A student once approached the great Michelangelo with a not-quite finished sculpture, pleading for assistance in adding the finishing touches. The young man’s intense focus seemed to elude him, for sculpting too violently would surely chip the stone, while sculpting too softly failed to produce any change in shape. Michelangelo, understanding the problem, insisted on taking the student out for tea, allowing him to recount all the difficulties he had encountered in producing the art-piece. Upon returning, the student was dumbfounded when his beloved teacher refused to help him. Finally deciding to have another attempt at the sculpture, however, he noticed that he could now, with a calmer temperament, apply the perfect balance of pressure to finish the sculpture himself.
Your out of breath, panting
The goal is out of sight, out of mind.
The crowd feels the energy running through you, they screaming at you, cheering, but u don’t mind.
The world is turning around you, only you
But you already know that your one of a kind.
Going through this race, you see things,
Hear things like never before.
Each thought comes heavy, stemming deep from within your core
You burst through, FIRST! That is all you wanted, you start to cry
Before you realise that all the false cheers, falls hopes, was just to see you try.
A pure and dignified race for knowledge, I pursue it with a friend. Studying hard, and study we do, we laugh, and we fall silent. We ask, and we respond. We reach out, and we are saved.
I keep my eyes on the prize of knowledge, knowing in my heart what it is worth. My failures are successes. My fears, courage. And my weaknesses soon turn to strength.
My friend watches, bewildered. Frustration grows with every passing day. Mistakes pile up in mind and heart. And impatience boils over, only to be calmed by self-praise.
My friend wanted a grade, the fruit, while I pursued the seed. Had I achieved sweet fruit or not, I remain victorious. Had he achieved his grade or not, unfruitful in my mind was his deed.
Tomorrow, my friend appreciates me not for being there when he needed me most, nor does he invite. Complaining and muttering about how far he walked, and how little he slept for a grade.
Tomorrow, my friend tries to pull me down in hopes of catching up. He speaks non-truths about my work, and his honour dims down and fades. He did not convince me, nor himself that what he did he did for good. He does not pull me down, for my strength lies beyond his reach, and his fingers slip away.
Tomorrow, my friend will regret. If only he got an A…
Working hard, feeling the burn, and awaiting every set as it comes, we can sometimes get ahead of ourselves. Your mind can sometimes be stronger than your body, but true strength is when the two are in phase. We may want to lift more, work harder, but our bodies have their limits, and our imagination knows no bounds. So here is my advice: it may sometimes be beneficial to slow down, take a breath, be patient. Lower the weight, extend the rest time, and focus on your form, because true good things come to those who are patient and those who enjoy the process more than they do the results.
When you are facing a specific goal, make sure to chase only one rabbit. When you face a larger goal, make sure to run after the whole flock!
Encompassed by glamour and flashy sights, constantly tangled between the opportunities and decisions that face us in every passing day, we make it exceedingly easy for ourselves to be failed collectors of the things we want. Time seems to be ever expanding as we see what the world has offered to others, while we remain heedless of own candle-string growing shorter with every passing second – perhaps to glow brighter in the future, but ever shorter nonetheless. Our lifetimes are an unavoidable bottleneck of passions, plans, and dreams, where it becomes a constant struggle for us to balance between the optimistic promises of future success and happily ever after, and attempts to ground ourselves in the less extraordinary realities evident around us.
Chasing a dream may sometimes seem like chasing a rabbit: the faster we chase, the more determination it develops toward escape, and the easier it is to slip away. At the shock of our disillusionment of straightforward success, we vacillate tirelessly between the route of continually chasing more, and that of fearing that what we already have will someday abandon us. These are the two rabbits mentioned in the Russian proverb: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” If chasing one dream is hard enough, imagine the struggle of chasing two.
When asked about that which is most important to him, Captain Silva of the Sea gave a childlike smile and responded, “It is the moment of now, and something else which I do not yet know of.” This response is interesting, as how can he chase that which is already in his grasp? He is excited not about what he knows, but about venturing yet where he has never before and attaining what he has never had. Chasing two rabbits, therefore, is like sailing against the wind. We must first jump from the ledge in which we find our safety in order to explore and illuminate the dark waters that contain the treasure that we so desire. And perhaps its the treasure within that we are truly in search for…
Chasing two rabbits leaves us stuck, trapped in our own indecision, reducing our effort to a mere illusions of progress. Sprinting in one direction, we quickly lose sight of our target. In a split-second judgement, we resolve to chase a second, closer specimen, only to realise that it is faster and more agile than the first leaving our solid resolve dissolved in a sea of frustration. If only we stuck with our initial chase – now both rabbits are out of reach.
