Wednesday, November 30, 2011

life disturbing

yesterday i went to buy some fresh bean curds at the public market near our house.  it's already 7:00 am in the morning and as usual the market was already teeming with people.  vendors and buyers alike were all very alive.  haggling over prices and then of course there were the usual debates over the quality of the goods.  even i tried hard to haggle over the price of the bean curd. the girl vendor offered them at 3 pieces per 10 pesos.  i informed her i was able to get them at 7 pieces for 20 pesos the other day.  the girl displayed a disbelieving face. she smiled and told me the price has always been 3-for-10.  i argued i always buy here at the same marketplace.  finally, we agreed that if i buy 40 pesos worth then she'll give me an extra piece.  so i happily walked away with thirteen pieces of fresh bean curd squares.  these will see me through a week's meals.

i was walking past the market security outpost when i overheard this announcement by a lady officer.  she was speaking through a bullhorn and her voiced boomed loud enough to soar above the proverbial marketplace noise and the street traffic.


wow! i said to myself. it's 7:30 now so the boy's been separated from his parents for more than three hours. it's amazing that they have not returned immediately to pick him up.  i went near the outpost to catch a glimpse of him.  his eyes were a bit puffy and reddened obviously from so much crying.  he's quiet now, busy munching a piece of bread and sipping soda that the lady guards gave him.  their description of him was perfect except that he looked very untidy.  his white tee was really not white because it bore dirt and grime, his blue shorts were very dirty as well, and it's assured he had not changed clothes for some days. it appeared he really needs some good scrubbing.

my mind got disturbed looking at him.  i lingered by the outpost for a while.  the lady officer's voice boomed over the bullhorn again announcing this lost child.  the lady officers waited.  the child waited.  i waited. our eyes were eagerly scanning all directions.  we were all in prayerful anticipation.

no one came to claim him.

the little boy pursed his lips.  he was about to cry again.  it's been thirty minutes since i stood by the outpost.

i turned around and walked towards the direction of my home.  i'll be home soon.

i don't know about the little boy.  i just hope someone will come get him.  i've read a lot of stories of children getting abandoned by impoverished, irresponsible parents.  life is really disturbing.

at a distance as i walked, i once more heard the lady's voice over the bullhorn.  well, the day's still early.  the boy's been at the outpost for just about four hours.  his parents might just be looking at the wrong place.  they will come soon.

i hope.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

weight watching

i was able to go home early from work the other day.  i thought of giving myself some respite by dropping by to the nearest mall.  many times, i found that a fine way of de-stressing is to amuse oneself with the material opulence that the mall displays. lots of stores inside, offering a variety of goods that promise of bodily comfort and aggrandizement.  soothing to the body, soothing to the ego. that is, if one will be able to afford them.  anyways, visiting the mall is always a good way of making oneself current because one can physically see the latest products that are being advertised. 

this time, however, what stopped me and caught my attention were the people inside the mall's physical fitness center. i was passing by the center when one of its sales agents handed me a brochure detailing their latest physical program offers.  even outside, one can see some of the people who have already enrolled and are enjoying the center's facilities.

i watched them.  every one so preoccupied with the exercise regimen they enrolled in.  some were on the stationary bikes.  others were on the tread mills.  still others were on the various exercise machines. pushing, pulling.  perspiring, sweating heavily, panting, gasping at precious breath, burning unwanted fats and calories.  the target is to tone the body, to tune the body.  to bring down the weight to the desired limit.  to be healthy again. or, to extend the state of health that they are now blessed with. 

i stared at them all and immediately the reminder of my Master came to mind -- we must strive to keep the body fit, to be always at the best of health.  the sole purpose of prolonging our lives is to be able to have more time to contemplate the Infinite, to achieve full realization of our True Self.  being born in a human body is a great gift from the Infinite because it is only in this form that we are allowed the opportunity to know our True Being. being gifted with a human incarnation allows us to be a citizen of the inner worlds.  to focus the consciousness inward, to know the Real Self, to realize what is Eternal, Unchanging, Unending.  thus, to watch the weight, to be healthy, just to prolong one's enjoyment of the physical, ever changing world, just to be able to focus our attention to the outside worlds, defeats the purpose of having good health.

as i watched them, i also realized this other thing.  there is another weight that we must bear watching. and we must be equally diligent on this.  we must always watch the weight of our words, the weight of our opinions.  so many times we have been so careless. we forget that our words and opinions bear weight. words have power.  when used carelessly, they can hurt, they can pull down others to the abyss of despair, they can invoke unhappiness and bitterness,  they can bring darkness. 

 and so we must be careful and diligent. 

we must be weight watchers.  but,

we must do it right. 

always, we must strive to be light, 
and, we must become Light..

