Archive for July, 2011

Intimacy during communication can only occur with honesty, authenticity and clarity.

What I mean by honesty here is being totally naked in expressing one’s vulnerability; authenticity as in not covering up what is being expressed to make it sound ‘nicer’ or ‘beautiful’ or even ‘kinder’ to the ears of the other; and clarity as in, when one has honestly looked within and realised, and share one’s own learning with another.

In honest and authentic communication, powered by clarity in mind, what results naturally is kindness and of course, intimacy. All blaming, name calling, hitting below the bell stances gets out of the way because both willing to come clean with one another. It is about being able to even feel embarrassed in expressing what one thought was wrong or guilty of what has happened that in that moment of true communication, the feeling of embarrassment arising from the fear of being judged and ridiculed begins to mists away by the sheer courage to express honestly, authentically with clarity (without the finger pointing, of course) while being in true communication with another.

This kind of communication is void of attack or defence. Yet once bitten, always twice shy. Still, if there is no attempt of trials and errors, how does one learn?

Byron Katie is wise to remind that people who have realised themselves to share what they have learned about themselves with the people that they love, especially those who had seemingly triggered them. I used to ponder if it was necessary. Two days ago, I realised that while it was not essential but it does seem to uplift barriers and separation between people arising out of more in depth understanding of oneself and another. Of course, what I have realised is my business and totally nothing to do with anybody, but we are social creatures, and as much as we cannot have others understand us, but the very least that we can do is to openly express and communicate what we thought had happened and what we had later realised. By this, we are doing our part in nurturing ourselves, the other and also the relationship, be it between parent-child, teacher-student, husband-wife, and friends.

It is also important to realise, that to expect the other to understand and accept our realisation is blasphemy! And yet, once triggered, it is back to the drawing board again. As you can see, it never really ends, until it is finally undone.

I used to tease that it is much easier to ‘wake up’ in the midst of unconscious people because they don’t really care what you think and they will just point their fingers at you out-rightly, and because you are in the conscious inward journey, you would do your inner work if you are really serious about your own inner freedom – they become your gift. Of course, it doesn’t mean that we go around looking for triggers, but it happens anyway. I am also not saying that triggers are not possible amongst more conscious people, but it is just not so obvious. Triggers come from the subconscious; because if they were conscious, we wouldn’t have needed mirrors and wouldn’t have called them subconscious too. Like it or not, we are all mirrors to each other and carry the same load of garbage in the subconscious.

I learned the other day how my incessant effort of the inward journey has kept me to myself most of the time. Even if I had a realisation, I usually shared it with my teachers, rather than the person who had seemingly pushed my buttons in the first place. For that, my closed ones never really knew what went on in me and the sudden change in me seem such a shock to them that they thought I had joined a cult, had been brainwashed or worst, in some kind of denial. Perhaps, relating in the world, it would have been kinder to at least let them in on what I had learned about myself. Yet there is another thought, what has what I have learned got to do with them? Still, there are people who do care. This I cannot deny, and I also cannot deny that it is my believing into the thoughts such as ‘they don’t care about me’ (not in that way anyway) or ‘they won’t understand what I am talking about’ that propelled me to keep mum of my realisations only finding it safe to share with a selected few. Judgements, judgements. While there was much intimacy going within, but in the physical world, it seemed to create some kind of misunderstanding in behaviour even though in truth, nothing has gone wrong. They may not out-rightly express it, but their doubts show anyway in some form or another. Well, I can understand they need some kind of understanding of what was going on with the change and all that. I was, after all, one of them.

Yet, my communication of my realisations can only come when I have come to peace with that part of myself which bears the fear of being judged or ridiculed (from what I thought had happened but didn’t really happen). And of course, that too, has nothing to do with others, but much to do with me.

