Archive for the ‘Flow’ Category

  • Think Constructively

    Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

    This passage is taken from a chapter in Ernest Holmes’ book: “Living without Fear”. I feel its good to share how positive thinking that is aligned with the Truth in Life, is the determining factor to wholesome living.

    Thoughts are things. This sounds familiar enough; we have all read it many times. But if this is true why can we not think and, through thinking, get what we want? We have been told that we do not get what we ask for because we ask amiss. All this seems very confusing for we also have been led to believe that we should receive anything asked for if we ask believing. It must be that some ideas are more potent than others, that some thoughts have more power than other thoughts, and this is actually the situation.

    All thought is creative, but the real constructive creative power of mind comes only from true thoughts. True, positive, and affirmative thought has real power, for it produces the correct answer. Negative thought also has power for it produces undesired conditions. When we place a positive thought beside a negative one, when we recognize the beneficial one and understand the nature of the harmful one, then it is that we find that the true constructive idea can dominate and have complete power over the destructive one. Thus it is that we are told to know the truth if we are to be made free.

    Thoughts are things. Yes, true thoughts are true things, false thoughts are false things. If we think according to the nature of the Divine, then shall we get what we want? Yes, provided what we wish for is really the truth. No, if it is not really the truth. We can never get five by adding two and two although we might believe that we can.

    But how are we to know what thoughts to think? What should be the content of our prayers and spiritual mind treatments? How are we to know the false from the true? The answer is more simple than it may appear. Goodness is the truth, and so is beauty and strength and life and love and abundance and loyalty. Even the apparently selfish desires of our hearts are true if they do not contradict the fundamental Truth of the universe, which is unity and goodness and purity.

    Our difficulty is not great provided we keep a few fundamentals in view. We have a Divine right to all that makes for a happy life. Abundance must be the heritage of our Divine nature. Our life must come from Life, and peace and happiness cannot contradict Reality. We shall not pray amiss if we affirm these things as part of our experience. Therefore, if we ask, believing, according to the Law of our being we must receive.

    What we wish for and need is peace, ability, happiness, harmony, plenty, and a greater degree of livingness together with love and beauty. Possessing these we should be in heaven and we ought to be in heaven here and now in our daily living; that is, we should be in harmony with Life. There is no Power in the universe which wishes to withhold good from us – let us forever wipe this idea off the slate of our minds. God is eternal Goodness, hence no evil need befall us either here or hereafter. Life cannot produce death, consequently we cannot die though we pass through the experience miscalled death.

    But what is there left to ask for? Nothing. We need but to accept and make use of that which already is and is for us. But each shall individualize the gifts of Life through his own nature, and this individualization constitutes that activity which personifies through each of us – the eternal Mind of the universe. this is the play of Life upon Itself and the desire to express which is working through all of us. There can be no life without living, no creator without a creation. And there can be no satisfied man without an adequate expression. There is nothing wrong about desire provided desire is in harmony with Truth. A man who has no desires is asleep and needs to be awakened.

    What then if we should desire some special thing that we might enjoy it for a reason? Can there be anything wrong with this? Certainly not if this desire harms no one and helps us to express. If, then, we desire some special thing, why should we not ask for and receive it? But how do we ask? By knowing in our own minds that that for which we ask we now have. This creates the image of our desire and makes a definite pattern through which the energies of Mind may intelligently and lawfully act, and to which there may be attracted the conditions necessary for the fulfillment of the desire. And according to our belief, receptivity, and full acceptance will it be done.

    We cannot live by proxy or attain by pretense. We are dealing with real laws and actual forces when we deal with mental and spiritual laws, and they cannot be fooled. From our own endeavor will come our own reward, only now we know that we are dealing with a Law which is amply able to fulfill the rightful demands made on It and which is intelligent enough to always bring them to pass. With this in mind we shall do our spiritual mind treatment work gladly and cheerfully and with much less effort, for we are no longer struggling against Life but flowing along with it. We are going with the current and not against it.

