Archive for January, 2010

Self-Mastery Poem

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

The thought of today can well become

   the lumber of your life tomorrow.

While an artisan is skilled in his craft,

   and whether it be of clay or with chisel,

   or in the use of brush and paint,

Yet man, as an artisan of his life

   knows little or nothing of his skill,

And in the acceptance of life,

   becomes less than that of the beggar’s bowl

   which is filled with all the trash thrown his way.

Let us not beggars be in life

   and take that which is of another man’s

   choosing or giving,

But let us find the rich rewards of our

   own seeking!

The victory of conquest is not found in

   climbing high mountains

   or conquering kingdoms,

But is the victory one attains over himself!

Neither shall he find the fruit of joy

   in bending others to his will

   or showing them the righteousness of his way,

But only that he becomes righteous

   in his own heart—

Remembering always that this righteousness

   is not dimmed by others’ troubles,

   nor of the ways of the world,

But adds only luster and brightness

   to all things.

It is written that in the Garden of Allah

   there are many kinds of fruits,

   nor are they hidden to those who seek,

Yet with all this that is to be seen,

   the brightest and sweetest fruits

   are often the most poisonous.

Yet the virtue of each fruit must, by necessity,

   be found through the eating,

For the poison is found only in its right season

   and in the way in which it is eaten.

And as it is thus consumed, each man finds,

   in his own way, its own antidote.

For it is also written that of Allah

   and all his gifts to man,

   that none becomes less nor more

   than the other.

India is a land of many kinds of people,

   both Buddhist and Mohammedan,

So why should a man be confined,

   except for the sake of his own beliefs

   to one or the other?

But if he reads and listens,

   he learns much of all things

   whether they are Buddhist or Mohammedan,

For in the eye of the Creator all things

   are equally important.

Whether they have different kinds of spires

   or steeples on their temples,

   or in the manner in which they stand

   before their altars,

It makes no difference to the one God.     
                                                          —Lao Tse