My communication with the world too has much to do with me, too. I am still in the world where communication and understanding is needed. It is much kinder to be clear about things and to bring my own clarity to the table so that they can be clear and also share the same clarity of what had seemingly happened; that is, if that is what they wish too. I can’t really wish the same for others you see, although that is what I would wish to wish. What they wish is totally beyond my control, so I can only work with what I can do and what seems right to me. And wouldn’t that be enough, at least for me? Someone told me once of an excerpt he learned from a movie, “Freedom is nothing, when you can’t share with it someone else.” And freedom can only come with clarity.

I learned this, albeit a pretty hard way – that an inward journey is lonely – because the triggers and lessons are one’s own to come to terms with; yet the clarity and freedom derived after that is meant to be shared. It is not a doing, or a wish. It simply occurs in naturalness. No wonder gurus share. It is unconditional.

Still, what is the point of sharing with the world when I am unable to share it intimately with those closest at home? After all, charity does start at home.

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Dark night, dark night
La de dum dum
How often you visit
La de dum dum dum

Here you come and off you go
Totally uninvited
La de dum dum dum
What am I to do with you
Except to welcome you once more
La de dum dum dum dum dum

Am I dark or am I not
La de dum dum dum dum dum
Though the door is mine but you have the keys
La de dum dum dum dum dum

How real are you
How could I not greet you
La de dum dum dum dum dum
Come on in and have some tea
The sofa’s nice and comfy!

Dark night, dark night
La de dum dum dum
You can stay for as long you wish
Since not a courtesy call you give anyway 
La de dum dum dum dum dum
Your presence clear and crisp 
Oh dear, how dandy can you be!
La de dum dum dum
La de dum dum
‘here we go again – another exciting ride!’ 
is all that’s in my mind

Dark night, dark night
La de dum dum dum
Indeed a great companion you are 
Mending your nose into my affairs
I just so understand you by now
La de dum dum dum
La de dum dum dum 
In my mundane chores
Like an old friend really you show me your concerns
La de dum dum dum
La de dum dum
How could I not kiss your lips?
La de dum dum dum
La de dum dum
How can I wish for your departure?
You are like a force on your own
A touch and a go
It melts me in the core

Despite what it feels somehow
I smile at you anyway 
La de dum dum dum
La de dum dum
No longer am I caught by your unwarranted visit
La de dum dum dum dum dum dum
Do what you must
I know it’s your job
You are greeted, can’t you see?
I see you, Dark night, and I hear you once more
La de dum dum dum dum dum

You need not believe me, my dear old friend
La de dum dum dum dum dum
Your presence, O’ Lord, what sweet gift you bring!
And I love you so, anyway…

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There is really nothing I can do about it. 
When it comes, it just comes. 
And all that I can do is to be with it, stay with it. 
Because there’s really no way out of it until some light appears. And that really isn’t my call at all, it somehow just has its own timing.

As much as I can keep on searching, whether through others, the Internet, books; they all give me the same answers albeit some more creative than others. 
As long as I have not yet realized, there’s really nothing I can do about it.

Although it has very much to do with what I think is perfect out there that is causing my imperfection, yet if it is not because of my own sense of imperfection, how could anything ‘perfect’ out there reflect what is imperfect in me?

Should I –
get a Botox;
a plastic surgery;
a tummy tuck/liposuction;
an exercise regime;
a diet plan;
or perhaps some slimming pills?

How many times have these thoughts crossed the mind?
How many times have I attempted to try some of them?
Are they truly to support, or to runaway from the incessant pattern of not good enough, not perfect enough?

Even if I may find myself comfortable with the ‘ugliest’ man perceived by the media or society, it’d be soon I find myself loathing him; not because he is really the ‘ugliest’ but because that’s what I truly think about myself and at the same time, loathe myself for it.

Yet, is there anything I can do about it right now but to accept this state as it is – neither wishing for it to go away nor wishing myself to alleviate from it. 

It’s nothing personal really, but it becomes personal because this is what I am experiencing personally now, in this moment.

