Sunday, February 27, 2011

without fanfare

just this saturday i was able to meet a friend after about two years of not seeing each other. it was i who lost contact. yet, as always the case, he found me. he always connects with me especially in my difficult periods.

come, he texted me on my mobile phone, you are deep into the dark night. let me help you.

it was i who lost contact for 2 years. he is a brother to me. and he has always been a spiritual mentor. we have met in high school and together with some kindred souls sought the path of mysticism. he is our driving force. encouraging us to keep on, always reminding us never to waver from this path of Self-knowledge. and he is my living proof of how humility, patience, perseverance, and dedication on this path will bear fruit. he is a spiritual giant. he is to me the epitome of service and love for humanity. not just on the physical or the material plane but more so on the spiritual plane. he had patiently guided a lot of us in the work of Self-realization. it is through him that i was able to meet my Master, my spiritual guide.

Service. this is his keyword. service to others. to  humanity. he always says, The fruits of Self-knowledge must impact others. without service to one's fellowmen, Self-realization is useless.

however much one had known Life, Light, and Love, one must share the knowledge so that others may also be led to this ultimate work of evolving the consciousness. we are all Divine. others must be guided towards this remembrance of true self-hood.

my friend, i will not name him. last saturday, again, he had helped me. again, he has my gratitude.

he will be like the sunlight, the moonbeam, the rain, the air i breathe, the blood coursing through my veins. working silently. without fanfare. not expecting anything in return.

just serving others. in the name of Light, Love, Life, the Infinite, the Divine.

last saturday,  i heard him speak to a group of people he is helping on the spiritual path. his eyes were bright. his words powerful and true. his whole being is radiating love and joy and peace. and i remembered him quoting what my Master had always quoted before when we are being reminded of service to others --

love thy Father God with all thy soul, with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and love thy neighbor as thyself.

before i left he looked me over and he smiled. i shook my friend's hand in silent thanks. i left with peace again in my heart.

once in our lifetime we will meet people like him. a true friend. one that never forgets.
we must treasure this friendship. and, we must recompense love with love. we must do to others what was done to us.

we must in our own little way render service too, to others,

especially in the divine work of Self-realization.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

back to the past

hah! you guessed right, i'm now facing the future. thus, the title, my back is toward the past now. i cannot undo things that i did. if ever there were mistakes, lots of them, i can no longer turn back time. my only consolation is this sufi saying -- "learn to behave from those who cannot". yes, if i was not able to behave well in the past, surely i should be able to behave well now. this is the value of retrospection. of remembering. things you were not able to do well before, you should be able to do well now.

one learns from the past. one must.

we must admit, in our youth, our tendency is to hurry. seemed liked we never could wait with the things that we can do with our life. we are enamored with adventure. and so we do things with so much haste, and very often, with so little love. and as they say, haste makes waste. and therefore, many times, we find ourselves confronted with mistakes, errors, pains, inconveniences, sorrows. not just ours, but others' as well, those whom we have been in contact with. those whose lives we have touched.

we ask for forgiveness. we say "i'm sorry". and we rejoice much for being forgiven. for being understood as rash, because we are young. we are glad others see our point of view -- that the world is out there for us to discover and conquer. so we plunge head on again. once more in haste.

youth is forgetful. we commit the same mistakes again. we hurt others again. we ask for more forgiveness. once more we are forgiven. this could be the reason why they said "youth is wasted on the young". yet, i believe, this is the grand design of Life. learning, evolving, and finally, remembering.

remembering our true identities. we are not these physical selves that age and weaken and die. the physical world is not the world that needs conquering. we need to realize that existence that is beyond this material world where we wasted our youth on. we are divine sparks and we are eternal.

young men must learn to turn their backs to the future. learn to face the past. and discover the lessons of lived life. they must know that they will not be forever young. they must know how to live a life of love.

old men must learn to turn their backs to the past. learn to face the future and remember to carry discovered lessons of lived life. they must know that they will not be forever old. they should know now that each forthcoming moment is a moment of love.
youth and old age have both an ending.

 remembrance is the key. remembrance is knowing who we truly are.

