Wisdom Arises Through Understanding

Monday, May 31, 2010

Different Second Time Around

I was listening to a recording of my meditation teacher's instructions and interviews just today to refresh my memory. While listening to it there were several "aha" moments because some of the things he said seem to ring true for me now. There was a deeper understanding of what he is saying. So i pondered. I actually heard this recording several times but each time I hear it after a lapse of some time, there is new understanding.

I told TL about it and he said.... Wisdom has grown... I joked and said its either that or I was deaf when I hear the last few times. But I know I was not deaf because I have been practicing mindfulness for some time. And in the practice if I am curious and interested in the practice continuously..... some understanding is sure to arose. I had to laugh when I came to this conclusion because later I heard this sentence in his recording of how he answered a yogis question about keeping the practice interesting.

The interest in something, be it meditation, work, play, cooking, laundry.... anything for that matter is a right attitude to have as I may experience an event that I can judge as the same as yesterday but if I put in some interest, the event will unfold something else that I missed the first time around. I was ironing clothes just now.... a weekly ritual.. I observed that as I ironed with interest and curiosity, I noticed the smell of freshly laundered clothes, the feeling of happiness to see the creases straightened, the desire to fold the clothes beautifully.... all this experience unfolded on its own and there was no anxiety to finish ironing the clothes. In fact, there was an enjoyment in the chore. A few weeks back, the experience of ironing was totally different, all I wanted to do was to beat the clock and finish the chore as soon as possible. In this experience, where there was lack of interest, a lot of unpleasant feelings and resentment was felt.

SS has wisely prompted me several times in the past when I mentioned that I was bored doing something... he would say, "Boredom only comes from lack of interest.... If you are interested in something, it will be fun" ... So a good reminder for me now is....."Show some interest and see what unfolds"


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Complaining and Its Effects on the "I"

Recently, I listened to a talk by Eckhart Tolle and one point that stuck to the mind is what he said about complaining. Complaining is a mechanism that the ego has built in to perpetuate itself. I did not see it like that before but after doing some observation, its interesting how that works.

I was with a loved one and the moment she woke up she started to look for things to complain like the maid is not doing this or that correctly, who should not say this or that etc. As I observed it, I could see that the person felt "injured" when things do not go the way she wanted. Of course, I know that its the ego that felt injured and diminished if it did not managed to convince others of their existence.

Though I was observing her, I was observing myself too. What is going on in me when I hear complaints. I realised that 2 things happens. If I identified with the complaint, I would go along with it and this boost my ego with a "thou is more superior" attitude or "poor me" situation. That means we have a ego party together. I noticed that having complaining party does make me feel good sometimes but its a short term feel good. In the long term it erodes my integrity and self responsibility.

However, I noticed when I hear a complaint and I keep quiet, smile and allow the person to continue, the complaining session is shortened for the person. Maybe its no longer fun to complain to someone who does not add fuel to the complain. I observed that as the other person complains, there are complaints happening in the mind at the same time.Sometimes its easy just to be the observer Sometimes, when the complaint was something that hit home so to speak... feelings of defensiveness arose....... if I was not mindful... this is usually the trigger to react but if mindful, its a time to be even more mindful.... Sometimes... its like playing Russian roulette. I notice that there is still a liking or desire to complain so its still work in progress.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Is This What You Want ?

I came across a saying that "we will never get what we want" . Is that true ? Most of the time, we get what we don't want. : ) My teacher mentioned that people are not happy when they get what they want and what they don't want because when we get what we wanted, we have fear of losing it. When we don't get what we want, we get upset and angry........ So I pondered that its so easy to want because as a human, I have many desires. I may be wrong, but I think Wants comes from desire for quick fixes and short term thinking.

I remembered I was in the car with a relative and she said that she saw in the newspaper that the price of Genting shares has dropped and though she has only half a lot, she was bemoaning her loss of fortune. I found it very funny and I asked her what does she want ? She said, "I want my shares to go up so that I can make money".... So I asked, what would make Genting shares go up ? Well, the answer was, when their casino, hotel etc business do well. So in other words, if Genting only has casinos and more people goes and gamble and lose their money, the business is seen to be doing well, right ?..... but what about the rise in gambling?
Another example would be pharmaceutical companies, when people get sick and need medicine, their shares goes up because their drugs sells very well.

Anyway, what I realise is that when we want something to go our way.... normally it does not go for the other party. Like in a relationship, if i want my husband to kiss me goodnight but that is not what he wants..... I can insist and get my way but the kiss would not come from love, it comes from coersion. It would be a terrible kiss : D

I was reading Byron Katie and she said, we would only get what we NEED. So if i was sitting in a traffic jam, that is what i need at that moment. I have been putting it to practice and realise that there is less tension when I come across incidents I don't want or like.  Still experimenting

Friday, May 21, 2010

Distancing of Self from Others

A bunch of my friends started to do fasting recently and it seems that I was not jumping into the bandwagon. At first I thought it was funny that I was not enthusiastic to jump on but I allowed myself the space to see what was happening. Was is fear ? Was it defiance ? After letting the feeling simmer for awhile, it was clear that it was not time for me to embark on this journey.

