds as I go about my life.... And, I will never be able to count the apples that are going to come out from those seeds... Never, ever!


With all the humility in the world, I can only say: “I am blessed to be one of those, who are sent here to sow the apple-seeds!”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"NEVER MEASURE THE HEIGHT OF A MOUNTAIN UNTIL YOU HAVE REACHED THE TOP..."























Pic.: Vincent D'Souza


“Never measure the height of a mountain

until you have reached the top...

Then you will see how low it was!”



Please mark this: I read this, yesterday, on Amitabh Bachchan’s FB Post - ‘Wednesday Words’... And, if the legend himself says so – endorses these words – then, I will buy them, blindly, for any price!


Our dreams or nightmares are both mountains before us. If we stand at the foothills, we will look like a million-time smaller than even ants, and, the size of the Goliath before us would make us numb with fright!


So, the Wednesday Words shared by Amitabh Bachchan remind us never to look at a mountain from its feet... It is just not possible to climb it, unless we do it in our minds first... Unless we believe we can...and, unless we believe we have already done!


“If you have faith as small as the size of a mustard seed,” Jesus Christ’s famous words come to remind us, “You will say to this mountain to move from here to there... and it will obey you!”


But, to do that, we need to gather all our courage and fire!


Every dream is a Mount Everest before one achieves it. Every problem, every challenge, every threat or a nightmare is as gigantic and as overwhelming as the Everest... But, then, whoever has conquered the Everest, he has done it only with faith – yes, the faith as small as a mustard seed... He has climbed one step at a time, never looking up and gasping, “How big you are, Mount Everest!”


If you want to measure the size of your ‘Everests’ – your dreams which seem too big... and your problems and nightmares which seem too intimidating – do it only once you reach the top. Yes, if you look down from the top, you will be astonished to see how small your each Everest, really, was!


And, I am not saying this... Amitabh Bachchan – the Mount Everest himself – is!


So, let me believe in him...


Let me believe in Christ’s words, all over again...


Let me, today, look into the eyes of my Mount Everest – each one of them - and declare how the legendary mountaineer George Mallory’s gutsy survivor did, long time ago:


"I speak to you, Mount Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn:  Mount Everest, you defeated us once; you defeated us twice; you defeated us three times. But Mount Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can't get any bigger and we can!"


And, today is the day... to declare!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

YOU SCRATCH MY BACK... AND I'LL SCRATCH YOURS













Pic.: Sherry Haridas


The first thing I saw, this morning, on my FB Home-page was a set of serene pictures my friend Sherry had uploaded. He is presently vacationing in Kerala and he had captured the quiet beauty of nature, early in the morning, and uploaded those pictures for his friends… I was so impressed, that I immediately commented:


“Hi Sherry, I do not know... I am amazed by this new discovery of your passion (nature photography)! This is a classic example for ‘The Law of Abundance’.... There is so much there out, freely available, for all of us... All that we need to do is: make ourselves available... Just yesterday, I had blogged based on Bob Marley's famous line: "Some feel the rain; others just get wet!" You are one of those who 'feel' the rain... there out! God bless! Love.”


The next thing I saw was this comment from Gauvtham Bajaj, a dear student and friend, who lives in Canada. A Post of mine, which I had published a couple of days back, had touched Gauvtham and he hadn’t waited to let me know about it:


“Gerry Sir, all times until date your posts have acted as a source of inspiration and moreover given me a reason to try once again. They are always just clicks away whenever I've been led down, pushed back and at times when I had to leave everything to almighty energy. Time will come when I will have the opportunity to lighten this bag your words have given me – Gauvtham


I, too, did not wait to respond to Gauvtham:


“Hi Gauvtham, I am glad and humbled. Honestly, I write, first of all, to keep my own faith in Life... to keep me upbeat, purposeful and true to my heart... And, along my path, if I am able to touch people like you, I feel really blessed. We all are co-travelers in this journey called 'Life'. Tcre. May God bless. Love.” 


I know Sherry reads my Posts regularly and likes them… I am sure they help him as they help so many others. Like him, Gauvtham, too… They, probably, might be looking forward to my Posts each day…  

And, let me tell you this… I, too, do the same… I look forward for some very, very, very simple inspiration – like Sherry’s amazing cliks or Gauvtham’s spontaneous confession – Yes, each day, I look forward for something as simple as them to come and touch me… fill me with energy and help me keep going…


Life is such! We all need each other… I need you to scratch my back… For, I can not reach my own…


And, you need me to scratch your back… For, you can not reach your own, either!


