Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Facing the Place of No Escape

In aikido, I find myself often wanting to escape an oncoming strike. In the back of my mind I somehow believe if I can just avoid getting hit or avoid any possible pain, then I will be unharmed. Somewhere within my consciousness I believe escaping a confrontation is the best resolution.

Unfortunately on my spiritual journey, there are moments within myself that I must face an oncoming strike without the possibility of ever running away. A few days ago I had an encounter that brought back waves of old unresolved pain. I knew I was feeling unbalanced, angry, and sad. Yet I still used my meditation as a way to escape the uncomfortable feelings. Needless to say, trying to force peace upon chaos only leads to more chaos. Soon enough I found other strategies such as running away to take sunset photos, watching educational PBS series, eating a heavy meal to mentally checkout, and feeling the onset of a cold so I can just sleep away. All the strategies worked briefly only to lead me back to an even louder scream of discomfort within myself.

Eventually the strike caught up with me and I found myself facing the place of no escape.

In this cramped place I feel checkmated, and the only thing I can do is accept. Accepting the discomfort, accepting the internal scream, accepting the defeat, accepting the silence beneath the chaos, accepting everything just the way it is. The moment frozen feels like time standing still in the eye of a storm as I face the demons hidden beneath my consciousness. When the movements of jarring attempts to run away arise, an unwavering response of quiet acceptance, tender compassion, and intimate understanding softly penetrates my ground of being. Waves of sadness washing over me… Tears falling down… Bottled up old pain releasing… Violently, gently, tenderly – emptying, cleansing, renewing.

The place of no escape.

Years ago I thought Enlightenment will give me the promise of “happily forever after,” now only to discover Realization solely lays the groundwork for an inner revolution to take place. This life flowing through me now is no longer under my control – it has a movement of its own – breaking through a new pathway – restructuring, reorganizing my body, mind, emotions, and energy. This ongoing emptying out the old and rebuilding the new can often feel scary, chaotic, and triggers an instinct to fight or flight. Facing the GREAT UNKNOWN at each moment can be overwhelming and frightening. Yet my instinctual “need-to-escape” or “resisting-the-change” will only delay my transformation and make the process much more difficult to endure. It is a challenge to keep on going – to make the choice to be brave, to stand alone – naked, accepting, and willing.

On the path after Realization, there can only be places of no escape. Realization might have been a sudden existential awakening, but the path after Realization must be a commitment to continue the discovery and renewal of our chosen path. I have met many individuals fortunate enough to experience a moment of awakening but they never took another step beyond that experience. So many of them still talk about that old experience that happened long ago but nothing new blossomed as a result of their realization. I didn’t want to be one of them. I didn’t want my awakening to be just an old memory. Day in, day out I make the choice to walk with Truth – no matter how it reveals itself. This journey is simple – serve Truth even when it is difficult to do so.  I don’t suppose it will always be an easy choice to make. I do know that I will find the bravery within myself to walk the path. Are you willing to walk with me?

  'You must want to know the truth more than you want to feel secure in order to fully awaken to the fact that you are nothing but Awakeness itself. '  ~ Adyashanti

‘You must want to know the truth more than you want to feel secure in order to fully awaken… ‘ ~ Adyashanti

“But our potential lies beyond the known, beyond the structures of the past, beyond anything that humanity has established. Our potential is something that can flower only when we are no longer caught within the influence and limitations of the known. Beyond the realm of the mind, beyond the limitations of humanity’s conditioned consciousness, lies that which can be called the sacred. And it is from the sacred that a new and fluid consciousness is born that wipes away the old and brings to life the flowering of a living and undivided expression of being.
One must be willing to stand alone—in the unknown, with no reference to the known or the past or any of one’s conditioning. One must stand where no one has stood before in complete nakedness, innocence, and humility. One must stand in that dark light, in that groundless embrace, unwavering and true to the reality beyond all self—not just for a moment, but forever without end. For then that which is sacred, undivided, and whole is born within consciousness and begins to express itself.”  © Adyashanti 2008 

December 11, 2014 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Enlightenment, Inner Growth, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Exploration of Enlightenment

Chances are, if you are a spiritual seeker, then you have heard of enlightenment. We were told Buddha was an enlightened master, so was Jesus and a few selected individuals throughout history. There are others such as Muhammad Rumi, Albert Einstein, Joseph Campbell all exhibited such inherent passion for life and ease of living that they too might possess something mystical. Even various cultures throughout history have shifted into a space that completely transformed human reason to redefine the quality of our very existence.

