Monday, November 29, 2010

my greed, my envy

there is no problem now. every one can heave a sigh of huge relief. every one can sleep well now and not force oneself dreaming of numbers. the soothsayers and and the crystal gazers will once again be wanting of customers. i heard during the past weeks they have had a lot of business from people asking for their opinion or vision of the future, the grand lotto draw future. well, a good number of them have been proven now to be as blind to the future as everybody else.

except one.

it's been won. the huge lotto prize. the Gods had smiled on only one and he is 741 million pesos richer now. he's got a huge reason now to be very happy and also a huge reason to be inconvenient. they say if you're not familiar with handling BIG money that could be a problem ... as our favorite comics hero the Spiderman's Uncle Ben often says, "with great power comes great responsibility".

i have to be honest. i am green with envy. and initially my greed dictated me to be angry at the Gods for not having smiled at me. at the gentle winds of fortune for not being behind my back.

i am composed now. how can i feel unhappy over something which i don't possess. i know it is my ego that is hurting since the Infinite, the Great Creator, found someone else more worthy than me over this fortune.

as i have said, the Infinite is the Giver and Taker of freedoms. and It knows how to dispense this as Its Infinite Mercy permits.

may the chosen one be responsible enough and caring enough to share his bountiful harvest. it was given to him or her for a reason, and may that reason be found.

as for me, it is my duty now to do some extra work to replenish the 3 days of lunch allowance i lost.

the Infinite had spoken, the lotto is not my way to meeting my first snowflake.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

the gods did not look my way, even if a friend crossed his fingers

nobody won. not the guy with only 1 lotto ticket. not me with 8 tickets. not that old, rich gentleman with 125 tickets. not even that group of friends who pooled their money to buy thousands of tickets hoping to win this big one and divide the money among themselves. it is now 705 million pesos. what a huge fortune this will be!!

admittedly, a lot of people will be losing sleep over this. that guy with the 1 ticket will surely be wringing his hair trying to find a way to spare another 20 pesos for another ticket. another chance. as for me, i'm still thinking about it. i've already lost 2 days of lunch money. well, that old, rich gentleman and that group of friends might already be lined up at the lotto ticket booth.

what a huge fortune this is !!

oh, if there's only a sure way by which I can convince the Gods to look my way. to petition the gentle wind to be at my back. to keep all of my fingers crossed until they hurt.

i passed by the lotto outlet near my place and this early the line is already long. today is Sunday here. generally this day is reserved for a family get-together after a tough week of work or study. this is usually bonding time. families look up to this day to visit the local church to say thanks to the Almighty and to petition for more blessings. i'm pretty sure a lot of prayers today will mention lotto number combinations. the Infinite will be very busy today looking at numbers. i'm guessing a lot of family get-togethers will be postponed today. budget for these will surely go to lotto tickets. well, no one can be blamed. just one lucky number combination will insure family get-togethers even every day!

what a huge fortune this will be!

i heard even students now sacrifice their daily allowances just to be able to buy lotto tickets. now, this one's bad. this one hurts. and if they lose, where will they get the money to replenish their allowance? will they skip class? will they borrow money from their classmates or friends? will they pawn whatever thing of value they own? will they lie to their parents when asked why they ran short of money?

705 million pesos. what a huge sum of money.

tomorrow, monday, is another lotto draw. i still have time to think. to decide. maybe another 1 day of lunch money can be sacrificed ...

problem is, if nobody wins again ......

