“The Chinese Bamboo Tree” Parable By Les Brown

In the far East they have something called The Chinese Bamboo Tree.

The Chinese Bamboo Tree takes five years to grow.

They have to water and fertilize the ground where it is every day,
and it doesn’t break through the ground until the fifth year.

But once it breaks through the ground,
within 5 weeks it grows 90 feet tall.

Now the question is does it grow 90 feet tall in 5 weeks or 5 years?

The answer is obvious.
It grows 90 feet tall in five years.

Because at any time if had that person stopped watering, and nurturing, and fertilizing that tree, that bamboo tree would have died in the ground.

And I can see people coming out talking to a guy out there watering and fertilizing the ground that’s not showing anything,

“Hey, whatcha doing? You’ve been out here a long time, man. And the conversation in the neighborhood is…You growin a Chinese Bamboo Tree, is that right??”

“Yea that’s right”

“Well even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder can see ain’t nothing showin.”

You know that’s how people are gonna do you:

“So how long have you been working on this? How long have you been working on your dream? And you have nothing to show? This is all you got to show???”

People gonna do that to you.

And some people ladies and gentleman, they stop.

Because they don’t see instant results.

It doesn’t happen quickly.

They stop, oh no, no, no, no…

You’ve got to keep on watering your dreams 

And when it begins to happen, they stop laughing.

They say “Look, whoa, look here, it’s, look up, hey man you know I knew you could do it, look, you got a job here?”

See during those hard times you didn’t know how you’re gonna make payroll, during those times when you failed and things didn’t work out, they were nowhere to be found. 

You know what I discovered, when you’re working at your dream, somebody said “the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.”

Oh it’s sweet to ya. It’s good to ya, why?

See when it’s hard and there’s a struggle, see what you become in the process is more important than the dream.

That’s far more important.

The kind of person you become, the character that you build, the courage that you develop, the faith that you’re manifesting.

Oh it’s something that you get up in the morning, you look yourself in the mirror, you’re a different kind of person, you walk with a different kind of spirit.

People know that you know what life is. That you have embraced life.
You knew it was hard, but you did it hard.

Where are you really? By Dan Millman

“…He asked, “Where are you today, right now?”

Eagerly, I started talking about myself. However, I noticed that I was still being sidetracked from getting answers to my questions. Still, I told him about my distant and recent past and about my inexplicable depressions. He listened patiently and intently, as if he had all the time in the world, until I finished several hours later.

“Very well,” he said. “But you still have not answered my question about where you are.”

“Yes I did, remember? I told you how I got to where I am today: by hard work.”

“Where are you?”

“What do you mean, where am I?”

“Where Are you?” he repeated softly.

“I’m here.”

“Where is here?”

“In this office, in this gas station!” I was getting impatient with this game.

“Where is this gas station?”

“In Berkeley?”

“Where is Berkeley?”

“In California?”

“Where is California?”

“In the United States?”

“On a landmass, one of the continents in the Western Hemisphere. Socrates, I…”

“Where are the continents?

I sighed. “On the earth. Are we done yet?”

“Where is the earth?”

“In the solar system, third planet from the sun. The sun is a small star in the Milky Way galaxy, all right?”

“Where is the Milky Way?”

“Oh, brother,” I sighed impatiently, rolling my eyes. “In the universe.” I sat back and crossed my arms with finality.

“And where,” Socrates smiled, “is the universe?”

“The universe is well, there are theories about how it’s shaped…”

“That’s not what I asked. Where is it?”

“I don’t know – how can I answer that?”

“That is the point. You cannot answer it, and you never will. There is no knowing about it. You are ignorant of where the universe is, and thus, where you are. In fact, you have no knowledge of where anything is or of what anything is or how is came to be. Life is a mystery. My ignorance is based on this understanding. Your understanding is based on ignorance. This is why I am a humorous fool, and you are a serious jackass.”

Intro to Timothy Leary

Born — October 22, 1920, Springfield, MA

Growing Up

—Only child in Irish Catholic home.

—Tim’s Father, also named Timothy, was a dentist, and left the family when Tim was 14. 

