Living Flame

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April 30, 2017






The spiritual journey involves going beyond hope and fear, stepping into the unknown territory, continually moving forward. The most important aspect of being on the spiritual path may be to just keep moving and waking up at every moment of our life. This will certainly help us get better each day and remain stronger in our aspirations. Maximizing our awareness to a total of highest percent can win us a great reward. There could be a question arising in our mind: Why Wake Up? A few life narratives will clarify this question.


A long time ago there was a great General who was faced with a situation which made it necessary for him to make a drastic decision to insure his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his army on shore to face a powerful enemy, whose men outnumbered his. He loaded his soldiers into boats, and sailed to face the enemies on shore. When they reached the shore, he ordered them to unload the soldiers and cargoes.  He then ordered for all the ships and boats to be burnt.

Addressing his men before the battle, he said, “You see the ships and boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win!  We now, have no choice – either we win, or we perish.” They won!


Once a young boy came to me asking how he could study. I told him that he needs to work hard, read, memorize and then write. Well, the boy returend after his exams and said to me that his exams went on very well, and he wrote all the answers.

A fat man asked me how he could reduce weight, and I replied him saying that he needs to walk daily 45 minutes, and control his diet and then avoid fat filled food. What a transformation, he comes back after a month to show that he had lost more than 8 kilos.

Once a young man by name Norbert asked me how he could overcome the vice of anger. I told him that there is no medicine for anger. He needs to work at it. I told him that he will never succeed in changing the world. He needs to accept certain realities as they are and change wherever he can to bring a change without violence. I told him that he could not change certain of his own habits over night. So there are people around us who have certain habits that anger us, and we cannot change them either. He emails me that he is a better person now. He systematically worked at reducing his anger.

Failures should never deter us from going ahead in our life. In fact failures are mile stones of success. A baby never learns to walk if it does not fall several times. We are all trial and error beings to be perfected over a longer period of time.


Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, "All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing."

Edison replied very confidently, "Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We now know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb."


A man once caught stealing was ordered by the king to be hanged. On the way to the gallows he said to the governor that he knew a wonderful secret and it would be a pity to allow it to die with him and he would like to disclose it to the king. He would put a seed of a pomegranate in the ground and through the secret taught to him by his father he would make it grow and bear fruit overnight. The thief was brought before the king and on the morrow the king, accompanied by the high officers of state, came to the place where the thief was waiting for them. There the thief dug a hole and said, “This seed must only be put in the ground by a man who has never stolen or taken anything which did not belong to him. I being a thief cannot do it.” So he turned to the Vizier who, frightened, said that in his younger days he had retained something which did not belong to him. The treasurer said that dealing with such large sums, he might have entered too much or too little and even the king owned that he had kept a necklace of his father’s. The thief then said, “You are all mighty and powerful and want nothing and yet you cannot plant the seed, whilst I who have stolen a little because I was starving am to be hanged.” The king, pleased with the ruse of the thief, pardoned him.


Watching and waking up seem to be very closely connected words. Only when awake we can watch anything and everything. Consciousness is another word that helps us to understand watching. Well, in that case "awakening" is a moment of clarity in which a new insight or understanding is gained. With this new awareness the experience of life is seen differently, and new possibilities are opened. Changes in patterns of thought, emotions, and behavior occur. An awakening allows the possibility of growth to new levels of psychological and spiritual maturity

Waking up is human. Many sleep walk. They just live for something that can give them a type of remote satisfaction. Well, that is their misery. They live by that thing, may be craving for power, desire for appreciation, longing for greatness, to be someone on top of the world. All these empty aspirations have made human person a real sleep walker.

If we persistently listen to the demands of ego, we move away from our real source of life. The ego insists on pursuing more: more stuff, accomplishments, status, triumphs, and money. More is the mantra of the ego, fuelling endless striving with a false promise of eventually arriving. However, every assured arrival point is seductively transformed into a desire to strive for even more, unless we choose to make a shift in the direction our life is taking. The shift begins in the process of halting the momentum and self-importance of the ego, but then we must proceed with the work of derailing and rerouting it in the opposite direction. This does not mean that we lose our drive; rather, it signifies that our drive is realigned with a life based on experiencing meaning and feeling purposeful.

