Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Live with Sensibility

As humans, do we intrude too much on the landscape? What gives a person the right to intrude on this place? I suppose the only thing you can say is that the quality of your presence here in this way, in order not to be voyeuristic or consumerist, has to slow down to the level of attention where you begin to come into the rhythm of the landscape, those incredible moments, where we almost catch the landscape out in conversation with itself.

Ferguson Bourke

In the past year, I’ve become more active on Instagram where people share their beautiful moments to uplift one another. Some influencers bring a sense of peace and respect to nature, while others are loud with grand gestures and would do anything to gain a following.

I remember one winter our family took some Japanese friends to visit Kings Canyon National Park right after a beautiful snowstorm. We walked on the path and took photos from ground level with a wide angle lens to creatively appear we are a part of giant sequoia trees. We saw a few girls with giggles, dressed up, posed in the restricted zones so they can be in untouched snow. I felt a sharp pain in my own body as they walked in the protected zone where new life can have a chance to grow. Our gentle comments were ignored and they went happily to get their best Instagram moments. As I’m writing this I can still feel the pain in my own body.

I’ve been watching, sensing, and feeling what could be a fix to end this increasing behavior in our popularized digital culture. And most fixes come too late in the game. As I could not stop these girls from trespass, we can not stop the city to develop a road going through precious wetlands once it has already been set in motion. The tendencies leading to the behaviors are already written.

Then what are we to do?

Nowadays, medical practice recognize “preventive medicine”. This is a giant leap forward in progressive thinking. Not only think in terms of medicine, but we should also think in terms of preventive medicine – for the environment. To stop the tendency in ourselves that causes the believe that we are entitled to this land, that we are entitled to act in ways that could hurt others, and that we alone are the kings of this planet.

The only way to apply preventive medicine is to raise human consciousness to the level beyond selfish gains, personal inconveniences, and un-holy thinkings. What I mean by holy is the sense of oneness – our connections to each other, to our environment, to the planet, galaxy and beyond. Before making another purchase we must ask ourselves “is this sensible?” Before tossing out the old shoes instead of fixing it, we must think of the impact of our actions on the environment. I still wear that same little black dress I purchased when I was 18. I have clothes from my college days. And I do donate the items that no longer fit. But I do remember in my early 20s, I went through a phase of having a personal shopper and didn’t wear the same outfit twice. It was only the gift of a decade of near-poverty after my near-death experience I realized that I didn’t need much to enjoy life. And these early days of living large with endless consumerism was not living sensibly for myself and for the environment. Nowadays I enjoy simplicity with a small carbon footprint.

We ourselves must be the answer. We must elevate ourselves to a higher level or mindful awareness. When we can treat ourselves with respect, then we can treat others as ourselves, and the planet as our own bodies. We need less showing off and more true sensibility. We can be a part of the solution?

July 30, 2021 Posted by | World Transformation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Divorce the Mind, Marry the Heart

Don’t be a storehouse of memories.

Leave past, future and even present thoughts aside.

Be a witness to the life unfolding by itself.

– Mooji

Words are melting aways in recent times.

Where keeping track of time, dates; analyzing what is happening become too daunting.

This life transforms into one homogenous soup of Love unfolding.

Too beautiful for words.

Too transcendental for understanding.

Life Unfolding is ALWAYS unassisted by your personal self.

Be free of all attachments, fears and concerns by keeping your mind inside your own heart.

Rest in being.

Like this, life is always fresh and imbued with pure joy and timeless presence.

– Mooji

The mind fixates and grabs on to what did happen and tries to predict what will happen as if life depends on attachments, reactions, and projections.

It is always looking for an answer, asking questions of the past, future; and tossing rocks into the perfectly harmonious unfolding river of life.

It is old, wrinkled, and stale.


The heart floats in emptiness – absent of chattering – as the fulfilled emptiness.

It is never in the wrong place.

It is beyond time and space.

It doesn’t ask questions, but flows with the moment with every breath.

It is forever young, fresh, and timeless.


I’ve divorced the mind and married the heart.

