Sunday, December 8, 2013

Meditation, so simple, yet so difficult to do..


Who am I?
Picture 'Who am I?' kindly provided by Hartwig HKD
A lot of friends ask me about meditation, I always wonder, meditation techniques are often very simple, yet they are incredibly difficult to do.  This is because meditation is just not the act of meditating itself, its also what happens before the very act of  meditation.

Meditation should be a simple and natural process, much like going to sleep. Yet, like going to sleep, and staying a sleep for 6-8 hours, it is surprising that so many people cannot sleep deeply and wake up refreshed.  Meditation happens, just like good sleep happens, but we cannot force it, we can only make the conditions or environment for it to happen naturally.

Good sleep does not happen without a sound conscious, a good daily routine in place, and this leads automatically to a natural ability to relax,  meditation also does not happen without these pillars in place.

This is somewhat like preparing the ground in order to plant the seed of the meditation, for without a fertile well prepared ground, even the best meditation technique will not germinate and blossom.  The opposite is true as well, with a fertile garden of a healthy mind, but without a meditation technique, one cannot penetrate beyond the realms of normal daily consciousness.

You can deceive others but you can never deceive yourself...
To meditate, you must have a sound conscious first.  Everyone has got an inner independent golden moral compass. Yet, if we are walking away from the direction we are supposed to, our subconscious knows it, it is acts like an invisible rubber band stretching us, further and further from where we should be.

We somehow feel it in the emptiness, and the shallowness in our lives, and we try to fill this hole with anything we can throw at it, usually material, sensual or egoistical pleasures.  Is it not easier to align yourself with universal principles in the first place? Universal principles like compassion, love, and truth are our fundamental nature, walk away from this, and you build an internal conflict, even if you don't realize it, and your mind knows it!

Self-discipline leads to growth...
Look at any successful person in the world, in any field, and you will find that they all are very self disciplined, they have daily routines, they have daily rituals. Talk is cheap, knowledge is only theory, until it is applied, again, and again, and again. Only then can knowledge become understanding, only then it becomes a rock to build your life on.

Everyone grows faith from success, a little at a time, the trick is to stay with a discipline long enough, practice it long enough, so that you realize its benefits, and only then those benefits start changing you.

Self discipline often sets limits on yourself.  Setting limits on yourself is liberating, because you are freeing yourself from the attachment, scattering of attention, and the worry that come with so many different pursuits.  It is liberating, because a good routine clears your minds, and helps you focus on the things that need your focus.  It is liberating because it frees you from addictions that give a moments worth of pleasure at a very high physical, mental and social cost.

To center your mind, learn how to relax first...
Most people have forgotten how to relax these days, the source of relaxation for most is TV, games, alcohol and so on. The truth is most of these things we do, does little to make us relax and keep us relaxed.

Real relaxation is an active process, not a passive one, it involves reigning your mind back in on your body, your breath, visualization or verbalization.  It involves pro-actively reducing the causes of stress, by gathering your attention on one thing only using repetition.  It is like a magnifying glass which is able to concentrate the sun rays into a single spot, resulting in putting the object of focus on flames.  What happens next in meditation, is no different, the mind disappears in the flames of concentration and enters the zen or flow mode. There is no trace of the mind left, there is no trace of time, there is no trace of ego. Yet you are not asleep, you feel a sense of expansion, and an awareness which is really quite unexplainable, and it leaves you in very good mood, even after meditation is complete.

What people need to realize is that, successful meditation is really not possible without a strong foundation of a sound conscious and rigorous self discipline.  Once you have this and a good meditation technique, you will be able to relax, and if you don't fall asleep while the technique kicks in and relaxes you, this will naturally lift your level of awareness, it sounds so simple, yet it is so difficult to do…

Saturday, November 2, 2013

It takes a village...


Bali Temple Monk
Picture Bali Temple Monk kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

It takes a village to raise a child, to build a career, to be a good person: yes it takes a village just about to do anything worthwhile.

You cannot do it alone
The key to this is to recognize that you cannot do it alone, in today's fast pace world of endless demands requires: that you are able to pull together more than what you have in your head; that you have built the relationships to call on, before the shit hits the fan; and, that you built the skills before the situation calls.

Always be ready
In Tai Chi we build the martial, awareness and health capability day in and day out.  We build the skills of balance, flexibility, and mindfulness, being able to adapt to any situation as the situation demands.  A martial artist is always ready.  The same is with the world, we build allies, we build mentors, we build the personal ability of how to leverage the village, so that we are always ready whenever the situation calls.  Sun Tzu says "the war is won before it is fought!", we have to build our tribe, our ability, our environment before we fight our war!

