“an enemy is really your guru, your teacher.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox sings in her 1908 collection of poems titled “Poems of Cheer”:

“Thank Fate for foes! I
hold mine dear
As valued friends.”

In “How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships” (translated by Jeffrey Hopkins), the Dalai Lama tells us of how our lives are benefitted by the “unintended kindness of others.” The sage teaches us that “an enemy is really your guru, your teacher.”

Why?

The enemy helps us cultivate “patience….forbearance….true love and compassion.” The enemy creates circumstances that encourage us to cultivate “courage” and other qualities that enable us to face life “without….breakdown.”

In Eiji Yoshikawa’s “Musashi: Way of Life and Death” (translated by Charles Terry), the novel about the legendary swordsman-philosopher, Miyamoto Musashi, we read the swordsman muse, after an attempt on his life: “Enemies were teachers in disguise.”

Peace 😊

“….be of good cheer.”

William Alger’s 1881 book “The School of Life” tells us that

“the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.”

Why?

William observes that if a lot of us look closely at our “Experience,” we will be reminded of “the blessings we have enjoyed….the deliverances we have received, the perplexities that have been cleared up, the afflictions that have been compensated” — and “the reliableness of the laws that hold the world together, the stable and regular beneficence of the order by which we live in time and space.”

These are assurances for us to have Faith , William points out, “that after every storm the sun will smile.”

The author of “Six Lighted Windows: Memories of Swamis in the West”, writes of feeling “grumpy” owing to various challenges he faced during a phase of his monastic life. He recalls letting his Teacher, Swami Yatiswarananda, know about this. The Teacher, from far away in India, replied to him with words of great empathy, and added this exhortation: “Give up all depression and always be of good cheer.”

Peace 😊

“Some books are wings….”

In “A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader”, a compilation of thoughts from eminent people about books and reading, we read Rebecca Solinit:

“Nearly every book has the same architecture — cover, spine, pages — but you open them onto worlds and gifts far beyond what paper and ink are, and on the inside they are every shape and power.”

Rebecca goes on. “Some books are wings….Some books are medicine, bitter but clarifying. Some books are puzzles, mazes, tangles, jungles. Some long books are journeys, and at the end you are not the same person you were at the beginning. Some are handheld lights you can shine on almost anything.”

In Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, we read: “What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.”

Roald Dahl writes of the delightful girl, “Matilda”, close to five years young, living in a troubled, uncaring home, who discovers books.

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”

Peace 😊