The greatest virtue that any man can cultivate in his lifetime.

July 6, 2015

The greatest virtue that a man can ever cultivate in his life time is to have the wisdom to bring out the best in others. Because that requires the highest level of thoughtfulness.

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‘There is no such thing as a good or bad person. Banish that black and white concept from your head. The way of the REAL world is not so straightforward, it is not binary, one is not functional or dysfunctional, crazy or sane, switched on or tuned out, wicked or saintly, miserly or charitable, big or small hearted, wise or stupid etc etc etc.

At times even a ‘good’ man who all considers beyond moral reproach can often be responsible for evil deeds and cause much suffering to others. At times a man who everyone considers bad is also capable of the most humane of deeds.

In the life of a man, there are really only thoughtful – (good) and thoughtless (bad) deeds.

Why is this simple yet often under acknowledge fact so important for everyone to know – because when we ascribe labels of good or bad on a person and usually we can only see ourselves as good and righteous – then the mind experiences a sort of death and we no longer see the need to audit our thoughts, actions and deeds. We cease completely to be thinking beings because we believe, we are good. We stop interrogating ourselves and worst of all this lazy attitude is the opposite of mindfulness, hence we can only cause suffering to ourselves and others without even realizing it.

Recently I asked of a woman who has the bad habit of complaining publicly that her husband never seems to remember her birthday. Why do you derive so much perverse pleasure from setting up your husband for failure – why do you always sabotage whatever little happiness that comes his way. I went on to tell this woman, it is not that your husband deliberately forgets your birthday, anniversary or any other important dates. Rather life in a plantation for farmer is very different from life in the city – there are no milestones of time and space and it is a matter of profound indifference as to whether it is Sunday or Monday or even the Christmas Day. A man or for that matter ANY man can easily lose himself in this featureless litany. As everyday seems to unfurl with so little worldly references, so I told her – when your birthday nears, why don’t you subtly remind your husband that your birthday is just around the corner. And while you are at it, why don’t you remind him of his birthday as well. As he probably forgets his own birthday and not only yours. She took my advise and soon she discovered that her thoughtfulness also had the effect of making her husband thoughtful as well. As he never forgot her birthday again.

On another occasion. I came across a suicidal girl who came to my lands to end it all, because she could no longer take the cruel taunts and jibes of the thoughtless villagers and even her own thoughtless parents and relatives who often teased her about the size of her big feet. All of them were not aware how making fun of her big feet had pushed this poor and suffering soul to the very edge.

When I asked of this girl why she wanted to end it all – she looked sullen and eventually showed me her Yeti feet. I told this girl, this is the most beautiful pair feet in the whole world. I went on to show her Youtube videos of cars with big tires and mentioned, her large feet looked exactly like the oversized tires of my land rover. I even shared with her an intimate revelation – if I had the opportunity to start life all over again – my dream would be to marry a girl with land rover feet like hers.

As not only would she be able to help me in the field by carrying fifty kilograms bags of fertilizer with such blessed feet. But if I am bitten by a snake. I am sure she could carry me as well with the surefootedness of a mountain goat – in the way a landrover is able to climb hills in practically every possible weather condition. I would never have to know the grief of getting stuck in the mud ever again…as with this wonderful feet on my side…I would certainly conquer the whole world like Genghis Khan.

Thereafter I knelt down and kissed this girl’s feet and then stood up and told her in a fatherly tone, ‘heaven has smiled on you by blessing you with land rover feet. Please do not be so thoughtless as to see a blessing as a curse.’ I went on to share my prophecy with this girl, all she had to do was to wait for the right man who had the wisdom to appreciate such beautiful feet to show up and poof! She would be married.

Thereafter the girl abandoned all her suicide plans and soon she would be heard boasting proudly to all the villagers, ‘the man who lives on the hill all by himself says I have the most beautiful feet in the world like those of a land rover that can go everywhere.’ In that moment when this girl experienced a perceptive shift, suddenly the yoke of her life long shame had been lifted and true to my prophecy. Shortly thereafter a tractor man from a nearby village heard of the woman who is blessed with land rover feet, this connoisseur of big feet and big tires who appreciates heavy machinery and their extraordinary ability to transverse across hostile terrain eventually asked for her hand in marriage and even offered a handsome dowry of two acres of prime land thereby breaking the village record for dowries.

Try always to bring out the best in others by practicing thoughtfulness – as life is so very brief and short. You are just here for a blink of an eye in the chastening passage of time, so try to measure your life with the number of hopeful smiles you can inspire in others. If you cannot do this or you are unwilling to do so, then keep quiet and do not make things worse for others….be thoughtful always.

Often it is said, to make the world a better and happier place, we need to fight and protest, but these days I am not so sure any longer…maybe the true way to make the world a better place is to work on ourselves first and allow the goodness to come out from within and touch others….maybe….just maybe this is the way.’

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