    We should feel equal to any occasion and overcome by none. We should enter any and all true endeavors with a zest for the game and get a real joy out of living.”

  • Negativity is a conditioned state of mind

    Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

    It is not my way of Being to talk about negativity but I feel it warrants deep reflection and why this state of negative thinking and emotions are so prevalent in our lives. It is the recognition of what is.

    All the cultures and all the religions have been conditioning us to feel negative about ourselves. Nobody is loved, appreciated, for just being himself or herself. We are asked to prove whether we are of any worth: ‘Bring gold medals from the university! Get First-Class Honors! Achieve success, money, power, prestige, respectability! Prove!’ Our worth is not intrinsic; that’s what has been taught to us. Our worth has to be proved. Almost everywhere we go in life, there appears to be a relentless need to ‘prove something to some people’, and sometimes in the company of close friends and family, negativity prevails.

    Everybody is feeling negative about himself, because that’s how he has been made to feel. Our parents have done it to us – this is a heritage, a great heritage. Our teachers have done it to us, our priests have done it to us, our political leaders have done it to us – and so many people are doing it that, naturally, we have become impressed by the very idea that we are worthless, that we don’t have any intrinsic meaning or value, that we don’t have any significance of our own.

    Each parent is saying to the child, to each child, ‘Prove that you have some worth.’ Being, just being, is not enough – some doing is needed.

    OSHO shared: “My whole approach is that being is intrinsically valuable. Just that you are is such a gift from existence, what more can you ask for? Just to breathe in this beautiful existence is certificate enough that existence loves you, that existence needs you; otherwise you would not be here. You are; existence has given birth to you. There must have been an immense need – you have filled a gap. Without you existence would be less. And when I say this, I am saying it not only to you: I am saying to the trees, to the birds, to the animals, to the pebbles on the shore. A single pebble less on the immense seashore and the seashore would not be the same. A single flower less and the universe would miss it.

    We have to learn that we are valuable as we are. It is not about the ego – just the contrary. In the feeling that we are valuable as we are, we will also feel others are valuable as they are. Accept people as they are; drop shoulds, oughts – those are enemies. And when we carry so many shoulds: ‘Do this and don’t do that!’, we cannot dance; the burden is too heavy. And when we have been given too many ideals and goals – ideals of perfection which as utterly impossible – that we will always feel we are falling short.

    All that we need is to be creative, loving, aware, meditative…if we feel poetry arising in us, write it for ourselves, for our lovers, for our children, for our friends…and forget all about it. Sing it, and if nobody listens, sing it alone and enjoy it. Go to the trees and they will applaud and appreciate it. Or talk to the birds and the animals, and they will understand far more than mankind who have been for centuries…missed out on the real deal in life!

    BE who we want to be…and loving it!

  • Living by letting go

    Thursday, February 17th, 2011

    My most recent encounter ‘dealing with the flu virus’ brought me to my knees to understand fully what it means to let go and let the life force flow freely in me. I was ‘battling’ continuously with the virus with all the remedies I can find. And with every attempt to ‘control’ the situation, the virus persists in staying with me. The ‘wake-up’ call to surrender and let go of control, was when I went into a sporting event with the virus, thinking that I can overcome it with my ’sporting prowess and will-power’, but was stopped short barely 5 minutes into the race, gasping for breath in the midst of  ‘flagging arms and legs’ in deep waters.  During that brief moment, I was completely disoriented and could not muster the strength or the courage to carry on. At that instance, I knew the ego had to finally let go of its control and surrender to the life force. It was eating humble pie in the most dire situation but it woke me up to this ’senseless need for control’. Apparently I have not learned enough to live by letting go, despite numerous lessons in the past. This was another ‘wake up call’.

    I could not describe how I felt during this recent encounter as I was not angry or feeling sorry for myself though I acknowledge that I was disappointed that I did not finish the race. However, I was aware that everything happened for a reason, and even if I have yet to know why, I have learned to trust that things will be revealed to me eventually.

