quora – what’s your favorite parable – a random quora link that was fun that maybe sort of justifies a blog entry. (maybe lightly edited) (quote from jack london)
1) two wolves
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
takeaway/comments: don’t dwell on bad emotions, “feed” (great image) the positive emotions. pleasant surprise to find this as the most upvoted parable as jason used to quote this all the time. more generally, to quote angeles “EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS A DECISION”, which is her/our current mantra.
2) lost keys
A man is searching for something under a bright street light. Another man passes by and asks what he is looking for and if he needs help. The conversation goes like this:
Searching man: I am looking for my keys.
Walking-by man: Oh. Did you lose them here?
Searching man: No, no. I lost them two blocks away in a side lane.
Walking-by man (thoroughly confused): So why are you looking here?
Searching man: Because there’s light here.
takeaway/comments: be cognizant of when decisions/choices don’t even obliquely resolve problems we are faced with. make sure that our course of action is the most direct course of action in resolving the actual problem at hand and not just taking the easiest, flashiest, most tempting option.
3) be crazy
The wise man of the village goes to the sufi master.
The Wise Man says “The people of the village won’t leave me alone. It’s ‘wise man, help me with this,’ ‘wise man, help me with that.’ They keep at me day and night! What can I do to make them go away?”
The sufi master replied, “Sit in the center of the village, tear your clothes, pile dirt on your head, drool and make animal noises.”
“But,” the wise man cried, “they will all think I’m crazy.”
“Ah,” says the sufi master. “First we were talking about getting them to leave you alone and now we are talking about your ego.”
takeaway/comments: how we often ask questions that don’t actually convey exactly what we want to ask; how we often ask questions and don’t want to hear the answer and want to hear lies; how we are all prideful.
4) solomon redux
A father was disturbed by the sound of his son and daughter squabbling in the kitchen. They squabbled a lot, so he was accustomed to it, but this seemed extreme. He went in to see what the trouble was. They were fighting over the last orange in the house. Both children were on the verge of tears and the father decided to put a stop to the conflict by taking the orange, drawing out a sharp knife, slicing the orange precisely in half, handing half to each child, and telling them they were not allowed to speak to each other for the next hour. The son ran away with his half orange and the daughter remained in the kitchen where she was in the middle of some kind of baking project.
An hour later, to his surprise, both of his children were still deeply unhappy. He brought them together and asked them what was the matter. The son now revealed that he had wanted to squeeze the orange and drink the juice. Half an orange didn’t provide much juice. The daughter, on the other hand, had wanted to use the zest from the whole orange in baking cupcakes. If the father had taken the time to listen to both children, he could have given both of them 100% of what they really wanted, instead of leaving them both angry and dissatisfied.
takeaway/comments: the importance of listening and thinking outside the box for solutions. situations like these seem rather contrived; would argue that most situations don’t have such easy solutions. reminds me of the office and the “win-win-win” solutions. to quote the person who put up the parable: This is the role of a mediator: to identify the higher interests of both parties to a dispute, not to “split the difference,” but to help the parties identify outcomes that both can feel good about.
5) ghost boat
Suppose you are out on a lake and it’s a bit foggy, and you’re rowing along in your little boat, the tensions of the day slowly beginning to drain away, and then all of a sudden charging out of the fog there’s this other rowboat and it crashes right into you! Who rows so recklessly in the fog? What is that fool thinking? I just painted my boat, too! And then suddenly we notice the other rowboat is empty. What happens to our anger? Well, the anger collapses…I’ll just have to paint my boat again, that’s all. Our encounters with life, with other people, with events, are like being bumped by an empty rowboat. But we don’t experience life that way. We experience it as though there are people in that other rowboat and we’re really getting clobbered by them.
takeaway/comments: how we love to blame people, when people often aren’t the problem.