—Graduated from a high school in Massachusetts.

—1938-1940 Became a cadet in U.S. Military at West Point, but was a trouble maker. He was shunned and silenced from fellow cadets. This led to court appearances where Timothy then resigned and honorably discharged from the Army.

—He had gone to numerous jails throughout his whole life(first time in 1965), with the above case he said the military trial was “the only fair trial I’ve had in a court of law.”

—1950 received doctorate in psychology from University of California Berkeley, becoming an assistant professor until 1955. During this time he developed a psychotherapy model (egalitarian model) for psychotherapist and patients. 

—1959 Lecturer at Harvard University.

—1960 Leary tried psilocybin mushrooms for the first time, commenting afterwards:

“I learned more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than the preceding 15 years of studying and doing research in psychology.”

—In the following years he linked up with Richert Alpert – commonly known as Ram Dass, who was also a Harvard lecturer, studying and analyzing psilocybin’s effect on the brain. He concluded that psychedelics, under the guidance of psychologists/guides, in the right dose and good setting, could benefit people in ways that normal therapy couldn’t.

—1970 received a 10-year prison sentence. He had designed a psychological test for prisoners in the previous years, and he was given the test. That same year he answered all the right questions to put him in the most low-security prison possible, where he ended up escaping.

—He joined the Black Panther Party in Algeria after his escape – before one of the leaders of the Party attempted to hold him and his wife hostage. Tim and his wife left to Switzerland.

—Richard Nixon labeled Leary as “The most dangerous man in America”

—1973 After more traveling to escape getting caught, he was arrested and faced 95 years in prison, but ended up with a 15 year sentence, in Folson Prison, California, where his cell was beside Charles Manson’s cell. They couldn’t see each other but they conversed.

—Leary became an FBI informant to shorten his prison sentence, where he was released in 1976.

—Leary continued lecturing, debating, and writing the rest of his life.

Leary had an adventurous life to say the least, this is just a short outline of some of it. 

—Multiple songs have been written about or for Leary, including John Lennon writing “Come Together” for Leary during Leary’s political pursuit.

—The Moody Blues wrote the song “Legend of a Mind” with the main lyrics being “Timothy Leary’s dead..No he’s on the outside looking in.” …Leary was still alive at this time.

Written Books

The Psychedelic Experience

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

High Priest

—Your Brain Is God

He wrote many others that can be found online. 

Here’s a documentary from BBC on YouTube about Timothy Leary’s life, titled “The Man Who Turned On America

Died — May 31, 1996, Beverly, CA

“Think for yourself and question authority.”

“Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.”

“Grow with the flow.”

“Any reality is an opinion-we make up our own reality.”

“I am 100 percent in favor of the intelligent use of drugs, and 1,000 percent against the thoughtless use of them, whether caffeine or LSD. And drugs are not central to my life.”

“If you want to change the way people respond to you, change the way you respond to people.”

Here is a related post about questioning your assumptions.

What’s your favorite Leary moment?

Intro to Alan Watts

Born—January 6, 1915, England.

Growing Up

—His grandpa on his mother’s side of the family was a missionary.

—Alan had interest in storybook fables, mysterious tales, and the idea of “ultimate things” – likely influenced by his mother’s religious family.

—At an early age he was interested in Buddhism.

—Alan became an Episcopal priest in the United States in 1938, before moving to Millbrook, New York.

—He wrote a number of books.

—Moved to San Francisco in 1951, teaching Buddhist studies.

—He became a worldwide spiritual speaker, with the help of his radio show “Way Beyond the West” giving lectures, writing books, living zen, throughout his days.

Written Books

—The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for the Age of Anxiety

—The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

—The Way of Zen

—Become What You Are

—The Meaning of Happiness 

—Out Of Your Mind

—This Is It

—What Is Tao?

—In My Own Way: An Autobiography

—The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness

—Nature, Man and Woman

These are only a small amount of all his publications, which you can find here at the Alan Watts Organization.

Alan Watts is known for multiple things, some of them are for bringing Zen and Buddhist teachings to the West.

He not only spoke of his beliefs, he manifested them, because he knew who he was at a deep universal level.