    I used to shake my fist at the injustice of the world, and I’d rile against tyranny. It made me sad and weak, and it robbed me of energy. In the end I saw that the key to everything is to surrender. I can fix myself but not much else. Surrender offers us the hope of victory in the end, but we have to wait.

    Verse 55 from the Tao Te Ching (by Lao-Tzu) taught me to be in harmony with the Life Force:

    “He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn child. Deadly insects will not sting him. Wild beasts will not attack him. Birds of prey will not strike him. Bones are weak, muscles are soft, yet his grasp is firm. He has not experienced the union of man and woman, but is whole. His manhood is strong. He screams all day without becoming hoarse. This is perfect harmony. To harmony is to know the changeless; to know the changeless is to have insight. Things in harmony with the Tao remain; things that are forced grow for a while, but then wither away. This is not the Tao. And whatever is against the Tao soon ceases to be.”

    When Lao-Tzu mentioned the lives of people who are free from the provocation of ‘deadly insects’, ‘wild beasts’ and ‘birds of prey’, he was saying that when their lives are in harmony with the Tao, things will ‘fall into place’ for them. He said that we should look into infants who haven’t yet taken on the ego belief that they’re separated from their originating Source: They can scream all day and never lose their voices like a screeching adult would. Even with underdeveloped muscles, they can fashion a firm grip. Furthermore, babies are pliable and virtually immune to harm from a fall that would break the bones of a grown-up. All of this is called ‘perfect harmony’ by Lao-Tzu.

    This verse invites us to realize that what we call luck isn’t something that randomly happens – it’s ours for life when we decide to live by letting go. We attract the cooperative power of the Tao when we release the need to control our life. Living by letting go means releasing worry, stress, and fear. When we promote our sense of well-being in the face of what appears as danger to others, our alignment with our Source frees us from pushing ourselves to act in a forceful manner. Lao-Tzu reminds us in this verse that ‘things that are forced grow for a while, but then wither away’.

    I have learned to see it as a way of allowing life’s natural rhythm to flow unimpeded through me. I don’t fight against the virus anymore and the letting go means allowing it to remain in me for as long as it wants. It sounds like a paradox, but when I made the decision to surrender, I felt the energy of the Life Force flowing freely through me, and now I am back on my feet again.

  • Use energy wisely

    Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

    Recently I have been feeling restless and it made me wonder what it is that is making me feel this way, and I came across this teaching from Osho, and it taught me the essence of using energy wisely.These are the extracts from his teachings:

    “The human being is created by nature for almost eight hours’ hard work. By and by, as civilization has progressed and technology has taken over much of human labour, we don’t have anything that requires hard work, and that has become a problem. In the past, people suffered because they didn’t have enough energy to cope. Now we are suffering from more energy than can be used. That can be restlessness, neurosis, madness. If energy is there and not used rightly it goes sour, becomes bitter. We create energy every day, and it has to be used every day. You cannot accumulate it; you cannot be a miser about it. In the past, people were working hard as hunters and farmers. By and by that kind of work has disappeared, and societies are more affluent and have more and more energy; so restlessness is bound to be there. In the past, the idea of utility had meaning because work was more and energy was less; but now it is no longer a value. So find ways to use your energy – games, running, swimming, cycling – and delight in it. Use the energy, and then you will feel very calm. That calmness will be totally different from a forced stillness. You can force yourself, you can have energy and repress it, but you are sitting on a volcano, and there is constant trembling inside. The more energy you use, the more fresh energy will become available.”

    William Blake said: “Energy is delight.” The more energy you have, the more delight you will have.

    However, Osho advised that the use of energy should be a mindful practice and not a wasteful activity.