Now the mind is tamed, inside the heart, melting into Eternal Love…

July 14, 2021 Posted by | Self Realization | 2 Comments

Your Light

Don’t Cover Your Light

Dear Beloved, don’t be shy to share your light. For you are made of stardust – the very essence of God.

Dear Beloved, don’t cover up your scars. In them live the shimmering beauty carved in every soul.


Dear Beloved, don’t be concerned with stature. For that devoid of genuine substance only illusory in nature.


For I, can only love you for you. Not your covering, not your wage, not your dwelling, nor your pretense.


A charade of the strayed path is no concern of mine.


For I can only love you for you. For your inner beauty, for your kind heart, for your pure spirit, for your loving light.

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

My Childhood Friend

My best friend was the boy next door. He was two years older than the three year old me when we first met. He taught me to draw on white walls, climb up trees, and read tiny little philosophy books. We lived in our own world and had our own language just through our glances. His family introduced me to black coffee, steak tartare and sushi while my parents could barely afford enough rice.

I’ve always loved him.

Years later when I moved to the United States I had forgotten about him. In my 30s I went to visit my hometown and ran into his dad. With deteriorating eyes, the old professor was still able to spot me at a distance. He put his arm around me as we walked and told me that I was the daughter-in-law he wished he had. He then waved to his new wife to greet us. I remember her well, and I remember wondering how at 20 years younger she became his third wife. She was well known in the community as the loud-mouth, and whenever she was speaking, I felt as if she were screaming angrily yet with joyful excitement. Such contradictions, that creature.   

They invited me for tea in their home. She then showed me photos of her soon to be daughter-in-law and protested the upcoming union.

“She is just pretty, white skin and long black hair. But there’s nothing inside!” The third wife screamed at me, waving the photos. “When she comes over to stay with us her long black hair sheds everywhere – on the floor, clogging up my shower, and it even lands in our sacred art studio!”

I looked down, into my teacup, and noticed the floating leaves. Fresh, light, and fragrant. I didn’t say anything.

“We saw your art exhibition! It’s interesting how your style is completely unrelated to your exposure at this Art Institute you grew up in! Forgetting your roots. Must be all that Western influence you received. Still, we wish you were our daughter-in-law!” She noticed my quietness against her own intensity, “I see your Chinese communication is subpar. Anyway, I know the press is coming tomorrow with TV stations and newspaper reporters so I’ve asked my son to prepare you for the interviews. He’s coming to pick you up.”

NO!

My heart was pounding…

I haven’t seen him since I was 12 and I have scars he has never seen. I would rather go on – never having him see me – for the rest of my life.

I’ve aged. I’ve gotten damaged. I’ve never found a deep personal love who was willing to marry me. I’m what the Chinese people call a disappointing “Leftover Woman”.

But now it has just become too late, the door opened and there he was…

“Ba, Ma, Maple.” He called out to my childhood name like no time had passed since we were together. He walked toward me and sat beside me, “sorry I was late, I went by your art exhibition first before coming here. Very unique, like you.”

I smiled. He smiled. That gaze, the lingering glance, our separate worlds reunited.

We walked in the misty rain along the cobblestone road lined with green, yellow, and orange leafed maple trees. “I love when the cold breeze and the rain combine forces, I can feel it in my bones,” he smiled. He’s always so calming, gentle, and mysterious. We walked and walked like time never existed. I felt myself floating yet miraculously grounded. I too felt the rain and the breeze as an invitation to feel the forces of pure existence. Most people never open that invitation and just toss the gift aside. Likewise, I’ve lived closed off from existence for way too long… 

We walked up 6 flights of stairs as the rain began to darken. His apartment was well-lit but small – kitchen, dinning room, bedroom, and another room used as an art studio. I stood in the doorway of his art studio as he pulled down the dusty white coversheet to unveil his new work. I can smell the oil painting still fresh in the air.

Nude, pure rosy white skin, long black hair flowing in the wind. Expressionless. A bit cold, yet mysteriously alluring.

“This is my wife, we marry next month.” He stared off into the corner of the room, “my dad couldn’t comprehend why I fell in love. I guess I’ve always chased the inexplicable.”

