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Archive for January, 2011

Last night, while having a discussion about the usage of laptops and computers, a loved one commented that I only used the device to wash my dirty laundry in public, as in journaling about my thoughts in the blog.

Hearing that statement which seems to come from her, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed and triggered as I felt misunderstood. It is as if, she did not understand the expressions in the blog. As I stayed longer with the feeling, unwilling to brush it away but learn from it, I soon realised that I had expectations of her understanding what I was doing with my life. She knew that I was facilitating workshops, but she seldom asked. She knew that I write, but she seldom reads my blog or even asked me which direction I was coming from. It was as if, as soon as the entry is published and if there was anything personal written such as my experiences and she so happens to read it, it becomes a judgement like – G shouldn’t think that way, G should think more positive, G should not publish this in public and etc etc.  Yes, I could very well make an explanation why I decided to share my personal experiences and etc etc… But that act itself would have been unwholesome although it seems on the outside; I was only standing in my own integrity of what I had chosen to do. When I begin to ‘explain’ as in to ‘make know’ to you or anyone at all my intention, I am already in a subtle mode of attack so to defend myself to keep intact my sense of righteousness. The fact that I need to explain when you were not even seeking an explanation from me already tells me that I feel misunderstood and I need you to understand where I am coming from so that I can be understood, hence remain right. Then, I can go on doing what I do without worrying that you will judge, condemn or not approve of me because as long as you understand, then I’d know that you are on my side anyway… the best part is, I get to keep what I want to do and remain right about it.

The thing is, whether or not she is supportive or understands what I am doing – what has it got to do with me? And what is it in for me?

When I looked deeper within me, I saw all the stories and concepts that I had of her. It was indeed strange… when I saw her just as she was, she was as perfect as she was; but the minute I put her on a pedestal being my someone, all the meanings arose that since she is a specific someone in my life, she should support me of what I do, she should understand what I am doing, she should show interest in what I am dong, she should approve what I am doing, she should not criticise my work, she should not condemn what I love to do and etc etc . All the ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’. Poor her! I have encapsulated her into a prison, and the best part is that the person who suffers is me! She was having fun breaking all the ‘rules’ that I had for her! So who was the one really in prison?

And that is what we do all the time… setting conditions and rules for people that seem to have something to do with our lives. The one who gave birth to me, the one who taught me, the one who kisses me, the one who gives me money… Just because it seems to be an act that involves me, it becomes mine. Isn’t that bizarre?

Can we have a dad without a dad? Can we have a mom without a mom? Can we have a lover without a lover? And what I do mean is the meanings and concepts of all the roles that I have mentioned. When we finally begin to lose all those meanings, it is then possible to experience a more fulfilling and loving relationships without having each other to fulfil certain responsibilities that each secretly has of each other?

What brings one to peace, is one’s coming home to him or herself. When it is finally seen what we have done onto others, and ourselves; as in making them responsible for the secret conditions that we have for them; then all that is not needed dissolves anyway.

It is not important that anyone understands or is interested in what we do. What is most important is that we understand and are interested in what we are doing. As what Byron Katie says, “I am the one that I’ve been waiting for. Who else is there?”

And you know another secret, what I understand or am interested in doing, is not even done by me. I am just simply being done!

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It’s a New Life

“Feeling Good” – Michael Buble

birds flying high
you know how i feel
sun in the sky
you know how i feel
breeze driftin’ on by
you know how i feel
it’s a new dawn
it’s a new day
it’s a new life
for me

and i’m feeling good
i’m feeling good

fish in the sea
you know how i feel
river running free
you know how i feel
blossom on a tree
you know how i feel
it’s a new dawn
it’s a new day
it’s a new life
for me

and i’m feeling good

dragonfly out in the sun
you know what i mean, don’t you know
butterflies all havin’ fun
you know what i mean
sleep in peace when day is done
that’s what i mean
and this old world
is a new world
and a bold world
for me

for me

stars when you shine
you know how i feel
scent of the pine
you know how i feel
oh freedom is mine
and i know how i feel
it’s a new dawn
it’s a new day
it’s a new life

it’s a new dawn
it’s a new day
it’s a new life

it’s a new dawn
it’s a new day
it’s a new life
it’s a new life
For me
and i’m feeling good

i’m feeling good

i feel so good

i feel so good

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Have you ever experienced, when you day dream about something, laugh about it simply contented in the arising feelings with the day dream and in some way, they manifest into reality? You might disagree as the experience may differ from the details of the day dream, but let’s look at the essence of the day dream and the experience. It will be exactly the same unless we are oblivious to the essence of the experience.

