Sunday, December 23, 2012

dwelling in silence .. existing ... being ....

i am having intermittent internet service these past weeks and i am not able to visit the web much as i want to.  i was therefore given the opportunity to "dwell in silence".  far from the pleasures the web affords, i had time to dwell on myself more.  sitting in silence, i was able to introspect. to meditate. to focus on communing with the inner me.

 i sought the inner pleasure of finding more about my real self,  the one that is intangible, that will outlast the ravages of Time; whose voice will not become hoarse as it sings praises to the One; whose fingers will not become numb and arthritic as they glide over the fretboard of the mystic guitar; whose ear will not tire listening to the sound of Silence; whose eye will not lose sight of the Radiance of the Source.

i found affirmation to pursue this Life that was given me. to use the remaining time of this existence to know more the real Self.

i will be like the snail i met on the road one night while walking towards the jeepney stop.  i will be courageous with Life as that snail is. purposeful. determined to run the course. to cross Life's road.  the snail is risking all to cross that road that night.  i will not be surprised if the following morning it got crushed by the vehicles plying that road.  to those hurrying night drivers, the snail might have been something just like an unmoving stone.

i will be also like that solitary, browned leaf on the tree beside that road, which fell from its branch that night as well.  it rode the gentle wind and submissively fell to the ground to meet its shadow.  it followed its Life's course.  it completed its journey.

i will continue to dwell in silence.  to exist, and then to Be ...

Thursday, November 22, 2012


i'm supposed to be sleeping since i have to go to work this evening. i'm on what we call the graveyard shift. work begins at 1:00 am but i need to leave home at about 11 pm.  so i need to sleep in the daytime to prepare myself.

but i can't find sleep.  the wife is away at work. we'll not be able to see each other much this week and the coming week.  she just texted  via her mobile phone she's not feeling fine. she said she's thinking she might have caught the flu.  tired, she said.  yet, she can't rest much. she's with her bosses. i told her to take it easy. we're not getting younger.  hope she gets better soon as possible.

last november 17, we marked our twenty-two years of being together.  i realized time has really flown so fast.  these years were of course with its ups and downs.  but. we managed it and we hope to manage it for the ensuing years.  i know, my simple living did not grant her any substantial things --  not a beautiful house; not a fat bank account; there was a second-hand car that we  were able to enjoy for a while but was not able to claim back from the car repair shop when it broke down.

i'd like to thank her for sticking it out with me.  for appreciating my crude music. my attempt at poetry.  my laziness.  my not being able to become rich. my not keeping up with the Joneses.

for this 22nd year of bearing with me, i'd like to share with her this beautiful song.  this is from one of my favorite guitarists of all time, wes montgomery.  wes entitled it i've grown accustomed to her face.

wes' notes brought tears to my eyes.  what i cannot say in words, wes' notes is saying for me ...

thank you for being with me ...

pieces of us

 i was on my way home from work. i chanced to drop by the supermarket to buy some fresh bean curd and vegetables from the mall's supermarket for the ensuing week.

i ascended the escalator and as i got off i noticed this small pink object at the escalator's landing.  it was the right half of a little girl's sandals.  i stopped to check if someone will be coming back to retrieve it.  minutes had passed and no one returned. i imagined the little one might have gotten tired and asked to be carried. that's when she dropped her right sandal and not any of her companions had noticed.  i imagined she might have looked back. she might have called the attention of her companions but they were so engrossed with their business at the mall. or, they might have thought that, well, it's just an old sandal and not worth looking for or retrieving. 

we are as this little one.  we leave pieces of ourselves behind. every day. every minute of our lives. we leave something behind. some are worth looking back at or returning for, some we'd like to discard and altogether forget. yet, we know these pieces are part of us and we cannot totally disengage.  most of these are in our deepest memories,  in our mind's eye.  most pieces of us that we'd like to discard are those that brought pain and inconveniences and failures. and yet, come to think of it, these pieces of us were the ones that brought the greatest lessons in life.  as we go on the journey towards self-discovery, towards what that great sage, don juan matus,  referred to as "totality of Self", we find pieces of our jigsaw puzzle self.  we'd like to think that some pieces do not fit, so we just let them go.

 yet, like this little girl"s sandals, without the right half, what will be the use of the left half?


we are, as we march through Life's journey, finding our true identity.  our true purpose.  our true selves.

we cannot deny some pieces of us that we find undesirable. we have to accept all we discover about ourselves,

so we can find our

true totality. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


when she disclosed that her boyfriend is going to barcelona for something like a few year's working stint there, immediately, our office mates, even i, teased her about it.  we reminded her how barcelona is in sunny spain.  home of beautiful spanish senoritas with fluttering eyelashes and long, shapely legs, and wavy, ebony tresses and slim hips that sway rhythmically along with the mesmerizing cadence of castanets. she  got teased that her boyfriend will definitely find a lovely senorita to replace her.