I didn’t say anything and walked back to the dinning room and sat down. “So what type of work do you do now?” I was curious why he didn’t live on campus at the Art Institute as most of the children of the elite professors such as his dad also pursued professorships within the institution.

“I teach oil painting and philosophy at City College.” He sat across the small table, “of course my dad does not approve. He has always chased fame, money, and status. For me, I just want freedom.” 

I nodded. Remembering that steak tartare and fancy sushi were never my choice of lunch as a child.

We went on to discuss fractals and how it became became a profound expression of art for me. The chaos, the order, the intricacies, the universal patterns, the self resemblance. I’ve told him each of the pieces came to me as a divine gift – not of my own creation – each distinctively poignantly dictated by a higher intelligence. I’ve used it as a guidance system for my personal evolution.

“Yes, you are beginning to tap into the big ME and letting go of the little ME.” He lowered his voice and sounded so much like his dad lecturing. “Most people live their entire life or lives in the little ME and never expect or let alone imagine a way out. That’s the chaos in the fractal. Order only emerges when you zoom out into the big ME space. Fractals are a mirror into the infinite boundless zoomed-out space where only the big ME exists and the little ME is only a tiny approximation of the whole.”

Without the need to understand his wistful philosophy, I saw the excitement in his eyes, and from there I was momentarily transported into that unlimited existence.

“Just like you and me. We grew up together as little MEs. You believed you were you and I was me. When you moved away I was mourning and later realized you still remain a part of me. Like I was always a part of you. No time or distance can ever erase the you in me, and the me in you. Now that’s the expansion into the big ME.” I was lost in his words and instead reached into the feelings, “In all of the world’s philosophy and religion there’s a unified goal of explaining the obscure, the thing you may call Love, God, or big ME that’s always there, somewhat felt but unseen. Your fractal art is a doorway leading us into the big ME by zapping you instantaneously with the shapes and colors and beauty so you have no choice but to forget the little ME – even if just for an instant.”

Four hours passed like a single eternity. Just for an instant, I realized that he had given me more than just interview preparation, he had given me himself, that self which has always been a part of me…

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

Follow Your Heart?

What does it actually mean – Follow Your Heart?

Is it an emotional experience?

Is it an anti-logical approach to life?

Or is it an intuitive relationship with your inner guidance (Your God-Consciousness)?

Whenever I tell people I can only follow my heart, few actually understand what I mean. They quickly jump into their own conclusion and place what they believe to be true onto my words. 

One man in particular, he asked to do a promotional video to feature me and I graciously declined. It wasn’t due to arrogance or disrespect towards him, nor due to any laziness or self-consciousness on my part, I just did not feel the pull towards that task. Each time he would ask, I would check-in, be still and intuitively feel. In fact, when I become quiet enough to truly feel, there is no energy nor a current flow into that direction. Even as I picture myself trying to get started on helping him, I get tired instantly. This is the point where I make a choice, do I continue to ignore my intuitive knowing or do I follow the guidance? 

I do realize that most people are like my early 20s self, who chose to ignore intuition and instead would act mostly from psychological cues produced in the mind. If someone asked me to attend a social function, instead of feeling if I would like to go or if there’s a current pulling me that direction, I would quickly enter into a psychological debate listing all the pros and cons. 

Pros – if I go I can dress up, I can eat yummy food, I can see my friends, I can network with more people, I might meet someone who can help me with my venture, etc…

Cons – I don’t have anything to wear, I might not fit in, I have a paper due the next day, I don’t have enough gas, My ex might show up at the same function, etc…

God knows I’ve mostly chosen the logical approach. Only by making the same mistakes over and over again, I realized that sometimes I just don’t feel like going – AND I don’t know why!

 

Now THAT has tremendous power. We are conditioned by society to always have to give an excuse when choosing the unpopular option. Yet oftentimes, intuitive power works in such a way that a “why” is never revealed. Hence the term “Follow Your Heart” – we opt-out of having to explain or make up excuses. This is when we often mix “heart” with “emotions” and become confused with the emotional-psychological reactions. Note, “heart” does not equate with “emotions”. To be able to sense a true intuitive guidance, we must become empty.

