Eating mindfully

 

 

When I was very little, I did not know where noodles came from. I always found them in a bowl, cooked, I liked them, and that was all I was aware of.

When I was in primary school, we visited a family owned noodle factory. They were noodle makers who inherited noodle making business generation after generation. They educated us how they traditionally made noodles, and how they recently implemented machineries to make their tasks easier. They said that it was less strenuous to their body, and more productive; which meant that they were able to afford their life easier.

That day, I was inspired by the idea of factory-made-noodles. What if we occupied a huge warehouse with noodle making machines? Line the whole building with production line, and let the machines do the job; people won’t have to work hard, but they can make a lot of money. I thought if a wealthy person decided to invest in this project, life could be made a whole lot ‘easier’ for the artisans. I presented this idea to my teacher, who paused a question, “Do you think the ‘wealthy man’ will then share the profit?”

What I did not know was how ‘my innovative idea’ was already out there and flourishing. I also could not comprehend how the ‘wealthy man’ never seemed to share the profit equally. I begun noticing packaged noodles in the supermarket. I used them for convenience. Artisans were going out of work. And the art of noodle making was struggling to find its inheritance. Noodle became just another food, which you buy without much notice; cheaper the better.

When I came across a video on Facebook, I thought of conscious living. When we eat food from people who made those with their hands, food taste different. We know that it took time and effort. We know that they had to negotiate the weather to ensure the whole process would complete as planned. We know that there is a secret recipe behind it, and it involved the magic touch by the experienced. I remember making noodles as a part of a school project, and I recall how impossible it was to make them look like noodles. The noodle maker would then sell his noodle in exchange for money, and then he would buy his daily needs.

I now know why my grandmother used to thank the food she was eating, and how my grandfather used to appreciate the quality of its making. First, there was food on the plate so we could eat. But mostly, the food was there because somebody made it using their hands. Good things go around. And I somehow think that world would be a kinder place if we all had so much to be thankful for.

Gender equality – He for She campaign

I grew up with boys, trained, and worked among men. And I can tell you, gender is not what determines your capability. You are allowed to have strength and weakness regardless, and where we are willing to fill-in for each other, we work much better together. Gender equality isn’t charity. It is a way of finding a more functional society.

Visit HeForShe organisation website:

http://www.heforshe.org/en/take-action/identity

 

 

Can you commit a crime and walk away un-noticed?

bird-386725_1280

“Can you kill a person and walk away without ever being held accountable?”

My grandfather asked me out of the blue. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and killing was not on my card by any chance – I was somebody who had to be taught it was ok cut cut a piece of paper with the scissors, that it would not have ‘hurt the paper’ if I cut it.  I remember my grandmother almost burst with disapproval, however quietly, but only held herself together with the strong faith in her husband and the intension behind his words.

We were sitting over a pot of green tea. Hot water was poured into the pot, and we were waiting for it to steep. “What do you think?” he asked me. And he went on laying the tea cups on the table before us.

I had to think.

If I killed a person: starting right there, it required a great amount of imagination. If I did, the police man would come and catch me. But what if nobody saw it? Is it possible to commit such an act without ever being seen? What about preparation? What would I need to do to hide everything after the act? Could it be possible to do all of those steps without ever being seen? – remember,  Japan is a collectivist nation with an extremely high context culture. If you planned something deviant, you would not likely pull it off without somebody sensing the change in your mood, life style and routine, and the mannerism that would have come with it. But all that granted, if you did managed to commit the act, never mind how, you would have to clean up the trace behind the act. One might flee overseas, because I was already aware that Japan was not the only country in the world, but police man would have chased you as long as you left a trace behind. So is it possible to commit a crime without leaving a trace?

“I don’t think you can do that. Somebody would have seen it, and if you killed that person too, it means more people would have seen you commit the second act.” I answered.

My grandmother was now gasping for breath beside me, but she still managed to hold her words in. And my grandfather asked me. “And if nobody saw you doing any of that, who saw it?”

Was that a trick question? I knew the green tea was almost ready to serve.

