Memoirs of a bum

Dear you,

It is hoped that the following reflections will serve as an inspiration to guide you toward a more meaningful life and peaceful living…

27 October 2010

Dear You,

The moment I stopped dreaming of you I started having nightmares.

30 October 2010

Dear You,

While reading, this paragraph made me think of my past experience:

“If you are not familiar with “inner body” awareness, close your eyes for a moment and find out if there is life inside your hands. Don’t ask your mind. It will say, “I can’t feel anything.” Probably it will also say, “Give me something more interesting to think about.” So instead of asking your mind, go to the hands directly. By this I mean become aware of the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them. It is there. You just have to go there with your attention to notice it. you may get a slight tingling sensation at first, then a feeling of energy or aliveness. If you hold your attention in your hands for a while, the sense of aliveness will intensify. Some people won’t even have to close their eyes. They will be able to feel their “inner hands” at the same times as they read this. Then go to your feet, keep your attention there for a minute or so, and begin to feel your hands and feet at the same time. Then incorporate other parts of the body – legs, arms, abdomen, chest, and so on – into that feeling until you are aware of the inner body as a global sense of aliveness.”

 

Father Emmanuel Escaňo demonstrated this exercise during our retreat in Baguio City in 1998. He asked us to close our eyes, relax our muscles, and focus our attention to the “light” inside our head down to the different parts of our body and limbs. As he guided us, there was instrumental music background. I don’t remember if he talked about God’s presence or made us aware of the tingling sensation or any feeling while we were doing it except that he wanted or rather expected us to feel alive after we opened our eyes. I noticed most of my classmates smiled while others took a deep breath. Thinking too, I didn’t feel anything different and I was trying to convince myself that I felt better. Perhaps, I have been aware of my Being even before I was given a chance to find myself.

If I’m not mistaken, I have been thinking (aware / being conscious) about my Being (existence not as a person but a creature where there are countless life and lifeless forms all around). Some times in my early life, while travelling or before falling asleep, I saw myself as a dot or a light. From an aerial view, it instantly flashes outward from my location to the world, the stars, the universe, and beyond. After seeing myself as part of God’s creation I started to ask these questions: What on earth am I here for? What is my role in this world full of so many different creatures and creations? Why did God create me? Why do I exist? What am I in this world? Who am I for God? What am I living for? Why are there many people on earth and I am one of them? Is there a God? Is He really the source of everything? Will I ever see Him?

Surprisingly, the answer is too simple yet difficult to fathom – I have a purpose. This remained an enigma until I have read the book, entitled Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren which was given to as a birthday present in 2004. After six years, I finally had the chance to have a clearer view of what this purpose is all about. I believe, if not hope, that I will be able to achieve my purpose in life (easier) for I have found an affirmation on the discovery of my awareness that made me aware of my unconsciousness from the life-changing revelations of Eckhart Tolle found in his book entitled A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

I cannot claim this moment as my spiritual turning point for two reasons: first, I have always been living my principle of practicing what is good in the eyes of God as I follow Christ’s examples, though not as perfectly as what my ideals are; and second, I have not started making a significant effort to enhance my “purpose-driven” life.

31 October 2010

Dear You,

Today, we were so early to arrive at the church to attend the first hour of the Sunday mass. The residents of San Bonifacio and Bomboaya were scheduled to offer (services, blessings, and prayers). Msgr. Cris mentioned three important messages from the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector that: (1) God loves each and everyone of us; (2) we are special in the eyes of God; and (3) He is ready to forgive our sins no matter how small or grave it is despite everything – our differences, our possessions, our physical appearance, and even our inability/difficulty to forgive/love others. Thus, to be worthy of God’s love, we must live as to how we are supposed to answer these questions: Are you willing to turn away from a sinful lifestyle? ready to face your sinfulness? and willing to give things up in order to follow Christ?

