Tag: Character

Virtues that can change our lives

The world seems to be over speeding, no time for contemplation, quiet time & calmness. Practicing, being still is considered foolishness. Many of us don’t care about virtues and morals anymore. Many of us have rejected the moral law giver and think we can decide what is right and what is wrong by ourselves. Pleasure and comfort are all over the place. Character building is a forgotten subject. Anyway!!

Benjamin Franklin in the year of 1726 developed a system to build his character. At that time he was just 20 years old.

I read this in his Autobiography and wanted to share with you all. These virtues that he had listed down are not universal but for his own life. However, all these virtues are equally important for our lives too. You can add more or reduce, but these are examples which might help developing yours.

He developed this system and dedicated this plan to God and started practicing. He failed many times but never gave up. And we all know, what a wonderful life he lived.

Following are the virtues he listed down for his life (taken as it is from his Autobiography). It is not to follow as it is but an example which can help.

Virtues Explanation
Temperance Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Silence Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation
Order Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time
Resolution Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve
Frugality Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Industry Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions
Sincerity Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly
Justice Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty
Moderation Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
Cleanliness Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation
Tranquillity Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Chastity Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation
Humility Imitate Jesus and Socrates

He had also developed a weekly calendar in order to see how many times a day he fails to practice. Following table is the example.

13 Virtues Chart

Character building and developing virtues requires discipline and it takes time and effort. But where there is a will, there is grace also. As seen in the life of Benjamin Franklin, it did him a whole lot of good. So, I hope it helps all of us in our pursuit of character building.

Thank you

God Bless

A Thousand splendid suns – A Review

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”

– Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi, 17th Century

51jkAgidvAL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The book ‘A Thousand splendid suns’ is another masterpiece of Khaled Hosseini. Some say it is better than ‘The kite Runner’ but I would say both are equally great and cannot be compared.

‘A thousand splendid suns’ describes lives during the cold war and post-cold war, specifically how the intrusion of Taliban had affected lives in Afghanistan. It covers lives during three decades of war in Afghanistan.

The writing is so deep & real that it can give readers an opportunity to experience Afghanistan of that time. There is pain, remorse, fear, hostility, betrayal, joy, love, sacrifice, courage and some more beautiful emotions that can make you cry and admire as well.

I won’t give you an overview of the story but can tell you that ‘A thousand splendid suns’ describes the lives of two women from their childhood to adulthood forced to live almost without any rights. In the midst of suffering they have proved that life is worth living and showed in the midst of hatred, love never abandons anyone. They shone through the dark clouds of hatred because they were the ‘thousand splendid suns’. Like ‘The kite runner’, once again the writer has illustrated pure friendship and ultimate sacrifices.

Khaled Hosseini has described the two wonderful women as “splendid suns”. Women’s strength and their significance in a society have been described skilfully through this brilliant art. It will make you believe that Women are one of God’s most wonderful creations. It has touched my soul and will touch yours.

The story telling ability of Khaled Hosseini is simply remarkable. The way he has portrayed characters and incidents will keep you occupied.

It is a masterpiece and a must read…Before reading these two books I had never thought that I would want to visit Afghanistan in my life.

God Bless…

A Statesman, A Scientist and A Poet

The Vision

I climbed and climbed
Where is the peak, my Lord?
I ploughed and ploughed,
Where is the knowledge treasure, my Lord?
I sailed and sailed,
Where is the island of peace, my Lord?
Almighty, bless my nation
With vision and sweat resulting into happiness

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

It is my hearty tribute to the great man Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam who is no more. What a wonderful president, a great scientist and a noble character he was. We will miss him but his thoughts and vision will remain with us and inspire us as we make continuous progress towards the dream that he had seen for our country.

We will miss you Dr. Kalam but your contributions, your writings and examples that you have set in life would reside within us as long as we live.

Vision ignites the mind…If you have a vision it will ignite your mind….Dr. Kalam

apj-abdul-kalam

Be ‘Full of Life, Now’ and forever….

Happy New Year

I hope the year 2014 had been a great year for all of us. I think we all had lots to learn and had so many rich experiences. The year has become history and it will be written in the history forever. I hope the experiences we all had in the year may be remembered all through our lives. It gave us loads of great feelings, experiences and learning and courage to walk through the future. So with these little appreciation and good feelings I give farewell to 2014. I thank God for the blessed year…

Now when we enter to the New Year, it is a grand feeling. I hope the year will be the best than all the past years. Let’s grow continuously through this year till the final breath of life. Let’s live it full through good and difficult circumstances.

