Freedom from suffering by Paying Attention

Freedom from suffering by Paying Attention Are we willing to listen,to be attentive?Do we try to listen with the understanding of the loving and wise heart or through the confused,disturbed mind?Do we listen only to those whom we like or told to like and believe in?When we truly listen to the words being said and not by whom is saying it,we may get the true message and meaning that might resonate,comfort and bring forth the innate wisdom within us.Are we ashamed of expressing our true feelings?Do we find ourselves in superficial/worldly chatter constantly which leave us feeling drained and wasteful.Perhaps we could also be shut in within ourselves,unwilling and afraid of sharing inner pains due to vulnerability of being ridiculed,chided,taunted and poked fun at,to be made to feel abnormal and insignificant?

Listening and expressing are vital parts and parcel of our every day living.Do we make that listening and expressing beneficial for our well-being and spiritual growth?We can ask ourselves often in quiet reflections and when probing into our conscience.Very often we may not have someone to truly sit with us to listen and allow us to express ourselves.Most often too we ourselves cannot do the same for others.I believe talking(dialogue) and expressing are important for us as humans to want to be heard and be allowed to release the inner energies that aid in the healing process.When we are given a chance to talk and express feelings openly and sincerely to someone who is willing to listen,we can start hearing and tune-in into ourselves,we can start deep listening to what we are trying to bring out/clear out of our inner being(cathartic) as a way of honouring and starting to be honest with oneself.

Sitting/being with a friend or someone close and trying to honestly talk and listen attentively/deeply can be draining so most times we are unable to share and open up.Fear locks us in the painful realm of our being.The danger of being unable and unwilling to talk and express,we keep ourselves battling inwardly/outwardly in superficiality(from egoic intentions) and pretense(trying to look good perhaps bad).The ongoing bottled aggression/resentments inside ourselves block the freedom to live consciously,in truthful wisdom and with open loving-kindness.Thus we allow anger,hatred,hurts,selfish pursuits and unhealthy habits to prevail.So what do we do?We seek a neutral party/person to listen to us and for us to express.Nowadays its not hard to do that,there are so many paths of accessing help to find some form of relief( a little is better than nothing at all) to release our inner anxieties,worries,heartaches, griefs,fears,problems,depressions and traumatic experiences,etc.We do not have to live with darkness within our being alone!There are the crisis hotline/helpline, any organization eg.alcoholic anoynmous/sexual addiction,church group,a Spiritual teacher,religious person(priest/nun/rabbi/monk),a kindly trustworthy person,a therapist,listening via audio/visual teachings,to self-help talks,etc.When we are creative and sincere with ourselves, the door opens to every form of possibilities!Oftentimes, we think we are ok,we deny that we need any kind of help and keep playing cool, as long as we can get away from facing the truth of our inner conflicts.Yes, I myself utilized many crisis organizations like alcoholics anonymous,seek spiritual counselling with a priest and nun and phone centres,etc.

When I hit rock-bottom in 1998,bankrupt to the bone(debts owing),lost,broken into pieces,spiritually parched,depressed beyond words and with failing health condition……I had only one way to go……..Into and Within Myself! I knew I had no one to talk to,no one who would listen to me with kindness and understanding as everyone was waiting to lash out at me for my own stupidity,stubbornness,wrongdoings and mistakes.Can anyone even imagine my terrors as I came back from nursing in Saudi Arabia in total disaster,I felt like there was nothing left of me!Now I can see that I was slowly dying to the ‘old-self’.I see the truth that intense suffering actually brought me back to Life!

