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Illustration from "Thousend and one night"
Sani ol-Molk (1814-1866) painter
















A safe place for love

༺༻       Story line              Statement       
1.Millennias of years ago, when God was
creating life, HE inquired with the angels,
"Where on Earth should we put love?
It's so precious I intend to put it someplace safe."
2.The angels thought for awhile.
The first one said,
"Put it in the food.
Surely the humans will find it there and cherish it."
3.Another angel suggested, "Put it in the ground.
Every time the humans walk they will feel it."
4.A third one offered, "Put it in the sky.
That way it will be everywhere."
5.Finally God concluded, "I know – I'll put it in their hearts.
Right there inside of them. It will be safe there,
but it will be the last place they look."
See also: ► Heart

Hidden inside until discovered

The Creator gathered all of creation and said,

Sour cherry tree in full bloom
"I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.
It is the realization that they create their own reality."

The eagle said,

"Give it to me, I will take it to the moon."

The Creator said,

"No. One day they will go there and find it."

The salmon said,

"I will hide it on the bottom of the ocean."
"No. They will go there, too."

The buffalo said,

"I will bury it on the great plains."
"They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there."

Then Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said,

"Put it inside them."

To which the Creator replied,

"It is done."


           A Sioux legend           

White Buffalo Calf Woman

She came from the stars. To many tribes she came through and each knew her by a different name. With bated breath the two hunter warrior braves waited. At last, upon the crest of the hill, a young woman appeared.
Remarking upon her extraordinary beauty, the first of the warrior braves exclaimed how he would like to couple with her right there in the sun warmed prairie grass. Put aside such thoughts spoke the other brave. This is a sacred woman, a vision per-
haps, certainly not one to be approached in that manner. But to his surprise the woman in the white buckskin smiled at the lusty warrior and said to him,

"Come to me. You shall have what you desire."
White Buffalo Calf Woman appearing to two warriors

And so the second brave was left standing alone on the prairie, watching as his brother walked off, apparently enjoying the myste-
rious woman in the swirling cloud of dust that for a while hid both from sight.
When the dust had settled enough to see, there was the woman, bringing slowly together the stitches of her dress. At her feet partially decomposed, lay a corpse, alive with worms, beetles and clouds of hungry flies.
Then the White Buffalo Calf Woman – who was the form in which the great spirit had come to teach the people of the plains – spoke to the other young brave, who now remained alone and said,

"A man who looks first to a woman's outer beauty will never know her beauty divine, for there is dust upon his eyes and he is as good as blind, so it is also with wo-
man who are consumed with making their outer beauty their focus. But a man who sees in a woman the spirit of the great one and who sees her beauty first in spirit and in truth, that man will know god in that woman; and should she choose to lie with him, he will share with her in enjoyment more fully than the former ever could. And all will as it should in this dream co-collective reality you find yourself in. It has enough power to break the spell that the world finds itself under.

You, when you looked upon me, were not blind to my beauty, but your first thoughts were, 'Who is she, this beautiful woman? What is it that makes her countenance glow so in the afternoon sun? What thoughts are those that dance behind her eyes? From what land does she come? With what tidings? And so my young friend, have no fear. You too shall have what you desire.

You and your friend symbolize two paths that the men of a tribe can take. If you seek first the sacred vision of
the great spirit, you
will see as the creator sees, and in that seeing, you will find what you need from the earth
will come readily into your hands. But if you seek first to secure your earthly desires and forget the spirit, you
will die inside and be as the living dead zombie existence.
In olden days, most of the men took your path; but in this age many men are now going the path of your fallen brother.
What you saw in the cloud was a sped up time. Your brother lived many years in those moments while you saw only a swirl of dust. It was not so bad for him as you might imagine. He lived a life that many in his forgetful age would even say was a 'good' one. But he was ruled over by his passion and fleshy desires, satisfaction of the moment's addiction. In the end, his body turned to dust, for all his thoughts were dust. He had forgotten not
only the great spirit, but his own as well. He contributed nothing of meaning to me, to womankind, or to the people of the plains."

Then the hunter asked the young woman who she was. With eyes black as the midnight pools between stars, she looked
steadily at him for a moment, as if her gaze alone gave obvious answer.

"I am the spirit of truth",

she replied at last.

"Your people know me as your mother of the old ones, but as you can see for yourself I am not so old as all that.
I am no older then any stalk of grass waving in the wind or any prairie flower. I am the great mother who lives inside every mother, the girl who plays in every sister child. I am the face of the great spirit your people have forgotten. I have come to talk to the nations of your plains."


White Buffalo Calf Woman is a sacred woman of supernatural origin, central to the Lakota religion as the primary cultural prophet.
Oral traditions relate that she brought the "Seven Sacred Rituals" to the Teton Sioux.


Source: ► Excerpted from: Ken Carey, US American author, Return of the Bird Tribes, HarperOne, reprint edition 7. June 1991
Reference: ► White Buffalo Mythology Egyptian Book of the Dead, chapter 84, ~1550 BCE~50 BCE
See also:
Emergence of the white animals
Choosing between two paths – Prostitute or maiden
Transforming rankist rape culture into digntiarian consent culture and ► Violence and ► Decision

The futility of squabbling

Home, sweet home, 19th century
Pietro Saltini (1839-1908)
Once upon a time there were two monks who had lived together for forty years and never had a squabble. Not even once.
One day, one monk said to the other:
"Don't you think it's about time we had a squabble, even if it's just once?"
"Sure," replied the other monk.
"Let's get started right away. About what shall we squabble?"
"About this piece of bread perhaps?" the first monk offered.
"OK, let's have a squabble over this bread. How are we going to go about this?" asked the other again.
"This bread is mine, and mine alone," said the first monk.
"Oh yeah? Well you can keep it," said the second monk.


Source: ► Anthony de Mello SJ (1931-1987) Indian Catholic Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, spiritual leader, author,
Awareness. Conversations with the Masters, Doubleday, New York, Image, reprint paperback edition 1. June 1990, May 1992
See also: ► Conflict and ► Zen stories and ► Inspiration
Siehe auch: ► Wahre Lehrer

Conflict resolution by sharing a bowl of porridge together

Saint Juniper, called "the renowned jester of the Lord," was a friar from 1210 to his death in 1258.

Millet porridge

He was one of Saint Francis of Assisi's earliest disciples who had exclaimed

"Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers."

After having been severely reprimanded by his superior, Brother Juniper was so disturbed in the following night that sleep fled him. So he got up in the dark and went to the monastery's kitchen. There he prepared a bowl of hot porridge adorned with lump of butter on top. This dish he took along to his superior's room. Knocking at his door he said,

"Father, I have prepared this porridge for you and beg you to eat it."

The superior told him to leave and allow him to continue his sleep.
Dryly Brother Juniper replied,

"Would you be so kind as to hold the light while I eat it?"

The superior laughed in spite of himself. Good sport that he was, he sat down with Brother Juniper so that they both could
eat the porridge together.


See also: ► Conflict

Compliance to orders – Turning foes into friends

A king sent out his commander with a troop of soldiers to a foreign battle field. His command to the general was:

Vanquish my foes!



After the general and the army had left the kingdom the regent had not re-
ceived any news about what had resulted on the battle ground. After many
months had passed the king, disquieted, sent out a scout to search for the commander and to report back.


On assumed war territory the scout came across a camp, out of which one could hear gay babble of voices. Coming closer he found the commander and his soldiers sitting together with the king's foes at a table and having a good time.


The scout took the commander in charge to task:

General, you have failed to execute the king's order!
Instead of eliminating your king's foes you are fraternizing with them.


The chided commander serenely replied:

Certainly, we have executed the king's command.
The enemy is vanquished AND we have made new friends!


To vanquish your enemies, make friends with them. Chinese proverb


See also: ► Friendship and ► Solution
Siehe auch: ► Auftrag erfüllt – Feinde ⇔ Freunde

Paradox of deceleration

Statue of Till Eulenspiegel
Mölln, Town hall square


One day Till Eulenspiegel was leisurely strolling to town.
All over sudden he heard the noise of a nearing vehicle on a road behind him. Soon after a coach came to a halt next to him on a road with pot-holes here and there. The coachman, in
a hurry, asked Till:

"Tell me urgently – how long will it take me to get to town?"

Till replied:

"If you go slowly, it will take half an hour. If you go fast, it will take two hours, sir."
"You fool",

scolded the coachman churning the horses to a fast gallop. Not long after that the coach was out of sight.
About an hour later Till turned around a corner where he saw a coach lying in the ditch. Its leading axle was broken. Sure enough it was the hurried coachman from before bitching while trying to repair his coach. Addressed with a scornful glance the easygoing passenger repeated to the driver:

"As I've said: If you go slowly, it will take half an hour."


Source: ► Paradox
Siehe auch: ► Paradox der Entschleunigung

Biases hinder communication.

            A village and a circus burn down for lack of listening.            


A circus proprietor discovered that the big tent was on fire, and he called one of his employees and said

The circus, 1891
Georges Seurat (1859-1891) French painter
Go into the middle of the circus ring and tell the people that
the tent is on fire and they must get out as quickly as they can

The man went, but in a little while he came back saying

They wouldn't listen to me. They just laughed.
Go again,

said the proprietor,

and make them listen! Say to them the circus is on fire, flee for your lives!

But again he returned, saying

They laughed at me! They refused to listen!

Because the man whom the circus proprietor had sent was the clown;
and no-one took the clown seriously.


  • A fire broke out backstage in a theatre.
    The clown came out to warn the public;
    they thought it was a joke and applauded.
    He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater.
    I think that's just how the world will come to an end:
    to general applause from wits who believe it's a joke.


Source: ► Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish existentialist philosopher, theologian, writer,
Victor Eremita, editor, Either/Or. A Fragment of Life, Penguin Classics, 1. December 1992
See also: ► Listening and ► Communication and ► Jokes
Siehe auch: ► Vorurteile behindern die Kommunikation.

Four stages of wrestling with inner demons – Milarepa

One evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about nonduality of self and other, but he
still didn't quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of
his own mind – all the unwanted parts of himself – he didn't know how to get rid of them.


Four stages of dealing with one's inner demons
༺༻            Action             Brain/emotion·level
1.So first he taught them the dharma. He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how 'we are all one.'   Cognitive   
2.He talked about compassion and shunyata and how poison is medicine.
Nothing happened. The demons were still there.
3.Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him.   Affective   
4.Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying,
"I'm not going away and it looks like you're not either, so let's just live here together."
Integrative – 1st step


At that point, all of them left except one. Milarepa said,

"Oh, this one is particularly vicious."

(We all know that one. Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that's all we've got.) He didn't know what
to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said,

"Just eat me up if you want to."

Then that demon left, too.


Source: ► Pema Chödrön [Deirdre Blomfield-Brown] (*1936) US American Tibetan Buddhist nun (*1981), teacher in the
Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Chögyam Trungpa, author, Start Where You Are. A Guide to Compassionate Living,
Shambhala Publications, Boulder, Colorado, 1st edition 9. March 2004
See also: ► Hercules and the Hydra and ► Principle 3:1 and ► Hell and ► Trauma

The old woman in the cave and the black dog unraveling the woven garment

A woman in the process of knitting

               A Native American tale              


In a hidden cave an old woman is weaving a garment up to the trim. Bitten and chewed on porcupine quills are to hold the hem. She removes into the back of the cave to the ever burning fire to stir the seeds of life in the cauldron above the fire.