I could sense it was a time to journey alone for awhile at least, doing something different from the group who I've been doing so many things together for the last 3 years. I felt strange and one evening I observed a strong sense of loneliness and desolatedness and the mind gathered evidence that my phone was not ringing, no one called met etc.....I saw thru this evidence gathering activity of the mind and also observed the mind drawing a conclusion that I'm no longer belong. When the mind drew the conclusion, my whole world became smaller.

I realised that for many people, when things change in a group that they belong to or when they start to do other things which the group is not doing or vice versa, they start to distance themselves from the group because it is seen that their specialness in the group is no longer there. As time goes by if this thought is not investigated, the person will start to avoid the group all together. This will further perpetuate the distance and minimise the chance of ever having a relationship with the group. After some time, it would seem that there is no point to establish anymore contact with the group because we perceive we are left so far behind in the development of the group, we will no longer be comfortable in the group. All these are based on fear of rejection and also not wanting to be vulnerable.

On the other hand also, if none of the group members takes the time to establish connection with this person, then all is lost.I observed this happening with my friends from Secondary school when we get together during CNY .For most times, I don't know what they are talking about. Its very easy to withdraw into my own shell.

BUT is the distancing real ? Its real in our mind, and because its real in our mind, then is is created in our world making us believe in it. As long as the thought or idea exist in the mind, there will always be a distance. Who would I be without the thought that I'm lonely and people are distancing from me? I would be someone who will be excited and thrilled to see what unfolds when I journey alone. Looking to learn from what I am experiencing. There will be no loneliness.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Treasuring Those Around Us

Last Sunday SS & myself hosted a steamboat dinner at our house with many people contributing food, fruits, desserts, cake etc to make it a feast. All those who came were people who are actively helping at CnC and the dinner was an opportunity to get together and to celebrate TL and YF's birthday too.

As I look at the band of friends I have in this group of people, I honestly must say, I would not have the opportunity to meet them if not for CnC. I made a joke about what binds us together is our recognition of suffering. TL added that its also the desire for wisdom. So true. I reflected that people band together for so many reasons from food, sports, fashion, disease, addiction etc. I think is pretty unique for people to band together to journey to freedom.
For that, I am thankful to have all of them as walking mates though they cannot walk in my shoes but they can walk beside of me, in front of me, behind of me or all over me : ).

Recently, I also have a friend whose mother died from a stroke. I realise we will never know how long a parent, partner, sibling, spiritual friends, colleagues etc will be with us because the moment they are gone, they are gone from the face of the earth but they will live in the hearts and minds of those who remember them.So, what is the point of keeping grudges, right ??. So, let us treasure those around us for they come into our space to teach us something whether we like it or not.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How I See It

Recently, there was a lot of dramatic experiences that were really calling for attention on how I will respond to the experiences. I and a few CnC friends are involved in organising a project of bringing my Meditation teacher from Myanmar and then conducting a new format tour retreat with 24 people in Langkawi. In paper, this grand plan looked really good... in executing, there were quite a bit of bumps.

Each time a bump is experienced like the visa cannot be done early but nearer to the date and some airtickets were booked wrongly resulting in extra charges, there are a lot of emotions attached to it, drama so to speak, that call each and everyone of us involved in this to do their own inner work.

I realised that everyone experience different lessons though we are working on the same project and each bumpy experience leads us to feel powerless, limited and upset. However, as I watch how the others and myself in the team go past the initial feeling, we are are learning to see the impermanent/illusionary nature of what is happening. (though I must qualify that my observation of others are based on my perception only, so I may not be 100% correct about their experiences) . We are seeing issues in us that are calling for attention like unworthiness, lack of faith, focusing on money, not trusting etc.

These issues will come so long as we have not gained understanding about them but I notice each time the same issue come and we work on it, the response is different and the feelings that arise from the issue are less heavy. I guess this is can be called progression. But the issue is not about progression because its not a race to the finishing line. For me, its about the journey into authenticity and connection with wisdom. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

I The Control Freak

Every human being wants to be loved and respected. Is this true ? It seems to be because in the seeking of love and respect,we do many things; some of them sneaky, weird, hilarious, dangerous and some bordering on insanity.

I was observing how the mind reacted to just a simple SMS from a friend to remind me something. And the first thing that popped into mind was  "Someone is trying to control me", "I'm not respected", "You are so smart, do it yourself". With these, comes many unpleasant feelings. And the actions that were recommended by such a mind was," Don't bother to answer", "Say NO". Anyway the recommended actions were all from spite.  A friend told me, let just look at what needs to be done and do it, no need to get embroiled in the feelings. But the feelings are strong and its definately felt.

I know for sure, pushing it away is not the answer. Just to apply some Non Violent communication technique on dealing with strong emotions, I actually verbalise out all the feelings, saying it out loud so that I can hear them. Just by doing this, I noticed that something interesting happened.... the next experience that popped up was no longer anger but a sad feeling of confusion.