    He added: “Despair comes because energy goes on leaking, and people have forgotten how to contain it. In a thousand and one thoughts, worries, desires, imagination, dreams, memories, energy is leaking. And energy is leaking in unnecessary things that can be easily avoided. When there is no need to talk, people go on talking. When there is no need to do anything. they cannot sit silently; they have to ‘do’. People are obsessed with doing, as if doing is a sort of intoxicant; it keeps them drunk. They remain occupied so that they don’t have time to think about the real problems of life. They keep themselves busy so that they don’t bump into themselves. They are afraid – afraid of the abyss that is yawning within. This is how energy goes on leaking, and this is why you never have too much of it. One has to learn to drop the unnecessary. And ninety percent of ordinary life is unnecessary; it can easily be dropped. Be almost telegraphic, keeping just the essential, and you will have so much energy left that one day you will start blooming, for no reason at all.”

    When the tree is overflowing with vitality it blooms and flowers. Flowers are a luxury. Like the tree, only when we have too much and we cannot contain it, do they burst forth. And it is this flowering that is the ultimate luxury…it is our spirituality.

    When it is time to be still, rest in the beauty of the silence; and when it is time to go forth and spread the energy, use it wisely…

  • Live with distractions

    Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

    Lately I am more aware of the distractions in my life – my head filled with the voices, choices and opinions of others – making me lose contact with my inner guidance, drowning out the still small voice from my soul. However, I have learned to go with the flow, be fully present and embracing all that comes my way, instead of resisting them and going into a denial of the presence of these distractions.

    Franz Metcalf shared: We all get distracted by little things. We feel we should be pursuing this or that Big Plan, yet we get swept away in the current of events. (Perhaps this sweeping away is why we call them ‘current’ events.) As the adage goes: ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.’

    An extract taken from Buddha’s teachings (Record of Yunmen, Pilgrimage Record 284) gave an account of a dialogue between two Zen masters:

    Tiantong said: “If you haven’t understood, you get involved in everything around you.” Master Yunmen countered: “If you have understood, you get involved in everything around you!”

    This dialogue explore this question of distraction. Tiantong expresses many of our sentiments about distraction being a problem. Yunmen of course knows this is true. But rather than simply agreeing with that important but obvious truth, he counters with something deeper. He says if you have truly understood reality, you still get involved in all the distractions of life because they are truly what life is. Life is lived in the present moment, with all its richness, its blooming, buzzing confusion. If we aren’t involved in the distractions, we aren’t involved at all.

    But this doesn’t mean you have to drop the Big Plan. Just remember the Big Plan is made up of little experiences.

    It is our responses to the distractions that will make the difference in how we live in the present moment. We can get flustered by them, sending us further into a tailspin that may put us out of alignment with our chosen paths, or we can embrace them fully and learn more about life. Know for certain that how we respond to these distractions reveals a lot about who we are.

    Take notice of the daily distractions in your life, but more importantly, keep a log of how you respond to them. These occurrences can be mirrors of great discoveries of who we are in the school of life.

  • A time to love

    Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

    It seems strange when we make a statement like “A time to love”, as if love is something that needs to be activated. It gives the impression that love is outside of us and it does not appear to be present in our lives until we want it to happen. However, love is always in us, it has never left us, and it is up to us to allow it to flow freely from within us.

    Sister Stan has some valuable insights to share on this topic of love:

    “There is in all of us, at the centre of our lives, a tension, an aching, a yearning in the heart that is insatiable and very deep. Sometimes this longing is focused in a person, at other times the yearning is a longing to attain something; most often, though, it is a longing without a clear name or a focus. We only know that we are restless, we are full of disquiet, we are aching at a level that we cannot seem to get at.

    We can try to fill this ‘immortal longing in ourselves with things; we can clutter it up; or we can recognize it for what it is, the wound of love, the longing in each of us for the immortal, for the divine. Human beings are not perfect; we are incomplete. Our incomplete nature springs towards its own perfection, which we may call God, and we cannot rest until we find the source of our love.

    We tend to think of love as some impossible romantic dream. On the contrary, love is not only possible, it is in truth the only reality. Deep within each of us, there is a fountain or a well of love. The greatest gift we can bring to another is to open up to them their hidden reservoir of love. When we do that, when we open up to people their ability to love, we are doing the work of God, and we are freeing people in a way that they didn’t know they could be free.

