I resonate with all those who are suffering severely in this winter months.My heart opens in compassion for the lonely(those who have lost loved and dear ones,to those about to lose loved ones through terminal illnesses)the heartbroken,the disabled,the seniors,the sick,the poor,the homeless,the mentally challenged,victims of bully and hatred,anger and violence,to those women,children and victims of war-torn countries….how much of suffering they endure in the worst of terrorized circumstances.To all of us tormented by fear and our lives disrupted by the dreaded spread of covid-19.I sit in quietness and breathe in and out offering sincere good wishes(prayers)for all our safety and protection and end of suffering.May all beings be free of suffering.
Most endearing to my heart is the remembrance of my time walking on the streets of Eastside Downtown Vancouver especially so in this cold,windy,rainy and sometimes snowy times of the winter months where I would walk for 4-5 nights a week being with women and men as well,who would sell and abuse their bodies,intoxicate themselves with heavy drug usage and have no inkling about life or death.These winter months are the worst for them….to stand in the cold and be drenched in rain/snow…..almost inhuman,how and what they subject themselves into just to make some money to feed their various hardcore cravings. Underneath all those atrocities and sufferings….there is a human heart filled with a potential to open to Love.Although they might be condemned or judged for their own mistakes and faults and transgressions….we too share the same transgressions to a much more contained extent.They are mothers,wives, sisters,daughters,sons,fathers and loved ones,left downtrodden,homeless and forgotten.Most of them have/had scarred their bodies so grotesquely.Most lost their teeth,their bodies ravaged by needle marks and scabs and infected wounds,some were beautiful(thru photos they kept and shown to me)and now unrecognizable!No matter what, the Christmas season is always painful for them. The sadness they faced of being separated from children and loved ones,owning up to their follies and mistakes but too caught up with the addictions.Not being able to celebrate the festive season,they talk of their unworthiness and self-loathing, low esteem.There are also the hardened cynical ones who would speak crudely of the Christmas festivities.As I walked,tears would sometimes run down my cheeks….there was nothing I could do……..I brought along my opened heart,to give hugs,a kiss,a hand to hold and caress,a listening ear,my shoulders to cry on,a few words of comfort,my stilled presence and a quiet inner compassionate disposition.
I share a story of Alice,known for her violence and had assualted someone with a pair of scissors.During my walk on the streets, I noticed Alice(after a while,I got to know most of them personally) with a big infected boil the size of a grape on one of her wrist.I offered to take her to emergency.She reluctantly agreed,so I told her to wait for me after I have completed my routine walk.She was waiting for me as I had told her surprisingly.As soon as she came into my car,she demanded for a certain sum of money.I calmly declined.She was escalating and kept demanding angrily, refusing to go to the emergency as planned.I saw in her hand she had a sharp-edged hairbrush.I remained collected and declined to give any money.She threatened to beat someone to get money, she also shouted that she was going to rob a store to get the money.By then, she was banging hard on the dashboard,screaming/shouting profanities insisting for money.I told her that she could do whatever she wanted to do but I am not going to give her any money to buy drugs.I gently reminded her that I cared for her and promised to take her to emergency to help treat her infected wrist.I was aware she had the hairbrush in her hand.Soon tears flowed down my face and she could see my sadness,that I was adamant to not give her money despite her fury.She stopped and walked out my car banging the door so hard upon exit.I drove away crying as usual for both our sufferings.
One day after a few weeks of not seeing her on the streets,she was standing at her usual corner and approached me,gave me a hug and a handmade rosary.What joy that brought to my heart.She later left for another location and I never saw her again.
Whatever we need to feel in this moment,we allow ourselves to feel.Let the pain,grief, hurt,disappointments,loss,betrayals and joys open the path into the Heart and break open its door.Let yourself be not afraid of opening into the heart,for it is wise and knows how to fully feel its capacity and work its way to healing.When we fear to break the Heart,we block the True path to God(Love).
Whereas when we depend on the continuous troubled state of the mind,it finds ways only to escape the afflictions thus prolonging pain and suffering, trapping us in clinging and hankering for happy, pleasureable and false enticements.
