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Archive for July, 2010

See it as Unreal…

See it as a bubble,
See it as a mirage:
one who regards the world this way
the King of Death doesn’t see.

~ 170, Dhammapada: the Buddha ~

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This article was written some time ago. Posting this in remembrance of a journey of an inner conflict whether to address self or the someone out there.

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Am I not seeing things clearly? Am I hanging on to an idea which is now conflicting to what is happening around me? Which is more true? What is happening outside me? Or the voice within that is calling out to me to honor myself? Has ignorance finally caught up once again, attempting to wash away whatever that I’ve arrived at? Or am I asked, again and again, just to be independent, to answer only to myself? Am I subjected to others’ calling or their good intention to smoothen out my path of liberation? Or am I to trust myself, that whatever decision I may make, that allows me to stand in my own true space, is what I ought to live for? How am I to know if I am treading along the right path if I am on my own?

Have I de-toured?

Again, am I seeing clearly on my own? Or are that of what my closest friends are showing me is exactly what I am resisting?

I’ve come to the stage recognizing everything including the happening of my vehicle or any other external manifestation is merely symbols. Is it then possible that something material could give me anything unless I believed in it?

If I am truly an extension of the Infinite, thus making me too, God, then am I not to respect the divinity within me? How can others be sure if I am listening to my heart or the thoughts in my head? How would they know if where I will go is truly not the path that will lead to where they’d be or going anyway? How can they be sure if it is my ego I am succumbing to, and not the voice within?

Is it important at all that they know? Or more important that I know and understand?

That’s right, it is more important that I know – the truth of the truth, within me. A friend can turn into an enemy in the mind in the context of a false need, yet an enemy can turn into a friend when the right understanding surfaces. Sometimes, I feel that since there’s no one out there, why would I still need to address others? Recognizing them as my mirrors, it brings me closer to home; and yet when the mind starts to hang on to experiences reminiscing the memories that I once had, I allow myself to be swayed once more, away from home; giving away what has rightfully always been my own.

Still, Love always calls me home, because I am Love. I am whatever that I long for in others, for I’ve never left me – except when I’ve forgotten.

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Do I have a Choice? Yes and No. I like to think that I have choices – choice of colors, choice of the types of TV I’d like to buy, choice of careers, choice of mental states. But the truth is also this – I don’t have a choice.

I only have a choice when I don’t know what I want. When I know what I want, I will be left with no choice, except with what I want.

Take for example – if I am in an unforgiving state, and I pick out an angel card that tells me, “Choose Peace”, I can be sure that if that is not what I want at that moment, I will have no choice but to continue to be in an unforgiving, resentful state; until I decide that I want to be peaceful, then will I choose peace and start embarking on what is necessary.

When one of my teachers finally told me “surrender the choice”, I looked at him blankly and asked, “what do you mean?” He laughed and explained, “when you surrender the choice, who are you left with?” and I said, “myself”, and he said, “when you are left with only yourself, and you know what you want, is there any choice in it?” It was indeed very profound and I was dumbfounded by this truth. When I later experimented this truth, it was indeed so true to the core of my being – that it was when I didn’t know or wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted, I am in a delusion to even think that I have a choice; but the moment I knew what I wanted, I would be left with no choice but what I wanted.

On another level, why we don’t have choices is because of the ingrained ideas that we already sow in the mind. When I have an idea that I prefer a cat as a pet, there is no way that I would choose a dog as a preference unless I made a conscious choice to make a different choice from a previous decision that I would have made. So it seems again, that I might have a choice here – to fully adapt or be a puppet to an ingrained idea, or to opt for a different experience outside an ingrained idea – but the truth is this, a choice to choose a dog over a cat is also an idea – and do you know what would have us make that choice? It is because we want to – so that leaves us with no choice too!

Choices are available to allow us to ponder deeply what is it that we truly want, or rather, what resonates intensely in our hearts. No qualms about that. When my partner asked me quite some time ago what is my dream car, I gave him a whole list of possible vehicles in the market from a Perodua Viva, to an Alfa Romeo GTV (old type) to an Audi TT. He scratched and shook his head often not being able to grasp the criteria of an ideal car for me. Apparently, everyone has some idea of what type of dream car they would want, except me! I told him that the vehicle would be something which makes me tick on the first sight of it, that I would know it belongs to me and vice versa, and no other way. Soon enough, I saw her (as in my current car) and fell in love with her almost instantly. See, I had no choice!

I rejoice in the truth of this. When I know I have a choice, I am only faced with a situation where I am then unsure again of what I want. Do I welcome it? Why not? But the choices do not define me or what I am. If I choose to be an accountant, it will not be because I love numbers, or that I am a meticulous person – but simply, because I want to; and my number one criteria is that it must resonate with my being, it must give me joy. See, no choice again! Now, this is freedom!