Just being with this new experience allowed me to see that actually, the resentment arose is because I Wanted to be In Control of the situation and do things MY WAY but in actuality, I don't know what to do and there are things that are not in my control.

I started to laugh because in wanting  to feel good and safe, I want to make sure I do everything right but I don't know what is Right but the other person seem to know......... I actually stress myself up and not seeing others good intentions.

I realised most of the time for me new experiences are hardly welcome with open arms, joy and curiosity though in the head I know otherwise. So before I can call another person a control freak, I think i need to see the control freak in me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

To Fix It or Not To Fix It

Recently a situation happened at home between 2 persons. When i heard about it, a lot of frustration and resentment arised in my mind, speech and behaviour. Normally, I would want to be a rescuer to sort out the problem quickly.

This time I choose to do nothing, in fact I followed SS to Melaka. I remembered what my teacher said, when there is no clarity, do nothing. During this time, I entertained the frustration and also resentment by being aware of it. I must admit, at some point, I wish to run away and avoid the whole thing altogether.

Other member of the family called and asked if I am doing anything about the situation and my reply was that "not now since I'm away and its good to let people cool down as words that were expressed during anger are just meant to get a pound of flesh from the other person" .Actually, in all honesty, I think, I would not have handled the situation well when i was having all the frustration and resentment. It was an opportunity for me to cool down too : )

With that I just kept being aware of the play of wanting to solve the problem and wanting to get upset. And I did get upset when thinking took over and clarity was weak but luckily I managed to expressed it out to a close buddy and the energy around it was dispursed.

While not doing anything on the outside, I realised I was doing a lot on the inside. there was the mindfulness of  concepts and ideas, there was repeated expressionof forgiveness,  there was putting the mind to doing other productive work and there was setting intention on the outcome I would like to experience or create.

Anyway, I don't know what worked but when I got back from Melaka, I called the aggrieved person, to my surprise I could sense a relaxed atmosphere.Things were no longer tense...... hmmmmm.... Maybe doing nothing is something worth doing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Anger and for all its worth

I read the newspaper the other day about how a road rage incident ended in a death.I thought that the rage must be really huge to go to the extend of killing someone. I realised that Anger's nature is destructive with very little or no logic. Its like experiencing a total loss of control and the only thought an angry person has is to have satisfaction. After the satisfaction, then what ?? I think not many people see beyond that because all that is in front of them is to obtain the satisfaction (This satisfaction can be from seeing another person hurt, verbal attack, etc)

Today I was talking to someone and as she was relating the injustice that she perceived had happened to her, she had so much anger. Throughout the conversation, I could heard so many "shoulds", "how could they", "they are ungrateful". As I was listening to it, I felt a great sense of sadness and at the same time gratefulness.

Sadness because I could see how the person's holding on to the thoughts and stories are hurting her more than anyone ever could. I could tell the person this but until she chooses to see all that she is going through is her stories of being treated unfairly, she will always be in the prison created by her ownself.  Who would she be without all these stories ??? I bet a happier person who can see that she can not expect people to be the way she wants.

Grateful because at least I can discern that though I feel sadden by what is happening, I cannot change the person because this person has her own journey to walk in this life.All  I can  work on is how I am experiencing the interaction with this person, my desire to fix things and the ideas i have.

The Spiritual Life

Spiritual life is not about becoming someone special but
discovering a greatness of heart within us and every being.
Its and invitation to inwardly drop our opinions, our views, our ideas,
our thoughts, our whole sense of time and ourselves, 
and come to rest in no fixed position 

by Jack Kornfield

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Disentangling from Ourselves

Today I went to give a talk at the retreat that is organised by CnC. I agreed to do the talk earlier but I had no idea what I'll be saying though the title was given. I've given this talk several times and as i knew the participants of the talk were mostly people who had heard what I had said before, I pondered what can I do differently.

I did not give much thought to planning the talk and I was observing that there were no tension within me. Normally, I would be feeling tense and concern trying to think of something to say, way before the event because I think its the right thing to do and also I want to be liked and approved by others. For this time, When the thought came that I should be thinking what to do about the talk, I allow the thought to come and did put in some thinking time but no answer came. All that came to me was to bring 2 balls of string. So I went out on friday and bought 2 balls of string.

I just knew that the talk has to be at the level of coming from within the participants instead of coming from me. I'm only the spark that will trigger them to search for the answer within. As Byron Katie said in her book A Thousand Name For Joy, "If I had a responsibility, it would be to help you realize your own truth. You See it, You Say It, it comes from within you, and I am the witness. My finger points you back to you"

I read this passage on Saturday when I flipped open the book and thought this was very beautiful and the message given to me was really clear.

So, I went to the retreat place with a relaxed and happy heart. The activity I planned with the ball of string went the way it was suppose to go and the participants each gave their own reflection based on their own insights. I saw that their insights were more deep for them than what I could possibility tell them because it was coming from within them.

My role was to just remind them that the journey to keeping the practice of mindfulness going strong was just to be gentle, inquisitive and persevere. I think the best type of learning is when the people say "Wow.... we did it, all by ourselves". With that I'm starting my journey of being invisible.