To love only those you care for,to resent the enemy(those who have hurt you),and be indifferent to the stranger,these are all foolish notions.For tomorow,the one whom you care for ,turns against you,the enemy whom you resented becomes your friend and the stranger you had no concern for comes to your aid……..so love them all! Let not your heart close its door to anyone……..the heart is an abode of bountiful love………live in fairness and equality for all…….!
In memory of the love my father left behind before leaving this world…………………………
A few months before his death,(June 11th,cannot remember the year, probably more than 30 years ago)I believe my father had a near death experience…….he was found unresponsive by my mother in bed….she panicked and woke up the whole household quite late into the night and called me( I lived not far away)so I ran all the way………when I arrived he came round,he seemed in a daze.I remember he said to us children…..”why are you all here around the bed,go back to sleep,its late!”.He went back to sleep and I went home thinking he was okay.Apparently,the next day, my father told my mother that he saw himself in a beautiful garden filled with bright light and that he had seen his parents and loved ones who had passed long before………………
Secretly I liked my father’s story,I did not disbelief him for I knew he wouldnt know how to make up stories like that and besides he used to yell at us children if he thought we were telling lies…..he constantly reminded us not to tell lies…the one thing he detested very strongly!
After that late night incident, my father seemed to be more subdued in his demeanor,almost like his personality changed overnight ….he became quieter,softer,reserved almost contemplative and he could be seen holding and reading a prayer book most of the time.
It seems that sides had been switched,my mother used to be the quiet one and my father was the ‘yeller’,always jumpy, concerned ,worried,scolding and trying to keep us children in order,yet I loved his good side of kindness,simplicity,prayerfulness and friendliness to all who came to the home.
But it appeared that mother now became the one to ‘jump’ and nagged at us children after father turned quiet…….one particular story to relate about the change in my father is………
The story of us two older rascals,my sister Nina, myself and my late ex husband Frank….we enjoyed very much to take short trips away to Tioman Island in Malaysia for snorkelling,sunbathing/swimming,fishing and hiking adventures.One time while we were having a snorkelling fiesta,all three of us almost drowned due to a strong current that came up suddenly,Frank and I managed to swim back to the boat but Nina could still be seen struggling for her life……a lady from the boat threw a buoy to her and jumped in to the water to rescue her….we came home and told each other that we better not tell daddy about this near drowning mishap….all too soon the truth came out……we were surprised to see that it was my mother who went raving mad about the near drowning incident and my father was cool and calm and he told my mother….”as long as they came back safe and sound,thats all that matters”……..wow! we saw the big change in my father,something spiritually mysterious happened to him that night for sure!
Another lovely thing I vividly remembered of my father before he was taken to the hospital ICU for congestive heart failure after the ‘near-death’ experience months before was that he began asking for forgiveness from almost everyone who came into his contact,family, friends,acquiantances ,practically anyone he met…….it was a very humbling gesture to witness from my perspective now,but at that time,I didnt see it as a time for him to be humble but saw it as some sort of foolishness on his part..…
I see it now as he must have known his time was ending and needed to make peace with everyone.As I write this,I can truly see his good and charitable heart and the legacy he left for us to learn from!
I remember while he was in hospital…..I would visit him,sit beside him quietly and we both would not say a word……the silence spoke of my quiet love for him and I believed he knew it!
Not long after his hospital discharge, he passed away very suddenly and very peacefully on my mother;s shoulder while preparing food for my brothers before their going to school.
He was very young…..62years,only one year older than me now.
Strangely,my father had a premonition that he was going leave us ….as the night before his death,he went round the dining table while we the family were having dinner….he went to each one,touched us on the shoulder and told us to take care of ourselves…to my mother he said to her “I will take care of you”…to which I do believe, my mother was well taken care of after his passing.To my sister in law,Coco,he asked for a dance, he liked to show off his skills at tap dancing.
That night he left us with a caring reminder of himself….. the last dinner I had with my father……….
I say thank you daddy for the love you left us, a silent love that was well meant .If there was one thing I would do with you if you were alive today will be to sit and say the rosary with you! I know you will definitely love that very much!
My father never did see his grandchildren or great-granchildren but knowing his tender heart he would have showered them all with love and spoilt them rotten!
He was a loving man!
