Friday, 19 October 2018

Poetry

When I was a teenager, in my late teens, I was writing already some poetry.
I tried to rhyme and as you go along with this habit, you tend to become a bit better at it.
But somehow along the way, the poetry bug did not last into my thirties.
At the time I had started to write poems, I thought whatever I wrote was sounding so much like nursery rhymes rather than high elevated level poetry. I was shy about and never published what I wrote then. They were written in Flemish (Dutch), my mother tongue.

At that time, it was fashionable for poetry to be like a soup of words, nice words, around a theme, but very hard to understand or even guess what was meant by it all. I have read so many award winning poems and all too often the message got really lost in the style and even though there was some sensual pleasure in reading the words, there was no clear understood message, no spiritual pleasure in reading the poetry.

When I read the essay of RW Emerson, titled the poet, I gained some insight that not all poetry had to be a hard to understand soup of words. He wrote: "The sign and credentials of the poet are that he announces that which no man foretold. He is the true and only doctor; he knows and tells; he is the only teller of news, for he was present and privy to the appearance which he describes. He is a beholder of ideas and an utterer of the necessary and causal. For we do not speak now of men of poetical talents, or of industry and skill in metre, but of the true poet." and "For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument that makes a poem,—a thought so passionate and alive that like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing. The thought and the form are equal in the order of time, but in the order of genesis the thought is prior to the form. 12 The poet has a new thought; he has a whole new experience to unfold; he will tell us how it was with him, and all men will be the richer in his fortune. For the experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet."

When in 2010 I fractured a vertebra and was bed-bound for 3 months, I was listening to audio-books and one of them quoted a poem of William Blake. I remember I was in my garden when I found the website that allowed anyone to post poems. I thought back about my teenage years and for the first time, I tried to write a poem in English, Little Purple Flower.

I still was quite unsure and used a poet name or pen name, Aufie Zophy.
The response to this poem on PoemHunter has been quite encouraging.
As I was more and more into poetry and read so many poems, I became more
confident.

Now I know my small pieces of writing, my small verses are worth to be called poems. 

Every time I put out a poem, I want it to be read.
I want to share some experiences, some insights, some little ideas in my poems and always hope that it will reach a large audience. Today I am very grateful for my capability of writing and for the readers who have read some of my work.

I have selected my most cherished poems and put them on a blog, while still  all or almost all my poems are listed on PoemHunter .

This is like a long invitation for you to visit my blog with poems and if you want, leave here and there a comment. I will be grateful for it and I hope you get something out of it: a bit of joy, a grain of inspiration, or just a tiny bead of love...

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sprinkles from nature

 Sprinkle 1
An almost true story

A cheeky little cloud
kissed secretly
a tree in my garden

I had seen it

Soon the evening sun
gave it smilingly
a wonderful orange blush

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sprinkle 2
Lying on my back 

When I lie on my back in a lazy chair
below the branches of casuarina in the air
and the bouquet of leaves on top a coconut tree,
I refuse to close my eyes,
‘cause the enticing blue skies
with single white clouds passing by
are playing a supernatural game with the greenery.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

All these behaviours

Of all these behaviors that I detest,
there are so many that I have performed myself.

I love to be kind.
I love to be nice
But we do not all the time manage to live up to our ideals.

I love to be fair
I love to be just
But we o not all the time manage to live up to our ideals

I sometimes don't understand, how I can lose my temper
when the things that happened were in retrospect not that bad.
I sometimes don't understand why I chose to behave in such
or another not so good way.
But sometimes I do not manage to live my ideals,
Sometimes we lose it.

I guess, the times we mess up things, are like little lessons,
little lessons we learn, not to judge others too severely if they mess up.
Surely some people mess up more than others,
but still, if we have made similar mistakes ourselves,
we manage to make a milder judgement.

We are imperfect, each in our own way.
I can accept myself with all my shortcomings
and I think these shortcomings help me to accept
the shortcomings of others too.

Let us choose tolerance, acceptance, peace, love and kindness.
On and off we may not succeed and be nasty ourselves too,
but we can exercise kindness like we exercise our muscles,
the more we use it, the stronger it becomes

All the behaviours, I like,
I pray for the strength to practice them
All the behaviours I detest,
I pray for the strength to avoid them in myself
I pray for the strength to understand them when I see them in others.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Flowers on net

If you are sitting in a hotel room
and the day has been one of meetings
taxi drives and concrete meals
the chance is that you have not seen
a flower today

you may have passed by some flowers
but did not notice the exquisite beauty.