I recall a few memories where I merely day dreamed, simply enjoying the experience of the day dream and soon, it manifested into reality as my experience. A vivid experience that I cherished was that I was in Hong Kong, sitting in the subway train where there were multiple advertisements of my idol. I was absolutely crazy about him, and I smiled to myself, daydreaming how nice it would be if I will be able to be in his presence, to talk to him. Each time his picture appeared, my heart just swelled with so much appreciation. Now, I said I day dream that it’d be nice, not really bothered if it’d happen as what are the chances of my being his presence in close proximity when I am hardly one who is active in this field of idol-worshipping/following arena. I don’t know anything about him. I have never met or known him. I only know that I like my idea of him, the qualities that I perceived or imagine he might have, which I am unsure if he really has that. But the thing is, it doesn’t really matter. I was just full of appreciation.

A month later, a friend abruptly called me asked if I would like to attend my idol’s fan club gathering. To be honest, I am not really into all these as what is the point when all others are hovering? But I went to the concert before the gathering anyway, to ‘support’. I was surprised to feel appreciative and contented just to be within the same stadium arena with him as he stepped onto the stage. It is like, instead of experiencing him in the tube, he became alive! I remember feeling so awed about the whole experience. And soon after the concert was the gathering. I sat in a place, not too near and not too far from the place where we were informed that he’d be sitting. So I didn’t think much about being in close proximity with him. Little did I know, when he arrived, he sat right in front of me – almost face to face where I could see and appreciate him clearly within my vision without having to even try. I was just where I wanted to sit, not compromising my own position to be near him and yet he ‘came’ into my awareness, right in front of me. My friend who was with me kept nudging me to ask him questions, talk to him… but I was simply contented being his presence, as if a conversation was not needed. I remember feeling overwhelmed for a few days after that.

What happened in my experience did not equate what I had day dreamed but, the essence was the same – that is, to be in his presence. It was the most wonderful gift I had given to myself. Hence I began to understand that a wish can turn to reality as what we intent is what will come into our space. But if we are hung up with how it will happen, when it will happen, where it will happen, we limit ourselves with all these conditions hence disappointment will be what we experience. The wish was just to be in his presence, and as I let it go, though unconsciously, just appreciating the experience of day dreaming, it manifested into reality without any conditions that I had posted on it. It came to me as a surprise.

My teacher reminded me that what we think, happens; just that we are oblivious to it, not aware of it happening within our awareness hence we go on thinking that it does not happen, it will never happen thus confirming how unworthy we are of receiving. The thing is we receive whatever we think, intent, or wish. Only when it has happened otherwise, then we can investigate the underlying attitude of wanting it. He reminded me, if we need someone or something it implies a lack, hence what we ask will never come as it comes from an intent to fulfil the lack and hence lack is the essence, only calling forth lack as experience. But the wish for experience, simply without conditions, without expectations – as in, whether it happens or not, it does not affect our well-being – the result of it is joy. But when that happens, and because we so enjoy the experience which then results in our clinging on to the experience, which then becomes a need and need implies a lack, you can be sure though consciously that is not what you want, subconsciously that is exactly what you want.

So day dream as much as you wish and see how the universe conspires to bring you what you wish, without conditions. Observe how the manifestation unfolds by enjoying each moment of the journey, instead of focusing on the destination. This is not about wanting or not wanting, as wanting or not wanting already implies a hanging on, a lack of something hence the holding on of another to supplement the lack. It doesn’t work that way.

This is the law of attraction. We can only attract what we are, without conditions.

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If I can believe that no one out there can hurt me how is it that I am afraid to hurt others unless there is something that I am hiding from hence using that as an excuse not to ‘hurt’ another? Yet, how is it possible whether I hurt another or another is hurt by me when it is their own ideas running at the background which is beyond my control?

Each ‘hurt’ is a gift. Yet the act itself with the intention to hurt is unwholesome by itself. A wholesome act, as in action, whether in performing a bodily deed or in speech that comes with the intention to be authentic, honest, truthful or to get real so to speak is where I am getting at. In that space or encounter, if ‘hurt’ was to arise, whether within me or the other is indeed a gift for us each to work on within. Our integrity and willingness to take responsibility for it to make amends, not on the outside but within what is in the mind, is the sword that will cut through the veils of illusion. It is no wonder Byron Katie uses the words ‘I am willing to…’ and ‘I look forward to…’ in the turnarounds process of the Work.