    Love is more than a thought and a desire. Love is action. According to the Eastern poet and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran, ‘Work is love made visible’. It is only in the action of love that we attain the wisdom of love. Only God’s love is perfect and unconditional. Human love can only approximate that love. Yet if we consent to love and give ourselves over to love in its fullness, then the entire world will be overflowing with love. The first step to attain that openness to love is to admit that our love, even though it isn’t perfect, is none the less love and that by virtue of its very nature it aspires to the fullness of love.”

    We are capable of loving our fellow human beings freely, spontaneously; but sometimes, we choose to reject and despise them. And when we take this course of action, our love has turned against our own selves, it has become adulterated, contaminated. That love turns in upon ourselves and is locked up inside ourselves. The love which could and should give nourishment to others consumes us. Unless we allow our love to grow and develop and flow, it becomes hardened.

    However, we can never truly love another person, unless we are equally involved in loving ourselves. ‘I thank you that I am so wonderfully made,’ prays the psalmist, ‘I thank you for the mystery of my being.’ But most of us have not dwelt on the mystery of our own being. We take ourselves for granted, because we take what is familiar for granted. We go on, day in, day out, doing more or less the same thing, behaving in more or less the same way, and don’t plumb the depths of our being; we don’t enter into the deep mystery that awaits with us; we reduce the mystery to the ordinary. Yet all the while we are being shaped and reshaped by God, and behind the ordinary lies extraordinary mystery unexplored, extraordinary potential underdeveloped, extraordinary beauty unknown, extraordinary possibilities and blessing and giftedness unknown and unloved.

    The journey of self-knowledge and self-acceptance is a journey to finding our true selves, to finding and accepting the great mystery of ourselves.

    Nelson Mandela shared this thought in his inaugural speech:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.”

    It is time to love ourselves fully as we are all beautiful souls, and from there, we will feel this abundance of love flowing freely from deep within us and reaching out to all others in the world.

  • A time to be still

    Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

    “In stillness a flower blooms, in stillness it fades away.”

    There is a place in the depth of our being that is protected and saved for ourselves, an inner, sacred space guarded by God’s presence. We can all find that still place. Sometimes we only shout into it when we are broken or wounded and empty, but it is in and through that still point that we can find our way into the beauty that transforms us into strong, loving, wise and beautiful people. (Sister Stan)

    Sister Stan shared further by saying:

    “Being still is not passive; it is an activity that allows us to live our lives fully. Our everyday lives can often be dulled or overwhelmed by routine and commitments, but if we take time out of the every day to listen without distraction, we become aware of the spirit’s movement within us, and we learn to develop a sense of well-being when we make right decisions. Stopping to listen can help us recognize God within the complexity of our lives. It can also help us when the rhythm of our life shifts and we face new personal, social or spiritual challenges and opportunities. In the stillness of our being, wisdom guides us to embrace those traits that previously were unknown to us, or that previously we weren’t able to face. Meeting ourselves in this way can be disturbing, but once we accept and embrace ourselves, it brings us a peace and a calm we didn’t know before – because we discover that, far from being as bad as we feared, we have a great beauty hidden within us, waiting to be explored.”

    “Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves and within it is the creator.” (Kabir)

    Many of us are so caught up with our busy-ness that we think that is the way to live our lives. We have been deluded into thinking that ‘busy is good’ as if that will give us a sense of assurance that we are ‘doing something useful with our lives’. ‘Being still’ has nothing to do with running away from our responsibilities and commitments to daily living but basically, being in touch with ourselves and listening to the still voice within. Too often we are drowning in the long hours at work, the idle chatter that is buzzing around us, and the distractions from the media, that the still small voice is hardly heard or noticed.

