Tuesday, March 3, 2015

There is a Time

There is a time to have a Conversation with God,
and there is a time to have an erection.
There is a time to love your neighbor as yourself, 
and a time to be envious.
There is a time to create, and a time to let go;
a time to love and a time to lust.

There is a time to be happy, and a time to be depressed.
There is a time to feel rich and a time to feel poor.
There is a time to succeed, and a time to fail;
a time to be born, and a time to die.

No one expects you to act on your greed, lust, envy or anger if you experience these emotions unless - of course - you feel that this too is part of the Way. However, acknowledge you must whatever feeling pops up; let go of all judgements too; if an event or a feeling comes your way, honor it as a present hand-delivered just for you. The Way always knows what it is good for. Let it come, embrace it and let it pass or act on it.

If you truly want to live in harmony with God, drop all expectations of being holy all the time. Lust, envy, anger and greed are also part of God's virtual reality show. We certainly don't want you to get lost in Maya's play, but you have to be a knowledgable bystander. When you ignore the shadows the light casts on a bright day, expect a few monsters to pop out of the closet at mid-night. That is the yin and yang of life at work.

This note may sound a bit fatalistic but that perception changes once you see that every event and feeling prepares you perfectly for the next act in God's divine play. Suffer a loss and you are more receptive when it truly matters next time around; struggle with your health and you may soon hit the gym and eat better. Embrace the holy Now and know that you are propelled on the fastest journey Home. Like in every good roller coaster ride, have the nerves, tolerate the fears and enjoy the screams and exhilaration in life's ups and downs. There is a time for everything and this moment has been chosen especially for you.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Easy as a Sunday Morning

Why in the world would anybody put chains on me?

I've paid my dues to make it.

Everbody wants me to be
what they want me to be;
I'm not happy when I try to fake it! No!

Ooh, that's why I'm easy.

I'm easy like Sunday morning.

That's why I'm easy,

I'm easy like Sunday morning

A few years ago when our boys were taking their Sunday morning Hindu school lessons, Lionel Richie's Easy would always magically pop up on the radio. I was on my way to the coffee shop, the sun was shining and I was thinking about what book to read or what note to write. But then, I remember one day sending it to my co-author Su Zhen to share this incredible feeling and to my surprise she responded, why should I care for this song - he is just dumping his girlfriend! Only then did I actually listen to the lyrics and realized it wasn't quite as easy flowing as the melody:

Know it sounds funny
but I just can't stand the pain.
Girl I'm leaving you tomorrow
Seems to me girl
you know I've done all I can;
You see I begged, stole
and I borrowed.

Ooh, that's why I'm easy.
I'm easy like Sunday morning.
That's why I'm easy,
I'm easy like Sunday morning

But in the end even that is fine. We are all on a subconscious journey towards a particular destination on the horizon. Along it we feel highs and lows; sometimes we get lost in our fears and sometimes we feel secure and protected. All that is part of the Way. Get away from the notion of right and wrong, and get a feel instead for who you are and who you aren't. When you let go of what you are not, this too can be an incredibly liberating experience. Enjoy these moments when you finally realize that your journey is just as it is supposed to be.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Way of the Spiral

I can accept failure;
everyone fails at something.
But I can't accept not trying again.
(Michael Jordan)

How do we break a bad habit? Well, we can't! If we did today, it would be implying that we didn't do our best before. We always do our best!

What we can do though, we can change our perspective. We also can have insights why the bad habit is there in the first place. It turns out that the deepest insights always come when we stumble. Because only then do we open up to a new perspective. Never condemn the past; mistake or not, it too served an important purpose.

When you are on a spiritual path the spiral takes you Home. This Force is way too potent to stand up to and will naturally induce you to change course. There always is a way to adjust; you just have to find the Way.

Along the spiral there is back and forth; there is struggle, but the destination is pre-determined. The question is only how many iterations it will take to get you Home. Will-power is an overrated concept in my opinion, but Michael Jordan's advice is not: just clean up the broken China on the floor and try again. 