I wrote the above two paragraphs using the pronoun, you,
but actually it is more about my day today.
For awhile I felt stupid about it,
about having a day without beauty
while there are so many flowers in the world.

Then I turned on the internet and went to google groups
google communities, collections, other social media
with the word flower in it
and I made some time to observe, to truly look
at some wonderful pictures of flowers.
There were single flowers, groups of flowers
bouquets, fields of flowers, ...

I turned on the music, a Tibetan meditation music, and kept looking
at pictures of flowers, from wonderful souls who had taken pics of them
and were so generous to share them for free on the internet.

Somehow it made me feel good
It brought some peace to my mind
some love to my heart
some serenity to my soul.


 -------------------------------------------


For each simple and random kind act
A small flower grows in my soul,
For each beautiful flower observed
A random kind act grows in my heart

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Bonjour


Bonjour

Good morning,
Hey, I mean it, I want you to have a very good and lovely morning
A morning filled with beauty.
But, my friend, did you look at the beauty of the trees along your way to work?
If not, please start to do so, because truly, I want you to have a good morning,
filled with beauty.
A morning filled with love.
But, my friend, did you find the love in your heart this morning and make a few
flowery phrases with it to shower a few loving sentences on your spouse, or on
your children or on you parents?
If not please give them a quick call, give them a few loving words, because
I want you to have really a good morning filled with love.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Troubles and blessings

Sometimes the escalator of life,  that is meant to bring us to a higher level of living, seems to have stopped working. We try to step up, but each step seems increasingly difficult and sometimes it seems that the escalator of life is moving in the wrong direction.
Sometimes it starts with one nasty thing happening in the morning and then another nasty thing happening later on the day. And our life seems in turmoil. We start getting upset and angry and frustrated. Surely these feelings are appropriate in response to what sometimes is happening to us.
But then, sometimes we allow these feelings to become the masters of our life. I mean that these feelings will determine our next action. If we give up control over our next action; let negative feelings make decisions on what we do next, we may sit in a downward spiral and more nastiness may come our way.

The trick is, I think, to allow these feelings to come, recognize them, accept them but then not to allow them to become masters. This may sound easier said than done, unless we have the habit of looking at the balance

When we wake up and get out of bed, walk to the kitchen and have breakfast, get our shower and put on our clothes a thousand miraculously good things have already happened in our life. We slept, we have a bed, we can walk, we can see, we can eat, we have food, we have a kitchen, we have running water, we understand the importance of cleanliness,... Miracle after miracle has happened already in the first 30 minutes of our day. Then, still I did not mention the wonder of the trees outside of my window, and the sound of the birds and grass and the beauty of the morning sky.
If only we manage to aware at any time in our life, of these fantastic things happening, and manage to put them in the weighing scale on the side of good things, the few nasty things, even if they are quite big, may not carry enough weight to make the balance tilt to their side of bad things.
Here I do not deny that catastrophes do happen and sometimes life may really put some of us in extremely difficult situations. But the above is more about our day to day troubles which are often much smaller than our day to day blessings.
If we become more aware of all the good in our life, become truly grateful for all these good things, it will be easier not to let negative feelings become the master of our life. It will be easier to maintain a positive attitude, keep being fully in charge of our decisions about our next actions.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The big discovery

Have you discovered the biggest discovery regarding human happiness?
Kindness is happiness
Receiving kindness makes you happy
Giving kindness makes you doubly happy

I wish you lots of happiness
I wish you lots of lots of double happiness 💖😃

---------------------------------------------------------------
If you feel like, can share this posting;
no copyright.
This goes for any other postings too;

can find them in the archives on the right :)
→→→→→→→→

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Foundation

"Stupid!"
Whenever I say this word,
my ego feels superior
but my soul is not at peace
My ego feels clever
but my heart is like a mess

A superior and clever ego 
does not make me happy
A soul and heart at peace does

While all of us do perhaps ten stupid things in a day, we do also a hundred good and wise things. If we manage to look systematically for the good in others, we are capable of finding a sea, an abundant ocean of good things. Managing to focus on and rejoice in the good of others, is what gives us peace of mind and that is the foundation of happiness, something we all tend to want sooooo much.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The ripple

This is the story of an old auntie.

My auntie Netje (Antoinette) is having diabetes since many years. More than 20 years ago her right leg had to be amputated and ever since, she has some phantom pains; and of course walking with a prosthetic leg is not a very easy thing to do.