Leverage the village
I had a recent situation, where I was called to deliver an online banking solution, and I was asked to produce some sort of recommendation in a relatively short period of time by going out and speaking to banks.  Knowing this was a difficult thing to do, and that banks are generally reluctant to share their internal solutions,  I decided to reach out to a friend to see if he could help with getting some material from research houses.  He did more than that, he organized a call for me with the research houses, to which I invited my business.  The outcome, I was able to get much material, make the right connections, have the right discussions, which enabled us to make quick decisions on how to proceed forward.  I would not have been able to do this, if I had not leverage the "village" and collaborative skills that I had built before hand.

Build the village before you need it
This goes to reinforce the point that in today's world you have to recognize that you cannot do it alone, but what you can do is build your village: you can build yourself, your skills and capabilities; you can build your tribe, your  relationships and network; you can build your resources, books, blogs, web sites etc.

Don't let fear strike you down, build this support system, this capability and this confidence to always be ready to act. You do this because it frees your mind up to be the most you can be, the best you can be, so you don't have to waste all that energy on fearing the worst that can be...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tai Chi to kick Parkinson's Disease Butt


I don't know why but Ali has been popping up in my head a lot in the last couple of months randomly. I was quite sadden to see a recent video of Muhammad Ali's rare public appearance.

An icon and an inspiration to many, once  swift, charismatic, sharp now a shadow of his former self, victim to Parkinson's Disease, it really tears my heart out to see suffering such as this, and it can happen to just about anyone.

I pondered if Tai Chi could cure or slow down the degeneration in something like this, given its mindfulness movements and rigorous focus on slow steady synchronized motor skills and breathing, I was just delighted to see it did.

I hold an image of Ali in my head, in his prime, in his boxing gloves and trunks doing Tai Chi just before a match in a boxing ring. I just cannot fathom what formidable opponent he would have been if he had learnt the martial arts aspect of Tai Chi and what help it could have been to him now.  Ali's spirit still lives on, you can see it in his eyes.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Reflections on Ten Essentials of Tai Chi Chuan - Part 1


Tai Chi
Photo Tai Chi kindly provided by  Hao Jiang
Follows are my reflections on the Ten essentials of Tai Chi Chuan taken from Yang Family Tai Chi, please look at further explanation on their site.

1. Empty, lively, pushing up energetic
This principal refers to the posture of the head being upright but not stiff as if being pulled up by a string.  There is also an energy gateway at the crown of the head.  Another great metaphor is as if the spine is held up vertical like a string of pearls.  

Posture is so very important and it has a direct impact on attitude and confidence.  

As a parent, I often used to ask my kids to look at a plane to stop them crying, it always worked!  Watch anyone paying attention to any subject, naturally they immediately sit up right.  

Keeping the head upright, pulls up and naturally straightens the spine like a string of pearls hanging vertically.  Alertness accompanies a vertical spine,  life requires us to be alert at all times for many reasons.

Meditation also requires the spine to be perfectly straight.  Keeping the back slouched will put you to sleep, cutting off access to deeper and longer sessions of meditation.

2. Hold in the chest pull up the back
Here it says to sink the chest slightly in as to push the Qi into the lower Dan Tian...I asked my teacher last week why his back seem concave he said he was sinking the Qi, and lifting his head, and that action looks like it is slightly concave but it opens the spine and it gives a sort of zing! that one can feel it.  I said it  like sort of strung like a bow then, he said yes sort off.

This to me also symbolizes a sense of humility a relaxed chest, rather than a cocky one...humility is not to be confused with weakness because in weakness there is little sense of self dignity or purpose.  Humility involves subduing the ego to focus on what is at hand.

3. Relax the waist
Cheng Man Ching used to say that the one who as the most flexible waist has the best Tai Chi.  

Much tension and stiffness is stored in the waist.  My teacher last week showed me that sinking into one leg helps one also to be more flexible in the waist.  A wide squat posture or the frog yoga asana seems to open up the waist.

In Tai Chi the hips move the hands, our normal everyday movements seems to be counter to this, the hands seems to move independently of the hips.  In Tai Chi the hands simply follow, they are like the bumpers of a car.

It almost seems that we move in a deframented, un-unified manner.  Tai Chi helps us practice moving in a co-ordinated unified manner, the whole body moves or the whole body rests, its either one or the other.  

My teacher said  we move, then we stop, we pour concrete into the posture, then we move again everything with purposeful intent.

The Mind-Body-Spirit moves as one is this not also the true goal of Yoga or the state that anyone should aspire too in anything one does?

My teacher also said, that relaxation enters through the hands, then the elbows, then to the rest of the body but entry point is always through the hands. Learn to relax the hands first, then you can learn to propagate this feeling to the rest of the body, especially where tension tends to accumulate, the jaw, the shoulders, the waist.  