    Sister Stan added: “Much of modern life is specifically designed to seduce our attention away from our inner place of stillness. The seductions are insatiable. Hundreds of channels of cable and satellite television and radio, iPods, junk mail and email, interactive Internets (& social media), telephones with multiple lines and call waiting, where we can talk to many people at any one time. And on top of that we have billboards, magazines and newspapers. Every stimulus competes for our attention: buy me, do me, watch me, hear me, try me, drink me. If we don’t take time out from this world, it can consume us. We all need to disconnect from the frenzy of activity, consumption and accomplishment and consecrate this time to being fully ourselves where we can breathe deeply in the rhythms of life of the earth and of the spirit.”

    Set time each day, about 15-30 minutes – preferably early in the morning, and be still. Don’t strain to listen to the still small voice within – it will come to you but it will not compete with the noise in your head. Just be fully present and be still – you will eventually discover the vastness of the beauty within, and the many insights that will guide you in your journey here on earth.

  • Live a life of giving

    Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

    Some of us are blessed to grow up in an environment where giving is a daily process of life, and we pick up this quality naturally. Some of us are taught the benefits of giving through our education and experience with altruistic people in our lives, despite being exposed to less generous situations. Some of us have discovered the joys of giving through our daily encounters as we walk our journeys on earth.

    All of us have the spirit of giving in us – it is how we want to awaken this consciousness to let it flow freely from our souls.

    Kahlil Gibran shared a thought on Giving in his book “The Prophet”. This is the extract:

    “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow? And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city? And what is fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst is unquenchable?

    There are those who give little of the much they have – they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

    There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; they give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

    It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; and to the open-handed search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving. And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall some day be given; therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.

    You often say, ‘I would give, but only to the deserving.’ The trees in your orchard say not so, nor your flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

    And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed? See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and instrument of giving.

    For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

    And you receivers – and you are all receivers – assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; for to be overmindful of your debt is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.”

    This last paragraph is an affirmation that as we receive the gifts from life, we are completing the cycle of giving and receiving – thus living the law of attraction. I am certain many of us are grateful for what we have and what we have been getting, and it is because we have given freely of ourselves that we are now receiving this abundance from the Universe.

    However, some of us do get caught into a syndrome of ‘I would give but to the deserving’ , but be mindful that the sun shines on all and the rain falls on everyone, regardless of who you are – there is no special privilege. So why do we create boundaries when it comes to giving?

    I quote Kahlil Gibran again: “For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.” When we give to someone else, we are giving back to ourselves as we are all connected, as we are all part of Life itself. He reiterated: “And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.”

    When we give to others, we are giving to life…and in more ways than one, we are giving back to ourselves!

  • Live in the here and now

    Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

    Sister Stanislaus Kennedy shared these thoughts in her book “Now Is The Time“, and I feel she is reminding us that all we have is now: yesterday is gone, tomorrow does not exist, and both are illusions of our own minds:

    “Everything has its time, and that time is always now. The time is always now to live our lives, every minute, every hour, every day, every year. Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, those are the circumstances we have to live with, now. Now is the time to live the lives we have been gifted with. If we put it off tomorrow to live, then we have lost today.”

    “Life is for living but we can miss it and let it pass us by if we are unwilling or unable to engage with it in the present. Life is not a consumer good, a thing to be grasped, held, used. We cannot cage life, we cannot freeze it; it moves on, it races and limps, it changes pace, it reaches highs and sinks to lows; sometimes it is too slow and too sluggish for us, at other times too fast to follow and difficult to bear. It is the most we can do, sometimes, to keep up with it.”

    “The real measure of life is not whether we have lived the length of our days, but whether we have lived the depth and breadth of them – whether, in other words, we have lived them to the full. All the experiences of life – births and deaths, loving and losing, gaining and failing, laughing and crying – happen in every life and we cannot avoid, evade and elude them. We cannot reduce life to our own size. What we can do is explore and drink deep from each moment; accept, acknowledge, rejoice in every experience, some exhilarating, some exhausting, but all of them important; endure every part of the way; learn from every colourless as well as from every colourful moment in our lives.”

