I am always in awe of people who have thousands of stories tucked away, ready to whip one out whenever needed. I like to think that one day, I’ll join those few. Certainly to be a storyteller requires a certain number of stories and one thing I am happy about is the ability to make a story up, with fairly few prompts. A terrific advantage of having a five year old, is you can practice quite frequently with an audience who never gets bored, and is pretty inspirational to boot!
Anyway, it’s always nice to read new stories where perhaps a seed of a new story is lurking! I found a great blog http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/stories.html whose has a seemingly never ending supply of stories. Many of these will inspire you or at least put a smile on your face. I’ve only posted 4 here but will put more on from different sources too.
If you have any other short inspiring stories, please let me know. Would love to share them here!
Alexander and Diogenes
Now when Alexander [the Great] appeared before the Greek leaders in Corinth they greeted him warmly and paid him lavish compliments- all of them, that is but one. A funny fellow, a philosopher named Diogenes. He had views not unlike those of the Buddha. According to him, possessions and all the things we think we need only serve to distract us and get in the way of our simple enjoyment of life. So he had given away everything he owned and now sat, almost naked, in a barrel in the market square in Corinth where he lived, free and independent like a stray dog.
Curious to meet this strange fellow, Alexander went to call on him. Dressed in shining armour, the plume on his helmet waving in the breeze, he walked up to the barrel and said to Diogenes: ‘I like you. Let me know your wish and I shall grant it.’ Diogenes, who had until then been comfortably sunning himself, replied: ‘Indeed, Sire, I have a wish.’ ‘Well, what is it?’ ‘Your shadow has fallen over me: stand a little less between me and the sun.’ Alexander is said to have been so struck by this that he said: ‘If I weren’t Alexander, I should like to be Diogenes.’
Source: “A Little History Of The World” by E.H. Gombrich
Peace of mind
Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.
The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink! So he came back and told Buddha, The water in there is very muddy. I dont think it is fit to drink.
After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.
Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be … and the mud settled down on its own and you got clear water… Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You dont have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.
What did Buddha emphasize here? He said, It is effortless. Having ‘peace of mind’ is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment, such that people around start feeling that peace and grace.
It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold.
The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.
After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.
The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.
The American dream
An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.
“Only a little while” the Mexican replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.
“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs” the Mexican said.
“But” the American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said: “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The American scoffed: “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you could buy a bigger boat and, with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked: “But senor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied: “15-20 years.”
“But what then, senor?”
The American laughed and said: “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO – an Initial Public Offering – and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”
“Millions, senor? Then what?”
The American said slowly: “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”