If there is any one thing that one can do to improve health and attitude in life, it is that of relaxation, but not a passive relaxation like watching TV but active relaxation through being mindfully present to body or situation without judgement.


 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Antaeus, Tai Chi and Being Firmly Rooted


Hercules kills Antaeus
Picture kindly provided by Klearchos Kapoutsis
The legend of Antaeus talks about a giant who had incredible strength just as long as he had contact with the ground.  Antaeus challenged many that came across his path and defeated them all, they would throw him to the ground and he would only get stronger thus slay his opponents.  Hercules discovered the source of his strength and held him up in the air, thereby was able to slay the demi god Antaeus.

In Tai Chi the classics talk about being rooted firmly into the ground, balancing on one leg sinking into it, drawing strength from it, then moving only from this position of stability.

On a mental level it has some validity as well, it means that one should root themselves in a firm experience of strength, being un-shakeable, being un-moveable until one puts the next foot down heel down to sense if it is where one should move then shift weight totally on it being rooted on that leg.

Confucious says 'A man stepping on tip toes cannot stand firm' if we are doing the wrong things, it does not matter how much we kid ourselves, we are not standing on solid ground to begin with...

I emphasize the word experience until we can see a path that works for us, until we can see a path that we can model, until we can see a path that we can imitate, until in our guts and bones can feel that this is the right path only then can we have or develop this root, this firmness, this strength supporting us...otherwise we are easily uprooted, being lifted off the ground like Antaeus, our spirits are easily distracted or crushed!



Thursday, July 25, 2013

are we not living in the land of the zombies

Jinx
Picture Jinx kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
tell me, are we not living in the land of the zombies?

where mind, body and spirit was once a unified whole, now mind is not on the body

does the body not control the mind? does the servant not control the master?

the spirit is nowhere to be found in all this confusion...

the body is weak, the will is weaker, the mind is scattered, the spirit is forgotten...

the key lies in the mind, it needs to work for you

like a car it needs to be steered at all times, like a car it needs a destination

otherwise it will find a destination itself, maybe at the bottom of a river bed or off a cliff

the mind easily follows the body and its cravings or the evils of the mind: pride, fear, envy, selfishness to name a few

leading it to destruction, it does not stop there, the actions rewarded by short term pleasures sows impressions in your subtle and gross mind which seal your fate, maybe not only for this life but many lifetimes to come

zombies may not be so much away from truth after all, if you think about it this way..

fear that you become one or worst still stay one...

for that is the easy path, but there is a choice to be made...not once, but every single day of our lives

to pretend to live or to really live!






Saturday, July 6, 2013

with humility accept with gratitude

Hush
Picture Hush kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

with humility accept with gratitude all that is given in your life

not only what is given also what is not given for in there too is a gift...

a gift of realizing that happiness does not come with material wealth,

that constraints actually are fences built for your own protection, against your own mind

be thankful for those who are part of your life friend or foe,

for even foes have a lesson to teach you,

a chance to hone your awareness and test the limits of your goodness...

be thankful for the mentors that step into your life,

their words are that of gold, 

look at them like as if looking into a mirror,

suppress your impulses and copy them like monkeys...

life is short, make it what you can become rather what you will become if otherwise on autopilot...

and be thankful for all the valuable lessons and relationships that come your way


Friday, June 28, 2013

claim clarity, peace and love

Borobudur 2
Picture Borobudur 2 kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
why spend your life in ignorance of what lies within?

so sad, so unhappy, never satisfied...

even moments of happiness are but temporary, here today, gone tomorrow

where is the clarity? 

where is the peace? 

where is the love?

alas its buried under stockpiles of emotions

sucked dry by the vampires of senses

held captive caged by the ego

with forgiveness and non attachment cut at the root of the emotions

with the stakes of moderation and self restraint drive away the vampires of the senses

with humility and service unlock the cage of the ego

for only then can you claim clarity, peace and love





Wednesday, June 19, 2013

after looking inward the spirit rises


Follow the Path
Picture 'Follow The Path' kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
I reflect on the words of Master Chen Man Ching the Master of Five Excellences: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Calligraphy, Poetry, Tai Chi and Painting, and I am left speechless:


do not seek to become powerful; 
seek only to release fear from the body-mind. 
do not chase after joy; 
only breathe out your pain, your grief, your loss. 
do not ask for mastery; 
ask only to shed that which is unnatural and disharmonious. 
darkness and day follow each other. 
heavy is the root of light, stillness is the mother of movement. 
emptiness is the source of ten thousand things. 
release, breathe, shed, stand still, un-do 
let your tears fall into the earth beneath your feet 
let your sorrows sink and become your root 
what you thought was weakness will become your strength where fear has been dissolved, laughter blooms; 
after looking inward the spirit rises


I try to heed the depth of his message and I fail to put what I feel in words, my feeble attempt follows:

it's not about looking outward, but looking inward.
through the courage,
through the acceptance, 
through the humility, 
through the silence, 
through the suffering, 
through the weakness
is the natural progression of joy

Friday, May 31, 2013

the great antidote...