No big deal that is!

Life and its inspiration are available - all free, out there, each day.  As I told my two friends, Sherry and Gauvtham, today, all that we need to do is: ‘BE AVAILABLE’...


Yes, be awake when the Sun rises... and, when the rain falls!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"SOME PEOPLE FEEL THE RAIN; OTHERS JUST GET WET"














 Pic.: Sherry Haridas
 
“Some people feel the rain; others just get wet.”


- Bob Marley


Why don’t we open up easily before others?


Opening up before another person means exposing our vulnerabilities… and, that’s something very, very scary!


But, then, unless we trust another person and open up, expose our vulnerability, we really can not feel the closeness… we really can not build a rock-steady relationship with another human.


Our unpleasant experience comes on the way of our readiness to open up, become vulnerable… The fear of being perceived weak, fear of being attacked, coming out hurt, fear of being misunderstood, controlled, manipulated and even destroyed and so on…


So, even if our hearts prompt us to open up, show our vulnerabilities to the other person, the mind overpowers us… doubt and fear bring about lack of trust, and, consequently, we remain in our shells… Closed…


Imagine, if I give the other person the genuine feeling that I am non-critical, non judgmental and non-threatening towards him/her… I don’t cut him off, don’t show my impatience and bias, don’t ridicule, don’t disrespect… and show loads of acceptance and empathy… Yes, imagine, if I show to the other person this kind of openness…!


When I show trust and open up, the chances are, always, high that the other person trusts me… It reduces the guessing mind-game… It, invariably, dissolves doubt, fear and distrust…


So, as my favorite singer Bob Marley said, “Vulnerability is the only way… “


Yes, the only way to love and feel loved…


The only way to trust and feel trusted…


The only way to grow stronger in our relationships…


Yes, there is no other way… No other way of becoming genuine human beings in this world… Even if we, often, conclude that it is a man-eat-man world…


It is the only way to grow in love in this world!


As I conclude this Post, I would like to find a new meaning in Bob Marley’s famous statement:


“Some people feel the rain; others just get wet.”


How can I ‘feel’ the rain unless my heart opens up?


“One good thing about music,” Marley had also said, “ when it hits you, you feel no pain.”


Yes, let the music of our hearts hit us… It is divine music!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Monday, February 24, 2014

WHO HAS PUT THIS BREATH INTO ME?
















Pic.: Vincent D'Souza

It is not always that I become aware of my breath. But, whenever I do, it can be truly a moving experience…

Like at this very moment… I have become strikingly aware of each breath I take… It is as though I am learning something about me for the first time in my life…!

Who has put breath into me?

How is it going on, with such a perfect rhythm, and unfailingly, without me having to do anything about it?

Why is that I hardly think about it?

Why am I taking it for granted?

What does each inhale and exhale remind me?

Why can’t I choose only inhale and refuse to exhale?

Can I claim a single breath more than what God has allotted to me?

What if He takes me off His ventilator?



As I told you, a solitary profound-moment is enough to make me realize what a priceless blessing Life is… and, how casually I take it… how thanklessly I, often, behave!

Every time I set out to achieve something, dream big… the thought that, finally, it is only with God’s grace that I would be able to achieve whatever my heart desires to… and not without it – yes, this thought keeps me firmly grounded. I realize that all I can do is till the lease of breath lasts… Nothing beyond it… And, whatever I accomplish and accumulate here on this earth… yes, nothing of it can be really mine… except for my assumption about it!

“Man proposes, God disposes!”

Does it mean, I should leave everything to God? Does it mean I should not dream and try at all?

There is a different strength, a different beauty, when man dreams on this earth with an absolute awareness that it is God… Who disposes…

So, let’s not leave our proposals – our dreams on this earth – to God… Let’s only dream our dreams remembering Him in each breath we take…

I can feel the power of this awareness… I can feel the grace!



GERALD D’CUNHA

Saturday, February 22, 2014

LET'S NOT LIVE AND DIE WITH OUR MUSIC STILL UNPLAYED












  

Pic.: Sherry Haridas


“Most people live and die with their music still unplayed…

 They never dare to try.”

