Wisdom Arises Through Understanding

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pseudo Abundance

I have been told that Abundance is a feeling not how much we have in terms of the car, house, bank account, children etc. I always thought I understood this and is genuinely feeling abundant. Until...... one day I had to make payments for many items and as I checked through my bank account to ensure I do not bounce any cheques, I made a mental note that, after making all the payments, I should have an amount left to use for next month. Unfortunately, when I check again the next week, the amount left was way below the amount I estimated and immediately panic set in with thoughts of how I could have miscalcuated.

Immediately, I could sense the feeling of unabundance which to me was rather odd because its not the end of the world and also I know that I will receive a cheque soon for some work done but the mind was really persistent in wanting to keep that thought, hence the feeling of unabundance continued. Logically, I know that the thought is not true but seems that there was no convincing the mind otherwise.

From this experience, I had a wake up call that all this while my understanding and feelings of abundance are really faux feelings. I've unconsciously tagged abundance to a figure in the bank account and also this means that if I had more than that figure, I'm abundant  Ha ha ....what a joke on myself...... So its back to the drawing board......appreciating everything

In TL's new book "Love Wisdom" he mentioned that

" Abundance is an attribute, not a gain. It is a perspective you undertake, appreciating everything in hand, irrespective of whatsoever vicissitudes of life. Appreciation brings richness to each experience, trusting where the flow of nature is leading you. When you appreciate, you accept the reality of the experience exactly as it is with the clarity to respond instead of the usual automated way of reacting, thus freeing yourself from the bondage of ego. Abundance is your ability to appreciate and accept life with fullness"

Who Is In Pain ?

 I was attending a workshop on Sunday and it was also the day I started rice fasting. Before going home,  I went to visit my mom carrying my rice pot along. I told my mom and Atun that I'll be fasting for 16 days on rice. They asked me if its just rice and I said Yes...... I could see them wince and pull a face. They started to say "Poor you" and asked me why I was doing it and why I was torturing myself. Though I told them my reason, they still looked sceptical.

I find it rather funny because its me who is doing the fasting not them but clearly they are feeling a certain feeling of pain about it. Strangely, I do not have any feelings of pain around doing this fasting (at least not on the first day). Seeing their reaction, I realised that we never do feel others pain. When someone is suffering and describe the suffering to me, what is happening in me is my own perception and idea about the suffering the person is experiencing. I will not be able to feel the other person's pain actually but I'm feeling my perception of the type of pain the person is experience. Which may be totally off the mark just like in my case.

I observed that if I am experiencing something totally new and I'm not sure how to respond to it, I could do three things :
1. I will ask for others opinion or observe others behavior in similar situation and hence I can buy their perception to be my own and now my response will be based on this newly purchased perception. So, in my case if I was to buy into my mom's perception that fasting is a torture, then I'll start to see myself as a "poor thing"

2. In another scenario, I may ask a few people and sort of window shop for differing perception and then I may end up not buying or buying into one of the perceptions or form a synthesized perception.

3. Just think on my own and create a perception based on any closest past experience.

Whatever method I gain a perception, its still a perception and I will always be operating from a perception in whatever I do and in whatever interaction. Interestingly, this means that I would not be able to really show compassion to others. Byron Katie mentioned " What does compassion look like ? At a funeral, just eat the cake. You don't have to know what to do. Its revealed to you. Someone comes into your arms, and the kind words speak themselves; you are not doing it. Compassion is not a doing"

So being mindful of the thoughts and actions that is going on is important because it will be an indicator of the perception that is behind it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fear of What ?

Yesterday I went with TL & AC to a university town in Perak to give a talk for a special event that is organised for the students there. When the students filed into the hall, I could see that there were all young adult about 18 and above. Most of them when they came in, they came in 2s, 3s or 4s and when they choose a place to sit, it was with their friends.

When I started the session with something light just to warm them up, the students were open and tried out the activities that I gave them. In the activity, the highlight was to get them to see how they seem to do things in a certain way and the reason is their mindset.

When it was TL's turn to speak, he started to get the students to do activities that require them to look at another person and also observe self. I could see the level of discomfort increased in the students..... most looked away from their friend, some gave sheepish smiles and all seem uncomfortable.