Who am I?
Picture 'Who am I?' kindly provided by  h.koppdelaney


in life there are many times you will doubt yourself, 

there will be many times where people will doubt you..

but faith and belief is the great antidote...

if you believe that you can do something, than you can to it, there is no question about it...

the only question is:
how much you want it? 
why you want it?
how much time and effort you are willing to put into it? 

the journey of a thousand miles start with a single step forward on the firm foundation of faith, be it on thin air itself
many steps forward of persistence
not so many steps backwards of failures
like a drunkard walking home, you will surely arrive, but never on a straight path...
sometimes carrying others when they cannot walk,
sometimes having the humility to be carried yourself when you cannot walk

your faith and belief will always carry you through...













Saturday, May 18, 2013

learn to love

Awareness
picture awareness kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
why run from where you are? 

always chasing your tail!

when the treasure is right under your nose

the treasure is not of gold, of thrill, of pleasure

but of being here and now

but of being loved, loving others

in the sweet serenity of surrender

grows a seed of peace

trust in the process

the seed needs the water of love and truth

it will take you where you need to go

all you need to do is listen within, listen without and learn to love...

Friday, April 26, 2013

a damn sweet memory!

my good friend @ work left today back to his home country...this is a quote he left which was very nice sent in his signoff email:

"Good bye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be." Walt Disney

it got me thinking, we are all but travelers, life is short, you don't know when or even if you will ever have the time to say goodbye or farewell...but one thing you can do, is make it a damn sweet memory!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

let everyone have their superficial success stories, true success is something else...


Tertön
Picture kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

In the past often when face with an action, intuitively sometimes consider i the opposite of the impulse, and act accordingly, i think that if i did this in my life more often, i would be in a lot better place that i am today, imagine where you would be?

mindfulness says to be present in the current moment, it says, ok accept what is there, without judgement, without wishing you were somewhere else or someone else...it says its ok:

to feel what you are feeling...

to hear what you are hearing...

then to act out only compassion for others, and inevitably yourself...

this is normally opposite of our first impulses...which is driven by that reptilian brain of ours...opposite of how the world normally acts...

the material world does not favor this mentality, its like swimming in a tank full of sharks, the world is one of fear, one of desperation of recognition and fortune...

admittedly this is much easier said than done...

but just for a moment, if you can say, ok hang on! i really don't like the person i am becoming, even though i may benefit from this, or get that temporary pleasure of self gratification, but this pleasure is dangerous, it cements in a devious habit, which only sets in motion a groove in your mind that eventually becomes a river leading you to destruction.

ask yourself is it worth it?

i say let everyone have their so called 'superficial successes...'

true success comes from molding your character, your health, your values, your relationships...

next time think what you are going to do, and contemplate the opposite, let yourself experience the discomfort, don't judge it, don't run away from it, embrace it, then respond in kindness only....










Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hall of Happiness

Buddha Mind
Buddha Mind by h.koppdelaney
Just love this by TAI CHI GRAND MASTER CHEN MAN CHING, its called the Hall of Happiness, it bought tears to my face as I read it:

May the joy that is everlasting lasting gather in this hall.  Not the joy of a sumptuous feast, which slips away even as we leave the table; nor that which music brings - it is only of a limited duration.  Beauty and a pretty face are like flowers; they bloom for a while, then die.  Even our youth slips swiftly away and is gone.

No, enduring happiness is not in these....We may as well forget them, for the joy I mean is worlds away from these.  It is the joy of continuous growth, of helping ourselves and in others the talents and abilities with which we were born--the gifts of heaven to mortal men.  It is to revive the exhausted and rejuvenate that which is in decline, so that we are enabled to dispel sickness and suffering.

Let true affection and happy concourse abide in this hall. Let us here correct our past mistakes and lose preoccupation with self.  With the constancy of the planets in their courses or of the dragon in his cloud wrapped path, let us enter the land of health and ever after walk within its bounds.

Let us fortify ourselves against weakness and learn to be self reliant, without ever a moment's lapse.  Then our resolution will become the very air we breath, the world we live in; then we will be as happy as a fish in crystal waters.   This is the joy which lasts, that we can carry with us to the end of our days, if you can, what greater happiness can life bestow?


To sum up joy comes from fortifying our minds and body, returning to health, returning to spirit, bringing the gifts of Heaven to Earth by our own experience, by our own example, by our own truth...words to ponder...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

swine wearing a crown playing in mud eating filth

Spirit of Awakening
Picture Spirit of Awakening by h.koppdelaney
Most people think that a spiritual mystic is a dreamer, while the mystic know that we are caught up in a dream...why?

