- Wisdom: even a drop absorbed and applied with purpose can change lives.
- Sip drops of wisdom from the sages.. then discover the endless Ocean within…
and drink to your heart’s content !
- Currents created by our actions and by others influence our lives–the key is to circumvent currents that hinder the journey and ride the ones that carry us towards our purpose. Wisdom teaches how to discriminate between the two.
- Knowledge and truth vanquish fear — by building courage and fostering self-confidence.
- On wealth and poverty: There is no piety in poverty, nor virtue in wealth.
- On Freedom: We have always been free–it’s just that “Maya” wraps us up in it’s tentacles. Through distractions and obstructions it continues to (attempt to) disrupt flow. The challenge is to navigate around as many of these illusionary islands of joy and sorrow as we can, enjoying every moment of our journey to the Ocean.
Preface from Prem Chopra’s new book on Practical Wisdom from the Ages
First, let me tell you what this book does by telling you what it does not do. It does not provide even a fraction of the wisdom of the world. But, it does provide wisdom from the world — a mere drop from the endless ocean. However, even a drop absorbed and applied with purpose can change lives. The words of the ancient sages are rich with wisdom and can lead anyone to the shores of this ocean. Once there, you may drink to your heart’s content.
My own quest for wisdom started later in life, soon after my first meditative experience. “Since childhood, I was drawn towards ancient wisdom and the teachings of the sages, even as I attempted to understand and reconcile these with the realities of the world. I felt there was something indefinable and undiscovered within me – something disassociated and perhaps in conflict with the world around me.
“Then, one evening in May of 1984, while on a business trip to Singapore, as I attempted to shed the stress of the day’s negotiations, I drifted into a disassociated state. Suddenly, I found myself totally stress-free and relaxed like never before – as if my life had taken a turn into a blissful state. I had no idea how long this bliss would last. I did not known then that I had inadvertently entered a meditative state – I had to have been. Since then I have wondered, was this my moment of enlightenment?”
I started to integrate my experiences and research into my courses on leadership and ethics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I realized that in order to understand leadership, students needed to learn the purpose and meaning of their actions, as well as their lives. I could not find a book that did the job. So I wrote one, collecting wisdom from all over the world.
There are times in life we wish we had known earlier what we learn later from our experiences. This book is all about learning from the experiences of others and applying their wisdom in your own life. This does not mean that readers will automatically learn by reading the lessons, but they may learn through projecting the philosophy into their own life.
The book presents these tiny droplets of wisdom assembled in the form of a brook. They offer you a way to improve the flow of your life. I hope it will help you find the way to the ocean where you may drink up to your heart’s content, satisfying your spirit and recalling to your mind the universal resonance it truly seeks — a spark of which lies within you.
Meditations on Values
- We have ears only for that which our experience allows us to understand — the key is to grow ears for the experiences of others.
- Goals of material possessions and the respect of others are fleeting. External symbols do not define the accomplishments of the self.
- It is impossible to deal with an individual or group that does not have a moral and ethical basis for interaction. Without it, one has chaos and destruction.
- Dharam, the inner-driven duty to do for others that which will contribute to the purpose of their lives, is the same as doing unto others as thou would have them do unto thee. This is the pavement of the Path of Duty — the way of the Karam Yogi.
- Ignorance leads to fear, and threatens the ego. This leads to stress and anger. Anger leads to confusion and embarrassment and a threat to the ego — leading to deception and other acts of taking. Soon, these acts escalate beyond control. This is like the game of dominos or a house of cards.
- Knowledge and truth vanquish fear — by building courage and self-confidence
Meditations on Purposeful Action
- Purposeful action is the focused activity of the mind and body, driven by a mission that is derived from an absolute and unwavering commitment formed by introspection.
- Just as the flow of thoughts constitutes the mind, the flow of actions constitutes life. The framework for purposeful action provides the canvas on which we may draw the picture of life.
- Purposeful actions are driven from the inside and are indifferent to the fruits produced.
- All actions lead to other actions. No actions are isolated; they all have a purpose. You are nothing but a consequence of your actions.
- The dreamer who does not act on his dreams remains a dreamer. Action demands a clear assessment of what we bring to a task and what is required for its accomplishment.
- A common purpose transforms adversaries into teammates.
Meditations on Takers and Givers
- The higher levels of desires transcend physical needs, promoting detachment and giving.
- These desires are associated with truth which results in integrity, love that is commitment, faith that leads to persistence, universality the leads to teamwork, and sharing which is communication. They promote actions of giving.
- In anguish, some reach out to strangers for satisfaction they have not sought within — seeking meaning in life from others — from outside-in. They are prone to become Takers or the victims of Takers.
- Some Takers attract others by promising them what they desire.
- The cause of taking is ignorance. Knowledge is the solution. Curiosity coupled with reasoning, and patience with perseverance, aids in the search of knowledge.
- Attachment often is substituted for love and communication. Communication is connection in a way two streams merge into a common flow. Connection gives meaning to communication; which is love.
- Greed feeds upon itself and there is no end to the material desires it creates. Attempting to satisfy greed with more of that which is sought is like extinguishing a raging fire with kindling.
Meditations on Desires
- Humans are bundles of desires.
- Life is the pursuit of desires. We create our flow by the paths we choose and the actions we take.
- When there is no desire, there is no expectation — and no fear!
- Success is what people immediately relate to, while fulfillment remains a remote and blurry concept. Most individuals do not realize that they are looking for fulfillment as they chase success.
- Satisfaction extinguishes desire. This, in turn, leads to fulfillment.
- Material desires are an essential part of living. As long as you have a body, you must attend to its needs.
- However, desires generated by your senses stir up countless additional wants inside your mind. One way to control the surge of wants is to be detached from the fruits they promise.
Meditations on the Quest for the Meaning of Life
- The quest for the meaning of life begins with questioning the meaning of life. To question or search for the meaning of life is, without a doubt, the highest pursuit available to us as spirits on a human journey.
- It is futile to pursue some things in life — wisdom teaches what is meaningful and what is illusionary. This truth lies at the root of the journey to knowledge.
- The purpose and meaning of life lies in the journey, not the destination. Since we are spirits on a human journey, the purpose of the human journey lies in the search and not in the end. For, there is no end for the spirit. Eternity has no beginning and therefore it has no end.
- Currents created by others influence our lives — the key is to circumvent currents that hinder the journey and ride those that carry us towards our purpose. Wisdom teaches how to discriminate between the two.
Meditations on Life
- Life can be defined by actions, desires and values. Actions create flow, desires create currents, and values determine the course of the action.
- Life is a journey that offers many paths. We can choose wisely only if we know where we are headed.
- Life is an endless sea of events, with interspersed islands of joy and sorrow, constantly changing. The abyss awaits each climber who misses a step.
- It is a mistake to call life a “paradox”, when that’s just a simple way of dismissing the question. To define life as a paradox implies that life contradicts itself too much to be understood.
- Love is central to the purpose of life.
- Life gains meaning through sharing with others.
For more, Read Purposeful Wisdom