Posted in Meditation, Philosophy

Meaning of existence

I used to think about – and still do – what the meaning of existence is. It appears that we simply live for a period of time, go through some events, and then we die.

I used to wonder about (and sometimes I still do): what is the point of being happy when I will be sad due to changing circumstances? I mean, it’s like the moment I am happy when something good happens, there will come a time when something disappointing happens, and I will be sad again. So, life is like – happy, sad, happy, sad, happy, sad… and then we die. So why be happy? Why be sad? For example, why rejoice over something like the birth of a child when we know the child will die one day and we will mourn the loss of a life?  Wouldn’t it be better to remain emotionally frozen or frigid and not feel anything at all, in order not to be tossed to and fro by the circumstances that are often unpredictable and uncontrollable?

Then again, if I were to apply the same logic to eating, I would need to ask myself: why eat when I will be hungry again? Isn’t life also a matter of being hungry and filled, hungry and filled, hungry and filled, and then we die? So what’s the point of eating when I know I will go hungry again?

Maybe one way to answer this question (or dilemma or koan) is: well, I can still choose to eat because eating can be a pleasurable activity, other than getting nutrients and staying alive. Similarly, while I can still survive without expressing happiness or sadness, at least I get to express my emotions or feel my feelings. I suppose feelings or emotions are there for a reason. Animals, for example, have feelings too – they feel happy at times and they feel sad too. But I don’t find animals mulling over the seeming futility of life. They live in the moment, or so it seems.

So, maybe the meaning of existence is to create my own meaning and choose to live in the moment. To live in the awareness that I have the ability or the gift or the opportunity to at least feel alive, to love and be loved, to experience compassion and empathy. Emotions or feelings may be Nature’s gift to us to experience that aliveness. After all, dead people can’t feel anything – they can’t laugh or smile and they can’t cry too. But I can. And you can. We can be happy if we want to feel the happiness. We can be sad if we want to feel the sadness. It sounds basic and simple, and I may well be stating the obvious here, but then again, I wish life is that simple… Well, perhaps it is, and it is us human beings who are complex and mysterious creatures.

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Posted in Equality, Freedom, Identity

Living an examined life

Living an examined life is hard, but necessary, and ultimately fulfilling. Each of us has to find our own ways to life’s perplexing issues. I am always inspired by the starfish story. Like Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

Decided to take a nap because I felt tired and sleepy due to lack of rest. Realised that if I were to neglect rest at the expense of my health, I would be doing violence to myself.

Violence seems like a strong word, but then again, maybe I need a strong word to wake myself up to the cumulative effects of harming myself if I continue to deprive myself from the need to get adequate rest, knowingly or unknowingly.

Now that I have defined violence in this context, I am going to extend the term to some other aspects of life. Sports, or any act of trying to win or not to lose or subscribing to the concepts of winning or losing, is doing violence to oneself and others. Contests, as harmless as they appear to be, give people a false sense of entitlement and superior identity over others. There is no need for us to do something in order to become somebody because we all are already somebody.

Cycling, badminton, musical chairs, debates and so on – any act of wanting to overpower or outdo or outwit or prevail over someone else is an act of violence and doesn’t foster compassion and empathy. Only through compassion, cooperation and collaboration can we truly thrive – as one.

If one part of the body suffers, all suffer. If one part of the body thrives, all thrive. We are all one and equal.

Living true to myself and rebelling against the ways of the system has to go beyond mere words and idealism – it must become a reality in the way I live and interact with people. If there are people in my past such as in school or workplace or church institution whose mindsets I no longer resonate with because their mindsets are “destructive” to the extent they don’t foster my growth or evolution, I need to let them go. I cannot allow myself to be restricted or hampered or influenced by their small minds and narrow thinking. I have to be true to who I really am and walk the walk and be free. It is out of love and respect for myself and others that I need to do this.

