Friday, August 27, 2010

Mother Teresa – 6 Key Life Lessons from a 100 Year Old Woman

mother teeresa

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of  Mother Teresa.

She would have been 100 years old today had she not passed away in September 1997.
A while ago I wrote about the 6 key lessons in life from a 140 year old man.

Just like Mahatma Gandhi, though Mother Teresa may not be around anymore, her legacy and message of peace and love live on – something that we need in our lives more than ever before.

A while ago, I wrote about Mother Teresa and what she had to say about loneliness, love and peace
We need more compassion, understanding and acceptance of other people and their cultures. As I wrote only last week, Muslims love their children too.

(As bloggers, a lot of us already know about love and being a great lover – check out my 12 reasons why bloggers make the best lovers).

On this day of celebration of her life, what inspiration and learnings can we take from her life?
To start with, check out this wonderful YouTube video which has set some of her most inspirational words to soothing music.

(For those of you reading this via email, please  click here)
No matter what your religious beliefs or your faith, we can all learn something from her life.
“There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless.
The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. – Mother Teresa
Here are her 6 key lessons:-

1. Take up a great cause

Mother Teresa spent over 60 years of her life in the slums of Calcutta and devoted all of her life to service of the poor, especially lepers, the sick, the dying and the abandoned.

It took a lot of resolve, determination and faith to keep going in the face of incredible difficulties and challenges.

She put herself through a lot of hardships – or what would seem like hardships to me and perhaps you too.
Now I am not saying that you too should devote your life to those living in slums and give up your current life of relative comforts. You just have to find your own small or grand cause.

Learn to feel the fear and change the world anyway.

I for one do like my world comforts and I am sure you do too. And you know what, that’s perfectly fine. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just don’t be wasteful.

2. Start with your home and those around you

You don’t need to go to a remote place to make a difference. Start with your own home and community.
Also, you don’t need to make huge sacrifices or give money. Learn to contribute from the heart and not just the pocket.

If nothing else, just spend a bit of time with those are lonely and alone. And of course, start in your own home:-
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start” – Mother Teresa
Finally remember that peace in the world begins with you, your home and your children:-
“Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents.
Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace of the world” – Mother Teresa
3. Have a solid personal foundation

Mother Teresa had a solid foundation that kept her going through all the turmoil and challenges in her life – her strong faith.

It has been well documented how throughout her life she faced personal doubts about her faith and how she ran her missions. But her core values of love and wanting to serve others kept her going.

In your life, you too need a strong personal foundation to build your life on.
“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love” – Mother Teresa
What are your core beliefs and values? What will you never compromise on?
And if you were to follow the path set by Mother Teresa, just what would you do?
(Please share your answers below in comments)

4. Create a tribe

Once you are aligned to a great cause and you have a core foundation, you would do well to create a following or as it’s more fashionably described nowadays, a  tribe.

I guess we have  Seth Godin to thank for that.

Mother Teresa was lucky in that she had the backing and resources of a vast and powerful organisation, her church. On the back of that she created  Missionaries of Charity – a group of devoted sisters who carried out work and spread her message of love and compassion around  Calcutta in India, and then ultimately around the world. A lot of work focussed on looking after the poor and unwanted.
“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” – Mother Teresa
Part of creating a tribe is to be media savvy and Mother Teresa always capitalised on any opportunity to promote her cause and to raise funds.

Just think what she would have done with all the social media tools at her behest!

5. Ride through controversy

When you take on a big challenge or commit to any cause, you often run into controversy and conflict.
Mother Teresa went through a lot of  controversy and criticism about her style and method of helping.
But she rode through them and remained committed to her faith and work.

In your own life, you too may face some challenges to your authority and integrity. Learn to look through people’s hidden agendas and remain true to your cause.

If need be, take time out for yourself and reaffirm that you are truly on your chosen path. It’s also okay to change course if it feels like the right thing to do so.

6. Keep smiling and loving

Mother Teresa’s most endearing and enduring qualities were her ability to keep smiling and loving, even faced with the harshest of challenges.

If you come from a place of love and with a mindset of helping, then somehow you will find the ability and internal resources to do so. Somehow things will just work out for you.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”Mother Teresa
Indeed, the key message of Mother Teresa’s life really was about love. As she said so eloquently:-
“If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”

So how can you spread this love message around the world?

You can do so by following Mother Teresa’s 6 key life lessons and by looking to spread your love in whatever small or large way that feels right for you.

As she said, learn to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.
The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. – Mother Teresa
Launch of “Love is all that matters”

As for my part, today I am delighted to announce the soft launch of my new website – Love is all that matters.
For now, this is only a simple page inviting you to sign up for my daily email messages about love. I am currently writing an ebook about love and relationships which will be available in a few weeks.

Please do sign up and on Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday, help me spread her message about love and compassion. This is just the sort of birthday present she would have liked!

By Arvind

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Skillful Speech

by Allan Lokos

By working with the lay precept on speech, we can learn to say the right thing at the right time.

Years ago, when I began traveling the Buddha’s path, I was surprised by the emphasis placed on the practice of skillful speech. The Buddha considered the way we communicate with each other to be so important that he taught the practice of skillful speech alongside such lofty teachings as skillful view, thinking, action, and mindfulness as a pillar of the Ennobling Eightfold Way.

The Buddha saw that we are always engaged in relationships, starting with that most significant relationship: the one with ourselves. On the cushion we notice how we speak to ourselves—sometimes with compassion, sometimes with judgment or impatience. Our words are a powerful medium with which we can bring happiness or cause suffering.

