Tag Archive: Faith


Get Past Dog

A friend of mine visiting her home country was staying at her sisters’ and called me at just the right time.

I can’t believe it,” she muttered.

Believe what?” I inquired.

My sister is just like my mother.”  Continuing, “She is constantly telling my nephew how much everything costs. She’s teaching him the exact same thing she taught me. I hate it.”

I see,” I noted. “Maybe? Just maybe? He’ll be able to grow past it. That, just because he is experiencing this today, doesn’t mean he can’t overcome it.”

Frustrated, she lashed out, “No. He’s just like a dog. He’s learning only what he’s trained.”

Yeah. Maybe.” I noted. “But maybe just like other kids today, he’ll become resourceful, interact with others and become something better than that being taught.”

No.” she replied. “Impossible. He’s only being groomed into being guilted into caring for his mother.”

But maybe ….” Pause.

Click.

If you want to make a call …

She hung up.

The messages children learn are powerful, with most being planted before we discover the capacity to challenge and reject them. Such a message is found in Harry Chapin’s song Flowers are Red, released some 40 years ago.

In the song, Chapin offered a warning to those who would abuse privilege. As such, a little boy is delivered to school full of life. He sees a world full of colors with no rule as to which should apply to what. The crayons dare him to draw. The teacher intervenes for the boy’s “own good,” as she’s seen this before. It’s bad. A child’s view of a world offering flowers of different colors brings only trouble. Eventually, the teacher punishes the child until he surrenders and tells the teacher that “flowers are red, and green leaves are green.”

The last stanza of the song indicates the child moves to a new school. A new teacher claims ‘… painting should be fun. And there’s so many colors in a flower, so let’s use every one.” However, one student paints flowers only red and green. When asked why, he quotes his previous teacher.

“… flowers are red, and green leaves are green. There’s no need to see flowers any other way than the way they’ve always have been seen.”

The point I was trying to make was that we must get past children being nothing more than trainable dogs. Yes, maybe her nephew (and her sister) are having a difficult time. However, there should be nothing that summarily dictates the future – that our current opinion of any child should not become that child’s life.

Instead, maybe life has a different, yet unseen purpose. Maybe, her nephew will cure some form of cancer, become a recognized mathematician, create a solution to global warming, write great novels, a wonderful chef, an honest and trusted business owner, husband, lover and father. The possibilities are endless.

Enthusiasm should be our vehicle for education and love. As a Buddhist, I believe Chapin’s real message might better be directed toward the second teacher. Will the second teacher give up? Can the second teacher be successful? And, should she be successful, would not the lesson be that life still remains a place of endless possibility?

This Christmas I ask each parent to look at their children with love. Do one thing … get past dog.

The fourteenth letter was written in reference to the question, “How will I find you if you’re not here?”

Reading this letter after so many years, I honestly can reinforce that no one can show you one true method. And self-help guru’s offering a technique offer only a program that had somehow worked for them. But watch yourself. When you talk to someone, are you aware of it or are you simply identifying with it?

A key to knowing someone is “watching.” Is that person aware of their anger, happiness or peacefulness? Can they study their own experience and attempt to understand it? Where did it come from? What brought it on? I don’t know of any other way to awareness. I belief one can only change that which is understood. As noted in my letter, one has to get to the middle to ‘know.’ For me, I’ve found that which is not understand is often repressed. But when you understand it, it changes.

I believe the key to finding someone is through that person’s love. Another way of saying it, perfect love casts out fear. In my letter I make a series of statements – a guide if you will – on finding me. In other words, to find me when not physically present is to experience pain yet be able to dream. One can also find me by being foolish for love and shout ‘yes’ (thank you) to God upon the shores of a lake. To find me you must be true to yourself. To find me, regardless of what life throws at your door, get up and help someone in need. Do those things and you will find me?

What I tried to provide was a compass. There were no demands, no expectations, and no dependency. I did not demand that my love make me happy or that my ultimate happiness lay in her. I provided a guide … for her … on how to find me. Maybe, just maybe … such a guide might work for you.


My Dear Love:

You once asked how to find me. In truth, all of us are constantly changing and we continually search, assess and rediscover ourselves. Even though I have a passion for life, for the few close friends who’ll stand beside me, for passions captured and passions missed. Still, does anyone really know me? Do I even know myself? The more I see, the more I believe I’ve remained a mystery, even unto myself.