The mystic asks, 'what is better, a fool that pretends to know everything or being ignorant?', the mystic says 'the ignorant is better, because at least the ignorant has a chance of recognizing the truth, while the know-it all has his/her cup constantly full'

People think that the mystic is a fool 'Why on Earth would anyone spend hours on meditation in complete silence, whats the difference between that and sleep anyway, why bother with all this self restrictions and so call self discipline, is it not more fun to just enjoy life to its fullest?'

The mystic is not perturbed, the mystic knows that there is a layer of interference between us and reality, that layer is the mind, its fears, its anxiety, its ego its limited beliefs, the list goes on and on.

The mystic knows that meditation is switching off the mind, but being fully awake, it is accessing what is beyond the mind, a space beyond pain, beyond time, beyond comprehension...

The mystic cannot say anything but 'come and experience for yourself, but beware the price is dear my friend, it will cost you your self indulgence, you sensual pleasures, your selfishness, your self righteousness and your ego, which you seem so much to enjoy like swine wearing a crown playing in mud eating filth'

Did William Blake not once say that if the doors of perceptions would be cleaned, things would appear as they are...infinite?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

don't force, just be clear

In the Beginning there is Fog
Picture kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

It was another Friday night where Ben the Buddhist, Aron the Atheist and Chris the Catholic were playing cards at the Red Checked Table Conscious cafe.

Aron started a conversation, 'Tell me dear sir Lama, how do I get of my negative habits and replace them with positive habits?'

Ben replied to him 'Unfortunately contemplating on avoiding negative habits only just reinforces them, just lets try a small exercise if you don't mind...right now I am going to tell you not to think about a big pink elephant in the room with a rather large pink bow tie, can you see if you can stop your mind from picturing such a ridiculous thought?'

Aron looked up at the ceiling, looked down on the floor, then burst out laughing 'its absurd, i would not even think of such an animal especially wearing a pink bow tie, yet when you tell me not to do it, it just appears...'

Ben replied 'Suppression is usually only temporary, it does not work in the long term, its sort of like cutting off the branches of the tree, but leaving the trunk and roots, eventually the branches grow back, one has to instead change the fundamental attitude'

Chris the Christian interceded curiously 'So how do we change then our attitudes then, dear sir Lama?'

Ben paused, thought...'Well, I think its about clarity personally...having clarity of the values you would like to embody, and having clarity on purpose, be it on the task at hand, be it on what you want out of life, and what you want to  give back in life.  Anything that is not in line with the core values or purpose is discarded '

Aron said 'Does not clarity work the other way too, like Hitler, he was very clear about his values and purpose too, don't you think!'

Ben replied 'Absolutely, values and purpose are like a sharp scalpel, it can be good or bad.  It can be used to do enormous harm, and it can be used for enormous good, however harm begets harm, good begets good, suffering begets more suffering, compassion begets much more compassion'

Chris exclaims 'So how then to get rid of bad thought patterns, it does sound almost impossible?'

Ben replied 'Well  if you have clarity on what is right, what is wrong, what is your purpose, action will follow automatically, here you are not forcing yourself, but you are shaping the type of person you want to be, form follows the function of your values and purpose or the lack of it...the thing with most people they try to lead with the action first that is impossible, its like the cart pulling the horse!'

'Gees I never thought of that like that before' Chris replied.  'Do you mind sharing with me how do you become clear on your values and your purpose.'

Ben replies 'Well there are many ways but its always centers on reminding ourselves constantly, you can remind yourself in many ways, but constant contemplation and reflection is always required, I like to remind myself by writing blogs, teaching Qi Gong, and helping where i can where anyone needs some help, I find it works for me'

Aron said 'Seem to make a lot of sense, its sort of like just changing the input side of the equation, without worrying about the output side of the equation, it seems it would be a lot easier to do, I am going to give it a try'

'Exactly!' said Ben with a high five to Aron.  To that they continued with the regular card game on a Friday night...





Thursday, March 7, 2013

the red checked table conscious cafe


Picture Red & White Checked by Enokson
The 'Red Checked Conscious Cafe' is unlike now other cafe you would ever see. It is a vegan cafe that serves organic dim sum, brown rice sushi and an assortment of fine teas and organic coffee.

The restaurant used to be called the 'Red Checked Table Steakhouse'.  Ben the Buddhist took over after the restaurant when it went out of business, when asked by one of his customers why the original restaurant name was kept.  To this Ben the Buddhist answered:

'See the restaurant has its own unique character, the red and white tiles, matching retro old style tables and chairs, red cabinets...rather than change the essence of the place, I simply took away what was was not to its true character, stripping it down to its bare red and white nature.  I just removed away the clutter that was interfering with the natural beauty and simplicity of this place.