Whenever we go back to my home town, we try to visit her and bring her out from her apartment to visit some nice place or more often, other relatives or friends. On one of these outings we were on a visit to my cousin's place. Her husband is very good at gardening and has a small vegetable garden at the back of his yard, of which he is rightfully very proud. So on that sunny afternoon we had a wonderful cup of coffee with a delicious piece of cake from he local bakery. After that the husband of my cousin invited us all to see his vegetable garden.

While we were there, my auntie had waited on a bench facing a  beautiful stretch of grass. My son who must have been about ten years old time, had also not followed the rest of us and had plucked some daisies and dandelions from the grass for my auntie Netje.

We did not know about this and my auntie kept it as a happy secret in her heart. That is until some months later during another visit to our home town, when she said to me: Johan (My son) is the sweetest boy I have ever known. It took me a bit by surprise, not because he is not sweet but people do not often give compliments like this. I said: why? And the above story came out.

Until now, perhaps twelve years later, she still has a very special soft place in her heart for Johan. Whenever I call her or see her, she asks about him. If he comes along to meet her, the two of them are like the closest friends imaginable. My son loves her, and she loves my son. A small deed, a small attentive little random kind act creating a ripple of lasting happiness.

Can you imagine? Such a small act, and so much happiness, for my auntie, for my son, for me and my wife, for anyone who hears this wonderful story. A ripple, becoming a wave and if you and your friends share this story over a cup of coffee or it inspires you pluck some flowers for an old and lonely lady, the ripple, the wave, may become a tsunami of kindness enveloping the whole world... :)

Monday, 10 September 2018

Victims of ads

I just came back from a walk through the city.
On the most busy streets, so many cafes.
Each attracts large numbers of customers,
consuming the alcohol loaded beverages,
sold at prices that dazzle.

A study showed that teens consumed much
and here 'much' really means MUCH,
more alcoholic drinks, the more they had seen ads for them

Advertising is so successful because so much money is involved.
They use the most advanced psychological manipulative techniques
to spoil the minds of our youngsters AND the minds of us.

No one who is regularly consuming alcohol considers themselves
the victim of the ad industry. Most of us perhaps even do not remember
the actual ads, but science shows that the ads are very effective
and the sad thing is that truth, science and wellbeing of customers
plays absolutely no role in the construction of the ads:
ONLY: how can we help to sell more product at the highest possible price?

It is quite a sad sight to see teenagers drunk, giving up a large chunk of their thinking capacity, endangering themselves and others in traffic more than necessary, and sacrificing most of the next day's good feelings for unnecessary hangovers.

It is sad to see middle age people do the same. It is sad to see old people to the same.

Why they do it? Somehow the ads are responsible.
Indoctrination of people with false ideas that this or that alcoholic drink will bring them happiness and friendship is a blatant lie. It will bring light-headedness,  danger and hangovers. Hardly any ingredients for happiness. On top it, addictions always lurks. Most people think they are immune to addiction. The fact is that they are not.

I am not sure whether there is such a thing as responsible advertising. But there is a need for the wisest among us to use as much of psychology for reaching adolescents and adults with messages truly inspiring and truly leading a path on which happiness is easy to find.We have to expose the falsehoods in messages used for advertising and popularize simple truths in the most powerful ways



Monday, 3 September 2018

A net filled with fish

I like the story of the wise man who went to fish into the deep sea. He cast his nets and when he lifted his nets, they were filled with fish. All were small fish except one really big fish. Without a thought, he cast all small fish back into the water but kept the big fish.

This story can have so many interpretations, but the way I see it:
If we read the books of wisdom, the scriptures, there are so many words.
But the truly wise will be able to recognize the big message, the main wisdom
and all small fish, which may have value of their own, become redundant
in the face of the main message(s).

A few examples: 
The story of Genesis: so many people have been endlessly arguing and quarreling about the meaning and interpretation of each of its words. The message yet, the big fish, is so simple: All was and is and will be created by our God, that huge intelligent Power in the universe.

The story of Noah: How many words have been spilled on how real or unreal the story was. The big-fish-message: even if all others seem to have lost their integrity, let that not be a reason to lose yours. No matter what, the one who keeps his integrity will benefit in the end.

The "cruelties" in the scriptures versus the main message of love and grace and forgiveness.

The huge miracles we experience on a daily basis versus the small irritating frustrations. How often do we allow small fishes to dominate our day, our feelings and our life, while we ignore the magnificence of a sunrise, of the trees we pass, of the friendship, of our own vision, of the many kindnesses, of our touch and hearing, and all the other miracles in our life.


