July 28, 2009

Time after time

A meditation teacher once told me that "life is simply a string of moments". There was a moment of clarity when I heard these words. Certainly makes life more manageable, doesn't it? ...and with each new moment we are given a choice to make. The two choices are always positive road or the negative road.

At each turn, at each moment, you always have a choice! You can choose wisely when you realize the impact of going down each of the two roads. When you walk down the negative road, there is sure to be misery because there is resistance to something there. When you walk down the positive road, you are choosing peace and happiness. There is no resistance here and so it allows you to live with ease.

Here are some examples of how we are faced with a choice in all life situations and its impact on our lives.

Let's say, you fail an exam. You can choose to beat yourself up and decide never to take the exam again (ruled by fear/ego) or you can choose to see it as a lesson learned and remain optimistic about the second attempt. Which road leads to misery and which leads to peace and happiness?

When you experience a heartbreak from a romantic partner, you will certainly be sad but beyond the greiving of the relationship, you can either choose to remain depressed and feel like the victim or you can choose to learn from the relationship and look forward to finding a new partner that suits you better. Which road leads to misery and which leads to peace and happiness?

In the case of a death of a loved one, again, you will certainly be sad but beyond the grieving of the relationship, you can either choose to remain in disbelief that the person is gone and live in misery or you can choose to accept that the person is gone and adjust back to day to day life without the loved one there. Which road leads to misery and which leads to peace and happiness?

Lastly, when you are faced with a mean person in your life, you can choose to be mean right back (either passive aggressively or otherwise) or you can choose to be compassionate and consider the reasons why the mean person feels the need to be mean and let him be without getting sucked into their pointless mean games. Which road leads to misery and which leads to peace and happiness?

Time after time, you are faced with these moments where you will have to choose the direction you want to move in. It is important to be clear that it is a choice and be responsible for your actions. Actively choose the positive road every time and you will have an easy life. Now, if we happen to go down the negative road and later realize we do not want to be in misery, we can always choose the positive road in the very next moment. How wonderful that we always get a new chance to choose! The choice is always ours to make right now! How will you choose to live the moments of today?

May you be happy. =)
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July 14, 2009

Springing through life

I realize how amazing this life is as I start to connect the dots...

Each devastating fall to the bottom in my life is what has catapulted me to be who I am today. It is as if each fall (heartache from various life situations) was a compressed coil spring. The load and pressure from the compression or fall may feel like it is too much to bear at the time but eventually the spring releases and the energy provided from the release allows us growth lessons and propels us higher spiritually.

Without experiencing my upsetting failures early on in my career, I would not be as knowledgeable and effective as I am today with work. If I had not lived through broken hearts as a young adult, I would not have learned about my own needs and desires as a woman and learn of compromise between partners. As sad as it was to lose loved ones to death, I would not be as strong in my faith and understand that life is lived today and only today if it weren't for those devastating moments in my life.

When we look at each "fall" in life as if it is really preparation for our RISE in life, we can manage the devastating feeling better and survive it, perhaps, quicker. Never under estimate the potential of growth from each "fall". With the knowledge that this low point in your life will pass eventually, be loving and kind to yourself and others while you experience it.

One day, you will be able to connect all the dots.
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April 19, 2009

Mindful of our Intentions

This past week, I was given an exercise as homework by my meditation instructor. The theme for the class is intention and the assignment was to be aware of our every intention every moment of the day (mindfulness). In other words, I had to constantly ask these two questions: What is it that I want? What is it that I want to stop?

I performed this exercise on the train ride home and it gave me a headache after 1 minute because the list, I realized, was infinite. The conversation in my head sounded something like this: I want the a/c on the train to stop, I don't want the class to end so late, I want the people on this train to get off, I want that lady's handbag, I want to eat, I don't want to gain weight, I want to get home faster, I want to get off this train, I want that man to stop playing his iPod so loud, I want a child, I don't want a dog, I don't want this music on my iPod anymore, I want more music on my iPod, I want to be happy, I don't want to feel angry at my ex boyfriend anymore, I want....... (and it went on non-stop - all within a span of a minute) Have you ever paid attention to your intentions? Try the exercise yourself.

There will always be something to want or not want....something to want to grab onto (cling) and something to push away (aversion). This is the nature of our mind and is never-ending.