Every moment of our lives, we can do something beautiful……especially when we feel alone, when we feel down,when we feel restless,we can simply look within ourselves and find one small positive attribute of kindness to give away…….from within …..a smile, a word, a spontaneous act, a small donation to a charity,a walk in nature to see the birds, to hear the leaves rustling and feel that we are blessed.When we kiss our child, our grandchild, when we can embrace ourselves in tenderness to know that we can feel and relate to the suffering of others….when we can caress our pets and know that we can care …….when we can listen to a spiritual word of comfort and know that there are teachers of truth who are available on the internet, thru books…we can open up ourselves to knowledge and ways to find healing for ourselves in courses and therapies…..so we are not alone to deal with our pains and inner difficulties………there is always a friend somewhere to help guide us and be with us …if only we ask, we seek and we knock,perhaps on heaven’s door ……….we also can be humble and grateful for the love we already are Within……….we can always open to love and be loved when we are not afraid to allow love lead the way……….
“we do not have a fear of the unknown,what we fear is giving up the known”
~~~~ Anthony de Mello~~~( Jesuit priest,psychotherapist,spiritual teacher and writer)
What is this unknown that we as humans have a tendency to fear?
We seem to go on in life thinking that we are fearless, we carry out our duties and respsonsibilities with brazenness,we are doing or think we have done the best we can in our daily living,eg.we think we made through a divorce or two,took on a few heartaches,survived cancer or other health ailments/treatments for ourselves or loved ones,we have a job,we work hard,we might have lost a job we liked,we are successful, invested our monies in the bank,we take care of our family’s present and future welfare,we dared secure ourselves a property, maybe two,enjoyed ourselves partying,travelling and socialising,we maybe living in a ‘happy’/’unhappy’ family situation,coped with difficult family dysfunctionalities and faced many life changing challenges,weathered a few storms,followed through our religious practices and beliefs or even disbeliefs……..etc.etc………………
And we learn to go on simply pursuing the same traits over and over,thinking thats all in life we do or did and thats good enough and we go on as usual trying to be the same,trying to enjoy and cling onto the same feelings,sensations, escapades and coping mechanisms to survive day to day living.While all of the above are living conditions that we as human beings go through and face on a what seemingly ‘normal’ circumstance…..yes, life can become unsatisfactory and feel meaningless after a short/long while……………..
Then sometime,sooner or later we find that life situations are changing or had changed, we suddenly feel like we’ve been hit by a truck,so hard hit,we say to ourselves, we don’t feel the same anymore and the things and people don’t seem the same anymore.We find that we are losing friends,loved ones,people whom we thought were good to us are behaving adversely,we suddenly feel like they don’t like us or we don’t like them,our children leave the home,we no longer can tolerate doing the same things we used to enjoy before.
It feels like we are dying?And yes in truth this is a real ‘dying’ sensation within,no more vitality in life,a big void and empty feeling within…..some may resort to suicidal ideation and plans because this feeling of death is poignantly overwhelming!Depression sets in……..drained of energy to function,no motivation to deal or face day to day activities,life becomes moody,volatile and irritable…no matter how much people try to help and be of cheer…there is an ache deep within that cannot seem to be appeased.The call for self attention is dismissed……we keep looking externally for answers,happiness and temporary ephemeral ‘comforts’.
What is this dying feeling about? Deep down in our core….we know we need a change but yet have no idea how to change or grow from this ‘deathly’feeling.In truth,we are being called to die to the ego(falseness,past conditions)….the still small voice within is beckoning,the voice of Truth is being stifled and wants to be heard and Love wants to come forth to be nurtured and flourish and utilised and lived openly to its full capacity.The frozen heart wants to be thawed and become warm and beat alive again!But will we let the ice thaw and allow the heart to love fully?When the heart is so frozen,its only natural we feel a death-like sensation,an unable to live feeling!
Very often we can get carried away with fear,in the knowing that we need to do something to open up a space in order to be filled with better positive things but that fear freezes us…the fear of change, of letting go of the ‘old’way of living,of dying to stale and unhealthy habitual patterns,of toxic people,of opening new doors to a healthier lifestyle and environment.It feels frightening like jumping into a raging river and swimming against the strong current………..we fear challenges and we fear we don’t have the energy to handle new situations,we fear of the ‘what ifs’,fear of failures and of being ridiculed…..so we continue living in the ‘old skin’…it feels ‘safer’and familiar,although we don’t like it anymore!
Yet, we keep coping and struggling and battling our own soul sickness………….Some can go on all their lives pretending and playing martyr and biting their tongues,while others will go on making others lives miserable together with their own.And yet there will be others who will be wise and courageous to acknowledge their dissatisfactions and venture out into the unknown to seek help, change and spiritual growth.