He knows how difficult those ideas are to be comprehended, but he explained it well so that if you listen enough, you might get it, but also that there’s nothing to get 🙂

One of the many ways he has influenced my life is getting me to wonder what I would do if I didn’t have to worry about money.

Here is Watt’s 3 minute speech on the above idea that changed my life.

He has so many other works that you can find on YouTube, bookstores, anywhere online. 

Died — November 16, 1973, California.

“I had a discussion with a great master in Japan…and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, ‘That’s a waste of time. If you really understand Zen…you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because…the sound of the rain needs no translation’.”

“And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words… As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”

“If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water…You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

“So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”

Here are 69 of Watt’s best quotes. I wrote down many of his quotes before numbering them and it just happened to be 69. Enjoy.

Coronavirus & The Power of Media

This is a hypothetical example representing the power of media.

The coronavirus is real, but what if it wasn’t?

You see the impact it has had in yours and others’ lives. It’s shutting cities down, countries down!

And although this is just a hypothetical example of how powerful the media is, imagine if coronavirus was fake…

Look at the impact we’ve all had from hearing about this virus. The bad news is spreading quicker than the virus.

Do you see the impact media has?

It is causing everyone to react, myself included.

The coronavirus is just one of the few things the media is spreading. They usually spread subtle messages, but this is blatant.

The next time you’re watching/hearing/listening to media, question it. Question what is in your control and focus on what you can do.

If the coronavirus weren’t real, look at what fake news has caused.

Again, this is hypothetical, just a thought experiment.

Hope you’re staying safe and smart.

20 Stoic Related Quotes in Response to the Coronavirus

We’re all impacted by the coronavirus, even if we don’t have it ourselves. It is impacting the stock market, jobs, lives, everything related to our species.

We often can’t control what happens to us, the Buddha said that life is suffering, but we can choose how we respond to what happens to us.

Below are 20 Stoic related quotes, reminders to Stoic practitioners to focus on what’s in our control.

Stay safe. Stay clean. Spread love.

1) “When a situation is within your control, take action. When a situation is outside your control, make preparations.”
James Clear

2) “We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.”
Epictetus

3) “Nothing external to you has any power over you.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

4) “Comfort makes you weaker. We need some variability, some stressors. Not too much, but just enough.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

5) “The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
Epictetus

6) “Your main target should be to find and develop your own unique individuality and not let your focus be sidetracked and drift to external things”
Sunday Adelaja

7) “Peace is more of an internal settlement rather than what is visible on the external.” 
Criss Jami

8) “When most people set out to change their lives, they often focus on all the external stuff, like a new job or a new location or new friends or a new romantic prospects and on and on. The reality is that changing your life starts with changing the way you see everything in your life.”
Mark Manson

9) “A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.” 
Taoist proverb

10) “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
Yoda

11) “The human being is a self-propelled automaton entirely under the control of external influences. Willful and predetermined though they appear, his actions are governed not from within, but from without. He is like a float tossed about by the waves of a turbulent sea.”
Nikola Tesla

12) “Stoicism is not a matter of gritting your teeth. It’s about seeing things differently so that you do not need to grit your teeth.”
Richard Sorabji

13) “The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man…It is more powerful than external circumstances.”
Seneca

14) “The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control emotions by the application of reason.” 
Marya Mannes

15) “The fools are preoccupied by things they can’t control. That’s why they are tense. The wise are indifferent to things they can’t control. That’s why they are calm.”
Maxime Lagacé

16) “I am inclined to think that the power of wisdom is better shown by a display of calmness in the midst of provocation.”
Seneca

17) “A man’s most urgent necessity is neither happiness or money. It is wisdom. For it is wisdom that he will need to navigate the turbulent waters of his day to day existence without succumbing to the ocean of turmoils or to the empty road of prescriptions.”
Kapil Gupta

18) “The wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win.” 
Zhuge Liang

19) “Happiness is what people seek. Reality is what hits them. Disappointment is what they get. Detachment is what they need.” 
Maxime Lagacé

20) “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
Steve Jobs

“A Cup of Tea” Zen Story

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself, “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”