Thursday, November 25, 2010

700 million pesos

as i write this the lotto prize here in the philippines was announced to be about 700 million pesos. and for most of us who are earning an average of about 350 pesos a day or perhaps much lower, this is tremendous news. this is the one ray of hope most every one is waiting for. a chance for really huge money. we don't have to fight like hell, like manny "pacman" pacquiao, hurt ourselves and hurt others, to get big money. we only have to endure the long queue to the ticket booth.

so people will once again be trooping to the lotto ticket lines. even i. honestly i am planning to sacrifice a few day's school budget of my daughter. what the heck! if i get the numbers right she'd have all of the school budget she'd need. if she wants, she could could go to school forever. if i don't get the numbers right i'd have to scrimp on my own daily budget to replenish hers. and this will mean not getting lunch for the next few days. this is with me. with the others, this might mean more. this might mean sacrificing the 3 square meals a day for the entire family and for several days at that. a chance for really huge money.

yet, the odds are great. you have to pick 6 numbers out of 55. well, if i remember my math well, a win is really, really, a very long shot. 55 x 54 x 53 x 52 x 51 x 50 combinations. there are millions of number combinations. i tried to compute it on my calculator and the answer was more than the digits it allows to display. that's why if you want to increase your chances of winning you have to bet on many combinations. so i really need to sacrifice a few day's lunch to improve my chances. then i have to pray a lot. of course if millions of other filipinos like me placed their bets too, and they are also praying, then, i also need to come up with some very innovative prayers to insure that the Great Infinite will hear my plea. so i realize, even with prayers, it's also like this lotto draw. you have to pick the right words to say. anyway, as they say, only one unique combination will win.

so i trooped the line. gave the lotto lady 160 pesos for 8 number combinations. i have 8 chances of winning. the one before me just bet on 1 combination. so, against me, he is already an underdog. the old man after me, well, he's well dressed with sparkling shoes and gelled or pomaded hair and some heavy gold bracelet in his right arm, he paid 2500 pesos. i was aghast! he has 125 chances of winning. but i understand him. what's 2500 pesos against 700 million?

on the way home i was thinking. this is the sad lot for most of us. and i am searching for an answer that will make me smile. it appears, in this material world, the opulent or the rich have more or better chances of getting richer. as one of my friends had said,"in this world, the rule is -- like attracts like. money attracts money." what's with those rich people? why can't they ever stop accumulating wealth? when is enough, enough? if you're rich now and living comfortably, why don't you give the chance of opulence to others? is it greed that dictates this?

i hold my 8 tickets in my hand and i imagine what i'll do with the 700 million pesos. perhaps, as i do this the other person is also holding his only ticket and contemplating this as well. and perhaps, the old, rich gentleman is also doing this. i closed my eyes. that amount is staggering. so i decided i'll come up with something like a bucket list of things i'd do. much like that movie of jack nicholson and morgan freeman where they came up with a list of things to do before dying.

i'll visit canada or the united states to have a look and feel of my first snowflake.

i'll go to india to see the abode of the Great Spiritual Masters. meditate at the foot of the Himalayas.

i've checked the stats of this blog and found out some people in slovenia are actually reading this blog. i've checked wikipedia and found out slovenia has lots of the old world castles. i'll go there and visit.

if i can i'll visit russia as well and measure my steps against the great st. petersburg square if i can.

set aside money for me and my wife, and for my daughter and her future family to live comfortably on.

become a philanthropist and donate the remaining money to organizations that help the needy. or organize these myself if i am unsure of these welfare organizations. this last i am not so sure yet. greed is a strong desire that one might not have now or might have little now but one might acquire later once one is in a position of opulence. greed is associated with wealth.

last, i'll hire somebody to fix my leaking ceiling.

the way i see it, even if i get all that money i'd still not be happy. completely. it'll help solve a lot of difficulties i'm having now. but i'll not get fully satisfied.

there's only one way to perfect happiness. the Great Ones who achieved this had taught -- be as perfect as the One who created you. this can be done only by knowing one's true self.

so, i'll pray hard for this lotto prize to be won, but this is how my prayer will be:

O Great Infinite

You know our hearts and minds more than we do,

You are the Giver and Taker of freedoms,

let this material blessing be won

by that person who truly needs it

and who will be better served by it ...

