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Archive for December, 2010

A new year always gives new hopes to some people.

There is always a kind of celebration for the ending of a current year and the welcoming of the New Year. And then there are new year resolutions made by many and some few who, after years and years of ‘failing’ to fulfil their new year resolutions realised that there is no point in having new year resolutions, hence decides that it is wiser not to have a new year resolution list. Has it become pointless because they don’t like thinking that they were failing themselves when they have not fulfilled or achieved their New Year resolutions, or have they simply realised that the New Year resolutions that they previously made were impossible to attain? The thing is, what is the New Year resolution for? To achieve, to improve, to commit, or to simply impress?

In truth, a new year is just a switch of numbers, an addition of 1 number to what has been agreed by the world what this year or rather the previous year was, which in this case, is 2010 thus making 2011 a new year. And a year comprises of 365 days, or 366 days, depending. Still, numbers and counting is required otherwise how would we know? And we sure are creative! We create calendars of all kinds for the ease of mind calculations. Isn’t that wonderful?

Today, I was listening to the radio and the DJ said, today is the last day of the year so let all thoughts of negativity lasts only until the end of today for tomorrow is a brand new year. Makes sense. But why end of today? Why even let it last that long? Just because it is the 31st of December? Why not make it an everyday affair, if not an every moment affair? As in, allowing any thoughts of negativity or any thoughts for that matter, to last only a moment and then let it go, because the next moment is a brand new moment? Why, even let them (the thoughts) last for a moment? Why not just let them pass as they come?

So what is the big deal about the New Year? If we are celebrating new year because it represents new hope or a new beginning, then if we were to take each moment as a new moment, wouldn’t we be celebrating every moment? And wouldn’t that make life itself a celebration already?

Isn’t it just another day? Another moment? It sounds like it is more of another meaning.

Yet, I wouldn’t argue that it is indeed a meaning that brings hope to many. And hope is similar to faith, or an aspiration; and these words do carry a positive connotation.

So let’s bless and enter into each moment – each new moment – with hope, faith, aspiration, trust and love, unconditionally.

Blessed New Moment, everyone.

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An experience can be described and explained in terms of thoughts, feelings and they can be a myriad of them as in happiness, sadness, peace, anger, frustration, pain and etc. Experience can be one, and also numerous and they vary between one and another although one may seem similar to another due to the nature of comparison usually through the process of recalling a past memory.
Awareness is not an experience, and cannot really be defined, except through an experience of recalling the memory of the experience where awareness was present. That too, can only be distinguished through the process of comparison and differentiation from the other moments being experienced. In awareness, the experience is a state of equanimity which can only be derived from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment.

For example, we can be aware of the experience of being hungry and be watchful of the attitude towards the experience of being hungry; or to put it more true, the attitude towards the experience of being hungry is another experience altogether depending on the attitude – agitation, calmness, irritation, happiness and etc. In awareness, there is equanimity as mentioned above or rather, neutral reaction or response towards the whole thing, as in there is no wanting or not wanting but simply awareness and presence to what is. If we are experiencing awareness of experiencing hunger, then it is the awareness being aware of the experience of awareness of experiencing hunger. That itself is still identification with the mind, albeit in different levels if it is thought that it is experiencing awareness of the experience of being hungry.

Pure awareness does not have any meaning conjured. It is still. It does not have any thoughts of feelings. Nothing comes out of it. It is the kind of stillness which many will define as peace. Yet, peace itself is not it as peace, is still a feeling. Some will argue that stillness is also a feeling, which is true to a certain extent as stillness can only be defined when there is an experience of contrast to it, meaning to have an opposite. But this stillness that I am speaking of is not tainted by any sense of duality. In experience, meanings are conjured, defined even if it is equanimous hence the meaning of equanimous and is somewhat subject to the world of duality where happiness is accompanied by sadness, peace is accompanied by anger or frustration and etc.