We have known all of our lives to run away,to hide from,to escape when things go wrong or when we cannot deal with physical,emotional and life changing dilemmas.So when it becomes difficult we have learned expertly to bury our feelings,numb the mind/emotions,yes we have heard and been told to not cry,to not show our feelings,to get on with life(move on)…so all our buried energies are embedded within us,trapped like a caged animal! We therefore unconsciously learned to put a shield around our hearts,we become colder and colder as the ‘ice’ thickens. We think that by numbing the heart its a way to not feel hurt or be made unhappy or see the guilts and past shames and mistakes?
We are so habituated by the known….things we are familiar living with and doing all our lives…..we don’t want to know anything beyond that familiarity and mindset patterns……..we therefore cannot see our own full potential human capacity to live with the open compassionate heart unafraid to love and face any kind of unknown possibilities that might lead to full awakening to self realization and enlightenment…therefore peace and joy to self and others…………..
So what is this voice that calls…where does it call from…who is it calling to?Can we hear this voice?
This voice is our innate true original being,the truth that sits within,the pure conscience and consciousness that has not been marred by external distractions and worldly seductions/ disturbances.It is the unfragmented self,untouched by the duality of mind and heart conditions…in other words it is the One Universal Consciousness also called The Soul force, God, Atman,Brahman,Allah,Jehovah,Love and various other names according to religious traditions.
It is the voice of Love that calls us to come home Within ourselves,journey inside ourselves,to come taste and experience its wondrous everlasting beauty and brilliance that cannot be compared to the fleeting pleasures of the world….to be not afraid…it is only love, the gentle,tender,commpassionate,understanding and benevolent energies that is inherently waiting for us to utilise and open up to its full potential…..so it already knows us….there is nothing to be afraid of that unknown door within ourselves……………….
How do we access that door and listen closely to the call?
We come to a quiet,when we can learn to take courage and effort to rest our minds, our bodies and senses.When we can focus on the breath and be aware of our thoughts,our actions, our speech,our feelings/emotions and our intentions……..are they all well meaning for goodness and the betterment of ourselves and others or do we carry resentments,ill-wills, anger and selfishness,greed,lust and subtle hatred for self and others……we don’t need to judge ourselves and think anything bad of ourselves(there is Love in-built already within us,how can we be terrible)….but we can make it better if we strive to change the negative affictive mental,emotional,spiritual and physical outlook into positive attitudes and self growth….we can only nurture and nourish ourselves so Love can flourish!
Negative affictions are toxic and wasteful and heavy and burdensome on the psyche,why are we ever so ‘happy’ to hold onto to them?
How can Love be the voice we are frightened of…it calls sweetly…yet we resist, we defend,we fight against and deny….yet contradictory,we say we love?
How can we learn to be unafraid to enter the unknown door?
We can open the door to benevolence,we can make a move to step out of our mundane ordinary lives and living and be attentive to the happenings within and without ourselves,we can do something extra-ordinary for a friend, a stranger,a loved one perhaps even an ‘enemy’and do something ‘radical’ to make them happy for the sake of happiness and not for a selfish motive.
We can open the door of courage to make amends,we can make a call to someone we have been estranged for a long time and say sorry or to forgive or to simply say and see how they are doing.
We can visit the sick, donate to the poor, do some charitable act,we open the door of kindness.
When we have the tendency to jealousy and pride, we can open the door to being humble and receptive to being friendly and creating healthy friendships.
We can open the door to changes by doing something we were hesitant doing,we could join a spiritual group for meditation and prayer to enrich our inner life.We can also take interests and be open to listening to talks and reading books which we never thought we could/would understand, we could also stay open and versatile to others’ religious teachings.
When we have the tendency to anger and hatred,we could open the door to being understanding and respectful of life and to feel compassionate tenderness towards self and others.
When we have fears of doing things on our own and dependent on others for help,we could venture out on our own reach out to others and give ourselves access to new ideas and creativity of the heart.
In other words, we can open any door that we have always had an inclination to be afraid of….we can give ourselves a chance to act with courage and not be afraid of failures,or taking less or losing or what others might think/feel/do.Thus it helps us jump hurdles and blockages along the path of life and evolve positively forward to healthier lifestyles and spiritual growth.We can learn to simplify our lives in order to find peace and contentment in our daily lives.
Opening the door of the unknown helps us overcome our fears and insecurities and pushes us into another step to test, acknowledge and to witness our potential inner strength,fortitude,forbearance,courage and positive capabilities.Of course there is a difference in opening the door to testing ourselves foolishly in childish,reckless and dangerous activities….this is only what we call tempting fate!
I remember years and years ago when I was involved in a car accident I was driving involving family and friends being not too seriously injured….yes initially, I was afraid to be in the driver’s seat…but was told that in order to overcome the fear…I had to hold the wheel and drive again…which I did and regained self confidence.