she took these teasing all in stride. smiling rather confidently. but in time, she became quiet and i believe the teasing has gotten into her.  who would not be?  between the philippines and barcelona is a vast physical distance, and several years of physical separation really will weigh a lot between lovers.

well, love is best when it is able to pass tests.

love must pass the test of constancy or inconstancy. lovers being apart in place and time will test the bond of love. the two hearts must be strong, must be constant, must not waver.  when one heart succumbs then love will fail.  love must have an anchor. love must have a nest. it must have a home to return to.

of course, lovers must anticipate weaknesses.  and indiscretions.  yet, if love is true and strong, heart should rebound and realize the mistake after falling to moments of forgetfulness.  it should remember, and cleanse itself and return to its rightful nest.  to the other heart that awaits it and complements it and makes it  whole.

true,  great love does not impose conditions. true, great  love accepts but most every time it gives.

true, great love can move away, yet it should return .. and even with more intensity and fondness ..

"dad,"  she asked me,"will you blog about this?"
 "of course," i replied,"i will."

looking at her worried eyes, i was tempted to tell her that this particular occasion will be a test of their love and she should welcome this; this will prove how strong their bond is. how constant their hearts are. yet, i did not tell her.

their hearts will instinctively know.

barcelona is in sunny spain. it has its lovely maidens and enticing staccato of castanets and romantic spanish guitars.  if this other heart will move there, it should return later after it completes its sojourn,

it should find that its true, sunny barcelona is right here, in the philippines, in this young woman's heart  ....

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

the hunter failed the hunt

my wife had already left after our late lunch. i decided to bide my time at the mall. i was so full with the delicious vegetarian dish i ate i deemed it necessary for me to walk around a bit till the bloated feeling subsided.

well, this mall is already preparing for the christmas holidays. lots of decorations are already in place. enticements in very conspicuous places. reminders to shoppers about forthcoming sales. wow! i can't deny i was not affected by these various calls to part with my hard earned money.  i had to go inside several stores to look at the advertised wares.  i'll wait till december to decide if i really need them.

i got tired of window shopping so i propped myself in one of the two-seater corner tables in the mall's fastfood area.  i  took out the latest book i bought from my favorite book sematary and read on.  this was the plague dogs by richard adams.  i'm just in the early pages but having read adams' watership down i know i'd be well rewarded again by this excellent author.

a young lady occupied a seat by the other table beside mine. she looked worried. agitated. she was perspiring and kept fanning herself despite the air-conditioning. she was obviously waiting for someone.  a short while later, a young man seated beside the young lady. they exchanged hurried hellos.  the young man was more agitated. he has this forlorn, dejected look in his face.  he unzipped his backpack and pulled out a plastic document case and placed it on the table. the lady fidgeted on the document case and opened it.  the man cupped his head between his hands not saying anything and looked sadly at the papers his companion was now examining.  they guy let his head droop further down towards the papers until his forehead touched them.

"but, they told you to come back tomorrow, didn't they?"  the lady blurted, " didn't they?"

 i did not hear any reply from the young man.  his head's still resting on the document case and papers on the table.  i snuck an immediate side glance.  both were not minding my being near them.  i saw the guy was silently weeping.   the lady was aware of this and tried to lift the guy's head upward, gently, lovingly.

 the lady asked again, " didn't they?"

"yes," it was a very faint answer from the guy, "i really don't know now what to do. can't seem to get them to hire me.  i passed the written exam."  he wiped the wetness in his eyes with the paper towel he pulled from somewhere beneath the papers that remained inside the plastic case. "that damn interview though. that interviewer. can't seem to please her."  he was explaining to himself not to his companion.  his head drooped forward again and rested on the papers.  he was no longer weeping.  " i really don't know what to do. what to say ... " his voice was begging for compassion.

"but, they told you to come back tomorrow, didn't they?" the young lady asked a third time.

"yes."  the guy gathered his papers on the table and shuffled them. he placed them back inside the plastic case.

