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Archive for October, 2010

Being Direct

My personality of being direct is not something that many of those who knows me not know about. In fact, some may find my being direct has some form of harshness or brutality in it. Interestingly, some find my being direct a gift they embrace for my being honesty and straightforwardness brought them to much understanding, realization, and also a sense of freedom within themselves and also in the relationship that they have with me. Now, I am not saying that I am the one who made them realize. I am merely directing that due to my honest feelings and thoughts about what I observe relating to the other person, the other person who accepts with openness with what I have shared led to their own understanding, realization and freedom. In truth, their understanding, realization or sense of freedom has nothing to do with me but their own willingness to open themselves to possibilities. I’d like to think of myself more as the ‘key’ to the ignition. To start the engine or not is entirely the other’s choice.

So it has dawned on me, since quite recently that my approach of being direct and honest is somewhat ‘harsh’. And ‘harsh’ usually accompanies some form of attack, already willing the other to be on the ‘defense’ mode. And my partner told me earlier, that it is only to those who come to me to seek a way out that my mannerism seems to be coming from the space of clarity and truth, rather than to be of an attack, or judgment. Although I liked what I hear, I cannot deny the feeling of uneasiness when I am being perceived as being harsh and I am more speaking of self-judgment here rather than anything else. I pondered on it, as I usually did, if I could use a more subtle, soft or flowery way to express what I had to say. And I soon realized that if not for a spiritual friend pointing out directly (or rather indirectly) that he is constantly dealing with my harshness, I would not have known that I have judged myself being direct and honest as being harsh. So what is harshness but the opposite of softness, and the mind went back to some memories where there was no harshness in communicating what needs to be exchanged. So, obviously softness and gentleness were present. So how could it be that I am harsh when if I were to conclude what I am must be constant if that is truth?

Another of my spiritual friend, whom I trust very much for her honesty and authenticity with regards to anything that I have to express, shared with me her point of view of harshness. She said that if a person had perceived me, or anyone for that matter as being harsh, the other person very unconsciously has already some subtle form of defense. So it is my problem? In truth, no; because what others perceive and conclude is beyond my control. But my problem here is my own self judgment towards my directness.

I asked my wise friend if I ought to change myself, and she lovingly replied, “Just be yourself.” And I found that profound. Not because I can now confirm that I am really direct and straightforward in my expressions, and that it gives me more so a reason to be; but more so to flow with what is honest and truthful within my space. She expressed further that being my friend has a sense of freedom for she need not guess whether I liked certain things or not and she need not worry whether or not I would lie to her about what I think or feel as she knows almost 100% of the time that I would be honest with my feedbacks, without trying to sugarcoat anything. What is the point? I only cause myself sufferings when I am not honest with myself and by that, I cause other people unnecessary worry and guilt too.

And another wonderment I picked from this whole situation is that if not for my earlier spiritual friend’s honesty that he was constantly dealing with my harshness, I wouldn’t have known! Although some others have spoken to me of such sort, but it laid no impact since we did not share a very intimate or close relationship. But by virtue that this spiritual friend is indeed a dear friend close to my heart, I would tend to take his comments more seriously! So thank God for his honesty, if not I wouldn’t have known! And such is the beauty of honesty and being direct!

Have you ever been in an experience where you are waiting for an answer or an outcome to a certain situation? And as much as you wanted the situation to turn out the way you wanted, but when the answer comes – whether or not it fits the bill to what you had wished for – it normally comes with a sense of peace. It is the surety, the comfort of no-more guessing. Having said that of course, I have been told by one of my teachers to love my uncertainties… but somehow that ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ brings a conclusion to the mind so per se and whatever that arises from that situation be it happiness, jealousy, boredom, sadness can be dealt with more openly. Well, at least that is in my case. And this case, what I mean to say is that when we are hovering over whether to be truthful or not to ourselves and others, or waiting for others’ answers, it is mind-boggling! Take a wedding invitation for example. When a wedding couple gets married, they experience anxiety waiting for replies while on the other hand, some guests are unsure if they should say yes or no because they don’t really want to attend the reception, but yet feel obligated to do! If we are constantly and truly honest with ourselves, wherein lies the dilemma? And even if the couple feels disappointed when you say ‘no’, it would post much ease to their planning and trust me, they will get over it! If you are already feeling obligated to attend the reception, this only represents that the couple probably also invited you out of obligation! Having said that, of course, no judgment or guessing is required. What is asked is only a constant moment of honesty with ourselves. There is really no one out there.