While we are profoundly emotionally deep and rich in our belief for each other, just how do we attest to knowing? Often, I look upon myself with great curiosity, even wonderment. Robert Frost’s poem The Secret Sits is a simple couplet where its meaning is left unto the mystery of the reader.

“We dance around the ring and suppose,
But the secret sits in the middle and knows.”

All of us have spent our lives dancing in a circle while simultaneously contemplating life. And in the end, maybe the ‘secret’ is God. Only god knows the secret to all which exists. Another interpretation could be that the world we live is often left open to interpretation. We, as stewards, are given the right to interpret the world upon our own experiences.

However, to truly find me, can you understand ache while simultaneously dare to dream? If you wish to find me, will you risk looking like a fool for love for the adventure of being alive? To find me, can you sit in pain without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it? To find me, can you be in joy while dancing under a moonlit, start-filled sky? To find me, is it possible to live momentarily live in the space between disappointing another while remaining true to thy own self? Is it possible not betray your soul? Is it possible to live with failure and while standing at upon a lake’s shore and shout, ‘Yes?’ To find me, can you find grief and despair, experience being weary and bruised, then get up, and do what needs to be done to feed the poor?

In essence, to find me, you must find yourself, for ‘I’ am in the middle.

While deep and rich, I treasure our friendship and love. Our exchanges are extremely important. I suppose one could muster old fashioned boundaries, but that may impede our spiritual growth and love. Whenever the world bogs you down, wherever the compass takes, you can find me in my words, letters and love.

Find me and I shall find you.

Love … W

Originally, I wrote the thirteenth letter in response to the question, “Why I was called?” In years since, I’ve come to learn that one true way to answer this question is by being true to yourself. In essence, one has to know oneself, accept oneself; know their strengths, passions, and limitations. One path to knowledge is through living life. Unfortunately, many never live. Thus, one is neither able to embrace oneself nor truly understand the reason they’ve been called.

In spite of this understanding, I look upon some parts of my life cringe from some things either said or did. My ethical GPS went askew, neglecting that to which I had been called. In those times, my failure to identify and affirm the truth didn’t mean there wasn’t consequences. Rather, the harm projected was greater because some may have believed I didn’t care whether or not I (and to a larger extent, society) adhered to truth or equality.

This letter was written as a call to monarchs – monarchs of the environment – monarchs for the people. We must guard and bear one another’s burden. Sounds idyllic. Yet, we should be about standing for truth, regardless of the jeers. Lastly, treat everyone with kindness – not because they are kindhearted, but because we are.

In reading my thirteenth letter, what pops into my head is the desire to be true to yourself. if you can’t find them, steal them. Dale Carnegie wrote:

“The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?”

Yes, I wrote this letter to my love, but its core message is about being true to yourself.


My Dear Friend:

Recently, I the movie ‘Frozen’ and was enchanted by the characters struggles as I did in 2013. Like all, there was love, personal setback, and subsequent victories. In most movies, lessons will smack one right across the face. Movies such as Crash, The Blind Side, Life is Beautiful, and A Christmas Coral are just a few of the thousands. In most movies, via each character, we live, dream, root, cry and rejoice.

For many on this planet, life is not a Disney movie. As such, you and I have seen undue wrong. As a team, we’ve work for reconciliation in our own world, our schools, our home, our social acquaintances and friends. However, the voice of injustice often cries from a wilderness most fail to go. “Ah.” We say. “Tomorrow.” As such, we pass by the victim to tarry another day. That ‘tarry’ becomes another day – then another – then another – and so on. We barter, “What can I write? Who can I possibly help?”

It’s hard to start the next chapter of life while constantly rereading the last.

Walking with you every day, I’ve truly honored to be in your leadership and effort to bridge equality. As a result, I have encountered many a friend I may have never crossed paths with. Yet, the question you and I often discuss is not how we got here, to this event or that event. Rather, the question I recently thought of is, “Why was I called here?”

I thought hard.

The answer struck walking in cool October winds near a small, but vacant city park. After stumbling and steadying myself against a park bench, for a moment – yeah, just a moment – the souls of former children, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters spoke through falling leaves.

It wasn’t an impressive answer. Some might claim it rather vague, even unassuming. As a Buddhist, I’ve been taught love and compassion are the driving force behind each and every action. And within those voices, I was surrounded by hearts from years gone by. Yet I was able to bridge past and present and reached humanity, professed dignity and brought forth a wealth of love never seen.

