Friday, October 31, 2014

What Should We Strive For?

What do we want to accomplish as spiritual travelers? Sure, we want to experience God, but there is probably little we can do about besides meditating regularly and cutting interferences out to the best of our abilities. 

Should we strive for manifesting everything our heart desires the way the Law of Attraction folks encourage us to? Well, we can try to but having everything our heart desires is unlikely to make us happy either. We cannot visualize the missing God connection; we don't know what peace truly is and are thus unable to manifest it.

What we can do instead is to live life as a Tao master; that is, welcoming life moment by moment. Like an artist we can discover divinity in everything life presents to us. Like a mother we can recognize love wherever we are. God is next to us every step of the Way; all we have to strive for is to be open to the next moment and we can see Her.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Embracing What Is

As I was browsing news stories in the Spiritual Networks the other day, I discovered a link to an interview with Eckhart Tolle. He read the insights of an author I hadn't heard of before and mentioned that he had moved up to number 32 on the world's spiritual bestseller list. Eckart Tolle's conversation partner responded, "well, you are also up there". To that Eckhart Tolle replied, "Yes, I was number 1 last year and am now number 2." The other author laughed and asked, "Well, how does that make you feel?" Eckart Tolle replied, "awful", with a face that backed up his statement. The audience was laughing. Some perhaps thought he was joking, but I felt that he was actually quite honest at that moment.

The ego will always wrap us up, independent of whether we are considered enlightened or not. "Enlightenment" is not a status that we can somehow acquire. "Enlightenment" is an insight, an understanding that we have just stepped outside of our ego blanket at that blessed moment. Merge with what is and find perfection in your conjectured imperfection. Every step along the Way - every triumph, every awkward moment, every feeling of bliss - is a jumping board to reach the holy Now. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pain and Life

Before we walked on the Tao, our life was full of pain and chaos. Like others before us - Buddha comes to mind - you could as well say that pain launched our path. We started our journey as we conjectured, "there must be another way!"

As we started walking the Way, we found the root cause of our pain and managed to unload psychological baggage and uninstalled harmful subconscious programs. As we progressed, our being was suddenly full of light, joy and love!  We enjoyed this state so much that we grew attached to it and minded whenever it was taken away. Secretly, our ego was flourishing in the background just as it had done before. We secretly thought we were "it" just because we experienced the bliss!  

As we continued our journey we discovered our natural wiring of going after pleasure, joy and happiness. Just as moths are attracted to the fire, the bees to honey and male dogs to the bitch in heat. The pull is there and perhaps always will be, but we suddenly realized how our attachment creates suffering and limits and how we end up using happiness as a trophy. After this insight we managed to step outside of this identification. 

We also realized that there is some pain which is out of our control even as we let go as best as we can. Just like we cannot control the changing season on this earth, pain will always be part of our life.  Misfortunes are nothing to be ashamed of.  We finally can hang out with all seasons; some we face with a coat and others in a swim suit. We face all seasons with ease and without judgment.

When our dear ones struggle, we can't help feeling the same pain; when some disaster happens, we cry with you. And when life brings us challenges, we experience the same restlessness and anxiety as you do. However, this time we take in this pain consciously. We just stand there, face what is and let it pass just as a thunder storm.
Open up to life together with us.  We are here to experience life with awareness just as is. May life - pleasure as well as pain - flow through us!

By Christian and Su Zhen

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Live Your Life

Walking a spiritual path encourages us to lead an authentic life true to our heart.  We can force ourselves to lead a life like Buddha or Christ but then we may also discover that something is dying inside. Our soul will be crying out if we don't express our personal uniqueness. Spiritual traveler or not, we need to follow our heart’s lead without fear.

This permission to lead an authentic life true to our heart allows our soul to experience an earthly life and get some remaining homeworks done. This is how souls evolve and how we transcend to the next spiritual level. We are not here to experience only a happy and pleasing life; we are here to experience the ups and downs, the joys and frustrations, while our soul fulfills its mission.

When we allow ourselves to experience the life our heart desires without judgment and without fear, we can feel our soul is singing, satisfied and ready to move on when the cycle is finished. These are subconscious programs running in the background, just let them happen without standing in the way. See that when you truly open to everything that is, you will in fact live your dream life. This is the promise of the Tao.

Be open to follow your heart and dreams even if your mind needs a little convincing at times. Thus far you have followed the ideals of your parent, friends and society; it is time to step out of their expectations and develop your own. Our soul can only be content when we live an authentic life true to our Self. The path of the Tao always leads to holiness. It is just that to acquire wholeness you need to be bumping against a few boundaries. It is process to get there, but getting there you will.

Open up to life and you will live a saintly existence. Wholeness and holiness merge into one. You don't have to struggle, don't have to let go of what is truly meaningful to you. Create the life you desire, care for others and connect with people you love. Success and saintliness meet in the holy Now as well. You are ready to bear the fruits. Experience how the whole universe is supporting you when you support your Self.