That is, however, only if the rabbit itself is the goal. Suppose for a second that we forget about the bunnies and do what we have continually been told not to: continually changing course running after the closer rabbit. This time, however, we have let go of the desire to actually catch one – we are in it, as it were, for the chase. With this, we are never left disappointed or dissatisfied, for in every lost chase lies another to replace it. Before long, though we have not caught a single rabbit, we have found nevertheless a prize that lies beyond, what the rabbits unwittingly lead us to: the colony (technical name for group of rabbits).
We only feel we are working when we are worried. We are constantly on the lookout for the option that offers the most return for the least effort. Many a time, however, most of our growth happens behind the lines, when we are not looking. True progress, therefore, is never judged by how much we think about or long for the results, but instead by how little we want them compared to how much we enjoy the chase. Our focus often lies in the rabbit that is far away. Switching our focus to the rabbit that seems closer, it turns out to be further than we imagined, and leads us down a rabbit hole. If we stay still enough, however, then perhaps a rabbit will take interest in us, and come and have a sniff at our feet.
We often hear the criticisms of other telling us that we do not do enough of what we are supposed to. Seldom, however, do the words, “you have to do less” fall upon our ears.
In a society of more is merrier, and bigger is better, we strive to accumulate all that we can as quick as we can. This means more studying for students, more exercising to reach our fitness goals, and more work to earn even more money! Thus arises the term workaholic and the likes, which our disdain for is nothing more than a pseudo-attempt to put our selves at ease at the sight of those who are bigger and better than ourselves. Deep down inside, however, find our inner voice questioning itself, asking itself, “how do they do it?”
I, for one, have lived and breathed the negative sides of too much. For months on end, I worked and worked. Praised by my family, friends, and acquaintances on my progress, those were but empty words falling on deaf ears. I wanted more. And so to get more, one must do more… I thought… But how wrong I was.
Attached to the good blessings that I accumulated from simply not trying, I could not accept that what was in my hands was steadily and surely slipping away like sand from a shell. I worked day and night grabbing onto every passing grain; and the more I got ahold of one, the more slipped away beyond my vision. I was too blind to see that the road I was to take, was of another colour, better yet, of another world.
Less was the route I should have took when I embarked on my journey. Walk slower, take it easier, worry less! Less is the mentality of a runner, realising that he cannot sprint a marathon. Less is the words of a writer trying to cut down his linguistic perfection into the word limit. Less is in the mind of a artist trying to sculpt his masterpiece to a fault of none. As perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
But what if I want to get faster? What if I wanted to reach the end in half the time? Is more not then the solution? I never said work less, my dear friend. I simply suggested to worry less. As a sprinter who trains to reach the finish line quicker, so must you first train your ability to accept results as they come in order to further yourself as much as you can. Focus not on attaining more, as there is simply too much to attain, but rather giving more, as that is in plentiful abundance, and oh so sweet are the fruit of such labour. Give, and you must not worry about keeping. Give, and you will be showered with pleasures, gifts, and happiness. Is that not truly why we work?
We were once inhabitants of The Garden of Eden. As children, we grow up in a world of wonder, where joy, play, colours, and spectacles excite us at every turn. We grow, and with us grow our appetite and aptitude for desire and greatness. We search for the mechanisms behind a moving car, an airplane wing, a door lock and handle. We feel that our sadness takes away from us our eternal joy, and imprisons us in our own minds. We crave a constant feeling of security.
Our craving, knows the devil of our minds, can only be satisfied by the apple of knowledge. The forbidden tree looms to greatness at the far side of the garden. Closer and closer we take towards it, strolling, wandering at first, but soon we notice that we are running, galloping towards the very thing that was forbidden our nearness. Our palates watering, we stand tall and strong, alone, under the eyes of none, but One. Of course we forget that He is watching, so we pluck the bight coloured fruit that to our eyes dwarfs the whole garden and its trees. And stare at its vibrant flush, feel its smoothness and strength in our grasp, smell its freshness, almost taunting us to take a bite. And so we do…
The forbidden fruit is knowledge, is desire, is the very incarnation of evil. Not all knowledge or desire. No no. But only that crafted by the hands of the horned one, the promisor, the creator of mirages, the caller to pleasures. He takes hints at what the deepest parts of our hearts crave, and tugs lightly, patiently at the rope of our hearts in hopes of us responding with an inch. That is all he needs, an inch, and he is in.
He promises us fame and fortunes, the pleasures of the here and now. And we took the bait. No longer can we sing and dance, free of timidity and self awareness. No longer can we sail the waves of time, unafraid of being scathed. Need only we a bite of the fruit of knowledge, and the shadows of the world become evermore defined.
Now, you ask me, what is there that we can do? How must we act to save ourselves from the torment of everlasting days of illusion and false promises? These questions are futile. The correct question, dear reader, is: did this so-called promisor plant the Tree of Eden?