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Archive for February, 2011

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream –

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.

This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow You,
You would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I needed You most, You should leave me.”

The Lord replied,
“My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

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Once, a professor asked his students: “Why do we shout in anger? Why do people shout at each other when they are upset?” The students thought for a while before one of them said, “We shout because we lose our calm.”

“But why shout when the other person is just next to you? Isn’t it possible to speak to him or her with a soft voice?”

The students gave various answers, none of which satisfied the professor.

Finally, he explained: “When two people are angry with each other, their hearts distance. To cover the distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the louder they will have to shout to hear each other through that great distance.” Then he asked: “What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly. Why? Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is very small. When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak – they only whisper and get closer to each other in their love.”

“Finally, they do not even need to whisper. They only look at each other, that’s all. That is how closer two people are when they love each other.”

So, when you argue, do not let your hearts get distant or say words that distance each other even more, or there may come a day when the distance is so great you will not find the path back to each other.

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If one was to observe the features of new technology coming up into the market, one will notice how it is symbolic to the evolution of the mind. Each item invented or rather manifested into the world arises from the creation of the mind and as the mind evolves, the more creative it gets, hence the inspired ‘toys’ we get around these days.

The iPhone, being one of the most common commodities around these days is a sheer example of how the mind works. The other day, a loved one was requesting for a torch light in the midst of working in the dark. Having remembered that the iTunes store had such apps, I downloaded the required app for the torch light feature. It was amazing. The download was less than 2 minutes, thanks to TM’s unifi and that’s it, the iPhone can now function as a torch light. Mind you, it functions pretty well too!

And recalling this incident, I can’t help but be amazed by how similar the iPhone is with the mind. Just a touch of an app being downloaded into the system, and that’s it, it’s done! Liken the ideas programmed in the mind. The only difference of course is that with iPhone, just one touch and the whole programme is deleted where else with the mind, it can take ages if one is not able to arrive at the right understanding of such programming.

Those who own an iPhone will tell you how they are highly unlikely not able to live without their phones; and the phone is something that we can choose to carry around or not. This commodity has somehow won its place as a very important accessory on us. The mind, on the other hand, is something that we can’t shake off and what life is being made out of and yet, seldom do we show interest in how it works so that we may learn and eventually derive what we wish to experience from it. It is like we are simply accepting its programming without much discernment. Like someone simply giving us an iPhone, or any gadget whatsoever, with some sort of pre-programming already and we just simply use it without questioning it or even with an effort of wanting to learn its features so that we may use it to its optimum level. In this case of the mind is exactly that, we never get to know it, hence never be able to bring its function to its optimum level.

Clearly, to start understanding the mind is to start observing it. And to observe it, is to take a step back and watch its own dance internally without reacting to it, and here I am meaning to say, not to judge it. It is easy to feel disgusted or disheartened when we witness some really challenging stuff the mind displays internally, and if there is identification with the mind, self judgement is unavoidable. So, in this case, it is best to invite oneself to even, recognise the judgement if it does arise. No point the continuous self bashing just because of an earlier statement of ‘not to judge it’. If it has arisen, then let it. Simply acknowledge it and then allow is to rest again. Even if it does not rest, allow it and simply recognising it as it is, instead of identifying with it. There is a difference. You can only recognise something apart of you, only in this case, it seems to be within you and identifying with it means you are it!

So next time to bring yourself back into awareness, simply ask yourself, if you are the iPhone at this moment, or not!

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Some say, it is better to be asleep so that the dream can remain real in order for the intensity of the experience to be felt; for how can everything else be felt to the extreme of it, unless it is real? This reminds me of a scene in Matrix where this fella who betrayed all those who are plugged out from the Matrix and told Smith while dining in a restaurant that even though he knows that the piece of steak that he is about to put into his mouth is not real, but it tastes so darn delicious.

