Archive for April, 2010

Apparently, arrogance is defined as overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner towards inferiors (derived from the freedictonary.com). And when I started asking around what other people thought about the word ‘arrogance’, there was an equal feedback of the positive and negative meaning of it. When I say positive and negative here, I am not meaning to say that either is good or bad; more of a general perception of what people would naturally accept as good, and the other as bad.

So the negative feedback was as what I mentioned. And the positive feedback were confidence, surety, ‘got character’. And I begin to wonder if there is a difference in both the positive and negative feedbacks that I’ve received, except for one’s holding on to the stronger meaning of what the word would resonate with him or her.

I remember when I once received a comment ‘Practice Humility’ in one of my earlier blog entries, I was really surprised. I could not understand what this anonymous person meant. I researched the definitions of the word ‘humility’ – some defined as being humble (which is the opposite of arrogance), some defined as trusting. See? Two parts to it; which is right?

Soon, I discovered who this anonymous person was. I asked him ‘humbly’ what he meant by that, he explained that when one (in this case, me) learns or receive so much information, it is vital not to over share with people, and in this case again, in my blog. I found it funny and at the same time, felt curious. I am very clear of my intentions when I post my entries. I just feel joy! And these entries are just for me! I post it because I feel joyful! There is nothing to it. And like what my bestie shared with me once, “it’s like buying a book from the bookstore. You read it and realize that you don’t like the author’s writing style or the story and you go back to the author to either ask him to change his writing style or storyline, or ask for a refund. It’s ridiculous!” At one point, I totally agree with her. So quite rudely, I could argue, it’s MY blog; if you don’t like what I write, then go f*#k spiders!

But is that the appropriate way to deal with what has already arisen in me? I would only be defending an idea that I have been attacked by the world; by avenging the world in a similar way. How could there be peace in the never-ending cycle of attack and defense?

And yesterday, someone expressed to me that he felt there was a sense of arrogance when I dealt with him and reminded that it was important for me to develop compassion for others. It was very shocking. I am speaking of someone really close to my heart here. As I reread our chats, our text messages or emails altogether (I have a tendency to re-check what had been transpired before deleting them), I could not see in any way, how I had worded my sentences arrogantly or pridefully. With confidence – yes; with clear intentions – yes; with surety – yes; with sincerity – yes; then how and where did arrogance in the form of superiority come in? It was indeed disheartening and thus left me feeling sad because he said that he was sad. I just felt misunderstood.

Of course, thoughts are just thoughts. They come and they go. But since curiousity has emerged, I might as well walk with it, to see where it would lead me. Sure enough, it led me into another space of unworthiness, albeit a different part of it -the unworthiness to stand in my own space, or in my own confidence. Never mind that I was clear of my intentions and sincerity in my functions to myself and others; I had too, a stint of unworthiness accompanying my writings, sharing or functions. There is like two parts of me; one that is sincere, confident, sure and clear; and yet another part of me which is afraid to admit that.

So whatever others think or perceived of what I say or share is beyond my control; and whatever others say to or share with me too is beyond my control; but if I am triggered, it is only of my own to resolve.

To share a note on compassion, it is defined as a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering (obtained from freedictionary.com too). So I wonder, how do I develop compassion for others when I view others as perfectly fine as they are. Even if someone were to come up to me and tell me about their problems, I’d just share what I am inspired to share! If they doubt what I say, or refuse to accept what I say, I’d laugh and say, ‘fine! Continue suffering!’ and I do not mean that in a sarcastic way, but as a matter-of-factly – and really, there is nothing wrong with it – suffering, I mean. If I see that your ‘suffering’ is bad, whose problem is it?

Having said that, there are times where I do feel deep compassion for some, but that ‘compassion’ often comes from the space of ‘pity’, seeing others as victim. But understanding that no one is out there, save for my own projection, who is really the victim here?

No compassion is needed for others when we ourselves do not have compassion for ourselves. What compassion we give to ourselves, is already compassion given to others. If I don’t like what I see in you; that is my problem – and if I tell you what I think of you, and then tell you what I think you should do – I am telling you, please come solve my problem; which is impossible. I only need to take care of myself, and the world will be taken care of.

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Thoughts are in fact, each separate on its own. But when we unconsciously hang on to a thought oblivious to another which comes along anyway, we tend to think that the subsequent thoughts and the first thought I hung on to, are all related. Very similar to an analogy of a train – each carriage is separate from one another, until someone comes along to hook a carriage with another; they become connected; to be led by an engine.

Give you a scenario:

Thought 1: I am to compensate this lady for some medical fees.

Thought 2: I would like to attend a retreat.

Thought 3: I received RMX as commission payable to me from a part time activity.

