Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beautiful Moments

Dragonfly against Ayvalik sunset Life is composed of a sequence of moments, passing by as flowers come out and then wither, as fallen leaves float in the wind, as raindrops knock crisply on the roof.

Time flies, we can’t stop it and we can’t change it. Some moment is beautiful, some is imperfect, and some is unforgettable.

When I was little, I liked to chase dragonflies along a stream in the twilight. Set against the burning sun, the bodies of dragonflies were golden and shiny, the transparent wings silky and delicate. I caught one dragonfly, held in hands, and then set it free, watching it fly against the inflamed sky. It is a beautiful moment.

The second year in graduate school, we had a Spring Festival Evening Party. My lovely neighbor Andrea drove me to the Hall. When we sat down, a student board member came to me, said, “You look so elegant. The president of University came to the party today. I think she needs help to understand the performance. Can you go to her table as a translator?” I didn’t talk too much, but I remember that moment is beautiful.

After nine months’ pregnancy, and twelve hours’ induced labor pain, my little boy William was delivered. He was cute and wet, crouching on my chest. I kissed his little fingers and noticed his fingers were slim and long as mine. He stretched his hands to me, letting me kiss him more, what a beautiful moment!

Life is a process. If we can enjoy and cherish every beautiful moment, life will be a collection of poems. Even in the hard time, we still can find something small and subtle to fill our soul.

Photo Courtesy: fidelis - Istanbul

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Breadth of Mind

Not refusing any tiny soil and pebble, the Tai Mountain towers into the sky; collecting all the small streams, the rivers and oceans become deep and wide.” – Li Si (280 -208 BC), Qin Dynasty.

TaiShan - 泰山
Photo courtesy: laserspit on Flickr

All flowers compete in splendor, so we can enjoy a beautiful spring. The sea leniently accepts all rivers flowing into it, so it has its awe-inspiring magnificence. A country can take all kinds of talents into good use, so people can benefit from its prosperity and greatness.

When we are narrow-minded, we are easily fettered by anger, prejudice and hatred. If we see through the world with colored glasses, we can never really know its true nature. A prejudiced person will bind himself up with his prejudice; a biased person will be harmed by his partial view.

If everything follows the same pattern, the world may be dull and boring. Different people can live together in harmony with mutual understanding and mutual respect. Different cultures can take in the good thoughts and philosophy from the other cultures.

When people are harsh or the culture is abusive, we can develop a callous heart and a standoffish attitude. If we stand on the mountaintop, we can see far. If we uplift our soul, we will know we can forgive anybody.

It requires wisdom to open your heart and broaden your mind. The wiser a person is, the broader his mind. We can broad our mind and enrich our soul by doing the following:

Be nice to people. You don’t know that there may be a small war inside everyone. A hateful person can be in his troubled time. Use your smile to warm them up.

Learn different cultures and beliefs. Don’t behave like a frog at the bottom of a well – only able to see the little patch of sky above. We can expand our vision by selectively learning from the other people and cultures.

Be tolerant of opinions different from one’s own. People have different family backgrounds, personal experiences, cultural customs and social economic situations. If you think from their points of view and try to walk in their shoes, they may be right.

Be liberal to an opponent. An opponent, whether his perspective is correct or wrong, will provide you some valuable viewpoints, so that you can improve yourself and do better. Looking back, you will find you benefit more from your opponents than your friends.

Be open to new experiences and ways of thinking. Don’t stereotype yourself. There is always a new way of thinking. Even the greatest inventor Addison can resist the idea of alternative current.

Lifelong learning. During this fast-paced information age, if you don’t improve yourself and learn something new everyday, you fall behind. If we open our heart, we can learn something useful from almost everybody.