A friend came to visit. He excitedly told me how the universe gave him everything he wanted from meeting celebrities to being on TV without the chance to allow himself to take a full breath. “I must be in such high vibration that everything’s working out for ME!”
Smiling, without a word, I served him a cold iced-tea with a piece of freshly cut white peach on the side. He pushed it aside and went on to tell me about how people everywhere are stopping with envious stares since he got his amazing six-pack…
In Southern California, there’s a culture of speaking of such things as “cleanse”, “mindfulness”, “detox”, “healing”, “meditation”, “organic”, “yoga”, “reiki”, “zen”, “juicing”, “being in alignment”, “high vibration”, “unity”, “love”, “enlightenment”… The list goes on and on. Lots of us here eat organic to be in a higher vibration – not as an aware expression but as a concept – for the purpose of becoming better.
In more ways than one, we use yoga, meditation or anything “spiritual” for our own personal gain. When I do an “OM” chanting practice, I can do it in several different ways – 1. I can use it to show those around me how peaceful and spiritual I am, 2. I can use it to open up my energy so my life can run more smoothly; or 3. I can do it with subtle awareness and witness the interconnections and changes as each “OM” progressively expresses through my body. For these three ways, these actions are exactly the same, yet the essence of each are completely different.
Consciously or unconsciously we are always asking “what can Enlightenment do for ME?”
Our collective ego structure is always interested in how to feel better. We find shortcuts in life and indulge ourselves in momentary pleasures often resulting in long drawn-out pain. We use alcohol, television, sports, sex, fashion, games, relationships, politics as ways to escape reality, as ways to turn away from looking within ourselves. As a result, we put on a false mask along with lavishly decorated armors to show the world who we pretend to be.
A young lady posts her intellectual achievements, re-shares the latest scientific discoveries, and shows-off how charismatically smart she is so she can gain the approval of her friends – only to find no matter how hard she tries to impress, she still felt like a black hole inside.
An older man got married to a glamorous “trophy” – only to discover 15 years later that he’s trapped in a marriage without ever experiencing true love.
Amy’s Baking Company asked Chef Ramsey to help improve their business, only to not take any feedback and decide that everyone else is wrong. The owners blamed the internet haters and never for a second quietly took a look to see if they themselves are to blame.
Like Chef Ramsey, Enlightenment is not shy to serve you a plate of truth. You might overlook and ignore it for a while, but eventually it will slap you in the face until you wake up to the reality you’ve been avoiding for years.
Yup, I’ve been there. I’ve experienced the personal ego structure to the most delusional level and felt the collective ego structure on the most fundamental level within my own being. Our ego structure cares feverishly about the outer appearances of things while pushing aside the gut feelings, and ignoring the simplest truth.
The last time I witnessed myself asking “what can Enlightenment do for me?” I didn’t expect the honest truth it served me in such a timely manner. I got to look within myself and saw how egotistical my whole life was. All aspects of my life had been contaminated by a self-importance, self-consciousness, fear of failure, fear of looking bad, fear of rejection, a need to be accepted, a need to show-off, and the list goes on and on. I was that young lady, I was that older man, I was the owners of Amy’s Baking Company, and I too once played all parts in these roles. When I looked for what Enlightenment can do for me, I had hoped for a chance to win a million dollars, a top of the line sports car, or a way to look young and beautiful forever. Instead, Enlightenment has a different sense of humor.
For me, Enlightenment was holding up a mirror to reflect where my life was lived as a way to put on a show. It unveiled the naked truth that I avoided for so long – in every area and every moment of my life. I could not run away any longer. This time, I was stripped naked by Enlightenment, with a magnifying glass to examine each and every part of my self, my belief structure, and my hardened delusions. Then it took a scalpel, and surgically removed each and every untruth as they are being revealed – sometimes with insurmountable pain, other times with gentle awareness. The surgery is not complete. It has to be done over time. A time reveals more truth when each moment presents itself.
So if you found yourself asking “what can Enlightenment do for me?” If you are not ready for the truth, run the other way as fast as you can. Because Truth has a way of catching up to you if you are not careful. For some people, they can run and hide until Death comes to claim them. If you happen to slip and fall, know that Truth in her naked form will come with her bright mirror held up high and show you the truth regardless if you want it or not. Usually after putting up a fight, most of us can no longer keep up turning the other way in denials. There is a point that Truth will bring the arrival of Judgment Day when you are least expecting – and blows your masks and armors away without an apology. Truth is not nice. She is Truth. And Truth always wins.
What can Enlightenment do for you?
Enlightenment will strip you clean layer by layer until you recognize the naked truth of who you really are – Empty, Rich, Simple, Love, and Beautiful.
(A special Thanks to this simple and yet honest blog from Dragon Rider One.)
