Posted in Love

How do you define love?

Someone asked in Yahoo Answers:

Love or Light? Are they synonymous with each other?

Can either exist without the other? Can you stand in the light and feel no love?

How do you define love?

Thanks.

Herewith is the best answer:

Yes. God is Love and there is no darkness in the Divine Love.

Love is the modus operandi of the universe. Love sustains the universe. I believe what we call God/Divine is nothing but love and there is no darkness in Him/Her/it. Love is God/Divine – He/She/It cannot be anything except Love, and vice versa.

This love is big; no, bigger; no, it’s BIGGER. It’s bigger than we can ever comprehend and imagine. It’s bigger to the extent it goes against all the definitions of love we have. It’s a complete divine, expansive, boundless, unfailing and perfect Love. It is like the universe itself; ever expanding and unending Love – we only have an understanding of the tiny piece of its whole , but what we see blows our minds. NASA describes the universe as infinite in extent. Link here

The awesome thing about it all: we are embraced by this expansive and beautiful love. There is more than enough love in the cosmos for ALL who are hurt and confused about WHO they are in this life. Love continues to win….

Source(s):

My definition of love as I understand it.

Posted in Equality, Racism, Uncategorized

Embracing diversity in skin colours

A colleague happened to share about National Geographic’s article “Being Black in China“, which opens up new perspectives. She commented that we ourselves can become a “tourist attraction” when we visit countries where we are considered a rarity, just as we find tourists who visit Singapore who don’t look like us to be a novelty.
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I find that race is becoming more openly discussed nowadays, which is a good thing because it helps people to understand each other’s differences and accept the fact that we are all different and we are all the same. For example, I came across a recent article in which racism and racial privilege (such as Chinese privilege in Singapore) are highlighted, which hopefully will encourage an ongoing conversation among people about such issues, in order for justice and equality to manifest more fully through conscious awareness.
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I learnt that in the West, White people have been challenging themselves to deal with anti-Black racism, and this video is an attempt to open up conversations about such racial issues and how parents can educate their kids to embrace differences and diversity in skin colours. Though the way the mother in the above video educates her child may not be wholly appropriate or scientific, and her perspectives about Black people as a White privileged person may be considered offensive to some in spite of her good intentions, the efforts of the video makers in fostering a positive perception of People of Colour in order to combat racism that has been taught from generation to generation are noteworthy.
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Ultimately, we are all in this together as one humanity, and as this article noted, we all originated from the same Motherland – the cradle of humanity – once upon a time, and through evolutionary adaptations to climate and environment, we have been developing shades of colour alongside with our unique cultures and languages, and may we all continue to stay united as one.
Posted in Equality, Peace

Discrimination affects us all

Yesterday, I was harassed by motorists when I was cycling on the roads on my way to the workplace and the same thing happened to me when I was cycling back from the workplace.

They honked at me for no apparent reason, as if they owned the roads.

In another case of discrimination, I know of someone who was recently met with acrimony by a particular company mobile phone representative.

She made a big deal out of the fact that this person wasn’t wearing full-length jeans when reporting for work for the first time to be a part-time mobile phone promoter, and the three-quarter-length jeans exposed his sockless ankles though he was wearing covered shoes.

I came to realise that we all judge and discriminate based on what we see and perceive about others.

There were times when I found myself making judgements on how other people were dressed, inasmuch as I am becoming more aware of how I am being judged by others based on what I wear.

How do we transcend this (apparently) natural trait of judging based on outward appearances?

It occurs to me that we are communicating all the time, whether consciously or unconsciously.

The signals or message we send out to others (consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally) is communicated in the way we walk, talk, dress, stand, eat, look, and so on – virtually our entire existence is in a constant mode of communication to the rest of the world.

BUT it isn’t our fault that we are simply being ourselves, especially when we can’t change the way we look (at the most, only up to a certain extent) or the colour of our skins.

To what extent is it justifiable (if it does at all) for others to judge us based on our outward appearances?

Or our skin colour?

Or the way we dress?

Or our gender?

Or our sexual orientation?

Or our belief system?

Or our perceived social class?

I believe each of us would have experienced discrimination in one way or other at some point in time, whether it be for our age or gender or race etc.

Speaking of which, one of the most deplorable forms of discrimination is racial discrimination.