Remember, many a brick wall is comprised of flesh? You’ve always blasted through. Hell, we didn’t know if we were right or wrong. We just blasted past when feasible. And that’s our call – to fight – for the forgotten, to blast through walls of flesh, where we can, when we can, but always in love and compassion. And as we move forward, it is imperative to maintain compassion. Since many forgot to support one another in equality, God chose us to reinforce His gift of love. Therefore, be true – always be true.

Our world has always been about bonding. As such, we need to join others who will make it better. Just as the world moves forward unto the future, you and I can’t go back. So, while you know this letter is only for your eyes – I must confess. You know that cool October wind mentioned earlier? I wasn’t solely surrounded by only hearts from years gone by. I heard children from our future.

Thus, this letter is for them. God calls us to be stalwarts for them. You and I are part of their future. We are commanded to continue the good fight.

Always remain that amazing you. I embrace you, even now, even here.

With love ….. W

Love LetterThis is the first of two love letters. You may already discern that many of my letters were ought-right expressions of love. Yet, there are firsts in one’s life that aren’t meant to be forgotten.

As such, there was this natural anticipation to write such a letter. I hadn’t read this letter since sealing it years ago. Now, I read it again. Once the message starts to sink into your heart, I wish this letter had been read, then answered.

So why the “Love” Letter? If there is a Buddhist message, it would be the following:

Love is not something we can hold in our hands. It’s more than an emotion we hold in our hearts. Love willingly gives part of ourselves to one another. I’ve experienced them, both in heart and soul. I tend to liken these as gifts to God, to love and myself; it helps me understand my love for God.

In truth, for many of us, its been a lifetime since we have told others how much they are loved. And so, to all my readers, I want you to know you are loved.


My Dear Friend:

We are separated by time and distance. Yet even in upstate Michigan, the stars are no match for thy beauty. I wish to be swallowed by your aurora. The prospect of living another day without your voice brings me no pleasure.

I there are few promises in this world. Maybe before the divine bids me adieu, I will know thy touch once more. Hypnotize me by your breath. Engulf me in your love, by the fire. Course through my soul and brand my soul in love.

Of all the dreams, I believe only them of you to be most true. Yet, each dream unfolds another truth of the serene, a gift from a hidden heaven. I can feel you in my arms. I can confess my soul’s longing. You are perfect. Majestic.

When I am lost, I fast. In your fragrance, I am intoxicated. The bed you sleep upon is blessed. The rain that bathes you is holy. For I have seen within thy bejeweled eyes. Come walk in the garden by moonlight. Stir me by day, satisfy me in the dark on the river. Rest softly and sweetly in my arms … forevermore.

In 2012, I wrote two letters surrounding the theme titled, ‘Because of You.’ There are many in this world that we owe a great deal of gratitude, whose legacy remains unfulfilled. In fact, Alan Turing once said:

Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

When I now read this 2012 letter, I think of Joan Clarke’s quote from the movie The Imitation Game.

Do you know, this morning I was on a train that went through a city that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you. I bought a ticket from a man who would likely be dead if it wasn’t for you. I read up, on my work, a whole field of scientific inquiry that only exists because of you. Now, if you wish you could have been normal… I can promise you I do not. The world is an infinitely better place precisely because you weren’t.

In essence, I wrote this letter to my love during a very difficult time in her life, where she questioned herself and her value. Thus, this letter is the first of two. It’s for those who think they are alone, unworthy, or ripped apart.


My Dear Friend:

Upon entering a Pomona, California church for some quiet prayer, I became a witness to a Bible study group reading Mathew 10:34.

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send [or bring] peace, but a sword.”

After reading, the leader stated, “Relationships will be ripped apart, but life in Christ will be found.” I found this to be a harsh example of living Christlike. Since 2010, my walk has focused on finding the kingdom of peace within all. And that same very kingdom within us is also outside us.

In all my walks, I’ve never found Christ to be ripping people at the seams. Sadly, I’ve only seen people rip each other at the seams.

Therefore, just as Christ is unique, so are you. You are divinely created. You are divinely loved. Therefore, the same power of agape love is equally available to both you and I. And likewise, we nourish each other just as much as we nourish God, just as much as God nourishes us.