For instance, if someone touches me and there is pure awareness, there will be no interpretation of the touch or any meaning or even feelings that arise from it. It will be an experience of flesh touching flesh or rather just sensations, which can only be defined afterwards out of awareness, recalling the moment. But if I am experiencing the touch, meanings will be made up which will result either in me feeling loved, aroused or disgusted, depending on the state of mind at that point in time of the touch. Having said that, during definition of the moment in awareness, awareness is still present, except aware of the one then defining the moment of awareness trying to put it into words. The stillness does not shift, unless oblivious to it.

Awareness is constantly present. Yet, what differentiates one from another is that one is aware of one being aware, while the other is not aware of one being aware. And it has many levels hence it is easy to slip in and out of it. Practice is crucial and it has to be continuous until it becomes effortless.

But remember: alertness, awareness, or consciousness, can be continuous only when it has become effortless. In the beginning effort is bound to be there, because, otherwise, how are you going to start?
You will make effort,
you will try to be mindful,
you will try in every way to be conscious,
but the effort will create a tension.
And the more you make the effort,
the more tense you will be.
There will be tiny glimpses,
but because of the tension
the ecstasy will be missed.
But you have to pass through this state also,
of making effort.

~ An excerpt from Meditation: The Ultimate Adventure by Osho ~

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Since I was very young, I always had this close affinity with Jesus. I wasn’t sure why. I just felt very close to Him and thus when I was 14, I accepted Christ in the form of prayer as my piano teacher converted me. It didn’t occur to me what I was really doing, except that I felt that what I had done was only natural. Besides, I thought that being a Christian was the only way that I could ever be close to Jesus. Very quickly, my piano teacher baptised me (not officially) and I could speak in tongues almost immediately. I don’t know, it just didn’t seem difficult and seemed natural. I did not question much about it and I do not mean to put any special meaning to it but it seemed like a big deal to Christians then though I didn’t and still don’t understand why. I was a good Christian by those days’ standard for a teenager who kept this from her parents and was not able to attend church. I studied the bible and shared about Jesus as much as I could to my friends whenever I had the chance to. I remember my most memorable times of such occasion was during the heavy thunderstorms during swimming trainings where we were asked to get out from the pool for our safety and all of us would meet at the a common area between the female and male toilets. All the swimmers would gather and I would be preaching. Well, preach is really a strong word to use, but that was exactly what I felt like I was doing then. Preaching Jesus’ word.

When I was able to drive, I was very excited. Not because I could drive to college, but because I could finally attend church service, which was my secret wish ever since I accepted Christ in my life. My college friend was the one who brought me to her Catholic church (though I was a Methodist by definition). I really enjoyed the services and was so happy. I was even ready to be officially baptised the Catholic way. I had asked my friend’s parents to be my godparents, picked a baptism name and was only waiting for whatever necessary introductions that I needed to get me officially baptised. Come to think about it, I must have been really really excited but again, why did I need to be baptised to be validated? So silly then.

I had several mystical experiences relevant to Jesus which I had put meaning to. For instance, my friend and I would visit this church in Rawang, called the St. Jude’s Church. I’d spend time talking to Father Mitchell. During one of those days where my friend and I went into prayer, I remember vividly seeing the Jesus’ statue blink at me! I remember my friend was really upset that she didn’t experience the same. It was quite funny. But today, that experience exists only as a memory, a thought which I can’t even sure by now if it really did happen, or was simply just a figment of my imagination arising from my deep affections for Jesus.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, my friend and I fell out of favour. Somehow my perception towards the religion changed due to my friend’s behaviour which I now know was merely my judgment towards her. And I never got baptised or ever went back to church. At that point in time, I felt that my relationship with Jesus ended.

Since I had the perception that I must have a religion in order to have some direction in life, I became a ‘Buddhist’ again. Believe me, as I am typing this entry, I find it somewhat funny too. But this story is necessary, albeit just a story. It is my journey.