Yet, it is also true to say that the subconscious motivation behind an act will exactly be mirrored back to the sender of the message of its true underlying intentions. As mentioned above, it is not the act itself but the intention behind it.

So say I may go forth to make an expression to my beloved with the intention to be authentic and honest. If my intentions are clear, it will be mirrored back to me by the other party’s acceptance. Yet the words I speak may come with some discretion as not to potentially overwhelming trigger the other party, or more true, trigger in me what I am incapable of handling within myself at that point in time. However, if I was to stand in my truer space of expression as in surrendering and letting go of any form of plan to manipulate what comes out from me with the pure intent of truth, even if it results in the other being triggered or hurt, I will be clear and not be effected by this person’s possible attacks, if any; out of compassion and right understanding.  

At the point where I still possess the fear of hurting you, this guilt itself tells me a lot about myself – how I am relating to you, and not how I am hurting you. If I am being true in my own space, trusting that no one can hurt me, how is it at all possible that I can hurt you? So what is more true, is that I am still seeking your approval, to validate me of what I think I am. What will it speak of me if I hurt you? That I am a terrible person! But I don’t like to be a terrible person, or a selfish person! I like to be a loving person, a selfless person and etc… So I will go on being careful about not hurting you, literally living my life for you so that you are ‘safe’ and ‘happy’ and ‘not hurt’, so that I can go on carrying the delusion of myself secretly, lying to myself as long as you are not hurt, at least not by me.

Then what about the intentions to ‘attack’ or ‘defend’, albeit unconscious? In my observation, I will not be able to perceive myself as being ‘hurt’ or ‘attacked’ unless there is already a hovering guilt at the back of my mind. Take for instance, if a friend was to share something with me about his or her own growth and it was purely out of the joy of sharing, and I on the other hand felt triggered by it with an example of jealousy – as long as I am effected by it, it is only showing me what I had not been truthful about within myself hence becomes my own to resolve. So it is not necessarily that the person is purposefully or unconsciously trying to make me feel jealous as in to ‘attack’ me. My reaction or response to this whole storyline will tell me if it is an attack-defence happening in my mind, or if the attack is really coming from the other.

In my own understanding and experience, it is beyond my control whether I hurt others or not as it is not about me hurting anybody or anybody hurting me. It is the intensity of what is arising in the mind of individuals including myself at that point in time, which is the mark of test. What I mean to say is that if I was to identify with whatever thoughts or feelings that arises within me such as anger, hatred – there can only be two possibilities – which is, that it is either I will hold on to this person who has seeming hurt me to use him as a scapegoat, or use this unpleasant feeling as a gift to free myself from the lies that I secretly believe about myself through inquiry. And this very much depends on one’s attitude and qualities sown throughout the journey.

My teacher is very wise when he shares with me that it is necessary to be conscious in our act so as not to cause hurt to others which reminds me the similarity of other great masters’ teachings. Yet this form of teaching or act is not from fear of hurting others, but out of compassion, having come to the truth of oneself. It is seeing this truth, and coming to peace with it.

That is the grace of wisdom. That is what being humane is all about. We can’t try to be humane or practise humility not even develop these qualities through the practice of trying. It is through inquiry, probing further into the abyss of darkness will truth be revealed and realised.

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The mind is truly an instrument which has a life of its own. Even if you are now able to detach from the mind, it is amazing how it keeps coming back, luring or in fact, sneaking behind to wrap you back into delusion.

Now, I am not meaning to say that the mind is bad or insidious though we do tend to put such labels onto it. But consider that it is our skills that need to be sharpen to maintain awareness, or to be able to watch it without interfering or getting involved with it.

It is like this, say the mind is swimming with thoughts of someone and we so happened to experience a stomach ache, or a toothache (which is also part of the mind by the way) that is possibly derived from the present environment that we are unaware of, but because the mind is swarmed with majority thoughts of this person, there is a tendency to think that our discomfort is associated with this person. For intuitive people, the mind may conjure meaning that the discomfort is from the other as in sensing the other, hence making that phone call or effort to connect with the other person. And because the mind is hanging on so strongly to that particular idea that the discomfort is related to the other person, even if the person was to honestly express, “no, I do not have an ache in my body.” The mind cannot hear it. The mind only hears what it wants to hear, what is it ready to hear hence the possibility of that person not in discomfort is not recognisable.