i hope this sort of even things a bit.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

my caterpillar tale

he entered the gate of the house that he was assigned to maintain. immediately, his eyes caught the uncemented portion of the driveway by the back of the house. as he had suspected, wild grass had grown again over that patch of earth. he remembered having uprooted these grass the last time he came over to inspect. now here they are again. as tall, as green, and more abundant than before. perennial grass, he thought to himself. you're really testing my patience. resilient grass. if ever i could be as adamant as you. he secretly admired the grass. its will to exist. to be.

he knows he has a job to do. he is the caretaker of this house and grass is not allowed to grow. much more wild grass. so he sat down and started pulling at the grass leaves. he realizes he needs to pull hard so even the roots can be extracted from the soil. this will make sure they will not grow again.

the grass is strong. it does not give up without a fight. its roots are well entrenched in the earth. sometimes he needs to pull with both arms. he smelled the scent of fresh grass, cut grass, and he smiled. it smelled good. he felt both his arms getting itchy. the grass leaves have these very minute stingers that pierce his skin and compels him to scratch. it annoys him. he thought of stopping for a while to scratch his arms. he realized this grass has lots of built in defenses to make him think twice about going ahead with his mission to remove it from the soil. the soothing smell, the itchy sting.

soon he is halfway done. he had pulled out a lot of grass. the blackish, wet earth is now exposed. it was then that he noticed these small movements near where he last uprooted grass. caterpillars! lots of them. brownish, hairy little creatures. some are clinging on the leaves of grass he still had not touched. the others that fell to the ground were busily scampering away to safety. crawling, wriggling as fast as they can towards where the clumps of grasses are still abundant. the sun's rays are already quickly drying the exposed damp earth.

he went on with his uprooting. every time he sees that there are caterpillars clinging on the grass leaves, he shakes the leaves and let the creatures fall to the ground. the surprised creatures crawl to where their instincts dictate there is dampness of earth and shade from the sun. but this haven of safety keeps getting smaller as grass keeps on getting removed. some of the caterpillars sought protection from crevices in the adjoining cement wall. some hid behind the rocks but the sun is slowly but surely climbing higher and pretty soon not a thing will not be touched by her scorching rays.

suddenly he heard a voice.

"enough of this, brother!" he looked around. nobody but himself. "down here," he heard the voice again. he shifted his eyes to where his right hand is grasping a clump of grass leaves. he noticed what he thought was the biggest caterpillar he ever saw. it is the caterpillar that's speaking to him.

"i am the elder of this caterpillar clan, my brother," it began again. "may i implore you to spare us these remaining grasses. we need their shade for protection against the sun and for food also. just leave us be for a few more weeks so we can complete our life cycle."

"just a few more weeks!" he answered," by then, these grasses would have grown tenfold again. i cannot permit that. i am the guardian of this abode. i am sorry i have a job to accomplish. it is a duty."

"just spare us some time, my brother, is all we ask. even some of us only need days to complete our life cycle. we will die without food and protection from the sun." the caterpillar elder explained. it felt his hand tighten around the clump of grass leaves he is holding. it felt his strong pull and it saw the grass roots sticking out when he successfully pulled out the grass from the earth. it willingly disengaged itself from the leaves and dropped to the ground. it did not crawl to safety like the rest. it knows no place will be safe now from the heat. it wont be long now. he ignored the elder's plea.

"i'm so sorry," he said and continued with his work, " i must hurry up. i have other things to do."

the caterpillar elder did not reply. it curled itself against a small stone beside it.

pretty soon, he was done. the sun is so high up now overhead. he is also feeling the heat. he looked at his work and admired how well he was able to pluck up all of these annoying grass. they are now all bundled up inside the black plastic trash bags. he carefully stashed these away. this coming saturday he will return. that's when the garbage will be collected by the truck.

saturday. he returned. he was just in time to hear the familiar tooting of the garbage truck. it's approaching the house now. he carried the plastic bags one at a time and placed them outside the gate for collection. when he unmindfully dropped the last bag, it accidentally burst open. out came a small brown butterfly from the trash bag. he was surprised. but it was beautiful.

he heard it speak to him. "i'm the only one who completed the cycle," it told him, "the elder instructed me to tell you, if ever i will survive, you are forgiven. it is our duty to forgive."

after this, it strongly flapped its fragile wings and zigzagged its way past him . . .

he had this sudden longing in his heart to find out where that brave butterfly will go.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the up-down syndrome

i saw him looking distraught, sitting alone at our office pantry. sipping coffee from the vendo machine. he's usually not like this. he's one of my perkier acquaintances.