I cannot depict what runs in others’ mind for not only is it none of my business, it is beyond my control. But what I can do is at least represent myself truthfully, honestly and clearly from my space as best as I can so that I could answer to myself genuinely without hiding from others, and more so importantly from myself. I’d like to leave a conversation, or a situation knowing that I have fully expressed what I have to say from my heart and not say what I have been guided not to say. I only have to trust myself; after all what I experience or choose to act has never been answerable to anyone (although many would like it that way), but to my very own self.

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“I”

So we have been told that “I” am not what you think I am, and also not what I think I am. Who is in fact, the “I”, an “I?

“I” began to observe in my journey lately, how truthful the statement (can’t really recall who made that statement though) is that everything that happens is perfectly fine, until “I” come into the picture; more so when there is something that “I” want or “I” don’t want.

The other day, my little one came crying to me saying, “Mommi, A doesn’t want to follow me up the slide. She doesn’t want to be my friend anymore.” As I held her in my arms and asked her if A really did say that, she shook her head. I smiled, as if recognizing already that she was indeed in delusion. Since A did not say that, what made her so sure that A didn’t want to be her friend? I asked her again, what was it that she wanted more – to play on the slide, or to play with A? And she blurted, “I want to play on the slide and I want A to play with me.” Such is the nature of greed, one is never enough. It has to be filled with conditions – play with slide, and with A. As A came running to me later (as I was babysitting her), she mentioned that she met her friend at the same play place and was so excited about it! So I saw 2 “I”s there – one in delusion that A doesn’t want to be her friend because A doesn’t want to play slide with her and the other, forgetting my little one’s presence because she was overexcited when she saw a familiar friend.

Actually, nothing has happened. But this is a clear case of stories conjured in the mind, especially so in my little one’s case. If she had truly just wanted to play slide, it would have been fine to play on her own; and if she had really wanted to play with A, it wouldn’t have matter what other stuffs that A wanted to play and she would have enjoyed herself playing with her; perhaps, even getting to know a new friend. And here, she was suffering because of “I” want because she thinks that she is actually capable of dictating what she wants.

And when I don’t get what “I” want, “I” get hurt because of the perception or rather meanings put into a situation that doesn’t seem to go my way according to what “I” want – and then “I” make a conclusion, that person whom I had wished to play with me doesn’t want to be my friend. This conjures yet another meaning that “I” am unloved and unworthy – hence the tears.

Check deeply within, then we will know how untrue that statement is. However, it is a space or a state only to be realized and not mimicked to “make” me feel good or powerful, for until I fully realize the truth, I will continuously be affected by what happens in the outer reality. In truth, nothing had happened. A bumped into her friend and got excited! That was all, but my little one fell ‘asleep’ and felt hurt, hence the drama.

And later, when it was time for both their art class which they had planned to attend together, my little one went to tell A that it was time for class and quickly held A’s hand so tightly as if afraid that A would not follow her to class. As much as this is shown in a child, it is so typical of every of our unquestioned behavior or action. Isn’t it so, when we feel that it doesn’t belong to us, yet we want it, we tend to hang on to it even more tightly as if the minute we let go, it’d slip off our fingers and that we’d lose it forever?