Many years ago I was a slave to science as I believed only science can solve life’s mysteries so I can uncover what life truly is. I laughed at the people who called themselves devotees as they blindly followed the idea that God is the force behind all existence. I didn’t know God. But I did know I could find amazing answers in a test tube. My friends shared a similar view. I remember one day I was searching in scientific medical journeys online and somehow stumbled upon a journal about near-death experiences. At first I was extremely offended how such a publication could find its way to be categorized as scientific without proper documentation of truthful measurements. As I glimpsed into a few articles I was shocked to know what the scientists called data were nothing more than people’s recollection of bodily sensations and perception of events. I questioned the validity of such recalls since the biological functions of the body during such a time cannot be trusted let alone the brain’s ability to process information. I called up a friend and we continued to make fun of these so-called scientists who did not follow the proper path of science.
Did I believe science and spirituality were exclusively separate? Logically yes. Intuitively I had an inkling that all things might somehow be intimately connected.
A month later – May 6th, 2006, I was given the opportunity to experience the naked truth myself.
I had no instruments with me to collect data during the actual event but I did remember every bit of my near-death experience like it was yesterday. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve never made fun of this instrument I call myself, my feelings, and my sensations. It was lucid and extremely real – at the time it was more real than anything I’ve ever experienced in my whole entire life. It was out of this world and into a different dimension I could not measure or even try to explain logically. When I met my doctor in the ER I was high on bliss and somehow he seemed to understand how I felt. Yes, I could say I was lacking oxygen which could cause hypoxia, ischemia, temporal lobe trauma and dysfunction and neurotransmitter imbalance, yet the visceral conviction at the time gave me more certainty than any data I’ve ever analyzed. Family and friends who came to visit me felt extremely sorry for my state of being, yet somehow my doctor just stood with me and trusted my decisions without question. The way he looked into me was like we’d known each other since the beginning of time. Back then I thought it was good healthcare and plain caring. Later on I realized he too had experienced something profound but never talked to anyone about it.
When I came back to my scientific research in biotech and carefully shared my experience with a selected few, my intellectual friends rolled their eyes and talked behind my back that I am no longer normal. I learned quickly not to speak my experience of the truth. I kept what I went through to myself. Within a year the structure in my old scientific community became suffocating. I had to move on and search deeper. I had to conduct my own experiments even when a gold standard of collecting data cannot be created. I became an outcast of the scientific community. I didn’t care. I only cared about my search for truth.
The next year I went to MBA school and found several professors who would talk to me about intuitive decision-making in their classrooms. A few of them invited me to their office and behind closed doors they shared with me they too have experienced profound mystical moments beyond the construct of the logic processor. They called themselves “closet spirituals”. The seasoned professor did not want to risk his image to deviate from his beaming intellect. The associate professor must not be too modern in her thinking in order to be on track for her tenure. One brave professor suggested to me that he had seen profound shifts in people going through holistic therapies when he worked in the office of a prestigious psychiatrist.
I followed his map and found myself immersed in psychology and psychotherapy. At that time my new job consisted of embedding a glucose monitor within a cell phone to collect data for the pharmacy and health care professional’s ease of integration into the patient’s everyday well-being. During our market research we found the hardest part was not building the instrument nor an app for the cell phone, instead, the challenge to bring success to our product is how to change people’s behavior – how to make a fundamental shift in someone’s core belief, their thinking – to eventually affect the choices they make in an everyday situation. Type II diabetes is a global epidemic and there was much money to be made in this investment. I didn’t care about making the rich company richer, I only cared about truth – what makes us who we are, and if we are dissatisfied with who we are how do we change ourselves at the core level. The following year I spent all of my money on exclusive personal development classes that promised to give me answers to truth as well as solve the problem of my defective self. Soon enough using the model of men as machines gave me hope of temporary relief but didn’t take me closer to truth. I had to move on, I was in no-man’s land. Fewer and fewer people had answers for me. Those who did offer answers like the personal development experts could no longer provide the next stage of depth I needed for my journey.
Another year has passed and my quest for truth lead me to meditation, yoga, and aikido. When I found peace within, I noticed that the human body is a sensitive instrument that can be calibrated to even greater precision and take meaningful data. I cannot call myself a woman of faith. I am not. I question everything. I distrust everything until I can conduct my own experiment leading to new discoveries. One thing about being a scientist is we devote ourselves to the discovery of truth, we don’t fake data to fit our own agenda. We remain pure as the observer of truth. We remain pure as the witness of nature. The more I worked to fine-tune my internal instrument the more I could become a better scientist – staying pure to what is, staying pure to witness the truth as it is. My quest for truth has led me to discover a bigger Truth and a bigger Me outside of myself by looking within. My quest has led me down a path I could’ve never imagined nor ever expected. There is no point of return. I’m no longer afraid that my view does not fit into the limits and boundaries of popular consensus. I no longer care someone else out there like the old Flo who will be offended by my scientific process. I don’t care to “fix” my data so I will be accepted. I only care about truth – as it was witnessed – in my own journey of discovery.