"then,"  the young lady smiled a sweet smile to her young companion,"it means they have not totally rejected you.  you have to go back tomorrow!"

she has this wide-eyed expression of hope on her face. a pleading look. an enticing warmth on her words of encouragement. not very unlike those forceful sale come-ons i just came across while window shopping some time ago.  the young man wiped the remaining wetness in his face and eyes again.  he smiled back.

they both stood up and walked towards the escalator.  i followed the two with my eyes.  as the escalator ascended  i saw them hold hands.

 i know it is a strong grip. of assurance. of hope. of support.  of faith, that the next morning will be different.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the great storyteller

i was there standing at the bus station waiting for a ride home. facing the sun, i did not move away. i wanted to savor its glorious heat.  working on a night shift, one needs to take advantage of the morning sunlight.  it is said sunlight is a good source of  vitamin c. 

it was about 10 in the morning but the sun's warmth is comforting.  i squinted my eyes and peripherally looked at this amazing disc of life.  i wondered how long she will last. how many generations more of earth life will she sustain. amazing, indeed! saint francis of assisi called it Brother Sun.  well, thanks so very much for life, brother sun!

there were others in that bus stop.  there were this group of very young people.  judging from the way they dressed and looked they were part of the city's young vagrants.  they just chose this bus stop to while the time away. horsing around.  i am saddened at this sight. young lives wasting away.  time slipping by and yet these young lives are somehow going to what direction, i wonder?  where are their parents?  why are they not at school? 

horsing around. this is what they do. i looked at them. one looked back at me and extended an open palm and contorted her face to approximate a forlorn face.  begging me for a coin or two.  yet, my heart is hard this time and i did not give any.  realizing i am not falling for her sad face she closed her hand and formed a fist instead and smiled mockingly at me.  she turned her attention to her group. one of them, a boy of about thirteen, had somehow captivated this young audience.  he is regaling them with his stories and the other five were really so engrossed except for the girl who tried to beg from me. she listened with an incredulous face.  all of a sudden, she pinched the storyteller hard on the boy's left forearm. 

" OUCH !!! "  the boy shouted in alarm and rained curses and expletives on the girl.  he even raised a fist at her that made the girl to scamper away.

" that's for telling us those tall tales, " she shouted back, " your "Ouch" is the only truth you mentioned this morning! "

while on the bus home i thought of what the girl had said.  it's true.  many times we are lost in words.  when we communicate we tend to rain words on the person we are communicating with.  we flood them with unnecessary things.  what could be said in two or three words, we try to say in twenty.  most times, this tendency for verbiage  causes miscommunication and misinterpretation.

this is why i'm ending this story now.  something might be lost in translation ...

Friday, October 05, 2012

our houses

"what is your address?"

"where do you live?  where is your house located?"

i was at the mall biding my time away when i happened to pass by this booth.  there is this company which is recruiting  people for jobs. i stopped by and read the posters on their bulletin board.  job vacancies. 

there was a young man seated near where i stood and he was undergoing some sort of preliminary interview.  the questions above were from the young lady who was conducting the interview.  i surmised the young man was not able to answer properly the first question so the lady had to rephrase it.  the young man was obviously nervous.  he kept fidgeting in his seat.  i'm guessing this was his first interview or he is desperately in need of the job.  this has always been this way with me.  i become nervous when i'm doing a thing for the very first time or when i'm desperate to get the thing done. i silently wished the young man good luck on his job hunting and walked away.  they say during these job interviews, it is always best to leave a good first impression on the interviewer.  well, by the looks of it, the young man might not leave a good one this time. but, he'll learn.  they also say the surest way to learn to do a thing right is to do it many times over.

i was sipping coffee when the above questions hit me again --"what is your address?" "where do you live?  where is your house located?"   i answered these mentally. gave my complete address including the zip code.  i even added my house phone number automatically.  all of a sudden, these flashed from a corner of my mind -- house of Dior,  house of Yves Saint Laurent, house of the seven gables, the house of Usher, house of the Rising Sun -- i don't know why these came up.

i sipped my cold coffee and turned these over my mind.  houses can have names too, i concluded.  and houses can have reputations too.  the house of Dior and YSL are prestigious fashion houses.  the houses of the seven gables and of usher were made famous in the works of nathaniel hawthorne and edgar allan poe respectively.  the house of the rising sun was in that popular song by that english rock band the animals and yet it was said this was originally a traditional folk ballad whose authorship was uncertain.

so, again, i asked myself, "what is your address?" "where do you live?  where is your house located?"

this is what i answered:  i live inside my body. so my house is my body.  the house of sito.  it is located where i am.  right now, i am inside this mall.  this house of sito is not famous nor is it infamous. it is a simple house.  it is where i am hoping the Infinite will dwell always.  it is where i find solace, peace, music, and light.

my house. it will not last long, i know, but the one that resides in it will, and will carry its memories, its lessons. and so this house must always feel right, feel good, feel homey.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

" a driver's prayer "

it was a rainy night on my way to work just last week. i managed to sit behind the bus driver.  he was in great spirits and he was humming a song to himself even if the radio was on.  the raindrops kept on pounding on the windshield and the windshield wiper was so busy clearing the water away.  the wet, cemented highway was glistening ahead. a black snake with a white stripe running in its middle.  at times, its skin gets spotted with the glint of the white and yellow and red flashes of the other vehicles' headlights and tail lights. very distracting.