 Life Intertwined

the lazy water silently made its way
across the dusty river bank
carelessly toying 
with the dried-up leaves and broken twigs
it had carried, creating
little eddies by the side.
the waterlily sits unruffled
unmindful of the passing water
and who knows
maybe of the passing time.
a little dragonfly, brightly colored and beautiful,
cautiously alighted on the waterlily.
i threw a pebble on the water
it made bubbles and little waves
which rocked the waterlily
and drove the dragonfly!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

back to the future

as i was rummaging through my old journals i came across this old page. it was a self-portrait, a sketch i did when i was 24. i smiled secretly realizing how i managed to capture myself, a youthful me. hair in tangles, unshaven. if i remember right, i did this just after a very tough day at work. i came home feeling so tired, so spent. i think i tried to draw myself just to have a record of that very day. how my inner eyes see the outer me in the mirror. nowadays, if you need to  keep a record of how you look on a certain moment, you can take a quick snapshot of yourself using your mobile phone's camera or even a your handy digital camera. oh, how life had changed!

even if it's not a photograph of myself, what's important is that this image had made me turn my back to the future. yes, back to the future. i know, i know, there is this famous film of the same title, but, when i say this, i meant differently. i am saying:  i am facing my past. so, my back is to the future. i am retrospecting.

how did i fare in life? now, that i'm beyond this 24-year old man? am i successful? am i a failure? was i able to achieve the goals i set during that time?
i want to keep my answers for myself.

honestly speaking, for me, the real measure of success is a state of being that is happy and at peace.

this, i realized:  the divine spark that drew that image years back  is the same divine spark that is typing this blog now. the physical self had changed. yes. no more hair that will get tangled, no more mustache, those eyes, they are now hiding behind  eyeglasses. yet, the inner man, the True Self had not aged. it is ageless. and it had remained a lover of the Infinite, it is continually trying to live a divine life. it will ever desire to be with the Love Unchanging, the Love Unbending ...

another page in my old journal has this sonnet i was blessed enough to write --

 july 24, 1982
now comes again the count of time, my own,
the years that had already fleeted by,
since i Sweet Life's pulsating pulse have known
and deemed to pursue it's beatings; till i
arrive at where the palpitations end
and into Stillness creep back once more,
or, perhaps not end, but beat on, to blend
with other pulsations of deeper core;
it is now twenty-four, my years, the years
that i've lived Life, and still the pulse i feel
just as before, so unchanged; the ear hears
the same enchanting song, the soothing trill
of birds invisible, the melody
that perhaps i'll hear through all eternity.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


it was an early morning and it was my day off. i woke up early, fried some leftover rice and cooked my usual vegetarian meal, fried bean curd and some sauteed vegetables. i was advised that to get complete nourishment from my vegetarian diet i need at least prepare four colors with my vegetables. of course, this has not always been the case, i can only cook what is available at the moment. i thank the Infinite that although i am not able to follow this, i can generally say i'm in the pink of health.

my daughter woke up early too. she has to do some early morning photo shoot. she wants the sun's rays cascading through our window as part of her prop. ah, creative people, they find ways to manipulate things to fit their artistic needs.

"Papa, i need to cook a dish. my assignment is food photography." she excitedly told me.
 "what dish are you cooking?" i asked.
 "omelet," she replied, "it has to be colorful and it should look delectable in the photo."
 "okay." i surrendered the kitchen to her. anyway, i'm done with my own cooking.

i went on to do some other house chores. at the corner of my eye, i secretly watched her as she prepared her ingredients. i cannot help but smile. cannot help but go back in time when she was just a toddler. unsure of her steps. needing assistance. needing my guidance or her mom's. now she is a young adult confidently cutting up her veggies and sauteing ingredients for her artsy omelet. pretty soon, i heard her beating up the eggs and then the sizzle of the oil as the beaten eggs were ladled unto the frying pan. after a minute i heard her cry out.

 "help! i cannot turn the fried egg over." i can see her struggling with the rounded, yellowish sheet of fried egg on the pan. she had already sprinkled the cooked ingredients on top of it. now the fried eggs need to be folded over these ingredients then turned over to complete the omelet.  i hurried over to her side.

 "look," i explained,"you're rushing it, that's why you're finding it difficult to fold the eggs and turn it over. wait until it has fully set." i waited a couple of seconds more to let the egg sheet to set. then i carefully folded it over the colorful food mix she sprinkled on top of it. after this, showed her how to turn it over. she smiled as she watched me do this. i'm not a cook myself but i have to look good doing this. i believe i was able to do it convincingly. she thanked me and assured me she'd be able to do it next time.

soon, i saw her busily shooting her photographs. she had arranged the dish on the dining table, complete with her other props. the sun's rays were just in time too as they started to cascade in from the window beside the dining table. she'll be able to hurdle this food photography assignment successfully.

photo by neysa saguid 2011
 ah, omelet.

i thought to myself -- most often, we are like this. so confident of ourselves. so sure. so cocky. so we go headlong with our adventures. with our escapades. everything is planned. and then, without any warning, Life takes a different turn. unprepared for this, we are lost. we panic. and we find ourselves getting more lost. problem is, most times, our Ego does not want to accept this. that we have committed a mistake, a miscalculation. that with all the knowledge we have, the experiences we have accumulated, the material accouterments we have amassed, we can still make errors, that we can still make plans that miscarry.

times like these, we have to cry out. we have to recognize our inadequacy. we have to be humble and ask for help. we have to listen to our inner Man, that part of us which is Divine, that part of us which is perfect. that part of us which is humble, which knows that no matter how we plan it, Life will still put us to test.

it is a requirement to be Reliant, to be Confident, as the Old Sages had advised,
this must emanate from the True Self, that divine spark within us all ..

photo by neysa saguid 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

loving time, celebrating love

it is  loving time again for me
as this heart has fully coped with sadness
the mind has once more awakened
the eyes regained clear sight;

as it looked around to see
it caught a glimpse of You.
once more, strange quivers roused the heart
and made it smile anew;

the secret smile that only lovers know
the heart has wished it sooner be

You'd smile the secret smile with me. 