In the spiritual sense, there is a purity to “Follow Your Heart” – a vast space, a clear seeing, an equanimity in feeling. God-Consciousness is just such – to break out of the psychological chatters and enter into a vast space of clear seeing. 

I urge you to always “Follow Your Heart” – this is the only way to be in harmony with the greater existence – it asks you to step outside of limiting ego-self and step into the vast openness of God-Consciousness.

 

When one realizes God, He grants knowledge and illumination from within; one knows it oneself. In the fullness of one’s spiritual realization one will find that He who resides in one’s heart, resides in the hearts of others as well. – Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna

July 19, 2020 Posted by | Emotional Freedom, Enlightenment, Inner Growth | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Took the Road Less Traveled

Most of you are probably familiar with Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and this is a poem I wrote to capture what I felt with his words during my hike last weekend in Kings Canyon National Park. Hope you will enjoy.

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I Took the Road Less Traveled
Flo Li
(hiking with the spirit of Robert Frost)

crisp cold air, frozen earth, green grass covered in frost,
my finger tips are numb underneath the worn gloves;
seeking slivers of warm sunshine between dense branches above.

last night, curling in the homely blanket,
scent of grandma’s rich chocolate chip cookies still in my pocket,
sharing toasty hot cocoa next to that bright dancing sizzling fire…
the old cabin often creaked in the winter wind,
but we never cared,
inside
we always feel safe snuggled next to one another
charmed the joyful air between our laughters.

alone,
hiking through hard, rocky, uneven terrain,
growing cold, weak, tired, and wanting to give up…
l patiently took each step knowing I shall never return;
yellow leafed trees reached out their arms toward the road,
I smile knowing I shall never return as the same.

the road less traveled I have chosen,
“bon courage” they said, nodded, and walked away;
“not for the faint of heart” they said, applauded, and traveled another way;
gallantry is not found in rehearsing my pompous acts
but my abidance in the inmost tip of one simple fact.
I shall choose this road over and over again,
how this way leads on to ways
to sights no imagination ventured
as the masses only care to pretend.

I have no luxurious garnish to show when the masses are clothed in twinkling aurora,
even my shoes are covered in dust.
yet, with each step, I have found something robust.
A solid allegiance,
timeless, formless, priceless verdict to trust.

indebted to these arduous steps,
my pilgrimage guided me here;
hidden in the crack of old wounds and deserted sorrows,
lies my durable spirit – shinning so brightly
only momentarily covered in rust.

October 27, 2019 Posted by | Self Realization | 1 Comment

Waking Up in LovE

Soaking in LovE – no explanations, no judgement, no fixes needed, no alteration necessary, nothing to add, nothing to change, nothing to involve, nothing to worry, nothing to grab hold, nothing to let go, nothing needed, yet ALL is vibrant and alive.

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Feels like I’m SEEing for the first time… In awe with all forms yet there are no parts only expressions within the all encompassing. The trees are no different than my arms, the leaves and twigs are no different than my toes and toe nails, all is alive inside me as a part of ME. How can I describe this sweetness? How do I put this undifferentiated LovE into words? How do I hold back tears of joy? How do I even call this me?

This is bigger than Aikido, bigger than Yoga, bigger than Zen, bigger than anything form tries to illustrate. An illustration can never fulfill the completeness of the whole. Yet all illustrations and all forms are contained within the all encompassing. This vastness I feel that is all of ME has no edges, has no end, has no limit, has no parts, has no names. I AM limitless beyond freedom, beyond planet, beyond time, beyond ordinary senses… How could this be missed – it was here all along.

It takes so much effort to differentiate the things I see. It takes too much work keeping up with what I’ve learned. I cannot keep up the pretense – it is too heavy of a load to carry. Truthfully I AM the effortless BEING. I have no needs, I have no desires, I have no name, I have no preferences, I have no form, I have nothing at all. ALL of this is ME – from pieces of nuts and bolts to blades of grass, from the waves in an ocean to the not so distant moon, from the heart of a child to the lingering love of the deceased. All of this is ME. How can I differentiate the 5 elements when I see no difference in the sea and the sky? I see no difference in the soil and air. I see no difference in me and you. How could I even call you YOU when I KNOW this is all just ME – manifesting in forms.