See when you get rid of the clutter, people automatically start feeling at ease, because people's mind are generally full of the clutter of wayward thoughts, it seems people want this subconsciously, much of meditation and a change in attitude simplifies the thoughts patterns of the mind leading to what is beyond the thoughts namely our true essence or original Buddha nature.

Then I  added elements of nature carefully complementing the empty space, like the Buddha statue in the front as you come in covered with a purple ivy creeping up the Buddha's body.  The Buddha is in the middle of a small sand and rock garden complete with a few miniature rakes that everyone, especially kids so much like rearranging the now and then.

In Zen much care is given to stripping away what is not necessary, but keeping only what is necessary, and augmenting what is there with empty space and elements of nature.

I also think of it symbolically, the Buddha represents our timeless nature, the ivy represents the actions that stem from our Buddha nature, the sand and rocks garden and the rake represent the temporary nature of our thoughts and actions, red represent passion, white represent compassion, see one must live life with passion for a rightful living but also equally with compassion for all that is living'

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

the red checked table conversations...

Picture Red & White Checked by Enokson


 There are 3 childhood friends now adults, they get together every Friday night around at the Red Checked Square Cafe sitting on a red checked square table playing cards.

All of them when to the same religious catholic conservative schools, from primary to high school, where 'classical' catholic teachings of faith and salvation was drilled into them every day.  Yet somehow all three of them ended up with different beliefs, convictions and outlook on life now that they are older.

Chris still holds his traditional Catholic views, he goes to church every weekend.  Aron becomes an Atheist, and is of a view that life should be celebrated to the fullest.  Ben becomes somewhat of a modern day Buddhist practicing compassion, meditation, mindfulness every day.  Ben owns the Cafe.

'God damn it!' Aron the atheist says after getting a real poor hand of cards.

Chris the Catholic gives him a look of death...

'What?' Aron exclaims!

Chris replies 'I really don't like it when you take the Lords name in vain!'

Aron says 'Yes if there is a God indeed...'

Ben the Buddhist rolls his eyes and and mutters 'Here we go again!'

John face turns red in an instant 'Well you know what happens to non-believers like you, they go straight to hell'

Aron replies 'Yes if there is a hell, tell me something Chris, if there was a God, why is there so much suffering in the world?'

Chris is stuck for words, turns to Ben and says 'maybe you can enlighten us on this, dear sir lama'

Ben smiles and answers:

So there are two parts to the question, one is there a God? second if there is, why allow so much suffering in the world?

On the first part, the fact that the world exists, you exist, and this complex ecosystem that sustains us exists out of many millions of planets and suns, can't be just chance and coincidence.  At the same time I don't like to conceptualize what God is, because my thoughts, my imagination, my concepts are temporary, are limited and they change depending on my mood, hence what ever I think cannot be the truth...  

On the second part I think there is two types of suffering, one is based on circumstances, but secondly, more important is our reactions to the circumstances.  Unlike our circumstances our reactions to it, in the second layer of suffering, is something we can do something about, with persistence and will nothing is impossible to change.  The second layer is our habits, our impressions, our attitude.   The reason why there is so much suffering is predominately because of a lack of training and positive role models on second layer I feel.

Aron says 'What about those who can't help themselves'

Ben replies 'if one cannot help directly, one should at least feel their pain, if one cannot feel their pain, at one should at least pray for them, is it not the most basic humane thing to do?'

Aron replies 'I do feel for them, I just can't understand why circumstances are as they are? why there is so much unjust, evil and unfair things that happens in the world, and yet people seem to get away with it'

Ben replies 'Well there is this thing called Karma, it is like the law of gravity, it works whether you like it or not, wether you believe it or not, its much to complicated to try to understand, but it does help me understand why things are the way they are, but that is the subject of another conversation'

















Sit. Feast on your life


Buddha Sun
Picture Buddha Sun by 
 
h.koppdelaney

The time will come when with elation you will greet yourself, 
Arriving at your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other's welcome;
Saying, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine, give bread, give back your heart
To the stranger who has loved all your life,
Whom you abandoned for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes.
Sit. Feast on your life

~Derel Walcott~
~Love after Love~

Friday, February 15, 2013

zen and the art of veggie butter chicken (tofu)

much thought needs to be put into what we put into our mouths, also what comes out, reducing meat in your diet is no longer something that hippies do, its just a safer thing to do...

one must think about the implications of ones actions and it does not stop at just what goes in your mouth, it extends to every action that you take...like the Dala Lama says if you cant do any good, at least do not cause any harm, not just to people to animals too.

on a lighter note my daughter asked me to make vegetarian butter chicken (there is no chicken but just tofu!)