Enlightenment Period Art – Time unveiling Truth, 1733, Jean-François Detroy (The winged figure of Time, holding a scythe in the sky, reveals Truth, his daughter, who unmasks an old woman personifying Fraud. The four Cardinal Virtues kneel in tribute at Truth’s feet. Fortitude rests by a lion which symbolises her courage, while Justice carries a sword and scales which refer to her power and impartiality. Further back Temperance carries a pitcher of water which signifies abstinence, and Prudence carries a snake, an allusion to her wisdom. In the top right-hand corner is a building which recalls the Pantheon in Rome.) http://tinyurl.com/ae6ywb3

What is the commonality between various categories of enlightenment?

Look up the term in google, the definition comes to be 1) the action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened; 2) the attainment of spiritual knowledge or insight that which frees a person from the cycle of [karma]. The Buddhism root of the term translates into “awakening” and “understanding”, which then allows us to break the bondage of suffering. Spiritual enlightenment promoting individual well-being in the Western civilization leading into the twenty-first century are often called a new age idea drawing on Eastern cultures and philosophies. Hence spiritual enlightenment is thought to be an “achievement” all individuals seek to obtain.

A more well-known use of the term is the “period of enlightenment” roughly span the early seventeenth century through the eighteenth century where traditional hierarchical political-social structures such as the French monarchy were violently overturned. The “period of enlightenment” occurred with a shift in thinking. Unvoiced in the past, individuals were encouraged to criticize the corruption of the monarchy and the aristocracy. At an earlier time in the late fifteenth century a parallel force of the scientific revolution triggered a yearning for new science, new experiments, and individual searches of intellectual freedom.

This wave of scientific revolution also helped to shape “enlightenment thoughts” in philosophical discussions. Against popular beliefs promoted by religion, Before the mid-sixteenth century, Descartes joined Galileo in advocating a heliocentric solar system. To avoid the Inquisition, his books in science were mostly published anonymously. Yet this undercover passion shaped his philosophical inquiries of doubt and knowledge, which allowed his skeptical arguments to penetrate the court of Queen Christina. In the mid-seventh century, Voltaire stood out to question popular believes by his words against myth and superstition taught by religious authorities. At the same time, Hume’s inquires into the sometimes false perceptions of the mind, Kant’s aim to unite new empirical experiences with established rational reasoning all propelled a shift in thinking – this shift is known as the Enlightenment.

In a sense, no matter how unrelated each categories might seem, various forms of enlightenment somehow point to the same direction – a question, a reassessment, a revolution, an awakening, a transformation leading to the freedom of true knowledge. In essence, enlightenment is a shift in perception, a shift in being that sheds light on something, illuminating what was in the dark to making it stand out and absolutely clear.

What does enlightenment have anything to do with you? And why would you want a piece of it?

Have you ever thought there might be more to life? One time or another in our lives we all strived to be happier, live deeper and experience more. What we’ve been taught by society is to achieve more in life and possess more materialistic things. We would purchase a bigger house, a more expensive car, exotic vacations, marry a handsome husband, earn a good living, yet somehow all these achievements quickly lose their attraction and we still feel unfulfilled. Some of us might turn to addictions such as food, drugs, sex, TV shows, video games to fill the hole yet still not able to find the happiness we yearn for. We don’t see a way out of this darkness, we yearn for more…

Second, like most human beings you have probably experienced suffering. If you are lucky, a tragedy in life might have brought pain to your awareness – physically or emotionally. From an early age we often cry in response to unpleasant events. Later in life, we tend to spin our wheels and try to solve various life’s dramas only finding ourselves unable to break free. For some, this suffering is always screaming and leaks into every part of our existence. Such as a solider who lost his legs in battle later found himself unwilling to take part in the simplest daily activities due to his overwhelming sadness, anger and shame. For others, this suffering is unconscious yet dictates all the choices we make in life. Like a young woman who believed she is not pretty enough so she spent hours each day to prepare herself, endless hours in the gym, purchased new breasts to feel better, dated hot guys to validate her own self-worth. For her, all of her energy is spent in this endless loop of the believe that she is not pretty enough, nevertheless she is trapped in a subconscious suffering.