-         Mary Kay Ash


Some twenty-two years ago, one day, Kasinath, a dear student and friend of mine, had gifted the book - ‘May Kay on People Management’. I was, then, in my early thirties. I had not heard about this woman before, and, on receiving that book, I remember falling in love with her, instantly!

Well, literally!

Mary Kay’s phenomenal success - as a charismatic beauty-business entrepreneur (Mary Kay Cosmetics) and as a compelling motivator, and her evangelistic passion for women empowerment – all this had flagged off when any other man or a woman would think of some quite days of retirement. Yes, she found her real calling in life and took the big plunge - with practically nothing in hand except her undying zeal, passion and vision - only after her retirement!

Even now, I revisit her story for inspiration… yes, whenever I run out of my steam, and whenever the fear of ‘ageing’ looms large before me…

“What the heck, man… Age is all in your mind… Pull up!!!”

And, this morning, I was talking to another dear student and a friend, Amit, about A.C. Baktivenanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mission). Swami  Prabhupada was well past 69 when he had boarded the cargo ship to proceed towards America. Some thirty-two years before that, his own Guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, had urged the young prodigy to spread Krishna consciousness among the English-speaking people… and, young Prabbhupada had made it as a mission of his life. So, after thirty-two years of preparation back in his hometown, Calcutta, one fine day – when he was about to be 70 – Swamiji took the plunge and sailed to America...The last eleven or twelve years of Swamiji’s life were the most productive years of his life…They truly defy the definition! His enduring legacy testifies!

“What the heck, man… Age is all in your mind… Pull up!”

I can hear the music in my heart… It is dying to play!



GERALD D’CUNHA

Friday, February 21, 2014

WE FEEL SAFE IN OUR COMFORT ZONES...















Pic.: Vincent D'Souza

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”


– Neale Donald Walsh



True, we feel safe in our respective comfort zones… just as ships anchored in harbors feel! And, just as ships are not built to be forever anchored in harbors – in stead, to sail the volatile seas – in life, we, too, are expected to move out of our respective comfort zones – our safe harbors - and discover new destinations…


Fear holds us back. In his endearing fable - ‘Who Moved my Cheese’, Dr. Spencer Johnson beautifully captures this human tendency to hold on to our comfort zones, even when we have no reason to be there anymore… that is, even when we find ourselves in a cheeseless station…


Yes, when times change and when our cheese is all gone, instead of beating our fear of the unknown, we tend to react angrily – “Who moved my cheese?” Yes, we tend to get stuck there expecting someone to come and put back cheese in our stations!


Dr. Johnson depicts our uncertain life as a Maze. He says:


It is safer to search in the Maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.”


How true!


Life situations change swiftly, and, we all are expected to change with them… We are expected to move out of our cheeseless stations and go about in the Maze finding new cheese… In the fable, one of the writings on the rock reminds us:


“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.”


Finally, as one more writing on the rock points:

“When you stop being afraid, you feel good.”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"TO BE FAITHFUL IN LITTLE THINGS IS A GREAT THING"

















Pic.: Amrita Jeurkar 
In my Post, yesterday, I spoke about Mark Zuckerberg… his revolutionary creation called Facebook, and how, barely in a span of ten years, Facebook has become such a colossal organization, making 29-year-old Mark worth close to 28-billion US-dollars!


I did not want to tell my readers, that, if Mark could do it, we all can… What I wanted to tell was: There is that field of abundance, and it is never, ever going to run empty… It is the invisible field – the thin air – and, it is the source of all epic achievements…and, yes, above all, I wanted to tell this: that field is open for each and every one of us…


We need to just make our claim, very, very, very earnestly… We need to ask, seek and knock!


But, then, someone asked me, this morning: “Sir, is it important for me, in life, to be ‘great’ like Mark Zuckerberg?”


Now, the man who had asked me this question worked in a bank. I have known him for last ten years… and, unlike Mark’s mind-blowing rise in ten years, this man, who is in his early thirties, might have received from his bank a couple of  promotions… and, if he continues to be there, with all his dedication, passion and commitment to his bank – and, above all, if he works there with a harmonious personality - he might, one day, end up becoming the President of the bank…


I said, he might…!


The gentleman had asked me the question: “Is it ‘important for me’…?


So, the answer to that question, too, lay with him…. Only he had to find answer to his own question!