This exercise was a way to sensitize ourselves to our intentions. So when I had an urge to write an email to an ex-boyfriend sharing how I am so excited about expanding my business, I asked myself what is my real intention here because my ex and I are not on speaking terms. Why, all of a sudden, do I want to send him this email? Finally, I realized that my real intention was to make him proud of me. Then I realized that I do this with every ex-boyfriend after the breakup. I communicate with them only to share milestones reached. While I don't want to get back together, I just wanted them to be proud of me.

This made me remember how my parents never said they were proud of me when I was young. I don't know if there is an equivalent to this phrase or sentiment in Burmese language/culture. When my parents finally said it to me in college (and in it happened to be in English), it struck something in me and I'll never forget it.

Now, there's two things I want to say about this.

1) How interesting that majority of the time, we just do things or say things without even being clear of what our intentions are! We just DO things. We just SAY things. Only to later regret it sometimes. Meditation is an exercise to shut down our autopilot and to start becoming more MINDFUL. The fact is that there is a negative impact on others as well as ourselves when we do or say things without being mindful.

2) I was looking for something in return when I completed this action. I was hoping for him to reply back saying how great it was and that he was proud of me. To put it another way, I was banking my happiness on him. When we think that our happiness comes from another person or something outside of us, we are destined for unhappiness. Because we have no control over another person or anything else outside of us. We only have control over our mind.

Consider your intentions before saying something to a co-worker. Pause before you text a friend and ask yourself, what is my intention behind this message. Just notice your intentions with every move and start becoming aware of your mind's habits.

*Meditation classes are available at the NY Insight Meditation Center in Manhattan.
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March 10, 2009

A Crossing

...and life continues to open up for me...

I was born into a devout buddhist family in Rangoon, Burma. Buddha was my first teacher. Before I could speak, my parents taught me how to bow three times and show respect to the Buddha. Throughout my youth and teenage years, I remained a faithful follower to Buddha's wisdom and dhamma. Since the passing of a boyfriend three years ago, I have since opened up my spiritual outlook to what many now call "New Age" spirituality. This became a platform for me to realize the truth about life. I learned the significance of love and the simplicity of life. To live is to love. To experience love is to live.

Although I still practice buddhist meditation and believe in buddha's wisdom, in recent months, I have felt the urge to attend a christian church service. The reactions of both my buddhist friends and my christian friends have been interesting. =)

I sometimes get the sense that my buddhist friends are scared I might convert and my christian friends are happy at the thought that I might be "saved". All of this makes me chuckle a bit, I can't lie. I think it's so silly for both sides to feel the way they do and here is why...

There's only one god, one love, one man, one life -- regardless of whether we look through the filter of a church stained glass window or through the leaves from underneath the bodhi tree*.

Love is love, right? There's no two ways to slice it. There's only one mankind - one humanity. And we all live and share this one life. Yes? Similarly, I believe there's only one God.

Human ego can divide mankind as much it wants with numerous religions/sects, etc. but the ultimate truth is we all came from one source and we will all go back to the same source when we pass away from this life. Truth is truth regardless of label. Love is the path to get to this truth.

So my hope is that my friends will not put too much significance into the particular spiritual path I choose but rather be happy that I am journeying forward with open mind. After all, they are all just different paths to get to the same place. In the meantime, I will still keep up my buddhist altar, listen to my
angel therapy and Hay House radio, try to live the way Buddha taught us to live (free from suffering) and still attend church.

Embrace Only Love.

*Buddha reached enlightenment while meditating underneath the Bodhi Tree in India.
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February 24, 2009

One Humanity, One God, One Life Experience

Sharing my journey into myself and my journey to embrace only love over the past four months has been a nerve racking experience at times. Two postings in particular had my heart beating in my throat as I cut and paste the link onto facebook to share the blog with my network of friends. But I push aside my ego -- afraid of looking bad or weak -- and I post my blog anyway in hopes of (1) a breakthrough for myself as I push through the uncomfortableness of un-peeling my layers of issues and (2) providing some guidance to readers that may be going through a similar life situation. In my sharing, I have received a good amount of positive feedback saying how my posting was meaningful to them and how they can relate. This makes me happy so I share this fact with a friend. Interestingly enough, my friend was surprised that so many people were able to relate to my writing.

My response was that there is one God, one humanity and one experience called Life.