I have come to realise that discrimination has a way of making us feel as if we don’t matter in this world.

It makes us feel less than a human being.

It threatens our very right to exist in the world as a human being with equal rights and dignity as the next human being.

It robs us of our very desire and will to live to our fullest potential, and to have any hope for a better future for ourselves and our future generations.

Discrimination affects us all.

Some of us may think that the recent Women’s March doesn’t involve us because we happen to be born male and aren’t adversely affected by the patriarchy and misogyny that have been causing countless women to be discriminated and oppressed.

Some of us may think that the Black Lives Matter activism-cum-movement doesn’t involve us because we happen to be born lighter-skinned and aren’t adversely affected by anti-Black racism while we continue to benefit from the white privileged system (or Chinese privileged system in the context of Singapore).

Some of us may think that the barring of the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States doesn’t affect us because we happen to subscribe to other faiths or belief systems (or none at all) and we aren’t targetted by the discriminatory political system.

Until we find ourselves as a target of discrimination, in any shape or form, whether it be racism or classism or sexism or elitism, we probably won’t think much about the plight of others who are being discriminated.

But it doesn’t necessarily take a personal experience to wake us up and galvanise ourselves into action in our own lives and in our own ways.

We can remind ourselves – again and again – that we are all in this together.

We are all one body. One humanity.

We can have empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings, simply because they are… human, like us.

This may sound like a cliche to some, but I believe this is what the gospel is all about – in essence, we are “neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female – for all are one…”

Some may say, “Why do you make everything about race? We have other things to worry about.”

That’s because as a privileged white in a white-dominated society, or a privileged Chinese in a Chinese-dominated society, (or fill-in-the-blanks, regarding your specific racial or nationalistic privilege), we are blind to our own privilege and we tend to be oblivious of the sufferings of others who aren’t as favoured by the societal system as we are.

Some may say, “Well, it’s his fault for not adhering to the company dress code. We need to dress a certain way in order to portray a certain image to customers.”

I see your point, but it only goes to show how shallow we all can be by judging the book by the cover and to be (mis)led by stereotypes based on how people are dressed.

Some may say, “But the motorists aren’t really harassing you. They may honk at you because they aren’t used to encountering cyclists on the road.”

Yes, but there is a need for awareness that cyclists have as much right (and responsibility) to use the roads as the motorists.

That is the reason we need education about cyclists having equal rights to travel on the roads and being recognised for contributing to environmental sustainability and easing traffic congestion.

That is the reason we need education about respecting people regardless of how they wear clothes (or not wearing at all, as part of body acceptance practised in naturism and nature-based indigenous societies).

That is the reason we need education about ACCEPTING people who look different from us or have a different skin colour or subscribe to a different belief system.

That is why we (as a collective “we”) are talking about – and will continue to talk about – racism, classism, sexism, elitism and so on, so long as these sociopolitical issues and problems continue to exist and affect not only ourselves but also others.

Peace.

Posted in Uncategorized

Tennis inspirations

​I am inspired and moved to tears by how Venus Williams supports her younger sister to succeed. 

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-28/australian-open-serena-williams-beats-venus-in-final/8220242

http://elitedaily.com/sports/venus-williams-speech-losing-serena/1770859/
The above story of the Williams sisters and how they succeed together to become world champions in tennis is the reason I have been following their news whenever I get a chance because the love and support they have for each other and the dreams they hold on to in spite of challenges are mind-blowing and inspirational. For too long, competitive sports have been marred by rivalry and jealousy, but it is thanks to such gracious and big-hearted sportswomen and sportsmen such as the Williams sister, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that makes tennis so refreshing and compelling to watch and follow. In the Australian Open women’s tennis final, Venus Williams could have chosen to seek her own glory but I believe she chose to let her little sister win and fulfil her dream of getting a world record of 23 Grand Slam titles in open competition era, and that speaks volumes of her graciousness and love. Like she said, Serena’s win has always been her win. Similarly, to my beloved: your success is my success, and your joy is my joy. I truly want you to flourish and prosper in the areas you find fulfilment to do so. 

Posted in Inspiration

Living consciously and choosing relationships over performance

I am getting a clearer vision of how important it is to value relationships over performance. For sure, sterling performance – whether it be making music or doing work etc – may impress people or reap material rewards at the workplace, but these are temporary and may not be always guaranteed, nor are they really necessary.