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Love – is what we all live for, and it radiates from our most inner core. I can choose to look at a situation or a person as a punishment, or an opportunity to love what I would deem difficult; depending on the experience I want. If I want to retain my old ways of suffering, I can continue to close my heart further; or if I want to set myself free, I will see the truth of a situation, or a person presented before me.

Love is the very struggle of our lives. But when we have a belief that we are unloved, we turn our attention to an outer manifestation such as a family, a lover, money, career, children or friends or what have you just to cover up what we believe is missing in our lives. For that, we are always running around in circles, unable to find a solid footing no matter where we stand. We know there is something wrong here, but we are just unable to pin point what is it. Does that sound familiar?

I asked my little one some nights ago if she thought that I’d still love her if she was naughty or if she did anything that I did not approve of. Pretty confident of my function as her mom, I was surprised when her answer came as a ‘no’. As I further read some excerpts from a book written by John Goldthwait, it implied that childhood is where experiences of love and being unloved is most significant, where a belief that one can actually be unloved is created. Cleverly, or rather ignorantly, a support thought of “If I become what he/she wants me to be, then perhaps he/she will love me. Then I will be loved!” becomes a glimpse of hope and so this tiny mad idea becomes, sooner or later, a belief or a practice a child carries into adulthood. This can also be termed, in spiritual context, the closing of one’s heart – yes, our own heart to ourselves.

It is somewhat tricky as when young, we were taught that it is unfavorable to be selfish. Yet, in the path of spiritual awakening, that is exactly what is needed of us if we are to find ourselves out of the rut – selfishness. My friend James termed it beautifully quoting one profound teacher – Sacred Selfishness. It is beautiful. Still, selfishness from the context of fear is preserving what is being perceived as already limited, as if when one gives, one would have less. It can be explained further from the perception of self-sacrifice.

The closest example of how I can relate to how Love multiplies further instead of divides is the Love of a parent. When a parent is blessed with a second child, Love does not diminish as would the first child would have imagined, thus the jealousy and insecurity at first. Instead, Love expands. It does not limit by withdrawing Love from the first child to be channeled to the second child although preference may be given to either child in terms of care giving depending on the needs of a specific child, or rather more true, the perception of a parent on the needs of a child; and perceptions, has nothing to do with Love.

So then, who are We? Who am I? Am I the personality of that I am selfless, I am a lawyer, I am a brilliant cook or what have you? Is there any sense of struggle in up keeping these qualities or roles of what or who I think I am? I can put up a front that I am spiritual, I am at peace; but can I lie to myself, for long?

There will come to a point in time where our hearts can no longer contain the layers of fabrications when the inner conflict becomes more obvious. Usually, that is the point where we find ourselves on a spiritual journey so to speak. Again, spiritual journey is not some hocus-pocus or some fairy land experience. It is a realistic approach or path totally necessary if we were to find our true selves. It is comical yet sensible, that first we seek the journey for a God outside of us, when the very God that we have been looking for has always been within us all along. That’s the cosmic joke!

When we start listening to the voice within us, the God within us, the journey of Love starts again –the path of Self Love. Although it may be astonishing and scary at first because our core beliefs are threatened while being investigated, but you see, they are just beliefs, ideas and in no way could or can ever represent our true essence, the true “I”.

We are Love. No matter how much we try to deny it. We are It. I only refer us as an “It” to define what is separate from the falseness. In truth, there is not even a “we” or an “It”!

Live Love, Love… We have always been the Love that we are looking for. What on earth are you waiting for???

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I chanced upon an article from a dailyom.com subscription sent to me. I am sharing here as reminder to myself and others who are on the journey. 🙂

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Each of us is on our own path and we all learn differently. Because of this it is important to not interfere with another’s path of growth.

When we care about people, we want to save them from pain by offering them the benefit of our experience. Sometimes we feel like we know what is best for them. Sometimes, like when their safety is involved, we need to step in, but those times are rare. More often we find ourselves becoming frustrated when our close friends or family members do not use our relationship insights or follow our dietary advice, and this is where we find our challenge. We may even find ourselves becoming angry when they choose another path. This strength of feeling is usually a sign that our motivations go beyond merely helping another to indicate that there is a lesson there for us.

First, we need to keep in mind that each of us is on our own path and that we all learn differently. When we trust the universe, we know that there is a higher power at work that knows what is best for our loved one. Since we do not want to deny them experiences of deep feeling that are essential steps in the growth of their spirit, we can instead offer them our counsel. After we have given our gift, it is time to release it, along with our expectations of them and their choices, with love.

Once that is done, we can remind ourselves that our relationships are mirrors that allow us to see ourselves more clearly in the reflection. That is why it is easier for us to see solutions to other people’s problems than to see answers for our own. We can also learn from these experiences when we ask ourselves if we ever do the same thing. Maybe we do not share experiences with relationships, but we do with our finances or our food choices. In being willing to look at ourselves and see why we are being irritated by what other people choose to do with their lives, we can be like an oyster and make irritations into pearls. With these pearls of wisdom, we learn to release the desire for control over others and instead enrich their lives as we enrich our own.

