Little things matter. Never underestimate even the simplest acts of kindness and love. The author of Dilbert , Scott Adams, says:
Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
Another one of my favorite quotations comes from the highly-celebrated poet, William Wordsworth:
The best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
There are beautiful random acts of kindness that we can do everyday. All it takes is to have some consideration for others, and to look for opportunities to make the day a little happier and brighter for someone else.
I am not sure whether you do recall this lovely little poem by Mrs. J. A. Carney that you would have probably learned as a child. Though these words have the innocence of childhood in them, they are, nevertheless, timeless and very profound.
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean,
And the beauteous land.
Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
Like the heaven above.
And the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages,
One of the things that modernization and technology have done for us these days is to give us many options in life. For example, when we purchase things, whether it is food, vehicles, computers or cellphones, we are confronted by an expanding array of brands, flavors and options. Take milk, for example. If we only had just plain milk in the past, now we have skimmed milk, calcium-enriched, vitamin-enhanced, high-protein and etc.,
Similarly, we have more options in our choice of careers and lifestyle, and this can make our lives more complicated than before. However, I do not deny that choice can be a good thing. But, sometimes too many options become a source of distraction and frustration, and we lose our priorities and maybe even forget what our original objectives are.
How to combat this malady of modernity? Do not get caught by discounts so that you will not end up with things that you do not need. This resonates well with my preference not to browse and window-shop. Get to the shop, choose from what they have, buy it and go home.
Look for the bare necessities,
The simple bare necessities,
Forget about your worries and your strife;
I mean the bare necessities,
That’s why a bear can rest at ease,
With just the bare necessities of life,
Don’t spend your time looking around,
For something you want that can’t be found,
When you find out you can live without it,
And go along not thinking about it,
I’ll tell you something true,
The bare necessities of life will come to you,
They’ll come to you.
In this regard, I am certain that Baloo the Bear would heartily shake paws and hands with the great sage Lao Tzu if he hears him saying this:
Be content with what you have,
Rejoice in the way things are;
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you.
Let’s go fly a kite,
Up to the highest height,
Let’s go fly a kite,
And send it soaring…..
Up to the atmosphere,
Up where the air is clear,
Oh, let’s go…fly a kite!
Do you remember this song from Mary Poppins? We should go “fly a kite” all the time! By this, I mean that we must let go of our anxieties, worries, anger, jealousy, craving and many other defilement that we have, and “soar up to the atmosphere where the air is clear”. The more we are able to let go, the higher we will rise to enlightenment. Granted, sometimes we get hurt and angered, but the faster we let go, the less we will suffer.
We would do well also to remember that we must not cling to even the good feelings and so-called “correct” views. Do not hold on to opinions and concepts, or we get trapped in dualism.
Besides craving for material things, sometimes we also crave to be right. “I am right.You are wrong.” is a form of craving that afflicts many people these days. It does not do us any good to adopt this superiority complex because it would only hinder our own growth and the opportunity to discover and learn new method.
Hence, we should always keep letting go as we learn new things.
Let go of our views,
Let go of our cravings,
Let’s go fly a kite, folks,
And send it soaring………..!
I realize that the skills required in doing mathematics can be transferred to real-life. In mathematics, what is required is essentially to simplify all problems. Similarly, if one can see beyond the numbers and procedures involved, then one sees the intrinsic value of learning mathematics. Through mathematics, we can also impart and teach the kids values in life – as in the 10 Perfections (Paramis). How to do it?
1) Generosity (Dana) – Teach a friend, share what you know.
2) Morality (Sila) – One can never cheat his or her way in mathematics, all working must be shown.
3) Renunciation (Nekkhamma) – Mathematics is all about simplifying problems and expressions.
4) Wisdom (Panna) – One needs to “see things as they really are” before a mathematical problem can be correctly solved.
5) Energy (Viriya) – Mathematics definitely requires mental energy.
6) Patience (Khanti) – Work at it, don’t give up!
7) Truthfulness (Sacca) – Total honesty in doing mathematics.
8) Determination (Adhitthana) – If at first you do not succeed, try and try again.
9) Loving-Kindness (Metta) – Please be kind to your teacher, do your homework.
10) Equanimity (Upekkha) – Sometimes mathematics is easy, sometimes it is difficult. But hey, that’s life, isn’t it?
Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotel chains, attributes his phenomenal success to his mathematics lessons in school:
I am not out to convince anyone that calculus, or even algebra or geometry, are necessities in the hotel business. But I will argue long and loud that they are not useless ornaments pinned onto an average man’s education. For me, at any rate, the ability to formulate quickly, to resolve any problem into its simplest, clearest form has been exceedingly useful. It is true that you don’t use algebra formulae but….I found higher mathematics the best possible exercise for developing the mental muscles necessary to this process……(Conrad Hilton (1957), Be My Guest)
Mathematics is the training ground to cope with life. Remember what Conrad Hilton says……
This is Mathematics – Dhamma. Isn’t this wonderful?