Because of you, I can do something more than show up. Because of you, I live in dignity, filled with purpose and love. Because of you, I no longer ask God for permission to be in His company, for you are God in love and peace. Because of you I’m not afraid to be me, to be the person I was always meant to be. Because of you, I no longer doubt.

Love is understanding. It’s not a physical transformation, it’s an inner transformation. You are the water in my life. Your love is my water. You always find a way, always. It doesn’t matter if the solution is immediately visible to you or not, God finds a way – just as water — it may cut through, circumvent,

This letter was a blessing to reread. Originally written on a winter’s night at Mark Twain Lake, located in Ralls and Monroe County, Missouri. I was amazed at the level of interconnection – just how present I was in the moment.

In general, there are two different views of how we perceive the world. The first view is that all beings exist independently, that the world is a collection of independent beings. The second world view is that all beings exist in relation to other beings. From a wider view, we can see our connection to others.

Buddhism views that everything in the world is interconnected. We are not only connected to other people, but to the air through our breathing and to the universe through light. As such, I misunderstood how deeply ‘present‘ I was in the moment and how deeply connected I was to Mark Twain Lake, God, Christ, spirit, eternal love, spiritual lust, the body, sparrows, oak ledges, midnight, tolling bells, the wine, wind, my thoughts, her breath, her eyes and love.

It’s a shame we never see these connections in real life. Had we, how so much more beautiful could our world could be?

And now, this letter is connected to the world, for all to read.

Enjoy.


My Dear Friend:

I sit upon the shores of Mark Twain Lake as the bells toll midnight. The wine nips my lips and I etch out this letter, breathing life from my soul. And I extend this missive in place of my heart, hoping, that as I write, you are well.

I notice something simple, odd really. Tree Sparrows have taken amusement of my existence. Pecking and hobbling among the oak ledges adjacent to my room, the distant lights appear like decorating ornaments of life’s backdrop. Having the need to escape for at least a night, I find myself briefly playing our own home movie, the rumble of bygone days laid to rest. A newer love of life surges. No, my dear love, for my eyes gaze southwesterly toward you and align to thy heart.

You have often worked for the beauty and benefit of others. Our lives are not our own. I am bound to you, as you are bound to me. We are bound to others, bound to our past, our present, in kindness and in love. We are interconnected. The crux of our stories touches all we’ve met.

Yet, as I constantly travel, I wonder how to carry all the love you’ve given. More so, I wonder to thirst for you in life, in death, and in life evermore. I cannot think of a more powerful way to honor either Christ or God. Loving you us a fulfillment of heavenly vision, a divine interconnection. And it is in our connection, that the ‘spirit’ comes and rejoices.

Should the Tree Sparrow be willing to tarry a message, it would be simple. This pottery is kiln fired. I am stronger the marrow stands firm against the wind.  And my heart longs to inhale the inner fire and dance in the peace of your heavenly blue eyes.

The wind briefly rattles! What say ye wind? What? “Folly or fool?” Oh, dare ye foolish wind! I am overwhelmed with beauty, I am bewildered by spiritual sweetness, this weary mind turns for refreshment as a dusty traveler might sink onto a soft grassy bank. Wherever this refreshment goes, even if it is for only a moment, I am blessed to have known its caress. Your love is my gift; your love will be my treasure.

Maybe our time is a brief rest, but also, maybe these moments remind us of the power of eternal love – that we are loved – that we can be loved. Regardless, I am encircled by your breath and I entrust our spiritual lust will draw near, in whatever way possible and to the way that’s right.

In preparation for the upcoming midterms, my employer requested I send employees a link to the county website holding links to a complete list of voting information, including polling hours, locations, sample ballots for each district and early voting.

Later that afternoon, a young coworker emailed. “Why is voting so important? Much of it is predetermined and your vote doesn’t count.

After work, a group met for drinks. Annoyed, the young coworker interrupted and complained I hadn’t responded to the email.

I don’t answer political questions at work. Management provides the county website only as a frame of reference, and should you choose to vote, willingly provides several hours.”

Scoffing, the young employee snorted, “I suppose you’re voting?

I nodded.

Why?

Because I’m not a wild pig.”

Huh?

Truthfully, I could have stated that in a democracy, we get the government we deserve, and this means we get even those governments we never voted for, meaning by our failure to participate. Instead, we get governments by the few, for the few. As such, these outcomes are often abysmal.

I did not say any of the above. Instead, I told my young coworker the parable of ‘wild pigs.’