If what we are looking for is realness, why would we treat what is not real as real? It is like playing with a toy, and knowing that it is a toy, we just simply enjoy playing with it and once we are done with it, we just place it back to where it belongs. But when we start to think that the toy is real, it becomes a reality hence scaring us to the bits when things go wrong and then there it is, we are heading out the door, forgetting that it is just a toy. Strange isn’t it? I’d say that it is fine to treat the toy as real for the moment, but it is important to remember that a toy remains a toy; as illusion remains an illusion. It is like buying a handbag. If you can afford to buy a Louis Vuitton, why would you want to buy an imitation one, lest you believe that you can’t have the real one and hence settle for the latter?

The thing is, each of us deserves the Louis Vuitton and secretly, we each know that. So we work towards it. And it is like that, we are also always trying to find the easy way out, which is impossible. So we are enticed, and then we get a Louis Vuitton along the way and then realise that it was imitation, what happens then? Do you still want it? Of course, I am just using a material good as an example or rather, as a metaphor. But you get what I mean. It’s painful at that point to know that what we hung on to is unreal, but let’s put it that way, at least the imposter is being revealed and wouldn’t it be a call for celebration instead of constant self-bashing?

Taking responsibility is scary, because it means to own up all the pain that we feel deep within without having anyone to be our scapegoat as there is no one else to illusionarily ‘split’ the pain. It is not about being unwholesome, but it is simply simply impossible! So someone was telling me… yes, taking responsibility means no one is at fault and it is all MY fault. That too, is untrue. It is the innocence of what was thought. And if there is innocence, how can it be anyone’s fault, much less my fault?

So what do I do when I take responsibility? I will be forgiving what I thought had happened was real, when in truth, nothing actually happened – meaning, my perception of the way things were and are. Forgiving that it was an error, a misunderstanding that something like that could be put into a meaning that hurts, that upsets, that could have caused a sense of separation within myself hence projected onto my brothers and sisters.

Asleep is to mean that there is an “I” in delusion that can be in control of things, that could want things the way it should or shouldn’t be. The “I” that plays God. And to be awakened, is something else what many Great Masters invite us upon. We cannot envisage what they are talking about, until we taste a sip of their cup, and that can only happen when we begin the journey of Truth.

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The other day, a loved one made a statement that since I practiced mindfulness, she was guessing that there isn’t much drama in my life. Well, the answer is a yes and a no. Although there seems to be no drama happening which involves others, there are non-stop dramas unfolding in the mind.

The thing is, we are not aware that we have got a 24-hour non-stop movie theatre running up our heads. If you have persistently watched and observed the mind, you will realise that all the drama is happening in the mind anyway, so what is there outside to entertain us?

The mind proves itself to be the best entertainment. In fact, it is the best story teller ever and when “I” become identified with it, I have thus invited myself on stage. Depending on which storyline is more appealing to me, or rather which idea is being held on stronger than the other, that you will see my reaction or response towards a situation or a person.

Like a 24-hour rerun in the mind, nothing is new except the intensity of the storyline with different imaginary characters. So when I am caught up with the storyline in the mind, I am being run by it, acting it out unconsciously in the outer reality; but if I am conscious enough, I may not react to what is happening in the mind or the outer reality although that may not necessarily mean that I am out of it. Hence being able to take a step back and watch the mind is the first step in detaching ourselves from drama. Being immersed with the mind is to react as the mind, and to be able to stay back, is to watch the mind’s reaction in silence without reacting physically. In the latter, there are no reactions, but only appropriate responses because one is able to discern what would be an appropriate action to take.

I noticed that when the mind has a storyline running, whatever outside only serves as extra stimuli to enhance the storyline. Take for instance, if I am feeling heartbroken, and I go to the karaoke and sing Toni Braxton’s How Could an Angel Break my Heart? It will not only intensify what I am feeling at that moment, but make my story even more real and dramatise my whole reality. As if what is played in the mind is not enough and I will need extra stimuli outside to enhance it. What happens here is that the mind puts a meaning to the song and hence enhances the experience of being heartbroken and yet in all that, though it seems as if there is an external source, it is still all happening in the mind but we hardly notice that. We just keep thinking that something outside is what is causing the dramas in our lives. Everything that we do, as long as the mind contacts with anything, there is a condition that arises with it.