Then I remembered an aquaintance,she was working as a receptionist at my dentist’s office and sometimes we chatted while I waited for the dentist.She told me at one time that she was seeing a good therapist for her relationship problems.I called her up and invited her for sushi dinner.At dinner, I asked for the name and number of the therapist that she was seeing.The first day I met Ardelle(therapist),I must say I was ‘cocky’ and desperate and terribly impatient to be freed from all my sufferings all at once! I told her that I dont want to waste time and needed her to help get rid of my problems.She was the most wonderful therapist that I had worked with. In a calmly manner,she said to me….”you have a choice to choose healing and be free from your sufferings or you can leave and continue to suffer,only you can help yourself”.I felt a hard slap on my face and chose to leave her office in a foolish rage that day.After much thought,I came back to see her and we continued faithfully working so well together 3x a week for one and a half years.I saw every aspect of myself that I had failed to see and acknowledgeI had a good look at every corner of my inner being by expressing and listening to myself open up honestly to Ardelle.

The good and the bad and every dark secret became no more a secret.Ardelle had assisted in helping me pull out the weeds that were destroying the beautiful garden of my heart.In place she helped me plant beautiful flowers simply by listening and supporting and encouraging.In my sessions with her, I had to be thoroughly honest and truthful.With her I was able to express myself fully without being threatened or fearful.She allowed me to be!

Can we find the time to pay attention to ourselves…to listen and to express our inner difficulties as well as triumphs(humbly) in order to be Free from the slavery of unnecessary suffering!

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The Courage to Change Consciously