No matter what we may think,feel or believe ourselves to be,we are Pure energy of Love and Consciousness,incapable of deliberate injurious intentions! And while we travel along the journey of life,it is a purpose to find our way into the Heart to witness,be and live that Truth of who we are and so make the world around us a brighter place to be in for ourselves and all those we associate with.
Can we truly reflect on this…..if we do not have love,joy and kindness to offer of ourselves…who or what are we?
Some of us may have come across many times in our lives to hear of the words ‘spiritual journey’ and others may have no clue or have no regard of these words and what it means.To some it could conjure a frightening sense of it to be all a supernatural type of thing not for the faint -hearted or perhaps religious practices meant for extraordinary people or even ascertained as sanctimonious pursuits to reach a goal of ‘holiness’.So therefore we shun and disregard the word spiritual altogether.
As long as some of us might belong/practice or belief in a religious tradition or the some of us who are not affliated to any one religious tradition….we carry on with our daily lives as per usual forgetting who we truly are!
The spiritual journey is but a simple,direct, authentic process without a goal or pursuit of any kind of state or title.We can change the word journey to become adventure,thus call it ‘spiritual-adventure’.It is a True Love story,a love affair with ourselves,for ourselves to be of benefit to everyone,yes, even to those who cause harm and dislike us!We see ourselves as a noble,courageous and benevolent knight battling compassionately to release the imprisoned self from ‘demons'(the pain and suffering of fears, hatred,anger,greed, selfishness,jealousies,resentments,guilt, unhealthy habitual traits,and afflicted states,cravings/desires,attachment,etc.)The knight is seen bravely and lovingly removing toxic energies blocking the path into the knowing/witnessing of who we truly are…The True Self,we can call it ‘God/Godliness’ as in the attributes of Pure Awareness,Love(compassion), Wisdom and child-like innocent/simplistic Joy(our original state of being).
When the knight devotedly, valiantly and nobly enters the battlefield to truly,sincerely fight for the cause of Love,Peace and Kindness,the war is won and the True Self is revealed and joyously benefited by all who are wise to discern its Truth.When the battle is ‘won’,the warrior has found Freedom from unnecessary/wasteful suffering and True love(compassion),kindness and peace,the Heart is open,never to be shut again.
Most of us have heard this saying…’ignorance is bliss’.It can also mean to be oblivious to be open to the Truth.We tend to be afraid of knowing what is true,the truth that we keep hidden within the recesses of our being,we can call this our ‘dark secrets’.Playing ignorant and pretentious of our lives,this help protect our ‘cushy’lifestyle and keep us safe in our comfort-zones,of people and things and situations we are used to surrounding ourselves with.Most often,these comfort-zones that we hoard no longer serve us meaningfully or give us purposeful living,yet we go on wasting energy pretending to enjoy and be seemingly happy with our lives on the surface.In truth, the undercurrent within us is in turmoil and disturbed.
We need answers,we need comfort,we need knowledge,a direction,a guidance to the truth of our purpose in Life.Yet we dismiss and ignore the very very quiet nudging that beckons us to take stock,to halt and listen,to pay attention,to relax and care for our true needs.We are in truth succumbing to the fear of losses, rejection,more pain and enduring suffering,of changes,of being ridiculed and taunted and of the mysterious Unknown!And there is also the fact and difficult task of ‘how to begin and what to do!’