Posted in Inspiration

Thoughts on why emotionally intelligent people are hard to find but highly sought after

I have checked out this article and could relate to it, as I myself would have been bored sitting in a reunion, whether with former schoolmates or colleagues etc, and listening to exchanges that revolve mainly on “where everyone was working now and who had how many babies”. I am coming to realise how the capitalistic, materialistic and wage-slavery societal system has turned otherwise emotionally intelligent people into mostly numb and dumb drones who have been programmed or manipulated by fear or guilt or shame to conform to the status quo and toe the line, as open show of emotions or conflicts isn’t usually welcomed in workplaces that are mainly interested in making things run smoothly with minimal disruption, keeping up a facade of efficiency at the expense of deep human connections.

Like the author, I would love to be plunged “into the ocean of human spirit filled juicy soul stories any day”, and I realise that though there may be good storytellers in the corporate world who are CEOs and motivational speakers and the like, they tend to use the soul stories to propagate the societal ideas of “success”, “wealth” and other materialistic concepts, so I find that the kind of soul stories that I would really appreciate and find inspiring are those that liberate and empower the oppressed and the marginalised, that advocate social justice and equality as well as human rights. I like this article as it reminds me to continually check myself and not be carried along with the undercurrents of the dehumanising societal system and mindset in order to practise a natural and consistent form of empathy and maintain a deep connection with my soul and that of others as well.

Posted in Meditation

Meditating on the laws of Nature

Comfort, or comfortableness, in a sense, can be detrimental as it may lull me into a false sense of security and stability, when in reality, nothing is permanent and nothing is fully guaranteed in life. Everything can change with a twinkle of an eye. It is like cycling on the road – no matter how smoothly one may ride on a bicycle, all it takes is a moment if one loses focus or an errant vehicle that sidesweeps the bicycle or any other unforeseen circumstance to cause the cyclist to stumble or fall from the bicycle. It behooves me then to stay vigilant at all times.

What I send out to the universe, whether in thought, deed or action, will come back to me, through the workings of the natural law of cause and effect. It is like farming – what I sow and water will grow and bear harvest. Jesus said to let my yes be yes, and no be no, and James said to not be double-minded in order to be stable in all my ways. So if I say I will do something now, make sure I do it right away, whether it makes me look or feel silly, such as when I am in the middle of eating or doing something.

I am the universe, and the universe is me. So if I am honest to the universe, I am being honest to myself. If I am gracious to myself and not be too hard on myself for my shortcomings, I am being gracious to the universe as well. By examining my thoughts and intentions in my heart and articulating them in words, I am learning to make the unconscious conscious in order to live a more conscious and meaningful life.

Posted in Equality, Identity, Inspiration, Love, Psychology

Conscious Parenting: Shefali Tsabary at TEDxSF

Video information

Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University, New York. She is the author of the multi-award-winning, The Conscious Parent. Heralded as a game-changer in the parenting genre, this book turns the traditional parenting paradigms on its head and revolutionizes how we raise our families. She has been exposed to Eastern mindfulness at an early age and integrates its teachings with Western psychology. This blend of East and West allows her to reach a global audience. Her ability to appeal to both a psychologically astute and consciousness-driven audience establishes her as one of a kind in the parenting field. She lectures extensively on mindful living and conscious parenting around the world and is in private practice. She resides with her husband and daughter in New York.

“Parents, few hold a greater power or more immense responsibility. And this is why I’m here today, to propose that we occupy the role of parenthood in an entirely different way, with a renewed curiosity, a heightened awareness, a transformed commitment. Because nothing like parenthood that needs to be at the forefront of our global consciousness. It’s the call, the linchpin that affects how our children will thrive. Everything: how they take care of themselves, each other, the earth, show compassion, tolerate differences, handle their emotions, create, invent, innovate. This is where global transformation begins. We cannot expect our children to embody an enlightened consciousness if we parents haven’t dared to model this ourselves. It all starts with us and how we parent.”

To a large extent, this observation is true, although I would add that children who did not experience conscious parenting from their own biological parents are also able to embody an enlightened consciousness when they decide to listen to their own heart and devote themselves to conscious living and philosophy as they grow up, and choose to learn from other conscious people who serve as their role models.