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

snowie the tailless

he was, in their dog community, the laughing stock.  he knows the reason why.  he was born without a tail.  that's why they called him snowie the tailless.  he often wondered why.  his father and his mother and his sister have beautiful tails.  he knows there are kinds of dogs that really have short tails but he belongs to the kind that should have beautiful furry tails.

when he was a puppy this did not mean much to him. in fact, he thought, this had made him special and more adorable than his sister.  he enjoyed the attention given him especially by people who could not resist cuddling him  and poking at his behind trying to locate his missing tail.  when he grew up he was surprised that the other dogs are making a big deal out of this.  he still get special attention as he went around but this time he felt this as rather much of a mockery or disdain or pity even.  many of the dogs distanced  themselves from him.  they don't want to be seen in his company.  it's as if his being tailless makes him less of a dog than them.  even his people friends now think that he looks so funny.  he is now a clown to them not the cute puppy he was once before.

yet, he is not sad nor embittered by this.  he knows the Infinite loves him as much as It loves the other dogs.  he believes there is a reason for his being tailless.  he just smiled at those that openly ridiculed him and made fun of him.

now, there is in the neighborhood this other dog. he is big and handsome and has this long hairy tail that he proudly curls up and his brown fur is shiny and he is so strong and he is the envy of the other dogs. i don't know what they call him but he is quite popular. he is actually considered something like a royalty.  this is probably the reason why this dog turned  up to be so egotistical, if i may say so, and a bully.  he is mean and short-tempered.  he always expects other dogs to kowtow to him in meek submission.  thus, whenever he is walking about in the neighborhood, he is always accompanied by other dogs servile to him, and other dogs always scamper to every other direction just so they may not cross paths with him and his coterie.

so there was this instance when snowie the tailless crossed path with handsome dog and his cohorts.  snowie was of course aware of handsome dog's reputation.  he wanted to backtrack as other dogs do.  yet, there was this feeling within him that he does not need to.  he is not in any way interfering with handsome dog's business.  so he proceeded on his way.  handsome dog and his gang were surprised and stunned at snowie's disrespect.  immediately, he snarled at snowie as his gang surrounded him.

"i don't like your show of disrespect," he blurted at snowie in his booming voice, "you should have chosen to turn back!"  he fixed his glaring eyes at snowie knowing full well that this never fails to elicit fear in dog' hearts.

"i'm sorry, sir." answered snowie trying very hard not to show the trepidation welling in him.  instinctively he felt this twitching in his back muscles so that he can tuck in his tail between his legs as a sign of fear. yet, much as his back muscles were voluntarily trying to do so, he can't do it. there was no tail to tuck in between his legs!  so he did this other thing that surprised him as well. he met handsome dog's fierce eyes with his own fixed gaze hoping his eyes will not betray his fear. he steadied his beating heart and composed himself. he masked his fear by contorting his face in a snarl mirroring handsome dog's who's face is within inches away. he can actually feel the hotness of his breath.

"go ahead! turn back!" handsome dog commanded and glared at snowie more fiercely than ever. yet, he saw this dog was not budging an inch. and this dog was actually returning his gaze and his snarl with an equal ferocity.  he looked at snowie's behind. there is a small clump of hair at this dog's back.  he's sure it's sort of a tail but definitely it's not tucked in. this dog does not fear him at all!  doubt crept in his heart.  for the first time, he met a dog that did not cower in fear of him and his  cohorts.  lesser dogs should have tucked their tails between their legs and should have scampered away.  but this one is tough.  this one looks prepared to engage him in a fight if he goes ahead as to lift a paw at him.  this tailless dog does not breath heavily as other scared dogs do.  handsome dog realized he never really experienced any actual dog fights before!  other dogs run away before any actual fight happens.  handsome dog looked at his gang.  they were equally amazed how snowie had stood his ground against their boss.  handsome dog felt a slight twitch of muscle behind him.  much as he willed against it, this twitch somehow made him lose his control of his upright tail and it sagged by his hind legs.  he is experiencing fear for the first time.

"okay, i'll forgive you this time," handsome dog finally said, "but, next time we cross paths again, there will be no mercy.." the way handsome dog muttered this line, it's not actually being said to snowie, he is directing this to his gang, trying to save face.  "let's go!" he boomed and walked past snowie who stood transfixed not wanting to move.  snowie was also more than surprised.  as the other dogs filed past him, they looked at him in admiration.  snowie knows this day will change every thing for him.

yes, i know this is just a dog's tale (pun intended).  yet,  i also know that sometime in our lives we have experienced this. there were times when we have discovered inadequacies in us that eroded our confidence in our selves and in our abilities. 

and yet, like snowie, we need to trust the Infinite and its Love. 

there is a reason for every thing.

we must always remember, there will always be handsome dogs that will come our way, who will bully us and try to strike fear in us, but we must overcome fear and self-doubt,

we must know our real Self,

the real Self will never ever be inadequate.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

when i found this road

when i found this road
with it's narrow path
i said to myself
that i will not pass
though the signboards say
that it leads to where
all my joys i'll find
where i'll finally stay.

my heart said to me
you should pass this way
just believe the words 
that the signboards say
this is where you'd find
all the joys you seek
this is where you'll have everlasting peace.

the Old Sages and Masters always remind us -- go inside!

seek within, find thy Self.

this is where all roads lead . . .