What other choice do you have anyway?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Embracing Life as Is

Nothing is either good or bad, only thinking makes it so. (William Shakespeare)

I used to think that there should be no stress, no pain, no fear, and no anxiety in life. Today I realize how this notion of life, as fun as it appears to be, is limiting as well. I don’t like to feel pain and stress in my life so I had many helpers, nannies and tutors to assist me with most of my responsibilities. But then life reminded me that I can't simply outsource everything. I do that at times, I run away from difficulties. Many of us don't like chaos, we hate insecurities and want to have a solutions for every problem. However, as a spiritual traveler I discovered that this pattern of escaping holds me back from experiencing the Way.  Instead of expanding, as life does constantly, I instead chose to live in a little bubble. Luckily, this observation set me free. 

What is life?  Do you think that other people’s life is better or worse than yours? No one knows how the fellow next door experiences his life, only God does. I wonder if despite all our differences we essentially experience life quite similarly. We all ride the emotional roller coaster, experience life's up and downs, thrills and disappointments. Yet, all of us have the chance to step out of the subconscious journey by totally engaging with it. Embrace life, face your fears, stand up to your anxieties, work hard at times and experience everything life has to offer. Just as we promise our spouse, we make a commitment in the good times as well as the bad. 

The spiritual master doesn't have to do a thing, life does everything for you. But you can only reach this level if you are bold enough to drop your agenda completely, get naked in front of your adversaries and just take life in as is. Let the feelings and emotions pass like the wind, experience thoughts and actions rise and fall without being attached to them. Become Her instrument with every breath you breathe and every step you take. The master takes it all in and lets life redistribute the resulting energy. The dreamer experience life with illusions and an agenda, welcomes the thrills and rejects the so-called bad stuff, creating only more self-imposed pain in the process.

Experience life as is.  Life is in fact like a banquet. But you shouldn't be shy to become at times the chef and occasionally a waiter. We cannot really tell you how your life should look like but we can tell you that you have the most skilled, patient and loving teacher at your disposal, life itself! Dive in and enjoy!

By Christian and Su Zhen

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Way of the Meister

The German expression Meister literally translated means master, in the sense of a master of a craft. In the medieval times when the European cities became viable economic centers in coexistence with the feudal system, Meister was a title that you received after a prolonged apprenticeship in a craft under the guidance of an expert. I view myself as a Meister in the spiritual realm. I received my training from no particular spiritual authority. It is the Way - the Tao - that lifts you to this status. All that is required is an openness to learn, the willingness to drop your personal agenda along the Way and an awareness of a Power that is always near you, welcoming you with open arms and guiding you.

My spiritual journey must have started in earnest five to seven years ago, and I shared most of my initial impressions and conjectures in "The Magnificent Experiment - The Magic of Connecting with Your Tao". Today I still stand by everything I concluded then, though I would call this level of magic and connectivity that I experienced then as a spiritual honeymoon. Just like a successful marriage, the honeymoon gives you a glimpse of what you can and should have, but afterwards you have to work - oftentimes quite hard - to keep it. This brings me back to the expression Meister; I would be so bold to call myself Meister today. I am one of many New Agers who work diligently and happily in the background, leaving some form of spiritual imprint on their environment without being publicly known to be one. 

Some like to meet, or if they are a bit more ambitious, like to become an Ascended Master. Personally, I think this is a mistake. If you like to be with an Ascended Master you don't give yourSelf enough credit, for you are the Ascended Master. Yet, if you like to become one, knowing that you have your flaws just like - almost - everyone else you are breaking the rule of the holy Now. When you look up to an Ascended Master you project your wishes, expectations and beliefs on them. Don't! Accept yourself the way you are and embrace the holy mission you are on today. The Tao connects you with your Self every step of the Way no matter what your spiritual maturity. Be open to life, be willing to cut out all the interferences along the Way and be what you aspire to be here and now. That is the Way!

I can't tell you what exactly it entails to be a spiritual Meister, only the Way can. If you feel frustrated by all the distractions and set-backs that you are experiencing, keep on going. And if you are flying high today because the divine light shows you the Way, keep on going too. The point is that once you have found your divine calling, you have every reason to cheer. Just like a Meister, hard work will likely await you, but so will respect and ample rewards.  Some days are better than others in terms of connectedness, joy and creativity, but all along you are a Meister and are rewarded as such by the Source. A spiritual Meister has dropped all expectations and has no agenda whatsoever except for the mission of facing the life to the best of her ability here and now. Rejoice - along the Way magic happens!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Power of Love

When I was six, one day I decided to cook for my families. My mom worked all day outside.  I couldn’t stand to see that she needed to work so hard for us, so I wanted to help. Since I had been watching her cooked all the time, I knew very well how to cook.