"hey!" i greeted him. i took a sip from my coffee cup and laid it down on the table. oh, how i missed my brewed coffee. coffee from dispensing machines are generally good but brewed coffee is heaven. i pulled a chair beside him and sat.

"hey!" he greeted back. there was this forced smile on his face. he managed to take four successive gulps of coffee during that sliver of silence between us.

"why the long face, my friend?" i queried him,"this is so not you." i tried to make as sympathetic a face as i can hoping to coax him to open up.

"i have a problem," he answered, "it's very personal i can't share it with you."

i looked straight into his eyes. they were sad. "if it's about money .." i allowed my words to trail.

"nope," he immediately cut me off, "nothing to do with money. i have enough. it's just this unhappy feeling. don't know where it's coming from." he explained.

i looked at his eyes again. they were honest. "well, tell me later my friend," i said, "just remember, if you're down, there's nowhere to go but up!" i continued and flashed the thumbs up sign. he smiled. his eyes were still sad.

at home i still remembered that bit of conversation. "if you're down, nowhere to go but up." i think there's something lacking in that advice i gave my friend. when i looked at this picture of a stair i saved in my folder, that's when i had this added thought -- if you're in a stair such as this, where it is definite where the "up" is and where the "down" is, then the advice i gave my friend is adequate.

with Life, it is inadequate.

Life is nothing like a simple stair. in Life, if one says he's down, it does not follow that he is in the "final down". so it could happen that a person will continue to slide, to be further down, and this may go on and on and on, because Life is not a stair where there is a bottom landing and a top landing.

no way!

Life is a staircase that has infinite number of steps. if you say you're up, it does not follow you have reached the top landing. you can still go further up, and up, and up into the abode of happiness and contentment. you are to decide when you don't need to go any further. now, vice versa, when you say you're down it does not mean you have reached the bottom landing. IF YOU ALLOW IT, you will find yourself going further down into the abyss of unhappiness and discontent.

so, this is what i'm going to tell my friend when i meet him again. if i still find him in that sad state, it'll be like this: "my friend, it's okay to say that you are down, but, please will yourself to recognize that you have reached the bottom landing of Life's stairs, believe that there's no more step lower than where you are now. once you have affirmed this, there's no way to go but up!" then the double thumbs up sign.

Life is a staircase. each of us individually determines how long this staircase will be. each of us is given the chance to decide how many steps there will be between the bottom step and the top step.

and don't ever forget this:

going up entails more effort than going down. it sounds paradoxical, but don't be surprised when you find yourself feeling "down" when you're trying to go upstairs in Life.

it's not just gravity, it's how Life requires it to be.

Friday, November 12, 2010

mary travers

i'd like to digress for a while ....

i was leafing through my very, very old notes when i chanced to find a reference to one of my favorite songs, "early morning rain". it was a song written by gordon lightfoot but my favorite rendition was by the folk trio peter, paul and mary. i grew up listening to this wonderful group's songs and i must admit that they've left their mark in my musical inclinations. for me, folk music is almost akin to blues in terms of the rawness, in terms of intensity of feeling, in terms of simplicity -- just some no nonsense guitar work and honest vocals, no special effects, to hide the artist's inadequacies.

peter, paul and mary. one of the most popular groups in the 60's. a lot of young people now definitely might not have heard of them but i think that some of their songs are still relevant today. it is said that they are protest singers. they sang of equality, freedom, simple living.

one of these three was mary travers. great lady. she was one of a handful of artists then who made use of their great talent not to enrich themselves but more so to help educate people about the futility of war and the upholding of civil rights.