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Don’t be concerned that your path is not like that of others. It takes courage to be yourself and not to live in reaction to the likes and dislikes of others. Be courageous and follow your heart. You need to walk your own unique path in order to honor yourself and fulfill your spiritual purpose.

~ Paul Ferrini ~

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Hurt feelings, or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility. It’s only when I believe a stressful thought that I get hurt. And I’m the one who’s hurting me by believing what I think. This is very good news, because it means that I don’t have to get someone else to stop hurting me. I’m the one who can stop hurting me. It’s within my power.

What we are doing with inquiry is meeting our thoughts with some simple understanding, finally. Pain, anger and frustration will let us know when it’s time to inquire. We either believe what we think or we question it: there’s no other choice. Questioning our thoughts is the kinder way. Inquiry always leaves us as more loving human beings.

~ Excerpts from I Need Your Love – Is That True? by Byron Katie ~

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Along the way, in the midst of aloneness and loneliness (and they are different, mind you), we attract like-minded friends. Due to common interests, sparks of interesting conversations set off, initiating an inevitable blossoming association, where when unmindful, can lead to a clinging-on relationship which turns a sincere, free connection to one of seeking one another’s approval to satisfy the need to belong.

You see, in us there lay a need to connect and socialize; while it can be an initial independent serving relationship at first, through time, it can turn into an inter-dependent or sometimes a totally dependent affiliation. Think about it, without this friend in my life, I am probably making decisions for myself with regards to a certain situation, but with this friend’s opinions or views around; whilst I may take his or her perception for consideration which should also lead to me to making my own decisions; I may also tend to do what he or she perceives is appropriate or important for the journey, although very much hiding behind a façade of integrity; just because we are close. As much as I am also making a decision to ‘obliged’ to another’s opinion, but guess what, I betray myself by not honoring myself. That is in truth, already a way of seeking love and approval from another.

I can never lie to or run away from myself, no matter how hard I try. I can try to paint the picture to the whole world how my outer manifestations, i.e. action is different from my initial intention, but sooner or later, I’d feel draggy about the whole thing, resentful or doubtful. Although I may not blame the other for my taking on this decision, but I will realize that I am in constant weakness and fear of honoring myself then on because I am afraid that I will lose this friend whom I have been blessed with, and to which in my perception, is hard to come by.

In my recent experience of a third stage of fasting, I finally plucked up the courage to respect myself once again. Ask me why I fast this round? The only thing I could say is that I wished to experience what it was like eating X kind of food or fruits for the whole day, so I’d say I was solely savoring the experience of that, until my partner reflected otherwise, time and time again citing certain things that I could not help but ponder away my intentions of fasting again. After speaking to Darling, I soon realized by myself that I was fasting once again out of fear, because two of the closest people in my heart at the moment were experiencing the fast (way ahead of me, if I might add) and I felt an ‘obligation’ to be in the experience so that I’d qualify to be ‘in the group’ – in short, I did it for a malicious intention: the sense of belonging. Even after realizing this, I was not at peace. My past experience of true realization was that I would arrive at peace. So that means to say, I was not at peace with myself, performing this fast.

I imagined a lot of possibilities of quitting the fast, and sticking with the fast; both filled with much self-judgment. It was very clear that I wasn’t indeed standing in my own power since my intention from the start was not from love, or trust. Besides the experience of trying out the menu for the first few days, which I enjoyed thoroughly, I found myself at the crossroad once again so much sooner when the mind asked, “I’ve tasted it, what’s next?” Where was I?

I questioned myself deeply, if I could selflessly do this, just for the sake of the group since there was an impression that “I” am part of the group and that my progress was detrimental to the group; but the mind could not stop arguing, “are you kidding me?” Not that I am not acknowledging myself in the group, but since when, had my worthiness needed to be validated by being part of the group? Clearly, there is some sort of defilement going on here.

I could not stop honoring myself these days. It is as if I am committing bigamy spiritually when I rely on others to belong somewhere so to speak; it is absolute that I am only responsible for me, to love me, accept me and to approve of me.

Love is not a tank where it is confined; it is in truth a bottomless well where no one is singled out. But if I am limiting Love, or defining Love by my intentions to satisfy a need arising from fear, who am I falling out of love with, except myself?

It comes back, again and again, these lessons, and I am thankful… for without which, deeper realization or learning would not have been possible. It is always about honoring and loving me – not in the space of demeaning others, but in empowering others – by empowering me. You see, it always starts with me, and that is all that is required to begin with.