Meanwhile the black dog in the cave unravels the entire garment which was the result of the work of eons.
Upon her return the old woman finds the chaos. She stands there for a mo-
ment and picks up the weaving of the garment again. [...]
Be thankful for the black dog. If something (i.e. the world) would be perfec-
it is dead. The world would be over once it is perfected.


The beautiful new design had become necessary because the black dog
had unraveled both nature and culture.
The old woman knew enough to begin weaving culture and nature, to com-
bine imagination and hard work again so that both are less opposing and
less destructive.


We are living in the black dog times,[*] in the times of unraveling – and we can choose to weave the loose threads again – back into the world. We are invited to reweave ourselves and the world – by the wise one in us.

Source: ► Audio interview with Michael Meade, US American storyteller, mythologist, author of the book The world behind the world. Living at the ends of time. Mythic storytelling and the ends of time, presented by the US American web radio station
New Dimensions, program #3243, host Michael Toms, minute 28:35-32:55, aired 25. February 2008
See also:
Paradigm shift
[*] Pluto in Capricorn – Rise and fall of empires – Structural transformation
Current trend – Shifting from PUSH mode to PULL mode

The weight of a snowflake

"Tell me the weight of a snowflake",

a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

Snow cristals growing
"Nothing more than nothing",

was the answer.

"In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story",

the coal-mouse said.

"I sat on a branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow – not heavily, not in a raging blizzard – no, just like in a dream, without a wound and without any violence.
Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted
the snowflakes setting on the twigs and needles of
my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952.
When the 3,741,953rd dropped onto the branch – nothing more than nothing, as you say – the branch broke off."

Having said that the coal-mouse flew away.


The dove, since Noah's time, an authority on the matter, thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself,

"Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world."


Source: ► Kurt Kauter (1913-2002) German peace activist, author, Disasters in our World and
The Weight of a Snowflake
, postworksavvy.com, Jeanette Lewis, 16. January 2020

Friendship ending the night

Famous hassidic tale on darkness and light


Natural spring, Mackinac Island, Michigan

A Rabbi asked his students,

How can we determine the hour of dawn, when the night ends and the day begins?

One of his students suggested,

When from a distance you can distinguish between a dog and a sheep?

was the answer from the Rabbi.

Is it when one man can distinguish between a fig tree and a grape vine?

asked a second student.


the Rabbi said.

Please tell us the answer, then,

said the students.

It is, then,

said the wise teacher,

when you can look into the face of a stranger and you have enough
light within you to recognize them as your brothers and sisters.

Up until then it is night, and darkness is still with us.
See also: ► Friendship and ► Darkness and ► Light

Skipping the commitment to silence for pride

Four monks decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks.
By nightfall on the first day, the candle began to flicker and then went out.
1.The first monk said: "Oh, no! The candle is out."Fact based statement
2.The second monk said: "Aren't we supposed not to talk?"Suggestive question
3.The third monk said: "Why must you two break the silence?"Why question
4.The fourth monk
laughed and said:
"Ha! I'm the only one who didn't speak."Pride sucks.
See also: ► Silence and ► Pride and ► Questions

The evil prince challenging the wise man

Many years ago there lived a wise man that everybody loved. People from all over the country would come to him for advice.


Sadly, the prince of the country didn't like the wise man. In fact, he hated him for gaining the love, affection, appreciation, and respect of the people, while he, the ruler, did not. The prince would constantly figure out ways to discredit the wise man, how-
ever unsuccessful each time. Then he came up with a foolproof plan. He said to himself:


White-bellied Green Pigeon

"When the wise man goes to the market to speak to the people tomorrow, I'll be there, and I'll take a dove with me. Before anyone has an opportunity to ask him a question, I'll say to him, ‘Wise man, I'm holding a bird in my right hand. Tell me, is it alive or dead?' If he says it is dead, I'll open my hand and let the dove fly away. If he says it is alive, I'll crush the bird to death in my hand and let it fall to the ground. Either way, I'll have made the wise man look like a fool in front of the people."


At the market the next day, when the wise man started speaking to the people, the prince took the dove from its cage and shouted loudly:


"Wise man, I'd like to ask you a simple question: This bird I'm holding in my hand, is it alive or dead?"


The crowd grew silent, and all eyes turned toward the wise man, eagerly awaiting his answer.


The wise man glanced at the people, then looked directly at the prince, and in calm and booming voice, said:


"That which you're holding in your hand is what you choose to make of it."


See also: ► Wisdom

The mad and belligerent Sultan and the eloqent Lady Sheherazade

A maddened sultan is broken to pieces due to the betrayal by his wife.
The fragmented token man kills her and weds maidens of the country night after night and sleighs them in the morning.
Doing so the bloodthirsty leader is bleeding out and decimating the female side of his country.


Sultan Schahrayar pardons Scheherazade

Sheherazade offers herself to be the next bride of death. And she takes her sister along as a witness and as a safe guard. At dawn Sheherazade starts to tell one of 1001 stories about other people who had been betrayed. However, she does not finish telling them.
Doing so she risks her life, her sister's life, the lives of so many other budding women in the country. Night after night it is to be seen if the king decides to keep on listening to her unfinished story.
After 1001 nights they had two children and the king was healed from belli-
gerence. He had become sane again, and the couple married in love.


  • The Sultan was blessed with wisdom and grace and could finally surrender, drop the sword of doom [...] and transcend his ingrown belligerence.
  • Sheherazades' wit, courage, patience and love had succeeded in weaving the broken king back into his true self.


* * *


  • Sheherazade represents the mythological feminine, reflecting Isis who recombined her fragmented mate Osiris.
  • She insisted on the importance of sisterhood (and informed witnes-
  • She is one of the first feminists aware of the web of ancient stories.
  • She insisted on facing off with the Sultan who was wearing the sword of doom.
  • She looked like she would be the queen of death, whereas she became the victorious queen of life.
  • She was so feminine that she saved the lives of many of her sisters and the masculine of itself
    (which sometimes is needed).
Source: ► Audio interview with Michael Meade, US American mythologist, storyteller, author of the book The world behind the world. Living at the ends of time, Mythic storytelling and the ends of time, presented by the US American web radio station
New Dimensions, program #3243, host Michael Toms, minute 32:50-41:26, 60:00 minutes duration, aired 25. February 2008
Reference: en.Wikipedia entry ► Arabian folk tale One Thousand and One Nights
See also: ► Women and ► Listening and ► Healing and ► Paradigm shift


The name Sheherazade means "born of noble people".
The Sheherazade aspect is innate in each woman and each man as the womb to give birth to itself.
As an ardent student of the mysteries Sheherazade was a great storyteller and weaver.
As an erudite woman she owned 1001 books reflecting the background to the 1001 Arabian Nights.

Note: The story plays in ancient Iraq. In modern Iraq the "Arabian Nights" have been banned and burned for being evil (i.e. pornographic).
The book is filled with love stories. People think it was within a harem where the old timeless folk tales were being told among the women.


          The only way to love the world is to love the eternity in it.
Human beings are tied to the eternal unending song.

The Fox and the Little Prince

Said the fox:

"Are you looking for chickens?"

said the little prince.

"I am looking for friends. What does that mean – 'tame'?"
"It is an act too often neglected,"

said the fox.

"It means to establish ties."
"'To establish ties'?"
"Just that,"

said the fox.

"To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you,
I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world."
"I am beginning to understand,"

said the little prince.

"There is a flower ... I think that she has tamed me." [...]

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

"Please – tame me!"

he said.

"I want to, very much,"

the little prince replied.

"But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."
"One only understands the things that one tames,"

said the fox.

"Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me."
"What must I do, to tame you?"

asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient,"

replied the fox.

"First you will sit down at a little distance from me – like that – in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner
of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings.
But you will sit a little closer to me, every day."

The next day the little prince came back.

"It would have been better to come back at the same hour,"

said the fox.

"If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you. One must observe the proper rites."
"What is a rite?"

asked the little prince.

"Those also are actions too often neglected,"

said the fox.

"They are what make one day different from other days, one hour different from other hours."

So the little prince tamed the fox.
And when the hour of his departure drew near –


said the fox,

"I shall cry."
"It is your own fault,"

said the little prince.

"I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you."
"Yes, that is so,"

said the fox.

"But now you are going to cry!"

said the little prince.

"Yes, that is so,"

said the fox.

"Then it has done you no good at all!"
"It has done me good,"

said the fox,

"because of the color of the wheat fields." [...]

And he [the little prince] went back to meet the fox.


he said.


said the fox.

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye,"

the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.
"It is the time I have wasted for my rose –",

said the little prince so he would be sure to remember.

"Men have forgotten this truth,"

said the fox.

"But you must not forget it.
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
You are responsible for your rose."


Source: ► Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944) French aviator, writer, The Little Prince,
chapter 21 The Little Prince and the Fox, "The Little Prince and the Fox", Reynal & Hitchcock, September 1943
See also: ► Friendship

God's smell

A true story


Dallas. As the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing, she was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.
That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.
At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature.
Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs.

"I don't think she's going to make it,"

he said, as kindly as he could.

"There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one."


Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

"No! No!"

was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.
As those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana's under-
developed nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified
her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love.
All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time.
And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.
Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life, she showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy bending is far from the end of her story.


One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.
As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked,

"Do you smell that?"

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied,

"Yes, it smells like rain."

Dana closed her eyes and again asked,

"Do you smell that?"

Once again, her mother replied,

"Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain."


Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced,

"No, it smells like Him.
It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."


Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children.
Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along.

The meditator, the mantra, and the water walking hermit

A devoted meditator, after years concentrating on a particular mantra, had attained enough insight to begin teaching. The student's humility was far from perfect, but the teachers at the monastery were not worried.


A few years of successful teaching left the meditator with no thoughts about learning from anyone; but upon hearing about
a famous hermit living nearby, the opportunity was too exciting to be passed up.


Disputing monks, ~1858-1860
Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885) German painter

The hermit lived alone on an island at the middle of a lake, so the medi-
tator hired a man with a boat to row across to the island. The meditator
was very respectful of the old hermit. As they shared some tea made
with herbs the meditator asked him about his spiritual practice. The old man said he had no spiritual practice, except for a mantra which he re-
peated all the time to himself. The meditator was pleased: the hermit was using the same mantra he used himself – but when the hermit spoke the mantra aloud, the meditator was horrified!


"What's wrong?"

asked the hermit.

"I don't know what to say. I'm afraid you've wasted your whole life! You are pronouncing the mantra incorrectly!"
"Oh, Dear! That is terrible. How should I say it?"


The meditator gave the correct pronunciation, and the old hermit was very grateful, asking to be left alone so he could get started right away. On the way back across the lake the meditator, now confirmed as an accomplished teacher, was pondering the sad fate of the hermit.

"It's so fortunate that I came along. At least he will have a little time to practice correctly before he dies."

Just then, the meditator noticed that the boatman was looking quite shocked, and turned to see the hermit standing respectfully on the water, next to the boat.

"Excuse me, please. I hate to bother you, but I've forgotten the correct pronunciation again. Would you please repeat it for me?"
"You obviously don't need it,"

stammered the meditator; but the old man persisted in his polite request until the meditator relented and told him again the way he thought the mantra should be pronounced.


The old hermit was saying the mantra very carefully, slowly, over and over, as he walked across the surface of the water back to the island.

Woman from the sky – Spirit in the basket

An African farmer found out that his cows gave less milk than they used to. Who had stolen their milk?


