When we experience any kind of loss,despair and disappointments….we grieve,we feel the aching of the heart, anger arises,we hurt,we mourn and perhaps torment others and ourselves further.The sadness looms indefinitely!
—Do we want it to last forever?
—Will it last forever?
When we experience happiness,we laugh,we feel ‘high and frivolous’,we feel ecstatic,we celebrate,we smile and perhaps wastefully treat others.
—Can it last forever?
—Will it last forever?
When the mind is busy nattering and chattering with non-stop worries,fabricating stories of past remembraces and drifting with anxiety over future endeavours.
—Do we want it to last forever?
—Will it last forever?
When we witness suffering within us, around us and to those close and dear to us.
—Do we want it to last forever?
—Will it last forever?
Will we want only to be an island of selfish happiness surrounded by an ocean of misery?Or can and will we make a change and be a lighthouse of selfless love, wisdom, joy,kindness and peace to share with others and be a source of comfort,strength,courage and hope for ourselves and others?
Could we perhaps reflect…does our happiness depend on others or external circumstances or can we have a glimpse of bringing it out from Within?
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).
When we are so habitually dependent to identify with and believe on the state of the troubled mind,we find ways only to escape the afflictions thus prolonging pain and suffering.We are thus kept trapped 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,we have a sole purpose to find our way into the Heart to witness,be and live that Truth of who we Truly are! And so we can assist to make the world around us a brighter place to be in for ourselves and all those who live in it.
Can we truly reflect on this…..if we do not have love,joy and kindness to offer of ourselves…who or what are we?
There is a kaleidoscope of beauty we can meet within us when we truly sit in mindful breathing, contemplation/meditation to be aware of ourselves.Whatever our external circumstances are,we have these precious gems of Love, Wisdom and Joy within awaiting to be witnessed and utilized.Instead of discounting all the beauty we are, we can start opening up to it and make it a reality,to activate it in various ways and be creative when we have a glimpse of it.
That’s how we can start breaking the barriers down from our hearts that blocks us from truly living fearlessly,truthfully and wholesomely!
(This was written at the onset of covid in March 2020)
I truly love this picture taken by my sister,Nina on her kindly rounds looking for the homeless to feed in this dreadful time of the virus.It is a beautiful picture that depicts not of mockery or sympathy but one of charity,both sides helping one another.The one in the picture is giving the one taking the picture a chance to do a deed of benevolence.What I like most in the picture is the tin of cookies that Nina left on the bag for him to eat! A small act of kindness and courage to walk on the streets during this time when everyone else is at home.Some may think it to be a foolish deed during this time but I feel it is a noble act.
Very often while Nina and I used to drive around ,she would point out to me these homeless and broken people and say to me….”these are my people!”.She used to tell me that she would like to buy food for them on her ‘payday’ and hand it out to them.I encourage her,never even for once being afraid because of the crisis going on.So she did it and I admire her for it.I write to tell of her story not because she is my sister but because this picture is a picture of beauty of the heart,a work of compassion and kindness in action.
This is what Nina says in her own words……..”What can we do for these people, I call them my people, lost, no place to call home and just high on drugs. Oh I’m sure the government have tried to help them but I’m sure they probably refused the help because of their mental state of mind afflicted by depression, rejection,desperation and tormented by the grips of addiction and worthlessness.In these time of Covid and still very cold outside, quite a few just fall straight to sleep on alleyways and especially around 7 Eleven’s or MacDonalds. They’re humans no matter what they’ve become, hopeless downtrodden and sneered by many but they still need to eat and be cared for. I have bought a few cookies and if I should see them in my surrounding areas, I’ll offer them a tin, whether they choose to eat, it’s up to to them. I know God still cares for them and I’m happy to help in a small way, even if we only feed one, then that one survives hopefully.”
When we sincerely open our hearts to look within,what do or can we see of ourselves?
When we look at this picture what could be thoughts and emotions that might be evoked.We might think, this doesn’t happen in this day and age.Perhaps,we will feel disgust,despair,shamefulness.Yet maybe we might feel a twinge of connectedness and hopefulness we can give ourselves a chance to open our hearts to respond with humaneness to humanity itself!
I began my humble service to the hungry,homeless,poor and the less fortunate in a soup kitchen after seeing a poster in St.Paul’s church Richmond asking for volunteers.This poster came to my attention after heartfelt praying in St.Paul’s on New Years eve 1998.In that prayer time,I asked earnestly to be of use,to do something beautiful for God as like in a book by Malcolm Mudggeridge titled ‘Something beautiful for God,a life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta which I had read before.
My prayers were answered immediately….’The Door is Open’needing volunteers to serve the poor and needy,I saw this poster ,posted on the main door of the church as I walked out.I went home to respond to that call and was invited to come in the door.That day was January 2nd 1999.Thereafter, many,many more spiritual doors started to open as I faithfully journeyed deeper and deeper into myself.
I remembered that particular day,driving from my home in Richmond to the Door is Open Catholic charities centre in Vancouver which took about 35-40minutes.While driving,I felt such a deep noble humility swelling up within my being,not in a egoic way but like an extraordinary sacred simple act of transformation was about to happen.My life slowly changed spiritually and radically through this courageous humble action.I walked through that door(in the picture below) and my life was never the same again(the old self was beginning to die,the snake has started to shed its unhealthy old skin).