And I realised that there was one person who would have seen the whole event, even nobody saw me commit a crime. “Me.” I said.

“Well done,” said my grandfather. “Well, that was a lesson,” my grandmother said, who finally regained her breath. And with that, grandfather poured the tea, and we never spoke about that again.

Murder was a large theme, but any crime would be the same in essence. Whatever the decision you make, you will live with it for the rest of your life. I learned something important that day, drinking a cup of green tea with my grandparents. Had he used a petty crime as a subject, would I have understood the lesson as well~ that I would never know. But I am glad that he taught me this lesson early in my life. Life lived hiding away from the world would be too hard for me to bear.

Spirituality donut

gazanie-499110_640

Anyone up for a donut?

It is called spirituality donut, involving “acceptance”, “forgiveness”, and “surrendering.” Here we go.

We surrender to the flow, but we should not surrender to the wrong. We accept how it is but not accept injustice. We forgive but not surrender to how it is, (did Gandhi say this about forgiveness and surrender ?) But then we accept how it is. Right? And I realise that I am doing a donut.

If spirituality isn’t about pretending all is well when it isn’t, then how would you put these together?

Kicking the perception in the butt.

air-494020_640

They say that out of the whole world around us, we are only capable of grasping or remembering some 5-9 bits of information at a time. They say about 7 ( plus-minus 2), and so this number. And depending on what information you are receiving, you could have a whole different worldview on a matter. Fair enough.

Some personal development courses teach their participants skills to look at their world in a different way. And if you previously had an unfriendly view about yourself and others, you might be helped to find that there was another way to look at the world. It might be eye-opening experience for some. But a perception is still only a perception.

The problem is that some of these people begins to refer to perception about everything in their life. “It’s the matter of perception isn’t it?” According to them, if somebody is not happy, that is because this person does not know how to see the brighter side of the world.  If your action disappointed somebody or harmed another, you as a ‘perception clan’ would say that it was the other person’s issue that s/he did not know how to take the matter more lightly. It is sickeningly wrong. The fact that you injured another ( for an example) does not go away. And if everyone referred to perceptions to avoid responsibility for their own actions, then the world could be a very dangerous place.

Some NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) training is producing this range of people who are alarmingly irresponsible for another’s welfare. People walk away unusually confident and entitled after short NLP trainings, but the truth is that they did not suddenly turn more capable as a person, they only learned that they can have a different attitude towards things; that they begin to only accept the convenient parts of the world which ( sometimes falsely) praise them.

Some interpretation of EQ ( Emotional Intelligence Quotient) also invite harmful results. Instead of using your own emotional state to live a more functional life, wrong-doers prone to use these skills to drive and manipulate others.

I am hopeful that the original versions of NLP, EQ, and other similar knowledge had good intent. But it has certainly fallen into wrong people’s hands – and some good people who has not found a way to regulate the chaos. The same skills used by sales persons are now reaching politicians, because you can ‘sell’ the ideas as well as products using clever wording and emotional drive. Results are that people with dysfunctional policies could be elected and were chosen for responsible seats. It is frightening to see how they fail to deal with the facts but merely working on turning the situation around to suit themselves.

Look out for those who speaks in unnecessarily uplifting manner. ( Or the opposite, like Donald Trump, who says all things that gets on your nerve and drive you up and down; and then strike a pose – “I have a solution for you”.) Emotional state can influence your decision. And these people, among their own, claim that they can interfere with another’s decision making strategies and therefore pre-determine your answers.

Look out for those who says “lets put this in perspective” and then impose own convenient view as if that was legitimate. Remember that you have the right to your own view.

Be that person who left Germany in refusal to follow Hitler. Be that Japanese person who refused to praise emperor and the wars that were fought in his names, even though the whole town avoided you as a result.

Kick “perceptions”in the butt, and be mindful. Remember that the whole world is around us, not just what is convenient for you; or what is convenient for the person who is trying to manipulate you. Please find a moment whenever you can, and find the ground underneath you. Nobody has a right to draw you away from your own values; not with force, not with soft preach.