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Begin to see how much you try to change others to fit your image of how you think they should be. Be aware of how others try to change you. Feel the push and the pull. That is the world of the ego.

Ego is the most insecure thing in the universe. That is why it is always trying to take sides and bolster its position. It has no native confidence in itself and therefore no generosity of spirit.

It hates everything because it hates itself. All its pride is but a show. Take ego apart and you find an open wound.

Ego is the part of you that doesn’t know that you are loved. It can’t give love, because it doesn’t know it has love to give.

How do the unloved and unlovable find love? That is the cry of every soul in exile in the world.

Ego must be taught that it has love. This is a threatening proposition, for as soon as ego recognizes it has love, it ceases to be ego. Ego must die as ego to be reborn as love.

Now you know why most people resist enlightenment. The idea of waking up is scary to anyone who is still asleep. You keep thinking, “When I wake up, I may not be there!”

That is why your fear of death and your fear of waking up are the same fear. The unlimited, universal Self is not born until the limited, temporal self dies.

So death will come, one way or the other. Either you will die, or you will wake up, which is a different kind of dying.

Once you awake, dying is no big deal. You have no more prized identify to lose. Whether you stay in physical form or not isn’t important. Either way, you need to be present.

Dying is one of the best ways to learn to be present. If you want to wake up quickly, try drying. When you are dying, you are aware of things in a way you never were before. You notice every breath, every nuance, every flower, every word, or gesture of love.

Dying is like a crash course in waking up. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone who dies wakes up. It just means they’ve taken the course.

Those who graduate from the course are content to be wherever they are sent. If that means somewhere in a body, so be it. If that means assisting someone in a body, that’s fine too.

It doesn’t really matter where you do because you have nothing to prove. You are there simply to be helpful.

Disengaging from meaningless identity is an inevitable aspect of the path back home. The less you have to protect, the more help that you can be. And the more help you give, the more blissful your experiences becomes.

While I would not go so far as to say “dying is fun”, I would say that dying is “not fun” only because you are still hanging onto some shred of self-definition.

Your whole experience on earth is a process of learning to trust in yourself, in your brother and in God. In the final moment of awakening, when trust blossoms fully, these three aspects of Self merge into one.

That moment cannot be described in words, but I assure you that you will experience it. And until you experience it, nothing will ever make complete sense to you.

~ Excerpts from Chapter: The Death of the Ego, Love without Conditions by Paul Ferrini ~

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Time and time again, we are constantly being lured into believing that there is someone out there who loves and approves us, wholly accepting us we are. And because of that addiction, we can never excuse ourselves from being affected by the way others react to us, whether they smile at us, wink at us, give us a smiley face over the internet, abruptly cut us off in a conversation, speak to us in a different tone or simply show us a nasty look. Through many experiences, as much as there are many angles to a box, possibilities to a situation, i.e. it is probably not about us or to us that they are targeting at, probably just a bad moment they had experienced or were going through; we never fail to feel triggered, saddened, abandoned, left out or whatever feelings we feel uncomfortable with anyway, until we come to terms with ourselves.

Though many times, it is never about us that others are upset about while it may seems like it; as long as we are set-off in a negative mood, we are asked only to inquire within. Clearly, we already feel like victims as much as we try to deny it, at times seeking for evidence that it is never about us. But even in truth, when it is not really about us, again as long as we are the ones feeling sorry about ourselves, it is our business to resolve our own discomfort – for that is our truth, our ‘story’ to begin with.

It is easy to forget, for that is the rule of the game, the rule of limitations. But it is also easy to remember; for once we remember the motion of self-inquiry sets in. But what makes it hard at this junction, is the mind still wanting to see the realness of what is outside, wanting to hang on to what cannot be true, failing each time to look within, the initial idea that sparked off vulnerability.

It is always a calling home at times like these. Although sometimes it may be a weak come back, but it never fails. It is in our weakest moments that we continue to thrive, that the heart is open to us, only within a reach away. It takes strength, guts and much motivation, to want to investigate that lie, to see the truth to which illusions hovers around. Nothing can stand in our way, as long as we soar for truth.

Love – that is all we all want. Though many shut that away, but it is always about love. Even a wife who is married to a wonderful husband, who provides well, still yearns for love; failing to recognize that she is the only one capable to love herself. In failing that endeavor, she seeks what is outside, what is also an illusion, to fulfill that emptiness within, to only find that she will be left alone again, bare and naked.

It is time to come home now, home to myself. All else which have been perceived as bad is an illusion, and so are all else which have been perceived to be good. Nothing is whole and complete, not here anyway, except the wholeness and completeness which can only be felt within. So even when the victim emerges from time to time, let me love her, and embrace her. Let me not judge or condemn her during her unconscious state, but instead bring clarity and tenderness to her. As long as I will, I smell her closeness in my embrace.

It is there that I seek, and yet when I am here, I am already there by being here.

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