i write this in memory of her. her birthday was last november 9.

today, most of our artists are driven by fame and wealth. few realize that because of their immense talents and great mass appeal they can capitalize on these to influence others especially the young. yet sadly, a lot of these gifted individuals waste the opportunity to lead others towards leading positive, unselfish lives. Fame and great wealth overwhelm them and obscure their inner light. their divine spark.

so they sit comfortably in their mansions, bathing in the adulation of millions of people, unabashedly displaying their negative tendencies like drug taking, illicit affairs, and total disregard for law and order, acting like little gods and goddesses.

to be able to build a better future, we must invest in the new generation, and these new generation need pole stars, positive beings to pattern their lives with ... so that they will not be like the mass of us seeking desperately to cope with the negativities of this world ..

" in the early morning rain
with a dollar in my hand
with an achin' in my heart
and my pockets full of sand .."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the greatest one-on-one

my daughter was looking at the latest news. she called my attention.

"hey pop! manny "pacman" pacquiao has a boxing match forthcoming. he's gonna be making oodles of money again. are you going to watch it?"

"i don't know i might be working during the event" i shot back.

"you should have tried boxing," she said,"you would have been rich by now."

"well, that's easy for you to say. you know, boxing's a difficult sport. a lot of people had tried it and they never succeeded. many were even unfortunate now in the twilight of their lives suffering from some brain disease that they somehow acquired over years of fighting. besides, i believe that it is written in pacquiao's stars that he'll be great in this. maybe in this lifetime he is allowed to be rich and famous so he can learn something from this."i explained. "it is said, when we are born we are given innate propensities and inclinations that we need to extract the lessons we are to learn for this lifetime, that's why some are born rich and famous, some are born poor, maimed, diseased. that's why some become soldiers, doctors, engineers, inventors, beggars, poets, musicians, artists, etc. they follow a blueprint designed for this lifetime. as for me, i don't have the inclination to be hurt or to hurt somebody in return, so boxing is out of my blueprint."

"well, that's just an excuse, papa. we become what we desire to be. manny worked hard to be where he's at now."

"maybe so," i answered. she's got a point. as we think, so we become. but still, if you don't have this propensity to hurt somebody how will you desire to be a boxer? boxing is a sport where you excel by hurting your opponent, and hurting well at that! i never bothered to tell this to her. i don't want to argue.

i also didn't bother to tell her that i am now a sportsman myself. and i am in my greatest one-on-one ever, as all of us do. we are, each of us, in our greatest one-on-one ever. i realized this last year. i was at a christmas party, surrounded by friends, family, people i love. lots of great food, drinks, music, fun. i was having a great time. suddenly, i found myself sitting in a corner, just watching the event unfold. i don't know where this came from but i got this funny feeling. although i am with friends and family, somehow the happiness i feel is not right. i had this realization that after this party, the happy feeling will be over as well. and again, this thought came over me, as it has come over me hundreds of times in the past -- that the greatest achievement, the greatest win, the crowning glory of my life will be to be happy .. at all times! not just for christmas, nor for new year's eve, nor for my birthday, nor for a friend's marriage, nor for my wife's trip abroad, but for every second of my life. i must confess this is not the case at the moment.

true happiness is a tranquil mind. to have a tranquil mind is to attain contentment. to be content is to want nothing more. to want nothing more is to be always happy. a mind unruffled of fears and uncertainties and wants is therefore the greatest prize. those Great Ones who achieved this left the same advise -- Know Yourself.

i am now in my greatest one-on-one. with myself. i don't know how many rounds it will take but the battle is on. so i'll weave, i'll duck, i'll dish out uppercuts, hooks, jabs, at myself, not to hurt it or maim it, but to know it fully. i know there'd be no shouting, hooting, jeering, cheering at the ringside, for every round, but there'd be something else. it will not be oodles of money nor adulation. none of that.