Third, no matter if you are a scientist, a historian or a psychotherapist, you care about truth. As the Enlightenment philosophers once explored, truth can be very difficult to come by. As a scientist, I would form a theory of the world and then design experiments to examine the validity of my theory in an attempt to find truth. As a historian, you might research paintings, literatures, personal documentation in attempt to find what were the true forces responsible for a radical global shift. As a psychotherapist, it is your job to help individuals to discover which mental perceptions are faulty and how to form reality-based knowledge without the effect of delusions. Or if you are anything like me – a skeptic of everything you read or hear, you are tired of being living in other people’s structures of life and you want to use your own experience to feel life as it truly is.

No matter if you are yearning for fulfillment, seeking the end of suffering, or needing the clarity of truth, enlightenment holds the promise to set you free. It literally unmasks an old belief like the painting “Time unveiling Truth” – resulting in a break-away from the endless loops our old conditioning. It is difficult to describe what enlightenment is if the actual experience has not yet taken place. Everything you read here and elsewhere is only a finger-pointing to enlightenment, it is just a map hoping to get you closer. That is when Kant’s argument of external knowledge and reasoning might be helpful leading one to an actual internal experience. Upon the union of both – external knowledge and internal experience – Truth can then be attained – cycles of suffering or karmic ties can then be broken.

But, what the heck is enlightenment?

It is often referred to as “awakening”, “self-realization”, “freedom” and more. Like the word “enlighten”, it literally has the quality of shedding light onto an area of darkness. The contrast of this event is so great, it is like day and night. Once enlightenment happens, you cannot deny it. Just like dawn might still be very cold and dark, and upon the arrival of the day, the sun shines brightly you know you are no longer in darkness. It also has the quality of waking up from a dream. As we were once asleep, life’s problems were hunting us and we drive ourselves mad trying to come to a resolution. As we wake up, we realize all that suffering was just a dream. In fact, after awakening we realize all is well. Like the word self-realization, it is a realization of who you are, and that dream was all the untruth, that dream was everything you were not yet you just didn’t know it. Upon awakening you will know you are not your thoughts, you are not your body, you are not emotions, you are not your intellect, you are not your personality, and all that’s left over is you are space, you are pure awareness.

You are free to go beyond your past conditioning so each moment greets you anew. You are no longer dictated by the monarchy of your karma. You get to experience life fresh, without trying to focus on the moment, the moment simply just is. You are no longer controlled by your mind or by an external standard of right or wrong. You realize all the knowledge you accumulated before was somehow not of your own, it was passed down to you from other authorities, and you have somehow believed to be Truth.

After awakening you profoundly understand Truth spoken by Jesus when he said “the kingdom of God is within you.” You realize that the God you once prayed to as an old bearded man in the sky was just a mental imagine of what God might be because you didn’t know better. Upon enlightenment, you know with empirical experience that the essence of God is within you, God is omnipresent, and God is all there is. You know who you are, you know who everyone else is as well, and magically you are no longer separate, you are no longer sad or lonely, somehow, you are naturally happy. Then the you that was once the center of your universe disappears into a heliocentric solar system where God is the sun. You no longer aim for achievement to make yourself look better, instead, you naturally care about the well-being of the whole. After enlightenment you will know that God lives within you, and you are joy, you are Love. And you are glad that there’s no more you, there is only Flow. life literally becomes magical and everything happens between time, space, and in the perfectly harmonious order.

How does it happen?

Like the “period of enlightenment”, a personal enlightenment is also a revolution. It starts with a profound discomfort that you are not living your full potential and something must be done. You might feel that something different is taking place but you can’t pin-point exactly what is going on. Often times deep suffering can be the birthing place that promotes such revolution. Like a society, when old structures no longer work in the current context, something must change. Many individuals feel an unrecognizable fear as if life is no longer mapped out. Each and everyday becomes a struggle as our old way of operations is shedding away and we no longer how what to “DO”. Some people might feel as if suddenly their whole life is falling apart in the traditional sense. Some might feel their own masks of individual identity has being ripped off by external events. Others might feel chucks of their memories are missing or being re-invented. All these are indications of an under current of a powerful internal transformation.

