What We Seek

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Somewhere high above the Pacific Ocean towards the United States

What we seek is intuitively driven by our curiosity to understand the relationship we have with ourselves. The ancients identified this as self-knowledge.

Our immediate reaction to self-knowledge is often dismissing it as a philosophical and rhetorical exercise. Sometimes even seeing it as being counter-intuitive. After all there must be some level of self-awareness for us to function in this world.

Our confusion lies in how we approach self-awareness. It can be superficially addressed by identifying it as the basis or instinct for survival. It can be thoroughly addressed through our drive for material accumulation as a measure of success. Or it can be deeply addressed and investigated through the practice of meditation.

All our experiences inevitably contribute in some form to building our self-awareness. Sometimes we experience it through our likes and dislikes. Sometimes it is understood when our principles or beliefs are validated or challenged. Most often it is noticed during life-awakenings.

Self-awareness opens the space for us to become better individuals by becoming more agile to our experiences.  However to fully leverage this potential we must have the courage to self-reflect.

Unfortunately, in practice we mostly look at getting even with the situation rather than on actually improving our mental agility. We inevitably fall into spiritual self-neglect. A state often misunderstood as emptiness, dissatisfaction, discontent and a general sense of non-closure.

Spiritual self-neglect give rise to our feelings of animosity, envy, jealousy and aggressiveness. It fuels our over-ambitiousness and competitive-hunger to be the best-in-the-world.

Achievement is not a bad thing. It is not contrary to spirituality. But achievement without self-enquiry is like a car running on the fumes of an empty tank. Its immediacy is short-lived while leaving one perplexed and anxious at the end.

When we achieve success there is an undeniable adrenaline rush. Similarly when we achieve failure. We rarely see failures as an achievement but more as an experience.  Recognise that failures are our deeper learning moments.  It takes spiritual maturity to realise both success and failure are one.

Through self-knowledge we are able to sail through all conditions with confidence and grace.  There will be adjustments.  But with mental agility we are better placed to meet the unexpected.  Building our treasure-trove of self-knowledge comes from taking the time to self-reflect.  When the mind settles we are able to see our true-self.  We are able drop the mental clutter that often distract and prevents us from being the best-for-the-world.

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Awaken and Surrender

IMG_7855The longing and separation exists even at the Lotus Feet of the Master.

A paradox that is ever confusing to the unsuspecting seeker.

It is a self-obsessed misery fueled by feverish expectations and driven with self-reproach.

This is the hidden darkness of devotion.

From what should be an emancipating relationship it falls into the abyss of indoctrinated bondage.

The Master will do everything to obstruct your attachment to Him. He is resolved to liberating you from all things including that which is setting you free.

Yet many are blinded by their obsessed attention to His Glory. Ignorantly falling deeper into the labyrinth of an illusory sense of worthiness and unworthiness for receiving His Grace.

Awaken to the Master’s Grace! It is like a fully blossomed flower with an unconditional radiant beauty and permeating fragrance.

Awaken to the depth of longing and separation! They are there to deliver you to self-knowledge and the source of inspiration to serve.

Awaken to the paradox that lies at the Lotus Feet of the Master! Lest you be entrapped by your own fanciful imagination.

Awaken and surrender immediately freeing yourself from further attachments!

Despair not as you journey through these awakenings within the opposites. You will emerge radiantly and reveal a deeper insight into the patterns that ripple across the consciousness. The stillness will forever prevail.

Surrender to oneself and realise doubt is always fueling your tensions. Doubt can be your best companion as it drives you to discover. Yet it can also be your worst enslavement binding you to self-perpetuated misery.

Seeking is doubting your own glorious completeness.

You will be repeatedly told: the peace and clarity–that serene paradise you seek–is within you. Yet an inner compulsion will still send you seeking. All fueled by ancient impressions feverishly awaiting for their final release.

I have journeyed on many pilgrimages to be with this inner serenity. Cherishing the experience of restoring and immersing in its absolute purity. Even-though I know it is within me it is a habitual journey that will need to exhaust its route. Just like a seed’s own perpetual cycle. It is a repeated reminder played back to indulge the Mind’s insatiable desire for experience. And it will be repeatedly played until its own recording completely fades.

Be in no effort to delay nor hurry its playback. Like a symphonic suite it will have its own tempo and rhythm for every note to play.

Awaken and surrender to every moment. Especially when at the Master’s Lotus Feet.

Awaken and surrender.