our bus weaved in and out of lanes.  there were lots of other vehicles but the driver does not seem to mind. he was a master weaver. i know he's doing this because he was feeling he was in a competition. he wants to beat the other buses in picking up passengers.  yes, there were several times he came dangerously close to two cars and another bus trying to overtake him, yet, he just smiled when he heard the angry tooting of their horns.  he actually tooted back.

above his head, pasted on the rear view mirror, was this poster --

a driver's prayer

grant me, o Lord,
a steady hand, a watchful eye,
and a strong foot,
that no one shall be hurt as i pass by ..

the poster does not acknowledge who wrote this prayer so i have surmised that this was written by that "great" writer, Anonymous!  well, i have to give it to Anonymous.  he or she or they had made our driver so confident.  yet, i know a prayer does not a safe trip guarantee. nor, a steady hand, a watchful eye, and a strong foot.  it is often said -- " an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure " -- this is also true with driving.  one diminishes the chance of an accident or a disaster from happening by not courting it in the first place.  and yet, on the other hand, i know also that it's been said and has been proven that those who take great risks are also those who meet great successes.

so, i guess, i cannot fault mr. driver.  his "weaving" in and out of traffic is a debatable issue. whether good or bad..  for those who were hurrying to get to where they were going his risk taking was an advantage. for those who were concerned with arriving in one piece, his driving was a cause of worry.

during my rest period at work i thought of the matter again. i realized in this great highway we call Life we are all drivers too.  we are all in a journey.  

many times this highway will allow us smooth driving. the sun is up.  or, the moon is up, the way well lighted. the day or the night is excellent.  the road is clear of obstructions, every other fellow driver is in the correct lane,  all traffic rules are in place. and we just sit back and relax and enjoy the soothing breeze as it caresses us.  

now, there will be times, as well, when this highway will be like a glistening, slippery,  black snake with a white stripe running its middle, and splotches of yellow and white and red marks on its scaly skin, that will distract us as we navigate its great length.  the ride will be bumpy, scary, dangerous even.  we have to be aware of everything. most especially of fellow drivers.  we are all trying to get to something, to somewhere. and we all hope to arrive where we aspire to be. there will be zooming in and zooming out of lanes.  there will be weaving everywhere.  some will be master weavers, most will be mediocre ones.  

well, we just need to be confident with our own skills.  it will not hurt to recite the driver's prayer above but i suggest that we pay extra attention to Anonymous' last line --

that no one shall be hurt as i pass by ..

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

a september to remember for always .. 9/11

this was when scenes which we have concocted only in our movie minds became horrible reality ..
this was when the lust for power and  allegiance for blind faith caused so much grief and so much suffering and so much hatred ..
this was when the best in men and the beast in men came to the fore,
(depending on which side you are on ...)

may i  repost this little poem i wrote during those times --

two towers, two faiths,
each one seeking dominance --

thus, innocents died.

much had happened since then and retributions have been made.  they say these had restored the balance of things. but, can we be truly sure?

again, this is a reminder from one of my favorite singers and poets ..


we are men. we are sentient beings. life is not just to be lived.  

life must be earned.  

life must be learned.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

has cupid ran out of arrows?

on my way back home from work, a couple of days ago, on the bus ride, i managed to get a seat behind four people. three were female and the fourth was male. he obviously was gay.  to me he even appeared more girlish than the others. i guessed they were in their middle twenties. there were only a handful of us passengers on this early morning bus ride and although these young people were a bit rowdy and noisy, the rest of us did not mind. 

i knew they just came from a late night party since i can overhear them recalling the events of that time. at one point in their conversation the word "reunion" popped up and i surmised it was a reunion party they came from.  i could not force myself not to listen to them since they were conversing very loudly and animatedly.  i tried to close my eyes to grab some sleep but i can't. well, their talk was mostly about what had happened to them and their classmates after graduating from school.  i heard names mentioned of classmates who are now doing well and leading rich lives. of those who were fortunate to leave the country and was able to settle successfully in foreign lands. also, of those who were able to go abroad but unfortunately found worst.  i heard a name or two of those who died young.  the four of them, i heard they were all settled with nice-paying, steady jobs and they are satisfied with the way their lives are going, except for one thing --

all four of them had not found a steady partner!

alternately, i heard their summarized love stories.  all experienced great beginnings, then the relationships started to sputter and eventually fail.  all of four of them blamed their partners for the demise of love. most of the failed relationships pointed the reason to be that their partners did not manage to sustain the energy of the great starts.  they never blamed themselves.  well, i told myself silently, i am just hearing one side of the story.  it could be the other way around. of the four of them, it was the gay male that appeared more devastated.  he kept on sobbing at one point and one of girls hugged him. he might be coming from just a recent love breakdown again ...

they all got off the bus and i finally was able to grab a thirty-minute sleep before the bus reached my stop.

