Throughout my life some of the best knowledge I have learned has come through ancient fables and parables. Several weeks ago I shared some stories like Aesop’s Fables, the uncommon good sense that holds just as true today as back in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC when Aesop, a lowly slave, endeared himself to earth.
A parable is much like a fable yet markedly different. Whereas a fable will use the behavior from a crafty crow or a sly fox, the experts tell us, “to the delight of millions of readers down through the years, a parable reflects a distinct view of the human condition.”
Parables, mind you, are about us human beings and each carries several life lessons: There are many parables in the Bible, for instance, and by studying these ancient words, we can best assist ourselves as well as our fellow strugglers. What you are about to read are two parables, both anonymous, which should tell you that wisdom, when handled with love and respect, has no expiration date.
I adore stories like these two, and, if handled with love and respect, will last an eternity.
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THE FALCON AND THE BRANCH
Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.
Months passed, and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.
The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly.
He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch.
Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “Maybe I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”
In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”
The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”
With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, “It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”
We are all made to fly — to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But at times we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, and the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling. Let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight!
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THE LEGEND OF THE BLACK D0T
One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin. The professor handed out the exam with the text facing down, as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over the papers.
To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions, just a black dot in the center of the sheet of paper. The professor, seeing the expression on everyone’s faces, told them the following: “I want you to write about what you see there” The students, confused, got started on the inexplicable task.
At the end of the class the professor took all the exams and started reading each one of them out loud in front of all the students. All of them, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet.
After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor started to explain: “I am not going to grade you on this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot, and the same happens in our lives. We have a white piece of paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots.
Our life is a gift given to us (by God) with love and care and we always have reasons to celebrate: nature renewing itself every day, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see every day…
However, we insist on focusing on the dark spot: The health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relations with family members, the disappointment with a friend. The dark spots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds. Take your eyes away from the black dots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings; each moment that life gives you. Be happy and live a life filled with love!
And remember from Sesame Street: ‘It is all about the size of where you put your eye, and that’s about the size of it!’
-- Author Unknown
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“Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. “ -- Anonymous
“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” -- William James
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." -- Mary Anne Radmacher
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
“No one knows what he can do until he tries.” -- Publilius Syrus
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” -- Marie Curie