Anger: the monk’s little story


An evening in Rancho Viejo, Texas. The ambience– so dramatic and beautiful. None can beat Nature’s own filter! Just like being in a 3 dimensional painting … #nofilter (Skyscape # 007)

The Little Story: To meditate alone with no interruptions, a monk decided to go to a nearby lake. He took a boat and moored it in the middle of the lake, closed his eyes and began meditating. After a few hours of uninterrupted solitude passed and he was in a deep meditative state, when suddenly, he felt the bump of another boat colliding with his own. His eyes were closed still, but he was agitated, and felt his anger rising.  By the time he opened his eyes, he was about to scream at the boatman who had so carelessly disturbed his meditation. On opening his eyes, however, he was startled to find that it was just another empty boat that probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake.

That moment the monk had a profound realization: all the anger was within him; it merely needed the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him. And that moment on, whenever he came across someone who irritated or provoked him to anger, he reminded himself that the other person was merely an empty boat; it is he who has the choice to react independent of the whatever the other person did.

There have been times when I would feel frustrated and hopeless about things and myself, and it gave way to so much anger I didn’t know I was capable of. It is easy when you think you have a wrongdoer in your life to blame. But in absence any villains, one confronts the stark reality of one’s own nature. After the fact, realizing how it was making others feel would kill me. I felt powerless and at mercy of this intensity of the emotion I had no explanation for. Thats when I stumbled upon this story.

It hit me in the head like a brick. Past the cleverness of the story and the intellectual stimulation such stories might give, a space needs to be created for a lot of work to be done on self: take it in, assimilate the knowledge, contemplate on it until it shines back out as wisdom, becoming a part of one’s nature.

I wonder if you can relate to it…

‘Steal Like An Artist’ by Austin Kleon

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kelon
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Some of my earliest memories are from the house I grew up in: a huge British bungalow surrounded by aged trees and inspiring wilderness (attributed to lack of any proper gardening). I was must have been in early elementary, sitting by one of the bright windows that thrust in the tropical sun, tracing the dotted lower case letters in a handwriting workbook: my father was teaching me the cursive hand, the norm, and expectation, back in the day. I’d trace each letter over and over until I could reproduce it independently on a  4-line notebook.

Why do I bring it up, here? Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon is all about tracing until you can reproduce it independently. Or something to that effect. The book is not about stealing per se, as much as it is about making a paradigm shift in how you see the world. It bursts the idealist bubble some of us create for ourselves (for the worse), only to realize that art builds on art, and there is nothing “original” as such in this world. Suddenly, you feel you are a part of this huge fraternity that is working with you; you are not lonely anymore, sitting by yourself in a cave trying hard to create something out of thin air! The small book is a compilation of friendly advice stippled with inspiring quotes and clever visuals. A quick fun read, and certainly recommended for business leaders, artists, writers, budding spiritualists and anyone who is trying to inject creativity into their life and work. “In other words: this book is for you”

Some quotes and thoughts I liked are below:

Pick Masters who inspire you, emulate them and try to see the world as they do/did; fake it till you make it. Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.

The great thing about dead masters is that they cant refuse you as an apprentice. You can learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.

You are going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.

Embrace your limitation and keep moving.

There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Saul Steinberg: What we respond to in any work of art is the artist’s struggle against his or her limitations.

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‘Phenomenal Woman’ by Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

The poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou doesn’t really need any foreword or introduction. It does the work for itself- to ruffle something within you and your heart takes a leap! I write this nevertheless, as I can’t contain it.

In her eulogy to Angelou, the First Lady Michelle Obama referred to this poem saying the former ‘…celebrated black woman’s beauty like no one else‘. But I  think it doesn’t just confine itself to women of color; its for any woman who thinks she’s too short, too tall, too pale, too dark, too underweight, too over weight… Beauty is all about that Spirit within that shines forth transcending everything without. The poem encompasses all women: our grace, our power, our love.

The admiring mans eyes can make a woman feel she is the most beautiful woman there is, regardless of the fact that she meets the established beauty standards or not. Interestingly, Angelou does something similar:  she describes herself through the poem, but she makes you feel she’s actually describing you to the world (replace the Ime with ‘you‘, ‘my‘ with “your“, and ‘you‘ with “they“). It feels like she knows who you are deep down-that is the greatness in her love as a human being,

A lovely video that Maya Angelou talks of Love that liberates:

As regards the poem Phenomenal Woman, call me overemotional, but the first time as I read it, I choked halfway through as I heard in my mind Maya reciting the poem: that spark in her eyes, the music in the verses, the power in her charm.

Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. 
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them, 
They think I’m telling lies. 
I say, 
It’s in the reach of my arms, 
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me. 
I walk into a room 
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man, 
The fellows stand or 
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me, 
A hive of honey bees.   
I say, 
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me. 
Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me. 
They try so much 
But they can’t touch 
My inner mystery. 
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say, 
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile, 
The ride of my breasts, 
The grace of my style. 
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me. 
Now you understand 
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about 
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing, 
It ought to make you proud. 
I say, 
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me.
(Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou Random House Inc., 1994)

Urdu poetry verses on GOD!

Those who know Urdu/Hindi, even if not very well conversant with Urdu/Hindi/Persian poetry, can appreciate the beauty of Shayari (meaning poetry in Urdu). These two-liners from the three great Urdu/Persian poets (who are from different time periods in history), when juxtaposed, create a beautiful flow and is truly a treat for the mind! They all talk of God’s presence, where one seems to aptly respond to the other.

A mere transliteration into English prose will kill the magic! I did however find a beautiful poetic translation here, along with many others, that a poetry lover must check out! (I did change a couple words form the original translation, as they sounded more apt to me).

Ghalib, Iqbal and Faraz, legendary poets from three different eras speak beautifully of Gods existence.
Ghalib, Iqbal and Faraz, legendary poets from three different eras speak beautifully of Gods existence. (Translation source:

How to get 100% inspired in less than 22 minutes?

By watching this video! Money-back guarantee (if you had paid any in the first place, that is!)

Arunima Sinha: an Indian girl. 26. Athlete. Middle class family. Just a regular girl next door, right? What could she possibly have to say about life and living? Wait until you watch this video; I got blown away! So genuine, so inspiring, so impressive! She speaks from her heart, straight to yours…

For those who do not follow Hindi, there are sub-titles below. Make sure you enabled YouTube Captions if the subtitles don’t appear.

More details on Arunima Sinha on Wiki. And you are welcome!