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Angry Mountain

“What are you doing my young friend?”

“Is it not obvious?”

“You are spending considerable energy striking the ground with that shovel. You remind me of an angry mountain about to erupt. Come, sit with me, the garden looks stunning; many varieties of flower sharing one space.”

Slowly, the thuds of the shovel ceased. The young man looked exhausted.

What took you to the point of venting anger on the beloved earth?

“A neighbor.”

“Once again, earthly troubles placed at a neighbors’ door. What did she do?

“She doesn’t get involved except to calm his anger. He is unreasonable, his anger boils when things don’t go his way.”

“Tell me about him.”

“There’s not much to say. He occasionally lives in the house next door. I have no problem with that but wonder if that’s where his lies. He told me about things he’s had; property he owns and how wealthy he is.

When they visit, he expects life to stop accommodate his. It’s like the lord of the manor has arrived.”

The old man laughed to himself and stepped into the flowers.

“See how they move when I walk among them. Nothing I do halts their progress unless I step on one or pull it from the ground. All they need are minerals from the earth, water, air and sunlight. Humans are similar; each have basic needs but perceived unmet, they reach out and search.

Some have more than they need and want more. They don’t wish to see somebody better-off so, they collect and hoard. Do you remember our talk about competition?”

“Where does the anger of one man connect to that?”

“Something in his past has brought about insecurity. He needs to eclipse everybody’s sun because he’s jealous of their daylight. He compares himself to others and sees them as his competition.

Possibly developed from one instance in his life but allowed to go unchecked, it has grown out of proportion. “

“I understand and relate although I don’t identify with anger. I once found myself in a loveless relationship and didn’t realise I substituted it with ‘things.’  Nice cars, holidays, clothes . . . “

“You still do that my friend. Did anybody ever say, ‘be better, do better . . . ‘“?

The young man laughed without humor. “It is a mantra echoing around my mind since my early years.”

“The man next door brings challenges to your ego which reminds you of the mantra. Push it aside my friend and forget about the neighbor. Friendship is not an option so, blow him away with a tender heart like you would a dandelion clock.

Competition

Walking across a vast grassy plain at the height of summer, a young man met his old friend.

“You look tired my young companion.”

“Yes, I am. Work is difficult. I want promotion because it would pay for the new car.”

“So, chase the promotion.”

“That is precisely what I’m doing, but the competition is great.”

“There is no competition my young friend.”

“Yes, there is. As far as I know, I am one of five internal candidates and I don’t know how many externals.”

“No, you are the only competition. What do you wish to prove?”

The young man glanced at his friend. “Is it not obvious? I have to show them I am the best.”

“Indeed, you can show them that you are great at what you do. But, what if they seek to expand the team with somebody who has complimentary skills to yours? Or, they want a woman instead of a man. These are things outside your control. As I said, you are the competition, and that is only if you aim to be better. Then I agree, there is much competition.”

“Other people who want the job see me as their competition.”

“Yes, I am sure they do and that is because you make them feel insecure. They wish to eclipse your sun because they’re jealous of your daylight. They compare themselves to you, but you are not their competition, nor them yours.”

Time

Sat by a campfire in the wilderness, the young man and his old friend talked beneath a blanket of stars.

“What time is it?” The old man asked.

“I don’t know, I don’t own a watch.” The younger man looked at his wrist.

“Why did you do that? You don’t own a time-piece.

“I used to; habit I guess.”

“You clearly think about time my young friend.”

“Yes, I must. Everything I do is geared to time. Preparing for work in the morning. Going to appointments. Knowing when it will be the weekend.”

“So, time is subjective; a tool used to measure events?”

“Yes, I suppose so, but if I try to live outside time, I will be at odds with the world.”

“Very well; forget about the world and consider this. There is no such thing as time; it’s a human construct. When you think about your past, you experience present memories of things that were or still are if you dwell upon them. Now consider your future. If you harbour those dwelled upon memories your mind may then predict or expect things to come.”

“What’s your point?”

“Simple my young friend. By confining yourself to your own limited slice of existence you waste the brief space of life you have.

Assimilate memories into experience if they are useful. If not, use them as warning flags or discard them. Do the things you must do and create steps to carry you forward. Don’t be wasteful, if you are, you squander your life. Heaven knows so many complain that life is too short.

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