Back to being a Buddhist. I followed my mom to the temple regularly or at least, whenever she invited. When she wanted me to pray, I prayed; when she wanted me to attend Dharma classes, I did. There was nothing extraordinary about it. I was a mediocre Buddhist; one who neither attempted meditation nor follow the five precepts diligently let alone take time or effort to ponder on the Dharma. Definitely a sure case of specialness.

Little did I know Jesus would be back into my life again when I finally met my teacher again after 5 years of being absent from each other’s life. But this time, something was different. It was no longer about the religion. Because I still somehow felt a deep connection with Jesus, which I now refer to J after taking on Gary Renard’s reference since the name ‘Jesus’ is commonly associated with a religious meaning when J himself is far from being religious; it would be J’s teachings that I am most drawn to which I would later realise was consistent with all other teachings of Great Masters. I remember receiving a message on Christmas in year 2008 from the very same teacher I mentioned earlier citing the true meaning of Christmas – Christ Mastery. It is indeed J’s teaching, His true teaching that serves as one of the pathway towards the Mastery of the Christ Mind.

Of course, having progress thus far in the journey, I did pondered if J really did exist, if He is just a story, my imagination, or just a thought. Though I am unsure if it is His Presence I truly feel, or if it’s His Voice that I truly hear, what is asked of me is to merely trust; and thus far, whether Presence or Voice, each has served as inner guidance to me in my journey. I have definitely pondered on the possibility of past lives, if I was the leper He had healed, or perhaps even one of His disciples. Although it would have been a nice story, but that would exactly demean what He would have us learn.

While many in the world celebrates this day, 25th December as a remembrance or celebration of His birth, I choose to remember Him as a symbol of the Christ Mind of which He is and I am also apart.  Although still part of a story, I am most grateful and appreciative of the path of light that He has left for the rest of us. While each journey is of our own, and the way only appears as we travel, His teaching has graciously provided insights and support for our journey.

So this Christmas, I wish you not a merry one, but an awakened one of the Christ Mind – the Mastery of the Christ Mind – where our true treasure lies.

With heartfelt gratitude, I give thanks to the One who brought forward many mirrors and teachers into my fold without which I may not have found myself. 

Love is the way I walk in gratitude – A Course in Miracles

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Existential Meanings

What separates us from the things that we see that is apart from us, as in not connected or in any way joined to our body? I mean to say things like a lamp post, a table, a chair, a car… I asked this question to quite a few people and the most common answer they gave me was, that they had a heart beating, that they are alive whilst the lamp post, the table, the chair, the car did not have a heart beating, nor were they alive. The most unique answer I received was from a new friend. She said, it was the level of consciousness that differentiates her and the table. The question asked was however what separates, and not what differentiates.

Not that any of the answers were incorrect, but what is more correct is the meaning that we give to everything including ourselves. If the lamp post did not have a name such as a lamp post, and we did not have the meaning of space in between what we call a lamp post from where we were standing, which is too a meaning we give to the position that we are at, what would be experienced? And the space that we see between us and anything that we had put meaning to, how do we know if there is nothing there, is it because we cannot see it thus it does not exist? In truth, how can anything be separated from us when they are in our mind and only projected outwards?

Likewise of a beating heart; I asked my other friend, what separates us from say, a dog? A dog also has a heart beating, does that mean that it is the same as us? And I can almost guess the answers that my friend will come up with – that we talk, and the dog barks; we think, and the dog doesn’t; we walk on twos and the dog walks on fours and etc. The thing is, how do we know that the dog does not speak through its bark, how do we know that the chair and the table does not have a heart beating and are not communicating, except that we are oblivious to their abilities to do so or unable to tune into their frequency of communication? Again, our meaning of heart beating, of abilities, or methods of communication and etc. The mind is now so evolved that the other day I was running through the App Store on my iPhone and found an App which enables dog barks to be translated into human language. What does it speak?

If we didn’t give a meaning to ourselves that we are human beings, that we have the ability to think, to speak, to create; are we then any different from all that we can visually see, touch and hear within our experience?