I can answer that question for myself. And, the answer would be this:


No, in life, it is neither important – nor necessary – for me to become a Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or J.K. Rowling… in order to feel I am successful in life. And, that’s possible for me, only if I do away with all the glamor and clamor associated with the term ‘Success’… It is not possible, if I measure my success in terms of money I have made, the limelight I have hogged and power I have wielded… For me, that’s a trap… I would recognize my own talents, my gifts, my strengths, my weaknesses and limitations… I would take stock of my value-system… and, accordingly, I would decide whether the pursuit is all worth it or not…


Just as I know, that, in life, it is not important for me to be as big and wealthy as Mark Zuckerberg to feel successful, it is, also, not important for me to be as great and saintly as Mother Teresa to feel charitable and helpful to others around me… In fact, Mother Teresa - whose very thought sends goose bumps all over my body – herself had assured us, several times, with her famous words… yes, just to show us where true success and greatness rested… She had said:

“Not all of us can do great things. But, we can do small things with great love.”



Close on the heels of these words, Mother had, also, said:



“Little things are, indeed, little; but to be faithful in little things is a great thing.”



And, finally, there is this humbling reminder from Her:


"We are called upon not to be successful but to be faithful."


So, if you and me can remain incredibly faithful to the little things that we do in our everyday life… and, above all, if we can do them with great love… I believe, that can be as big and wealthy as Mark Zuckerberg… and as great and saintly as Mother Teresa!


Yes, yes, my friend, in life, this – doing our little things with great love and remain robustly faithful to them – ‘Is’ important!



GERALD D’CUNHA


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

THAT NOWHERE FIELD CALLED 'THE THIN AIR'














Pic.: Vincent D'Souza
If Face book is, now, just ten-year old, its founder, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, is just 29!


Well, he became a billionaire at the age of 23… and, now, his personal wealth is estimated to be close to 28-billion Us-dollars!


Not bad for one who was not born into any wealthy family or surrounded by any powerful men and women to pull strings for him! He and some of his friends were merely a bunch of Harvard campus-kids… And, what started as some fun-activity to connect the campus kids has, today, become what it is… the Behemoth called ‘Face book’!


The guy like me - and the guy in the remotest village of not only my country but also of any country - knows the power and potential of the idea that had come to Mark from   thin air!


I am simply inspired, simply overawed by such a phenomenon. Always!


“Thoughts are things!” This was how I had first learnt about such a phenomenon from Napoleon Hill’s classic – ‘Think and Grow Rich’. I had, instantly, grasped the meaning of that phrase… Yes, as the popular line goes, I had realized: “Everything in this world is created twice… Once in the mind, and, once outside!”


So, whatever is there ‘outside’, today - whatever is visible, tangible and real… be it a pin, a paper-bag or a jet-plane… be it a spoon, a ship, or a nuclear submarine… be it a school, high-rise tower or a cathedral… be it a song, dance, book or an award ceremony… be it Democracy, Autocracy, Communism, or Terrorism… be it a computer, cell-phone or internet… be it Cloud, Skype or WhatsApp… be it Google, Wikipedia, YouTube or Face book… you name it, and that is it… what has come from that nowhere space called – thin air…


Wealth has come from this space…


Poverty has come from this space…


Peace has come from this space…


Destruction has come from this space…


Hope has come from this space…


Despair has come this space…


Yes, everything - that we see, touch and feel in this world - has come from there… the thin air!


If thin air is the field from where all tangible things are created, it is really a good-news… It is the greatest hope of mankind… In fact, it is God’s greatest promise – the Endowment - He has left for us, His children…


The Field of Abundance… The Kingdom of Heaven… The Invisible Field… The Thin Air…


And, through his Son, He has left for us the ‘key’, too:


"Ask and it shall be given to you;

seek and you shall find;

knock and the door shall be opened to you.”


Praise the Lord!


And, let’s not forget to praise the Lords of this Land, alive or dead: Christ, Gandhi, Lincoln, Edison, Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Bachchan, Tendulkar… or, for that matter, Arnab and Kejriwal… Yes, even Adolf Hitler!


Let’s praise them all for reminding us never, ever to complain in life, that there is not enough…


Go dig!


GERALD D’CUNHA

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE... I WANNA GROW UP ONCE AGAIN


















Pic.: Vincent D'Souza
A good friend of mine is a trustee in one of the well-known educational institutions. I received a phone-call from him a while ago. “Sir, I need your help,” he said in a genuine tone, “I want you to come with me, today, to one of our institutes to talk to a group of about twenty young-students who have been persistently misbehaving with other students, peons and even teachers.”