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Lifetimes

Interior view of the atrium at the Horizon Club, Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Tainan, Taiwan

Interior view of the atrium at the Horizon Club, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Tainan, Taiwan

I have taken birth in regal and noble families,

As well as the ordinary and poor;

I have ruled and been ruled,

Led and been led as well;

I have conquered distant lands,

Fought and died for my beliefs;

I was punished for sharing the Truth,

And later burned for it;

I was at the forefront of sciences,

Yet died alone and poor;

I have loved my country, community, family and dear ones,

And been loved too.

In this lifetime my brothers and sisters,

Reunite with me once more;

There is no stake to burn me,

No wars to fight,

No lands to conquer,

No community to defend,

No evidence sought,

No dear ones to charm or pursue,

Or curiosity with the loaves and fishes.

Yet every journey is now,

Revisiting a distant past;

Sentimental and faded experiences,

Some glorious others not;

Impressions that only fuels my present,

Neither significant nor attachment;

Only realising that I am the continuum.

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A Train of ‘Letting Go’

Lantern

Traditional Village Festival Temple Lanterns Hong Kong Museum of History

Wanting to prove our own existence is self-ignorance.

Wanting to prove its significance to others is total ignorance.

The determination to prove one’s existence and its significance only leads to misery, frustration and attachment. It is a self-perpetuating cycle drawing the ignorant further into an already fragmented and distorted reflection of oneself.

The Mind only reflects the reality you choose. The novice enthusiastically embarks on spiritual practices only later to be bewildered with confusing and contradicting experiences.

We instinctively gravitate towards completeness because that is our nature. We are by nature complete. Yet the Mind habitually perceives and confuses completeness with perfection and control. It  projects its idea of completeness into every experience or happening.

All thoughts arising from the Mind are simply past impressions. The reality that we are experiencing is just its projection. Yet we are tricked by the Mind into believing the external triggers the internal experience. The resulting agitation we all experience is only an illusion within an illusion. Do you see this?

When you are totally caught up in these illusions there is only distortion and confusion.  But when you are able to observe this experience you witness infinity. This is meditation.

With every lifetime our experiences grow richer and deeper. The skill is in recognising the Source and not be attached to its expression projected as form and substance.

It is a very delicate play with the Source and its form. It is not a game but a play. Yet we often spoil our experience by confusing it with a game. Then it is no longer a play. A play has no purpose. A game has purpose because there is a result and also an opponent. It fuels separation.

Our spiritual practices do not change us. There is nothing to change. Yet we come into it expecting change. Change is an one off experience that needs to be repeated. Change has a destination. Why limit your potential and existence? Do you see this?

Our practices supports us to transform. Transformation is a continuous evolution.  It is being at the very edge of the unknown. How can the infinite be known? Do you see this?

Behaviours and actions change but the Being only transforms.

Spiritual practices open up another dimension to our lives. It is intricately delicate yet profoundly empowering. The Great Seers could only compare it to the abundance found in nature.

In nature there are cycles and every creation has one. This is destiny. Our spiritual practices support us to witness this phenomenon. When we do you would soon realise that everything has its own destiny. This destiny will run its own course and eventually exhaust itself.  There is really nothing to do.

‘Letting go’ itself becomes another entanglement of the mind subtlety veiling an intention for a result.

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The Instance and the Impending

  
The Master doesn’t need you to let go of anything. Yet we form an unfounded expectation that freedom only comes from letting go. Is it not possible that every experience has a destiny and will end accordingly?

Too often we are burdened by the thought of having to let go. We feel we have to do things or loose things in order to gain something better. Do you see this confusion?

It becomes a game where there is inevitably an opponent. And too often we are blinded from realising that the opponent is really only ourselves.

Our own ‘acts’ of letting go is burdened with the idea of having to do something. Even the resolve not to do anything is burdened with thoughts.

We often confuse the instance or immediate with the impending or gradual–the inevitable change that consumes all creation. We attach obsessively to the immediate and fall helplessly into the past by hanging on to it.

Consequently our relationship with the Master is often exaggerated because of this confusion.

When reflecting on every experience with the Master you’ll soon discover one consistency: every instance is to take you inwards.

Yet we all hang onto that instance. Whether it is a glance or any other acknowledgement from the Master, we obsessively hang-on to it. In doing so we ferment our obsession into a sense of exclusivity and ignorantly chase this experience.

We become blindsided to the inward journey and get stuck on the trigger-point–that instance railroading us unconsciously into spiritual superficiality.

We judge every experience with the Master based on that instance and loose sight of the impending gradual change or happening circumstances. We get confused and are unable to recognise the connection.  This ignorance brings misery.