So who is this “I” and what did the Buddha really mean when he said non-self? Was it to become so selfless that we totally deprive ourselves, our needs? Or was there an underlying meaning that we have not yet come to realize? In the initial journey of self-inquiry, or rather spirituality if you prefer, we start to realize indeed that who others thought we were, or who we think we were are not entirely true. And yet, there are some qualities of who we are. Still, in that space of who we are, we don’t really exist except marvel at what comes up in our experience. Non-self is not that there is no “I”, but the “I” in its true context has been very much misguided and misunderstood. And yet, to come to that space, would mean that we would have to acknowledge what is real to us at that point in time, only to realize that it is in fact unreal, for the ‘truth’ to arise. Even then, the ‘truth’ that arises at that point in time, may only means the opposite of what we had thought we were, and that too, is not entirely correct.

So who is “I”?

The truth is, it is not that there is no “I”; but the “I” is not what we think it is. “I” is truly, just an expression and nothing more than that.

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Bubbles

Yesterday my little one dragged me out of the house to play bubbles with her. As the bubbles were formed from our blowing action through the hole of which the bubbles were to be created, she invited me to use my nose to pop the bubble! I asked myself why I would do that, for it seemed so silly! Still, I attempted her suggestion since she seemed to have so much fun with it.

As I moved myself, or rather, my face and specifically my nose towards a particular bubble which I intended to pop, it seemed strange that I had a sense of fear arising! I mean, it is just a tiny bubble which is not even one tenth of my entire form and there I was, afraid of going near to the bubble! Factually, I was afraid that if the bubble pops as my nose touched it, my eyes would be hurt or my face would be wet; and interestingly as I ‘braved’ myself, determined to have that experience anyway, the bubble, as expected, did pop and disappeared right in front of it – except that the bubble did not ‘hurt’ or ‘wet’ my face as I had imagined; but instead made me realise how each time I am willing to just be present with each bubble (though in this case it is with my nose), the bubble disappears right in front of me.

Imagine each moment of our life, is each bubble on its own – created, floats for a while, pops and disappears. If a certain bubble signifies a moment of stress in our lives, it is common how we would turn our back or walk away from the bubble, fearful of how it would ‘harm’ or ‘hurt’ us; much only comes from our own imagination. Envisage if we just stood where we are, and not to say face the bubble head on for that would absolutely sound as if I am charging at the bubble, or the bubble charging at me; but to simply allow it to come to us, as close as possible and when it reaches our nose (meaning when we are present with it consciously), it pops and disappears all by itself, right in front of us.

So, life is like bubbles too; much like my previous “.” entry.

It is indeed much easier said than done. Until one can perceive life as just experiences, and that experiences are just like bubbles, and that bubbles themselves are not permanent, and that in each of its non-permanence is its non-existence; then one can begin to actually feel life differently – that in the nothingness of life, is blessed yet with the fullness of everything.

Wonderful, wonderful bubbles…

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Prepare you now for the undoing of what never was. If you already understood the difference between truth and illusion, the Atonement would have no meaning. The holy instant, the holy relationship, the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and all the means by which salvation is accomplished, would have no purpose. For they are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge. Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.

Never approach the holy instant after you have tried to remove all fear and hatred from your mind. That is its function. Never attempt to overlook your guilt before you ask the Holy Spirit’s help. That is His function. Your part is only to offer Him a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven. On your little faith, joined with His understanding. He will build your part in the Atonement and make sure that you fulfil it easily. And with Him, you will build a ladder planted in the solid rock of faith, and rising even to Heaven. Nor will you use it to ascend to Heaven alone.

Through your holy relationship, reborn and blessed in every holy instant you do not arrange, thousands will rise to Heaven with you. Can you plan for this? Or could you prepare for such a function? Yet it is possible, because God wills it. Nor will He change His mind about it. The means and purpose both belong to Him. You have accepted one; the other will be provided. A purpose such as this, without the means, is inconceivable. He will provide the means to anyone who shares His purpose.

Happy dreams come true, not because they are dreams, but only because they are happy. And so they must be loving. Their message is, ‘Thy Will be done’, and not ‘I want it otherwise’. The alignment of means and purpose is an undertaking impossible for you to understand. You do not even realise you have accepted the Holy Spirit’s purpose as your own, and you would merely bring unholy means to its accomplishment. The little faith it needed to change the purpose is all that is required to receive the means and use them.