----- photo by neysa saguid

Friday, February 11, 2011

thinking love, finding love

february, they say is the love month. specifically, february 14, which is designated as valentine's day. it was named after an early christian martyr, saint valentine. this is celebrated annually and was set to commemorate love and affection among lovers. a day when lovers express their love for each other through gifts, special cards, letters. it is a day associated with romantic love.

i don't know if other countries celebrate february 14 if not, perhaps, according to their tradition,  they might have designated a different date for this. well, anyway, the thing is there is this special day when love is supposed to be the paramount thought in everyone's mind. but of course there will be always two sides to a coin --

for those who have loved, and won, this special day is a happy occasion;
for those who have loved, and lost, this special day is a  sad affair.

this special day is always a remembrance. of magical moments of love. when one was afforded the opportunity to share one's body, mind, and spirit, with another individual. intimately. to have been able to create a bond, albeit, at  times, just momentarily. to have been able to be recognized as a very special person, a unique individual. and also to be able to exercise that same recognition towards another.

for some, these precious moments might have lasted for just a short period of time;
for others, these moments could stlll be enduring till now, being refreshed day after day after day.

one cannot deny it, love is a powerful force. it inspires, it consumes, it cripples, it soars, it collapses. it makes one become a genius, it makes another demented.

 love is a smile.
 love is a tear.
 love is a gift.

love between individuals is what they make of it. it is something like a seed that is planted between two persons. the seed takes root, a fragile plant sprouts up, and it is now left to these two people whether the plant will grow or will die.

as for me, i was blessed enough to have met an individual whom to share this kind of love with. and l want to thank my Master for giving me this blessing. we have been through a lot like most lovers do.and i can say our love plant has been nurtured well. this february 14, she is far from me physically but she is of course here with me in my remembrances. i know, i am not different with other persons who have experienced this kind of love. we will be remembering magic moments.

in fact, on this special day, i have already planned what i'll be doing. i'll bring out my guitar and in my croaky voice sing the song i was blessed enough to compose for her --

don't anybody stop the rain 
from falling down margarita's hair
let the gentle raindrops fall
and settle down her head so fair;
let their pureness wash her
let their coldness touch her
but don't anybody stop the rain
from falling down margarita's hair;

let her know how you love her,
let her know how much you miss her,
and tell her how just like the rain
you'd love to be on margarita's hair
yes, tell her how just like the rain
you'd love to kiss
margarita's hair.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

old school and a death of a tree

i remember a few months back, at work, there was this sudden lapse of calls coming in. for us call center agents it was a luxury that we, of course, most welcome. it means some precious free time to do some other things. we came to serve but the chance of service is only there if someone will call to seek assistance. during this lull, most of my teammates took the chance to catch up on each one's activities through our team chat. i don't have much special activity to share with my life so i just read the personal news they shared on the chat. a couple of minutes later, with a desire to break the monotony of just reading friends' personal escapades, i started to mechanically type the following on the team chat:

i think that i shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree, a tree whose hungry mouth is prest, against the earth's sweet, flowing breast; a tree that looks at God all day, who lifts her leafy arms to pray, a tree that may in summer wear, a nest of robins in her hair; upon whose bosom snow has lain, who intimately lives with rain, poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.

there was immediate reaction after i posted this. most of my teammates recognized the poem but they could not place it. and most were actually amazed why i still remembered this. of course i should! why shouldn't i? i was equally amazed that they have not committed this joyce kilmer poem to memory. why shouldn't they? for me, this is one of the greatest poems ever written for God and His Creation. one of them even teasingly told me. "that was old school!".