As it turned out a woman from the sky who came down from a bright star admitted that she and her sisters had taken from it as they liked the milk so much.


Indian pot-shaped basket, Northern Mexico

He fell in love with the starry woman and proposed to marry her who had come from the sky.
He suggested to her that she might look after his cows and get plenty of milk that way.
Under one condition she was willing to agree to his proposition. He was never to take a look into her basket.
He, eager to have her as a companion at his side, accepted her condition. They
got married and things went well with them.


One day, after half a year had passed, his wife was out tending the cows. The
farmer decided to open her basket and take a look inside.
He started to laugh and kept on laughing, stating:

There is NOTHING in the basket.


She came home following his commotion. Without hesitation she told him that he had broken their agreement:

You have opened the basket! Now I have to leave from here.

He begged her not to go.
She said:

What I brought with me in the basket was SPIRIT, but human beings perceive it as NOTHING.

And she was gone.


Source: ► Reuploaded audio interview with John O'Donohue (1956-2008) Irish priest, Hegelian philosopher, storyteller, poet, author,
Anam Cara, Eternal Echoes, and Beauty, presented by the Canadian web radio station CBC Radio Tapestry,
host Mary Hynes, Canadian journalist, 2004, minute 43:30, 45:28 minutes duration, aired 13. January 2008
Hint: This story was first told by US American leader of the Mythopoetic men's movement, activist, poet, author Robert Bly (1926-2021).
See also: ► Void

The rainmaker calling in the Tao

There was great drought [in the Kiaochau province] in China. For months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers and the Chinese burned joss-stick, and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.
Finally the Chinese said,

"We will fetch the rainmaker."

And from another province a dried-up old man appeared. The only thing he had asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow storm at the time of the year when no snow was expec-
ted, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rainmaker that Richard Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it. In true European fashion he said,

"they call you the rainmaker, will you tell me how you made the snow?"

And the little Chinese man said,

"I did not make the snow, I am not responsible."

[Wilhelm argued,]

"But what have you done these three days?"

The old rainmaker responded,

"Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait [and meditate for] three days until I [had set myself straight and] was back in Tao and then naturally the rain [followed by the snow] came."


► Originally orally shared as experienced by Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930) German sinologist, theologian, missionary,
     who suffered the drought in China and was a firsthand witness of the rainmaker's effect
► Relayed by Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, founder of a new school of depth psychology, author,
     Gerhard Adler, editor, R. F. C. Hull, translator, Mysterium Coniunctionis – Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 14, S. 419-420,
     Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1st edition 1955, 2nd edition 1. August 1977
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. jeanbolen.com (*1936) US American Jungian analyst, proactive women researcher and supporter,
     crone, spiritual teacher, author, The Tao of Psychology. Synchronicity and the Self, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1. June 1982
Reference: ► Quote and commentary Synchronicity and the Self: The Rainmaker Story, presented by the website JungCurrents.com, undated
See also: ► Tao
Siehe auch: ► Der Regenmacher und das Tao



A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen.
The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken.
He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled.
And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.


Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky.
It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.


The old eagle looked up in awe.

"Who's that?" he asked.
"That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbor.
"He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth – we're chickens."

So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was.


Source: ► Anthony de Mello, S.J. (1931-1987) Indian Catholic Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, spiritual leader, author,
Awareness. Conversations with the Masters, Doubleday, New York, Image, reprint paperback edition 1. June 1990, May 1992
See also: ► The golden bird and ► Inspiration

Fly, eagle, fly

I must tell you this story. [...]
There was a farmer. The farmer had chickens in his back yard. But he had a strange looking chicken.
And the farmer wondered, I mean, this strange looking chicken, it does behave like the other chickens, it pecks away, but it doesn't – it doesn't look quite like the others.


 Golden Eagle in flight

And then a traveler comes along who knows about this and he says to the farmer,

"No, no, no, man, that's no chicken there. That's an eagle."

And the traveler says,

"Please, give it to me."

And the farmer gives him this strange looking chicken. And he takes this chicken and he goes, up, up, up, to the top of the mountain. And he waits for the sun to rise. And as the sun glides through, this man says,

"Fly, eagle, fly."

And this strange looking chicken spreads out its pinions, shakes it-
self, and lifts off.
And it soars and disappears way, way into the rising sun.
And God says to us,

"Hey, you are no chicken. You are an eagle. Fly, eagle, fly."

And God expects you, us, to spread out our pinions, shake oursel-
ves, and lift off and soar, and soar towards goodness, soar towards
transcendence, towards beauty, towards laughter, towards caring, towards sharing.

"Fly, eagle, fly."


Source: ► Deleted audio presentation by Desmond Tutu (1931-2021) South African anti-apartheid activist, first black Archbishop
of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Soar toward goodness, Raoul Wallenberg Lecture, Hill Auditorium,
10:00 minutes duration, posted 29. October 2008

The industrialist and the fisherman

The industrialist was horrified to find the fisherman lying beside his boat, smoking a pipe.

"Why aren’t you out fishing?"

said the industrialist.

"Because I have caught enough fish for the day."
"Why don’t you catch some more?"
"What would I do with it?"
"Earn more money. Then you could have a motor fixed to your boat and go into deeper waters and catch more fish. They would bring you money to buy nylon nets, so more fish, more money. Soon you would have enough to buy two boats – even a fleet of boots. Then you could be rich like me."
"What would I do then?"
"Then you could really enjoy life."
"What do you think I am doing now?"


Source: ► Anthony de Mello SJ (1931-1987) Indian Catholic Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, spiritual leader, author,
The Song of the Bird, Image, 1982, reprint paperback issue 21. August 1984
Siehe auch: ► Geschichtensammlung

A businessman dumbfounded by a fisherman – an economic tale

An American businessman was at the pier of a Mexican fishing village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.


The Mexican replied,

"Only a little while."

The American then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish.
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The American then asked,

"But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said,

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor."


Shrimps trawler hauling nets

The American scoffed,

"I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."


The fisherman asked,

"But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied,

"15-20 years."
"But what then, senor?"

The American laughed and said,

"That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become
very rich, you would make millions."
"Millions, senor? Then what?"

The American said,

"Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."


Animated movie: ► More Than Money – What Is "The Good Life" Parable, produced by Dr. Mark Albion, US American author,
presented by Berrett Koehler, YouTube film, 3:06 minutes duration, posted 8. August 2008
Source: ► Economics Ego

The solution to pollution is dilution.

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining about very sad life, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed
the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.

"How does it taste?" the master asked.
"Bitter," spat the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take another handful of salt and put
it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake when the apprentice swirled his handful of salt into the lake. The old man said,

"Now drink from the lake."

As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked,

"How does it taste?"
"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.
"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.
"No," said the young man.


At this, the master took the young man’s hands, offering the advice,

"The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do
is to enlarge your sense of things.
Stop being a glass. Become a lake."


Unknown author


Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water
makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.


Source: ► Jack Kornfield jackkornfield.com (*1945) leading US American teacher
in the vipassana movement of Theravada Buddhism, meditation teacher, author,
Buddha's Little Instruction Book, S. 21, Bantam, paperback edition 1. May 1994
See also: ► Zen stories and ► Recontextualization

God brews the coffee.

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.


Coffee cortado (Latte art)

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expen-
sive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.


When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:

"If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain
and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups [...] and then you began eyeing each other's cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.
God brews the coffee, not the cups. Enjoy your coffee!
The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to the Universe."


Inspirational video references:
Life Is Like A Cup of Coffee, YouTube film, 3:31 minutes duration, posted 6. February 2009
Chocolate Wisdom, YouTube film, 4:15 minutes duration, posted 27. December 2009
Source: ► Essence


༺༻Force and powerSymbol·AContent and contextSymbol·B
1.A force driven life focuses on sheer needs and contents. Cups  
2.A life filled with true power views content Cupsplus context. Coffee
3.A life filled with true love and true power views context Coffeeplus content. Cups
4.A life filled with peace, true love and true power rests in context. Coffee  


༺༻Evolutionary stageSymbol
1.First we are stirred by the beauty of the young body. Cup
2.Then we begin to see the beauty in all bodies. Cups
3.At this point we look to the beauty of the soul. Coffee
4.Then we begin to see the beauty in all souls. Coffeeness
5.Lastly we discover the beauty of the divine ideas. Essence
6.Love is important for it starts and continues us on our path. Essence
Source: ► Diotima of Mantinea. Greek Priestess and Teacher of Socrates, ~400 BC,
cited in: excerpt Platonic Love, PDF, by Elisa Cuttjohn, SRC, S. 43, undated

Don't hand over your dream to the dream stealers

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on
fundraising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.
The last time I was there he introduced me by saying,

"I want to tell you why I let Jack use my house. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses.
As a result, the boy's high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write
a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.
That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track."


A horse at sunset, 10. March 2009

Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch. He put a great deal of his heart into the pro-
ject and the next day he handed it in to his teacher.
Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read,

'See me after class.'

The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked,

"Why did I receive an F?"

The teacher said,

'This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from a traveling family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.'

Then the teacher added,

'If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsi-
der your grade.'


The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said,

'Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However,
I think it is a very important decision for you.'


Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all, he stated,

"You can keep the F and I'll keep my dream."


Monty then turned to the assembled group and said,

"I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch.
I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace."

He added,

"The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought thirty kids to camp out on my ranch for a week."

When the teacher was leaving, he said,

"Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids' dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours."
Source: ► Jack Canfield (*1944) US American motivational speaker, author, Mark Victor Hansen (*1948) US American
motivational speaker, trainer, author, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, 1993
See also: ► Vision and ► Innate horse wisdom – Four stages of effective usage of emotions


My goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it, for horses and for people, too.
Monty Roberts (*1935) US American horse trainer, rodeo rider, author, Mission Statement, December 2010

Carrots, eggs, and coffee – exposed to stress

When faced with the same adversity – boiling water – carrots, eggs, and ground coffee react differently.
Carrotsgo into the boiling water strong, hard and unrelenting. They turn out softened and weak.
Eggsgo into the boiling water fragile. Their thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior comes out unchanged. The interior of the eggs turns out hardened.
Coffee beans,exposed to boiling water, remain unchanged.
Ground·coffee·beans,however, change the color of boiling water.
Reference: ► Blog article Carrot, Egg or Coffee: Which Are You?, presented by the
international liberal-left commentary outlet HuffPost, Karen Talavera, 29. November 2011
See also: ► Transformation

Taming violent young elephants

         Taming wild young elephants with ear flapping elders         


Young bull elephants in South Africa's largest conservation area, Kruger National Park were acting strange-
ly out of character – antisocial and aimlessly vio­lent; they were stomping on VWs, pushing over trees for no reason, and even killing other small animals and baby elephants.
African elephant with ears spread in a threat or attentive position
Park rangers, among whom Pilanesberg Park's field ecologist Gus van Dyk, came in to study the problem [...] they discovered that there were no older bull ele-
phants in that area
. By some accident, all the older bulls had either died or been poached for their ivory, which left the teenage males to roam and forage out of control.


Their solution?1


They brought in some older bulls from other areas by helicopter, lowered them onto the scene, and in a mat­ter of weeks, amazingly, the whole situation had changed. Apparently, all the old bulls did was wave their ears and make various sounds or small charges, and somehow the younger male elephants understood through these com­munications that their behavior was not exactly the way growing up elephant boys should act. It seemed to be just that simple. Things soon returned to normal once the elders operated as elders.