“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

~~~~~ Rumi,13th century Persian Poet and Sufi mystic ~~~~

Before my radical spiritual awakening in 1998,I was ignorant and in a continuous fight against the world,against everyone else who did not understand me or whatever that I was going through(pain and suffering,inner struggles and depression etc.).Yes, I was foolish to think that the world(others) must change to suit my needs,my selfish desires and to comfort me and my pains.At that time I was ‘unconscious’ to all the suffering that I was being plagued with.So all the more I defended and resisted and fought to have others pay attention to me and my ways of painful living conditions.In negligent selfishness,I wanted the others to change for me! I was ignorant to believe that the world would give me peace and ‘happiness’.Matter of fact, I did come to ‘hate’being in this world and that drove me to face even more disastrous consequences.Did I gain anything worthwhile by resisting, defending,being in denial,hitting out and desiring more and more from the world and others to change for me?NO! and it Never Will!

What I truly learned and gained was that I and only I had the power within to change myself,to make the effort and work full-heartedly to create the happiness,peace and loving/kindly conditions that I so expected and wanted the world to hand to me on a golden platter.I realized that all that I wanted was already innate Within me,waiting/beckoning within each and every human being.All that I had to do was to turn around and Face myself instead of looking out at the others,at the disturbances/enticements of the world.I had to undertake the journey/adventure of looking deeply,courageously and honestly at all the hindrances(fears, guilt,shame,hatred,jealousy,selfishness,desires,cravings,ignorance,attachments and afflictions,etc.) that I had built up blocking the path directly into the core/inner realm of my being.In other words,we pay attention to ourselves,not in a narcissistic way but a conscious/selfless way into healing and self-development to benefit oneself and others!

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Flow with the Current of Life(not against it)

When the mind is tired and busy with worries and anxieties and too much unnecessary unpleasant ‘story-telling’…….sit quietly in your own reverent presence,pay attention to the heart and bring it out into the open and it will speak of comfort and tenderness and loving, gentle resonance….listen to it,trust it and become it.In order to end unnecessary suffering,the mind must be disciplined on how to be silent/still and the heart to be unafraid to be left unprotected and opened so to allow all things to be.

When we fight,encourage resentments,argue and be defensive with Life, it is like foolishly wanting to swim against the strongest of current.But when we allow ourselves to flow with the current(letting go of all attachments and clinging),we glide swiftly to become One with the great ocean, with the Universal Consciousness.

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NOW is the Time!

Time is of essence.NOW is the time to make peace,to be humble and to forgive(ourselves and others),to cherish,love and share delicate loving moments and even holding the hands of those who have not been held.Time for togetherness and time to take stock of our own life’s wellspring,a time and a chance to make beautiful changes.Suffering gives us an opportunity to till the soil of our souls for a good harvest.

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Looking for God Within

When we abide in Truth,in the Freedom to live authentically,joyfully,guilt free,unashamed to be True to ourselves with prudent fearlessness……..then we open up the path Inward to the Divine Wisdom and heavenly treasures of Love and Joy that are awaiting Within.

When we want to be kept continuously confused, agitated/ignorant,constantly disillusioned,divided and fragmented between the restless mind and the wise loving heart,then we look outside of the self and believe in the illusory voice of the world.

Luke chapter 17:verse 20-21(King James Version)And when Jesus was demanded of the Pharisees, when will the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.We keep wandering aimlessly on the surface,we are told to believe in this and that,to not do/to do this and that.But here,Jesus is giving straight directions to look deep within the self for the truth and the wonders of Love,Wisdom and Joy.He is also implying that we cannot find ‘God'(Truth,Love,Consciousness) or even happiness either from here or there or anywhere outside of the self….it is only to be found Within!

This is a profound teaching of Jesus and all enlightened teachers of truth,a universal message meant for all beings.

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Bathing in Self-Compassion

When we bathe ourselves in merciful compassion and forgiveness,we slowly wash away the grime of guilt, shame,fears, past transgressions,regrets,and faults.We can feel the release of heaviness and burdens that we wastefully carry along our lives.Like the butterfly,a new way of living can emerge filled with so much Goodness and Lightness that we can display and offer.When we live in the Universal law of Loving Conciosness,and abide in Truth,we live in the freedom of letting go(not wanting to control) and the fearlessness of surrendering to accept all circumstances.

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Faith as small as a mustard seed

Upon immediate arrival back in Vancouver from Saudi Arabia in November 1998,I went to live temporarily at my mother’s small apartment while she was away.One night in utter despair,fearful and lamenting of my brokenness and helplessness,I turned on the TV,a Christian evangelical program came on offering prayers to anyone who needed it to call the number on the screen.Without hesitation, I called in to ask for prayers.In less than a week,a package arrived(November 16th 1998) from Evangelist Peter Popoff with detailed instructions of what to do with the contents of the package.

There was a small sachet filled with so called ‘holy water’from the Jordan river in Israel.I was asked to pour the water on my head before going to bed that very same night of receivng the package.I was told to put a Bible if I had one under my pillow and to sleep on it and that I will have a dream following all instructions as directed.I was happy to find a Bible on my mother’s bedside table(it was good to know that she kept one always beside her).So I did as all as I was told to do with a child-like simplicity, trust and fervour without any expectations,but probably out of desperation and urgency of my sorry state.