In this shared experience called Life, we all want to be loved and want to love. Everyone is afraid of being hurt at some point. We all know what it's like to be scared of being alone. All human beings are victims to the ego and at some point have taken actions that have hurt someone else, knowingly or not knowingly. No one is immune from these experiences. The degree to which we experience them depends on how conscious of our spirit (who we really are) in relation to our ego (layers of issues that we have allowed to latch on to us). But these are all universal issues dealt with by all humans at some point in their lives.

Which brings me to another point, as human beings, we need to start seeing what connect us rather than what divides us. Because in truth, we are all the same. Some might say we are all children of God. Others might say we are all made up of the same atoms and molecules. Regardless of how you want to look at it, we are all connected and nothing can divide us -- no matter how many religions or how much racism man creates.

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February 23, 2009

Honesty as a step towards freedom

I finally see me for me.

Recently, I've come to realize that my jealousy and abandonment issues are rooted in insecurity. Many of you might think "duh -"....after all, logically and objectively, it makes perfect sense. But I had turned a blind eye to it when it came to me. For so many years, I blamed others for activating my jealousy and abandonment issues. I would expect others to be sensitive to my past and recurring emotional hurdles. The finger was always pointed outward and I never allowed myself to look at the issues as mine and only mine.

There's a big reason for why I never looked further inside of myself. For as long as I can remember, I have painted a picture of myself as this independent, strong, powerful survivor. This new revelation of deep seated insecurities completely shatter my self-image. My ego was certainly hurt. How can I be weak with insecurities? But in order move beyond my issues, I had to be completely honest with myself -- I had to acknowledge that I am insecure. There, I said it. I am ridiculously insecure in some situations. Sometimes even "scared to death" because of these insecurities. It's not an emotional place I ever want to be in. My thoughts, feelings and actions when I am in an insecure mood are never good and no one around me is better for it.

While I am not a therapist, I do know that acknowledging a problem is the first step. When you are completely honest with yourself about your fears and come to identify the pattern of actions that you take because of those fears, you may start to distinguish the moment in which your fear is about to become activated. In other words, you can train yourself to raise a red flag when you feel like your fears and insecurities are taking over the driver's seat. When the red flag goes up, take a deep deep breath. Become present in the moment, in the Now. Acknowledge the fear (don't resist it). Give yourself a hug in your mind. Then think, speak and act out of love and put fear back in the passenger seat.
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February 18, 2009

Take charge of your life: Put your fears in the backseat

Has it become a challenge for you to stay happy?

During the times that I am unhappy, I find it is because I am thinking too far ahead into the future which causes me to worry or feel anxious. This mental state focuses on the things or situations that I lack today. Living in the future amplifies the scarcity in my life which, of course, makes me sad. I want something other than what I have right now.

In some other cases, I find that I am unhappy or even miserable when I base my decisions on my fears. Insecurity and fear of being hurt can be powerful at times when it is not checked. Like most of you, my heart has been broken before. So when a new love enters my life, old memories of losing a love comes back quick. I have pushed people away and out of my life in the past in an attempt to protect myself. But in doing so, I shut the door to any possible happiness and fulfillment from being experienced. I say I want love but I'm too scared to let it in.

Is this familiar? Can you relate to this? -- Now let's take a look at what it takes to be happy.

Looking through my past, I find that during the happiest moments of my life, I was loving others and basing all my actions out of that love. My heart is open to giving and receiving love. There were no reservations or worries or what-ifs. There wasn't any long term planning involved. No guards are up to protect me from the unknown. Just a freedom to be my true self in the moment. These are the most fulfilling times.

For many people, fears or insecurities have become an autopilot mode effectively running our lives. When we sense that there is any risk of being hurt, without a second thought (subconsciously at times) we shut the doors to our hearts.

With time and complete honesty to yourself, you can learn to identify thoughts and actions based in your fears. The key is to catch yourself before you complete those fear based actions. Catch yourself, pause and breathe and let go of all fearful thoughts. This is not to say that the fears will dissappear all together. They do come back and each time they come up into your thoughts, practice letting it go again...and again.