1 November 2010

Dear You,

Life is not a game. You never lose. Even before you were born, you have always been a winner because God planned you and created you out of His love. Your parents were pleased while they were making love, that is, making you. In the case of rape, your father was also pleased but in a selfish way. It happened and you were born not to bring suffering on your part or your mother’s but to make your father realize that despite his evil deeds, something wonderful can happen – He gave you the gift of life. To appreciate this gift, you share it with others. By doing this, you become a gift for everyone. Instead of complaining and clinging to past events be grateful and make the best out of life, not get the best out of it. As a winner people look up to you. They expect to see the good, if not the best, things from you. It is your responsibility to hone your character, your actions, and your relationship with others that you may serve as an edifying figure of God’s masterpiece.

2 November 2010

Dear You,

Life is like FarmVille – (1) you can only enjoy the game if all what you have is intended for others’ benefit and appreciation rather than for them to envy; (2) you work hard not to hoard but to be able to give the best gifts available; (3) you keep on giving as long as you can; (4) you don’t expect anything in return if you give something; (5) you can be creative and resourceful but you are not supposed to cheat; (6) you can be a better or the best achiever but never a loser; (7) you are accountable for your negligence but there will always be others who are willing to help you out and a chance to make up; (8) it requires critical considerations before you take any actions; (9) you are free to dream and make plans and there are different ways to achieve it; (10) ask and you shall receive; (11) you need to be patient for everything has its own time; (12) you need to stop wanting if you have enough of what you need; (13) focus on your goal instead of complaining and comparing; (14) you don’t actually need to follow trends or imitate others’ ideas since uniqueness and simplicity convey significance; (15) and most importantly, there is life after playing just as there is eternal life after your existence. Whereas you play to enhance your life and not to waste it, you exist to receive eternal life and not to lose it.

3 November 2010

Dear You,

I just learned that Freud’s definition of ego is different from that of Tolle’s. In Freud’s theory of personality, the ego functions in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind. It acts as a mediator to balance the id (the unconscious part of the mind that is instinctive and primitive), the super-ego (the moral part of the mind which embodies ethical values) and the external world. On the other hand, Tolle’s concept of ego is the unconsciousness itself. It is the ‘false self’ because it completely identifies with thought and emotion. As the blueprint of dysfunction, it is, by nature, the source of human insanity, the very reason why there is individual and collective dysfunction that created social and physical devastations in this world.

Speaking of Life on earth, I also learned that, according to Frued, there are only two drives that motivate a person’s activities: sex (Life Force) and aggression (Death Force). The former represents the “drive to live, prosper, and produce offspring” while the latter represents the “need to stay alive and stave off threats to our existence, our power, and our prosperity.” Rick Warren ingeniously keyed out the five purposes of human existence: to know and love God (worship); to love each other (fellowship); to follow Jesus to be able to grow to maturity (discipleship); to serve others (ministry); and to spread the Good News to the world (mission). The Catholic Church teaches that in order to live meaningful life is to bring Christ alive in the world. It seems that this is a simplified statement of the five purposes that Warren identified. By following Christ, who lived a purpose driven life, I become like him. This will create a multiply effect to future generations.

4 November 2010

Dear You,

As I was reading Chapter Four of Tolles’s a New Earth, I realized that: (1) my ego is aggressively working despite my assumption that I am awakened (I have realized my Presence); (2) my negative reactions to little things, which is called “triggers,” have been helping my ego destroying myself and relationship with others; (3) others person’s Presence is more realistic than mine while I used to believe otherwise; (4) I don’t need to be in a relationship if it is just serving my ego; and (5) I must admit I have been indifferent and having the feeling of unending and thwarted wanting.

Does it mean I have to detach myself from the real world, escape from reality, and avoid people I identify with or rather connected with to be able to focus on my Presence? This question remains unanswered until I’m done reading or even I have had enough guidance. If there’s one thing I am sure of, I am not afraid of anything but hurting one’s feelings. And if there’s one wish I could be granted, it is my ability to love unconditionally regardless of time, frequency, situation, and one’s identity.

