Friday, April 30, 2010

Calm Mind

A disciple and his teacher were walking through the forest. The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was in constant unrest.

He asked his teacher: "Why most people's minds are restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one do to still the mind?"

The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said:
"I will tell you a story. An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more".

This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly:
"Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can't you stay for a while in one place?"

The fly answered: "I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?"

The elephant stopped eating and said:
"My five senses do not rule my attention. Whatever I do, I get immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule and control my attention, and not the other way around."

The disciple's eyes opened wide and a smile rose on his face.
"I understand! If my five senses are in control of my mind and attention, then my mind is in constant unrest. If I am in charge of my five senses and attention, then my mind becomes calm".

"Yes, that's right", answered the teacher, " The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind".

What Will You Be Doing 7 Years From Now?

I graduated from Brazosport High School in Freeport, Texas in May 1972. Not dressed in white (honors), but I graduated.

That summer like the previous summer, I worked as a longshoreman loading corn, flour and corn sacks weighing 50 to 140 lbs. and 900 lbs. caustic soda drums on freight ships bound to other countries at nearby Brazos Harbor and Dow Chemical A2 Dock.

This was one of the better paying jobs in the area. It was grueling, hard, heavy work, but I loved it at the time. My father had been doing this job most of his life since it paid well.

Fall came around and I had already decided that I did not want to make my living as a longshoreman. Work was inconsistent and when it was there it only went to the ones with the most seniority, unless there was too much. There was very little opportunity for a better job when you got older.

I had always heard that a college education would get you a better job and decided to find out. So I went to nearby Brazosport College and set up an appointment with a counselor.

I got to his office at the appointed time and he asked me what work or profession interested me the most. I had taken Auto Mechanics I & II during my junior and senior years in high school and asked him if Brazosport College had an auto mechanics program.

He said "no." I asked him if they had anything similar to it. He said that the Machine Tools Technology program was very similar and described the program to me.

I was very interested and asked him how long it would take if I went full time. He said "4 years." I said I couldn't go full time since I am working (whenever work was available).

I asked how long would it take if I go part time? He said "7 years." I was shocked. I said, "Man, I'll be old then, I'll be 25 years old. I don't thing so."

He asked me, "what did you say you did for a living right now?"

I told him again that I worked as a longshoreman throwing bags and manhandling drums. Then he bent over his desk and looked me square in the eye and asked me the most significant words I will never forget in my life:


These words hit me like a ton of bricks! I sheepishly told him that I would be doing the same thing. I signed up for the classes right then and there.

These prophetic words have inspired many of my relatives and friends. The sun will rise and fall 365 days a year. What you choose to do in between will determine many things in your life.

This story alone has inspired relatives and friends to realize an age-old truth: Time will go on regardless and it waits on nobody.

Years later, I told a co-worker this story. He got inspired enough that he went on and got 3 different degrees in computers in less than 7 years! He said afterwards, "7 years ago I would've been saying to myself, 'If only I had the opportunity.'"


Augie Mendoza