Path

I have done many things I was not supposed to in my life. I also did not do a lot of things I was supposed to.

I passed an exam I was not supposed to, and entered a school to study with a very competitive group of people. Everyone in the school, after 6 years, was supposed to go to university, and I did not go to university. I was not supposed to be able to manage myself overseas as a young 18 years old but I somehow did. I was not supposed to become a stunt actor but guess what I did. I was supposed to smile and nod and say yes to everything, but I learned to argue. I was supposed to be married to a highly educated man, but I made a decision never to get married. I was expected to love children, but I only found myself turn corners sharp to avoid meeting children. I was supposed to be confident but I lost interest. I was supposed to be oppressed but I learned to confront.

Each time I did something I was not expected to do, I grew. The more I did not do what I was supposed to do, I evolved. Metamorphosis only led to deformity at times, but it intrigues me how I never turned evil. I met some seriously crooked people along the way, but something always dragged me away from the scene, just in time. I do not know what it was. I feel it was the same thing as that which told me to go against the stream time and time again- something that told me to leave work and travel immediately after a promotion. It told me at times, it was fine to go along with the flow no matter how hard I had to work for. I’ve listened and followed many times as it was irresistible not to. Every time I thought I planned my future, I was tempted to leave. And so I happily followed the lead of I had the slightest idea what, or I just followed my nose to locate the next pot of luck. It might appear irresponsible. But I did grow responsible enough to follow my own path.

Magic and Joy.

Magic of living after feudal system is this. That we are living alongside our kings and queens that we once served before, that they walk on the same ground as we do, dirtying their hands and feet, appreciating having hot water on a cold night, and that they need to eat and drink to sustain just like we do. It is not that those things make people more or less, nor us. But we realise that what we once envied is a part of us and that we were made of the same materials as those important people all the way along.

Struggle of living in a capitalist society after feudalism is this. That now we live among and alongside those previously important people, and became aware that they were not so different to any of us after all, we have created another kind of important people whom, often by the mere number of figures written on a piece of paper, seem to have attained power to right or wrong everyone else’s life.

Insanity of living according to the new lot of important people is this. That we became used to selling and buying those things that does not even exist yet, in the words of investment and future. What does exist before us, instead, is often overlooked in process of achievement, so people are found lost or swimming in the air, trying to cling to a sign of hope- while others are busy scattering to avoid being clung to.

Joy of being the odd ones in such new world is this. That we come across others who can see the struggles and insanity just like we can, those of whom is more than aware that we don’t have to live like that, and to realise that there is more of us than we initially accepted. We are the brick layers of the Light, who uses bricks that are real, and that can be laid using our own hands and knees. We can lay down roads and buildings, or we can build a raised garden bed. We can just sit and admire a brick. We have no need to prove ourselves. There is no need for a credit. We always have enough. And we are somewhat grateful, even in the middle of the Winter.

If nothing is done, then all will be well.

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“Not exalting the gifted prevents quarrelling.

Not collecting treasures prevents stealing.

Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.

 

The wise therefore rule by emptying the hearts and stuffing bellies,

By weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.

If people lack knowledge and desire,

Then it is best not to interfere.

If nothing is done, then all will be well.

– Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.”

 


 

Bible, with my smallest knowledge, teaches not to worship false god. It also teaches not to be driven by the matters.

And Bible teaches to give yourself to God, the Creator, and to not go ‘creating’ things yourself.

If any other form of spiritual teaching explains these in their own ways, please share. I would like to learn. All these different teachings are communicating something essential  – in language and stories that might just reach the heart of its people. And I hope that by learning different perspectives, my own understandings might just deepen.

This verse brings me to think about our tendency to “want to help.” How often in history did things go wrong because a person or a group pf people made it their mission to “help others” by interfering with another’s way of life? How often did things go wrong because somebody thought of ‘improving’ the way of others, solely depending on their own perspectives and values?

This may draw arguments from many do-gooders out there. But I would still insist that it is worth getting in touch with the true cause of why we are ‘helping.’

 

Front and back follow each other

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“Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.

All can know good as good only because there is evil.

 

Therefore having and not having arise together;

Difficult and easy complement each other;

Long and short contrast each other;

High and low rest upon each other;

Voice and sound harmonise each other;

Front and back follow each other.

 

Therefore the wise go about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.

The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease,

Creating, yet not possessing,

Working, yet not taking credit.

Work is done, then forgotten.

Therefore it lasts forever.

– Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.”

 


 

In martial art, the true master will not likely challenge another in their own pursuit of “mastery”. Black belt karate master, in Japan, is legally bound never to engage in any level of contest outside their studio; they are not viable even to push away a drunk on the street whom decided to violate their personal space. One would, in that vulnerability, learn something other than a mere physical strength. A master once told me that you would then learn to uphold such presence that even the most violent would be defused before them. That, he said, was his discipline.

People who has faced their death, no matter how, often appreciate their lives more than ever. Some say that we are afraid of death without having to really lived. Some of us have been there and we are no longer afraid. Fear is a reasonable things to experience. However, we breathe through the fear and overcome such, that we are no longer afraid of fear itself; and so, you can finally live without the feeling of being chased by something you cannot necessarily predict…..just maybe.

 

 

These two spring from the same source-

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“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.

The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

Ever desire less, one can see the mystery.

Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.

These two spring from the same source but differ in name;

This appears as darkness.

Darkness within darkness.

The gate to all mystery.

–  Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.”


I am particularly drawn to these two lines this time.

“Ever desire less, one can see the mystery.

Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.”

May be, just may be, this is where we are going wrong with the ideas of ‘spirituality’ out there. May be, we are going wrong because we are seeking manifestation, instead of the mystery of life. Because, think about it… what can a little mind of human do before the mystery of the Universe? Since whatever the ‘great deed’ we achieved were born of the matters anyhow, no matter how grand we declare to be, we would have not even truly left our own backyard yet.

We can be stoked that we can create things.

Or we can open our eyes and see the creations.

And if we are lucky, we could perhaps see us being a part of the creation. I wonder what role the Universe has in mind for me? Could I be willing and courageous to play a role, even if the given role did not appear “ideal” to my eyes?

Could I just be…?