OLD SCHOOL? i know, most times, when young people tell this to older people, they speak with haughtiness. they are condescending. it's as if things of the past are much inferior to what's going on with them at the present -- be it music, art, science, religion. but what about their NEW SCHOOL? personally, with their new science and their religion, i only find something like a building upon the foundations of the old school, a rewording or a re-cloaking to fit the needs of the times, to make them contemporary. it is in terms of their music and their art that one can readily observe a vast difference. now, one easily will find much angst, anger, violence, sex, and much negativity. in my humble opinion, these will not serve this new generation, this new school, any, towards the expression, the march, of Selfhood and Divinity. these tie down this new generation to the glorification of the body and its materialistic leanings.

they must be reminded: we are not our physical bodies. these vehicles die and rot and turn to dust. there is this other aspect of the individual that transcend physical death, and go on being. this is our aspect that needs to be glorified. this is our True Self and This is Divine. realizing this brings one to the path of perfect happiness and profound peace. the Old Sages has been reminding this since time immemorial.

our True Divine Self is as old as Eternity. indeed, our True Divine Self is old school!

now, let me share two pictures:

 i took the picture of the tree on the very left of the image just two weeks ago as it had turned its leaves orange-red in preparation to shedding them just as it wont to do at this time of the season. it is celebrating its "treeness". its life. the other trees beside it seem to
be green with envy? ha, ha, pardon the pun. this tree's leaves are the ones that old pedro, the street sweeper, patiently sweeps every day in front of our house before he got "fired". this tree, she is always majestic and proud in her own way.

and then, just one  recent morning, imagine my surprise, and then my sadness, upon arriving from work to discover this scene at the right picture. some young people thought that this proud tree's limbs will be good to fuel their fires. they were impatient. they could not wait for her branches to dry and fall to the ground as they periodically do. they haughtily, mercilessly, cut them off, definitely when no one was in the vicinity.  it is a sad, treacherous act.

i really don't know if she'll die. her roots are still firmly entrenched beneath the earth. i am still fiercely hoping that she will be able to revitalize herself and live again. i've seen trees do this. i've been counting the days now. every time i return from work, i inspect her, hoping to see a hint of a fragile, new branch shooting out from her outstretched "arms".

i can only hope. 

in my mind i keep repeating ....


Thursday, February 03, 2011

two houses of conflict

after work i suddenly felt so exhausted, so spent. i felt i was so soaked up listening to all of the troubles other people were experiencing. this call center job is difficult in a different way. i was walking on my way to where i get my ride home when i remembered what my friend jess mentioned to me when we last met. he had said he found a great way of unwinding after a stressful day at work. he said he went to a church, on an ordinary day, not a sunday, when there were few people present, and just stayed there for a while. he said he felt so relieved, relaxed, after that visit.

i decided to defer going home and instead went back to the catholic church beside my office building. it was a wednesday. there was no mass being held and only a handful of people were there.  i entered the church and sat down. although the church was built beside the highway, still the sounds of the passing vehicles seem to be muffled inside it. the place is generally quiet. i just sat down and let go. jess was right. there was this unmistakable feeling of warmth and peace that immediately enveloped me. perhaps it was this strange silence inside this church. or perhaps this enforced silence on my part, not conversing with anyone, might have refocused my mind. i was just there. not praying. just looking around. at the altar, at the people inside.some were kneeling, heads bowed in fervent prayer. some were standing beside their favorite saint's statue obviously petitioning the saint for some favors or some help. looking at these statues and the earnest and hopeful look in the faces of these devotees, one can't help but be convinced that there really is this connection between patron saints and devotees, that there is this benevolent power that can alleviate these people's troubles. that can grant petitions, take away worries, dispel uncertainties, relieve suffering.

i closed my eyes and tried to go inside my inner self. i remembered what my Master said, "even if you forget me, I will not forget you. I will be always with you helping you with all  of your troubles." i sat there silent. just like the other devotees. and a soothing calm came over me. the stress was gone. there was this lightness of feeling. i did not petition for anything. i just went inside and sought the inner man. each of us is Divine. Divinity is our true being. but this thought is always being forgotten. foreshadowed  by the more alluring thoughts of the mundane world. that's why it was advised that one must set aside a portion of the 24 hours of each day towards refocusing to this remembrance of one's divinity.

the building where i am working in is a house of conflict. there we are paid to listen to other peoples' troubles, issues, and concerns about particular services they are paying for and resolve them within the scope of the means and tools given us. these are generally mundane problems. one gets to listen to and address lots of these and soon one gets soaked up too with these. one becomes uptight as well. one becomes wrapped up in conflict too. that's what had happened to me. they say when you leave the building don't carry other peoples' troubles that you've heard with you. easier said than done.
the church where i went to is another house of conflict. this time, this is where you listen to your own troubles, issues, uncertainties, worries. this is where you try to get these resolved. this is where you try to unburden these to a statue, petition to be heard, and with fervent prayer ask to be granted favorable resolution. or, this is where you seek your inner man, your divine spark, to commune with your own divinity. to be at peace with one's true self. to be away from the worries of the mundane world. to be Divine.

Old Sages say you don't need a physical building to be able to exercise your divinity. one just need to go inside one's self. one, so to speak, is his own church.

man deserves to be always happy. truly, perfectly happy.

a happy man is a man devoid of conflict.

of the 24 hours of each day, one must go to church. the church within himself.