[*] The violent acting out of young elephant bulls is due to the so called musth.


Source: ► Father Richard Rohr O.F.M. (*1943) US American Franciscan friar, author, Adam's Return.
The Five Promises of Male Initiation
, Crossroad, 1. October 2004
Reference: ► Article The Delinquents. A Spate Of Rhino Killings, presented by the
US American television news program CBS News, program 60 Minutes, 22. August 2000
Literature: ► Warren Farrell Farrell.com (*1943) US American political scientist, author, spokesman of men's liberation, men's rights activist, former director of the National Organisation for Women, speaker, author, John Gray (*1951) US American relationship coun-
selor, lecturer, author, The Boy Crisis. Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It, BenBella Books, 29. March 2018
See also:
Psychology and ► Violence and ► Fairy tales and ► Men and ► Health
Men's health within the domination system
Siehe auch: ► Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit Hyperaktivitätsstörung (ADHS)

Wheels of Ezekiel in the seventh vault of the seventh heaven

One Night four rabbinim were visited by an angel who awakened them and carried them to the Seventh Vault of the Seventh Heaven. There they beheld the sacred Wheel of Ezekiel.


      Mental illness      
Somewhere in the descent from Pardes, Paradise, to Earth, one Rabbi, having seen such splendor lost his mind and wandered frothing and foaming until the end of his days.


The second Rabbi was extremely cynical: "Oh I just dreamed Ezekiel's Wheel, that was all. Nothing really happened."


      Obsessive proselytizing      
The third Rabbi carried on and on about what he had seen, for he was totally obsessed. He lectured and would not stop with how it was all constructed and what it all meant [...] and in this way he went astray and betrayed his faith.


The fourth Rabbi, who was a poet, took a paper in hand and a reed and sat near the window writing song after song praising the evening dove, his daughter in her cradle, and all the stars in the sky. And he lived his life better than before.
Inspired by: ► Clarissa Pinkola Estés (*1945) US American Jungian psychoanalyst, post-trauma specialist, poet, writer,
Women Who Run With the Wolves. Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype,
Ballantine Books, 1st edition November 1992, updated with new material 1996
References: en.Wikipedia entries Rabbi and ► Seventh Heavens and ► Celestial spheres and ► Ezekiel
See also: ► Grateful poet and ► Madness and ► Cynicism and ► Gratefulness

Reactions to encountering the seventh vault of the seventh heaven

One night four rabbinim were visited by an angel who awakened them and carried them to
the Seventh Vault of the Seventh Heaven. There they beheld the Sacred Wheel of Ezekiel.
1. MadnessSomewhere in the descent from Paradise to Earth, one Rabbi, having seen such splendor,
lost his mind and wandered frothing and foaming until the end of his days.
2. DenialThe second Rabbi turned out extremely cynical. "Oh I just dreamed of Ezekiel's Wheel, that was all. Nothing really happened."
3. FanaticismThe third Rabbi carried on and on about what he had seen, for he was totally obsessed. [...] He lectured and would not stop with how it was all constructed and what it all meant. [...] And this way he went astray and betrayed his faith.
4. Heartfilled poetryThe fourth Rabbi, who was a poet, took a paper in hand and a reed and sat near the window writing song after song praising the evening dove, his daughter and her cradle and all the stars in the sky. And he lived his life better than before.Comment: He was the only one of the four heavenly visitors who had seen God (had an epiphany) and was able to bear this grace in a dignified manner.
Source: ► Clarissa Pinkola Estés (*1945) US American Jungian psychoanalyst, post-trauma specialist, poet,
Women Who Run With the Wolves. Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype,
Ballantine Books, 1st edition November 1992, updated with new material 1996
See also: ► Shadow and ► Grateful poet and ► Circles and ► Grace and ► God and ► Madness
Cults and ► Dignity and ► Cynicism and ► Gratefulness and ► Heart and ► Poems


One day a rich father took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose to show him how poor people can be. They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family.


When they got back from their trip the father asked his son,

"How was the trip?"
"Very good Dad!"
"Did you see how poor people can be?"

the father asked.

"And what did you learn?"

The son answered,

"I saw that
➤ we have a dog at home, and they have four.
➤ We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden,
     they have a creek that has no end.
➤ We have imported lamps in the garden, they have the stars.
➤ Our patio reaches to the front yard, they have a whole horizon."

When the little boy was finishing, his father was speechless.
His son added,

"Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!"


Poem by unknown author Rich Or Poor – How Rich Are You?, presented by the blogspot sapphyr.net

References featuring Robert T. Kiyosaki (*1947) US American investor, businessman, motivational speaker, financial literacy activist, financial commentator, self-help author
Book (German) Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Was die Reichen ihren Kindern über Geld beibringen, Arkana,
     11. Dezember 2006
Video presentation Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki – How To Make Money, YouTube film,
     10:03 minutes duration, posted 14. March 2010
See also: ► Recontextualization and ► Dignity

The swan with the golden feathers

Coscoroba Swan, Gloucestershire, England


The father of a poor family is reborn as a swan with golden feathers. He invites his former family members to pluck and sell a single feather from his wings to support themselves, returning occasionally to allow them another. The greedy mother of the family eventually plucks all the feathers at once. However, they turn to ordinary feathers. When the swan recovers its feathers they too are no longer gold. The moral drawn there is:


Contented be, nor itch for further store.
They seized the swan – but had its gold no more.


Source: ► Suvannahamsa Jataka, 4th section of the Buddhist book Vinaya
excerpted from: Robert Chalmers, translator, The Jataka, volume I, 1895
See also: ► The golden bird

Terrible. Wonderful. Life.

Many years ago in a poor Chinese village, there lived a peasant with his son. His only material possession, apart from some land and a small straw hut, was a horse he had inherited from his father.


One day, the horse ran off, leaving the man with no animal with which to till the land. His neighbors – who respected him greatly for his honesty and diligence – came to his house to say how much they regretted what had happened. He thanked them for
their visit, but asked: How can you know that what has happened has been a misfortune in my life?


Someone mumbled to a friend:
He can't accept reality, let him think what he wants, as long as he isn't saddened by what happened.


And the neighbors went off, pretending to agree with what they had heard.


A week later, the horse returned to the stable, but it was not alone; it brought with it a fine mare for company. Upon hearing this, the villagers – who were flustered since they now understood the answer the man had given them -– returned to the peasant’s house, in order to congratulate him on his good fortune.
Before you had only one horse, and now you have two. Congratulations!, they said.


Many thanks for your visit and for all your concern, answered the peasant.
And how can you know that what has happened has been a blessing in my life?


Disconcerted, and thinking he must be going mad, the neighbors went off, and on the way commented:
Does he really not understand that God has sent him a gift?


Mustangs on the Saylor Creek HMA, Idaho

A month later, the peasant’s son decided to tame the mare. But the animal unexpectedly reared up and the boy fell and broke his leg.


The neighbors returned to the peasant’s house – bringing gifts for the wounded boy. The mayor of the village offered his condolences to the father, saying that all were very sad at what had happened.


The man thanked them for their visit and their concern, but asked:
How can you know that what has happened has been a misfor-
tune in my life?


They were all astonished to hear this, since no one could be in any doubt that the accident of a son was a real tragedy. As they left the peasant’s house, some said to others: He really has gone mad; his only son might limp forever, and he is still in doubt about whether what happened is a misfortune.


Some months passed, and Japan declared war on China. The Emperor’s envoys traveled throughout the land in search for healthy young men to be sent to the battle front. Upon arrival in the village, they recruited all the young men except the peasant’s son, whose leg was broken.


None of the young men returned alive. The son recovered, the two animals bred and their offspring were sold at a good price. The peasant began visiting his neighbors to console and help them, – since they had at all times been so caring.


Whenever one of them complained, the peasant said: How do you know it is a misfortune?
If anyone became overjoyed, he asked: How do you know it is a blessing?


And the men and women in that village understood that beyond appearances, life has other meanings.

The scorpion and the frog

A scorpion and a frog are sitting on the bank of a river, and both need to get to the other side.

Asian forest scorpion, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
"Hello, Mr. Frog!" calls the scorpion through the reeds. "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the water? I have impor-
tant business to conduct on the other side. And I cannot swim in such a strong current."

The frog immediately becomes suspicious.

"Well, Mr. Scorpion," he replies, "I appreciate the fact that you have im-
portant business to conduct on the other side of the river. But just take
a moment to consider your request. You are a scorpion. You have a
large stinger at the end of your tail. As soon as I let you onto my back,
it is entirely within your nature to sting me."

The scorpion, who has anticipated the frog’s objections, counters thus:

"My dear Mr. Frog, your reservations are perfectly reasonable. But it is clearly not in my interest to sting you. I really do need to get to the other side of the river. And I give you my word that no harm will come to you."

The frog agrees, reluctantly, that the scorpion has a point. So he allows the fast-talking arthropod to scramble atop his back and hops, without further ado, into
the water.
At first all is well. Everything goes exactly according to plan. But halfway across, the frog suddenly feels a sharp pain in his back – and sees, out of the corner of
his eye, the scorpion withdraw his stinger from his hide. A deadening numbness begins to creep into his limbs.

"You fool!" croaks the frog. "You said you needed to get to the other side
to conduct your business. Now we are both going to die!"

The scorpion shrugs and does a little jig on the drowning frog’s back.

"Mr. Frog," he replies casually, "you said it yourself. I am a scorpion.
It is in my nature to sting you.

With that, the scorpion and the frog both disappear beneath the murky, muddy waters of the swiftly flowing current. And neither of them is seen again.


Source: ► Kevin Dutton, Ph.D. (*1967) British professor of experimental psychology, expert on the science of social influence, University
of Oxford, author, The Wisdom of Psychopaths. What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, chapter 1 "Scorpio Rising",
William Heinemann, 20. September 2012; Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, reprint edition 3. September 2013
Reference: en.Wikipedia entry Animal fable of The Scorpion and the Frog (~1950)
Referenz: de.Wikipedia-Eintrag Die Fabel vom Skorpion und der Frosch (~1950)
See also: ► Narcissism and ► Shadow

Not enough cow dung!

Cow dung

Johnny goes to modeling class in his school for special [mentally retarded] children and he gets his piece of putty and he's mode-
ling it. He takes a little lump of putty and goes to a corner of the room and he's playing with it.
The teacher comes up to him and says,

"Hi, Johnny."
And Johnny says,

And the teacher says,

"What's that you've got in your hand?"

And Johnny says,

"This is a lump of cow dung."

The teacher asks,

"What are you making out of it?"

He says,

"I'm making a teacher."

The teacher thought,

"Little Johnny has regressed."

So she calls out to the principal, who was passing by the door at that moment, and says,

"Johnny has regressed."

So the principal goes up to Johnny and says,

"Hi, son."

And Johnny says,

Cow dung

And the principal says,

"What do you have in your hand?"

And he says,

"A lump of cow dung."
"What are you making out of it?"

And he says,

"A principal."

The principal thinks that this is a case for the school psychologist.

"Send for the psychologist!"

The psychologist is a clever guy. He goes up and says,


And Johnny says,


And the psychologist says,

"I know what you've got in your hand." "What?" "A lump cow dung."