It is no dream to love your brother as yourself. Nor is your holy relationship a dream. All that remains of dreams within it is that it is still a special relationship. Yet it is very useful to the Holy Spirit, Who has a special function here. It will become the happy dream through which He can spread joy to thousands on thousands who believe that love is fear, not happiness. Let Him fulfil the function that He gave to your relationship by accepting it for you, and nothing will be wanting that would make of it what He would have it be.

When you feel the holiness of your relationship is threatened by anything, stop instantly and offer the Holy Spirit your willingness, in spite of fear, to let Him exchange this instant for the holy one that you would rather have. He will never fail in this. But forget not that your relationship is one, and so it must be that whatever threatens the peace of one is an equal threat to the other. The power of joining its blessing lies in the fact that it is now impossible for you or your brother to experience fear alone, or to attempt to deal with it alone. Never believe that this is necessary, or even possible. Yet just as this is impossible, so is it impossible that the holy instant come to either of you without the other. And it will come to both at the request of either.

Whoever is saner at the time the threat is perceived should remember how deep is his indebtedness to the other and how much gratitude is due  him, and be glad that he can pay his debt by bringing happiness to both. Let him remember this, and say:

I desire this holy instant for

myself, that I may share it with my brother, whom I love.

It is not possible that I can have it

without him, or he without me.

Yet it is wholly possible for us to

share it now.

And so I choose this instant as the

one to offer to the Holy Spirit,

that His blessing may descend on

us, and keep us both in peace.

 

– Chapter 18:V, A Course in Miracles

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So often we have tasted the compassion of others, and our ‘so-called’ compassion for others. Yet, the most important self to be compassionate with, we tend to forget and again and again judge and hate. We cannot come to terms with the most important self, because of the strong belief that ‘I cannot be wrong’ and thus emerge the sense of self-righteousness, the sense of self-blame, and the sense of self-hatred.

The most important self to be compassionate with and for, is no other than ourselves. When we have not resolved what is in us, have not tasted compassion for the errors that we have made, where is there the sense of compassion for others? That is why the ‘so-called’ compassion as it is only mimicked and not true in its sense; and to truly know if our compassion for others is authentic is to really look within if we have been triggered by their well-being, behaviors or actions which have absolutely nothing to do with us.

I came across a recent incident where I felt triggered by a loving act of another. Why I would call it a loving act, is because there were things exactly of what I would do before to bring joy to others; except I usually did it at my own expense. The error here is for judging this beloved friend thus in a very indirect way of judging myself. How would I know if this beloved friend was doing it from the space of inspiration or seeking approval except my own interpretation of it? And where would my interpretation of it come from except from my own past experiences and own doing which I have yet to come to peace with?

As much as I might have brought much joy to others, it was not joy for myself. I did it with a sense of ‘sacrifice’ which in itself was a sin. And because I had deprived myself of the joy I had so deserved and desired secretly, I had judged myself and hated myself for it. To make matters worse, I am unable to forgive myself now as I fail to see that at that point in time; I only did my ‘best’, to mean adhering to the old programs within which I had never thought that was possible to break.

The errors multiply by themselves when ignorance is at play, and when I cannot see it, it develops into a giant snow ball which would take a big blow to break. And that is what happens when the intensity of the errors become too much to handle – we become so overwhelmed by it that the layer just become thicker and thicker, making it all harder for us to undo our folds of hoax, not to mention the original sin.

If I am unable to be compassionate to myself for the errs that I’ve made in the past, or even at present, how could it be possible to allow compassion to arise naturally from the space of love for another? Although it seems as if what another does has nothing to do with me, but as soon as I am effected even though the action is not directed at me, I can be sure that the arrow is headed my way; except that it is not the other who pulled the bow, but myself.