Apparently, some of these young kids had beaten-up the school peons, last evening, so badly that there was a demand from the staff and the management to take these young kids to the police and, if required, to expel them from the school.


It is the fag-end of the academic year. My friend, being the youngest trustee of this institute, was, somehow, not willing to take the extreme step. He hoped, that, if one more chance was given to these youngsters, coupled with good counseling, it would serve the true purpose of education… A holistic and reformative approach was the best approach in my friend’s view...


I, immediately, committed myself to my friend; and, so, I will be joining him, this afternoon, to talk to the ‘bad boys’… I am a die-hard advocate of the holistic approach… I am a die-hard believer in the essence of ‘The Prodigal Son’ story… Probably, like me,  most of the world is… Else, why did the world cry while watching and listening to the song in ‘3-idiots’ – ‘Give me another chance/I wanna grow up once again’?


I tell the young-ones – and, I tell it tirelessly, almost everyday, and all through the year – that they should be mindful of the company they keep. If they frequently move around with friends who have lofty goals in life, who have fine habits and discipline, who manage their time well, whose language is decent, who are hardworking, committed and passionate… Yes, if they move around in the company of this kind, their friends’ way of life would rub on them… They will be inspired to dream big, remain committed, hardworking and passionate. On the other hand, if they move around in the company of those who are ‘lost’… without any goal, ambition, zest, discipline and passion… whose habits are self-destructive, whose language is filthy, and whose life is ridden with distractions… Yes, if they frequently move around in the company of this kind, their friends’ way of life would equally infect them…


Nobody is spared from the age-old law of Universe: ‘Like attracts like’…


All of us are the products of influence. Whether we agree with it or not, we have become what we are, slowly but surely, only through the influences we have, wittingly or unwittingly, allowed to seep into our souls over the years… Yes, it is the Law of Attraction silently working in each and everyone’s life, here on earth… Whether we like it or not - Like will, always, attract like!


So, am I going to give this gyaan to our twenty bad-boys, this afternoon?


I will… but, in a language they would understand and connect with…


Am I hopeful?


Yes, I am… Just as my friend is…


Just as the world - that cries with the 3-idiots song – is!





GERALD D’CUNHA
Video courtesy: YouTube

Monday, February 17, 2014

THE WEALTHIEST MAN ON THIS PLANET



 

 

 

 

 

  

Pic.: Amrita Jeurkar

 

“More important than talent, strength, or knowledge


is the ability to laugh at yourself and enjoy the pursuit of your dreams.” 

- Amy Grant


Sometimes, I really think, how blessed one’s life can be, if he knows how to laugh at himself - his mistakes, his problems, his limitations and ignorance! Going about our daily lives wearing a light heart is, in deed, a great virtue… an endowment far beyond the measure and treasure called money!


The laughing man is the wealthiest man on this planet!


What is the use of all our academic, psychological and spiritual ‘gyaan’, if we aren’t able to laugh at life’s harsh realities? What are we accumulating that wisdom for, if we have to only go about wearing grim masks all the time, everywhere in life?


This world has lasted this long, and, it will last for thousands of years to come… So, sir, let’s chill a little, today!


From my own experience, I have realized, that, as long as we have in us this misplaced  notion that the world around us wouldn’t run without us – that is, we are indispensable people – it would be hard for us to laugh at ourselves - our blunders and stupidities, our problems and irritations… And, the grim mask would, always, deprive us from enjoying the simplicity and lightness of this -  so-called - complex life!


A doctor friend of mine used to, always, remind me about one of one lines displayed in their medical-college corridor:


“The only place you will find the indispensable people is: the graveyard!”


Yes, they are all dead. Those who want to live must know that they all are very dispensable!


And, the funniest part of this comedy of life is: Laughter, which is tested to be the best medicine for all ailments in our lives, is available all free... And, still!


In stead of leaving behind for our children, for their security in life,  a large estate or bank balance,  it is sensible to leave behind this bequest called – ‘the ability to laugh at oneself’. Charles M Schulz had rightly pointed this out when he said:


“If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation,


it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself.”



If all of do this, the tomorrow’s babies will, certainly, come into this world laughing, and not crying!


Is that the craziest, dumbest, the most irritating or blasphemous prophesies you have ever heard?


Chill, dear… It is the happiest!


Have a light, bright and happy Monday…


GERALD D’CUNHA