    “Life is not what happens outside of us; life is happening inside of us. Life not only happens to us; it happens in us, it happens through us, it happens because of us and in spite of us. Life is lived both through what we bring to it and through what we take from it.”

    “There is no such thing as a meaningless moment or a meaningless life. If we are open to it, life will teach and shape us to become people of wisdom, compassion and joy, in our age, in our time. For that to happen, every small part of life must be lived. If we are open to life, the cycle of time shapes and reshapes our misshapen selves until we become what we are called to be.”

    “To live life well, we must live the present moment. But it is not easy to be present to the present, because we are constantly told to be looking in front of us. Very often we are not here at all, we only think we are here. We live with one foot in tomorrow: what is coming is seen as more important than the now; what is yet to be got, to be seen, to be achieved, can easily become the all-important thing; and while we wait for it and live with our plans, the present moment, which is very rich within us, is lost. As Brendan Kennelly says, ‘How easy it is to maim the moment with expectation, to force it to define itself.’ “

    Our minds tend to focus on the future – on what’s going to happen or what we wish to happen; or we tend to dwell on the past – either fretting over some mishaps or savouring some beautiful memories, that often we are hardly in the present. There is this relentless pursuit of a ‘better tomorrow’ or the constant reminder of something good or bad that happened yesterday, that we fail to notice the beauty of what’s happening now!

    I feel it is the way we have been conditioned to function – that today is never good enough, and tomorrow will be a ‘better day’. How do we make sense of all this when ‘tomorrow does not exist’ and since it does not exist, how do we know it will be better or not – all we have is now, and we have allowed ourselves to be suckered into this illusion? And because of this ‘belief of a better tomorrow, a brighter future, a place in paradise’ that many of us have stopped living, let alone living life to the fullest!

    Whatever Life has to offer to us now, it is for us to be fully present, to discover, to know, to learn; and despite our conditioned state of mind to judge and put labels to things that happened to us, know for certain that Life has its own unique way of teaching us and awakening us to who we are.

    Life is – live it, embrace it fully – now!

  • Bring Your Gift to Work

    Thursday, May 20th, 2010

    Seth Godin wrote in his latest book “Linchpin” of the gift of emotional labor, and this is the extract:

    “When you do emotional labor, you benefit. Not just the company, not just your boss, but you. The act of giving someone a smile, of connecting to a human, of taking initiative, of being surprising, of being creative, of putting on a show – these are things that we do for free all our lives. And then we get to work and we expect to merely do what we’re told and get paid for it. This gulf creates tension. If you reserve your emotional labor for when you are off duty, but you work all the time, you are deprived of the joy you get when you do this labor. Now, you’re not giving gifts on duty, but you’re not off duty much at all. Spend eight or ten or twelve hours a day at work (not only in the office, but online or on the phone or in your dreams), and there’s not a lot of time left for the very human acts that make you who you are and who you want to be.”

    Some of us may ask: “What do we get in return?” In most cases, we may get little in return. At least in terms of formal entries in our permanent file or bonuses in our year-end pay. But we do benefit. First, we benefit from the making and the giving. The act of the gift is in itself a reward. And second, we benefit from the response from those around us. When we develop the habit of contributing this gift, our coworkers become more open, our boss becomes more flexible, and our customers become more loyal.

    “The essence of any gift, including the gift of emotional labor, is that you don’t do it for a tangible, guaranteed reward. If you do, it’s no longer a gift; it’s a job.”

    How many of us bring this gift of life to work? Or, do we treat life like some kind of transaction that ‘we will only give if we know we will get something in return’? Or, do we abide by a scarcity mentality – ‘never giving, always taking’?

    I know the reason for my being, is to enlarge the lives of others. And in this natural state of being, my life will be enlarged too, and all things I have been taught to concentrate on will take care of themselves.

    Check in regularly. Be mindful of our thoughts (& reactions) whenever we are faced with situations in life (be it at work or elsewhere) that ask us to give our gifts…unconditionally.

    Be spontaneous. Give…let if flow naturally.