Everything is being put a meaning – everything, not one single thing is being left out – a tree, a flower, a stone… If the meaning is something that is valuable to us, we will tend to cherish the thing of the meaning that we have given to a little bit more totally obscure to the truth that it is actually the meaning that we cherish more, rather than the thing. Similarly, if the meaning to something is one that means little or nothing to us, we may not pay much attention or even take notice of it. Strange, isn’t it? And we think that it is a normal thing.

Imagine again, if there was no meaning to anything, anybody or even of ourselves, what will our experience be like? Would it be totally meaningless or just the opposite of it with everything experienced to the fullness? Perhaps some may imagine that life will be empty without meaning? But meaning itself can be varied so how can any meaning to anything be real since what is meant to be real is true, absolute, consistent and totally unchangeable? And if it is unreal, can it still be experienced to the fullness and in richness? Just because the dog, the table or the lamp post feels solid that makes us define them as real? Yet they are just but energy and our experience of visibility and texture of each of them is only defined by the density of energy of each. Look again to an open space, it seems as if nothing is there, but as you swing your palm up and downwards repeatedly, you will feel some sort of sensation around your palm or even hand area which is actually an experience of energy; the movement of unseen energy being in friction with the movement of your palm or hand. Just because we can’t see energy, it does not mean that it is not there.

If all is only energy, only differentiated by density, what is there then to be defined? Yet to examine deeper into the source of energy, quantum physics have proven that within energy is simply emptiness and nothingness. It is not an emptiness or a nothingness, but simply void. So what is there to define, if that is really true?

I am not implying that since everything is void and empty that life becomes meaningless, but only to be aware that everything within our experience, knowledge are all only meanings we give it to. And I am not saying that there is anything wrong with giving meaning to anything for that matter, but simply to recognise that everything else exists only because of meanings. And our experiences of hanging on, resistant or even to the extent of don’t give a damn all arise from meanings that we give to everything with nothing amiss.

Still, can you imagine an experience, or a world without meaning?

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A Master will denote right and wrong as simply as one that leads to the experience of freedom and peace to the former and one that leads to the experience of sufferings and bondage to the latter. It is not strange to see why once we have experienced the contrast and it is also not hard to understand why the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ would mean differently to people who have not yet come to understand the difference to both.

In my experience of the both (for the simplicity of explanation I will put the singular meaning to the word ‘view’) – right view is realised, and can only be understood through the process of right practice; and wrong view is to mean an idea that I had ignorantly held on to from the past without questioning, without the ability of discernment of deciphering that such an idea was creating an experience of suffering. However, it is important to differentiate between the right view from the point of realisation and the right view from intellectual understanding.

Right view is realised view. It cannot be practised, at least not in my understanding. While it can be helpful that such information is extended, but it is the realisation that will bring one to the experience of freedom and peace. It is a non-doing, rather than a doing of bringing in right view.

I recently read a book which had a table of right and wrong views from the perspective of the Buddha’s teachings. In that table, there were a number of items that was listed from the point of views which was coined as worldly (wrong views) and transcendental (right views). Some of the opposites in the items listed in the table were view of permanence and impermanence, self (ego) and no-self, attachment and detachment to name a few. It seems to me that they have defined our worldly views as wrong views, and in order to have right views, is to transcend wrong views to have right views. However, what happens is that most people tend to put impermanence, no-self and detachment (as in the right views) into practice which is impossible! As mentioned, right view is to be realised, through the understanding of the wrong views. In emptying the cup, will right view or wisdom naturally arise. To put into practise what has been stated as right view in spiritual text is to practise blindly and to totally miss the mark of what is there to be realised. It is like even if the teacher keeps explaining why 1 + 1 = 2, the student will never grasp the concept of addition if he is merely mimicking the answer that his teacher gives, and not putting it into practice. Without practise, where and how can realisation surface? And practise here is not to mean to practise impermanence, no-self or detachment because these things cannot be practised. It is through the practice of observation and inquiry or the questioning of the wrong views, that the natural result of right view in the opposites of permanence-impermanence, self-no-self, attachment-detachment and etc is realised.