“One day, a Political Science student from a foreign country asked the professor a strange question. “Know how to catch wild pigs?”

Thinking the question to be a joke, the professor replied, “What’s the punch line?”

“You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put fence down one side of the place where they’re used to eating. When they get used to the fence, they continue to eat the corn again. You put up another side of fence. They get used to that and continue to eat.

You continue the routine until all four sides of the fence are up with only a gate in the last side. The pigs, being used to free corn, come through the gate and eat. You slam the gate and catch the whole herd. Suddenly, the wild pigs scream in panic as they try to escape. It’s only then they realize they’re caught.

In essence, they’ve forgotten how to think for themselves. That’s how I see American voters.”

So, under the current administration, who’s the farmer and who are the pigs? Do I have to hit you over the head?

The Power of Real Prayer

A friend and I spent an evening sipping tea and reading. For her, it’s fictional stories of medieval knights, kings, queens, and damsels in distress. For me, news, current events, non-fiction biographies and writing.

Without warning, her phone’s ‘Line’ app binged.

Her face quizzically contorted, “My friend from Asia says the Holy Spirit aske her to pray for me?

Why?” I straightforwardly queried.

Huh,” she uttered.

Why?” I repeated.

What?” she sputtered while starting to get mad. “The Spirit obviously needed …” she started and then falling silent. Pausing a moment, “The Spirit knew I was in trouble and …” before drifting off.

Perplexed, she couldn’t answer my question.

My thought was simple, since the Holy Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity and is all powerful, why did the Holy Spirit ask the friend to pray? If the Holy Spirit knew my friend was in trouble, and concerned enough, why didn’t the Holy Spirit simply intervene?

Prayer in the power of the flesh relies upon human ability and effort to carry the prayer forward. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, author of Living Water: Studies in John emphasized:

We all know what it is to feel deadness in prayer, difficulty in prayer, to be tongue-tied, with nothing to say, as it were, having to force ourselves to try. Well, to the extent that is true of us, we are not praying in the Spirit.

It’s hard to pray, when the ‘why’ is unknown. Like most, my friend presumed the request was commanded for a possible, near dire event. However, what if the prayer request was for something wonderful? What if the request was simply, “I love her and she needs to feel that. And she needs to feel you love her as well.

Like most communication with God, most of us are clueless. We don’t know because we fail to ask. As such, we only end up pushing the prayer forward. “Oh Lord. I pray for this person because the Holy Spirit said so.” Pushing a prayer forward generally ends up on Heaven’s cutting room floor.

Real prayer has a living quality characterized by warmth and freedom and a sense of exchange. Real prayer means being in God’s presence and speaking directly to God. In this type pf communication, the Spirit illuminates your mind, moves your heart, and grants a freedom of utterance and liberty of expression.

I close with the following story.

A little boy was kneeling beside his bed with his mother and grandmother and softly saying his prayers, “Dear God, please bless Mummy and Daddy and all the family and please give me a good night’s sleep.”

Suddenly he looked up and shouted, “And don’t forget to give me a bicycle for my birthday!!”

“There is no need to shout like that,” said his mother. “God isn’t deaf.”

“No,” said the little boy, “but Grandma is.”

Ah, the power of real prayer.

Seven YearsCNN journalist Bill Weir has been traveling with the migrant caravan traveling from Mexico’s’ southern border to the U.S./Mexico border. While traveling some social media idiots aren’t sharing messages of hope or prayers, they’re actually laughing at the fact that Hurricane Willa is headed straight for the migrant caravan. Some making these racist comments call themselves Christians. This post is reflective of many.

@sxdoc: “Willa is from the word William which means Valiant Protector..God has sent Willa into the path of the caravan as his protector of the USA. What are the odds that at the time of a invasion a hurricane would form..the weather service would be into the W’s, and Willa would be it!”

As Weir posted on Twitter:

Scooping jaw off of floor after reading the replies to this tweet. It seems a whole bunch of your American neighbors are praying for a hurricane to kill thousands of families fleeing poverty, corruption and violence.

Make The Old Testament Great Again, I guess. https://t.co/ZNwcb3kDB7

Got to be God. Of course. No other way to explain it. Right? Right.

Idiots like blogger Deplorable Suzi Super Elite, whose ancestors put their trust in (Psalm 22:4), have determined God is using Hurricane Willa to send a message. As such, I have have a few questions.