Here I shall share the result of my finding. I hope you will not take me experience as your own but instead stay pure, fine tune your instrument, conduct your own experiments, and stay true to what is.
My Original Hypothesis: there is no God, no higher power than the power of our intellect
My Instrument: myself (thoughts, sensations, emotions, movement of energy)
Experimental Method: devotion to the discovery of truth; devotion to the clearing of untruth; not taking answers given by others as truth, conduct your own experiments, repeat; toss out lies but pay attention to outliers, etc…
My Conclusion: I was wrong. God does exist. God is in everything, everyone, and that is the higher power – the power of nature, the power behind all of life.
I was in tears. I couldn’t understand why my simple expression had such an impact. I’ve never seen him so angry with me. Why did he react? Why did he nearly yell at me when minutes ago things were so nice and peaceful?
It all started when I knocked on the door and called out grandma. But instead of calling grandma, I used the endearing term she and I have always used with one another – “gotata”. That’s when dad appeared out of nowhere and stared me in the face and told me to NEVER EVER use that word again. I was taken back, trembling in shock, I did not know what to do. He was so emotional. I could tell somehow this word had hit a major nerve.
But why? What is the lesson in this? Did I trigger something in his unconscious mind?
At night, I still couldn’t fully forgive him without a better understanding. Knowing my dad, he rarely talks about anything beyond the boundaries of the intellect, being emotionally intimate with anyone is impossible for his psyche. Nevertheless, I HAD to know.
During our night walk with mom, I couldn’t help myself and brought up the incident that had happened earlier during the day. He told me the word “gotata” is not in the dictionary. “So what?” I replied. He was getting more heated, “do not use words outside of the dictionary! I’ve held back for 30 years and every-time I hear that word it feels like a cat scratching my chest open!” Now we are getting somewhere. Somehow this word does touch a sore spot in him. “So what if I use a newly created word that is not in the dictionary? Shakespeare does it all the time!” I noticed myself getting even more emotional and I might actually explode. He couldn’t explain. He just stood there in anger. I had to push more, maybe the explosion will be more productive than the 4th of July fireworks surrounding us…
It back fired.
I ended up walking alone for miles when mom and dad went their separate ways. Cried my silent tears, I sat on the curb side wondering what just happened. I wanted to laugh at how silly this whole thing was. We were fighting with such intense emotional explosives over a word. Not religion or politics, but A WORD! As I quietly walked home in the dark, I hoped for a revelation. There has to be a lesson in this vivid experience…
This morning after my meditation, grandma finally told me the true history behind of the word – “gotata”. When I was an infant, I did not smile much. Grandma did everything to make me smile. She would make funny faces, give me toys, even sing and dance. Finally she noticed that certain sounds made me laugh. And after experimenting for a while, she found “gotata” contained the perfect magical ingredients that made me laugh in a consistent manner. This was the birth of our endearing term. She and I have called each other “gotata” as long as I could remember. This word contains so much love for my soul that I refuse to ever let it go. This is the love that grandma and I shared, it is special and eternal…
A few hours later, after an intense internal forgiveness process thanking the potential gift from dad, I went on to see if he was still angry. As soon as I walked up, he apologized. I knew he loves me but he did not know what he was apologizing for. Me neither. Somehow I had a sense that being the ivory tower intellect that he is, he wanted his daughter to look, act, and speak the part as well. I asked him if he would feel small if we spoke in native tongue, he said yes. “I love you too dad,” I told him tenderly as I gave him a hug. “I want you to have more vision and communicate at a higher level.” He gazed into my eyes with such sweetness. Dad had to fight the Chinese government and corrupt officials to even get a fair chance to begin his ivory tower education. And the intellect means the world to him. Naturally he would project his beliefs onto me.
I understand it all perfectly now. At the core of everything, there is only LOVE. Grandma found “gotata” to make me smile, dad refused the term to keep me at an ivory tower status. Both were all out of love – in their own unique way. For grandma, my smile is worth a million kisses; for dad, the intellectual status is personal power and all that is. Both of them wanted to give me what they value the most – from the love within the depth of their hearts.
Wow! How beautiful LOVE is…
I can judge the place where love came from, I can choose to misunderstand their true intentions, and I can value one form of love higher than another… Somehow in my mind and my heart, I know that love is love, and below the surface of emotional explosives, behind the masks of our shells, and at the core of everything, there is only LOVE. We love in different ways, we interpret love and we accept love in different ways. By recognizing that our ether is made of molecules of love, we can fly higher to another plane of enlightenment, to view life’s tears with understanding, with joy, and with celebration.
At the core of everything, there is only LOVE.