5 November 2010

Dear You,

I just think:

“Sometimes, silence means more than words. It creates rather than destroys. It assures rather than threatens. It speaks the language of peace, respect, and enduring love.

“If absence makes the heart grow fonder and if out of sight is out of mind, it’s better not to entertain our emotions for it makes our ego suffer and it’s better not to rely on our senses and thoughts for it thrives our ego to create more suffering. Let then be our present take care of now. Stop looking back or forward because the past and the future are merely thought forms, which are temporal and therefore, insignificant.

6 November 2010

Dear You,

I don’t like pretending because I don’t want people to accept or love me for what I’m not. I want to be as true as I am in the eyes of God. Getting close to Him is not an escape from the “misery” I am experiencing right now but a realization that He is the only one I can turn to at all times and He deserves all the love, praise, thoughtfulness, attention, and energy that I have. Nothing makes my life meaningful and fulfilled than having an intimate relationship with Him, my confidant and everything.

11 November 2010

Dear You,

I really don’t need approval so I hated it when I am introduced according to how people should identify me, like with what I do or what I have accomplished in life. It’s like explaining why I deserve to be living on earth. However, I realized I did the same mistake of defining people based on their (past and present) activities and the reasons why they have such endeavors. I guess I should not be guilty or complaining when people define and describe others if the intention is simply giving an idea about who a person is in order to easily build a relationship of deal with common interests.

I may have realized my pain-body and the unconscious me that made my life miserable but until I keep on recalling the past events and old memories, I remain trapped in the prison I created for myself. If this is my unconscious ego that is talking, I let it be for at the moment but with the hope that I will finally get over it as soon as possible. If this is dwelling in the past and strengthening my pain-body, then I am not fully awakened yet. Is this curiosity that is hindering me from being the Presence, from being one with life?

12 November 2010

Dear You,

Reflecting on “Is that so?” I would like to believe that I have been awakened even before I have read this book. Whenever I heard a bad news or someone related a bad story or expressed negative emotions, I always had the tendency not to react on it. I thought it was an act of indifference so in order to show compassion, I sometimes felt the need to say something or react to the negative thoughts or emotions that was already there. Unknowingly, non-reaction could have actually been the best way to deal with situations or people’s predicaments. Instead of reacting to and adopting the same negativity, I often showed I was listening but could not say any word. It felt great to let a negative idea or event diminish or to see someone being relieved after releasing his or her negative energy.

16 November 2010

Dear You,

I almost died in an accident yesterday. The first accident was when I fell on the ground (right between stairs and wall) from a second floor when I was a little girl. The second was when I crossed the street. I was too excited for having been able to back ride a motor bike with my uncle so I ran without being cautious when suddenly a rapid moving tricycle was approaching. Luckily nothing happened to the tricycle and the passengers when the driver abruptly and forcefully made an effort to break to be able to avoid me. I must be thankful for this is my fourth life after the third dreadful incident which just happened in Binalonan marketplace. My unconsciousness took the chance to practice survival instinct when someone blocked my driveway at the parking area. I had to find another way so I found myself needing to bypass an elevated floor. I forgot to press the break and as I struggled to gain control, I insanely pulled the accelerator which made me fly through the middle of the street. Fortunately, the tricycle driver was able to manage to swerve and stop. I apologized but he looked at me as if nothing has happened. Perhaps he was the Awareness at that moment which I failed to achieve. I could have asked for assistance if I knew that there was someone who could show compassion while I was experiencing disruption.

Thank you for saving my life (not the girl whose head you prevented from bumping to the floor) but I am not happy that you are suffering from physical pain aggravated by the cold weather. This must be the reason why you had an earlier accident – you salvaged the impact which could have ended my physical existence.

21 November 2010

Dear You,

I have been convincing my grandmother to quit smoking for four years. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince her to at least try to minimize her daily consumption no matter how persistent I was in reminding her of the health risks of smoking and how much it could affect the other household members.