I was there early as told to help prepare the sandwiches for the lunch crowd.The soup was prepared by some generous,kind women who I had come to know.As soon as the meal preparation was ready, someone opened the door to the hungry crowd.I remember feeling like a servant ready to be of service not to the master but to the poor.I have never done something so humbling like this before. As they lined up one by one, I was behind the counter serving each one a bowl of hot soup and sandwhiches with a simple minded innocence and purity of heart(tears run down my cheeks as I write this to see myself relive this moment)!
At that moment of serving, I lost my sense of ego,that self-centred,delusion of grandeur feeling and the neediness that I carried wastefully for so long in my being.I was allowing humility to take over and allow me the strength to surrender and let go of wrongdoings, mistakes,and regrets of the past.I was carefully transitioning from one of the world into the spirit(inwards into the self).Something more mystically powerful was taking place.As I served, I looked at each one from my heart through my eyes into their downcast,sad and lonely eyes.It felt like the penetrating rays of the divine,piercing through my eyes into my heart and melting away the hard-packed ice that I have built blocking the pathway of my heart.I saw myself,softening in compassion and forgiveness to see so much suffering and sadness,of mine and others.
At that point, I realized that we are all one is our suffering and that we can do something by understanding, respecting and most importantly to heal and care for ourselves first in order to reach out to others to share forgiveness, peace and love.When we do something beautiful and kind,we feel beautiful and respectful of ourselves,we reclaim our worthiness and self-esteem.
As the last day of the year dawns,some of us might ponder or reflect upon the whole year to find goodness to share or witnesss unhealthy memories we might want to suppress and afraid to face again.Whatever have been of the past ,is of the past,we simply went through and experienced at that moment in time.Whats more important is the present moment,we can start opening up ourselves to learn, make changes and start afresh…..we all have the capacity/courage to forgive,make amends, heal and find peace,anything is possible!
When we truly go within ourselves,we discover there is only Love residing in each being,so therefore there is no need of fear!Whatever we will go through,there is no good or bad,we will go through with the courage to allow(accept) it to be as it would be.Come the New Year or leaving behind the old year,we will face challenges,difficulties,disasters of nature/accidents,entangled mental/emotions within the self as well as with others,physical ailments,etc…..and of course there will be happy,joyous times we want to cling on to.What do we truly want to do about the realities of life and living.We might say…..”ah! just live on,what can we do,we might also say we leave it in the hands of a God.”
In truth, we hold within ourselves,the creation, destruction and restoration of all that is good or unwholesome.If we want peace,we become creators of peace,if we want to hold on to hatred and animosity,we create it deliberately or unconsciously and make our lives miserable by it.We have the power of practicing Awareness to keep ourselves in check of all that we create,destroy or restore! There is totally no reason to deprive ourselves of enjoyments but with equanimity and balance and mindfulness,we don’t allow to be caught in its destructive habits.I myself love to have simple wholesome fun times!
I like this phrase so much…….”He who discovers his/her own self,discovers God.”
Wishing each one of you,the blessedness of welcoming the New Year 2022 with whatever each day and each moment of the year bring to you with acceptance and grace!
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!
In true wisdom of caring for oneself,is when we begin to ‘wake up’to question our human existence and purpose,when we can put forth this question…”who am I truly?” .
It is when we start to become conscious of our participation in all actions of living and ask truly….”what am I learning/gaining from doing what I am doing?”Caring for oneself becomes authentic when we start taking an interest in self-inquiry,moving slowly away from people,things and situations that no longer fulfill inner satisfaction,human growth and spiritual maturity.
To care is when we begin the need for quiet restful time and space,when we seek out knowledge from teachers of truth and search for answers that have been buried too deep within the self.To truly care for ourselves is when we make an effort to be truthful in saying that we don’t know what we are looking for but yet giving ourselves a chance to do something extra-ordinary, different,courageous,motivational and radical(sweetly shocking to others) apart from everyday mundane,customary,unfavourable, irrelevent(addictive)actions.
It is a time when we give ourselves top-priority to witness selflessness in the true act of wisdom.It is a moment when we realize we want to be a ‘better’ human in order to acknowledge our sufferings and not want to be a burden to oneself and others(not especially so to those we say we care for).
We may feel strongly about not loving ourselves or being hardened,bitter,angry,jealous,greedy,selfish,too addicted to various activities and feel that we don’t deserve to care for ourselves and so we justify our recklessness and negligences.We tell ourselves that we cannot change,we rather continue living the life we are so used to(unhappily,disharmoniously?)…but in truth NOW IS THE TIME to Care!And as humans with innate beauteous treasures Within,we CAN be awake and we can start NOW!
This caring could be going on a short retreat(organized or solo,if permitted due to covid restrictions),Joining a group counselling session(via zoom or alone with a therapist),AA/addictions associations,to be open to a spiritual group.
To be inspired to volunteer to give your time and heart in a animal shelter, a soup kitchen,food bank,any ministry in need of help that speaks to your heart’s call.
To go to the library/bookshops and be open to read self-help/spiritual books,listen to audio/visuals on teachings that speak of working with the human awakening processes/truth/wisdom.
Importantly to strive to become more honest with oneself in cultivating and practiciing kindly and humane conditions for oneself and those around us.
If we do not Care for ourselves,who can,who will?If the others are seeing that we do not care for ourselves,what impressions/teachings are we implying to them?For if we do not care for ourselves,can we say we care for others,can we say we want peace and happiness,can we be the spark to light the torch of Peace and Compassion for humanity?