Web Inspirations

Web Inspirations for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

An old story comes from pre-telephone days when a young man applied for a job as a telegraph operator. He answered an ad in the newspaper and went to the telegraph office to await an interview. Though he knew Morse code and was qualified in every other way, seven other applicants were also waiting in the large, noisy office, who were no doubt equally qualified.

He saw customers coming and going and heard a telegraph clacking away in the background. He also noticed a sign on the receptionist's counter instructing applicants to fill out a form and wait to be summoned to an inner office for an interview. He filled out the form and sat down to wait. 

After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering why he had been so bold. They talked among themselves and finally determined that, since nobody had been summoned to interview yet, the man would likely be reprimanded for not following instructions and possibly disqualified for the job. 

Shortly, however, he emerged from the office escorted by the interviewer, who announced to the other applicants, "Thank you all very much for coming, but the job has just been filled."

They were all confused and one man spoke up: "Wait a minute – I don't understand. We've been waiting longer than he and we never even got a chance to come in."

The employer responded, “Were you listening to the telegraph? All the time you've been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out a message, ‘Come in now for your interview.’”

Kevin Kelly said, “The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.” I wish I could say that I relate to the man who got the job, but the truth is that I often identify more with everyone else in the waiting room. When I have a moment to wait, I pull out my phone or listen to an audio-book on my mp3 player. I am too often more engrossed in my interior world than in paying attention to what is happening around me. 

Yet the man in the story practiced a valuable habit – the habit of living in the present. His motto could have been, “Wherever you are, be there.” If you’re there in person, bring your mind along, too. If you're there physically, also be there emotionally. Give your full attention to others (is there really a better gift?). 

Wherever you are, be there. Be there as fully as you can. Don’t be fooled by multi-tasking. You are only halfway there when you’re doing something else at the same time. Your mind can fully focus on only one thing at a time. 

It's about being present and fully alive in the moment. Some people try to live in the past while existing in the present. Too often they find themselves filled with guilt or regrets and missing the now moment. Others find themselves living in the future, only to discover that anxiety and worry are cheating them out of joy today. 

Don’t live in the past – you’ve already been there. And don’t live in the future, either. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Live in this moment now – it is sacred and unrepeatable. This moment alone holds valuable gifts that should not be missed.

Wherever you are, be there. If you can be fully present now, you’ll know what it means to live. 

-- Steve Goodier

Mar 12, 2013

We Are Meant to Be One

Where is true peace to be found? Archbishop Desmond Tutu might say it can be found in the African concept of "ubuntu."

He says, "Ubuntu is a concept that we have in our Bantu languages at home. Ubuntu is the essence of being a person. It means that we are people through other people. We cannot be fully human alone. We are made for interdependence, we are made for family. When you have ubuntu, you embrace others. You are generous, compassionate."

He also says that if the world had more ubuntu, there would be no war. The powerful would help the weak. That is where peace is to be found.

A story from World War II shines a spotlight on ubuntu. In 1942, the American consul ordered citizens home from the Persian Gulf, for fear they might get caught in the spreading conflict. Travel was difficult, and some civilians secured passage on the troop ship Mauritania. Passengers included thousands of Allied soldiers, 500 German prisoners of war and 25 civilian women and children. 

The ship traveled slowly and cautiously, constantly in danger from hostile submarines patrolling the ocean depths. It was Christmas Eve and they had traveled for a full two months. They had only made it as far as the coastal waters of New Zealand and all on board were homesick, anxious and frightened. 

Someone came up with the idea of asking the captain for permission to sing Christmas carols for the German prisoners, who were surely as homesick and lonely as the passengers. Permission was granted and a small choral group made its way to the quarters where the unsuspecting prisoners were held. They decided to sing "Silent Night" first, as it was written in Germany by Joseph Mohr and was equally well known by the prisoners.

Within seconds of beginning the carol, a deafening clatter shook the floor. Hundreds of German soldiers sprang up and crowded the tiny windows in order to better see and hear the choristers. Tears streamed unashamedly down their faces. At that moment, everyone on both sides of the wall experienced the universal truth – that at the core of our being, all people everywhere are one. They experienced ubuntu. Hope and love broke down the barriers between warring nations and, for that moment at least, all were one family. 

We are meant to be one. And only after we realize that amazing truth can we find what we need – true peace.

-- Steve Goodier

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