We need to keep opening unknown doors in order to see, listen and walk into ourselves to find our true potential so that we can make a positive difference in this human life to be a living testimony to benefit ourselves and others….to be ambassadors of Peace and Love!
All it takes is one small candle to light up a darkened room! Love is the lighted candle we take into the dark unknown room…………..then the unknown will become the known…..fear will leave!
I love you for who you are……..
because who you are is also who I Am…..
When you suffer…..I suffer too,because I recognise my own suffering and weaknesses so I feel compassion and relate to your discomforts and un-ease………
When you are happy….I rejoice,because the environment Is joyful and light-hearted and I too have experienced and know what’s its like to feel happiness.
When we behave kindly,joyfully and respectfully,the atmosphere around is blessed,people feel at ease and unburdened…..adversely,people can become jealous and malicious,because they are suffering and don’t like to see or believe in happiness,thus they unconsciously and deliberately sabotage others’happiness and goodness…because they are suffering,they want others to suffer too and the cycle goes on…..hurting begets more hurting……unhappiness creates more unhappiness…………….hatred and anger agitate more hatred and anger……..the wheel cannot seem to stop!
When the world suffers in wars,nuclear threats,natural catastrophes,materialism and greed,unjust control of power,bullying/terrorism,abuse and cruelty of sorts to humans,animals and nature,famine/poverty and together with each our own personal unrest at home,with friendships,society,at work,educational places,religious organisations etc………..we are all affected to some degree.
We might not realise it but when we look deeply within ourselves we react disturbingly to suffering around.We react through our thoughts/intentions……….we may resent someone(it could be someone we say we care for) and unreasonably get mad,blame,taunt and wish ill-will upon them simply at the way they look,they dress,they laugh,they walk,even when they are sick etc.etc………….
We may react adversely to suffering through our words,speech and voice……sometimes we might find ourselves being agitated for no apparent reason,we might pick on someone close and say something harsh,hurtful,sarcastic,offensive,rough,obnoxious and unreasonable without understanding and thinking through.We not only hurt another but resist to soften up to sincere apologies and making amends even after realising the wrongdoing.
Another way we react to suffering is through our action or inaction……..we can become bullies,needy and needing to control without even becoming aware of what we are doing to others or even to ourselves.We allow anger and aggression to overcome us,anger and aggression doesnt necessarily have to be physically violent but a subtle violence of witholding care and concern for another and self by way of not wanting to nourish the body,mind and spirit,not wanting to seek help eventhough,life is being more and more miserable and unhappy and depressive.We run away into a world of delusion by way of addictions….anything done obssesively without any care for the well-being of self and others……drugs,alcohol, sexual pleasures,entertainment,fun,work,food,etc.etc….we retreat into a selfish realm of self hatred,hardness and meanness…………
We react to suffering through our feelings and emotions…….feeling drained and helpless,life is meaningless,sadness,worst still,we overcome ourselves with self hatred and anger at the suffering we see and hear and than unconsciously we punish ourselves by putting ourselves down,not feeling good about ourselves,treating ourselves and others badly sometimes rudely and inconsiderately for all the guilts and shame and fears we face…and thus we need an outlet……we need to feel good superficially and temporarily……..we need to pretend and generate lies that we are happy,we want others to think that we are busy enjoying life,we are afraid to ask even if we don’t have any idea about the truth,we don’t want to look foolish,we need to be seen as clever.We hide our vulnerabilities and true essence of goodness/kindness and generosity to avoid being taken advantage of.On the other hand,our physical demeanor might appear hardened and tough and rigid/cold,aggressive to appear of being in control/or having control of our lives and to give a feeling that no-one can ‘play the fool’with us.
We have a heart,we can feel,we can care…..we have a physical heart like everyone which can be afflicted with various medical ailments…..whether with a healthy or unhealthy heart condition,it will stop some day and we will inevitably face death!
We have a mind,we can think and reason,we are able to recognise and be cognizant..……. there are millions who are afflicted with mental illnesses…we all might relate to one in particular …..the wandering/restless mind!
We have a body,we have sensations,we have some form of physical strength and vitality……………there might be a time when the body gives way to bad health,cancers,diseases of bones and skin,etc…..one in particular,we all share is aging!Some may want to slow the aging process of way of all kinds of chemicals,drugs, surgical implants and operations,but can they?
We each have a soul,a sacred space for goodness and a Higher purpose…………..innately within each human is the potential for awakening to the truth of ourselves and enlightenment.Every sentient being has the inherent capacity to unfold the Highest Good within themselves for the benefit of oneself and the whole of humanity…….