Enlightenment can happen by a traumatic trigger such as a near-death experience or diligent hard labor such as a monk’s daily devotion. For most, it happens somewhere in between. It requires a personal willingness to let go everything we once were taught to be true and search for our new inner science (hence Sadhguru’s Isha Yoga is an inner science towards self-realization and his beginner’s program is called Inner Engineering). It also requires a softness to perceive beyond the logical mind and receive whatever God has in store for you – however, whenever. Sounds simple yet it may not be easy. Most people are stuck yearning for the grace of God to unveil Truth yet they are not willing to let go their self-centered personal identities. It is often called letting go of the ego – meaning letting go false identifications of who we believe yourself to be (as in the painting by the old woman with the mask, she is old outdated and her mask must be lifted off by Truth).

Similar to the “period of enlightenment”, once enough momentum is gathered to start the movement of a revolution, it can no longer be stopped. It becomes a rolling snowball, so anything that is untrue will be violently overturned and destroyed in the process to pave way for Truth. Yet at the time of war, your days can become extremely unpleasant, yet this must take place to bring-forth a transformation. One day you might realize that you are dying and there’s nothing you can do about it. What’s dying is your old perception of who you are, this death of the ego in painful but it will not kill the real you. It destroys the impostor who posed as you only to give space to the who you really are.

Like a caterpillar “dying” in the cocoon, it does not know what’s on the other side of the death only that he can no longer be a caterpillar. When this happens, the revolution has been well underway and it can no longer be reversed. An incubation time will begin in the darkness of deep self-reflection and fierce inquiries of truth. You might wonder how long you must watch yourself melt away… Then another day might arrive on this continuous stream of journey that suddenly you are no longer dying but rebuilding as a new part of nature. Your vision somehow seems brighter, you no longer get bothered by other people’s comments or your own internal dialog, you notice the way you view things is completely different from everyone else around you, and you KNOW who you are. You might laugh, cry, or both at the same time. But suddenly you will KNOW – you will KNOW who you are, you will KNOW who everyone else is, you will KNOW what the Truth is and what are merely masks. Slowly like a newborn butterfly, you will find yourself navigating in a brand new world, testing our your new wings.

Like aikido master Nev Sagiba said, “Enlightenment is like getting a shodan – AFTER ENLIGHTENMENT THE WORK BEGINS! After enlightenment, life truly begins.

Common misunderstandings of enlightenment…

“Enlightened people never cry again.” – NOT TRUE! After enlightenment we are more open to the vast collection of emotions, we no longer shy away or judge our organic emotions. We might laugh, feel frustrated when the computer didn’t auto-save, we might cry – yet somehow even the tears become sweet.

“Enlightened people experience perfect health and never feel pain.” – NOT TRUE! Some pain and illness are just another natural aspect of life. However, pain does not equate to suffering. One might feel pain and become intimate with that pain yet never suffer a minute through it.

“My life should work out exactly the way I plan to when I’m enlightened.” – NOT!!! After enlightenment there’s no more I, nor planning. “I” melts into nature and planning no longer applies when you are a part of God. Therefore you do whatever is needed whenever it is needed – as a part of harmony, a part of nature, a part of God.

“I was doing great with amazing mystical experiences then suddenly I’m lost in a black hole with no more amazing experiences. What’s wrong?” – NOTHING IS WRONG. Many people chase after experiences they label as “good” believing these experiences will get them closer to enlightenment. In actuality, everything life hands to you is exactly what you need and when you need it – designed for your growth, with sufficient awareness, you can awaken.

“I must be a nice and happy person in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.” NOT TRUE! You must be a truthful person in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. We were often taught what is nice and not nice. We often suppress our “negative” emotions to be nice. Not facing whatever arises within us, we lose the opportunity to be truth. By stuffing away what we judge to be “bad” or “not nice” can only delay our progress. Pretending you are not sad or angry when indeed you are will only lead you further away from the truth. The key is to meditate on such feelings before we act out unconsciously.