So it is not that there is less drama in my life. The best entertainment is already within the mind, what else could be more entertaining?

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When you ask me who am I,
and I say, “I am”,
I am no longer I
but who I am;
identified, named and labelled,
limited by an image you contort.

When I look at you
from here;
The moment I speak,
I no longer speak
from where I saw you;
but still with constant recognition,
in order to convey words to you –

Of how lovely you are…
How very much loved you are…
How very adored you are…

Yet you will not know I
but who I am;
identified, named and labelled;
which is not I.
You will think me as a someone,
differentiated and apart from you,
and yet not see.

Still. Silence.
Beyond what surrounds and is in front of you;
what is perceived, meaning-ed;
beyond what is an image, an identity, a name, a label…
You need no more to ask me
who am I,
but simply know.

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Loving you is not a choice, I just do. When I don’t believe you when you tell me that you love me, it is because I have not come to terms with myself. First there are those concepts that I’d have to undo, and then I am born again, into the awareness of love. Although I say this as if referring to the love of self, but it is in truth, beyond that. I can’t help it. It just happens. And when that happens, there is no choice; I just love you, because you are in the awareness of love. You are part of it, and hence, I love you.

I love you, is not about “I” love “you” although it seems to be communicated that way in perception. It is like when I look at the body, parts of the body; for instance, my fingers; I look at it, and realise that yes, I love it… I don’t really have a choice. How the fingers are curved at certain angles, how it is shaped and it doesn’t matter, I just love it – realising, that although it is not me, yet recognising that they are parts and puzzles of love – I just love; and it is the same when I look at you. It is not separated. We are in the womb of love, just that we didn’t know.

The state of love remains constant, and is always, always unwavering. It is only when I am oblivious to it, then I will not see or taste it. It is like, when I do not give my awareness to my fingers, I am not aware that they are there, and then I thought that I do not love them because I do not see them, as I am unaware. But when I take a closer look, paying attention to them, I’d realise that I love them anyway and there is nothing I can do to stop it. And you are no different from my fingers, my face or me… When I am in love, you are roped into it, because you are part of it. And when I say ‘in love’, I am not meaning the perception of falling in love, but that I am in the womb of love, and it encompasses all and because you are part of it, I have to love you. It is natural, and what is nature is not given a choice.

So I could try as much as I can, but I really can’t do anything about it. I just love you, because I am aware of you, present to you. Even when you are not physically around, and my thoughts are on you, I am already aware of you, present to you, loving you. Nothing escapes me because you are part of me, and we are not separated. When I say that you are part of me, I am also not meaning to say that you are part of this body of which I used to think was me, but part of a whole bigger picture; unseen.

Now I know, that you love me too. When I enter into a restaurant with the intent of having breakfast, I know that everybody else there loves me too; and like what Byron Katie shares, I just don’t expect anyone to realise it yet, and I understand that; because I have been there too, in separation.

It is not about loving me or you, or trying to love me or you – because that is not possible. But when I am aware of what separates or blocks me from the awareness of love, I am back to the state of love, and it is not a choice. It just happens. So when I love you, it is not a choice though my expression can be a choice. I can try to separate from you, and tell you that it is my qualities that I perceived in you that results in my loving you, but that too, is not true. Because we are not separated. You are my fingers, my heart, my hair, my everything… We are one, swimming in the womb of love; each a drop, all part of an ocean.

So if you don’t believe that I love you, trust that it is not that I don’t love you, but just that you are not aware of yourself right now. And you don’t need to ponder or try to believe whether it is true or not that I love you. You just have to work on yourself to arrive at that realisation, that you are love, because you are swimming in it. When you meet me again, you will find that you can finally believe me when I tell you that I love you not because you have done something to make me feel that way. It is just you, and simply because I do, and there is nothing you or I can do about it; because you realised that you love me too, and there just isn’t any choice in it. You just do. There is no way of working in or out of it. It just is. And, you will have no choice too, but to be it.

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