At this juncture of moving to a new year, let’s evaluate the past year and plan the next…. Let’s take some resolution for our new year and try to follow those towards our life goal… I have my New Year Resolution and I am sharing this with you so that I may be accountable to all the readers and my friends….Here is mine:

  1. I would strengthen my relationship with God by spending quality time in prayer, meditation and by experiencing God’s presence in day to day life.
  2. Practice Kindness and Gentleness: I would focus on practicing these two personal qualities/characters in this year.
  3. Read every day: I will read a book everyday may it be at least one hour.
  4. Write More: I will spend more time in writing.
  5. Will do lots of research: may it be personal or professional, May it be small and informal ones.
  6. Better management of personal Finance: This has been never successful but I will try my best.
  7. Will try not to waste time on things which matters less: Which does not benefit me and others.

These are the seven New Year resolutions that I have taken. I will try my best in disciplining myself to follow these. I have taken many resolutions in past and failed in following many times…and I have taken this time and know that I may fail to follow number of time….But still I take because It does not matter to me, how many times I would fail to follow but every time I fail, I would like to see myself getting up and practicing again towards the dream and purpose of my life….

I hope you have taken yours so I wish you all the best for practicing those….

May it be a great year for you and may you grow continuously towards the great purpose of your life…. God Bless you…Be crazy and….Be ‘Full of Life, Now’ and forever….

Photo1689
Betla National Park, Jharkhand, India

 

Thank You

Social Transformation is possible!!!

There has been a continuous effort by development workers and government to find the best model for social transformation. So many experiments and so many models have been implemented but the success is yet at a very far distance. Lots of money has been spent on development both in rural and urban in our country but there has not been any remarkable transformation experienced which can be taken as ‘The Model’.

Why is this? What is the reason? Why isn’t there any tangible change? Is not it the time for us to think rather than trying the same methods and wasting time? What is that missing or what is that which is hindering the transformation process in our communities?

The community I am working with is a very poor community. Hundreds of NGOs and government organizations have been working for development and thousands of projects have been implemented. Our own organization has been working since many years and has implemented almost ten projects. There is some changes visible but that is not the change we are looking for. It is not a holistic change in our communities. The complexity of problem is so much that sometime I lose hope that nothing is going to happen. I am sometimes scared to hope to have hope for transformation. If I can’t hope anything then I am wasting my time here and I am working in vain. Am I just working for my livelihood? If it is so then this is the most heinous thing I am doing, I am selling poverty; I am selling suffering for my living. It is really a time for me to think what am I doing? Is there any hope that my hard work would pay off somewhere or I am just spending my days out here? Is this GOD wants us to do or He does have some other plan? Is God telling us to do the same things we have been doing or do we not understand His purpose? Are we missing out His way of doing? I don’t know but I don’t see any hope in the way we are doing stuff. It doesn’t make sense to me anymore. If you are working in a similar community or you have experienced you may understand what I mean.

But every problem has a solution. There is always a way out. We should find out the thing which is missing in the communities we are working with. What is that one thing which can be the factor for transformation, the complete transformation of people and society? Why do we do things what we do? What makes people in the community do things the way they do? What makes them think the way they think? I think it is the values that are existing in the community. Is it “value” that is missing, the value system in the society? What does it have to do with transformation?

Value is something which is the fuel for living. It makes society function the way it functions. It is natural but where have we lost it? If we see some examples of nature we may understand. As the proverb says – “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider its ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest”. – Pro-6:6-8. Ants have no commander, no chief yet they work hard and with discipline. Nobody watches them or monitors them yet they work with honesty. The value that they have which makes them work systematically without any leader. Everybody understands their role and responsibility. They are that’s why called wise. But in our case, even after having chief and supervisors we don’t do our part.

If we look at the life of a honey bee we have lot more things to learn from. –They work diligently. They do all the things to complete the tasks they have accepted to do. They work in team by sharing the responsibility. One group of bees collects nectar from flowers and brings to the hive and passes the nectar to other workers who chew the nectar to make it more digestible. Another group spread the chewed substances around the honeycomb. Another group fans the substance to dry. The group visits around 2, 25,000 flowers a day just to get 30 grams of honey and they flew approximately 1600 round trips a day. (Cultivating Character, Character Solution International)

Wow! What a creature. They show diligence, hard work and teamwork, sharing and caring for their community without a leader telling them to do so. Nobody monitors them but everybody does their task well. This is the value and the character that honey bees teach us. This is the importance of values in society. If we have values as human beings, the society will function automatically in a way it is supposed to. If we have good values and characters then we will live to the fullest.