i must admit curries where never my strong point before any curry i used to make used to turn out like 'rasam', a thin south indian tangy watery soup.

my cooking has refined over the years though after catering for many last minute dinners and lunches for hungry children, spoilt by their mum's superb cooking...

i turn on a youtube channel, this guy wa rai wah, he is such a enthusiastic character, you cant help but like him :)

i never could compete with my wife on indian cooking, but I was determined to give her a run for her money...

i watch the Mr Wa Rai Wah, i don't write anything down, just observe...then I go to work:

soak a handful of cashews in hot water
5 cloves of garlic
2 inches of ginger
1 medium to large size onion
2 medium tomato

grind the cashews, garlic, ginger, onion to a pulp after chopping coarsely
start the large sauce pan, put in a teaspoon of cumin seeds in some oil
some few cloves,
a full dried chili broken in half
throw in the ground paste of onion, cashews etc
add two tablespoon of salt
then puree the tomatoes and throw in

let reduce
throw in 3 heaped tablespoons of Baba Brand 'Meat Masala' (complete vegetarian)
throw in 1 tablespoon of coriander and cumin powder
throw in 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

add boiling water
fry tofu, add
add potatoes, some zucchini, carrots
throw in crushed dried fenugreek leaves

WALA!  VEGETARIAN BUTTER CHICKEN


not bad, my daughter is licking her plate,
my wife is impressed,
i am surprise myself...


Sunday, February 3, 2013

to be a hero, be zero...


very nice track

to be a hero,
be zero
ego just weighs you down,
just bounds your soul
why limit the limitless?
why settle for peanuts? 
when bliss is at stake?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

zen and koi nawi tazi


Buddha's Birds
Buddha's Bird by h.koppdelaney
as i was having lunch with 2 of my good friends
i asked 'so koi nawi tazi'
both of them looked at me puzzled...
laughingly i said it means in punjabi  'anything new, any fresh like chappati off the stove?'

one friend said he was going to an interview, and he has been stressing over it every day for the last couple of weeks..

i said be like the 'master archer', pretending to pull a bow aiming at a bird over two their two heads.  With a gaze that could kill, pausing for a few seconds following the movements of the bird, then letting my imaginary arrow fly, so much so that they turned to see surprised to see there was actually a target, still happily flying around, alive!

'be like the girl from the hunger games aiming for the apple in the pigs mouth..
prepare, aim, relax, focus, and then let go
the preparation did not start this week, it started years ago,
yet your aim is the now, you have to identify what the target is, what is its true essence, and what strengths you can bring to it
you have to relax, otherwise it will take away from your performance, just say what needs to be said...
finally let go, effort is in always your hands but not the results, a certain amount of detachment is required to the results, this was what the scared Hindu Text 'Bhagawan Gita' was all about - non attachment to results'

to which my other friend replied, 'yes that is so true, but why do we get so attached in the first place?'

'well maybe it is that we are always wishing, 
that we could be something else, be someone else, 
when really maybe, its best that we just be us where we are just for right now, 
when it is time to change, circumstances that enable this will automatically prevail'

my friend who was going for the job, said

'that is good advice, tell you the truth, that's how i approach most things, except when stakes are really high, but there is two things i take away from this, that we have to relaxed even when the stakes are really high, don't have any expectations though, just try your best'

'spot on' i said, as i raised up my hand for a high five, going on to say:

'we have to always trust in the bigger picture, 
a disappointment now, may or may not pave the way for a success later, 
but it is always right thing that should have happened, 
provided that we have tried our best in the first place, 
learning would have still have taken place, which would not have been possible without this'

to that i tore into my 'Tazi' hot chapati, digging into my vegetarian lunch having further great conversions with two outstanding individuals...




Wednesday, January 30, 2013

zen in the elevator


Spirit of Awakening
Picture Spirt of Awakening provided by h.koppdelaney
in the elevator today a colleague of mind seem quite distant,
it was twice i noticed her this way over two days...
i said to her whats the matter to which see replied somewhat of a manner,
that she was in despair of the work situation around her,
to which i replied, despair is all around us,
its natural to happen because the world is not perfect,
we are bound to be disappointed if we are attached to the world,
she said that if she does not find happiness there where shall she find it?

i thought to myself, we always seem to want to find happiness in what is temporal, changing, and in a world of basically selfish agenda...
there is no question that one should not enjoy the good things in life, but one should realize this is temporary and what the path to it is...
the path to it is in giving, in doing the right thing, in serving, in non attachment, in inner peace
this naturally attracts more goodness in all shapes and form...

i wish i could have spelt this out to her in the elevator fully,
i tried but not very successfully...
maybe the a minute of concern may have still brightened up her day
i know realization is not something that can be given in words
it can only be resonated in another person or in yourself...
it can only be kindled, however the flame of truth comes from being scorched in the world




Friday, January 25, 2013

rest in yourself...