at home, i immediately rummaged through my poems cause i remembered something i wrote way back when i myself wondered if ever i shall find love ..

the poem went like so ---

heart knows when time is ripe for loving
for it shall pulsate with all its vibrant energies
it shall summon the kisses of butterflies on flowers
and sing the songs of countless love-starved bees;

it shall borrow the golden glow
of the moon and the stars at night
and seek to wear the sun's silver cloak
glistening, glittering, full-bright;

heart patiently awaits for cupid's arrow to pierce it straight
for time is now, its palpitations so dictate
it must be done, it must not be late,

before the songs die
before the night the lights slowly suffocate! 

at home i sat and thought. there is this other Love which the Masters and the Sages always enjoin us to rediscover.  this is the Love of the Creator for the created.  this is the Love that is all-enduring, all-encompassing, unending, unyielding, unconditional, unfettered, undiminishing. this is the Love that is not blind.  this is the Love that is True.  we already have this within us all.  it is just that in our pursuit of love in the level of this material plane of existence, we forgot.

we are in an ever changing world. on this earth plane everything is not constant.  we need to let Cupid pierce our hearts with his arrow of True Love.  for,

only True Love will remain.

Monday, August 13, 2012

water ... everywhere

well, it's been said somewhere that we are, technically, water people, because a bigger percentage of our physical constitution consists of the water element.  even at the onset, when we are inside our mother's womb, we are practically, enveloped in water.  so, we must be comfortable with this element.

and yet, just this early week of august, we here in this beautiful country of ours, the philippines, had been tested by this very element, water.  unceasing rain for more than 10 days.  the weather bureau noted that the volume of water that fell for the first 3 days were actually what  is supposed to fall for the entire month of august! 

during these early days of august, the skies were perennially grey and downcast.  that glorious light, the sun, remained hidden, or, in hiding..  so rain fell. and the land got saturated with the water element.  the drainage system for most places failed and so large areas got flooded. some were ankle-deep, some waist-deep, and some were so flooded that only the roofs of houses were visible.  a great many of us were inconvenienced.  well, this is another grim reminder from the Infinite.  Mother Nature can express herself in so many ways and we must always be prepared. 

many families from the affected areas were evacuated.  of course, everyone rallied to help these families. in our own small ways, we helped. contributing small sums of money, offering prayers to the gods, donating used clothes, etc., many volunteered for actual service, augmenting the personnel resources of big foundations which spearheaded the drive to help these stricken people.  in  these times of need, the philippines produced lots of supermen and aquamen.  superheroes all which do not need superpowers.  just that firm and sincere resolve to help the countrymen.  they do not need their names to be bandied about or splashed across newspapers. they are the silent ones.  a warm smile, a comforting handshake, or a tight hug, is all they need to be recompensed. 

after this, when the sun is brightly shining once more, i'd be expecting lots of finger-pointing again.  concerned public officials and organizations will be passing/putting the blame on anybody else.  why did the drainage system fail again?  how did the roads got inundated once more?  how did landslides happen again?  why did people who are  supposed to have been relocated away from danger areas still were found to be inhabiting these prohibited zones?

during the summer months, people were regaled by the seemingly unrelenting "improvement work" in almost every street, in almost every location.  and yet, when the waters came falling down, almost every "improvement work" was found wanting.  this early week of august proved this -- "improvement works" did not improve anything.  people who have been entrusted for these kind of work should learn well from the silent supermen and aquamen i mentioned above.  work should be sincere and honest and effective.

water is a difficult element to master. we are part water.  our tears are water. 

our tears must not add to the water we now see, everywhere ...

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

high rise

it's been some time since i was able to visit this blog.  i must admit there was this seeming lull in my mind's meanderings. there were lots of thoughts and feelings and impressions but there is no "push" to compel me to write.  they say this really happens. i don't want to force myself to write. i know if i do it then things will not come up sounding honest.  while getting one's thoughts, feelings, and impressions written down, one must have that exhilarating and liberating feeling of release, a "birthing" process, so to speak for the mind's meanderings.

there must be joy while writing the mind stuff, an equal gladness as when one is already reading the words that "birthed" those ideas in the mind.

we've moved office.  the management found it necessary to go to a better business district.  they are following the old adage "birds of the same feather flock together".  if you want more money, you have to go to where money is the primary item.  like attracts like, as they, the business-minded, the money experts, often say.

yet, this is not about money. this is about me suddenly finding myself holding office in a building more than 30-storeys high.  i was asked to find my niche in the 17th floor, a far cry from the 5th floor spot i was accustomed to at the former place.