I did have a dream that same night of hearing a voice repeatedly telling me,”have faith as small as a mustard seed.”I got up with a sense of joyful relief!

Then I questioned myself,how can I have faith when everything around and within me have fallen apart.I have lost everything,jobless,financially empty and in big debts,physically gripped in ill-health, mentally/emotionally broken, depressed.I saw myself like a jig-saw puzzle with all the pieces strewn all over the place…where do I begin to pick each piece and be whole again?

FAITH was the key word,to be motivated and deeply convinced,to trust by fearlessness and the drive to do something noble and true,so I knew a place where I would go to find refuge….an empty quiet church!

November the 17th,a significant day…..I arrived at St.Paul’s church,Richmond,BC.standing outside at the main door feeling like an ‘escaped criminal’,I humbly surrendered myself willing to accept anything that I would have to face.I subjected myself to the great unknown as I wanted so badly to quench and feed my parched soul in need of Spiritual food/drink.I came out of church that day to face a different direction,A New Spiritual Beginning…the process of letting go,of dying to my old self and ego,the burning down of a dilapidated house,like the snake shedding its dead skin.For the first time, I was starting to embrace myself and feel the tenderness for all my regrets, mistakes,wasteful/unnecessary sufferings and flaws that I was now witnessing within myself Truthfully!

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Releasing the Ego

There was a time in ancient India when a man was told to go to King Janaka for help with letting go of his ego(the limited and self-centred entity).King Janaka was known for his wisdom and courage,he was suppose to be an enlightened being.

When the man entered the garden,he found King Janaka whose both arms folded around each other as though holding on tightly to a branch of a tree.So the man approached the king and said,you are Janaka, a wise king,I want your help to discard the ego.

The king answered,I will answer your question when the branch lets me go!

The man replied,but the branch is not holding you,you are holding on to the branch!

Janaka responded,you are in the same situation,it is you who are holding on to your ego,you have made ego your friend and are afraid of letting it go.Now all you have to do is let go of it and you will be Free!

It is the same in our lives, we are holding on to people,things and situations that have no use in serving a higher fulfilling purpose,that does not empower or encourage us on the sacred journey of life.The truth if we dare see it,we are being drained of energy,induced with depression(joylessness) and lethargy because of wasteful desires,clinging on and attaching ourselves to so called dead branches!We can reflect on this and try to find a deeper meaning of our lives.

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Mind,Body and Spirit

When the mind is silenced,the heart(spirit) fully awakes and the body is animated to act in Truth and Loving-kindness.The limitations, divisiveness,confusions and self-centred attributes of ego is slowly dissolved through the unconditioned actions of Love and thus God(Pure Consciousness) is finally discovered and attained!

This attainment of God is not exclusive to anyone in any particular religious tradition or who only believes/speaks of god but is innate in the core of everyone,of every human being! And everyone is entitled to enjoy that Divine state of being.It is up to each one of their choice and free-will to focus and pay attention to what calls to the heart at each moment…….the world or to God(Love,Consciousness,Truth,Spiritual awakening,etc.)?There is no right or wrong,good or bad in any path we make/take for we are all learning and evolving to eventually merge to that Universal Consciousness(Oneness).

To walk the path of the world,there is no need for a teacher to show the myriad of activities that titillate the senses and sense pleasures….we are already on that path!We can reflect on this and see what this path has done or where is it leading us to?To reflect the meaning of Life?

But to walk the path to God, we do need a teacher/s to show the way of Truth,to learn disciplines and practices to tame the tormented mind and afflicted states,to centre the heart and exercise the body for sacred/humane purposes.These are ways that not many will choose as a way of living……meditation,self-inquiry and asking for answers(from reliable sources),being mindful(awareness),breathing techniques,chanting,sitting in quiet times of self introspection(reflection),charitable deeds and compassionate actions(to oneself and others),perhaps joining a spiritual community,listening to spiritual talks and words of wisdom, respecting and encouraging support for those who are doing works that help raise consciousness and humanitarian actions,reading books that speak of wisdom/truth,appreciating and gratitude for all goodness,etc.

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Offering of Kindness to oneself first

“That I feed the hungry, forgive an insult, and love my enemy…. these are great virtues. But what if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me, and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness; that I myself am the enemy who must be loved? What then?”~~~~~~~~ Carl Jung

“one who looks outwards….dreams,one who looks inwards……awakens!”~~~~ Carl Jung

The person most in need of kindness and compassion is oneself.If we ourselves do not awaken from superficial identification with worldly fantasies, egocentric delusions, childishness,immaturity and spiritual lack,how are we to be joyful of our innate beauteous qualities and show genuine kindness to others?

There might be a time when we felt empathy and sadness to see a loved one,friend,others suffering/struggling or battling an illness,in financial difficulty,etc.Perhaps we would be touched to lend a hand,say a kind word, offer prayers,visit with food along or simply feel a quiet compassion within and do nothing.Similarly,we could offer the same sentiments to ourselves by being quiet and holding the self in kindness and tenderness for acknowledging the pain and discomforts that we might/are going through.This practice of holding ourselves in compassion and kindness opens up the path to loving and honouring ourselves and then outwards to others.

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