I faced these dilemmas most of my adult life, knowing quietly that I was intensely suffering,yet not knowing how to deal with it,what to do with the truth of my suffering.The more I struggled with suffering,the more it seemed to follow me and caused me more anger and hatred of myself.I was in fact truly ignorantly looking for love,to be loved and to love!I didn’t realize at the time that Love was already within me and this separation and ignorance caused so more much pain and suffering.How did I begin the waking up to truth?I had to acknowledge and admit firstly that I was indeed suffering and trying hard to suppress its gravity and being dangerous to myself and others.Here being dangerous means that as we unconsciously suffer needlessly,we impose our pain upon others either unknowingly or deliberately to cause suffering in ways of worries, anxieties and distress or even by drastic measures in ways of violence,mental,emotional,sexual abuses and insanity.I had to sincerely surrender the ignorance and seek the help needed to be freed from pain and suffering. I went fervently on a daily basis to sit in reflection of my life in a quiet church and pour my heartaches and foolishness into the unknown.And as I sat, I realized I was delving deeply into my being,witnessing the truth of myself.This endeavour became the start of meditation practices…a true Love affair with myself.This sublime process drew me deeper into myself,seeing all my imperfections, flaws,mistakes,hidden ‘dark secrets’as well as goodness.Instead of judging and churning negative criticism of myself……I started opening up to compassion and forgiveness of myself.Tears flowed profusely in remorse and shame and of knee high buried guilt.All I could do was embrace myself in totality of the truth,freeing/releasing myself of denials and holding on to toxic afflicted energies.
As I meditated,I loved myself for the courage and the truth that I was able to face.And this truth in return sets us all free from unnecessary/wasteful suffering.
There was a special time,a time when my friend Doug and I walked with our hearts on the streets of ‘dangerous’ Downtown East side Vancouver,British Columbia,Canada,spiritually befriending the downtrodden,outcasts of society,prostitutes and drug addicts.I never felt threatened or unsafe or repulsed by the ‘dark activities’going on in that area.Who am I to judge or think that I was a ‘hero’trying to save them.NO! I was not there trying to play saviour or speak of a God or spread religiosity to try to convert them.
I was in fact there to learn from them,to be challenged in real-life learning lessons ……to break my heart open to the terrorizing,painful suffering that I relate with them in a different scenario.Humility was the biggest lesson I had to cherish as it was not easy sometimes to be hurled with obscenities and with their rough,crude and toughened mannerisms.I learned to love sincerely, to hold them, to accept them in whatever state they were in,to laugh and cry and share with them and kiss them and wipe away their tears,allow their tears to flow on my jacket/shirt.Most of them are infected with the Aids/Hiv virus and were scarred with sores and visible infected marks on their bodies.It could be very unsightly to look at,I never saw it as a hindrance to be with them.To look into their eyes and tell them that they are loved and not to be afraid.It was a joyful,fulfilling time when they would run and rush forward to be hugged and held and smiled at,there was a tiny one(Doug and I would call her little Ashu) who simply liked jumping on my back like a little monkey.
There were also disheartening times when they would shun,deny and reject any form of kindly contact.
Despite the subtle chaotic,harmful violence being visibly witnessed through the self inflicted suffering these people are causing to themselves(by way of openly shooting up,overdosing,dealing in drugs,watching the johns and ladies engaging in bargaining for sexual favours,yelling and screaming profanities,the frequent sounds of screeching,deafening ambulance/police sirens) ;I walked through the streets in peaceful and loving expression not of or for their activities but in compassion for their pain and ignorant/wasteful suffering.From witnessing these painful states, I was gaining access into my own self-created and unnecessary sufferings and vowed to purify myself of misery.Suffering helps us to look into suffering and then its up to us to want healing for it.
Once Doug,who remains a dear friend till today,invited his friend a priest(Fr.River) from Seattle,USA to join us in walking on the streets.While walking Fr.River suggested that we have a celebration of Mass right there out on the streets.Both Doug and I were joyous at the idea!So we stopped in front of a McDonald’s fast food joint and bought whatever we could to use,bread for communion host,probably pop in paper cups as wine and we spread paper napkins on the ‘dirty’floor.We sat on the floor in peaceful reverence for that sacred ceremony while chaos was going on right there around us.We gently invited the people on the streets to come join in if they liked to.To our surprise,some did respectfully sit with us to celebrate that lovely,lovely time of meaningful celebration of love on the streets.Fr.River showed courage,sincere fearlessness flexibility,spontaneity,humility,kindness and a true healing/sharing and peaceful spirit in the face of subtle violence and confusion.
As I look at this experience, I envision what the historical Jesus Christ would have done in his time and era as he was going about teaching, sharing and projecting peacefulness in the time of hatred,strife and anger over the Roman rule of his country Jerusalem.Despite violence and plotting against the Romans(Romans against the Jews and vice versa), Jesus taught compassion,charity, kindness,forgiveness and peaceful resolutions…..he taught only to look Within the Self to find the ‘Kingdom of Heaven in there’He did not bother with the chaos going on nor did he encourage anger and hatred.He invited people to find healing within themselves.