The mind prefers, which is why we will find ourselves caught in preference, which is not really us. A practitioner who is in constant practise will be able to tell you that she is able to detach from anger, sadness to a certain level and when depression comes to visit, she can be totally wrapped up in these emotions and thinks that she has gone into a depression. What happens here is that intensity of these feelings because they become so overwhelming that it can be somewhat difficult to detach from it hence the identification with the mind, as in what mind conjures = I become. Similar to an example of eating your favourite food, say fried chicken and one of your don’t-mind-it food such as peanuts. Do you observe that the tendency to enjoy the experience of fried chicken is higher than eating peanuts? The thing is that, who is the one enjoying it? If it is peanuts that is entering your mouth, then it is likely that you will be able to detach and watch the mind’s reactions or response towards what is already here; but if it is fried chicken put into the mouth, the tendency to watch detachingly is lower as the intensity of these feelings become overwhelming hence resulting in us being the reaction or the response. So, if one who does not have the higher skills to detach further, will get absorbed into the experience and thinks that she is the one who likes to eat chicken wings.

In truth, everything is happening in the mind and what becomes the ‘problem’ is that we identify with the mind. There is no issue in mind experiences except that when that happens, we lose awareness due to the intensity of the arising feelings.

So will it be wise to avoid situations that potentially arise intense feelings? I’d say no, as that sort of suppression of the mind only tends to perpetuate the situation further resulting in much intense feelings afterwards, having you roped into its fantasy as well.

Use these situations of intense feelings instead, as a means to sharpen skills. The more intense it is, the better but the chances of getting caught in the cobwebs are also high. And when the illusion is dense, it may take quite a while of ‘suffering’ before one wakes up to reality.

So when we are in love with someone, is it really we who are in love, or is there something happening in the mind that we have not yet come to understand? When we are able to detach from the mind, as in not identify with the mind albeit still feeling the emotions, it is possible to notice that the emotions start to fade away; not because we do not love the other person, but the storyline of it somewhat simmers down or even ceases. What is left is unconditionality and a whole new world opens up.

Being able to be that awake, the mind is used as a tool merely for wilful functions and communication. This goes to say that we are no longer pulled by the nose to be caught up in delusional storylines that does not serve the peace of mind. It is about bringing the mind to peace, liberating the mind. For since we experience through the mind, it is important that the mind performs what it is willed and not the other way round, as in willing us to experience whatever it wishes. Not that it wishes, but it is just being run by unquestioned ancient stuffs that we have not yet come to understand and realise.

Thus, the importance of observing and understanding the nature of the mind, for all of life, is in the mind.

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A song came into my awareness today. I think I must have heard it quite many times as this song has been in my iPhone for quite some time yet it did not catch my attention until today. It was a love song with meanings of a man, who sang of his letting go of his beloved after having one last cry. In my understanding, he was now willing to let go of the lie that was going on in his head that his beloved should not have left him to be with another after having experienced the effects of wallowing in self-pity. Yet in this song, this wise man (I will call him wise because he decides to wake up) realised that he has indeed given his best, and there was nothing left for him to do, but to have just one last cry. The cry, the one last cry, really serves its role as a completion to the mind – that it ends now.

No doubt that there may be remnants or residuals left of sadness and grief having lost the companionship of a beloved, but I am sure the last cry, which is symbolic of a completion in the mind with the willingness to let go, would have brought some kind of relief to him.

So, it is the completion or the letting go that has finally brought him relief, or if possible even peace?

Some may argue it is both, but in truth there are both already effects. Now, those who have been in the spiritual journey for a while would have understood that there is no way that we can let go of anything. It lets go of us when it is meant with full acceptance and understanding. Obviously, in this case, it is a very deep holding on thus even when there was some bit of realisations, there was still pain though deduced pretty substantially to the point of clarity to see that there was no point in holding on. Why I call it some bits of realisations is because if it was a full realisation, there would not be a cry, but a hearty laugh. Having said that, since we all like storylines, especially one with a beginning and an ending, this guy will have to end with one last cry as a hearty laugh would have ended the story unexpectedly and abruptly. There is just no more storyline to continue, you see. The story would have been left hanging, and I am sure many will agree how they dislike that kind of conclusion to a movie.

So realisations brings this man back to some bits of the cause of his pain and there, with wisdom touching him, in addition to his valuing his own peace of mind, he makes an intent to let go which is a cause to the effect of the last cry as a means of completion, at the same time, also already an effect of the cause of intent of valuing his own peace. Thus to say that the completion or the letting go has finally brought him to peace is true, and not entirely true too. But then again, we can never know if he truly experienced peace after the last cry until he writes another song in sequence to this song!