Thursday, 30 August 2018

Reading your thoughts

You can read your thoughts, only if you have written them down. If in three year's time, you will read your thoughts of today. and the other 6 days of this week, you will be amazed at least by some of them.

If you will be courageous enough to then critically analyze what you thought today, you will feel enriched by reading these thoughts and be able to build your vision of Truth and and Understanding of the world upon what you have thought in the past. 

If you wrote thoughts in the past, time to go and read them now.
If you did not, time to start jotting them down.

Just now, I read some of my thoughts I jotted down in this blog just half a year ago in February, 2018. I entered 6 posts and here I list the one I like most. Please visit also the other posts from February 2018 in the archives of this blog (on the right below the profile info). I am sure you will enjoy at least some of them.

Here is my number 1 from that month:

 When I think about my late mom and
the superb loving care she gave us,
there is a soft spot in my heart that jumps up of joy.

Shortly after her death, that same spot used to weep
when thinking of my mom and her fantastic loving care
she gave to her children and husband at all times
and especially at times when we were ill or did not feel well.

Surely I miss my mother still very much,
but the bitterness of grief and missing her
has given way for gratefulness, for thankfulness.

Somehow she has planted in my heart and soul
a loving and caring seed that spouts and grows
and blooms and blossoms, whenever I manage to give it space.

Her care, her love lives on in my heart, in my soul.
It is that care and love, that I manage to keep alive,
which gives me peace of mind and job satisfaction.

I am sure most of us can think back of a person
caring for us in a special way when we were young.

Let us just do that today. Think of the love and care we received.
Let us feel the presence of these seeds of love and care in our own heart.
Let us 'water' the seeds and give them lots of light and space
so they can spout and grow and bloom and blossom into
a wonderful forest of love and care.  

As we do so we will become the planters of seeds
in the hearts of our own family, friends, neighbors, patients, clients,..


Monday, 27 August 2018

Flower power 2

I am not sure if the younger ones are familiar with the term, Flower Power.
It was a movement filled with wonderful ideals and artistic expressions.
It started in the late sixties and went on through the early seventies.

It went under because of its sad and unwise association with drugs and substance abuse.
Certainly the men in power felt threatened by a surge of ideals, as much then as now.
The crazy idea that ideals are naive and unrealistic has been successfully coined by those in power.
Somehow those in power are mistaken! Genuinely mistaken that by suppressing ideals (perhaps some of which they had even themselves when they were young) will lead to their own happiness. Wrong! Happiness lies in altruism! Peace of mind lies in altruism, not in the blind accumulation of more and more wealth and power. One day the most powerful will give up their blindness and even if a few of them start to see, truly see, they themselves will find happiness, peace of mind and their power will become true power instead of a web of falsehoods.
 
I do hope we can see a future of people clinging to ideals like Ghandi, M Luther King Jr and a hand full of others of the brightest people ever living on this earth, were doing. Combining ideals with wisdom, is the way forward.

Our world NOW, needs wonderful ideas and their artistic expression more than ever.
Our world NOW, is in for a Flower Power 2, this time with a bit more wisdom planted
in the heart of the movement (not allowing it to be troubled by drugs and free sex)

Let us give power to flowers, 
give power to our ideals, 
give power to our wonderful thoughts 
give power to kindness and peace.

Let us live second wave of flower power,
this time with a superb level of wisdom woven through it all.


Sunday, 26 August 2018

Truth

What happened today or yesterday belongs to the world of facts. Facts make up the truth and ignoring, denying or twisting facts, is being untruthful. So sad that we see sooooo much of the latter in the politics of today.

The facts of hundreds or thousands of years ago are very often much less verifiable and here interpretation of and speculation about partial knowledge of facts suddenly starts to make up part of the truth and people with different interpretations, different speculations may have different perceptions on what happened and believe in different truths.

While the above may be called factual truth, there is also something like mathematical truth. Mathematical truth is robust and undeniable. A number multiplied by another number is only ONE other number and nothing else. It is verifiable and nothing else can be the result. Scientist like this kind of certainty and have applied mathematics to many of the physical and chemical processes happening in the world.