And I can’t really do anything about it now, until I’ve fully come to peace with it; until I’ve come to fully realize what all these is really about.

Since I can’t do anything about it, at least…
let my attitude towards it be wise and open – not to judge what is already occurring as in the self-judgement, the self-loathe;
let me have compassion and love for that self-bashing, self-hatred;
let me give respect and space, and listen to the little voice which has been suppressed since ancient times – though it can at times be so loud, so harsh, so violent, and sighs… pretty unbearable most times…

All iz well, all iz well sweetheart… 
I am listening, and I am here for you*. 
I am not running away, neither am I leaving you*. 
I am staying put here, with you*, until you* are finally and fully done with your* script.

Note: you* refers to the inner child within which is crying out loud to be heard and acknowledged, fully. 

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There are two types of storytellers in this world.

One who tells his own story for himself, and one who tells his own story for others.

The storyteller who tells his story for himself is so that others can see him, so that he can see himself.

The storyteller who tells his story for others is so that others can see themselves. Strangely, when others begin to see themselves, they see him too.

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Expression not expressed becomes Suppression.

Suppression further suppressed becomes Repression.

Repression not addressed becomes Depression.

Depression with added ajbetness becomes Oppression.

Oppression not forgiven becomes Death – as in, the living dead.

Are you one of them?

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One day,

“Mommi, what is a ‘church’?”

“Oh, a ‘church’ is a place where people go to pray to God.”

“But why, mommi?”

“To connect to God.”

“But they are already connected to God.”

“Yeah, you are right, but they don’t know that; that is why they have to go to church to do it.”

Two days later, while mommi was lighting up some essence and clamped her hands together in front of the altar,

“Mommi, what are you doing?”

“I am connecting to God.”

“But mommi, you are already connected to God. You are just pretending, right?”

Mommi laughs,

“Yes precious, you are right. We are all just pretending.”

~ just a mother-daughter conversation; which is so true, yet not so true. ~

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Mind needs to tap into the unseen polarities of itself to realize for itself its own inner truth which results freedom and delight as its end. When inquiry is carried out on the validity of its story, the outcome is not really that simple. And if mind can go all the way, it can really blow itself away in joyous awe!


What stops me from anything or for the matter of fact, stops anything to happen to me or for me is the story I tell about it.

Here is a story which I found amusing reading this morning and wish to share.

Wishing you the same joy, if not more as you immerse yourself in the truth of this story, albeit just another story.


Recently I took on a coaching client who is also a motivational speaker, author, and seminar leader of some repute. I will call him “Mack,” for fun and his anonymity. As I first began meeting with Mack to coach him on expanding his business, he told me the story of his income in the past few years and brought up the “fact” that 9/11 had harmed him financially, as it harmed everyone else in “this business.”

“It didn’t harm me,” I said. “And I’m in this business. Just as you are. In fact, 9/11 helped me a great deal.”

“Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about because 9/11 knocked the wind out of me. I had a bad year because of it. A bad two years, really.”

“That’s your story, I guess.” I said. “But that’s not the truth.”

“It’s not the truth? Hey! Talk to anyone in the speaking industry.”

“It’s their story, too. I know.”

“Are you saying 9/11 didn’t harm my business?”

“That’s what I am saying.”

“Well, 9/11 happened. And my business went down the tube. So what else could have done that?”

“You. You and how you respond to 9/11.”

“How is that?”

“You created a defeated, inadequate response to 9/11.”


“Really. And until you can see that, we aren’t going to get very far with this coaching.”

Mack said nothing. I could tell he was trying to decide if I was right. Finally I could see that he may have become open to revising his story about his career after 9/11.

Mack said, “Okay. So maybe that’s true. Maybe it was my weak response to 9/11 that hurt my business. So what needs to change in me?”