Johnny says,

"And I know what you're making out of it."
"You're making a psychologist."
"Wrong. Not enough cow dung!"
Source: ► Video lecture by Anthony de Mello SJ (1931-1987) Indian Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, spiritual leader, author,
Anthony deMello, Wake up to Life '86 Part 1, presented by Tabor Publishing and the Center for Spiritual Exchange, 1986,
Dailymotion film, minute 2:03, 56:30 minutes duration, posted 25. October 2013
See also: ► Psychology

Isis and the seven scorpions

Whenever Isis left Horus in the evening while they were in hiding in the papyrus swamps near Buto, she was accompanied by seven scorpions. Three of the scorpions preceded her, Petet, Tjetet, and Matet and made sure that the path ahead was safe. At her side were the scorpions, Mesetet and Mesetetef. Bringing up the rear were Tefen and Befen.


Every night, Isis warned her companions to be extremely cautious as to avoid alerting Seth as to where she was. She would remind them not to speak to anyone they met along the way.
One night, Isis was traveling to the Town of the Two Sisters in the Nile Delta. A wealthy noblewoman saw the strange party arrive and quickly shut the door to her house. The scorpions were enra-
ged at her rude behavior and decide to teach the woman a lesson. In preparation, six of the scorpions gave their individual poisons to Tefen who loaded his stinger with it. Meanwhile, a humble pea-
sant girl
had offered her simple home as a refuge to Isis.
The scorpion's anger was not ameliorated by the young girl's kindness toward their mistress, and Tefen snuck out of the house. He crawled under the door of the noblewoman's house and stung her son. Distraught, the woman wandered through the town see-
king help for her child who was on the verge of death.
Isis heard the woman's cries for help. Although the woman was unkind to her, Isis could not bear the thought of the death of an innocent child and left with the woman to help her son. Isis held the boy in her arms and spoke words of great magic. She named each of the scorpions and thereby dominated them; rendering their combined poison to be harmless in the child.
The noblewoman was humbled by Isis' unconditional kindness and offered all of her worldly wealth to Isis and the peasant girl who had shown hospitality to a stranger.

Pulled by an invisible kite

When Alexander the Great came to conquer India, he met a master whose name was Dandamis. Alexander questioned the master,

Boys flying a kite, engraving by Johann Michael Voltz
published in Germany, 1828
"Do you believe in God? If I cannot see anything, so how can I believe? How do you believe without seeing him?"

The master laughed.
He took Alexander by the hand and walked down the beach. Alexander followed – maybe Dandamis was taking him where he could show him God.
A small boy was flying a kite at the seashore. His kite had gone so far away that it was impossible to see it with bare eyes. The sage smiled secretly and stopped there while Alexander waited impatiently.
The master asked the little boy,

"Where is your kite? We cannot see it. Without seeing it, how can we believe it is actually in existence? So where is that kite of yours? How do you still believe it even exists?"

The boy laughed merrily and looked pityingly at the master for asking such an absurd question. He said,

"I can feel the pull of it."

And the master smiled and said to Alexander,

"I can also feel the pull of it."

Three stone cutters and their objectives

Three stone cutters were working in a marble quarry. Each was hard at work, shaping a large stone into a block. A visitor came and watched them. The visitor asked the first stone cutter,

"What are you doing?"

His reply was,

"Isn’t it obvious? I’m making a block."

He asked the second stone cutter,

"What are you doing?"

He kept on hammering while he said,

"I’m making this for a wall."

The traveller turned to the third stonecutter. He seemed to be the happiest of the three. When asked

"What are you doing?"

he replied,

"I’m helping build a cathedral that will last a thousand years."

While a mason was meticulously carving the top of a pillar in a cathedral his apprentice asked him,

"Why do you spend so much time and effort on these details that no one will ever be able to see from so far down below?"

The mason replied,

God sees it.

♦◊♦   ♦◊♦   ♦◊♦

Peter Drucker (1909-2005) US American management consultant, self-described "social ecologist",
educator and writer had all three workers reply as follows:
༺༻Quality of workWorkerRemark
1. JOBFirst stonecutter: "I am making a living."
2. CAREERSecond stonecutter: "I am doing the best job of stone cutting in the entire country."
3. CALLINGThird stonecutter: "I am building a cathedral."

Two wolves within

A Native American elder and grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice,

Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.


Black and white wolves, Pays de la Loire, France

The elder continued,

It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.


The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked,

Which one wins, Grandfather?


The Grandfather smiled and said,

The one I feed, son, the one I feed.


Classic Native American folktale of the Cherokee


See also: ► Wolves

A tale on respect and dignity

A group of monks were living with their master in a Tibetan monastery. Their lives were disciplined and dedicated, and the atmosphere in which they lived harmonious and peaceful. People from villages far and wide flocked to the monastery to bask in the warmth of such a loving spiritual environment.


Then one day the master departed his earthly form. At first the monks continued on as they had in the past, but after a time, the discipline and devotion slackened. The number of visitors each day began to drop, and little by little, the monastery fell into a state of disrepair.


Soon the monks were bickering among themselves, some pointing fingers of blame, others filled with guilt. The energy within the monastery walls crackled with animosity.


Finally, the senior monk could take it no longer. Hearing that a spiritual master lived as a hermit two days walk away, the monk wasted no time in seeking him out. Finding the master in his forest hermitage, the monk told him of the sad state the monas-
tery had fallen into and asked his advice.


The master smiled.

"There is one living among you who is the incarnation of God. Because he is being disrespected by those around him, he will not show himself, and the monastery will remain in disrepair."

With those words spoken, the master fell silent and would say no more.

Composite of depictions of the incarnation of God

All the way back to the monastery, the abbot wondered which of his brothers might be the Incarnated One.


"Perhaps it is Brother Jaspar who does our cooking,"

the monk said aloud. But then a second later thought,

"No, it can't be him. He is sloppy and ill tempered and the food he prepares is tasteless."


"Perhaps our gardener, Brother Timor, is the one,"

he then thought. This consideration, too, was quickly followed by denial.

"Of course not. God is not lazy and would never let weeds take over a lettuce patch the way Brother Timor has."


Finally, after dismissing each and every one of his brothers for this fault or that, the senior monk realized there were none left. Knowing it had to be one of the monks because the master had said it was, he worried over it a bit before a new thought dawned.

"Could it be that the Holy One has chosen to display a fault in order to disguise himself? Of course it could!
That must be it!"


Reaching the monastery, he immediately told his brothers what the master had said and all were just as astonished as he had been to learn the Divine was living among them.


Since each knew it was not himself who was God Incarnate, each began to study his brothers carefully, all trying to determine who among them was the Holy One. But all any of them could see were the faults and failings of the others. If God was in their midst, he was doing a fine job of hiding himself. Finding the Incarnated One among such rubble would be difficult, indeed.


After much discussion, it was finally decided that they would all make an effort to be kind and loving toward each another, treating all with the respect and honor one would naturally give to the Incarnated One. If God insisted on remaining hidden, then they had no recourse but to treat each monk as if he were the Holy One.


Each so concentrated on seeing God in the other that soon their hearts filled with such love for one another the chains of negativity that held them bound fell away. As time passed, they began seeing God not just in each other, but in every one and everything. Days were spent in joyful reverence, rejoicing in His Holy Presence. The monastery radiated this joy like a beacon and soon the villagers returned, streaming through the doors as they had before, seeking to be touched by the love and devotion present there.


It was some time later that the senior monk decided to pay the master another visit to thank him for the secret he had re-


"Did you discover the identity of the Incarnated One?"

the master asked.


"We did,"

the senior monk replied.

"We found him residing in all of us."

The master smiled.

See also: ► Respect and ► Dignity and ► SecretandDevotion and ► Joy
Siehe auch: ► Eine Geschichte über Respekt und Würde

Organized truth (religion)

Portrait of maharaja Ranjit Singh, ruler of the Punjab (1801-1839)

The devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket.
The friend said to the devil,

"What did that man pick up?"
"He picked up a piece of Truth,"

said the devil.

"That is a very bad business for you, then,"

said his friend.

"Oh, not at all,"

the devil replied,

"I am going to let him organize it."


Source: ► Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) Indian spiritual teacher, declined member of the Theosophical Society, philosopher,
author, Lecture on the occasion of the dissolution of "The Order of the Star of the East", Krishnamurti Foundation of America,
Ommen, Holland, 2. August 1929
See also: ► World religions

Diogenes and Alexander the Great

            Diogenes and Alexander – The cynic and the king            

Engraving of Alexander visiting Diogenes in Corinth
Diogenes asks him to stand out of his sun.


Alexander the Great came to visit Corinth. Thereupon many statesmen and philo-
sophers came to greet Alexander and extend their congratulations. Alexander expected that Diogenes of Sinope also, who was tarrying in Corinth, would do likewise.


Yet this Greek philosopher, who was living in barrel, took not the slightest notice of Alexander. A kind of Socrates gone mad, he continued to enjoy his leisure in the suburb Craneion.


Intrigued, Alexander went in person to see Diogenes and found him lying in the sun in front of his barrel. Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many people coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. The monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked him whether he desired any wish fulfilled from him. Famously, Diogenes replied,

"Yes, stand a little out of my sun."


Struck by this unexpected reply, Alexander admired so much the haughtiness and gran-
deur of the man who had nothing but scorn for him. In leaving the scene Alexander's fol-
lowers were laughing and jesting about Diogenes. The king, turned reflective, confided to them

"Truly, if I were not Alexander the Great, I would like to be Diogenes."


Reference: en.Wikipedia entry Diogenes and Alexander
See also: ► Cynicism and ► Socrates and ► Light

Taking risks

Two seeds are lying in the fertile spring soil side by side. The first seed says

Sunflower seedlings, 3 days after being planted
"I want to grow! I want to send my roots deep into the earth and push my rungs through the earth's crust above. [...] I want to spread my tender buds like a banner to herald the coming of spring. [...] I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the blessing of the morning dew on my petals!"

And so it grew. The second seed said:

"I am afraid. If I send my roots into the earth beneath me, I don't know what I might meet in the dark. If I make my way through the hard earth above, I might hurt my sensitive rungs. [...] What if I let my buds open themselves up and a snail tries to eat them? And if I open my petals, a small child might rip me from the earth. No, it's much better for me to wait until it is safe."

And so it waited. A farm hen scratching the first spring's earth for food found the waiting seed and promptly ate it up. The moral of the story: those of us who refuse to take a risk and to grow will be devoured by life.


Source: ► Patty Hansen, cited in: Jack Canfield (*1944) US American motivational speaker, author, Mark Victor Hansen (*1948)
US American motivational speaker, trainer, author, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, 1993
Deutsche Ausgabe: Hühnersuppe für die Seele, S. 165, Goldmann, München, 1997

How to find happiness?

Hot air balloons, San Diego, California

Once a group of fifty people was attending a seminar. The speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity. He started giving each participant a balloon and asked everyone to write his/her name on their ballon using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collec-
ted and put in another room.
Next all fifty delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within five minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos. At the end of five minutes no one had found their own balloon.
Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it.
Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker explained,

"Exactly this is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for their share all around, not knowing where it is.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them theirs, and you will get yours. And this is the purpose of human life."


See also: ► Happiness research and ► Critical meaning making

Parable of the fisherman – Arthur Eddington

Let us suppose that an ichthyologist is exploring the life of the ocean. He casts a net into the water and brings up a fishy assortment. Surveying his catch, he proceeds in the usual manner of a scientist to systematisize what it reveals. He arrives at two generalisations:

  1. No sea-creature is less than two inches long.
  2. All sea-creatures have gills.

These are both true of his catch, and he assumes tentatively that they will remain true however often he repeats it.