after about a week, we are all settled in the new building.  now, there was this time, probably the first saturday in the new place, when i managed to get a seat very near the building's glass walls overlooking the world outside.  it was about 2 am and it was still very dark outside. the thick glass wall does not even permit one to see the lights of the other neighboring edifices.  i had to press my face against the cold glass and cup my hands by the side of my face to be able to glimpse the world outside.  looking at the lighted offices from the buildings opposite us, i know we were not the only ones doing business at this unholy hour.  when i looked below, i can see the pinpoints of light from vehicles worming their way to an early traffic. these images evoked in me a feeling of sadness. this darkness.  this cold night. there's not much work on hand so i became a bit sleepy.

after about an hour, i noticed this faint orange glow as i stared on the plate glass.  it was an orange ribbon of light against that blackness.  morning is breaking forth.  the sun is slowly moving up. dawn ...  it was beautiful to behold.  that glorious light, minute-by-minute stretching its carpet over the horizon. orange, then a bit yellow, then golden, the buildings' silhouettes appearing, the blackness slowly diminishing, greying, surrendering to the light.  and that light, sunlight, expressing itself, drawing the curtain of night, claiming its dominion over this phase of time, turning gracefully to silver, then white, oh glittering white. revelation follows, the objects of the outside world starting to be seen. i gazed at the sky. it is blue. the clouds are for now just faint wisps of cotton. sailing silently. their gentle dance betrays the wind that blows.  i no longer need to press my face against the plate glass. everything is clear. even the spears of white sunlight had pierced the glass and pierced me as well. i can see my gray shadow seated on the carpeted floor of the office.  i stood up and looked down below. i can see the vehicles now. and the trees and the greenery. and the houses of the adjoining residential village. i can see the streets and the sidewalks. and on those sidewalks i can see little dots moving in all directions. hurrying. trying to beat time. little dots. people on their way to their appointments of this day. from where i stand i see them. little dots, little people, little lives. and yet i know, if i go down there and mingle with them, these will become big lives, some will be gigantic lives even.

i looked at the vast panorama sweeping before me. behind one of the tallest buildings peeked the sun majestic. light that binds us all.  immediately this sudden remembrance came to mind. the old masters and sages had said -- once one is able to rise to the consciousness of the Infinite, one will be afforded the True View of Life. one will be able to see the True Nature of Existence. i thought to myself, if this 17th-storey view of life awed me at this time, what more if i am able to rise to that level of consciousness that the Sages have referred to?

they say that highest view of Life is attainable and this is what every one must strive for. when one gets this Clear View, then one will have arrived. one will know. one will understand. one can say with conviction that there is just One Life.

the masters and sages have tried to describe the nature of this Life -- Sat-Chit-Ananda.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

walt whitman's questions

there's not so much my mind can meander about during these past weeks. i  just tried to sort things out for myself. after work, at home, after tinkering with the new guitar and the ukulele, i just idly sat by and let time pass before me.

tried to introvert. or introspect. or go inside. within me. tried to go to the core of being.

the Old Masters and Sages often tell -- happiness is within.  pure happiness is within.

i endeavored to seek this inner joy.  unadulterated joy not caused by outward influences but emanating from the real Self. from a communion with one's true identity. one must spend time to do this.  one must devote time..  one must

we must.

one bleak, dreary, rainy, wet day just this past week, i sat alone in my humble little house.  i instinctively opened my copy of walt whitman's masterpiece, leaves of grass.  my eyes focused on a particular section in one of his poems there.  the poem is titled a song for occupations.  the lines were these --

why what have you thought of yourself?
is it you then that thought yourself less?
is it you that thought the President greater than you?
or the rich better off than you? or the educated wiser than you?

(because you are greasy and pimpled, or were once drunk,
or a thief,
or that you are diseased, or rheumatic, or a prostitute,
or from frivolity or impotence, or that you are no scholar
and never saw your name in print,
do you give in that you are any less immortal?)

i pondered over these, walt's questions, and they made me feel good when i honestly tried to answer these questions.  they made me smile inwardly.  and made me feel confident.

and on that day, that bleak, dreary, rainy, wet day, i felt assured

i am not any less immortal.

the day within me is fine. is warm. is bright. is cheerful.

i am not any less immortal.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

parting with an old friend, ..goodbye dear guitar

just the early week of june, one of the bigger musical instrument stores here celebrated it's founding anniversary.  prices for all instruments on sale were slashed for as much as 50% off the regular price. upon knowing this, daughter and i immediately rushed to the place.  this is one opportunity we surely don't want to miss. 

it has been months now when she took a fancy towards learning to play the ukelele and she was really urging me to buy her one. when i visited the different stores, i found that a ukulele is almost priced as a regular guitar and some even are priced higher. i told my daughter i'd defer buying her one till i am able to afford a respectable piece. i don't want to gift her a so-so instrument.  it is not that often that she asks me for something and i'd like her to own a very good uke, one that she'd surely cherish and enjoy.