So what can we learn from this……do we get influenced by the turmoil going on in the present day world or do we find peace and love and compassion to offer to the pain of the world?
What do we witness,when we look externally,outwardly,away from ourselves?We see the world in chaos which includes the pain and suffering of those we are intimate with,close to,within our family,friends and social circles.Are we being aware of it or do we take it for granted that there is nothing we can do!
Honestly,are we being affected adversely,influenced negatively and drowning quietly,as though struggling against the strong current of confusion,self-doubt,self-limitations,hatred, resentments,anger,fear and depression.
Somehow, we may feel that by engaging and getting caught up with the distractions of the world and standing by helplessly/hopelessly seeing the pain of others it gives us a sense of temporary relief from witnessing our own inner pain.Without us touching and exposing our inner pain……how do we find resolutions for true healing,peaceful states and living in a conducive loving environment?If we first don’t find healing and peace within ourselves,how do we bring,teach,speak and share peace and compassion to and for others?How will the world find healing and peace?We can start with ourselves first,to look honestly within and then we bring that healing out into the world as however little or much.
How beautiful and magnificent it is when a soul wakes up from
deep slumber to listen to the call of its own voice of Truth.Not only does it wake up,it wakes up to wake up the ‘unconsciousness’ of others!
To all of us with no separation of culture, religion,
race, or gender; and to all of us who are rich or poor,
happy or sad, educated or uneducated, sick or healthy, …
I am one with all and all are one with me.
Within we are the same.
We have a heart with the full capacity to
love, to be of support, and to pray for each other.I pray that we take time to be quiet and listen
to ourselves and our needs spiritually, emotionally,
physically, and mentally.
I pray we be not afraid to ask for what we need for
the good of our spirit and that our hearts may be enriched
with strength, not to be harmed and not to harm.
I pray that we may not feel too vulnerable or weak
to say “I am sorry” or ask forgiveness or forgive with
I pray we strive to find peace and healing in the face
of suffering and pain.
I pray we see the beauty within us and use that
beauty to beautify this world with activities and
creativities of love and peace.
I pray we not look at humility as weakness or
as being losers but instead as having the power and
strength to take the first step to initiate spiritual change.
~~~~~~excerpt from the book To Resurrect the True self, page 135
Over the last few weeks and months,what have we truly witnessed in our lives?Did we see pain and suffering,aggression,hatred and anger,frustrations,anxieties, worries,sickness and perhaps deaths of others,friends,relatives,strangers,maybe people we don’ like?What importance have we been giving so much adulation,attention,focus upon? The world was and is still drawing our energies and human goodness focusing greatly on the political scene and pandemic.Do we not feel tired and drained of suffering itself? What do we truly want or how can we truly find peace in exchange for all the confusion and chaos we are being disturbed with?Can we not for once retreat/relate into and draw within ourselves, into our own beautiful inner being,walk into our spiritual realm and bring out one innate wondrous attribute to share with others or witness in ourselves?Why are we afraid to raise,wake up and live out that inherent beauteous God,Christ, Krishna, Atman, Buddha,Brahman,Universal Consciousness from within ourselves to promote healing, peace and compassion.Why is it that we are not afraid to speak and behave unkindly, crudely, critically,fearfully,judgmentally and ignorantly?
We can be creators of loving-kindness,benevolence,respect,truth,selflessness and understanding.
We can choose to destroy selfishness,unkindness,resentments,anger,disrecpect and greed.
We can restore harmony into our lives and the lives of others
All we need is the tool of practicing Self-Awareness!
It is so easy,wherever we are, whomever we are with,however we are, in whatever we are doing,right here and now…..we can practice watching ourselves,being mindful and aware.
One small random act of kindness can help encourage and disseminate the uplifting of Human Consciousness which brings spiritual healing and courage.Fear on the other hand limits and traps us in a realm of meaninglessness.