These three thoughts surfaced at different periods of time. But the arising mental states of guilt, lack and desire has led to them dancing with each other, interlinking themselves with one another, making them into a story. So it was like, I want to go to retreat, and I have RMX amount to fulfill that desire but shucks, I need to compensate this lady for her medical fees and then I would be left with not enough for the retreat. Never mind about the thoughts before, in the middle or after that. If I were to bring them in, it would not only complicate matters, but myself in writing! Hence the gist of that storyline is enough to center me in anger, frustration and confusion.

In truth, there were all separate thoughts. They had nothing to do with each other – just popping in and popping out – like bubbles in a champagne glass. And yet, the capacity of our mental states could potentially lead the mind to fabricate them into a story.

It was very peculiar when I began to observe how one thought comes up and goes away on its own without any interference from my part at all. All I had to do was just be aware, and to remain the observer. And although it may seem as if they were connected, but they are in truth, not.

My partner and I were getting ready to have some fun with each other. But a few minutes before we got into the act, I felt a little sad and told him so. After I came back from a ciggie break, I winked at him. And he asked me, “I thought you were sad?” I couldn’t stop laughing. What has my feeling sad, got anything to do with my wanting to have fun with my partner?

It is like, if I were to hold on to a thought, the rest of the thoughts that follow suit comes crashing to the first thought jumbling all of them together, making all of them relevant when they were not in the first place. They were simply on their own to begin with, as individual as they are, floating along as a carriage by itself.  Until someone hooks them up together unconsciously, they like carriages fasten up with one another thus the saying – train of thoughts.

One Bhante I met recently said, “Don’t take your thoughts too seriously”, and Byron Katie says, “thoughts are impersonal” and asks, “who would we be without our stories?” How true. Until we take them (the thoughts) on as our own, there’s where and how the story starts. Do you know why we need stories? Because without them, we couldn’t be anybody, we are no one, we don’t exit. How scary could that be! But to me, no story is – peace.

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I had the most intimate relationship with my thoughts. Yes, my thoughts. Not my mother, not my father, not my partner, not my friends, not even my daughter or my pets; but with my thoughts. They had such power over me that I would believe everything they say – I am pretty, I am ugly, I am rich, I am poor, I am good, I am bad, it’s his fault, it’s my fault, I deserve this, I don’t deserve that… even at times when they questioned me things like – Does he love me? Why doesn’t he love me? Can I do this? Why can’t I do this? Can I afford this? Why can’t I afford this? I find myself having a very, very dear conversation with them internally. It’s as if they were the ones I’d make love with; over and over again; without ever having to fear that I would not experience an orgasm. Without them, I would not be blessed with the myriad of emotions; without them, I would not survive; without them, I would not exist. Also, they were truly great lovers; although they could each come from different directions with entirely unrelated topics all at the same time, but ooohh… they were so, so skillful you see, they just knew how to interlink themselves all together, bonding unrelated topics altogether into one, to let me see how they were all connected, so that I could enjoy an orgy. What immense relationship we shared…

And soon I pondered, if they were really my best friend? Or were they my enemy? If they were my best friend, why did they make me suffer? If they were my enemy, then why did they make me laugh? Is it true that they could never meet at the middle? Is it true that they could never be quiet?

Oh no.. please don’t be quiet, I’d tell them. You’d need to keep on going – because once you are quiet, I wouldn’t know what to do! I wouldn’t know who I am!

And thus the dilemma – to exist with thoughts, I experience the extremes of both ends; to exist without thoughts, I am nothing.

Trusting them, I am a battery-free robot, actually believing that I am living; Observing and inquiring them, I realize that they were a hoax and that I was free! I believed their existence was real and oh, how I had been fooled!

And so as I watched how they were actually dead and did not have a life; that I was the one who gave them each a soul; I observed how each thought births and dies on its own without my interference. I soon discovered that I no longer fancied having multiple ‘sexual’ partners; so I could no longer make out with any of them. How could I, when they are so impermanent? And so our intimacy ceased. But though the intimacy was absent, there arose a revolution. They could not disappear by themselves!

I soon learned they were neither there to make happy or to make me suffer from the start. They merely wanted me to hold their hands to lead me the way to show me where they come from; an abode which I had unconsciously built. And so it was me. I was the one who had conceived them. How ignorant! How innocent! And miraculously as I recognized their origins one by one, a little bit of their foundation each, is being chipped off progressively. And soon they’d all disappear; as if they never existed. With that space, an emptiness. But that emptiness has not loneliness. In that openness, ascends freedom; and in that freedom, peace and joy is spirit.

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I have many conditions in my life; and the easiest condition in my life,
is to be unconditional.
The easiest condition in my life, is yet the hardest I’ve ever had to deal with and practice
– and that is, unconditionality.