Friday, November 04, 2011

firefly people

just a couple of weeks back my daughter sent a text message to me.  she's coming home late at night from school and she wanted me to wait for her by the village gate.  we always fetch her.  either my wife or i, every time she comes home late nights.  we don't want her walking alone from village gate towards home. there've been several reports of people getting held up even inside the village premises.

it had just stopped raining. there's a storm a-brewing and rains and winds come intermittently.  it's almost 11:00 in the evening.  i sat by the cemented steps of a nearby store overlooking the street just outside the village gate.  the sky above is hazy and you could not see even the nearest star.  there's a slight drizzle and the wind is trying to make up its mind whether to blow gently or roughly.  i amused myself trying to make out the night sounds i'm hearing, whether they were frogs or night lizards or night birds perhaps? 

i did not wait long.  a jeepney stopped by and my daughter alighted from it.  i stood up and waited for her as she crossed the street.  she smiled at  me and hooked her right arm on my left arm.  we marched lazily up towards the village gate.  all of a sudden, electric power was cut off..  all of the street lights were off.  it was very dark. we stood unmoving and tried to get ourselves accustomed to the blackness. 

"father, look!" my daughter exclaimed.  she nudged me and directed my attention towards the empty lot just in front of where we stood.  i squinted my eyes a bit and fixed my gaze to where she pointed.  instantly i saw what she saw.

"fireflies!" i said, "lots of them."

they were beautiful against the blackness that surrounded us. little pinpoints of light. dimming then brightening in rhythmic abandon.  pinpoints of light in dance.  teasing the darkness that suddenly engulfed us. darkness that cannot extinguish their little lights.  darkness that actually intensified their glow!

"it's been so long since i last saw these many fireflies." i confessed to my daughter.  she was listening, i know, but she was focused more on enjoying this impromptu dance of lights.

and then, just as suddenly, electric power was restored, the street lamps came on again and the blackness was subdued.  the show was over.  we slowly marched forward towards home.

before i went to sleep, i relived that brief moment. 

i realized there are firefly people. and they are in our midst.  living with us.  and many of them might not know it themselves. that they are firefly people.

they are the ones that have this inner glow, this inner light. that on occasions when we find ourselves mired in blackness or swimming in darkness, utterly lost, misdirected, they come forth.  some knowingly, many others unknowingly.  their inner glow, their inner lights suddenly getting magnified against the blackness. and their glow beckons to us, gives us joy, hope, strength, fortitude, direction and guides us through the blackness or darkness till we are able to step back into the light. into finding our own inner lights. and just like the fireflies, once light is restored,  they just fade out silently.  even us, we often never realize that we've been helped. 

so we never are able to show gratitude.  i believe that the best way to show thankfulness is to become a firefly person our-self.  on occasions of darkness or blackness, let us try to show our inner glow, our inner light, the best way we can.

then, soon as darkness is dispelled, and light is restored,

fade away silently ...  just like a regular firefly.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"why are you giving away that jacket?"

"why are you giving away that jacket?" the wife asked.

"well, it's because it's just there lying sadly in the closet, unused.  i found someone who has better use for it." i answered.

she understood.

a jacket becomes a jacket only if it's worn and serves it's purpose of giving warmth and bodily protection.  come to think of it, a thing becomes the real thing only when it is able to express its utility. 

so i gave it to a friend.  he was elated.

"this is real nice of you," he said approvingly while fitting the jacket, "i surely need this.  i'm driving a motorbike and this will protect me.  its bright colors will help other motorists see me better especially at night.  during rainy days, its water repellant material will prevent me from getting wet."  he gave me a huge thank you smile.

i realized this is also the very reason why i write.

sometimes i have this song in my heart, this poem in my gut, this story in my head.  i feel i have to write them down and send them over vast distances of internet space.  i am hoping that somewhere, somehow, these things i write will connect with someone.  and this someone will find some sort of comfort or solace or possibly a germ of an inspiration and enable him or her to live better in his or her part of the universe even just for a short while.  even for just that reading moment.

we should never hesitate to give away a spare jacket. 


we should never hesitate to write down thoughts in our head.  we should never hesitate to express what we feel be it in a poem, in a song, in a painting, in a photograph, in a dance, or in any other medium of communication. 

we should never hesitate to try

to communicate.