Oh GOD how clever are you? The I AM before all of creation was forgotten in order to live this dream life. To believe in the details of manmade stories wholeheartedly. To not suspect that I AM the author to all of creation. That I AM that before all of creation. To humbly say that I am the I AM and You GOD has never been apart from the me as I believed to be. If fact, I AM only dreaming to be not of You. Yet how silly it all was when all of creation and pre-creation only exist in You. How do I not burst from this LOVE that tumbles within, waiting to be released! How do I not burst into pieces knowing I’ve lived here all along…

Oh God, how the mind is relentlessly trying to draw my awareness away from You and into the fairy tale make believe of the day. How I ran off into the wild illusory world to fight dragons and search for love. How long I have doubted if you ever loved me. The fear, the anger, the sadness, the pain, the self-improvement, the need to be better, the desire to be loved were all just a dream. Such drama lifetime after lifetime, form after form, breath after breath… All the battles lost because I have forgotten I am You. So humbly You.

The efforts I conjured to keep up my individual persona. The tears I cried to work hard to be someone. The sweat I exerted to push myself beyond my make belief limits. Oh all that was just the working of Maya. All that was just a forgotten Self. All that was never needed yet epically played. But today I am too tired… Too tired to keep up the false beliefs of millions of past lives. Too tired to be someone when indeed I am no one, I am no thing, and most improtantly I have never been separate from You.

How did I live in delusion for so long and how have I even encouraged others in their delusions to be a better individual when in fact there is no separation and there has never been! Oh how the conditioned mind insists on boundaries to perpetuate “you and me”. But I am too tired to keep up the charade. I can no longer say what is not. I am so tired. Too tired of being the individual me when all along I am the I AM. I am so tired. So tired to try any longer… Slowly the world was let go, all judgements melt away, and all forms are no longer substantial.  I am too tired to add meaning into emptiness. I am too tired to make up more beliefs.

Today, Now, I Rest in Peace. As the only, undifferentiated I AM.

This is the space of the PURE, the space of the uncreated, the space of emptiness, the space of nothing, the space of complete peace. I am too tired to come to any individual you, but if you like, come and find me here – in the I AM.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

Be A Living Shrine

March-1-16

“The Divine does not like to be shut up in a building. The Divine likes to be out in the open. It is right here in this very body. Each one of us is a miniature universe, a living shrine.” – Morihei Ueshiba

When I started learning aikido, I read extensively about the founder of aikido and his philosophy. At that time I did not understand the true spiritual essence of aikido but I did feel the profound truth in his teachings that surpassed my intellect.  During that time, I would often experience a vivid reoccurring dream.

In my dream, O sensei would appear, floating in front of me, his white beard flowing freely in the wind; he would then smile, point to me, and tell me to build a shrine.

For many years I took the dream literally. When I inherited a dojo with exquisite traditional Japanese design, I worked tirelessly to keep our training space serene and pristine. We had a bamboo garden outside the dojo space, and a shrine inside. I would spend a whole day almost every week vacuuming all reachable corners and repainting walls. I would always light an incense everyday before class and send a prayer to O-sensei to thank him for his guidance. We eventually got a Torii (red gate shrine) installed at the entrance of the dojo.

Yet the reoccurring dream never stopped. Sometimes O-Sensei would laugh while touching his flowing white beard and tell me to build a shrine. And he never stopped pointing to me each time.

About a year ago that dojo closed and the desire to search for a new space for a dojo or build a shrine kept occurring in my thoughts. Yet something deeper inside me advised against it. I couldn’t logically understand what was happening but the dream just got more and more urgent. Something in O-Sensei was pointing toward me, not a space or a location but deeply inside ME.

Every morning I take a walk with my dog on the trails. During my walks I developed the tendency to listen to Mooji’s spiritual teaching pointing to the “I AM.” During this daily redirected awareness, the “I AM” prevails and the world drops away. The external world is no longer the source of my focus, and this body is no longer who I am, instead, I AM. I am “ALL” – a homogenous existence of undivided awareness, everything is me being experienced as a part of “ME”, things and events appear spontaneously as I – the watcher is observing all the happenings – untouched, untainted, and pure. When this is the state of “I”, all things are harmonious, it is the nature of all things, as no assistance from the little personal “I” is needed. When this is the state of “I”, no matter where my body takes me, peace is experienced, and peace is extended beyond this body.