Yes. It isn’t enough just to recognize err; since recognition here may bring about more self-judgment, which is only just another form of err. The prize here is in non-judgment, and by that is already being compassion for self and thus the healing happens on its own, naturally.

A teacher once told me what compassion means to him – common passion. How very true. It is indeed the common passion shared amongst everybody, which of course can only be shared at a natural state when one has had compassion for self, in any mistakes that we are willing to make amends with.

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I’ve come across several situations where I’ve stood my ground with a firm ‘no’, and also of those where I’ve not stood my ground and said ‘yes’ when the inner world says ‘no’. Now, I began to ponder when I say a ‘yes’ to you during the times when I actually mean a ‘no’, am I truly supporting you or spoiling you? To think that I am supporting you, is another form of ‘doing’ to bring peace to that part of me that feels shitty and yucky when I actually wanted to say a ‘no’. Could that be anywhere near of what we call ‘love’ or ‘support’?

And what would propel me to do this, except my guilt of wanting to seek approval from you, or to uplift you not for your own good, but for my selfish want of not wanting to see you as a victim? But who is the real victim here, except myself?

So I tell myself, you are really weak, you are unconscious, you are blah-blah-blah and you need me; and then I move myself to come closer to you or allow you to come to me to ask help from me – when that happens, am I truly supporting you to empower you or myself from the space of love, or am I actually supporting you to further ingrain the meaning in you that you are actually that helpless, that unsupported, that weak? When instead of being stronger, your reliance upon me become strapping; am I then not spoiling you, in place of supporting you?

We are always presented with situations where we are asked to support or not. Usually, we will tend to support another especially if the other has posted his or her weaknesses but yet when it comes to the point of ‘I have to’ instead of ‘I want to’ then it does not empower anyone else; no one benefits at all. Even coming from the space of ‘I want to’, what is in for me? Sheer joy, or just a camouflage of what would have me deal with my guilt towards you?

But what has my guilt got to do with you although you seem to be in my space for me to address, when in truth it is still me who is the one that I’ve got to deal it? When will the story end? Never, until I come to terms with myself – my honesty towards myself.

All things are lessons God would have me learn – Lesson 193, A Course in Miracles

And what would God have me learn in this when I am presented with a choice of supporting you or not supporting you? They are still, in truth, the opposite sides of the same coin; except that in either choice that I make, it can come from the space of guilt, or from love. If I was to support you from the space of love, my joy would not be compromised; and if I were to not support you from the space of love, my joy too, would not be compromised. Both to support or not to support can come from the exact same space of my intention – and whatever you get out of it, depending on your programming, your ideas, your perceptions, you own willingness to rise up to your own greatness – therein lays your own reality. And does your reality have anything to do with me although I seem to be the catalyst for it? No. It has never, and will never be.

When it comes to the point of dishonoring myself, then I know that it is time to stop and ponder. Although it would be more powerful to be sure of the initial intention, rather than after the action has been done but most of the time I am in a delusion due to an ingrained long-playing pattern in me. So when I start to feel choked up, stressed or upset, it is come to recollect myself again and bring this long-playing pattern that does not serve my well-being to surface; for even from an initial intention of love, can turn to one of defilement when I do not question myself what stops me from honoring myself in the first place.

So my supporting you may end up spoiling you. And my not supporting you may end up empowering you although you may end up hating me for it if you are unaware of what is going on in your mind. But your hating me will never be as severe as me hating myself. What you may think or react or respond is beyond my control, and yet, what I think, react or respond is here only in my own space, within my responsibility of my own mindscape.

Can we all begin to take care of ourselves now, and allow everyone else around us to stand in their own true power, for each of our sake? The other day, a participant revealed that she was selfish if she did not help another. As I wrote the words ‘I am selfish’ on the whiteboard, I added another word in between them ‘sacredly’.

That is right, Sacred Selfishness. It is that sacredness in us which is utmost important – our mental peace, our well being. Is not our mental and emotional state essential? If we are not at peace with ourselves, unavailable for ourselves, how can we ever be entirely available and present to others?

