Tagged: Leo Tolstoy

How To Listen

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

“What’d you say?” he asked.  Realizing he couldn’t remember crossing the bridge she created–the bridge over which her words matured into tears–he felt a great shame settle over him.  Leo Tolstoy wrote, “The tears seemed to be the proper lubricant without which the machine of mutual communion between the two sisters could not work successfully.”  Similarly, her tears contained the power to recapture his attention.  The tears also had the effect of making him want to listen.  He briefly wondered how anyone found his way without Tolstoy.

Hours later, he made it a point to determine if he’d always had difficulty listening.  At first, his ego caused him to deny such a charge and pointed out that he was an excellent student.  He also recalled how he excelled in a professional environment.  Both required the ability to listen.  Reluctantly, he opened the door Doubt was moments away from breaking down.  He didn’t have very many close friends.  He certainly hadn’t made any new friends in years.  Swallowing his just-a-bit-too-large-a-bite-of-food-which-chokes-but-doesn’t-kill pride, he finally admitted the truth.  He objectified people.

This was the only way he could make sense of it.  If the person he was with couldn’t help him in some way, his mind found better things to do.  Even before this revelation solidified, he had difficulty believing this was a deficient quality.  That difficulty became an uncommon resolve which he used to summit his problem.  At last he stood atop his terrifying realization.  This never-before-seen perspective decisively gave him the vantage point necessary for change.

Instructions for How To Listen:

Step 1 – Stop talking.

Step 2 – Stop objectifying people.


How To Do The Inconceivable.

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

Because it is time, that’s why.  Someone needs to grab the bull by the horns and reveal the secret to accomplishing anything.  The following few paragraphs are going to give you the tips you need to do anything you can conceive.

In the recent Tom Cruise movie Oblivion, T.C. and his female counterpart are two-weeks away from completing their mission on the ‘remote site’ that is Planet Earth.  After the two weeks, they will return to the new human settlement with those who survived the war.  Granted, the work they were doing was not in itself particularly difficult or boring.  Loneliness seemed to be the biggest negative.  And the dream of how life would be like in two weeks’ time kept them going.

How many of us ever thought we’d spend as much time and energy as we have to accomplish so little?  How did we do it?  Where did we get the strength from?  Were we born with it?  Even if we were born with it, we must fight the desire to victimize ourselves.  Instead, as a group we need to accept total responsibility for our lives.

Where did the strength to put up with a life we never conceived come from?  The strength came from believing a lie.  The lie that there will be more time in the future.  Break down the concept of the future a little and you’ll see why this is a lie.  The future has not happened.  The present is happening.  The future “is not”.  The present “is”.  What do you gain if when you trade what “is” for what “is not”?

The future will never be.  Can you understand this?  The future will never “exist.”  It will never “be.”  That’s it’s definition.  If you believe that the future is something that “will be”, then you’re no longer describing the same abstract idea that’s being discussed here, and is commonly labeled “the future.”  There is no catching-up.  There is no getting ahead.  These are impossibilities.

I have been nearly exclusively reading the classics for almost a decade now, and a common theme is best summed up by Jon J. Muth in his children’s book, “The Three Questions”, based on Leo Tolstoy’s ideas.  “Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now.  The most important one is always the one you are with.  And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side.  For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world.”

The choice is always yours.  If you want to do the inconceivable follow the instructions below.  If you want to exist in reality, stick with living in the present.

Instructions for How to Do The Inconceivable:

Step 1 – Believe that after you’ve accomplished it, you’ll have time to do what you really want.

Step 2 – Understand that there is only one step.