there'd be just a feeling that all is Well, all is Good, all is Certain, in my corner. nothing more.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

all saints' day

here in the philippines, november 1 is always the day for remembering loved ones. those who had died. thus, during this holiday, we living members of the family troop to the cemeteries where our kin are buried and visit their graves. bringing flowers and lighting candles, even bringing food for them. there are families who believe in the ritual where they offer food for the dead, that they might partake of their favorite food just as if they were physically alive.

this is also a great time for family reunions. those dear loved ones whom you have not seen for quite a long time, sometimes, they remember and they come over for the visit. and as often the case, you spend the great part of the day reminiscing with them and also catching up on the threads of their lives and your own life as well. as often the case, there will be good news and bad news. good news means someone in the family was able to go abroad, was able to marry, was able to get a good job, or maybe perhaps won a lottery ticket. bad news, is well, loss of job, another death in the family which was never announced and therefore you missed going to, a marriage gone sour, or a family member who had just learned she or he has caught a disease or sickness that is slowly going from bad to worse.

the way i see it, life, even without this day of remembering, november 1, will always be this way for each of us. good news, bad news. you have the option to share with the living members of the family or not.

the dead? well, you might want to share these life's developments with them too. but, of course, you won't know whether they will hear or understand or share. of course, your first wish is for them to know these, to understand, and in difficult situations, maybe even to intercede for you, to help. your belief is that they are there now in the Great Beyond, in the bosom of the Infinite, and they are in a nearer position to be heard, especially for petitions on seeking guidance to overcome the trials of this life.

for some, these might be why we offer flowers or candles or food. to entice our dead to help us become better in life's difficult situations. but, if while they were living, we never bothered to offer them flowers, candles, food, why think now that they will be enticed to help?

november 1 should just be a day for expressing love for the dead. not bother them with our ongoing struggles. if one has not expressed this love while they were living, at least on this special day this expression of love should not be tainted by any selfish motives.

flowers must be true expressions of love and remembrance, or for those who have not loved, an expression of repentance and a solicitation for forgiveness. candles must be what they are supposed to be, bearers of light and understanding.

a lone grasshopper alighted by the side of a shiny black van. she is quiet and still. much of this day should be as she is. holy and honest and just living life and celebrating death as naturally as possible ...

Friday, November 05, 2010

the dicky betts' coffee club

way back in college i developed this passion for coffee. brewed coffee. i remember that i only started with instant coffee before. i drank coffee especially during those times when i had to "burn the midnight oil" to finish my piled up school work believing in that oft-repeated reminder that coffee will keep you awake long hours. well, to tell the truth, instant coffee did not keep me awake long hours. it's my determination to finish the assignments that kept me up.

i think my love for brewed coffee started during that one afternoon after school when my friend freddie, knowing i don't have classes anymore, invited me to go with him to the Rizal Park which was just a few blocks from our school. we were to practice some taichi. this is an old chinese slow exercise that we were trying to learn. shadow-boxing, you might call it that way. the books say this exercise is both beneficial to the body and to the mind. this helps to attune both to the finer, subtle vibrations of being. after our awkward attempts at it, we decided to call it quits and proceeded to the nearby breakwater where the sea fronts the park.

before we sat by the breakwater wall my friend whisked me to a nearby food kiosk.

" i know you love to drink coffee, have you ever tasted brewed coffee? " freddie asked me. he did not wait for my answer. i know the look on my face said it all. he ordered 2 cups. i looked up at the menu list. brewed coffee -- 15 pesos. i mentally counted the money i have. this is out of my daily budget. i will have to skip one of my rides home to fund this. but i have to humor my friend, and besides, the aroma of the coffee is already beguiling my senses. this was long before any starbucks or any other cafe shop can be imagined to sprout in this country. now, a comparable order for the one we just had costs about 110 pesos on the average.

with steaming cups of coffee in our fists we scurried back to sit on top of the breakwater wall. the famous luneta sunset was beginning to showcase her splendor. it was exhilarating to look at the sea. without any obstructions. just its vast expanse and over at the horizon it seemingly melds itself into the yell0w-orange-red of the sky. it seemed the setting sun was slowly dancing her way to plunge into the depths of the sea. to cool herself. the sun, she was performing her own taichi before us.