“The ultimate goal of life is enlightenment. After that, I can rest and never have to work a day in my life ever again.” – NOT TRUE! Enlightenment is a rebirth, before enlightenment our vessel is too dirty to be an instrument of God, after enlightenment true work can finally begin because we have finally become emptied of our own desires and are now instruments of God. After enlightenment we still need to continuously polish our vessels to remain pure and free of optical illusions.

How do I become enlightened?

It all starts with a desire. Dedication. Devotion. Shugyo. Consistently devote to truth and commit to the demolishment of untruth.

How does individual enlightenment translates into collective enlightenment?

History is a beautiful illustration of a collective transformation, like the “period of enlightenment”, through individual efforts, seemingly unrelated events at the time can result in a whole movement to bring forth a whole new world. Like a fractal, the macroscopic social enlightenment can manifest from the microscopic bursts of individual enlightenments. In a sense, from the smallest metamorphosis of consciousness can result in an boundless global transformation. As Mahatma Gandhi once said – “be the change you wish to see in the world!”

November 5, 2012 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Books, Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Fine Arts, Inner Growth, love, Self Realization, Tears, World Transformation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Let the Tears Flow

Me, exposed

"Tears sometimes cleanse the heart and ready it for deeper love." - Bob Luckin (Artist, Co-Director at Spiritual Enrichment Center, Sr. Minister at International Centers for Spiritual Living)

“Crying is for Wimps.” So I was told. But they didn’t tell me where to put my anger, my sadness and my sorrow…  I hurt. My body, my mind, my emotions… Sometimes I felt as if my chest was caving in and I must run away before my heart explodes. Other times I wish I had a strong man to hold me in his arms and tell me everything will be alright. This time I could not run nor use a man to rescue me. This time I am alone.

So I cried. Loud. I screamed out my sorrows from the depth of me. I saw my tortured soul burning in the sea of agony. Her pain ran into the dark abyss. I wanted to pull her out but didn’t know how. So I cried… The waves of hailing tears went on and on… And the end was nowhere near.

I cried for my heartbreak, I cried for not being good enough, I cried for my fears, I cried for my neediness, I cried for my physical pain, I cried for my inability to love freely, I cried for my suppressed feelings, I cried for my failures, I cried for my longings, I cried for my disappointments, I cried for stepping into potholes, I cried for being unkind, I cried for always getting myself into storms of emotions, I cried for my loneliness, I cried for misunderstandings, I cried for hurting the ones I love, I cried for my confusion, I cried for my desires, I cried…

I asked myself if feelings were wrong. Yet how could something so natural and so raw be wrong? If it weren’t wrong then why can’t I show it freely? If I can feel so much hard twisted suppressed pain within me then do you feel the same pain? If I have spent so many years suppressing my true feelings then do you suppress them too? If I only smile to the world and secretly lock away my truth do you do the same? If we all suffer then who is going to rescue us from descending deeper into the abyss? Why do we have such violent feelings? Why can’t I stop crying? … Analyzing my pain only brought up more self-inflected misery. So I discarded my intellect, peeled off my cloth, laid on my back and watched the tears flow.

Naked. Exposed. Raw. This is me. The uncut version.

I feel deeply. I love passionately. I sense intensely. This is me. The truthful version.

I pretended I didn’t care. I acted I didn’t bleed. I toughed it out to demonstrate I am doing just fine. But I am not. That is not me. You only saw the mask and thought that was the real me.

I cried for all the untruth I showed to you, I cried for all the rejected feelings within me, I cried for all the masks I wore, I cried for all the egoic games I played, I cried for alienating you, I cried for the old wounds that still hunt me, I cried for the hope that someday I can show you how deeply I love, I cried for the longing to express my truth, I cried for us and the freedom within reach…

Two days of tears. Two days of storms. Wind. Thunder. Hail. I am still here, somehow standing calmly within the storm. No need to run. No need to hide. The ice melting. A smile softening into the tears. My heart is beating. Regardless of the storm, I am calm. I am here. I am free.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Where is my compassion?