Relationships, on the other hand, are rewarding both materially and immaterially, and the benefits are lasting. When I choose to build relationships with people, lives will be blessed and transformed.

To be sure, there is a place to perform well, to maintain high standards and to meet schedules. But these goals are not the end goal in and of themselves; ultimately we do things well because we want to cultivate good relationships with others and we want their lives to be blessed and touched.

Furthermore, performance can be arbitrary because there is no one “correct” way of doing things – everyone has a different style, whether it be blogging, public speaking, editing, interacting with others, and so on. In fact, most, if not all, of us appreciate originality and authenticity, hence we can choose to shine and express ourselves through creative ways of doing things and enjoy the process and not worry about how well received our performance will be.

Last but not least, our identity and self-worth can never be defined by our performance. If we have an off day and do not perform up to par, it doesn’t mean our value has diminished. In comparison, regardless of our ability to do things, we can always cultivate good relationships by being kind and friendly.

 

Posted in Environmental awareness, Love

What if…

What if things are the way they are because they simply are…

What if we are all finding our way around and we aren’t really intentionally trying to hurt anyone or harm the environment, or if we do, it is because we don’t know what we are doing?

What if there is no conspiracy of the elite or illuminati controlling the world as they (if there is a “they”) are just as clueless as any one of us?

What if the environmental crisis is part of the evolutionary process in which we make choices based on what we know so far, not because fossil fuels are “bad” in and of themselves but because we only figured out how to use them in the beginning, and by the time we realised they caused serious pollution problems, some of us were too attached to the profits to let go of them and switch to cleaner energy alternatives?

What if there is no such thing as “good people” or “bad people” but only people existing on a continuum and making choices as we go along that make us look “good” or “bad” in the eyes of others at a particular point in time?

What if… ?

For even the most vile person ever known on Earth would have done something “good” in his or her life, and even the most saintly person ever existed on Earth would have done something “bad” in his or her life.

When we talk about “bad people”, the infamous names such as Adolf Hitler would come to mind. As atrocious as his crimes towards humanity are, I believe he would have at least done some kind deeds in his life when he was younger. Maybe he helped someone cross the street or said a kind word of encouragement to a friend or schoolmate when he was a young boy, which would have left a lasting impact on that person, and which in turn would send a ripple effect of peace and healing to the rest of the world. Of course, this doesn’t in any way justify the crimes that convicted murderers, rapists and so on have committed, but the point here is that no one is completely evil or born evil, and each of us – no matter how fallen we are at any point in time – would have at least done some good deed that has blessed humanity in some way or other, and each of us deserves a second chance if we want to right the wrongs we have done or at least make things better.

I believe we all have an inherent and intrinsic seed of goodness in us, which we can call our True Self, and I believe the reason we make unwise decisions from time to time that invariably cause harm to ourselves, to others and to the environment is usually because we lost sight of who we truly are – we have forgotten our true identity, and we don’t really know what we are doing and we don’t have the full knowledge of the consequences at that point in time. There is no condemnation – we can always return to the true Source and start all over again and learn from our mistakes and make amends for our failures wherever possible.

Posted in Equality, Gender issues, Racism

“It’s time for action” ~ Huffington Post

(In solidarity with fellow people of colour and white supporters of justice and equality)

What started off seemingly as a comedy appears to end up as a tragedy, for at the beginning of the US presidential campaign, no one really took the controversial businessman Donald Trump seriously as a likely candidate. The fact that he did end up as a president reveals the proverbial elephant in the room that is increasingly brought to the fore in this day and age of the Internet.

The uncomfortable truth that is often swept under the rugs in mainstream media is that America has always – always – been built on the violence and bloodshed of indigenous people, of black and brown people, of those who don’t fit into the agenda of the white supremacy, Eurocentric capitalism, colonialism and patriarchy, which is rife with racism, sexism, misogyny and other forms of systemic and institutional discrimination.

As this article “Don’t be surprised. This is the America you have always lived in” noted:

“This is hatred on a level that that we have not seen since Jim Crow… We underestimated as Americans how deep out hatred was of the ‘other,’ how deep white uneducated Americans felt about the demographic shift. We underestimated that level of insidious hatred.”