my first sip of brewed coffee? Heaven! the smell was unforgettable, the richness, the flavor, was exquisite. it was black. you can't see the bottom of the cup. if you tilt the cup towards the sun, you can see its yellow-orange-red disc reflected on the surface of this wonderful black brew. i decided this will not be my last visit here. i will gladly sacrifice a few miles of walking towards home just so i can relive this. there's no way i can ask my parents to increase my daily school budget.

and so, the dicky betts' coffee club was born. with only one member. me. well, i named my club dicky betts because it was during those times when my friends and i were all agog over the guitar work of dicky betts of the allman brothers band. the song was -- in memory of elizabeth reed.

sitting there, freddie and i discussed things about life. about this wonderful way of life called mysticism, which our small band of friends managed to discover starting in high school and on into college, and will definitely be on into up to the twilight of our lives. mysticism. it is said there are built in natural laws which govern existence. if one lives by these natural laws, one will be in total harmony with everything. it is said the paramount duty of man is to realize that he is not just this body alone. the real man is deep inside each of us. this is the lesson being taught by the Great Masters. we are individualized sparks of Light. to be full man is to know the real Man. we all must go inside our selves. to know the real Self is to know the meaning of Life.

to savor great coffee, one must not drink instant coffee. one must experience it being brewed, inhale its aroma, see the black liquid slowly being extracted from the ground beans, dropping taichi-like into the coffee bowl. every precious drop embodying all that true coffee stands for.

one must brew one's Self to find one's True Life . .

*** rizal park photo by neysa saguid copyright@2010

Thursday, November 04, 2010

the hazy moon

it was just a couple of days after the latest typhoon had passed, i was walking toward where i usually get my ride for work. it was about 9:30 pm. i happened to look upwards to the sky. i was surprised to see this full yellow disc up there. the moon. it had been a long time since i gazed at her. and a full moon at that. well, she's not that bright this time. she was hazy. still, she stirred emotions within me. you might call it dramatic, poetic, aesthetic, or even romantic, but the full moon never fails to rouse the inner self. hers is a far different light from the sun where of course she gets her light from. she is, we might say, a borrower of light. but, the thing is, this borrowed light becomes transformed, becomes her own.

i realized it was not her actually that lost her brilliance. it was the clouds that gave her that hazy aura. the storm clouds were still up there. lingering. the moon without these clouds will still be the same brilliant moon. suddenly, one of the teachings my Master said came to mind -- that we as individuals have been blessed with our own inner lights. each of us has our own individual spark of the Great Infinite, and it is our duty to nurture this wonderful glow and let it shine forth in our every act, every minute, every second, of our life so that other individuals will be benefited also and will be inspired to do the same.

this is brotherhood. the sharing of Light, of Life, of Love.

now, unlike the moon, we are not borrowers of light. we are all part of the Great Light. and, unlike the moon, which does not create the clouds that diminish her glow, we are the ones that create our own storm clouds through the hurtful acts, the negative acts that we do, towards fellow beings, towards Mother Nature. these hurtful, irresponsible acts pile up, one of top of another like those thick, storm clouds, and obscure our inner lights.

and so, how to resolve this? well, the Master taught, be responsible for every deed, every act. be conscious if actions will be hurtful or not. go inside yourself. know your inner being. connect with that Great Spark within you. realize that this is just One Life, One Love, One Light.

of course this will take great effort. but, if i remember right, it was the character, don Juan, in one of the books Carlos Castaneda wrote, who said, "Freedom is expensive but it's price is not impossible."

i gazed at the moon again. she is still hazy, but, judging from the way the storm clouds are dispersing away from her, i am positive the wind above is slowly picking up momentum to sweep them away so the moon can be viewed in all her soothing glory.

i can't wait. i don't want to be late for work.

the moon is a borrower of light. we are not.