Fishing net in use at Okavango

In applying this analogy, the catch stands for the body of knowledge which constitutes phy-
sical science, and the net for the sensory and intellectual equipment which we use in ob-
taining it. The casting of the net corresponds to observation; for knowledge which has not
been or could not be obtained by observation is not admitted into physical science.


An onlooker may object that the first generali-
sation is wrong.

"There are plenty of sea-creatures under two inches long, only your net
is not adapted to catch them."

The ichthyologist dismisses this objection contemptuously.

"Anything uncatchable by my net is ipso facto outside the scope of ichthyological knowledge, and is not part of the kingdom of fishes which has been defined as the theme of ichthyological knowledge. In short, 'what my net can't catch isn’t fish.'"

Or – to translate the analogy –

"If you are not simply guessing, you are claiming a knowledge of the physical universe discovered in some other way than by the methods of physical science. You are a metaphysician. Bah!"
Source: ► Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944) British astrophysicist of the early 20th century,
The Philosophy of Physical Science, S. 16, 1st edition 1939, 1967
See also: ► Science and ► Thoughts and ► Knowledge and ► Subtle energy and ► Occult research

Life changing questions

Fletcher Lynd Seagull was still quite young, but already he knew that no bird had ever been so harshly treated by any Flock, or with so much injustice. [...]

"I don't care what they think. I'll show them what flying is!
I'll be a pure Outlaw, if that's the way they want it. And I'll make them so sorry."

The voice came inside his own head [...] :

"Don't be harsh on them, Fletcher Seagull. In casting you out, the other gulls have only hurt themselves, and one day they will know this, and one day they will see what you see. Forgive them, and help them to understand." [...]

Low and calm, the voice went on within his thought, demanding an answer.

"Fletcher Lynd Seagull, do you want to fly?"
"Fletcher Lynd Seagull,
⚑ do you want to fly so much that you will forgive the Flock,
⚑ and learn,
⚑ and go back to them one day
⚑ and work to help them know?

There was no lying to this magniflcent skillful being, no matter how proud or how hurt a bird was Fletcher Seagull.

"I do", he said softly.
"Then, Fletch,"

that bright creature said to him, and the voice was very kind,

"let's begin with Level Flight."
Source: ► Richard Bach (*1936) US American Navy pilot, writer, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, movie script, part 2, 1973
See also: ► Questions


"How does one become butterfly?"

[teddy bear] Pooh asked pensively.

"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,"

Piglet replied.

"You mean to die?",

asked Pooh.

"Yes and no,"

he answered.

"What looks like you will die, but what's really you will live on."
Source: ► Alan Alexander Milne [A. A.] (1882-1956) English poet, author of the collection of stories Winnie the Pooh,
Methuen & Co., London, 1926

Elementary circle of life – comprising the unique and the whole

  • A bubbling stream reached a desert, and found that it could not cross it. The water was disappearing into the fine sand, faster and faster. The Stream said aloud,
    "My destiny is to cross this desert, but I can see no way." […]
The voice of the Desert answered, in the hidden tongue of nature, saying,
"The Wind crosses the desert, and so can you."
"But, whenever I try, I am absorbed into the sand; and even if I dash myself at the desert, I can only go a little distance."
"The Wind does not dash itself against the desert sand."
"But the Wind can fly, and I cannot."
"You are thinking in the wrong way; trying to fly by yourself is absurd.
Allow the wind to carry you over the sand."
Water, air and light
"But how can that happen?"
"Allow yourself to be absorbed by the Wind."
The Stream protested that it did not want to lose its individuality in that way. If it did, it might not exist again.
This, said the Sand, was a form of logic, but it did not refer to reality at all. When the Wind absorbed moisture, it carried it over the desert, and then let it fall again like rain. The rain again became a river.
"But how",
asked the Stream,
"could it know that this was true?"
"It is so, and you must believe it, or you will simply be sucked down by the sands to form, after several million years, a quagmire."
"But if that is so, will I be the same river that I am today?"
"You cannot in any case remain the same stream that you are today. The choice is not open to you; it only seems to be open. The Wind will carry your essence, the finer part of you. When you become a river again at the mountains beyond the sands, men may call you by a different name; but you yourself, essentially, will know that you are the same. Today you call yourself such and such a river only because you do not know which part of it is even your essence."
So the Stream crossed the desert by raising itself into the arms of the welcoming Wind, which gathered it slowly and carefully upward, and then let it down with a gentle firmness, atop the mountains of a far-off land.
said the Stream,
"I have learned my true identity."
But it had a question, which it bubbled up as it sped along:
"Why could I not reason this out on my own; why did the Sands have to tell me?
What would have happened if I had not listened to the Sands?"
Suddenly a small voice spoke to the Stream. It came from a grain of sand.
"Only the Sands know, for they have seen it happen; moreover, they extend from the river to the mountain. They form the link, and they have their function to perform, as has everything. The way in which the stream of life is to carry itself on its journey is written in the Sands."
Source: ► Idries Shah (1924-1996) Persian Sufi teacher, spiritual author, The Sufis,
Jonathan Cape (UK), Octagon Press, 1964, S. 292-293, Anchor, 1971

Dispute between a man and a lion



A man and a lion traveled together through the forest. They began to boast of their respective superiority to each other in strength and prowess. As they were disputing, they passed a statue carved in stone, which depicted a lion strangled by a Man. The man pointed to it and said:

"See there! How strong we are, and how we prevail over the king of beasts."
The lion replied:
"This statue was made by one of you men. If we lions erected statues, you would see the man placed under the paw of the lion."


Source: ► Aesop (620-560 BC) ancient Greek slave, storyteller, Aesop's Fables, #31. The Man and the Lion

Debating life after delivery

In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other:

"Do you believe in life after delivery?"

The other replied,

"Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later."

said the first.

"There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?"

The second said,

"I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now."

The first replied,

"That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded."

The second insisted,

"Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won't need this physical cord anymore."

The first replied,

"Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere."
"Well, I don’t know,"

said the second,

"but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us."

The first replied,

"Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?"

The second said,

"She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist."

Said the first:

"Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist."

To which the second replied,

"Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above."

Overcoming anger

President Abraham Lincoln who struggled with his depression held together the opposites of darkness and light
in his own psyche as well as his country at his time.
At a special prayer day he had asked the troops of the north to pray also for the south troops. To his critics who
felt that this is undermining the moral of the troops he said:

"We need to be able to remain human even though we are fighting this war."


There was one of Lincoln's very rare outbursts of anger in 'Soldiers Home', a cottage in the country on a high hill, where Lincoln ruminated on emancipation proclamations and more.
An officer came to him in need as his wife had drowned in a ferry boat in the Potomac River. Lincoln reacted infuri-
ated due to the disturbance:

"Why do you bring that up to me?
Go have someone else in the White House deal with it!"


Following night Lincoln could not sleep all night. He sat up that night and recognized his mistake. The next mor-
ning he took care to find the hotel where the officer stayed in. He knocked at the door and apologized to the man assuring him:

"We will find your wife!"
See also: ► Anger and ► Conflict
Siehe auch: ► Geschichtensammlung

The maiden king

He whose heart is full, whose lips are brimming over.


In a Russian kingdom, a young boy's curiosity, creativity, and voice was mocked which made him feel damp and numb – as though a pin had been placed in his neck. Whenever an opportunity presented itself to connect with feeling, the pin was reactivated and tsar Ivan blanked out.
Decades later, at midlife, Ivan's realized consciously that he was tired of living an unlived life. He visited the three Baba Yaga sisters in the woods in which they dwell asking them questions about a kingdom he seeks. The sisters were somewhat adverse to humans and each sent him to the other sister.
Carefully listening to what the Baba Yagas told him, he wondered, "Is it true?" It dawned upon Ivan that he had been under the spell of a critical inner voice in his head.
However, the pin came back again and again. Tsar Ivan learned that his parents had also been under a similar spell. The pin's effect gradually weakened as Ivan moved from oppositional (black or white) thinking into accepting paradoxes.
Once he met the final Baba Yaga she tried to eat him. At that moment he summoned the Firebird (duende), which carries him to safety. Ivan sacrificed his infantile megalomania to make room for the soul. He felt awakened like never before. Spirit entered his body for an inner union/marriage between body-matter and mind-spirit.

"On this side of the ocean there stands an oak: in the oak there is a coffer;
in the coffer there is a hare; in the hare there is a duck;
in the duck there is an egg; and in the egg lies the Maiden Tsar's love."
Source: ► Marion Woodman (1928-2018) Canadian Jungian analyst, women's movement figure, mythopoetic author, Robert Bly (1926-
     2021) US American activist, leader Mythopoetic men's movement, poet, author, The Maiden King. The Reunion of Masculine and
, CHAPTER ONE, S. 229-234, Henry Holt and Company, 15. October 1998, Owl Publishing Company, 1. October 1999
Reference: en.Wikipedia entry ► Russian folk tale The Maiden Tsar, compiled by
Alexander Afanasyev (1826-1871) Russian Slavist, ethnographer, Russian Fairy Tales, Pantheon, New York, 1973

The naked truth hiding in the well

"The Truth coming out of the well",
Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) French painter, 1896

A 19th century legend describes what happened on that day when the Truth and the Lie met.
The Lie said to the Truth:

"It's a marvellous day today!"

The Truth looked up to the skies and sighed, for the day was really beautiful. They spent a lot of time together, ultimately arriving beside a well. The Lie told the Truth:

"The water is very nice, let's take a bath together!"

The Truth, once again suspicious, tested the water and discovered that it indeed is very nice. They undressed and start bathing. Suddenly, the Lie came out of the water, put on the clothes of the Truth and ran away. The furious Truth came out of the well and ran everywhere to find the Lie and to get her clothes back. The World, seeing the Truth naked, turned its gaze away, with contempt and rage.
The poor Truth returned to the well and disappeared forever, hiding therein, its shame. Since then, the Lie traveled around the world, dressed as the Truth, satisfying the needs of society, because, the World, in any case, harbours no wish at all to meet the naked Truth.

Audio reference: ► Narrated video The Tale of The Truth and the Lie – An Unlikely Encounter, YouTube film, 3:03 minutes duration, posted 3. May 2021
See also: ► Truth

The wise lion

A lion was captured and placed in a large yard surrounded by a high fence.
He soon became acquainted with the social life of the other lions who had been there a long time.



The lions had divided themselves into several clubs, each with its own activities.

  1. One group met regularly to hate and slander the captors.
  2. Another group met to sing sentimentally about a future jungle having no fences.
  3. And a third group met to secretly plot violence against the other groups.


Each group tried to pressure the newcomer into joining, but something held him back.
His hesitation was linked to him observing one particular lion who kept to himself and who seemed to be in deep thought.
The newcomer shyly approached the solitary lion and requested an explanation
of his apartness.


"Join nothing," replied the lion. "Those foolish creatures do everything but the necessary. I am doing what is essential, so one day I will be out of here. You are welcome to all the facts I have uncovered."


"But what is this necessary thing you are doing?"



Inspired by: ► Story by Vernon Howard (1918-1992) US American spiritual philosopher, author,
There is a Way Out, New Life Foundation, July 2000
See also: ► Das Wesen des Zauns

Franz Kafka, the girl and the lost doll

At forty, Franz Kafka (1883-1924) who had no children, was walking through a nearby park in Berlin when he met a girl who was crying because she had lost her favourite doll. She and Kafka searched for the doll unsuccessfully. Kafka told her
to meet him there the next day and they would come back to look for her missing doll.