For right view to surface is through ceaseless inquiry. The right inquiry, if I may add. The inquiry peels away layers of falseness so that truth can be revealed. Not that there is anything wrong with anything perceived, but if it is really freedom that we seek, then why the need to control? Is there freedom in control, or merely a false sense of freedom? I am most amazed by the people who tell me that they meditate because they are able to control their anger much better than before. Meditation is not about just about observing, or closing our eyes, or sitting in a formal sitting position though that is a crucial initiate in the beginning journey but it is cultivating our natural awareness from moment to moment. But again, what are we being aware of? Are you aware of what you are aware of?

So you say, well, I am meditating! So I must be practising! And I tell you, right practice is the key, not blind practice. For the practice practised blindly repetitively just makes us blinder, and it doesn’t get us anywhere. Again, not to say there is anything wrong as in wrong with it, but if it is really the moon where we really want to arrive at, it is then time to stop focusing on the finger which is pointing to the moon.

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Do you realise that whenever someone is opposing us, we are always naturally in resistance? It is like as if it threatens our sense of righteousness, our beingness and most of the time, we either keep quiet from then on, or start to defend ourselves in a nice manner or in a form of an argument. Either way, we are already attacking our counterparts and therefore will attract the exact response or reaction from others; they will start to keep quiet, or they will start to defend themselves as in to join in the attack.

So if we have been in the journey long enough to know that whatever out there is simply a projection, we would already know that it is the mind that we are dealing with. Whether it is out there or in here, we will find that there is some sort of war or battle that is already engaged between us and the mind. And we will coin this mind as the ego mind for this is the part of the mind which holds many concepts of the self, the false self. Why I say this is because it is only the self that can be threatened, offended, need to be defended or will ever launch an attack. And there are indeed many layers to it. It is the part of the mind that we identify with at first that uses fear patterns to get what it wants.

Some people say, don’t give face to the ego; some say, the ego is the devil. Perhaps they are right, I don’t know and I can understand the reasons to why they would define the ego mind as such. Whilst it may be helpful to regard the ego mind as that in the beginning journey, but it is more essential to get to know the ego mind so to understand it, rather than to battle with it as to oppose to it. I mean, think about it, who is the one that is opposing it? Is it us, or is it another layer of the ego? And there, some will say it again, “you see, the ego is very devious!!” and accompanying that statement is an attitude of blame from the failure of being unable to identify it. Again, who is blaming?

I remember telling my teacher once that the mind is so darn good that I can’t seem to get out of its grip sometimes and he laughed heartily and told me, “Of course! It is God’s creation, it has to be that good!” and he left me with an advice, that the mind is so good; to be careful as the mind can test us anytime. The word he used here is ‘test’ and not ‘deceive’ which would be a derived meaning of the word ‘devious’ or ‘cunning’ or ‘sly’. Such neutral perception my teacher has and I understood what I was asked to do.

You see, the mind is much like a wild stallion with full potential. A wild stallion of such is born out of an environment of being free, or out of control for quite a while without a master; and for someone to be its master it will take much skill, patience and not to mention time. But before the mastery can happen, the master has to understand the nature of the stallion first and again, this takes patience, time, practice and compassion. Until then, the stallion may periodically attempt to throw the master off its back just to test if this master can truly be its rightful master.

And it is all there is with the mind too. So instead of labelling the mind qualities so not to ‘fall’ into the trap, why not understand it? The very virtue of labelling although it is directed to the mind is already pointing that we are still grasped by it. And the more we battle with it, the more identified we are with it, only that we are oblivious to it.