“All that needs to change is the story. The story of you now says that 9/11 came along, and 9/11 had power and you had no power, so you lost money. You made that story up, just as you might have made up a story about a dragon and a knight and a maiden for one of your kids one night. It’s totally made up. My response to 9/11 got me business because I made up a more useful story for myself.”

“What did you make up?”

“I made up that 9/11 was a terrific opportunity for me to help clients who had the wind knocked out of them and were wanting something to revive them. I made up that, because so much training was cancelled, it created an even greater need for training than before. I made up a story that said 9/11 opened the door to huge opportunities with organisations that were demoralised by cancelling company meetings. And by using that story instead of yours, I thrived after 9/11.”

“So, my story wasn’t a very good story.”

“Not very useful. It was good, in a way. It served that part of you that wanted an excuse. Stories always serve some part of us. We think we need our alibis. But it’s up to us to find out if they are serving the weak part or the stronger part.”

“So my story was weak.”

“It portrayed you as weak and 9/11 as strong. You were not the knight in your story. So the story of you was kind of depressing, really. Ever go to a movie and come out thinking the movie was depressing? I listen to the story of you and 9/11 and I am feeling depressed just listening to it.”

Even though Mack made his living teaching other people to find strength in adversity and to look for the lesson in every problem, he was not learning from his own speeches. It was easier for him to live inside a story about himself that made him one more victim of Osama bin Laden.

Even to this day you will hear motivators such as Mack talk about what 9/11 did to them. Other businesspeople, too! I hear this from them all the time. And when I hear it I think that they are the idiots Shakespeare wrote about. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. Because they are not “stupid” idiots, really, as much as unconscious people living in stories that are full of sound and fury (the planes CRASHED into the towers, and I was so ANGRY, but I LOST a lot of business!), in Shakespeare’s words, as in a tale told by an idiot:

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.”

 ~ Macbeth, V.v ~

Mack struts and frets after I talk to him about revising his life story so that he, himself, will have more of an active part in it. Right now, he wants to portray himself as a victim of things that happen to him. He wants to say to me that life has happened to him.

But if I’m to work with him at all, I must return him to the source of his power. I can’t have him not see the stories he’s telling. Because once he sees the stories and their power to limit him, he can tell new ones. We communicate our value through stories, not through claims or sales pitches, but through stories. Mack couldn’t see that. He would make up a story, such as the one about 9/11, and then tell it as if it were the truth.

But, it was just a story.

Stories have huge power to alter the whole world. Look at the story of Jesus and Lazarus. It wasn’t really raising Lazarus from the dead that impacted the world in such an unforgettable way (indeed, there are groups of scholars now trying to prove that the story was apocryphal), but rather the story about it. It was the story of Lazarus that spread around the world and changed the world.

Notice how we subconsciously know all of this already. Inside, at some level, we do grasp the power of stories to create who people think we are. People will bring up the name of someone and ask, “What’s the story with that guy?”

Or see if this scenario sounds familiar:

“Did you meet our new division manager?”

“Yeah, I met her yesterday, have you?”

“No, not yet. What’s her story, anyway?”

And then will you trust what you hear? Sometimes our stories are so divorced from reality it becomes comic. Ask four children who grew up in the same family to individually recount some major event in the family history. Some traumatic moment that everyone should remember. The amazing result is that you will get four entirely different stories. Four different perceptions based on four separate interpretations that create four stories, not one.

What do these stories signify? External reality? Was our dad really that distant and cold? There’s no truth to that, just a strange mix of stories and tales told by idiots. The stories say more about the teller’s internal fears and hurts than they do about external behaviour. We project these stories out onto the world and make the world reflect the inner feeling.

Stories alter external reality to fit our pre-existing beliefs.

But what fun when we see and understand this! Because we get in touch with that shaping power we have, as an artist working a spinning wheel of wet clay does. What shall I make Dad into today? And who would I, myself, like to be?  

~ Excerpts from Are You a Story Told by an Idiot, The Story of You (and How to Create a New One) by Steve Chandler ~

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