When I had a chance to go to Ongpin in July, I asked the saleslady if she could offer me a Chinese product which could substitute a cigarette without leaving my grandmother a feeling of deprivation or conjured wanting. She said they didn’t have anything like that but they had cigarette filters. I almost freaked out and told her in reply, “How could you offer me something that is exactly the opposite of what I’m looking for?” I didn’t lose hope so after a few moments of silence I asked again, “What could my grandmother possibly use to help her quit smoking.” She rolled her eyes as if she was thinking. After that pause she asked the other salesladies but they stared at her in surprise and couldn’t figure whether they wanted to smile or think. Then she went to the stock room and asked somebody else. It took me a few minutes to patiently wait. When she came out, she handed me a pack of cigarette with Chinese label. I asked her what that thing was for. She told me to ask my grandmother to smoke it all so she’d never want to smoke again. “Are you sure it’s effective?” I asked again. She shrugged her shoulder and said, “Just do as I said.” Perhaps I was convinced or fooled but it was a great relief to find out that something could make my grandmother stop smoking. I thanked the lady and finally paid it including the rest of the products I was requested to buy. I’ve read that there are medical products for quitting smoking but my grandmother would never want to see a doctor, especially if it’s about quitting smoking since, accordingly, this is her only vice.

As I reached home, I asked her to finish the pack of cigarette I bought her as I motivated her the benefits of nonsmoking. She didn’t do it at once but eventually tried to smoke one stick. When I asked her what the effect was, she said nothing it didn’t taste good but she still wanted her brand. I insisted that she had to finish the entire pack but she kept it instead.

Until recently, after my persistent attempts to convince her to quit smoking with admonishing words and some disgusting remarks, she decided to smoke the Chinese cigarette again. I didn’t react at all when I saw her because I didn’t want to be disappointed again. After we had lunch, out of the blue she uttered that the Chinese cigarette kept her from wanting to smoke her brand. She told me she wanted to keep trying even at least for a few puffs but she lost her craving. I really hope she’s freed herself from this dreadful habit so I can also be finally free from the worse effect of secondhand smoking.

25 November 2010

Dear You,

I finally figured what the quotations I collected in 2007 meant after having read two of the popular manuscripts of Eckhart Tolle.

 

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980):

We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.

Every man is condemned to freedom. (Being and Nothingness, 1943)

Existence precedes and rules essence. (Being and Nothingness, 1943)

Hell is other people. (Closed Doors, 1944)

 

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951):

I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.

If it is true that words have meanings, why don’t we throw away words and keep just the meanings?

 

Albert Camus (1913-1960):

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.

We only know of one duty, and that is to love.

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

 

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855):

Destroy your primitivity, and you will most probably get along well in the world, maybe achieve great success—but Eternity will reject you. Follow up your primitivity, and you will be shipwrecked in temporality, but accepted by Eternity.

Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.

Then comes affliction to awaken the dreamer.

 

Anais Nin (1903-1977):

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.

 

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963):

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.

 

Audre Lorde:

Sometimes we could not bear the face of each other’s differences because of what we feared it might say about ourselves.

 

They all have one thing in common and that is they have undergone transformation – as in nirvana, enlightenment, salvation, end of suffering, liberation, awakening – since they have realized that the “I” is totally different and separate from the “self.” While Tolle claims that joy, peace and love have no opposites, but only emotions like good/bad and pain/pleasure, he uses the contrasting words to refer the “normal” state mind of most human beings which contains dysfunction (madness, delusion, mental illness) that generates “suffering, unsatisfactoriness, or just plain misery”. These are being vs. human, space vs. form, nothingness vs. thingness, unconsciousness vs. consciousness, thought vs. no-mind, manifested vs. unmanifested, the dreamer vs. the awake, body vs. soul, matter vs.spirit, identification vs. disidentification, defining vs. letting be, , existence vs. essence, limited vs. infinite, death vs. eternity, outer manifestation vs. inner source, sound vs. stillness).

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