Living Simply

A simple idea in itself.
Keeping life simple in all aspects.
At least that should be the first step before you move on to more complicated things.

Like when you are young, you instinctly learn all the basic abilities for everyday life until death.
Like when you want to learn martial arts, dancing, or fencing, you want to drill the footwork into your body.
Like when you get your financial situation under control, you start by looking at your income and expense.
Like when you want to get healthy, you start by looking at what you feed and how you are using your body.
Like when you solve any problem, you want to find the one fundamental aspect of yourself that is the root of the problem in order to stay focus.

Yet, humans often overlook these simple things before moving on to complicated ones.
It’s like running without first learning how to walk.
People want the result in one quick step.
Shortcuts usually lead to more troubles.
That is what create majority of turmoils in our lives.

Oh simple things…

Originally posted 2008-10-07 00:09:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Temet Nosce — We cannot change anything unless we accept it — from Carl Jung lecture

Why “know thyself”? How do we handle ourselves and others and relationships in between properly? Why acceptance, of both good and evil? How to be compassionate? Why words are so futile? Why pretense never works? Why gives a shit? Even the question, how do we “save the world”?

In this world that is yet dictated by 19th centry Newtonian mechanics and Freudian psychological concept of libido (and thus the suppression of it), this powerful and refreshing Carl Jung excerpt provides hints that originated from a lecture a group of clergy .

Note: not answers.

Something to think about before launching a war (with drugs and psycho-analysis) against your own “libido” or some “wild unconsciousness”.
Something to think about before calling a fight against something “evil” out there from some “moral high ground”.
Something to think about before trying to save the world.


“People forget that even doctors have moral scruples and that certain patients’ confessions are hard even for a doctor to swallow. Yet the patient does not feel himself accepted unless the very worst in him is accepted too. No one can bring this about by mere words, it comes only through reflexion and through the doctors attitude towards himself and his own dark side.

If the doctor wants to guide another or even accompany him a step of the way, he must feel with that person’s psyche. He never feels it when he passes judgment. wether he puts his judgment into words or keeps them to himself makes not the slightest difference. To take the opposite position and to agree with the patient off-hand is also of no use, but estranges him as much as condemnation. This feeling comes only through unprejudiced objectivity.

This sounds almost like a scientific precept and it could be confused with a purely intellectual abstract attitude of mind, but what I mean is something quite different.

It is a human quality, a kind of deep respect for the facts, for the man who suffers from them, and for the riddle of such a man’s life. The truly religious person has this attitude: he knows that god has brought all sorts of strange and inconceivable things to pass and seeks in the most curious of ways to enter a mans heart. He therefore senses in everything the unseen presence of the divine will. This is what I mean by unprejudiced objectivity, it is a moral achievement on the part of the doctor, who ought not to be repelled by sickness and corruption.

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses and I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow sufferer. I do not in the least mean to say that we must never pass judgment when we desire to help and improve, but if the doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is, and he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is.

Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are always the most difficult.

In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple, and so acceptance of one’s self is the essence of the moral problem and the acid test of one’s whole outlook on life. That I feed the beggar, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ; all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ.

But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all beggars, the most imputed of all offenders, yay that the very fiend himself, that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of my own kindness, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved, what then?

Then, as a rule, the whole truth of Christianity is reversed. there is then no more talk of love and long-suffering. We say to the brother within us: “raka!” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide him from the world, we deny ever having met this least of the lowly in ourselves, and had it been God himself who drew near to us in this despicable form, we should have denied him a thousand times before a single cock had crowed.”

Originally posted 2010-03-24 22:38:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Greatness implies Loneliness

People are always coming and going in and out of life. This happens especially if we choose to strive for change and self-improvement.

Our perception and ideals would continue to change, and the people we use to hang out with no longer share the same feelings. In worse scenario, they could become incapable of understanding and communicating with our newer character, changed perspective. Additionally, when our behaviors change, others will distance themselves from us as they reject us for being “different”. They may also envy us, wish us bad luck, try to deter us, as we strive for success… unfortunately. Of course we wish for them to come along together, but we all walk a different path in life. That is something must be accepted in life.

People fear difference. Sometimes people limit themselves because they are afraid to be different.

Consequently, it gets lonelier the more we change and try to overcome ourselves, as we consistently shed the self that was yesterday’s. Thus, the dilemma for each of us…

In the face of loneliness, how do I respond?
Can I maintain myself with confidence?
Or will I choose conformity out of fear?
Can I presevere, knowing it will only get more difficult, more lonely?
Or will I take the easy way out instead (by conforming)?
And worst case, will I be okay with the fact that no one in the world can understand me?

