Volume 1 – Issue 14

Brook of Life News

Improving the Quality of Your Life.
By Transforming Stress into Flow!

Editor: Prem Chopra
E-Mail: info@brookoflife.com
Volume 1, Issue 14, September 9, 2002
Copyright @ 2002 by Brook of Life, Inc.
Life -What’s In it for me?

In this Issue:
Navigation Log: Life – What’s in it for me?
Currents: Communication is Love!
Ripples: More on Goals
Your Views: From Our Readers

Navigation Log: Life – What’s in it for me?
This question arises in the minds of many, though few ask it. One student did.

Seeing the teacher in the cafeteria, she waked over. As he nodded in response to her request to join
him, she sat across the table setting her backpack beside her and posed the question.

“What is your purpose?” The teacher asked in response.

“What do you mean?” The student replied, puzzled.

“What is the purpose of your life? Why do you do what you do?”

“I do some things because I have to and others because I want to.” She responded after some thought,
appearing quite pleased with her answer.

“What do you want?” The teacher asked.

“I want to have a good time. I want to be rich, have a lot of money to buy nice things. I want a neat car
a nice big home and a happy family. I don’t want to worry about having to work for a living or doing what
I don’t want to do. I want to be and feel safe and secure. I want people to like me…”

“That’s a long list of wants.” The teacher observed, unable to hold back a smile. He resisted the urge to
point out the self-centeredness in these honest statements.


“So, if you get a lot of money, and nice home and family and everything else you now want, will you promise
to stop wanting? Will you have no further purpose in life?” The teacher asked.

“No. I will see how I feel when I get all that. Then I will decide?” The student answered defensively.

“So what are you doing about it?” The teacher asked.

“I don’t know…I’m going to school. I have a part-time job. I just broke up with my boyfriend. I’m a bit
confused right now. So what should I do?” She offered her attention for the first time.

“Does that mean you do not know what you really want?” The teacher asked.

“I didn’t say that. It’s just that my wants change. I want to keep my options open about what I want.”
She responded–her mind in disarray.

“Everything changes and flows–all the time. That is, if you consider the material aspects of your life. But
what about the Timeless and Changeless aspects?” The teacher asked, taking the discussion deeper.

“You mean, my spiritual life? Church? God?” The student asked, wondering what that had to do with her
wants in everyday life.

“Not necessarily,” Replied the teacher. “I mean love, friendship, caring and happiness–these are all gifts
of the Timeless?”

She appeared ready to listen–at least for a moment. Here was the chance to tell her what to do, or even
what to think. The teacher decided to let her do the thinking–for herself.

“Of course I want to be happy, have friends, love and good times in life.” She said, wondering why she had
not emphasized these earlier.

“So, if that is your purpose, what are you doing about it?” The teacher asked once more.

“What do you mean? I’m building my life by getting an education, a good job, friends and everything else
that others want.” She responded, unsure about the question and her answer.

“Close. But I mean, have you reflected on what really makes you happy? What do you really, really,
really want?”

“I told you what I want,” she replied quickly. Her stiffening body flashed the frustration creeping into her
voice. “My problem is I don’t know how to get it. That’s why I am asking you”

“Have you tried meditation?”

“Do you mean the yoga stuff, or introspection?” She asked, trying to impress the teacher as she recovered
her composure.

“Your problem is that you don’t know what you really want.” The words had hardly left the teacher’s lips
when he realized their harshness.

There was a flash of anger. Her body stiffened some more as she straightened her back. The breath halted.
Within a split second, the anger appeared to dissolve into the fear and anxiety from which it had arisen.

“So, how can I find out what I really want? What should I want?” She burst out, fighting back tears and
controlling the anger surging in her mind. The struggle was evident from her heavy breathing. Her back

The teacher was impressed by her self-control. This time she was really ready to listen.

“Life is a journey that offers many paths. We can choose wisely only if we know where we are headed.
One should have purpose beyond immediate needs or wants–such as attaining happiness and freedom
from wants, which are unfulfilled desires. Such purpose is, or should be, independent of the stage of life.”

“So how can I discover what I really want?” She asked again, growing impatient.

“For this, the mind must be clear–as a tranquil stream. Clear your mind of all wants and thoughts associated
with your wants. Try this for a few moments each day, before you going to bed, while walking or while sitting
in a comfortable position. Do this alone.”

“It’s impossible to get these thoughts out of my mind. I have so many things to do and worry about.” She
burst out.

“I know. That is why you should start now. It will take practice and time, but it will happen.”

“So, you really believe that if I do introspection, I’ll discover what I really want?” She asked in anticipation.

“Yes. It will align your thoughts and actions along the path that will take you where you want to go.” The
teacher said, with a sigh of relief.

“How?’ She pressed, eager to absorb whatever the teacher would say.

“Form a purpose with an objective that is meaningful and within your reach. Then pursue it purposefully.”

“And, that is purposeful action. That is going with the flow!” She said with a knowing smile.

The teacher smiled in silence.

“That’s what’s in it for me!” She added, slinging the backpack over her shoulder as she merged into the sea
of students with a bounce that only the teacher could see.

Try transforming stress into flow! Following the resonance from within is going with the flow.

Currents: Communication is Love!

A reader sent this quote by the Carl Gustav Jung, the eminent western psychiatrist whose work was deeply
influenced by eastern thought:

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical
substances: If there is any reaction, both are transformed.

And this, from Pete Cameron’s reflections in The Purpose and Meaning of Life, page 37:
Communication is connection–in the way two streams merge into a common flow.

But there’s more:

Communication, with sharing and giving, generates compassion. This is love.

Attachment is mistaken for love and communication.

Resonance gives meaning to communication. This is a form of love.

Communication with love helps one go with the flow.

Ripples: More on Goals

In response to the young woman’s impassioned statements in the last newsletter:

“I set goals but am not driven by them…I am driven by a commitment to my mission–which is to achieve
my vision. If I were driven by goals, I would be tempted to manipulate in order to achieve them. This is
the root cause of unethical actions we see today in politics and business.”

A reader wrote: “As you have written in page 36 of your book, ‘Without a goal, we are lost–like a straw in
the river. There is no way to measure progress towards a goal if we do not have one.’ So, how can you
accept this woman’s reasoning?”

Setting a goal is Step 4 of Purposeful Action. Commitment to mission (Step 3) to achieve vision, which is
derived from Step 1 help determine the goal of the action. All three are important and should flow from one
to the other, as illustrated in the 12 Steps of Purposeful Action (pages 18 and 19). Goals, per say, should
not drive action, as the young woman so cautions–commitment should!

Your Views: From our Readers

A reader forwarded this from a friend in his church, disclaiming its authenticity. They create a pleasant rhythm and flow.

A philosophical Japanese computer whiz replaced annoying Microsoft software failure messages with these
Haiku messages. Haiku verses have three lines. The first has 5 syllables, the second has 7 and the third, 5.

Here are three such messages.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

A student wrote:

“Due to a trip this week, my paper will be two days late. I hope this won’t be a problem.”

The teacher responded in Haiku verse:

Trips will come and go
But commitments must be met.
Such is life in the brook.

The student responded:

“I understand.”

Humor transforms stress to flow!

Do you have humor to share? Send an e-mail to: info@brookoflife.com

Thank you for joining us on this Most Important Journey!

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Humor reduces stress!

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