The next day, when they had not yet found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter 'written' by the doll saying,

"Please don't cry. I took a trip to see the world.
I will write to you about my adventures."


Thus began a story which continued until the end of Kafka's life. During their meetings, Kafka read the letters of the doll carefully written with adventures and conversations that the girl found adorable.


Finally, Kafka bought a doll and handed it to the girl, telling her that this doll had returned to Berlin.

"It doesn't look like my doll at all",

said the girl.


Kafka handed her another letter in which the doll wrote:

"My travels have changed me."

The little girl hugged the new doll and took her home, happy. A year later Kafka died.


Many years later, the now-adult girl found a letter inside the doll. In the tiny letter, signed by Kafka, it said,

"Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way."
Unproven story referenced / Issued:
► First issued in article Kafka and the doll, presented by the Jewish Chronicle, Anthony Rudolf, 15. June 1984
► Column by psychoanalyst and writer May Benatar for the HuffPost, October 2011
► Included by Paul Auster, novel The Brooklyn Follies, 2005
► Inspired the graphic novel by Larissa Theule and Rebecca Green, Kafka and the Doll, March 2021
Siehe auch: ► Franz Kafka, das Mädchen und die verlorene Puppe

Changing perspectives

Solar eclipse with diamond ring effect, 29. March 2006

The Greek general Pericles (495-429 BC) led hundred ships into battle in the Peloponnesian War. Charging towards the enemy, a solar eclipse shrouded the sky in darkness and dimmed the daylight. Unaware of the planetary movements behind the event, panic broke out among the soldiers on board.
Pericles walked up to the navigator, held his dark coat around his head, and asked him:

"Are you afraid of what you see?"

The officer replied to his commander in chief:

"Of course not, it's just a piece of black cloth!"

Pericles smiled:

"Then what does it matter if the cause of darkness is a different one?"


Comment: Uninformed ignorant humans tend to create worst-case scenarios resulting in fear. Fear leads to bad decisions. Changing one's perspective and raising courage are the antidotes to crippling fear.

Siehe auch: ► Perspektive

The gift of giving

"Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.
Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.
There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn't have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.
The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.

Planting bills

The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband's hand, looking up at him as if to say, "You're my knight in shining armor." He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.
The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, "I'd like to buy eight children's tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus." The ticket lady stated the price.
The man's wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man's lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, "How much did you say?" The ticket lady again stated the price.
The man didn't have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn't have enough money to take them to the circus?
Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket."
The man understood what was going on. He wasn't begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation.
He looked straight into my dad's eyes, took my dad's hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; "Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family."
My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with.
Although we didn't get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.
That day I learnt the value to Give.
The Giver is bigger than the Receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.
The importance of giving, blessing others can never be over emphasized because there's always joy in giving. Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving."

Source: ► Narrative by Dan Clark, US American life coach, motivational speaker, published in the collection of inspirational tales by
Jack Canfield (*1944) US American motivational speaker, author, Mark Victor Hansen (*1948) US American motivational speaker,
trainer, author, A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, 1995, large print edition 1. April 1996
Siehe auch: ► Perspektive

The dissatisfied stone cutter

There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.
One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors.

"How powerful that merchant must be!"

thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined,
but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accom-
panied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the

"How powerful that official is!"

he thought.

Dirk Pyka, German master stone sculptor
"I wish that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very un-
comfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence.

"How powerful the sun is!"

he thought.

"I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on every-
one, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and labo-
rers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below.

"How powerful that storm cloud is!"

he thought.

"I wish that I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind.

"How powerful it is!"

he thought.

"I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him.
But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge,
towering rock.

"How powerful that rock is!"

he thought.

"I wish that I could be a rock!"

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed.

"What could be more powerful than I, the rock?"

he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

Source: ► Zen Stories. More Is Not Enough. The Stone Cutter, presented by the blogspot blissfulstoriesandhumour, undated

I'm your proof!

The caterpillar was awe-struck as it gazed at the majesty of the butterfly's wings.
   "I'd do anything to be like you,"
the caterpillar said, descending with a sigh into a prickly leaf.
   "Well, that’s good news,"
said the butterfly, doing the polka above the caterpillar’s head.

Papilio machaon caterpillar en face, September 2005
"Before long you WILL be like me...just like me, in fact."
   "That can't be...I've never looked anything like you. I've always
   looked exactly the same. It's very sad, but it’s just the way it is."

"That’s not true, my little friend. You WILL, in fact, look just like me. If you would only believe that, you would be so much happier.
Now pick yourself up off that leaf and do something wonderful today."

   "I don't believe you. I can't tell you how many times I've wished
    for wings, but no matter how hard I wish, I'm still on the ground.
    That proves it – I'm always going to be the same."

The butterfly landed on the leaf, opened her wings, and embraced the caterpillar.
"My friend, there is no proof in the past. You have to forget the past and look at ME. I'm your proof."
   "But how can you be my proof? I'm me, and you're you!"
"Look into my eyes, dear friend, and believe what I say.
I was once like you and now I'm like me. That's more proof than your past will ever be."
Source: ► Marney K. Makridakis, founder of online creativity community Artella Land,
Money-Morphosis. 10 things butterflies can teach us about money, PDF, ~2009
See also: ► Proofs

Anger is inside me.


A monk decides to meditate alone. Away from his monastery, he takes a boat and goes to the middle of the lake, closes his eyes and begins to meditate.
After a few hours of unperturbed silence, he suddenly feels the blow of another boat hitting his.
With his eyes still closed, he feels his anger rising and, when he opens his eyes, he is ready to shout at the boatman who dared to disturb his meditation.
But when he opened his eyes, he saw that it was an empty boat, not tied up, floating in the middle of the lake.
At that moment, the monk achieves self-realization and under-
stands that anger is within him; it simply needs to hit an external object to provoke it.
After that, whenever he meets someone who irritates or provokes his anger, he remembers:

"The other person is just an empty boat. Anger is inside me."
Source: ► Thich Nhat Hanh (1926-2022) Vietnamese France based Buddhist monk, peace activist, teacher, poet, author, cited in:
N.K. Sondhi, Know Your Worth. Stop Thinking, Start Doing, 1. March 2017; cited in: Goodreads Quotable Quote

Healing with kindness

Helen Keller, 1913

Dr. Frank Mayfield was touring Tewksbury Institute when, on his way out, he accidentally collided with an elderly floor maid. To cover the awkward moment Dr. Mayfield started asking questions.

"How long have you worked here?"
"I've worked here almost since the place opened," the maid re-
"What can you tell me about the history of this place?" he asked.
"I don't think I can tell you anything, but I could show you some-

With that, she took his hand and led him down to the basement under the oldest section of the building. She pointed to one of what looked like small prison cells, their iron bars rusted with age, and said,

"That's the cage where they used to keep Annie Sullivan."
"Who's Annie?" the doctor asked.

Annie was a young girl who was brought in here because she was in-
corrigible – nobody could do anything with her. She'd bite and scream and throw her food at people. The doctors and nurses couldn't even
examine her or anything. I'd see them trying with her spitting and scrat-
ching at them.

"I was only a few years younger than her myself and I used to think, 'I sure would hate to be locked up in a cage like that.' I wanted to help her, but I didn't have any idea what I could do. I mean, if the doctors and nurses couldn't help her, what could someone like me do?
"I didn't know what else to do, so I just baked her some brownies one night after work. The next day I brought them in. I walked carefully to her cage and said, 'Annie, I baked these brownies just for you. I'll put them right here on the floor and you can come and get them if you want.'
"Then I got out of there just as fast as I could because I was afraid she might throw them at me. But she didn't. She actually took the brownies and ate them. After that, she was just a little bit nicer to me when I was around. And some-
times I'd talk to her. Once, I even got her laughing.
One of the nurses noticed this and she told the doctor. They asked me if I'd help them with Annie. I said I would if I could. So that's how it came about that. Every time they wanted to see Annie or examine her, I went into the cage first and explained and calmed her down and held her hand.
This is how they discovered that Annie was almost blind."

After they'd been working with her for about a year – and it was tough sledding with Annie – the Perkins institute for the Blind opened its doors. They were able to help her and she went on to study and she became a teacher herself.
Annie came back to the Tewksbury Institute to visit, and to see what she could do to help out. At first, the Director didn't say anything and then he thought about a letter he'd just received. A man had written to him about his daughter. She was abso-
lutely unruly – almost like an animal. She was blind and deaf as well as 'deranged.'
He was at his wit's end, but he didn't want to put her in an asylum. So he wrote the Institute to ask if they knew of anyone who would come to his house and work with his daughter.
And that is how Anne Sullivan (1866-1936) became the lifelong companion of Helen Keller (1880-1968).
When Helen Keller received the Nobel Prize, she was asked who had the greatest impact on her life and she said,

"Annie Sullivan."

But Annie said,

"No Helen. The woman who had the greatest influence on both our lives was a floor maid at the Tewksbury Institute."
Source: ► Article Helen Keller, presented by the publication National Park Service, 15. Juli 2020

Quotes, texts and overviews on the issue of Stories / Geschichten

Quotes on stories

Personal avowals


  • I think of a story as something you can pass down, like blood or genes. Family mythologies are as important as family heirlooms, and they become part of a family's identity. Jackie Kay (*1961) Scottish Scottish poet laureate, novelist, cited in: article Jackie Kay: Scotland’s poet of the people, presented by the British daily newspaper The Guardian, Kevin McKenna,
    20. March 2016



  • Our job is not to comprehend or control everything, but to learn which story we are in and which of the many things calling out in the world is calling to us. Our job is to be fully alive in the life we have, to pick up the invisible thread of our own story and follow where it leads. Our job is to find the thread of our own dream and live it all the way to the end. Michael Meade Mosaicvoices.org US American storyteller, scholar of mythology, psychology, anthropology, ritualist, spokesman in the men's movement, author, Why the World Doesn't End. Tales of Renewal in Times of Loss, Greenfire Press, 30. October 2012




  • It is a great mystery that though the human heart longs for truth in which it alone finds liberation and delight the first reaction of human beings to truth is one of hostility and fear. So the Spiritual Teachers of humanity, like Buddha and Jesus, created a device to circumvent the opposition of their listeners: the story. They knew that the most entrancing words a language holds are "Once upon a time ...," that it is common to oppose a truth but impossible to resist a story. […] [T]he story will worm its way into your heart and break down barriers to the divine. Anthony de Mello SJ (1931-1987) Indian Catholic Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, spiritual leader, author, Taking Flight. A Book of Story Meditations, "Warning", S. 11, Doubleday, New York, September 1988, Image, 3rd revised paperback edition 1. July 1990



  • Everyone tells a story with his own addition, knowing his hearers like it. Aristotle (384-322 BC) classical Greek pre-Christian philosopher, physician, scientist, misogynist, treatise Poetics, 335 BC


  • Though none of us will live forever, the stories can. As long as one soul remains who can tell the story, and that by the recounting of the tale, the greater forces of love, mercy, generosity, and strength are continuously called into being in the world, I promise you [...] it will be enough. Clarissa Pinkola Estés (*1945) US American Jungian psychoanalyst, post-trauma specialist, poet, writer, The Gift Of Story, S. 30, Ballantine Books, September 1993, reissue 12. October 1993



  • There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) US American historian, actress, producer, director, educator, civil-rights activist, playwright, poet, bestselling black author, autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Random House, 1969


  • Stories save your life. And stories are your life. We are our stories; stories that can be both prison and the crowbar to break open the door of that prison. We make stories to save ourselves or to trap ourselves or others – stories that lift us up or smash us against the stone wall of our own limits and fears. Liberation is always in part a storytelling process: breaking stories, breaking silences, making new stories. A free person tells her own story. A valued person lives in a society in which her story has a place. Opinion article by Rebecca Solnit (*1961) US American culture historian, journalist, writer, Silence and powerlessness go hand in hand – women's voices must be heard, presented by the British daily newspaper The Guardian, 8. March 2017


  • All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique.
    All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987) US afroamerican social critic, playwright, essayist, short story writer, novelist, cited in: Article The Precarious Vogue of Ingmar Bergman, presented by the US American men's fashion and lifestyle magazine Esquire, April 1960, republished in collection of essays The Price of the Ticket, St. Martin's Press, 1985



The soul draws us near to reveal the shadow in stories.