But we all think we are different from each other …..we may be different in our skin color,our culture,our climate,our gender,our status in family/society,our religious/educational beliefs,our personal,physical,mental and emotional outlook.
In truth….we suffer the same mental/emotional anguish and torments,fearfulness,worries/anxieties,resentments,bitterness,upheavels,depression and lethargy,anger/frustrations,jealousies,selfishness,/greed,need for control/attention, lust and covetousness,excitements and mood swings,unhappiness,addictive behaviours……..underneath all these afflictions….we as sentient beings are craving for love and happiness……..
What is the root of happiness….it is in the dissolution of ignorance and un-necessary suffering.
When we become dependent upon external factors for happiness and love,when we are expecting others and various excitements to fulfill our selfish needs and dissatisfactions,we will constantly be going through the wheel of samsara(suffering).But when we strive to see who we truly are within,we witness the truth of our existence and there find our divine essence of love,peace and happiness.
Strangely enough,we say we want happiness and love,but yet we do not allow ourselves the courage to change to be creators of love and happiness.We wallow in self doubts and put limitations on ourselves to go beyond our mundane everyday duties and activities.We tend to be judgemental and critical of our own capabilities to do something phenomenal such as opening our hearts to its full potential! And we go about our lives finding faults with everything and everyone else and with ourselves too.What have we got to be afraid of in seeing our own true nature….don’t we want to know who we truly are?What are we doing to make for ourselves and others a happy,peaceful and loving atmosphere?
All of us on this human journey are here to be of help and support for each other,to be teachers and students,to learn and to teach till we awaken to our true nature.In life and various living situations,we have been gifted with all kinds of people…….. strangers,people we love, people we don’t care for, people we avoid,people we are inevitably connected to,people who pass us by only once,people who make trouble for us,people, we have a tendency to resent and even hate,people who make us happy and comforting,these are our true teachers on this journey……….we have to face each one and learn from them…we too in return are teaching life lessons back to each one of them.We each are given a chance to be learning and teaching patience,forgiveness,to be generous,kind, humble,courageous,tolerant,trusting,accepting,faithful,compassionate,loving,understanding, respectful,simple and helpful until the heart opens its full capacity to Love without expecting any gains in return…in other words until it becomes unconditional!
In truth we cannot change anyone or any traumatic situation around the world,we have only our own self to change first.As the saying goes…..’we cannot change the course and direction of the wind but we can adjust the sails accordingly’,for if we try to go against the wind,the boat will surely capsize!
No good or positive actions in words, thoughts/intentions,emotions and deeds will be ever be wasted…..the seeds have been planted,we don’t go digging up to see if its taking root or wilting away……..everyone and everything will evolve accordingly to ‘karma’….as the Buddha and Jesus said,we reap what we sow. If we want happiness and peace and love,we have to be the happiness, peace and love!
We can begin to sow and cultivate good seeds by starting within ourselves,by taking responsibility to be aware of how we go about our lives and how we interact with others,we can nurture goodness by way of changes to ourselves to all that we do not deem caring and beneficial to ourselves and others…..we have to start with ourselves for no one will come and give us happiness,peace or love…..and even if they did try to,we sabotage its potency with the false perception of our human frailties,unworthiness and unwholesomeness…………we can always make a conscious effort for changes and growth to help ourselves and humanity!
We are sharing this journey with others,what is the use of complaining and making life on earth more difficult and harder and tedious and energy draining for all but rather instead use our human potential for positive transformation….we have the breath,the mind and heart to work with to restore harmony within ourselves and towards human life and living……………….the ultimate truth is that we will leave everything we have,we love and possess behind,why not make this human journey a beautiful loving commitment to live by while we walk on this earth……..we can start with our family, our friends,our society, at our workplace,places of fellowship,nature and while we are having fun and pleasantries….we can be aware to not hurt and cause more suffering to ourselves and others!
Unnecessary suffering is an option we can consciously choose to do away with,love, happiness and wisdom are inherent within each human being,we can and need to uncover ……enjoy and share them unceasingly………………..
The Heart does not believe,it knows!
The Heart follows no other voice but its own….
It is a chamber of absolute Truth.
The heart allows the freedom of afflictive emotional states and experiences,yet has the resilience to resolve with understanding and compassion.
The Heart takes no part in duality,divisiveness and separation.
It beats in continuous unity with the whole of human and cosmic consciousness.
It cannot hold within its arena the destructive energies of hatred,anger,jealousy,selfishness,greed and maliciousness.
It harbors only innate qualities of wisdom,kindness,selflessness,forgiveness and tenderness.
When the Heart truly breaks,there can only come forth is the flow of Sweet Love!