so there, the Infinite had answered my prayers thru this store's anniversary sale.  i was able to buy the ukelele i wanted for my daughter at 40% off the regular price. problem is, since i was able to save and thus has this extra money on me, i couldn't help but look at the other instruments.  my eyes just couldn't come off this beautiful, steel-stringed guitar lying just by itself by the corner of the store. i picked it up and wrapped it in my arms. i caressed its fretboard and smelled the fresh aroma of wood and paint and thinner and varnish.  just fresh from the guitar factory.  50% off!  i slid my thumb over the six glistening steel strings.  i heard the crisp sound vibrations of steel against the firmness of the flesh of my fingers as i plucked each string. hmmmm!! 

i closed my eyes. i saw my daughter's old guitar in my mind's eye.  i saw it's old body decorated with the graffiti written by her classmates one time she took it to school with her. i saw the colorful stick-on designs she had pasted on it.  i heard the old guitar's voice in my inner ears.  i saw the marks of my fingers and my daughter's fingers on its worn-out fretboard.  i saw the cracks in its seams.  it is a very dear friend. an old friend. and i recognized it is tired. it needs rest.  and this is the best time to retire her.

i hugged the new guitar and went to the cashier.  my daughter and i will have to establish new friendships now. with the ukelele and with the new guitar.  the old guitar, our dear friend will retire, but the music will still be there. 

the music is within us ....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

a poet's lament

spontaneously my songs have floated
flowed freely from my heart
songs that sing of countless joys,
songs that sing of myriad, dusty tears,
songs that glide over lusty, green plains;

they sang of comforting drops of rain,
of twinkling stars, of bubbly brooks,
of the working man's sweat,
of irresistible liquor's aroma,
of women's enchanting embraces, kisses;

yet, still, i feel too unfulfilled,
for they've remained tucked away, silent,
in the pages of an aging notebook,
unknown, unheard, by many a reader
who longs to be assured he's not alone!

and this, i know, is what a poem must be --
an assurance --
that though we are of different continents,
of diverse tongues, colors, creeds;
our navels are intertwined
our souls are connected
as the beads of a religious' rosary
as the links of a prisoner's chains.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

that big, red, beautiful umbrella

ah, the cycles of life! 

in my part of the world, may, the fifth month, is considered the peak of summer. and yet, i'm wondering now whether indeed our world had changed, for rains had come early at the onset of this fifth month. well, although this is unexpected, this is a welcome respite from the scorching heat of the past months.   i am caught off-guard, though, by the early rains,  because i still have not completed my planned roof repairs. anyway, i shall have to schedule the repairs when the day is not wet.  procrastination, this is a lesson i have time and again failed to learn.  i've kept on putting off these repair activities and now i am scrambling for an opportune time to do these.

ah, the playfulness of life!

there was this instance when my daughter was going out to run an errand for her mom at the nearest mall.  while she was about to leave, i noticed that grey, rain-filled clouds had amassed overhead.  i immediately cautioned her about this.  she assured me she had noticed the clouds too and that she was prepared.  she showed me the beautiful, big, red umbrella she was carrying.  i smiled and motioned her to go ahead with her mission for her mom.  just a few minutes after she had closed the gates behind her, the heavy, angry raindrops started falling down.  pretty soon, i heard the gates being opened again. i peered out the window.  it was my daughter hurrying back.

"father," she called, "this umbrella's going to get me wet! why, it has lots of leaks.  can you hand me our black umbrella instead?"

i handed the black umbrella over to her.  she opened it up and let the hard rains drop and slide over its water-resistant spread.  satisfied that there were no leaks this time. she proceeded out the gate again.

while watching her walk away, i had this sudden thought in my head about life's playfulness with us.  i  have many times experienced this -- i have convinced myself that nothing will go wrong, that i have considered all and have covered all and even had chosen the best means available to insure the task at hand will turn out right, and congratulated myself in advance for doing great --

and then, it happens, like this big, red, beautiful umbrella, life shows me the loopholes, the leaks, in my plans, and gets me wet and brings redness in my face for my premature celebration. 

ah, the playfulness of life! but, we have to carry on ...