You have the power to choose to live in fear or to live life.
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January 20, 2009

Choosing a life you love and live it powerfully

This morning there was a situation that occurred where I had 3 emotions successively within a span of 1 minute! Yes, in a short minute, I felt panic first and then hurt which moved me right into anger. These particular reactionary emotions came up immediately because that is how I’ve felt in the past when similar situations were experienced. I mistakenly believed that this morning was a repeat of the past. After taking a breath and a step back away from my reactionary emotions, I consciously chose to think with reason and an objective perspective rather than allow my past life experiences to dictate my experience of today (see past blog post “Puppet to the past”). By exercising my ability to CHOOSE how I feel and to turn off my autopilot (ego), I was able to enjoy the rest of my morning instead of sulking and being upset for no good reason.

The amazing and beautiful thing about human beings is that we have the ability to choose. Let’s talk a little about the “Secret” again (website link) – it tells us that the law of attraction takes its cue from us. When we think positive thoughts or foster positive emotions, life will manifest situations or things that are similar in energy to our positive thoughts and feelings. If negative thoughts are housed in our minds or negative emotions held in our hearts, we can expect negative realities to exist in our lives that will cause us suffering. In other words, the law of attraction says life shall provide us with that which we choose through thought /belief and speech.

Now, I understand that we all have trouble staying positive all of the time. Day to day, we usually feel a full range of emotions, sometimes including disappointment, anger, frustration and insecurity among others. These are ‘reactionary emotions’ rather than emotions by choice. None of us would ever choose to feel angry or insecure consciously. These reactionary emotions that make us feel bad and yucky are usually based in ego because our idea of who we really are is in question. For example, you may consider yourself very intelligent but when another person raises a question about the factual basis of your comment (whether innocently without ego or intentionally with ego to prove you wrong); you will become defensive because your idea of self (ego) is under attack.

Given this rollercoaster of emotions day to day, the challenge becomes balancing our thoughts by continually and consciously thinking positively. Put a positive spin on things and don’t get “hooked” on the bad aspects of the situation. So to apply this to the above scenario, I would say that instead of taking it personally (you versus me = ego) you can choose to be neutral to the situation and state the fact from your earlier statement or be open minded to the possibility that you might be wrong. View this as an opportunity to either educate the other person or become educated yourself. This is the positive perspective you want to hold in this situation rather than making it a battle where you have to blindly defend who you think you are.

Once you get “hooked” on the negative side, it will be a downward spiral from there and you will live with suffering. By consciously CHOOSING to put a positive spin on life situations, you eradicate the ego and the reactionary emotions that can come with it. With this choosing to be happy, your energy level stays high and the law of attraction will provide you with new life situations that match that energy. Know that you always have a choice. Choose to let the bad and ego and embrace only love!

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January 16, 2009

The Payoff and Cost of the Ego

I've been wanting to write about my experiences with my ego but it's taken me a long while because I was afraid it would make me look bad/wrong -- which is complete protection of the ego. Obviously I am not perfect, only human. As I share thoughts on embracing only love, I myself have a hard time every now and again in practicing it.

Reading Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth" has helped me to identify the less distinguishable traits of my own ego. I have come to see how a lot of my day to day language is rooted in this. For example, I may share a story with someone about how a friend was wrong in her thinking or speaking last week. Sharing the facts of what happened is legitimate but to retell the story over and over again, emphasizing that my friend was wrong is ego because it silently makes me look and feel very right. Notice that there is a payoff for me and a cost to the friend that I am talking about.

It can certainly be ugly when you really look at the true intention behind your speech and actions.

While the following may make me look really bad (and hurt my ego -- my sense of who I am), I will share this with you because calling myself out may help me stop doing it. But it's also one way to eradicate the ego since I am consciously choosing to set it aside to communicate the truth and in so doing, help you see if any of this applies to you. There is a statement that I often blurt out and that is "white people are retarded". I have this stereotype that most (not all) white people are ignorant and not cultured so when a person says something or does something to prove my stereotype correct, it is my excuse to blurt out my favorite statement. This one statement made by my ego makes me look and feel better/smarter/more cultured than my white counterparts. It places me on a pedestal making my ego stronger while diminishing the people that I am talking about. A big payoff to me and at a cost to others.

The important fact to consider here is that the payoff to us is fleeting and the cost to others can be quite damaging in some cases. The fleeting nature of the payoff is the reason why we repeat our behavior -- so that our ego feels strong and gets bigger.

If you are upset by my statement of "white people are retarded" and cannot get past it to see my point about ego, then you are stuck in ego yourself. Think about it...

Ego prevents us from being objective. Ego makes it all about you versus me. This position does not allow us to receive and give love freely.

Embrace Only Love
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