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Most of the time, people will ask people with an only child, “when are you having another one” or “are you planning to have another one”. Rarely, people will tell people, “it is fine to just have one” or “the kid is fine on his/her own”; unless they themselves have only one kid, that is, because they’d decided for themselves that they only wanted one kid. Yet, there are those also who have only one kid; they’d tell you, “I regret not having more, because the kid grew up really lonely.”

Lonely. That’s the word. The much misperceived culprit that lure parents to have more and more kids, for the wrong reason – so that the children will have each other, when they are ‘gone’. While there are people who simply love having more children, many parents strongly believe that it is always nice for their kids to have siblings – because they never had siblings (hence imagines that it is nice to have siblings), or because they have siblings (enjoyed the support from siblinghood).

I am not denying that siblings have a lot of fun together; but I am also acknowledging that not everybody is close to their siblings. Close, but not the closest. Take for instance, would you tell your deepest darkest secret to your sibling? Possible, but highly unlikely.

I’ve observed in my own siblinghood and that of my husband’s – the siblings are close, yet not very close; not close, yet very close. We stand in unity when there is a ‘problem’ to be faced, or an ‘occasion’ to be celebrated. Other than that, we are on our own. Willing at heart, the ‘problem’ or ‘occasion’ is experienced with much fun and laughter; unwilling at heart, feelings of grudge, blame and resentment surfaces. It is as if when there is a need to get close, the possibility to get close is materialized. If not, we are all on our own. And I wondered if there are no siblings, does that mean that I would not survive?

Now that I am on my spiritual journey, I am more aware of the types of conversation I have with my siblings. I realize that I communicate differently to one, and differently to another. So similar to experiencing a Multiple Personality Disorder as cited in my earlier post of Authenticity. Not that I love one more than the other, but one just tends to be more receptive to what I share than the other; and really, does at all that justify my communicating to each of them differently? Indeed a strange behavior.

Yesterday I realized that even if we are born in the same family, brought up the same way; we are all different. We have different dreams, different ways of live, different meanings of life. It’s not that I would not share what I’ve learnt with my siblings, but are they really my siblings? Or just a figment of my imagination?

And then I pondered why have more kids? Because the first child may be lonely; have no one to play with; no one to talk to; no one to discuss with concerning any important issues in his or her life?  How often is it that I turn to my siblings, or my siblings turn to me to discuss or make a decision about a life-important matter? I’d say, nil. I’d discuss deeply with my partner, my friends, professionals or even counselors but hardly ever, with my very own siblings.

I have always felt ‘alone’ in my journey in life eventhough I have siblings anyway. So what difference does it make to have or not have siblings, except to declare that ‘I have siblings’? How often do we really connect deeply with each other, or encourage each other to grow if not share our deepest darkest secret with any one of them. Definitely, there are some siblings who are that close. But that is not what I experience in my space. And from observation too, there are, in some siblinghood a sort of subtle competition between each other to outdo each other.

Continuing the journey of reclaiming self; we are each, alone. There comes to a point in time when we start identifying all the faulty ideas we have in the mind and begin standing in our own integrity and be true to ourselves which entails a sort of loneliness that accompanies it, in the space of ignorance. In the space of Wisdom, it is aloneness.  And mind you, they are different.

It is finding that joy, love and peace that has never left us and that we are so contained in our aloneness that there is freedom abiding. So sibling or not, it doesn’t really matter. And if it does not matter, why does a child need at least, a sibling? They (the siblings and the children) are afterall, just our imagination; so are our partners, parents, friends and enemies.

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There is in truth, only one problem; that when recognized, is already solved.

There are many forms of problems, we say; but they are really just the same problem. And when we can recognize that problem, it is solved.

‘you must be kidding!’ you tell me; ‘of course I am not!’ I tell you – and then you’d probably start differentiating the difference between problems in careers, relationships, friendships, families, religions, politics, money or what have you. And I am telling you again, ‘all problems are the same – there is only one problem – and when you recognize that ONE problem, it is solved!’

So, what is it?

And my teacher said, “In true nature everything is the manifestation of wisdom. It is our ignorance and delusional min that sees it otherwise. In other words our seemingly separation makes it so. Simple, isn’t it?”

What is Separation? Separation from what? But, what is the use of pointing you to the Moon when you would; instead of walking towards the Moon; stand right where you are to watch the Moon? And to watch the Moon, you are separated from it; to walk towards the Moon, you get closer to the Moon and suddenly, you realize that there has never been distance between you and the Moon – that the distance did not exist; VOILA! You are the Moon! But, to be there, you can’t just stand there to watch. You have to walk, first. But then again, where is the ‘there’? Is it, really just the Moon?

‘There’ is a place which is beyond the explanation of anything that can be put into words, pictures or music.  ‘There’ is a place where no problems could exist because there is no-thing there.