My other teacher once told me that the most pitiful thing to happen to a person on the spiritual journey is that the ego mind has a firm grip on him and he is not even aware of it. That is what we call, a spiritual ego. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but yet if freedom is what is seek then all battling has to drop – not the bodies, not even the mind. What difference is a body and a mind except one is in form and the other is not? It is like blaming a body for anything that can be seen, and blaming God for anything that can’t be seen. Can you see the similarities?

Understanding of the mind can only come through observation and right inquiry. Everything is of the mind, and not to understand it is of no difference from being dead. I do not mean this in a sarcastic manner but as a matter of oblivion to what is alive within.

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The working of the illusion is worth deliberating on for it is the workings of the illusion that creates reality. Our reality is exactly the illusion that we believe in. But what creates our illusion that camouflages reality? And in that case, is there reality?

Our illusion is indeed being coloured by our perceptions and our perceptions are conjured by ideas and concepts in the mind. These ideas can be said were generated due to experiences or knowledge accumulated from the past, and sad to say, it is mostly governed by fear patterns namely guilt.  

If I am in a relationship and my partner is unavailable for company at the point where I need him because he is caught up with work, he may miss my call or abruptly say, “I gotta go honey” without giving any additional explanation to make the situation clear that it has nothing to do with me that he is unable to talk to me but that he is merely caught up with work. I may have thoughts that he doesn’t love me as much as I love him, he doesn’t put me in priority or etc thus creating my reality (which in truth, is an illusion) of being abandoned. For that, my mood will start to deteriorate further and the victimhood in me may propel further confirming how no one cares about me, no one is ever there for me and most crucially, how unloved and unworthy I am.

I recently had a conversation with a mother who was concerned about her child whom she suspects is an autism case because he doesn’t seem to respond to others and is slow in his speech. Not that I am an expert in the field of kids, but I seem to notice that it is a common trait amongst kids these days and given sufficient space for development at his own time, he will eventually speak and start to connect with people around him. The illusion the mother was having was created by guilt of not paying enough attention to him when he was born especially so when she herself was experiencing a state of depression whilst being pregnant with him. Thus, she blamed herself for his late development though in the eyes of others, he seems to be a fine kid in a world of his own (he is only 2 years old by the way). Not to mention that she was comparing his milestone development with that of her earlier twin daughters and also of the common liners set by paediatrics. Her guilt has resulted in her seeing that there is indeed something wrong with her child hence creating exactly that her illusion, thus her reality. She sought doctors and researched on facts of autism which sets her motion to confirm the possibility of her son being an autistic hence she will head that direction towards ‘healing’ her son, instead of addressing her own guilt which is the cause of her whole experience. If she was to question her guilt and her belief system, she will surely be led to see the illusion camouflaging the reality thus dissolving the illusion itself. In that space of clarity and peace, the innate nature surfaces, and that is reality.

Not that there is nothing to do for the child. But what I am trying to imply here is that there is a high possibility that the child is not at all sick but the very fact of her holding on to her guilt and not addressing it, is thus moulding that reality for her that her child needs help and needs to be fixed by her. That is her experience of unpleasantness.

There is a difference in our realities since our realities are coloured by our perceptions. If I have a perception that my kid is sick, and I need to find all ways to take care of my kid – what will my experience be? And if I have a perception that my kid is fine, and that I am taking care of my kid because I simply love to, as in loving to nurture him, loving to teach him, loving to be in his company – what will my experience be? And if I am able to dictate my reality, as in my experience of it, isn’t it already a hint that my reality is indeed an illusion since illusion is defined as the condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief and reality is to mean what exists objectively and in fact or the quality or state of being actual or true; both defined by the freedictionary.com.

Most of the time, we only see and hear what we are coloured to see and hear by the mind and seldom do we question the truth of our realities or to truly see and hear what really is.

Reality is what it is. It is not the storyline, but beyond the storylines where we are only able to relate to when all concepts have been questioned, and dropped; when the personality can move aside. But until we are willing to question, and undo the concepts and ideas in the mind, we will continuously experience these illusions as our realities when they are in truth, really just layers of the illusion blinding reality.

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