Wisdom Arises Through Understanding

Monday, March 29, 2010

Victim begets Victims...

Recently, I received a call from a friend who asked me to do something urgent. The tone of voice plus the way the request was made gave me the impression that the person was portraying helpless and I would have to fulfill the request no matter what. In an instance, I observe anger had arisen and also my tone of voice had become unfriendly. All this happened in less than 2 minutes of conversation and of course the thoughts that arose were of persecution and illwill towards the person and also the request.

Feeling uncomfortable is normally the signal for me to pay attention and be aware of what's going on beyond the story and the drama that is unfolding with regards to the situation. Actually.... I felt like I was victimized!!! I came to the realization that when someone plays the role of a victim in hope of getting help or getting their way or to portray their helplessness, they are actually victimizing others too. Because the automatic reaction of others is to feel that they have to help or else they will experience a lot of guilt for rejecting someone who is helpless. So when the person "helps" it is coming from a space of anger or resignation and not from the space of joy and willingness.

This would result in the giving being insincere and the receiving being unfulfilling. Thus, the whole process of request and fulfilment of the request would be tainted.

I remember reading the book Non Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. He mentioned that when we make a request of a person, we must be prepared to hear a "NO" answer. But how many times we have an expectation that when we make a request with the magic word "Please" in it, others must fulfill our request. When a request is heard as a Demand, the other person only sees 2 option, submit or rebel.

So a good request is one that is specific, expressing our feelings and needs, it must be do-able by the person and the person has an option to say "No" .

Tolerating or Accepting

I recently started to look at myself and how accepting I was of things that happen to me without holding on, resistance or judgement. Little did i know that what i thought was accepting was actually tolerating.
An incident that comes to mind is when I'm away at retreats and have to use unfamiliar bathroom and toilets. I noticed that the time taken to shower was shorter that the showers I would take at home. And if someone asked me how was the facilities, I would say, its pretty good, clean and well lighted. But at the back of my mind, i prefer to use my own bathroom

After observing what is happening, I realised that in my mind, there was a standard set for bathroom facilities in terms of size, cleanliness, the look and of course the functionality of the facilities. During my recent trip to NZ,  I stayed at 11 different motels and youth hostels. My judging mind went wild assessing the place and of course I would know that those that met my internal standards, I had longer showers and those that did not, I "mandi kerbau" only. 

So an interesting revelation is that I may say if someone asked me about the facilities, I would say "Oh its clean, good blah, blah, blah..." but if i observe myself, the truth is that I was tolerating the places that were below my predetermined standards and for those that were above my predetermined standards, I was indulging myself......

So where is the acceptance ? I realised how easily, I could tricked myself into thinking I was accepting when actually all that is happening is tolerating.

One important think I learnt from all this observations is that Tolerance comes with boundaries and expectations.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I was having a discussion about money with TL and commented that I observed in general (me included) has got our priorities all mixed up. What's important is measure in terms of money. For example, if I am rich that means I am successful. If I am poor, then I'm a failure. I had a chat with a friend DC and I had a good laugh because someone commented to him that their spiritual teacher is better because their teacher is rich and doing well. I'm sure their spiritual teacher do not use money as his/her yardstick about their spiritual teachings and how it affects people. Strangely, its the perception of the follower who is stuck with the form and not the essence of the teaching.

I asked DC a question. "If you had only 10 minutes to live, would you be taking all your money, cars, shares etc out and burn so that when you get to the other side (depending on individual's faith the other side could be heaven, hell, next life etc)  it will be there waiting for you? " DC laughed and said, "Of course not". A book written by Kristine Carlson (Richard Carlson's wife) titled "An Hour to live, An Hour to Love" very poignantly shows that material stuff are the last thing we want to see when we die...... sooooo what is all this obsession with MONEY !!!

 I guess the way out of this issue is to be ever mindful of my thoughts and feelings so that I can catch the  patterns that grips me with regards to money. Remembering Impermanent nature would also be a practice to follow.
It will be an interesting journey to loosen the grip on the power of money !!! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Taking a Holiday !

I just came back from a holiday in New Zealand with my husband (SS), sister in law and her 2 sons. We very ambitiously undertook to explore North and South island in 16 days. We spent 5 days in North Island and 11 days in South Island. 

We landed in Auckland as the start of our journey, with the difference of 5 hours in time, the getting into and out of airplanes, the transit at Sydney, not sleeping on the flight, a new place , unfamiliar car and having to find our way around..... all this was the perfect recipe for loosing the mind and allowing emotions like confusion, anger, worry to take over. I think i was more stressed than relaxed on our first day.

Luckily SS is skilled in navigating and we finally managed to find our accommodations place in Auckland. Next we had to look for food. Luckily its walking distance and there were a lot of asian food but roads at Auckland was steep. After dinner, we walked around and found a supermarket that we could buy stuff for breakfast tomorrow. We did not realised the time as it was still very bright at 8pm. But the body was getting tired and was glad to go back to the room , shower and sleep.
All this while, i could notice a sense of uneasiness as so much for my senses to take in. I kept on remembering to watch my breath and check that i do not add any more drama in my mind.

The next day we took in the sights at Auckland like Mt Eden and Victoria Market. We hiked up Mt Eden to look at volcanic craters. Weather was lovely and we had a good view of Auckland city on top of the hill. Throughout the trip, i observed that i was rather impatient and worried that we were not dilly dallying. I thought i was strange as we are on holiday, why am i acting so uptight and controlling?? 

We left Auckland for Rotorua and stopped by a highway stop for lunch. When we took a long time to decide what to eat... i noticed the impatience coming up again. I just observed it without too much attachment to it. I realised that though I'm taking a holiday, it does not mean my ego takes a holiday too. Its still playing its role of wanting its way though it does not know what is the right way. It still wants to be right eventhough there is no right or wrong. so i came to a conclusion, that there is no place to hide from our ego even if i go to the furthest place on earth. Luckily for me, being mindful of what I'm experiencing, its a great way to allow wisdom to come in and lend a helping hand.