One day, as it often was the case, she was not home when it was already dark. So I decided to cook for her. I was still very little that time.  I needed to stand on a stool to see what was going on in the pot. I washed the rice, made the fire, and cooked it. I still remember how surprised and proud she was when she came home and found out her little girl had cooked for her. 

Two years later, I took the responsibility to cook for the whole family. I still remember how I loved to help my mom by taking on this responsibility  my mom to do all these things for her to share her responsibility. However, as days went by, the every day chore of cooking wore me down.  I forgot why I was cooking and I started resenting it. 

Since then, this back and forth has become my pattern.  Out of love, I do something for someone; however, as things get tough, I become bitter and forget totally why I am doing these things.  I then refuse to do it and forget all about my loving intention in the first place. Apparently, love isn’t always easy.  Sometimes it is easy to love, sometimes it is hard.  We will come across difficulties when we love; we will reach our limitations on occasions. When we just give up, we somehow get stuck. However, as we remember again the reasons why we are doing these things, we get strength again. Our love keeps flowing again. Our love dissolves all these obstacles and limits. When we finally break through, joy and strength returns and keeps us going. 

We love so we are willing to take on all these challenges and are in a position to experience this chaos!  We are willing to stay on this difficulty road for a while longer until we find a solution. In doing so, we also learn to live our life. Our loved ones are not here to bring us difficult times.  They are here to give us the chance to learn what love is and break through our limits. Please don’t stop loving when things get difficult. Let others help you to find love.

By Su Zhen

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Suffering: A Childish Kind of Love

I couldn't shake a sad childhood image of my mother so I wanted to understand better what was going on a and I reflected back in time. An image popped up when my mother was in her thirties and I was probably 3 or 4 years old. We lived in a traditional Taiwanese style old house which was left from my mother’s late husband.  It was an old, dark, and cold house.  I remember spending endless time alone in that house, feeling incredibly lonely.

Life must have been very hard for my mother at that time. Her first husband had died unexpectedly and left her with four young children. Her in-laws bullied her all the time. She married again - my father - and gave birth to another 3 children. My father had a very short temper. Whenever pressure built up, he threw some scary tantrums.

My mother could have been depressed. However, she isn't. She is happy and optimistic most of time. I have always been amazed where she gets all this strength to deal with these tough challenges life brought her. One day I finally realized, it is the love for her children that gave her all the strength to carry on her life and this love showers her with joy.  

 My mother had mentioned many times that it is the love for us that keeps her going. However, I couldn’t really understand it until recently when my father passed away. Around that time I finally understood what it means to be sucked into a hole of sadness. However, when we experience this sadness and try to understand what is really there, we understand it is love!  We feel sad for the loss of our loved ones, and we feel sad when our loved ones are going through tough times. We secretly wish to suffer in their places. In my little and innocent heart I thought then that if I suffered in their place, our loved ones would escape their fate. How childish and misplaced this love is!

Four decades have passed; today I finally understood why my mother’s image keeps popping up in my head. It was at that time that I decided to suffer in my mother’s place! I was innocent and naive then. Only today I realize it was a futile suffering!  Not only did I not take away my mother’s suffering, on the contrary, I added more burden and worries to her!

Apparently, there are two kinds of love. One is the silly love - the compassionate suffering - that I embraced to help my mom. The other kind of love is the one that kept my mother going. True love is not only infectious but also gives us the strength to face our life.

 Do you love your parents?  Do you love your children and the people around you? What kind of love is it?  Is it uplifting or is it the suffering kind? May we all be in a position to put the suffering and sacrifice behind us and embrace true love. Love brings joy, and strength, as well as tears. We allow ourselves to cry for the suffering of our loved ones and also respect their learning and fate. May our love bring joy, light, and strength to others!
By Su Zhen