Every experience with the Master triggers an inward journey. It is for you to realise the peace you seek is essentially finding the harmony within. What is this harmony?

The ability to balance the instance with the ever changing situation or circumstances.

It is realising that the connection is transcendent although the situations we find ourselves in can be separating. The pain of separation is only Bhakti. For the spiritually courageous it is a trigger point for the inward discovery of the true Self.

In doing so you’ll soon discover the blossoming experience and wonder of inner harmony. The effortless balance of experiencing instance and happenings together.

You’ll see how the Master creates every instances for you to go inwards and explore the Truth: all experiences come from you.

When you realise this then every situation is an opportunity to experience the unconditional love of the divinity. And seeing the vehicle that gave you that experience also has a destiny. It will evolve.

The Master will never forsaken nor abandon you. No matter how painful the experience or lesson becomes. All instances takes you to the core of your existence where the Truth resides. You remain forever pure, connected and blissful.

It is seeing the relationship you have with yourself and a very subtle observation.

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Hard Lessons

  
The Mind is not a mystery. It hides behind a thinly disguised veil of ignorance. Its deceptively powerful hold quickly unravels itself like a loose web through persistent self-enquiry.

In the process of self-enquiry we discover a labyrinth in every layer of our existence. As we dive deeper we will also unknowingly weave our own. These are the deceptions of the Mind. Just like fantastical sunsets we see ripple across the horizon, these labyrinth-like patterns are merely transient creases in our consciousness.

Sometimes to unravel or break these patterns a hard lesson is required.The Master in His Infinite Wisdom will create the lessons to demonstrate to the Devotee the illusions that has entrapped him.

The Devotee will experience deep fear. But the Master will accompany the Devotee. Taking every care and patience to ensure the Devotee will awaken from the illusion.

The hard lesson administered only destroys the entrapping illusion. But in actuality He is uplifting and glorifying the faith and steadfastness of the Devotee.

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Pride and the Inward Journey

How does one deal with pride and go inwards?

By becoming aware of one’s pride a shift begins. What is this shift? The awareness of being exclusive and not inclusive. The very thought of wanting to drop pride takes you inwards.

In asking this question there is also self-doubt. On the Path of Self-Discovery there will always be doubt revolving around: yourself, practices that uplifts your sensitivity, and the teacher or source that is guiding you into sensitivity.

Doubt is to ensure that any modulations in perceptions are fully experienced and understood. Having total understanding and clarity of yourself allows you to serve others wholeheartedly.

In service we often unknowingly come from the space of exclusivity–being in a higher position through gender, age, status, or knowledge to serve.  This difference which drives us to act is sometimes mistakenly called compassion or duty.

So by knowing what inclusiveness is will support you from observing pride and going inwards.

How to do this? Forgive. Forgive others and yourself for being part of the event whether knowingly or unknowingly. Otherwise we get entrapped in either victim or culprit mindsets leading to further separation. Do you see this?

Then be sincere about forgiving. Many a times we act and not be forgiving. What is being forgiving? Total acceptance of yourself and everything else good or bad whether it is to do with you, situations or people. But it doesn’t excuse you from not taking positive actions.

Then be contented. Whatever is happening is just to show your completeness as an individual. Look back and just see every event has left you untouched deep within. There remains a purity and innocence in you.

When you practice forgiveness and sincerity, compassion will naturally arise. There is no effort in being compassionate because it is your very nature. The effort only arises from letting go of baggage that saddles you down.

Finally recognise that everything is changing. Today is not the same as yesterday. Tomorrow will be different from today. Be totally responsible for all your actions and emotions every moment.  You can only do this by being in the present and having presence of Mind.

Many a times we focus only in changing behaviour. But when the source of this behaviour is unclear and confused its actions will also be the same.

Pride if checked with sincerity is a good thing. But often without sincerity it gets distorted into conceit and stubbornness. Tell me is there room for acceptance and positive change then?

So just by asking about pride you are already taking a sincere step that will positively transform you and others.

Understand what pride is too. Pride is ignorant attachment to good qualities that is appreciated and recognised by others. When we become obsessive about our pride it gives rise to jealously, greed, envy, fear, hatred, sorrow and anger. But pride is also a divine quality. It is a gift from the divine. Remember this and the space of gratitude will grow. But don’t think it is only exclusive to you. The divine is generous and inclusive.

You are indeed uniquely special in this entire creation.  So too is everyone else in this beautiful creation we call Life.

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