Life is much more than achievements, recognition and being a celebrity. Life is beautiful when it is lived, lived to the fullest extent. This is waking up to fullness of life within us.


There once was a king who loved to eat. When the castle cook grew too old to prepare the meals anymore, the king looked for a new cook. A young man applied for the job. The king said to him, "I want you to cook me the best and most important dish in the whole world." The night the king sat down at the table. When he looked at the special dish, he exclaimed, "Why, that’s cow tongue!"

The young man answered, "Yes, it is. Nothing is more important then the tongue if it is used correctly. The tongue is used to teach, to explain, to command, to defend, to calm. Tongues are used to sing to babies and to make bargains. Tongue has to be the most important thing for a king."

"I must say I didn’t realize that, young man. You’ve opened my eyes. Therefore, tomorrow night, I want you to fix me the worst dish you know."

The next night, the young man served the king cow tongue. The king said, "What goes on here? Last night, tongue was the best dish in the world. Tonight it’s the worst. How can this be?" "The difference is what you do with it, sir," said the young man. "Tongues make gossip, stir up trouble, and tell lies. Tongues are cruel and hypocritical. Therefore, tongue can be the worst dish in the world."

"Yes, I see. I also see that I need your wisdom in my court. I’ll get someone else to do the cooking."


The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.

The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point-ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like what do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, and my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. The contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won't discover your life's meaning by looking within yourself. You've probably tried that already. You didn't create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn't know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn't be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner's manual could reveal its purpose.


I once got lost in a town. I could not get to my destination. I was lost. Then one elderly man said to me to start a new from a corner of the town and walk straight and read the sign boards. Well, the solution worked. He just had an idea and it worked. In the same way, you cannot arrive at your life's purpose by starting with a focus on yourself, on becoming important, richer and famous. You must begin with God, your Creator, your Saviour and your redeemer. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God-and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning; our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.


I often think about myself. If my mother were not married to my father, I would not be born. Well, I tried in my thoughts to get back to my birth history. I asked my father why we all brothers and sisters; seven of us were born exactly at a 2 years gap. Papa answered me saying that he could come home to be with my mother only after each two years for his holidays. I got the point. In my case for example, if my father had postponed his coming by one more month, then I would not have been born into this world at all, this is my personal thinking. What a mystery when we go deep into the process of our birth.

Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not you using him for your own purpose. Every birth is a mystery that unfolds with every minute and hour we live our life. We try to use what God has given us and in such attempts the mystery of God is made a concrete reality of love and realization.


How, then, do you wake up to the purpose you were created for? It’s by constantly attuning to inspiration. Wake up to your goal of life. Do not copy others; do not look at others for inspiration that has driven them to achieve. Let them be models, but you look for your own inspiration. Often people live by the dreams of others, goals of others, look at others and want to be like others. No, you have to discover your own path, and that requires that you wake up from sleep, start walking on your own and be on your own, and you will discover your hearts’ desire, your heart’s pull and you are certain to enjoy every bit of your life.

You have only two options. Your first option is speculation. This is what most people choose. They conjecture, they guess, they theorize. When people say, "I've always thought life is ...," they mean, "This is the best guess I can come up with." For thousands of years, brilliant philosophers have discussed and speculated about the meaning of life. Philosophy is an important subject and has its uses, but when it comes to determining the purpose of life, even the wisest philosophers are just guessing.

The second one is waking up to the meaning of life. This one is powerful way of living life. You wake up and live your life fully today. When you begin to find meaning in every detail of your life, your quality of life just becomes better and you become a person of great sensitivity to people, environment and to every bit of creation around you.


A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill? Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. Now who still wants it?” Many more hands went up.

“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. It did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes. To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him.”

Dr. Rudolf V. D’Souza OCD