Crying my eyes out

Crying my eyes out...opening my heart...learning compassion... (mom took this picture for me)

Deeper understanding
Valid during several weeks: This quality of time will help you to develop a deeper understanding of those psychological areas that are connected with the experience of pain, suffering and rejection. This influence is especially well suited to so deepening the understanding of these interrelations that the first inklings of how to carry out a healing can be perceived. During this phase it is important to talk to other people who are interested in this theme. This time is well suited to penetrating the complicated connections and dependencies between human behavior, the psyche and early injuries – to differentiate between cause and effect, whether for yourself or for someone who has confided in you.
activity period from middle of December 2009 until end of January 2010

It happened… Something happened so abruptly that it pulled out the rug that I stood on as it turned my world upside down – in the middle of December just as my horoscope suggested. The pain was so quick and unexpected I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. I felt thankful how these cured circumstances reflected  back to me. I felt humbled by the lessons I learned from this process. I even felt it was indeed a huge blessing to experience the deep pain of humanity. Yet at the same time the helplessness, suffering and rejection I felt inside still kept me crying at all hours of the day when no one is around. I can’t seem to shake it off. The worst part of it was that my recently published booked called Happiness By Definition all of a sudden seemed like a lie. I was no longer the happy, blissful social butterfly on the cover of the book – suddenly I’ve turned into an ogre! I didn’t know what to do and I couldn’t get myself to snap out of it. I was frustrated, resentful and wished things could change for the better.

This horoscope caught my eyes because I’ve finally experienced the sharp reality of rejection as I am learning to unlock my heart. In the past, I was always smart enough, clever enough or cute enough to get what I want – with my head. I didn’t suffer much when I didn’t get exactly what I wanted because nothing really mattered to me. I walked through life with a sense of aloofness and I thought I was on the top of my game. The truth is I didn’t understand the place of the heart. But lately being on the spiritual path my old strategies no longer worked. The universe had to show me a new way. So all the heartaches happened just in time – in the middle of December – just in time to teach me a lesson before the holidays. Perhaps it was finally time to heal the past wounds with my family before the new year. Perhaps it is time to learn this lesson now so I can understand the depth of humanity. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to fight the incoming circumstances. Perhaps all these dreadful moments I’m going through is indeed a chance for me to grew into my authenticity. As I gazed onto the tear drops that turned into the perfect shape of a heart, I noticed my ever-changing unconditional love and my ever-expanding sense of compassion underneath the gut-retching pain. For a moment more, I found myself wishing the best for the man who acted as the sandpaper and sunshine to my soul. I saw why I had to fall in unconditional love with him and my love be completely rejected in return. I was in the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced because I have opened my heart. Yet at the same time I felt the tender healing underlying all that suffering, there is a great sense of freedom! As I opened up my heart even more wishing him happiness and true healing, I no longer cared if I was rejected. I just wanted the best for him in whatever he chooses. I can FEEL! I have a heart! I can love unconditionally!

Through this experience, I can relate to others much more sincerely. Because I have been gifted pain and healing, I know how to extend the gift of healing onto others I come in contact with. I am in a better place to help without judgement but with compassion.  I don’t know where my path will lead me. I do know that I will make more conscious choices out of courage, love, and compassion no matter where I go. I will not retaliate out of anger and I will not use anyone else to relieve my pain. I will walk head high, chest forward, with the support of my true integrity and live a life of authenticity.

January 9, 2010 Posted by | Emotional Freedom | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Choice

A teacher's comment changed the direction of my passion

A teacher's comment changed the direction of my childhood passion - now it's time to find that passion again...

It was nearly 24 years ago…  Yet it still hurts like a fresh wound from yesterday…

The day was hot and humid, I gazed out the window and hoped for a breeze of cool air.  I fantasized enjoying a good novel in my favorite tree top instead of having to sit through the painfully slow second grade language class.  I never cared for my teacher.  She seemed like a bitter woman who probably has never allowed herself to experience love.  She was old, stiff, and never been married.

I knew she didn’t like me much.  But somehow, on this hot and humid day, her gaze was fixated on me.  I was a bird trapped in her prey.  Finally after a long struggle of discomfort, she called me to stand up.  Suddenly I felt the first silky breeze of cool air that day…  The entire class stared up, did not know what to expect.  The breeze didn’t last…

She picked up my essay from the pile, held it chest high, and read it out loud, laughed after each line.  My classmates looked at one another, puzzled, but soon caught on and laughed with her – not knowing exactly what the humor was.  After what  seemed like a century of hot and humid days, she finally stopped, cutting into me deeply with her intense blazing gaze – crap, I knew I was toast.