There is no-thing because no-thing exists. Problems exist here because of ideas of separation which initiated from the idea of “I”. When the ideas of the false self had withered, the Truth is then surfaced. In fact, I cannot even say that there is a “true self” so to speak because that could imply duality, which in truth does not exist but in a dream. In fact, I am inclined to think that there is no such thing as Self.  And even if there is, it is not in the context of meaning that both you and I can understand. 

And so J says, “Above all, remember that you have one problem and that the problem has one solution. It is in this that simplicity of salvation lies. It is because of this that it is guaranteed to work. …Do not deceive yourself about what the problem is, and you must recognize it has been solved.”

Problems? Seriously, only one. Recognize it, and it has been solved.

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It is very easy to get ourselves attached to something, or someone. And this is always because we perceive that something, or someone does something wonderful to or for our being when we feel overwhelmed. And so you see, it is really not that something or someone that we are seemingly attached to; but more of the feelings which arise in us which we have perceived come with the concurrence of that something or someone in our space. Take for instance, a mother who gives birth to a child. Just because the baby came out from her so per say, she begins to think that the baby is hers. As she nurtures and cares for the baby as time goes by, she reaffirms that the baby, is indeed hers because she feels that she is important in one’s life – oblivious that her functions to the baby are only as a guardian or a caretaker. One of the examples of attachment.

In most of my recent conversations with others, I begin to observe why people who were initially on their spiritual journey would, out-of-a-sudden, limit themselves half way through. Nevermind about the unwillingness to face what is within but they were afraid that once they have embraced the spiritual journey fully, which is in truth a journey of no return; they’d lose everything. There are things that the mind imagines – I would not love my children as I love myself; I would leave my husband; I would have to give up money/career; or I would lose this or that… in short, I would have nothing. Now, who is the “I” here?

See how the mind conjures a meaning of the word ‘letting go’ or ‘detachment’? Let’s just assume that this perception came from the association of someone who was important in society and thereafter sold his Ferrari, left his family so to speak, gave up his career to become a monk. So could it be this type of scene or retold stories that makes one think that to be a monk, or to be on a spiritual journey, one has to detach or let go in such a way? Waitaminute… how did the Mind even come to the conclusion that embarking on the spiritual journey would lead to letting go or detachment?

This morning a loved one shared with me two stories: –

First Story

Despite her previous endeavor on the spiritual journey or so she says, she has chosen to remain ‘attached’ to her children and family because she would otherwise have no other ‘thing’ to do in her life – nothing to worry about, nothing to be happy about, no one to care about, no one to give advice to. She likes the myriad of feelings she feels; the ups and downs; but also confessed that as soon as the discomfort or pain draws near to her core, she’d redraw herself from the situation. She explains that she knows how to control herself. I wonder, if she meant that she knew how to control her own mind?

As she shared the first story, I observed that she was not attached to her loved ones per se, but more to the made-up meanings of her loved ones in the mind. I wondered, if she knew the difference.

Second Story

She emailed her sister, who is always over-the-top over her (the sister) children. In the email, she advised  her sister that she (the sister) ought to find time for herself and to start loving herself. Very wise advice indeed. Her sister’s reply however, shocked her. In her sister’s reply, she said, “I will consider what you have suggested, and try to love myself more than my children.” It is indeed comical. She (as in my loved one) and I laughed a little. Since when did loving oneself mean not to love another/others or to love them less? Is our love tank so ridiculously small?

I wondered again if they truly knew what was in the abyss of their minds, would they remain as bonded or stressed out as they are now.

It is hard to explain how when one loses everything, one has everything. The closest that I could put into words is that ‘detachment’ or ‘letting go’ doesn’t mean that we need to give up things or anyone; but the meaning of things or people in our minds. And the ‘meaning’ here, is the perceptions and ideas conjured from past experiences, observations and data; stored in the mind. When these ideas, which really do not serve us anyway, are questioned and transcended, we not only free ourselves of bondage, but also others. We would be able to see others clearly. Very similar to one of the ending scenes in the movie Avatar where, Neytiri, fully accepting Jake as he is (not a kind of her own) says to Jake, “I see you”. We can finally see others without our own ideas/meanings projected onto them and hence there lay a possibility to love freely, respond loving and peacefully –anything and anyone.

It is very strange that after knowing all this, some of us still think that it is the easiest to remain that attachment, that grudging feeling at the pit of our stomachs and complaints.

Could it be that it is not freedom that we really want? Could it be that peace is not really what we seek? Then why so much protesting for freedom and peace? Surely, something is missing here.

Or, could it be that we see there no possibility of freedom and peace, thus the lifting of the white flag?

But what if I were to tell you, that it is possible; and all it takes is only your willingness, and your courage. Would that you bring you back, a little closer to Home?

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