Providence and preparedness

On 24th May 2013, I wrote about the Scottish mountaineer, W H Murray, who was captured by the Germans during the Second World War and his astonishing story of writing his memoirs on toilet paper.  Murray was able to capture the moment by being determined and through this determination, become able to make things happen (see my blog on Overcoming hesitancy)

Murray’s experience and quote resounds with Nichiren‘s explanation made in 13th Century Japan-

“It is like the case of a fishing net: though the net is composed of innumerable small meshes, when one pulls on the main cord of the net, there are no meshes that do not move. Or it is like a garment: though the garment is composed of countless tiny threads, when one pulls on a corner of the garment, there are no threads that are not drawn along.”

I remember this Louis Pasteur quote too, “Chance prepares only the favoured mind.” All these great minds were talking about the same thing.  Last year, I started a chain of events by giving away books and other stuff to my colleagues in preparation for leaving my place of work and starting something new.  At that time, there was nothing to suggest that there would be a favourable moment to leave as I was very busy and it appeared that I was really needed there.  But that moment arrived in February this year, only about six months later.  I felt as if I had created that moment when I started taking action.

T T Munger was a research scientist in the USA and he said this, “Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success.”  That moment was the right time to leave for something better was validated in this case. Agatha Christie, one of my favourite writers used this quote from Shakespeare Julius Caesar in one of her crime novels-

“There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;”

So if there is something that you really want to do, start preparing for it now.  Then you will be prepared well when the moment to realise it arrives!


Overcoming hesitancy

I have finally committed to doing some creative work that may not bring so much money as a salaried job.  But I am committed to following my heart and I know that money will come from somewhere as long as I go with my heart.  Going with your heart can give you special courage.

I bring to you today, the astonishing story of W H Murray, the Scottish mountaineer who climbed the Himalayas.  His love of climbing captured the heart of his German captors during World War II and they respected him for the three years that he spent as prisoner of war. During his time there he had to write his beautiful romantic prose on toilet paper. His manuscript was found and destroyed by the Gestapo. But Murray’s response was to start again, despite poor health from near starvation and the risk of being found out again. This remembered writing was  published in 1947 as the book, Mountaineering in Scotland, and was followed by the sequel, Undiscovered Scotland, in 1951.

The deprivation of the prison life seems to have actually set off Murray’s creativity.  In 1951, he also wrote the book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.  This book has the following extract, usually incorrectly attributed to Goethe because of the couple of lines derived from Faust (the bits highlighted are the ones you usually see on the Internet)

“…but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

Let us learn from the inspiring life of W H Murray and his beautiful words that one can live by our creativity, even in the most dire circumstances by overcoming our hesitancy to commit.