When he asked the students to change place and work with other people that they do not normally interact with, quite a number choose not to follow the instruction and for those that did, it was very visible that they had never done such activities before.

It was quite an interesting observation for me on how they (and me too if I were in their shoes) use different strategies (and it seem unconscious to them) to avoid having to face their fear of interacting with someone new. Some of the strategies were to hold their knapsack/file/book in front of them, look with downcast eyes when others are looking at them, play with their handphone, try and make conversation with the other person, look around instead of their buddy, turn to a friend near by and strike a conversation, cross their arms in front of their chest, nervous smiles and also shuffling of feet.

This got me to thinking of how I have numerous time tried some of the strategies above to hide my nervousness when I'm interacting with new people or in an unfamiliar place..... This sort of confirm what TL said the "the mind is in fear most of the time". This underlining fear is something that causes me to act "funny" or laugh too loudly etc. I realised that when I am not mindful, the strategies take over automatically but if there was some measure of mindfulness, the observer can observe that the mind wish to undertake the strategies and this gives the opportunity to choose a more appropriate respond. I realised that the thinking of the fear is always bigger than the actual fear itself.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Story Telling

Story telling is a very ancient form of communication in our civilization. Stories are used to teach, to create a culture, to get buy in, to have fun, to gain rapport, to communicate, to instill fear, to instill courage and etc.

I always thought that not everyone can be story teller but after observing myself and others, I realised that everyone is a story teller be it verbally, non verbally or just in the mind. Many great teachers used stories well to help people change perception and gain clarity. Being someone who can speak well, I noticed many instances in the past, I have used story telling (normally about what has happened to me) to get people to buy into my side hence making me the rightful party or to influence someone's decision in favour of me or to tell a person I'm pissed of with them

Recently, I noticed that when I wish to tell a story, the thought that pop into the mind, is "Why are you telling this story?" I found this interesting because when I try to answer this question, the intention is always less than honourable.......I wondered if there is a way to tell a story or to relate something to others without the intention of inflluencing their mentally to be in my favour? Sadly so far, I found that the answer is "NO".
So sometimes, when I'm aware that I'm launching into a story with the intention of gaining someone's favour, I cut the story short. Other times, when I'm mindless, the story can go on for quite a bit. :p

I find that the story that goes on in the mind is the most hardest to ignore. In fact, I observed that the mind is constantly telling story to itself to convince that "I" about something or another.It could be a story that boost my confidence and self esteem or a story that makes me question my abilities, self worth etc. Of course, its quite easier to swallow the stories that boost self esteem than those that puncture it. But whatever it is, I notice that questioning the mind needs to be practiced so as to see the truth of the stories being told.

Recently, I observed a loved one rehashing a story of an incident that happened a few days ago and as I listened to the story being retold, I observed the feelings increased making the incident very, very real and it cements the person's views and perception. I remembered TL telling me that we are like children playing a game but we are so identified with the game that we forget its a game and got frightened by it.

I can see I have created many stories in my life that now frightens and mislead me. It would be interesting to revisit the stories now from the point of the observer and maybe just maybe there will be a happy ending like in the fairy tales : )

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Power of Intention

I had just finished a fasting of 7 days yesterday. When I first started the fasting a week ago, there was a clear intention that I am committed to the fast and will stop eating and drinking from 5.30am - 7.30pm. With this intention, dutifully I woke up at 4am plus to prepare and have my meals,went back to sleep and carried on my usual chores as best as I can. Strangely, through out the whole 1 week, there was very little hunger pangs but there was thirst pangs. With the hunger pangs, I asked the question, "Is the mind hungry ?" or "Is the body hungry?". Just with this differentiation, it was easier to observe the bodily sensation and not associate it with the mind. In fact, I realised that the mind seemed to be able to project more hunger than the body can :).

As for the thirst, the questions did not work so well but because of the intention set, the mind could keep seeing the protest and also the stories about being dehydrated etc. The interesting things is that the mind was quite willing to settle down.