Skillful speech begins by refraining from lying, slander, profanity, and harsh language. We should avoid language that is rude, abusive, disagreeable, or malicious, and we should abstain from talk that is foolish, idle, babble, or gossip. What remains are words that are truthful, kind, gentle, useful, and meaningful. Our speech will comfort, uplift, and inspire, and we will be a joy to those around us.

The pillar of skillful speech is to speak honestly, which means that we should even avoid telling little white lies. We need to be aware of dishonesty in the forms of exaggerating, minimizing, and self-aggrandizing. These forms of unskillful speech often arise from a fear that what we are is not good enough––and that is never true. Honesty begins at home, so the practice of skillful speech begins with being honest with ourselves.

The Buddha cautioned against gossip because he saw the suffering that this kind of unskillful speech causes. There is an old Hasidic tale of a villager who was feeling remorse for the harm his gossip had caused his neighbor. He went to his rabbi to seek advice. The rabbi suggested that he go to town and buy a chicken and bring it back to him, and that on the way back he pluck it completely. When the man returned with the featherless chicken, the rabbi told him to retrace his steps and gather every one of the scattered feathers. The man replied that it would be impossible; by now the feathers were probably blown throughout the neighboring villages. The rabbi nodded in agreement, and the man understood: we can never really take back our words. As the Zen poet Basho wrote:

Gossip is defined as speaking about someone who is not physically present. It doesn’t matter whether what is said is positive or negative. If the person is not there, it is gossip. If we have to speak about someone who is not present, we should speak of them as if they were there.

A word about teasing—don’t! Teasing is always at someone’s expense and often hurts more than the person being teased lets on. Simply stated, teasing causes suffering. The same energy used to create a tease can be used to create an honest compliment.

Skillful speech has a communicative partner called deep listening. No matter how unskillful their speech, people are often trying to communicate something hidden beneath their words.

When we listen deeply, taking time to breathe, we can avoid a conditioned reaction that could cause suffering and instead respond compassionately to what is beneath the harsh words. We can comfort our child with our love or assure our friend that she is important to us and that we will try to spend more time with her.

At times noble silence is the most skillful speech. Being truly present for another is the greatest gift we can offer. Sometimes people need to be sad, and noble silence can be truly ennobling.

The most important step in developing skillful speech is to think before speaking (or writing). This is called mindfulness of speech. Few things can improve the nature of our relationships as much as the development of skillful speech. Silence offers us, and those around us, the spaciousness we need to speak more skillfully. When we speak with greater skill, our true self––our compassionate, loving self––emerges with gentle ease. So before you speak, stop, breathe, and consider if what you are about to say will improve upon the silence.

Allan Lokos is an Interfaith minister, meditation teacher, and author. He is the co-founder and director of the Community of Peace and Spirituality and the founder and guiding teacher of the Community Meditation Center in New York City.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Twelve Points On Attitude

Remember that nothing but you stops you- Steve Maraboli

Twelve Points On Attitude

  1. It is your attitude at the beginning of a task more than anything else that will determine your success or failure.

  2. It is your attitude towards life that will determine life's attitude towards you. Despite many people's belief to the contrary, life plays no favorites.

  3. You control your attitude. If you are negative it is because you have decided to be negative and not because of other people or circumstances.

  4. Act as if you have a good attitude. Remember actions trigger feelings just as feelings trigger actions.

  5. Before a person can achieve the kind of results he wants, he must first become that person. He must then think, walk, talk, act and conduct himself in all of his affairs, as would the person he wishes to become.

  6. Treat everybody as the most important person in the world.

  7. Attitudes are based on assumptions. In order to change attitudes one must first change one's assumptions.

  8. Develop the attitude that there are more reasons why you should succeed than reasons why you should fail.

  9. When you are faced with a problem, adopt the attitude that you can and will solve it.

  10. We become what we think about. Control your thoughts and you will control your life.

  11. Radiate the attitude of confidence, of well being, of a person who knows where he is going. You will then find good things happening to you right away.

  12. In order to develop a good attitude, take charge first thing in the morning. Do you say, "Good morning, Lord" or "Good Lord, morning?"
Read these twelve points every day for the next 30 days and see how your life changes.


--- Author Unknown

Hug for the world - Inspiring video

“Return To Innocence”

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence
Love – Devotion
Feeling – Emotion
Love – Devotion
Feeling – Emotion
Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence
If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny
Don’t care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don’t give up and use the chance
To return to innocence
That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence
Don’t care what people say
Follow just your own way Follow just your own way
Don’t give up, don’t give up
To return, to return to innocence.
If you want then laugh
If you must then cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

...You can't always control what's coming toward you. But you can, however, decide to respond instead of react. And the way you respond can make all the difference in the world. In the Proverbs 12:18 passage we saw earlier, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing," the latter part of the verse gives us the key.

There's a wise way to respond to whatever words may come your way. When the conversation starts to escalate, rather than allowing yourself to react, be intentional and determine to respond wisely. Instead of impulsively reacting out of habit, resolve to respond purposefully. By doing so, you can stay in control no matter what may happen. How?

Scripture offers us some wise counsel here, James 1:19 tells us: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." In other words, think...pause...then speak. It's a wise person who can communicate in this way. But all too often, in the rush to be heard, we speak first and then think next...and unfortunately with poor results.

We must measure our words carefully. Words are important: they can hurt or heal. Words can uplift us or discourage us, and reckless words, spoken in haste, cannot be erased. Respond carefully. Speak wisely, not impulsively. Stay calm. Pray. Slow down. Use words seasoned with grace, not words of criticism or insult. Remember you can steer out of a tailspin and build your spouse and your marriage up, rather than tearing them down. Decide and determine now, with God's help to respond wisely, with healing and comfort rather than escalation and anger.

" quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." James 1:19