  • There is no story we are safe from. We can't always choose how we will hear it. Stories by their nature [...] something lurks in them. That is why we are interested in them. Anne Michaels (*1958) Canadian novelist, poet, author of Fugitive Pieces, Vintage, 26. May 1998, live remark, international Trauma Conference, Vorarlberg, Austria, 26. October 2002


  • There are two ways of telling your story.
    1. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently, keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your past experiences.
    2. But there is another way. You can tell your story from the place where it no longer dominates you. You can speak about it with a certain distance and see it as the way to your present freedom. The compulsion to tell your story is gone.
Henry Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch-born US American Catholic priest, theologian, psychologist, writer on spirituality, The Inner Voice of Love. A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, S. 34 Doubleday, a division of Random House, New York City, New York, 1996


  • It is a tricky business when we tell our story. Story-telling is a shamanic art, in that telling our story is not a passive, but rather, an active and creative – act, for how we frame, interpret and place meaning on our experiences of the past helps to create our living experience in the present moment. If the stories we tell ourselves are sick and sickening, it makes us ill. The fictive power of the literary imagination is the imaginal power of the psyche, and as we develop this part of ourselves, we are like shamans, retrieving the lost "soul" not only of ourselves, but of humanity as a whole. Trauma forms a kind of psychic infection in the mind; one of the best ways to heal this infection and drain the mental abscess that results is through the telling of our story. […] Trauma destroys the normal narrative of life. Trying to weave the seemingly disconnected pieces of our life together into a story is, in many ways, the ultimate act of healing, as it can create – and give us – perspective.
    • There is a way of telling our story in which we can be unwittingly reinforcing our wounds, keeping ourselves stuck and casting a spell on ourselves,
    • and there is a way of telling our story in which, through the very act of creatively expressing it, we are liberating ourselves from the past's seemingly bewitching, enchanting and spell-binding effects.
✓ In the first way, it is as if we are writing prose, just reporting the facts, which we imagine are written in stone and can't
    be argued with; the language of prose preserves the events of our life as trauma in the amber of time.
✓✓ The second way is more akin to poetry, in the sense that we give ourselves creative license to tell our story in a
       way which truly validates the ultimate creative nature of experience itself, which doesn't exist in objective
       form outside of nor separate from our own mind's interpretation.
This is to say that the nature of our experience is ultimately subjective, we ourselves being the subjects who are the arbiters of our experience. We can realize that our moment-to-moment experience of ourselves and our world is a function of and not separate from our creative imagination, as if we are waking up inside of a dream. Paul Levy (*1956) US American psycho-activating healer, artist, author, Quantum Revelation. A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality, S. 12, SelectBooks, 22. May 2018



Success ⇔ story telling


  • People who have experienced nothing love to tell stories while people who have experienced a great deal suddenly have no stories to tell at all. Daniel Kehlmann (*1975) Austrian-German writer, Fame, Rowohlt Verlag, 2009, English version, 2010



Dialectic of psychological trauma

Reporting atrocities

  • The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory, and fragmented manner that undermines their credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth-telling and secrecy. When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom. Judith Lewis Herman, M.D. (*1942) US American psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, author, Trauma and Recovery. The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Basic Books, 7. July 2015



Power of relationship of witnessing – committed listening

  • Underlying the attack on psychotherapy, I believe, is a recognition of the potential power of any relationship of witnessing. The consulting room is a privileged space dedicated to memory. Within that space, survivors gain the freedom to know and tell their stories. Even the most private and confidential disclosure of past abuses increases the likelihood of eventual public disclosure. Judith Lewis Herman, M.D. (*1942) US American psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, author, Trauma and Recovery. The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Basic Books, 7. July 2015



The healing power of telling and listening to personal narratives

  • Telling and listening to stories is the way we make sense of our lives. That natural tendency may have the potential to alter behavior and improve health. The magic of stories lies in the relatedness they foster. Marketers have known this for a long time, which is why you see so many stories in advertisements. Storytelling is human. We learn through stories, and we use them to make sense of our lives. It’s a natural extension to think that we could use stories to improve our health. Thomas K. Houston, M.D., US American lead author of the study Culturally Appropriate Storytelling to Improve Blood Pressure: A Randomized Trial, January 2011, researcher, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester and the Veterans Affairs medical center, Bedford, Massachussetts, cited in: deleted article When Patients Share Their Stories, Health May Improve, presented by the US American daily newspaper The New York Times, Pauline W. Chen, M.D., 10. February 2011



Inflatable balloons
  • The world is not made of facts, but the world is made of stories. Audio interview with Michael Meade Mosaicvoices.org US American storyteller, mythologist, ritualist, spokesman in the men's movement, author, The Light Inside Dark Times, presented by the US American web radio station Shrink Rap Radio, psychology podcast #216, host David Van Nuys, Ph.D., US American professor emeritus of psychology Sonoma State University, California, starting minute 22:50, 1:10:19 minutes duration, aired 21. August 2009
    • There are not truths, there are just stories.
      Saying of the Zuni, American Native tribe


  • At critical moments in the life of individuals and of societies, it is not necessarily the facts that are needed as much as a profound narrative that makes sense of life's conflicts and misunderstandings. When all seems to be falling apart and becoming less rational and more chaotic, it is usually a different story that is needed to make things whole again.
    Mythic imagination can break the spell of time and open us to a level of life that remains timeless. Myth is not about what happened in past times; myth is about what happens to people all of the time. Michael Meade Mosaicvoices.org, US American storyteller, scholar of mythology, psychology, anthropology, ritualist, spokesman in the men's movement, author, The Genius Myth, Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, April 2016, Greenfire Press, paperback edition 18. May 2016


  • The anecdote, a sequence of actions, a story in its purest form, one thing following from another (rather than just disjointed "facts")."
    The Power of the anecdote is so great [...]. No matter how boring the material is, if it is in story form [...]. [T]here is suspense in it, it feels like something's going to happen. The reason why is because literally it's a sequence of events [...]. [Y]ou can feel through its form [that it's] inherently like being on a train that has a destination [...] and that you're going to find something. Ira Glass (*1959) US American public radio and television personality, cited in: article Tips on storytelling, presented by the publication Presentation Zen, Ira Glass, 7. March 2007


  • To follow Story is to understand the path of healing. Each of our stories is a universe. Each one of us is living a story. To discover its shape and essence is essential to soul making. Deena Metzger (*1936) US American storyteller, teacher, healer, medicine woman, poet, essayist, novelist; cited in the website deenametzger.net, undated


  • Story is about principles, not rules.
    Story is about eternal, universal forms, not formulas.
    Story is about archetypes, not stereotypes.
    Story is about thoroughness, not shortcuts.
    Story is about the realities, not the mysteries of writing.
    Story is about mastering the art, not second-guessing the marketplace.
    Story is about respect, not disdain, for the audience.
    Story is about originality, not duplication.
    Stories are the creative conversion of life itself to a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience.
    [Stories are] the currency of human contact.
    Stories are how we learn.
    Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
    Robert McKee (*1941) US American screenwriting expert and teacher, story consultant, playwright, author, Story. Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting, It Books, 25. November 1997




  • And it's a human need to be told stories. The more we're governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible. Or, what's impossible? What’s a fantasy? Removed interview on "Nobel Son" with Alan Rickman (*1946) English actor, former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in both modern and classical theatre productions, Why hasn't an esteemed actor like Alan Rickman ever been nominated for..., presented by IFC Always Slightly Off, Aaron Hillis, 4. December 2008; cited in: Alan Rickman best quotes, Mary Sollosi, updated 14. January 2016




References: en.Wikiquote entries Story and ► Fairy tale and ► Fiction and ► Storytelling


See also: ► Seventeen stories in life and ► Stories ⇔ narratives and ► General quotes – Fairy tales, myths, legends, stories

Literary quotes


Confession – Literature – Maturity

  • I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves. Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) German-born Swiss poet, novelist, N. H. Priday, translator, Demian. The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth [Fischer, Berlin, 1919], S. 5, Boni & Liveright, New York, 1923, Henry Holt, 1948

Humans are biologically wired to stories.

Stories configuring human nature
༺༻Facts and features concerning storiesRemark
1.Biologically prepared for stories, human nature depends on evolutionarily crucial stories. Humans feel and think in story-logic.
Story-causality configures human reaction-biology.
2.Like the human language instinct, the human story drive – inborn hunger to hear and make stories – emerges untutored. 
3.Every culture bathes its children in stories. They are to educate children's emotions explain how the world works. 
4.Story patterns are a form of grammar – language patterning the character types, plots, and norms important in human culture. 
5.Delivering feelings free of charge, stories free humans from the limits of direct experience. 
6.Stories the world over are almost always about people with problems. Story = character(s) + predicament(s) + struggles(s)
7.Story patterns transmit, often tacitly, social rules and norms (like expected/approved behavior, violations). 
8.The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.
Logic inside stories is easier to apply.
Wason's Test: ~10% solve it as a logic puzzle. 70-90% solve it when it's
presented as a story involving
social-rule cheating.
9.Social-rule monitoring was evolutionarily crucial. Other people are the most important part of our environment.
10.Social acceptance shaped ancestral survival. Violating social rules could mean exile or exclusion from group benefits (protection, big-game, etc). 
11.Darwin saw how biologically active the stories in our social environments are. Hindus suffer for consciously consuming unclean food, not so if eaten unknowingly.
12.Not the food itself, the story of the food, causes "soul shaking." Story-causality triggers the emotional biology. Physiology can interact with stories like they're real threats.
13.Stories configure the emotional/physiological triggers and reactions expected in human culture. 
14.Science of human nature, that ignores how important stories are in shaping what and how humans think and feel, is false. 
15.Nature shaped humans to be ultra-social and self-deficient.
Hence humans care deeply about character and plot.
Reference: ► Narrated article How Stories Configure Human Nature, presented by the
US American web portal Big Think, Jag Bhalla, 2:44 minutes duration, 12. December 2016
See also: ► Seventeen stories in life and ► Stories ⇔ narratives
Siehe auch: ► Sieben Handlungsschemen in Geschichten


Links to stories / Geschichtensammlung


External web links (engl.)

Excerpted from: A Christmas Carol, Chapman & Hall, London, 19. December 1843

Audio and video links (engl.) – Humorous stories

  • Video presentation by storyteller Irving Rothstein, Nasrudin's "Perfect Woman", YouTube film, 1:20 minutes duration, posted
    15. October 2006


Interne Links

Englisch Wiki




1 Ear flapping elders

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