Let me share this quote:

Anybody can be famous
Fame is cheap
Fame is easy
Fame is fleeting,
Try achieving greatness.

Greatness is hard
Greatness is lonely
Greatness is work
Greatness is humbling
Greatness is a responsibility and greatness lasts forever,
you don’t want greatness do you?

Therefore, greatness requires determination and perseverance. Striving for greatness is a true test of ourselves, and that’s why we need to know who ourselves really are and what we want.

Also therefore, greatness is only achieved by only so few in this history of man. I ask myself, would it be possible for the entire mankind to reach greatness? I do no know. It does not seem so from the way things are, but if only we can, then greatness may not be so lonely.

For those of us who choose greatness, we can safely assume the individuals who stay with us by our side on this path will be the greatest companions we will ever encounter in life. Encounter with these individuals are truly invaluable, so we shall know and cherish these individuals.

Originally posted 2010-11-02 21:52:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Zen Meditation, is Not Really About Meditation

A long time ago, I wrote the post The Agenda Mentality.

Well, meditation is directly related to that. Because…

True meditation means for a person to arrive at a “no-agenda state.” So really, the goal of meditation is not meditation.

And yes, you heard me right.

Meditation is unlike anything else that we normally do everyday and all that we are taught to do. That is, almost everything we learn and do follows the mental state that can be sum up as “getting from one place to the next.”

Bu to meditate is to be completely here and now. There is no where else to go.

To be completely here and now is to realize and simply be your whole being. And that involves your body, your mind, sensation from 5 senses, your surrounding, and ultimately, everything — inside and outside of you. Your perception is wide open and accepting of whatever your senses tell you.

This is the state of being, which we are all capable of. Meditation is simply a mean for us to practice it and eventually, be in such state of being without trying – doing without doing.

To fully immerse in the experience of meditation, you cannot be doing something specifically. If you try to arrive at “using all your senses,” you have obstructed your ability to do so.

So in a way, we could qualify meditation as a practice of doing nothing. And to do nothing, it is helpful to first be able to observe and re-discover that you are doing something.

Therefore, we are provided with guidelines and steps to meditate. But keep in mind, to meditate is not to meditate, that is, to follow steps and guidelines.

The easiest way to meditate, at first, is by sitting because in sitting, you are at least not doing something physically. Something called “Za-zen.”

It will take many of us a period of time to relearn the ability to simply sit still.

So after that, we move on to the mental part. It is irrefutable that modern people are addicted to thoughts. We find our logical minds so useful that we cannot stop using it. Therefore, we are to sit and simply observe our thoughts.

And we do not try to stop thinking in meditation. If we think, we let it happen and simply notice what we are thinking. Eventually it will go away. If we try to stop thinking, we just end up thinking about trying to stop thinking which is another thought.

Beyond the mental part, we have the body. While we can watch our thoughts, we can also watch our body. We can observe all the sensations at the various parts of body. Feel where the tension is. Simply to the instruction about dealing with thoughts, we do not try to relax because trying to relax is itself an effort that causes tension. Simply pay attention.

After awhile, we will notice the intermingling relationship between our mind and body. When we think different kinds of thoughts, we cause different kinds of sensations/tension in our body. So we pay attention to both, which including the reception of our 5 senses and our surrounding is all a part of “the whole experience.”

Of course there are other techniques involved, such as lots of breathing exercises, but that is an whole other topic. One tip is for us to re-learn belly breathing (aka deep breathing) and then we can learn to focus on breathing to help practicing meditation.

Because there is one tip that is very useful, is that it is impossible for us to pay fully attention to our breathing and to be thinking at the same time.

To re-iterate, meditation is about none of the particulars described about meditation. Just that if it must be said, it is a practice of a state of being.

Learning to be here and now.

Not “another thing to do to achieve peace”. Or… well, just forget that goal-setting mindset.

And you start by rediscovering your innate awareness and letting it be free — by paying attention. Pay attention to your mind. Pay attention to your body. Pay attention to your surroundings. Pay attention to things you cannot see. Pay attention to everything.

Thus the story of a master telling a student what’s the secret of practice of zen (meditation) is “Attention, attention, attention.”

Originally posted 2013-01-08 00:45:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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