However if we move in the science of the extremes, like subatomic levels with quantum mechanics, suddenly mathematical certainty ceases to exist and so is it with the grand universe. Hypotheses, speculations become science, and the more we have of these, the more science moves into a belief system than in an exact system of certainty. And for many lay people the difference between the proven parts of science and the speculations and hypothetical parts are not clear. Take the big bang theory. A hypothesis that may be ten times harder to believe than  the existence of God, is accepted by many as a result of scientific endeavor but is in reality a mere nonsensical hypothesis. All matter was compressed into almost nothing and then boom, in a few seconds we had a universe. A universe that is said to be expanding, but what is it expanding into? Is there a border of the universe, and what is beyond that border to expand into? Hypothetical, speculative,..., more than a bit. Even if the universe is expanding, it is still more likely a part of an oscillating movement of expansion and contraction (that may last from a few centuries to a few millennia), since so many things are oscillating, even a wave of light.

Above we have been talking about physical truths. There is of course also a mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual truth. Far to many scientists are becoming obsessed with physical truth and do miss out on the enormous truths that do exist beyond the sensory realm.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Spirit

 White matter
Small lesions

Watson's spiral
Small mutations

Proteomics
Small variations

On top of that
Methylations

And then
Glycosylations

What is the effect of temperature?
And that of magnetism?

And all these quarks
Waves and particles…

How about thoughts and health?
Power of thinking?

Mind and body!
Soul and heart!

Spiritual being !!

The neuroscientist find micro lesions in brains of normal humans with their powerful MRIs. Hopes are high to unravel the secrets of the mind.

Genomics usurps millions of taxpayer's dollars looking for micro mutations of the healthy people. Hopes are high to unravel the secrets of DNA

And then there are the other sciences, each having high hopes to unravel the secrets of nature

I am quite sure that all high hopes may just end in the awareness that the trillions of micro-variations of 'normal' will prove to be our richness and not our defects. We may come to the conclusion that all of us are very very unique human beings, with our own unique DNA, our own unique brain, our own unique mind. Something we knew already long before a single soul was talking about all the -'omics'

Physics and spirituality are getting closer and closer to each other.
Quantum mechanics...

This poem is a bit of a call to scientists. Let us not forget we are in the first place spiritual beings, created in such a way that each of us are unique in our talents and shortcomings.

Let us not forget that over and above this uniqueness, we have the common longing for happiness, that can only be fulfilled through selfless altruism, devotion and inward reflection.

As long as one person dies from unintended hunger in this world, dear scientists, we should really get our priorities right.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Games for power

The political game tries to create fear and hatred.
The motive is to gather enough support to be in power.
It goes against our own very nature,
but due to immaturity and lack of wisdom
masses have been engulfed by such games
leading to the most disgusting atrocities in history.

Our true nature is so different.
Our true nature is one of love and kindness
Our Creator has created us in a way, we experience
peace of mind and true happiness when we are kind and loving
when we are kind and forgiving, when we are magnanimous.

Sadly politicians and some religious scholars alike
play with the sentiments of fear and hatred to gather support
to gain followers.  Never fear and hatred bring peace of mind
or happiness. Only love and kindness do.

There is a certain urgency in today's world.
We do not want the genocide of Rwanda,
of the Nazis and so many more to be repeated
 anywhere in the world.
For that we need a critical number of people
wise and mature enough to counter the cries
of wicked leadership. It is time, high time to ignore
the cries for hatred by any type of leader, be it political,
be it religious.

Let us nib any cry for hatred in the bud;
if not, it may grow into something big and atrocious
Let us embrace any cry for love and kindness
Our world will change for the better.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Mattering matters

Let us not be dragged into polarization!


What really matters is:
to protect our environment
good education
good care for our disabled fellow humans
control of addictive drug sales and use
peace within our community
peace in the world
lots and lots of kindness
Learn from each other's differences


What does not matter is:
the polarizing sentimental issues that those in power want to use to gain more followers. Let us not be dragged in endless polarizing discussions but work together for a society filled with harmony, love, kindness and respect.

Let us demand that the agenda of our leadership covers more of the first and less of the second...

If we send respect and kindness to our enemies, we will soon live in world filled with friends

Monday, 6 August 2018

A wish

I wish you 

A sea of peace
unconditional love
an ocean of abundance
divine intelligence
universal beauty
cosmic harmony

Do not search for it in far away lands
Do not chase it.
Let us just tune in to the energy around us
Let us make it truly silent
and let the above come and sit on our shoulder.

I am sure we can do it.