“How can an inanimate object such as a washing machine sing, dance, and have feelings?”  She waved my essay over her left shoulder and demanded an answer.

“I don’t know madam.”  I was certain all objects in the world have sensations and feelings but I couldn’t prove it.  My excitement to befriend and personify my new washing machine clearly caused a short circuit in her head.  This short circuit has somehow sparked pain to  both of us.  She picked up her red marker, wrote a large “59/100” on the top of my essay and firmly handed back to me.  I felt the volcano of anger boiling up inside of me as I swallowed my pride and sat down quietly.

“Class, don’t let you imagination run wild.  Stay within your pre-defined assignment to get 90s in your essays.”  She passed out the rest of the essays one by one while lecturing how an honor student like me could instantly turn bad when instructions are not followed.  Mostly everyone in the class got 95s on their assignment while I sat in shame with my 59.

“Don’t grief something you ain’t got.  Know that you will never be successful as a writer.  Come to the math club meeting tomorrow afternoon since that is the only thing you can manage.”  Her words of semi encouragement did not seem sincere.

Today, I’m 31 years old and have walked the life of a scientist and engineer.  I did find safety in math.  Within the numbers, there are no subjective observations or room to make an excitement of a personified mistake.  Pre-defined perimeters will always make scientific choices for me.  And no one questions my judgment as long as the computer says “yes”.

Somehow, my heart has always yearned to sing its own song and my soul cries out to live its own passion…  No matter how risky it all seems.  I now desire for greater risks and even greater rewards!  I wish to step outside of my safety and live for me and no one else.  Isn’t it time a bird learns to sing its own song?

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Choices, Tears | , , , , | 2 Comments

At the Core of Everything…

We fight, we misunderstand each other, but at the end of the day, at the core of everything, there is only love.

We fight, we misunderstand each other, but at the end of the day, at the core of everything, there is only love.

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.

July 5, 2009 Posted by | Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tipping Point

Waves of Sadness

Waves of Sadness

While sipping a cup of warm industrial coffee, staring into the barely ticking clock, I felt lazy in my layers of thick clothing.  Suddenly out of nowhere, my best friend announced that he was leaving San Diego.

Shocked, I started to feel my hands shake as my voice became the size of a dime.  Hiding in the corner under layers of protection, I faked a momentary smile and said that I was happy for him.  But all I could focus on was he won’t be around anymore.  I have grown severally attached to him.  Now I feel as if my heart was breaking into pieces.  It all came so fast that I did not know how to react.  All of a sudden the rock I stood on crumbled and nothing else in the world mattered to me.  He is the foundation that my life has built on.  The person I am today is built on that foundation.  Now my whole belief system and my whole being have been shaken.

He told me the only thing that’s holding him back is me.  I knew.  I had no better teacher than he, I had no greater motivator than he, and I had no closer friend than he.  I also knew that I have been very well trained in hiding my feelings and no matter what he said, it will not change the way I react.  I acted cold.  Perhaps this is the only way I knew how to stay strong.  I remained calm as I watched the tears forming in the corner of his eyes.  He gazed into me, grabbed onto that thread of vulnerability and gently touched me as he placed his right hand over his heart and said, “You are too good for me, and much more than what I deserve.”

I held my breath and wished he could not see the infinite weakness with overwhelming potential to take control of me.

I quickly stood up and started to walk away.  I could no longer control my emotions.  As I turned back, our long lingering glances met.  They were more than just glances – we were trying to hold on to each other.

Oh, there’s no love in my life, the moment that you go away.  There’s no night, there is no day.  The world stops turning, the clock stops ticking…”  Fitting isn’t it?  The DJ on the radio somehow knew exactly which song to use in order to push me over the edge.

I had to get out – fast.  I had to get away from him.  With the rain drops slamming into my face, I ran as fast as I could across the crowded parking lot.  As soon as I got inside my car, a wave of sadness rushed over me.  I felt the pearl sized tears streaming from the corners of my eyes gathering in my lap – turning into an endless sea.

October 28, 2005 Posted by | Tears | , , , | Leave a comment