Lessons from Geese

  1. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an 'uplift' for the bird following. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent flying range than if each bird flew alone.

    Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier when they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

  2. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly gets back in formation to take advantage of the 'lifting power' of the bird immediately in front.

    Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go.

  3. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.

    Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing the leadership -- interdependent with each other.

  4. The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

    Lesson: We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging, not something less helpful.

  5. When a goose gets sick or wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation or to catch up with the flock.

    Lesson: If we have as much sense and compassion as the geese, we'll stand by one another in the same manner.

Nature's     Beauty

A priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. He had been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived a very old Zen master. One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.

When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. "Isn't it beautiful," he called out to the old master. "Yes," replied the old man, "but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I'll put it right for you."

After hesitating, the priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the center of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden. "There," said the old man, "you can put me back now."

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