Kolkata, India. The convent and home of Mother Teresa. It was a special place, strong vibrations.
As I’ve traveled through India, I’ve visited other sites with strong vibrations. The bodhi tree that Buddha sat under when he became enlightened. Temples and ashrams of other enlightened Gurus in Hinduism and Jainism (another Indian based religion similar to Hinduism). I’ve also been reading Gandhi’s autobiography, and every city, every small town has a tribute for the great 20th century liberator of India.
One common thread that is piercing in the presence of these higher beings is one thing: Service. Gandhi’s life was dedicated to public service. The Buddha became enlightened at age 35. Every day until he died at the age of 80 his mission was to teach dhamma, the practice of awareness and nonattachment for inner peace in one’s life.
Standing right next to these great sages is Mother Teresa, a great sage herself, a true saint born of Albanian blood, then becoming a citizen of India, she was a devout Christian. Her heart belonged to Jesus and her service belonged to the country of India, which then spread worldwide.
It was more than an honor to be in her convent, in her presence.
Here are the 12 Things I Learned From Mother Teresa:
1. Mother Teresa’s chain from silence to peace:
The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.
2. Her handwritten notes. To see her handwritten notes and the love poured into each letter is a gift to read. The way she writes of prayer and faith and Jesus is beautiful. It’s inspired me to start writing my own handwritten notes to the people I’m closest with.
3. What matters are her devotees and people she served. Mother Teresa, along with her sisters would spend the majority of their day replying to as many people and letters as she could.
Imagine if all businesses had this mentality? A business that prioritizes communication with the customers are always the businesses that rise to the top in my experience.
4. “I was not put on this earth to be successful. I was put on this earth to be faithful.” This!! I talk about this in my book, The Inner Peace Experiment, about letting go of results, letting go of the “fruits of success.” Control what you can control, do your best, then let go of the results.
You can control your degree of faith, and faith I’m talking about anything. It could be your faith in God, but it can also be faith in your calling, faith in being the best version of yourself, hek, it can be faith in the new street food cart you are opening up.
But the essence remains the same, you can’t control future results, only your internal faith and your actions directed by your faith. The “success” is out of our hands. The success will take care of itself.
5. “God is here and now. God is giving his love through you and through me.” Something to remind myself of the next time I have a conversation.
6. “We fear the future because we waste the today.” The time is now. Our future will always be a byproduct of our thoughts, feelings, and actions of today. Take care of today, and tomorrow will never become a worry.
7. “Peace begins with a smile.”
8. I remember a few lines of a handwritten letter talking about what Jesus is to her, she said:
Jesus is the sick I nurse.
Jesus is the hungry I feed.
Jesus is the love I share.
Jesus is the service I give.
She continued through a long list, describing everything she does as Jesus, all the interactions she has as Jesus. Now, you can replace Jesus with God, or the Universe, or any godlike figure you’d like.
But it reminded me of a quote in the must read book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, when someone is pouring tea into a cup, and is described as, “This is God pouring God into God.”
God is in everything, every person you meet and, even in every cup of tea you drink.
9. “Intense love does not measure. It just gives.” This is a big one. Too many people “keep score.” I’m guilty of this at times. People give something, even love, but are consumed by the expectations of someone else returning that love. They measure their love vs. their partner’s love. It’s a trade off. But as Mother Teresa said, real love is giving love without expecting anything else in return.
Even in business, there’s that old saying, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” I don’t like this saying being used as a “code of business.” When you give value to customers, partners, vendors, etc. to just give value, your world and business starts opening up to new levels.
10. “The more we pray the better we pray.” The persistence parallel. The more you do anything, the better you get at it.
11. “I’m just a little pencil in his hand.” – Giving credit to a higher power. Almost every artist, every musician, every writer talks about “the muse” or this higher intelligence, a stream of consciousness, a source of inspiration not of themselves, which takes over when they are deep in their work. Like a pencil in God’s hand, they create.
12. “Instead of saying ten words, say one.” Also, “Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.” Silence and listening, these skills are underrated. Yet, they couldn’t be more important in all aspects of life from personal relationships to learning to spirituality. Don’t underestimate the power of silence and stillness.