Life has a way of squeezing out the sense of wonder we had as children. Can you still remember how you became immersed in the storybooks you read – those stories that you could read over and over again because they were so real to you? Or lying on a blanket in the still of the night and watching the stars in awe, without thinking much? The belief that life is good, and that good people and good things triumph over bad people and bad things was natural then. As we age, harsh realities and disillusionment, can easily lead to apathy and cynicism. Apathy and cynicism threatens to smother the sense of wonder in us completely – and with it the belief in, and hope for pure truth, everlasting good, and meaning. Read More
Imagine a person who never expresses gratitude. You most probably will be thinking of someone who either sees life similar to a board game where everything is determined by the roll of the dice, or someone who believes that whatever good there is in his life is entirely the result of his own intellect and efforts. If we see life as coincidence or something that we somehow deserve and are entitled to, we will have difficulty in understanding gratitude and its place in our lives. Imagine a world with only self-absorbed, arrogant and cynical people. Can it be a world of true joy, abundance, goodwill and meaning? Read More
How empty would our lives be without love, receiving it and giving it?
‘Love’ is a soft word – too soft for many. They feel, ‘if we allow softness in our lives we will be exposed and left behind’. “Soft” is weak, and so is love’, according to them. Love means to be gentle, kind, compassionate and forgiving, whereas success requires being forceful, domineering and uncompromising. Yet, behind the facade of self-sufficiency and bravado, those who are uncomfortable with the concept also dearly want to be loved like everybody else. Their viewpoint is, however, understandable. The world is a scary place so that self-protection for survival comes naturally. Was it not for the love of our parents, caretakers or others that reached out to us, we would not have known anything but the need to protect ourselves from the real or perceived dangers of life. Read More
Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That’s what the Quester says.]
There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke.
What’s there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes— it’s business as usual for
old planet earth
The good news for the Quester in Ecclesiastes is that he presents meaningful knowledge. What he says is a true and honest reflection of life. It resonates with us. It carries weight, and, as such, it points to something important. The fact that we can think and can express our observations and experiences of meaninglessness in a meaningful way suggests the possibility of spiritual sight. If human beings were absolutely devoid of meaning, they would not be conscious of meaninglessness. In some way, and for some reason, we can compare what we see and experience with something that is different, an image of perfect truth and meaning. Our inner being has knowledge of a homeland to which we want to return to. Read More
Meaningful living is not a fixed or static state. It is a journey to a meaningful destination. We have clearly not arrived at any state of perfection. We, as well as everything around us, are in constant change. And the question is: change to what? As we make our choices in response to ever-changing situations, our lives evolve. Are we in the process slipping further into meaninglessness or are we progressing towards more meaning?
Meaninful living is to strive for meaning. Striving for meaning requires nothing less than ceaseless work on oneself and refining of one’s personal vision.
As fulfilling, exciting and creative as work sometimes can be, it can also make us intense, stressed, deeply fearful and self-absorbed. This would typically happen when we see everything from the perspective of competition for scarce resources and opportunities. We want desperately to be recognised but we don’t recognise others. We want praise but don’t praise others. Read More
Are you coping and managing or growing and leading? If you ask me, after sixty odd years in this life, I concur with Scott Peck (The road less travelled) that life is difficult. Every now and then we experience turbulence, curve balls or wrong ‘uns, major disappointments, high expectations, stressful situations, fear, anxiety, loneliness and confusion … if not devastating tragedies. This being so, the question is how we respond to these experiences. In essence there are three ways of responding: we succumb and give up hope; we find a way to cope; we grow. Read More
Talking leadership and corruption – Is there a relationship between the two?