The last cry, is merely an act of completion, an already sown effect from a cause deriving from certain ideas culminated to arrive at such an act. The act, which can be any act at all, is only symbolic of what is in the mind hence being acted out in a storyline, as in to be physicalised in form. Clearly, there is no right or wrong in a completion. Just as saying – I am sorry, or thank you. It is just an expression, whether in words, in tears, in cash or what have you to bring an end to the storyline in the mind.

Realisations set the mind free, thus we become free since we are most of the time so identified with the mind. So do you see how it is just a story in the mind, and we think that it is us? Yet, without being identified with it, how else can it be experienced such beauty of emotions, such storylines? Yet, all are but storylines. And in a storyline, all are but ideas. To be able to see this, is to enjoy the movie, but not get caught up by it.

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Many people tend brand meditation to a lotus sitting position. It is a misconstrued idea that meditation means sitting on a cushion, with eyes closed, doing nothing. Many also think that meditation, as in a sitting position can lead to enlightenment. Not that I am belittling what they believe to be true of meditation, as meditation can lead to enlightenment, but to brand meditation to a specific position is as good as following a blind horse being led by a blind horseman without further understanding to what true meditation is.  

To make it clearer, there are many types of meditations which are derived from different practices offering different techniques to transcend what we call sufferings, or the self. Since I can only speak from my own limited experience, I can only share on the benefits of what and how meditation has served me in my journey – which carries the practise of self-awareness, also known as mindfulness.

No doubt I was introduced to the concept of meditation by a sitting position initially. But as soon as I was aware of what I was to observe, since mindfulness is to mean to be aware, or to observe, I expanded my practice into my daily activities, carrying the practise of awareness into each moment into whatever that I was doing. And it is not to bring the mind to present, but to acknowledge what or where the mind is presently, as in you being aware and present to it.

Some weeks ago, I was facilitating a group meditation sitting. Most of them were familiar faces and I wondered why they came back every week for a sitting. One of them revealed that coming back to the group sitting motivated them to continue the practise. I suspected that they might have grasped the concept of meditation incorrectly. Hence the following week, I threw a suggestion to the floor that I was allowing free activity during the time meant for sitting as long as they were aware and to come back to the meditation room at a specific time. I could tell that most of them were very happy at that suggestion and all of them gladly took the offer. Some maintained their meditation through sitting, some went downstairs to a stall for a drink, some addressed urgent matters, one read and some others did other things. I was not surprised at their patterns as I was too, one of them some time ago. Surely, it takes one to know one. That’s just nature.

When time arrived for them to come back to the meditation room, I initiated a sharing session, asking each of them to share their decision on what they did. Most of them reported that they were aware of what they were doing, be it drinking tea at the stall, reading, sitting… whatever… and I simply posted a question back to one of them, if he was aware that he was making an explanation to me and that caught him off guard. At the same time, the others too realised the intention of my questioning. They realised that as soon as the time was up for ‘meditation’, they had ceased the practice.

It is no wonder they questioned their growth. It is as if, they have allocated specific times in a day to be mindful and the rest of the hours are allowed to be mindless. True meditation is being constantly mindful, or aware if you will, of what arises within us; whether it is bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings. What is the use of awareness during the stipulated meditation times, when at that time is where you will get least triggered thus the least of opportunities to inquire or investigate what arises? What are we looking for in meditation? Is it just peace? Or something else? And to have a true completion of each meditation moment as and when a trigger or discomfort arise is through questioning, as in self-inquiry.

The same can be said with retreats. Why attend a retreat? To enjoy the silence? Not that I oppose to the set ups of retreats but where I am getting at is the intention of attending a retreat. Many go into retreats to give themselves a break and there are so many golden rules like noble silence, no handphones, no laptops, no this and no that… and??? What happens after coming out from the retreat when they go back into the world? They feel rejuvenated for a while but it is mostly back to square one. It is as if they had not attained any skills at all of meditation as in to equip themselves so to address the world.

A recent entry that I edited for my teacher resonated with me the true purpose of attending a retreat and I invite you to his entry Coming Back to Where it Begins for further insights on the purpose of retreats.

Meditation comes in many forms and its essence is in observation and realisation through inquiry and investigation of ideas. Likewise for a retreat, it is a place or specific time frame to equip or sharpen one’s skills to be mindful, or in observation so that realisations can happen to bring understanding to life experienced as a whole. However, it is essential to be able to carry the practice into our daily life as the little trivial moments of peace will not be able to support us through the reality of life. Much like a watchdog, really… and you might not like this term, but the reward derived from it is more than a treat. Only those who persevere will reap what they sow.

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