That’s why I believe if the value system changes there will be transformation in every segment. If people cultivate values in life, there would be change in situation, change in people’s condition, and change in life…change in attitude… If everybody understand their responsibility and have values, there would be completeness, harmony, stewardship and peace in lives and society. Life would be beautiful.

How would the value system change? I don’t see it possible; it is again too difficult for me to have hope. There are wrong things which have been practiced for so long that it has become a regular practice and people no more consider it wrong. Let me give you an example from my experience (Another experience I had already posted before)-there was a group who came to us for help to run the PDS scheme in village. They had gone through some procedures and in some procedures they thought we could help them in getting that. When they came to us, our Project Manager took some time to discuss with them about their families. They were from poor families. Then we wanted to know if they run the scheme how they would earn livelihood.  Then they explained to us about the scheme. And it was such a thing we had never expected. They told 30 KG of rice comes for each family from government and from which they would give them 28 KG and keep 2 KG each and sell them in market to get their profit. Same is with oil and dal too. When asked if it is right to do so, they said it has been a practice in every village and there is nothing wrong in this. They would take another person’s share and still they are not able to understand that something is wrong in this. It is not their fault but the way it has been happening. A long practice has become the system and it is no more wrong. We don’t have a value system which would tell us that it is wrong. There are so many things happening in our communities just like this.

That’s why I believe, if the value system changes, there will be hard work, truth, there would be no corruption, there would be mutual respect and respect for human being… kindness, love for human being and nature….etc.. No lie, no hurt…there would be trust…

If people would have values in life, external condition would also change …no doubt in that…but how? Can a blind person show the way to another blind person? S/He needs a person who can see to guide him/her. Even though there are people who can guide the society the society is not changing. If somebody has to be healed he/she has to accept that there is sickness in him/her. People in our community should know that there is something wrong. Unless they don’t understand that how would they go for change? If somebody tells the person that he has a problem without the person realizes it, it would make the person more arrogant rather than the room for change. That’s what we have been doing. We are trying to tell them that their condition is bad and they need transformation. Even in a participatory way we are trying to tell them it has still been a failure. They have not internalized that there is a problem. They have not seen a better model than theirs. They have seen the difference physically but not the internal factors behind any change. Then who can tell them the internal factors? If it is you and me, then how? By telling them that there is a problem or telling the solution it is not going to work. Because people don’t learn the best by listening or seeing but they learn when they do it. In order to make them do we need to show them how it is done. We need to practice the thing that we want them to practice. We need to practice value that we want to see them practicing. When we live with them and practice good values, there is a change in value system in our circle and then it will pass on to a larger society. We need to show them by doing the things we want them to do. That is called the incarnation model.

The incarnation model is the answer… (Mr. George Kutty, our Project Manger helped me to understand this model) This is the model that Jesus showed us…He did not just preach us to love your neighbor, truth, forgiveness etc but he became 100% human and manifested these as a human being…He practiced what He said…He changed the world with the message of love, kindness and forgiveness and nonresistant to evil by force… He made tremendous influence in people’s life by showing how to do not by preaching. He just didn’t tell us to forgive but He forgave from the midst of highest suffering, from the cross he forgave His oppressors.

So we can do this by following the same model….by doing what we want to see…behaving the way we want others to behave to us. Practice those values in our lives. Showing how to live would teach others about living rather than just preaching… If we only preach, it would make people more resistant towards good values and characters rather than cultivating them.

Somebody has rightly said: “Preach the gospel always but when necessary use word”…Preach the gospel by your action….

I strongly believe “The incarnation Model” would bring change…if we practice those values in life, people around us will practice those values. when people around us practice those values, the surrounding would have the same value, then it would spread…And there would be change in value system…Once there would be change in value system, there will be change in the condition of human life and nature…the transformation would take place. In every souls and then in everywhere… there would be full of life…Our prayer would become true…”His kingdom come”. The Kingdom of God is not an external thing but it is within all of us. “The kingdom of God does not come with outward show, neither will people say, ‘Here it is, there it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you”. Luke-17:20-21. Therefore there should be transformation from within then the transformation in external world would take place without even human intervention.

I may sound idealistic but I am not. It is my belief  that if we practice, we will bring transformation…we are the workers of The Master who has sent us to do this…so let’s stop just preaching but practice, may it be in larger development field or in personal life…It is not easy way ahead…but it is possible…

Truly, The Incarnation Model will work and this will bring social transformation.

This is my hope… I believe this and if you believe that this would work, practice!!! If you don’t, share your thoughts….

Thank You

God Bless…..