Last night in my dream O -Sensei smiled and nodded his head.

Today, I’m sitting under the trees next to a fountain working in an outdoor coffee shop. I am witnessing the natural harmony that is occurring in my surroundings. This body is the shrine, not a thing out there. And to share this Art of Peace is by BEING the Art of Peace.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Self Realization | Leave a comment

Aikido Life

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Typical training day to explore freestyle movements at the Dojo of the Four Winds in Encinitas

It was raining, traffic was light, and the lights by the on-ramp of the freeway had been turned off after the heavy morning commute. I was driving behind a fancy sports car heading down the on-ramp and suddenly the car stops right by the traffic light in front of me leaving me no time to break. Trying to break yet sliding on fresh rain, unable to stop in time, I swerved to the right lane and quickly passed by. No red traffic light, yet the car decided to stop. Somehow my base model CRV got out of the way effortlessly, and to my surprise I was completely calm.

My training partner always shared with me that aikido should translate into all aspects of our lives, and I agree. At the time he and I had been training for several months getting ready for our 3rd degree black belt test. We trained extensively in freestyle with three attackers, and were learning that part of being effective is the concept of evasion. I was getting better at sliding by an attacker without an active confrontation. In our training this allowed time to face the next attacker and the one after that. I never thought much of it during training. Most of the time training was training and I was just trying to survive. Only in hindsight was I able to see that my training in aikido saved me from countless near accidents on the road.

Several years ago I spent five and a half weeks in Japan visiting family and training in aikido. After a whole day of training, I would ride my bike back to the apartment late at night feeling completely exhausted and unable to think straight. The side streets merging onto the main road were small and dim. The last night during my stay, friends took me out to celebrate with traditional sushi and lots of beer. As I got on my bike to head back, it was already past midnight. There was almost no traffic on the road and I was riding along the main road submerged in my own thinking. Suddenly a dark transport truck came out of the perpendicular dark alley cutting directly in front of my path. My eyes glazed and my body moved on its own. The next thing I knew I took a quick right angle turn and was traveling parallel side-by-side right next to the truck – my body touching its dusty driver side door. I told sensei what happened the next day and he laughed, “YES! That is aikido! Good Pivot!”

In the first instance the evasion training in freestyle helped me to escape a collision in the fresh rain. In the second instance the pivoting technique we use often helped me to avoid getting hit by a truck. And this natural harmony was happening more and more in my life where conflicts used to occur. I thought perhaps I was just lucky, but on later reflection I was able to see how aikido training of the body/mind/energy has made me more effective in navigating in life without “collisions”. Most other martial arts I’ve experienced or seen embraced “collisions” as a way to win or dominate in any given situation. Instead, aikido asks practitioners to re-wire our thinking from fight-or-flight to harmonious interactions in any confrontation. With so many of our teen students getting ready to drive, I can’t help but smile to myself that aikido training is producing better drivers on the road. In a small way perhaps we are making a difference.

 

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , | Leave a comment

All Pieces of ME

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Who is your True Love flower?
Is it the rain that kisses you so tenderly?
Is it the wind who softly holds your body for a swift dance?
Or is it the ground who bears with your depth and supports your growth?
Or the sun with her sometimes warm other times intense gaze?
Or perhaps it has always been…
That fulfilling Emptiness…

The Space – that is the original birthplace for All that Is.

(This poem has been inspired by my Isha Yoga Bhuta Shuddhi practice – according to Sadhguru, every yogic practice finds its roots in Bhuta Shuddhi – the cleansing of the 5 elements. “Cleansing the body periodically is an essential part of making it available for greater possibilities. It’s always best to detox your body naturally, and this can start right at home. Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru, gives us simple methods to cleanse the five elements of the system and looks at how to detox your body naturally.”)

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Self Realization | 3 Comments