By Christian and Su Zhen 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Emotions: The Missing Link

Shatter every window 'til it's blown away.
'Til there's nothing left standing,
nothing left of yesterday.
Every tear-soaked whisked memory
blown away. Blown away!
(Carrie Underwood, Blown Away)

Buddha once stated the perhaps obvious, "The good deeds, do them, the bad, avoid them!" Righteous living is demanded by all faiths. Lord Krishna tells Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita that "he should lift up the self by the Self, and not sink into the selfish; for the self is the only friend of the Self, and its only foe." And then, of course, there was Jesus who simply stated "Get thee behind me satan!" when he was tempted to play with supernatural powers in his 40 days desert stay.

We spiritual travelers mostly know what to do because it is somehow obvious. Sure, sometimes we have to do what seems not so kosher at the first because the Way lets us know that nothing is quite as easy as it seems. But eventually we all travel the same holy pathway and meet at the same beautiful location. No, the true challenge of returning Home is the process of letting go emotionally. Stuff that has been swept under the carpet for decades, perhaps for even for lifetimes. Stuff that we projected or repressed. Fears that we are finally willing to confront, anger we are willing to admit to ourselves; guilt we release and temptations we are willing to face. It is an emotional process and no guru can help us with that personal and painful journey. We have to get it out of the system all by ourselves. 

When all the stuff comes to the surface it really hurts; it really blinds you and it tempts you to do stuff that you know is not right. When you reach this point you at least have to let the steam out. The trick is not to accumulate new karma in your interactions with others, but as far as the stuff below the surface is concerned, you have to let it come to the surface, ugly as it is. Find ways to let go. Make faces, scream, cry, do kick-boxing; allow some little dark symbols in your life from time to time. The tortured girl in Carrie's song unfortunately seems to have reached the end of a road; she believes that there is "not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins away". Yes there is! There is always a way to let go. Just allow your emotions to flow and everything will work out in time.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Serve Others, Serve Your Self

Most of us will probably be introduced to some spiritual teachers the Tao has brought our way. They are loving, they are wise, and caring. And while we diligently follow their teaching in the beginning, there is always a point when we break away. Like a child who grows up, our soul strives for the freedom of self-expression. We break away from our gurus even though they demonstrate unconditional love, they teach us their wisdom and give us the courage to strive for the highest goal, being reunited with God. Breaking away is part of the Way too.

As we keep walking the Tao, life becomes our new teacher. We learn to open up to life and learn from Her. We learn to open ourselves up to events, energy, and people. In this process, we discover our own wisdom, light, and love. As we keep opening ourselves up, we are expanding just as we are returning Home. Slowly, we become good at what we do. Life simply flows through us.

The final stage of our journey is when we become someone else’s inspiration. There is actually no hierarchy in this interaction other than in the eye of the new follower. We learn as much from our interactions as they do, but all they can see is our caring, wisdom and courage, just as we saw these qualities in our gurus before. What they see is a projection of what they want to see, but as they mature spiritually they will see that we are the same giants as they are.

Idols don't exist but in people's minds. Serving does exist because God's Kingdom is build on the foundation of care, creativity and connections. You are on your journey Home when you discover that serving others means connecting with your Self. How easy it is to be friend with a guru or a professor. But can we step us down in the hierarchy and be friends with the poor, the uneducated, or the homeless?  Can we be friends with a criminal? Can we sit beside by a grumpy old man?

Please don’t judge or force yourself to do anything in the name of spirituality. Just follow the longings of your heart and soul and life will lead you Home. God's Golden Rule is not something you need to go by, it is something to discover. Only when you live it will you truly advance spiritually. Actually, you have no choice anyway.  Just be mindful and the Tao will make the choices for you!

By Christian and Su Zhen

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Greatest Story Ever Retold in the Boardroom

I was sitting in a conference room with some colleagues the other day participating in a video conference with a remote location that was exceedingly boring. I saw people shifting in their chairs, making faces, rolling their eyes and I thought to myself, there must be a more creative way to spend this hour. So I looked around and studied the seating order of the 8 people who were in the room. Believe it or not, the Law of Attraction always lines up people who have some connection. So I thought for a moment what the two colleagues in the front had in common and I concluded that they were both intellectuals. Then I had a look at the two women facing each other and I scribbled down female power. The couple sitting next to them was a little harder to figure out, but in the end I wrote down "European" and "nice". I left myself and the colleague I was sitting next to out and decided to ask someone else instead about what we had in common. So here is what I got up to this point:

                                                 i
                                                fp
                                                en

When I looked at it, I rearranged the order to "fpeni" and thought to myself - perhaps inspired by the fact that I had just written a note about Adam and Eve - "wow, it isn't this amazing, you take away the "f" in the beginning and you add an s at the end and you are left with the phallus. Symbolically, by adding the "s" for snake you have to take away the "f" for freedom. As we fall in love with our creative force we lose a degree of freedom. In the beginning, that is before the snake came on the stage, we had "fin pe". Fin is French for completion while p and e stand in my vocabulary for peace and enlightenment. In the beginning there was peace and there as knowledge; a state that we can unfortunately only aspire as long as the snake is doing its creation.

Wow, the greatest story ever retold right here in the board room with the help of a little creative alphabet soup! Later I bumped into a colleague who attended this meeting and remarked how engaged I was in this boring meeting. I replied, "Oh, I actually was working on something else." But then I asked her what she thought I and the colleague I was sitting next to had in common and she said, "You are both mellow and hard working." Yes, that made sense to me but by then my story was already written. So I leave it up to discover a new story with the addition of m and h :)