(inspired by M. Beckwith)

Monday, 30 July 2018

300

I wrote poem some time ago and its title was "three hundred" :

We all
were born with
three hundred talents
three hundred gifts
three hundred strengths
but only
ninety nine weaknesses 
Today, I experienced a day, a bit like this. 
I woke up with quite some energy, 
said my prayers, together with my son,
then to work, everything seemed to go well.
Managed to give quite some useful service, I think.
Then at home my weakness propped up.
A quarrel. 
The problem is that very often we tend to spend so much time reminiscing on our own weaknesses and problems and not on our strengths and blessings. 

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Love

"To be loving is not something that is taught;
to be compassionate is not an idea;
to be in empathy is not an esoteric principle;
this is the way a human being is made,
if only he does not constipate his consciousness
with limiting identifications, with things that he is not"
Sadguru

Love, compassion and empathy are not something 
that we have to acquire, not something that we have to work towards,
it is our very nature! 

When I heard Sadguru say this in a video of one of his TED talks,
I remember thinking this myself several years ago in almost exactly the same words.
I had written a small poem about it myself, more than two years ago.

Please click on this link to read the poem.
The video of the TED talk is here

All blade

"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it"
Rabindranath Tagore

Wow, I got a true wow-experience upon reading this quote of a very wise man.
So true, we cannot underestimate the importance of our heart, our soul.
Surely the rational and logic mind is of extreme value to each of us
but without emotion, silence, peace, love, what would it still be worth?

Friday, 27 July 2018

The proverbial butterfly

Too often we search for pleasure,
we search for sensual gratification.
We do have fun but our basic state of mind
is not one of peace.

Peace of mind is the greatest good.
We will not find it through searching.
It is something we cannot chase
It is something that comes or does not come.

We can only create the conditions
that are most likely to allow
a big dose of peace of mind to come
We have to make it silent

Today, my friends, let us stop for awhile
Stop the search for pleasure, the search for fun
Make it silent within. Peace of mind will
as the proverbial butterfly land on your shoulder

Monday, 23 July 2018

Simple

The biggest pleasure
the simplest happiness
the most serene peace
lies in a simple kind act

Today I took a grab-car from my meeting to my hotel.
It was not very far but traffic was heavy.
The price of the ride was RM 6 (+- 1.5 €).
We had a small talk and his wife was expecting their first baby.
When we arrived I found only notes of RM 50 in my wallet 
and a bit impulsively, gave him a 50 note, letting him keep the change.
The smile on his face was good. Truly...

...The biggest pleasure
the simplest happiness
the most serene peace
lies in a simple kind act

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PS: this is not a boast, 
I just hope this posting is inspiring
many other simple kind acts.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

Sharing virtue


What is well planted will not be uprooted.
What is held well, will not slip away. 
(Lao Tsu - 500BC) 

When we want to instill virtue within our children, what do we do?
Whether we want to teach our children honesty, or regular prayers
or any other virtue, what is our approach?

- make it sound like compulsory?
- let them know they will go to hell if they don't?
- promise them heaven if they do?

Preaching virtue followed by a threat or shaky promise, sounds a bit like slamming a young shoot or sapling on the ground and hope that it will grow into a wonderful tree blossoming flowers and producing fruits of virtue. Religious scholars who continuously talk about hell and heaven, have not learned the value of humility and most likely are ignorant about the true meaning of the Mercy of our Creator.

If we want any plant to grow and blossom,
we have to dig a bit, put some fertile soil into the hole
then plant the tree, and care for it with loving care

While virtue can hardly be preached,
we can BE virtuous together with our children
and then talk about how we feel about it.
We can choose to be honest and pay the adult ticket as soon as they turn 12, even they still look much younger. We can choose to stop in our steps and help the elderly woman across the road. We can choose to visit that old auntie or that lonely neighbor. We can choose to pray together in the most meaningful way. And not only do these things together but then discuss together the feelings that these things generate. If we have messed things up and did lose our temper, we can share how bad it felt to ourselves. If our children lose their temper, we can ask them later how it felt afterwards and discuss how we/they could have reacted alternatively.

Virtue is something we need to plant wisely.
Things that are planted well, are not uprooted.

Within our world we have given too much power to power-sick people
be it politicians, be it religious leaders, be it bosses of companies.
Within our world, we have given up too much of our self respect,
too much of our own wisdom, while listening to often-disturbed leaders.

Practicing virtue with our children and feeling the peace of mind together
                                                        or
forcing virtue down their throats by threats of hell or promises of heaven
Let us choose all together the very best way of planting virtue wisely

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Quote "Virtue only remains if it's reached by personal conviction. If it's demanded of us, we have no way of knowing if it's true, and then surely it will not be lasting" - Stefan Stenudd