Full Moon Meditation
Picture Full Moon Meditation kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
don't fear the current moment,
for what you fear is pointless!
for what is going to be happen, 
has already been shaped by the past,
waiting only for the clarity, confidence, integrity in your next move...
be like the chess master, calm, present, focused...
rest in yourself, 
pour your consciousness out fully on whats at hand, 
experience it, accept it, embrace it,
be it a challenge, a relationship, a suffering...
and see what magic happens...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

thank those who come in your way...

Golden Path
Picture Golden Path kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
in life its not how many times you fall down,
its not how many times you are kicked in the ribs, while you are down...
its how you are able to take it without retaliating 
its how you are able to get up, dust yourself off, keep focus on where you need to be...
thank those who come in your way
because they only make you more stronger, more wiser, more compassionate
strange as it seem, the worst in people,
can reinforce in ourselves that we don't want to be like that ever...never...


is it your true nature to follow something wrong?


Wisdom - Diamond Light
Picture Wisdom - Dimond Light kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

its human nature to go with the crowd?

but ask yourself, 
is it your true nature to follow it?
especially when it is all so wrong?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

the grass on this side of the fence can be always more beautiful

Speed of Consciousness
Picture Speed of Consciousness kindly provided by h.koppdelaney


as i sit back and reflect on my life,
i realize the more complicated, the more miserable...
the anxiety of being bored, being insecure is a curse,
for it brings about always the want of something else
be it thrill, vanity or sensual pleasure...
while not really appreciating the beauty of hear and now
to feel the wind blowing in your face,
to cherish the ones around you,
to touch everyone around you...
yes simple is good, yes being present is good

the grass on this side of the fence can be always more beautiful
but has it not to be attended to?
mowed, weeded, beautiful gardens planted

Sunday, January 13, 2013

let go, be still, be content....


Sun Flower
Picture Sun Flower kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

if today we regret where we are,
we have to remember that it was we who created it...

if we have the power to create the now from the past,
then we also have the power to create the future from now...

but this does mean, that our thinking, our attitude, has to also change from the past...
for our world is created from our peace or conflict inside

heal the inner world to heal the outer world,
let go of the prison of grievances, anger, regret that hold you back from happiness...

for if we want to paint a new picture, 
we need not to look at painful memories, 
but what is beautiful today, 
and what can be more beautiful tomorrow...

let go, be still, be content



Sunday, January 6, 2013

stars do not fear looking like fireflies


Conscious - May there be Light
Picture Conscious - My there be Light kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

























The stars are not afraid to appear like fireflies
~Rabindranath Tagore~

 if stars do not fear looking like fireflies, 
why should you care, what others think of you?
in being nothing, lies the secret of being everything...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

do your best, leave the rest...

Buddha-Spirit
Picture Buddha Spirit kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

many times we wonder, why me?, why this?, why now?...

we have to face the fact, that on this level of existence,
there are never any ideal circumstances
even if there were,
they will be always be temporary...

ideal circumstances however perfect are never conducive to growth and learning
because there is no test of character, no test of values, as such no leaps and bounds in growth taking place..no hardwiring...

the good thing is that less than ideal circumstances are also temporary
so its best to always accept whatever is present good or bad and make the most of it...

'thy will be done' in Christianity
Jesus embraced his suffering even though he knew it was coming...

'thy will is sweet' in Sikhism

'trust in God, but tie your Camel first' is a saying in Islam, that you have to do trust God, but there is no excuse not to try your best either...

in buddhism one is taught how to embrace the current moment fully, mindfully, not rejecting anything...

in the Bhagawan Gita, Lord Krishna talk at length of the important of acting without attachment to results...'One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the God, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.'

all are pointing to the same thing, accept what is given to you in gratitude, do your best, leave the rest...








Tuesday, January 1, 2013

allow time for the jelly of your mind to set...

Buddha Mind
Picture Buddha Mind kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

in order to be where you want to be
you must project what you want to be...

the old saying 'fake it till you make it', does apply

however you are only faking it till you are making it,
then you don't have to fake it any more
there is nothing dishonest about that...

Einstein one said something like 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results'

we live in a stressful and competitive world, we have to make changes in ourselves to be happy, and to stay happy...

but to do that we have to have some idea of what we want to be, do we not?

projecting what you to be, visualizing what you want to be, enacting what you want to be, is kind of like a jelly mould for our character and learning of new habits,

keep projecting what you want to be for the better, allowing time for the jelly of your mind to set...
then the jelly takes the pressure off the mould and does not need it anymore to stand on its on...

it may take months, it may take years, but hey...change will happen, and you will not go insane :)

happy new year everyone, may this year bring positive change within and without for everyone...