“You know, we don’t hurt our children because we are evil or ill-intentioned, certainly not out of a lack of love. We hurt our children for one reason only: it’s because we are hurting ourselves and we barely know it. It’s because we are unconscious, because we have inherited legacies of emotional baggage from our own parents. We’re sitting on the emotional baggage that lies dormant unconscious, waiting to be triggered at a moment’s notice. And who better to trigger us than our children? They just know the buttons to push.

Through our children, we get theatre seats, orchestra seats to the theatrics of our emotional immaturity. You know when we lose our temper with our children and believe that they’re devils and monsters, chances are it isn’t because they’re that, but because they’ve triggered an old wound within us. They’ve made us feel feelings that we don’t care to feel. They’ve made us feel powerless and out-of-control, helpless, and in order to regain a sense of supremacy, we lash out at them in reactivity. You know when we pick on our children nonstop, we nitpick at them, ‘Why aren’t you like this? Why don’t you do that? Why couldn’t you be more like her?’ chances are it’s not because they are inadequate, but because we come from a place of inner lack, and we ourselves live under the tyranny of a severe inner critic. You know when our children are disrespectful to us and cross our boundaries and we fret and fume, and commiserate with our friends about our evil children? Chances are it’s not because they’re wild and chaotic, but because we ourselves have a problem with our leadership, with consistency, with order, with handling conflict, with saying no.

You know, our children come to us whole, complete and worthy. They’re happy with two sticks, a stone and a feather. But because we’ve been conditioned so deeply in an unconscious manner, so severed from our own sense of presence, wholeness, attunement, and sense of self and whole and abundance, that we project a sense of lack onto them, and we teach them, ‘Do not depend on your sense of self for worth and value, but look outward. Look to the Ferrari, the corporate corner office, to the casino, to the pill, to the bottle, to the needle, to spouse number one, two and three, to where you live, to where you graduated from.’ Because we are severed from a sense of being, we are consumed by doing. This is how we know self value. We teach our children, ‘You can’t simply play, you must achieve. You can’t have a hobby, you must excel at it. You cannot dream, you must dream big, and why really dream if you can’t succeed?’

It’s time for us to change the spotlight, to turn it inwards, and change it from being the child who needs to be fixed, the child as the one with the problem, and parental evolution as the solution. … The time to awaken is now. The parenting paradigm needs to shift. No more the parent as the greater than, but now we need to look at our children as equal if not greater transforming agents. Our children are our awakeners, they are our teachers.

It is time for us parents to answer the call, to pause, to reflect more, to connect to our own abundance, to trust our children, to understand their brilliance, to follow their lead, to self-love, to create purpose, to enter worth, to be in gratitude. For this is how our children will absorb wholeness and abundance, fullness and spirit. And from this place, they can fly free. It is time for us parents to answer our call to our own awakening. The moment is now and our children await.”

An inspiring and impassioned speech indeed, full of insight and wisdom for conscious parenting and conscious living, which I believe will result in a greater healing of humanity and the planet. I would add that each of us can be that conscious parent because “family”, as a concept and social construct, needs not be confined to blood relations only.

Each of us has the power to be that example, that role model, for other children to learn from, so each of us – whether we have children or we are childless – can choose to awaken to who we really are intrinsically – spiritual beings on a human journey who are already whole, beloved and abundant.

We are not defined by our actions, and neither are we defined by our age nor gender. The concepts of “father”, “mother”, “son” and “daughter” are only applicable in the physical realm that are tied to gender, age and biological relations, but our true self is genderless, ageless and formless. Therefore, each of us can play the role of a father, mother, son or daughter to someone else. Just as it can be said that each of us has a divine feminine and a divine masculine side, it can also be said that each of us has a sacred call to being a parent and a child. We are all parents to someone else, and we are all children to someone else as well. This is because we are all interrelated and we are all one in the deepest essence of our beings.