Barack Obama’s eight-year service as the president of the US may have brought some semblance of justice, sanity, equality and progressive change, but it fails to contain the underlying destructive mindset that remains embedded in the majority of the population. Mass shooting, mass incarceration of black and brown people, white police brutality against unarmed black and brown people and US invasion and involvement in the conflicts and wars especially in the Middle East and Africa and its interference in Asia-Pacific continue unabated, and are likely to stay the same or increase during the new president’s four-year term.

Perhaps what is more frightening than a racist and misogynist man becoming the president of the US is the fact that he has the backing of the majority who supported and voted for him, who make up the demographics of those Americans who are:
Uneducated
White
Rural
Christian
Conservative
(as noted by a white progressive Christian man living in America)

Posted in Peace, Psychology

HOW STAYING NEAR WATER CHANGES OUR BRAINS

It is interesting to learn from the article “How staying near water changes our brains” that “negative ions come primarily from natural energy sources, such as storms, rivers, and ocean tides”, which increase our capacity to absorb oxygen, help our body and mind to rejuvenate faster and promote healthy serotonin levels for mood regulation. I noticed that whenever I pass by a river or beach, no matter how small the water channel or water body is, I would instinctively turn my head to look at the water as I am naturally drawn to the calming, refreshing effect of the river or sea, merely by looking at the water.

Like the article says “Bodies of water, such as oceans and lakes, can help us to easily connect with our state of awe. This promotes mindfulness, reduces stress, and increases our physical well-being.” I can also relate to what it says about how “the rhythm of water can lull us into a deep and hypnotic state of relaxation” because I often find myself lapsing or being lulled into a state of relaxation and meditation when I pause by a river or sea.

Posted in Inspiration

Experiences, not things, bring lasting happiness

I noted from BigThink’s article “Want Happiness? Buy Experiences, Not Things, Says a Cornell Psychologist” that experiences are the glue of our social lives and are inherently social, hence they matter more to us than material objects. That is true as I can vouch for the fact that experiences, such as attending a music concert, leave a lasting imprint for beautiful memories in the heart.

I also noted that experiences reflect more of who we really are as they are closer to our inner selves as we are – the sum total of all our experiences. Yes, whether it be a hiking trip or a Nature retreat or yoga classes and so on, such experiences are worth immeasurably more than inanimate objects as the profound experiences enable us to connect deeply to our inner selves, to others and to Mother Nature around us.

Posted in Psychology

Exploring what it means to be conscious

I can meditate and experience a sense of being out of time and space for a while, but I need to remember that it doesn’t necessarily make me better or more enlightened than others. The danger is that I can become overly detached or even pompous and lose my humanity and ability to relate to others at a human level.

Yes, I am in the world and not of the world, but still I am in the world and need to reach out to help alleviate suffering and pain in the world as a fellow sentient being. By acknowledging my own suffering and pain and practising compassion towards myself, I can extend compassion towards others.

For instance, I can observe without being involved in an online discussion in a cycling forum, and I find myself making judgments about how people write and respond to one another and share their viewpoints which may come across to me as calm or argumentative or wise and so on. Then again, I have been there before myself, and I may have some blind spots that others can see when they read my posts in the forum. I need to realise and remember that I am both an observer and a participant of life. I can’t simply be an observer and not participate at all because it would be like living in a bubble.

It occurs to me that one paradox of life is that to be free from being bound by the worldly concerns of life, the way out is not to numb myself to not feel the feelings and emotions, but to allow myself to feel the feelings and emotions that a “normal” human being would feel. As much as I don’t like to be held hostage by circumstances and have my moods dictated by happenings that are beyond my control, and as much as I am learning to “respond” like a thermostat instead of “reacting” like a thermometer, I have to acknowledge the fact that I am not above Nature and I am also not beyond being a human being.

Animals, for example, seem to cooperate fully with Nature by being spontaneous with emotions in accordance with circumstances – whether they be joy, fear, sadness or some other feeling. They can be very intuitive in their own ways, sometimes not in the way we humans understand or are familiar with. Whether they are conscious of their own emotions or intuition is another story, as I don’t really know if they are conscious or capable of self-reflection and contemplation. But what I can do on my part as a human being is to practise flowing with Nature as well, and choose to be conscious of my emotions while living and being in this dynamic world.