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There was this day after a certain appointment, I walked around the shopping complex desiring not to head home to spend time with my family as I normally would. I strolled around aimlessly in the complex, as if contented just to be with myself or rather, with God. I looked around me and the people who were walking pass me, behind me, ahead of me, beside me; doing their own thing, saying their own thing – hand in hand, eating, talking on the mobile, kissing their children and etc – suddenly, I felt as if I was in heaven. I saw not people, but my brothers and sisters in light. I saw them enjoying their moments, their experiences as mundane or as meaningless as it can be. Some enjoying company with friends, some walking around aimlessly just like me, some pacing a little faster than another… it was beautiful. It was as if, they were not strangers, and that I knew them. And there was a feeling of warmness or coziness that accompanied it.

That heavenly state brought me to a state of bliss that cannot really be explained or defined in words; except to use the word ‘bliss’ as the closest description of it. There was a sense of freedom, joy and lightness that accompanied the experience, and that moment lasted as long as it could until worldly perceptions, concepts and ideas came into place. And by this, I meant to say that, that state was interrupted by a phone call of ‘where are you? when are you coming home?’

Naturally, the state of mind changed, and suddenly I am back to ‘reality’ – paying the car ticket, traffic jam, cars, rain… and when I step into the house it was ‘hi mommi’, ‘hi honnee bunnee’, ‘hi ma’am’. The recognition of light became the recognition of bodies, of form, or more true – labels and concepts.

I realized that when I did not see my partner as my husband, or my daughter as my child, or my dad as my father, or my mom as my mother, I feel a sense of freedom. But the minute the label hits the consciousness of my awareness, the rules and obligations of a certain role or function come into play. In truth, there is not really a difference; but yet those labels do a certain bondage to the mind.

The other day I had a chat with my dad who was disturbed by a certain outcome from a situation. I could practically feel the stress in trying to bring him to an understanding directed from an intention to convince, rather than to simply express precision to the situation; also, from my perception. And after a while, as if something took over as I surrendered my perception of my dad, I saw him not as a father, but of a man with essence, or rather the light within him. Much sense of peace and joy rode over. As soon as my judgment of my dad and his situation was released, he calmed down too, as if synchronizing with my state of mind. My earlier judgment of him had resulted in my seeing him as stubborn, as irritated; and my later surrendering of that very judgment or perception allowed me the experience of seeing him for him, just loving him in that very moment regardless of what he was saying.

So it is true that there are indeed no labels, concepts needed for a loving moment with another or anything. In fact, I sometimes get confused with my own name, one reason being given too many nicknames. But I recognized the name not of me, but yet I know the name given me – whatever it is – is merely for someone to address me amongst others when I am in a crowd. How else would I know that my attention is needed?

A teacher has mentioned that we are pure light, yet due to where we are in this so-called ‘reality’, we can’t really run away from concepts or labels due to the deep meaning we all give it too. Yet, taking away those labels and concepts which are men made, we are totally free.

I was expressing to a beloved today that I do not recognize his form, yet I know that it is him. It is as if, the physical body is just a vessel, like a robot (corpse may actually be too harsh a word) being maneuvered by him for expression. Of course, ‘him’ or in fact anyone for that matter may very well be just a bundle of ideas; but I am speaking of something else here which is beyond ideas that I am recognizing – an essence. And the truth is, essence itself has no qualities in it. Still, there is a sense of familiarity and acquaintance which is recognizable. Qualities are merely ideas.

As I witness my brothers and sisters in light, being from a stall owner to a beggar at the night market yesterday, I marvel with joy at their experiences. There was no longer sense of pity, or even compassion that arises in that space if I may sound a little heartless to one who has been conditioned by ideas not questioned by him or her.

‘We are still here’ someone told me. While that is somewhat true, but once there are glimpses of truth, we can’t shake the truth out of our system. No wonder, many do not dare tread on the path of spirituality. Perhaps, they already knew and yet unwilling to let go of what is unreal and what cannot belong to them.

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