This is my third report about our meetings which began in December 2013.
We are: Bill, a retired political scientist, author and Gandhian fellow; Mony, MBA, author and television producer and her artist husband Alberto; and me.
On January 16 we began our 2019 meeting with a flood of new ideas heralding a new era of nonkilling, love and joy.
Koozma presented two ethical stories from Jon-Lee.
Story One was about a group of alumni who got together for a visit with their wise professor. When the conversation soon turned to complaints about endless stress of work and life, the professor offered his guests coffee. He returned from the kitchen with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: ‘porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite.’ Quietly he invited them to help themselves to some fresh coffee.
As his former student had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering. ‘You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourself yet that is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems.’
He continued. ‘Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups. Then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
‘Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money and position in society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee….’
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. So please remember: Live Simply. Love Generously. Care Deeply .Speak Kindly.
And remember — the richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.Story Two was about a 92-year-old wise man, whose wife just died. He was waiting patiently in the lobby of a nursing home, ready to move in himself. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, the nurse provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
‘I love it,’ he stated with enthusiasm.
‘Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.’
‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he replied.
‘Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged....it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty
'I have with parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.
‘Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away. Just for this time in my life.
‘Wise age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in.
‘So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.’
Remember the simple rules to be happy:
- Free your heart from hatred.
- Free your mind from worries.
- Live simply.
- Give more.
- Expect less.
We discussed 5 films
- ‘The Good Place ’ is a fantasy comedy series on Netflix on common grounds of morals and ethics. It reminded me of my University of Saskatchewan days where I took a fascinating philosophy course on Morals and Ethics from the memorable Dr. Robert Paton.
- ‘The Reluctant Saint ’ is a 1962 film about Joseph of Cupertino, a 17th-century Italian Franciscan friar and mystic, who did not seem to fit in anywhere, but found a solid place in society with simple actions of love.
- ‘Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds ’ is a 5-part series on YouTube, which explores the inner and outer worlds via different philosophies. It provides us with a wider perspective in seeing ourselves as part of nature.
- ‘Brother, Son, Sister, Moon’ is another classic film, an examination of the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. This man spoke to the poor in France and other parts of Europe by denouncing the wealth of the Catholic Church, while rejecting many Catholic dogmas and doctrines, especially the need for ordained priesthood, and working towards a world without wars.
- ‘Roma’ is a 2018 film about life of a housekeeper in a Mexican neighbourhood Colonia Roma — highly recommended! It is said to be an antidote to our highly fast-paced Smartphone society. We need to stop, look and listen to life in our environment, and enjoy its existence.
What is the essence of the god-within?
We ended with this question. Invoking ‘the higher God’ was creatively refrained towards the ‘inner god-within’ as a way to get to the core of humanity. Instead of invoking Jesus Christ, Buddha, Allah, etc., why don’t we simply invoke ourselves by our actions as showing the way of love, beauty, compassion, and nonkilling? Is that not the essence of truth into the mysterious realm of spirituality? After all, are we not real energy-driven instruments of these practical qualities that make us human?
The story of the Greek Gods and Godesses is history. Most people today would acknowledge that ancient story of divine and semi-divine figures as mythology and religion.
In the 21st century, can we now acknowledge that man is connected to divine energy? Can we now publicly proclaim ‘I am an instrument of love and compassion?’ Or ‘I am an instrument of peace?’ When congruent, our intent and our actions of the gods-within form the strategic map of reality as part of one common humanity of brothers and sisters in spirit. The old ethical maxim (‘Do unto others as you wish them to do onto you’) has been enriched. The traditional wisdom masters of the past (Jesus Christ, Buddha, Allah, Lev N. Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., etc.) would be pleased.