Thank you, New Zealand!

New Zealand’s Whanganui River granted legal status as a person, after 170 years battle. They now recognise the “health and wellbeing” of the river in New Zealand.

Source :

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-16/nz-whanganui-river-gets-legal-status-as-person-after-170-years/8358434?smid=Page:+ABC+News-Facebook_Organic&WT.tsrc=Facebook_Organic&sf62938228=1

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…?

What is success? -Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spirituality donut

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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?

This thing we call success:

If Donald Trump won the election in 2016, can you say that was a success?

If Hilary Clinton won the election while having FBI on her tail, could you call that a success?

Whatever the reason why a person wants to manifest something and we watch somebody else ‘achieve’ their big dream; be it the first woman to become the US president, the first reality television entertainer to hold the key to the nuclear weapon, or whatever else.

Whether it was the experience which took the person to the position, or if that were the manipulative linguistic skills and the impressive body language; or the certain corrupt system that counted only the convenient number of votes; or the financial strengths that were holding an enforcement agency from stepping in;

If a person became the president of the United States, regardless of their reasons or the methods of getting there, would you consider it a ‘success’?


If your business ‘flourished’ at an expense of another, be it a person or the planet we lived on, is it a success?

If you had a ‘good life’ without much effort while another starved in their struggle for justice, could you call that a privilege?

 

 


I know that spirituality and manifestation became mixed up from some time ago. But I want to say that ‘manifestation’ is not a spiritual activity; it is a devils’ act. Because who you truly are cannot be manipulated.

Your ‘path’ is not something you lay before you by a well organised forced labour; but it is what appears under the moon light as you work late, and on the muddy track you trace to deliver a promised load.

One may commit to making something happen, chant the lines form a holy book or your own mantra all you like, gain a clear vision of what you want to achieve until you see it take shape, make reasons for your gain as you may in a desperate effort to justify your doings: be it ‘peace,”prosperity,’ or ‘because I care.’ But your true path does not require a reason. It does not ask for an explanation. It just is. It appears.

Gandhi was a leader in wearing those hand woven cotton. Mandela was already a leader from the time when he was in jail. King Jr. would have spoken of freedom whether he was a pastor or not. Nobody cared about Aung San Suu Kyi’s gender by the time she became a leader. Had he remained a prince, we might not have seen Gautama Buddha and therefore Buddhism. If Jesus decided to value his life over another’s life, he could have sacrificed hundreds of disciples and saved himself but he did not.

No matter what ‘leaders’ were triumphant on their thrones, we’ve always had somebody who were walking a quiet path who showed us the light to wake up to. How, not-so-little-anymore Malala probably did not plan to walk the path she is walking. And while I value Dalai Lama’s words more than any “world leaders’,” yet he is a refugee who could not safely live in his own country.

So what is success? Is it worth as much as we give credit for? Do I want it in my life?

And with that, I think I will place the ‘success’ carefully on the top of the pile I created this afternoon; and I will take this to charity with the rest of the things that would serve better elsewhere.

Dear God. Please, may I always have the courage to remain as a nobody, who does not care for branding. And may I always stand for my value and speak the truth. Thank you.

 

 

 

Utopia

We use to read stories aloud at school. We would stand up one at a time and read a story to the class; it was one of my favourite things to do.

One day, I was given a story of Utopia. I liked that story, because it had a horse in it. Even better, there was a girl riding the horse.

So, the story started in a small village.

This girl worked for a wealthy man’s manner. And she worked in the stables/ yard and took care of horses. And one day, this horse arrived at the stables. It was a beautiful and prized white horse that everybody envied.

Soon, there was a problem; that nobody seemed to be able to control the horse. It was a nice horse with great talent, but every now and then, it would go out of control and tried to desperately run away from the yard.

The girl was the only one who could handle the situation. She could somehow negotiate, and eventually settle the horse into calmness. So this became her role, to take care of this very special horse.

All went well until come Autumn. The horse went crazy and it decided to jump the fence and run away. This time, the girl did not stop the horse, or tried to slow it down. She wanted to see where the horse would go if she had just let it go. So she stayed on the horse’s back and went along, just as far as the horse wanted to go.

The horse kept running.

The horse was getting tired but it still kept running.

The girl, instead of trying to slow the tired horse, encouraged and helped the horse to keep going.

And the horse kept running.

And then, the girl saw a water fall. It was a great, wide water fall with abundance of water flowing down towards them, and the horse kept running towards the water fall. By then, the girl became almost a part of the horse and did not fear what the horse was going to do.

So the horse jumped into the water through the water fall; and they arrived on a land the girl had never imagined. – so they arrived in the Utopia.

I used to think as a child that the Utopia was the heaven after death. I assumed that they had died for a reason and that they were safely found in heaven. But I now know that they did not die. Utopia is somewhere we can all find, alive, and the girl arrived there on the back of the horse.

And as always, the horse knew the way home.

Blessings of life

It was home time at school.

As child, we used to gather local children and walked to primary school in groups in the morning. On the way home, we travelled in smaller groups; basically whomever available to tag together, making sure that no body was left behind. We learned to look out for one another like that from such young age, just as a part of everyday life.

I was about to leave the school building with two other children that afternoon, both boys from the same grade. We got on well and we often walked together and played together.

So we were changing into outside shoes from what we wore inside through the day while at school. We each had a shoe locker, and I bent over to tend to my shoes when….I saw the boys run past behind me fast and one of them swooped my hat away from my head….the beginning of another scramble.

I was never a champion but I could run fast if I was chasing somebody. So off I went, screaming and shouting all I wanted like any other time. But then I had two boys who knew me well running ahead of me and split left and right, and I seriously did not know which one to chase.

Just on the corner of my eyes,  I could see somebody come out of the teachers room. Sh#t, I thought. I bet they saw me doing something completely un-ladylike. I turned my head to see who the moving figure was and swallowed.

It was the headmaster.

I straightened my back immediately, but it was too late. I saw the man reach for something with one hand and wave me over with another. I decided it was a smart idea to surrender, so I approached, trying to look as innocent as possible.

The headmaster looked at me. And before I could open my mouth to say anything, he waved me over again to approach closer. The headmaster could not possible hit me, I thought. But will he?

Of course he did not hit me. But he did something that would remain for the rest of my life.

He was on one knee, tying his shoelaces, and from this eye hight looked straight into my eyes. And he said, “You are going to be something quite remarkable. I know it.” I was dumb struck. He was supposed to tell me off. I was sure of it. And before I could open my mouth, or remotely recover from the shock, he told me to go home.

I remember saying “good bye schoolmaster” like a well mannered child. And I walked towards my friends who handed my hat back immediately. They thought I was in trouble too.  They thought they behaved like cowards, for not coming after me to receive the punishment together. They asked me. “What did he tell you?”

I looked at my friends and said. “The headmaster told me that I am lucky to have good friends.”

“Is that all?,” my friends asked.  I said yes, and we walked home just like any other day.

Many years later.

I went through my life’s ups and downs like everybody else who lived. And I remember. Even though I don’t always refer to the headmaster, I am affirmed that I would get through whatever the difficulties comes along. Because I know that one day, I am going to be something quite remarkable. I just haven’t got there yet.

It reminds me how, such small moment of blessings could change a child’s outlook for the rest of her life. What a blessing it was.