In the 7 days, I observed an underlying feeling of fear which I guess is about fear of failing to complete the 7 days fast successfully and having to do it again. I notice because of the intention, the mind was again pretty stable to watch the feelings and thoughts that surround that gently.

Today is the first day of non fasting and because the intention of fasting is no longer there, I notice that hunger pangs was experienced several times during the day and also the mind seem to be a bit more busy looking for food to eat. Strangely though, I kept forgetting to drink water. What a strange turn of events.

What I know from this experience is that there is really a difference in the state of mind with clear intention and a mind that is without clear intention. So, I guess it proofed to me that how I experience an event or situation is based on what intention I've set in the beginning.  I came to an interim conclusion that for the times that I do not consciously set an intention, then default intention (which comes from past conditioning)will be leading the experience.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Craving for Specialness

Recently I've been observing myself on how much I wish to be special to someone or to be seen as special.
I observed that when there is a wanting to be special, a lot of energy and actions are taken to have that craving fulfilled. For instance, I'll dress in a certain way, say things in a certain way, act a certain way, laugh in a certain way, use certain words, walk in certain ways etc. In fact, to make me feel special about myself, I try to accomplish many things in a day. Because with accomplishments, this means I am productive, important and special. Sometimes this pattern of "doing things" is quite exhausting because its driven by ego. When I listen to the body, it tired and needs to rest but becuase of this need to achieve, the need for rest is pushed aside in favour of achievement and thus feel special.
I recalled the times that I felt that I was special to loved ones, friends or even strangers (like at the bank or department stores), there were feelings of happiness, power and lightness. I observed that I was more chatty, there was a certain "air" about me.

Recently, I noticed many instance thoughts popped in the mind that sort of say " When I do this, this person will be appreciating me" or "I'm here so now this person should pay attention to me now". And when the person does not.... there was feeling of disappointment. Even the hearing of accomplishment or specialness of others also brings out envy and jealous feelings and questions of why I don't have such gifts popped up. (Even if I not necessarily want such gifts, there is still a wanting)

I realised when these thoughts come, its an indication of the desire to be seen as special.... I was quite intrigue because its quite easily to entertain or to buy into the thought. When I start to recognise these thought.... I felt depressed because it sort of show me how incessant this craving for specialness is. Its easy to go downhill from here and label myself as a failure. I remembered my teacher asking me the question, "Did you recognise that this is happening in your mind ? " "If you can recognise it, it is a good start .... just keep being aware of it."  Ha ha ... easier said than done but I'm game to keep going to be mindful of this craving for specialness. Maybe I'm consoling myself but I think the journey of mindfulness has no finishing point just need to persevere and be patient.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alone or Lonely

I am in Port Dickson for the past 4.5 days teaching a program for a group of government servant.
It has been a long time since I am away on my own on a training assignment.....I wondered if I would be bored and feel lonely when I took up the assignment.

Strangely when I arrived at the venue, I found out that the WiFi system here is not working and also it was difficult for me to get a clear line for my mobile phone..... The first feelings that came up was frustration because I wanted to stay connected. I started to question investigate my thought as to why I was so hard up to have connection........Strangely the thought that came was that I wanted to avoid feeling lonely. I asked myself, which  was it that I am uncomfortable with.... feeling lonely or being alone ?

I noticed that I did several things because I believed that I did not want to be alone or lonely. I tried to persuade get my husband to come stay with me for one of the nights and I asked my friend also when my husband turned me down. I looked for a place to put my phone in the room so that I could get signal for my handphone. Got a bit pissed off when the signal is unstable. I switched on the TV to have sound even when I'm in the bathroom.

This happened for the first 2 days.... Later I started to observe that I was feeling quite relaxed with my own company..... I took time to do what I wanted to do, I walked on the beach, enjoyed the evening sea breeze, had slow and enjoyable dinner with the participants, explored the resort a bit...... In fact.... the experience was that being alone is interesting and not a lonely experience. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. The feeling of being lonely has a form craving for companionship and wanting to be validated by another person. The feeling of being alone has a sense of freedom and the mind is very interested in how the body and mind is interacting with what is happening in and around them. Its quite an interesting experience. Something I do not experience a lot because normally there is people around me.