  • On September 20th London news outlets reported a tourist died after the caravan she was in was blown off a cliff from Storm Ali. What message did God send this woman?
  • October 23rd, firefighters reported a mother and child were among five killed in ‘biblical’ storm Florence while looters began to raid abandoned homes and stores. Was God’s message to the mother and child or the firefighters?
  • Continuing with ‘biblical’ theme of Hurricane Florence, what message was God giving a 61-year-old South Carolina woman when the vehicle she was driving struck a tree” Was it “Hey! You hit a tree?”
  • And lest we forget when Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico. Island officials raised the death toll from 64 to 2,975. Obviously a message from God? Yes? No?

The Mexican government said authorities had given “priority attention” to elders, children and women — some of whom were pregnant. Authorities stated there were 2,200 migrants remaining on the bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico. Yet, for some Christians like Deplorable Suzi Super Elite, our form of assistance is to pray Hurricane Willa destroys asylum seekers. WTH?

We often talk as if there is some formal plan – as if God was the great arbiter, when in reality, we use any natural disaster, even Hurricanes, to hide our prejudices. As Rabbi Brad Hirschfield stated one year after September 11th:

You want plan? Then tell me about plan. But if you’re going to tell me about how the plan saved you, you’d better also be able to explain how the plan killed them. And the test of that has nothing to do with saying it in your synagogue or your church. The test of that has to do with going and saying it to the person who just buried someone and look in their eyes and tell them, “God’s plan was to blow your loved one apart.” Look at them and tell them that God’s plan was that their children should go to bed every night for the rest of their lives without a parent. If you can say that, well, at least you’re honest. I don’t worship the same God. But that at least has integrity.

Such hateful prayers against poor immigrants have nothing to do with Christ, looks nothing like Christ, and is not at all what Christ would have taught or wanted followers to do. I am embarrassed for you. And I am embarrassed for Christ.

I close with a quote from Heinrich Harrer’s character in Seven Years in Tibet, (with slight modifications):

A man who betrays Christ in this fashion shouldn’t preach about love. I wish shame be your torture and that torture be your life. May both be long. 

Chasing Reflections

While having dinner with a friend, I told him my time was closing and inquired if there was any last thing he wanted to do or place he wished to go while I was still here.

In tears, he asked, “You can’t abandon me.”

Sorry,” I sympathetically replied.

Shrugging it off, he chuckled. “Oh please. You said yourself that no one knows how long someone has to live. You said you were going to die over a year ago. And here you are.”

Awkward pause.

What will I do without you? You’re my only friend,” he whispered.

Make new friends.”

I can’t.”

Why not?

 “I don’t fit in here.”

Having worked here since college, you’re now fairly wealthy. You can ‘cash out,’ return to your native homeland and live in relative ease.”

I can’t.”

Why?

I won’t fit in.”

So, let me understand,” I said. “You’ve worked here all this time and have friends neither here nor at home?

Revealing a painful truth, “Yes.”

What you think you want out of life and how we spend our days in it, may not be nearly as important as the vital layers accumulating within you, hidden in plain sight.

Several years ago, writer David Allen wrote the following:

Love for friends and family, the decency we exchange with those around us, the value of not doing “great things,” but small things in a great way. Those are life’s moments inscribed in our heart.

Further borrowing from Allen, What the conversation between my friend and I remind us to do is that money is not the ultimate goal in life and each of us must take our heart out and read it every so often.

I conclude with the following.

As a laborer walked home along a river, he saw a shimmering in the river.When he looked, he saw a diamond necklace. But the river was completely polluted, filthy and smelly. Still, he decided to try and catch it so he could gain it’s reward. He put his hand in the filthy, dirty river and grabbed at the necklace, but somehow missed it. The second time, he walked into the river and put his whole arm in to catch the necklace. And again, he missed the necklace. Feeling depressed, he did a most disgusting thing and plunged completely into the river. Yet, he failed again.

Just then, a Buddhist monk came upon him.

“What are you doing?” queried the monk.

The man didn’t want to share the secret, so he refused to say.

The monk asked again, “What are you doing?”

The man mustered some courage and told the monk about the necklace and his attempts to catch it.

Taking compassion at the pitiful man, the Monk replied, “Perhaps you should try looking upward, toward the branches of the tree, instead of in the river.”

The man looked up, and true enough, the necklace was dangling on the branch of a tree. All this time, he had only been trying to capture a mere reflection.

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