Monday, May 07, 2012

the song from the birdcage

my day off again from work.  the wife noticed the piled up leaf droppings on our roof and cajoled me to gather them up and clean the roof and gutters.

 it is summer, but as we always experience it here, the fifth month is always tricky. next thing you know, from out of the summer heat, the rain clouds, without any warnings, will come, so gray looking, so heavy with rain, and soon one finds, raindrops falling, hard and mighty, like angry bursts of gunfire peppering one's rusty roof., as if trying to immediately obliterate the summer heat; like a berserk, frustrated painter, just pawing his canvas with unplanned colors being unable to find an image in his mind's eye and just decided to go ahead and paint just for the motions of it.

so i climbed the tree beside our house and went up to the roof. i braved the heat of the summer sun. armed with a broom and several large plastic bags i went about sweeping the roof and collecting the dropped leaves.  i said to myself this leaf gathering will ever continue so long as this mighty avocado tree stands here beside the house.  my brother and i had already planned on getting this tree cut down but it had grown so tall that the guys we hired to cut it down had only managed to trim it of branches and lopped off its top.  they reasoned their ropes and gear are not dependable enough to manage its weight if its great trunk is cut off. they required us to buy bigger rope sizes which up to now we have not done.

but this is not about the avocado tree. while i was cleaning, i heard this beautiful bird song. it was long and shrill and melodious. i stared around, looked up to the branches of the tree. i did not see any bird. the song went on and i listened attentively.until the song died down. i was tying up the plastic garbage bags filled with leaves i gathered when the twittering came up again. it is just a solo. no other bird sounds echoed it. i looked around again.

then i saw her. the bird. the warbler.  she was inside a birdcage. our neighbor had purchased a bird and he nailed her birdcage on the stump of the tree branch beside their veranda.  she was small and yellowish. i don't know what kind of bird she is but she twits so nicely.  she flits back and forth from the wires of her birdcage.  i know she can see the swaying branches and twigs and leaves of the tree just a few inches outside her cage but she will never be able to alight or play on them.

i thought, she might be singing of freedom.  a longing to be outside of her cage and be able to jump from branch to branch. to fly much longer or higher than the 30 or so inches of space that her cage now allows. but she wont be able to.

or perhaps, she might be singing an assurance to me not to worry that although she is caged she is happy and free inwardly. 

i know this is possible. i've read of accounts of persons who have been incarcerated and during the time of their confinement was able to confront themselves, to realize their true selves, to learn to go inside themselves and find their true worth, and was able to soar to higher consciousness despite the physical limitations. they found a different freedom.

the Masters and Sages always remind us of this -- that when we find that we are encaged birds, we must not despair.  that we must go deep within ourselves to find our true worth and be able to sing the true song of freedom --

the song of the Inner Man, the song of the Infinite, the Song Divine.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

i found animal farm in the book sematary

last week i was able to drop by my favorite second hand book store which i fondly call the book sematary.  this is where i spend my free time rummaging through their second hand book shelves for titles that i longed to have in my possession.  a lot of people now are turning in their hardbound and paperback copies since they have already these electronic copies which do not occupy physical space.  so there is really a great chance of getting physical copies of books at very, very reduced prices.  of course, many of these books are well-worn, but for me, this condition adds more to the value of the books knowing fairly well that, like good soldiers, these have served their purpose.

well, i was lucky to find these great titles at the book sematary for only seventeen pesos each -- fantastic mr fox by roald dahl, the picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde, and animal farm by george orwell.  their regular prices at the book stores range from two hundred fifty to three hundred pesos.  i was particularly elated to find animal farm because this will complement that other book i have by mr. orwell, 1984

at home, i immediately immersed myself reading animal farm.  i guessed it took me a total of 24 hours to finish this.  basically, the story is about a revolt by the animals on a farm and their taking over the responsibility of maintaining it and its businesses.  it was the only farm owned and managed by animals.  and the animals hoped that what they did in their farm will catch on and inspire other animals in other farms to stage their own revolutions.

this is a great satire and i must admit, for me, this is a precursor to orwell's 1984, which is his excellent commentary on human bondage and man's inherent quest for freedom.  i greatly admire orwell's deep understanding of our foibles and weaknesses, most especially greed or avarice, and how this drives us to disunity and failure.  in animal farm, orwell showcased layers of animal society.  the pigs, owing to their, superior intelligence, immediately and automatically, were designated the leaders, supervisors, administrators, and planners for the farm.  they regaled the other animals with their eloquence, their command of words, their power of persuasion, so that they were bequeathed these positions of power. of course, they promised of equality and prosperity and good life for everyone. yet, this was easier said than done.  the pigs succumbed to their character weaknesses much as we humans do.

in the final paragraphs of the novel, the other animals of the farm, sad, dejected, frustrated, helplessly looked as the pigs and humans partied and schemed.  orwell wrote --

"no question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs.  the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

this was written between november 1943 and february 1944.  much time had passed since then. many revolutions in many parts of the world had taken place. some failed, some succeeded.  in the philippines alone, we have had two successful peaceful change of leadership and authority. yet, for me, in my humble observation, orwell's words still ring true.  nothing much had changed.  the mass of us still longs for equality and good life. 

eloquence will not do much. only sincere, honest, good governance and concrete deeds will. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

if you want to see beautiful fried eggs ..

another fine morning. for me, at least, as far as i am concerned.

 it  was my rest day from work and i got up early ahead of my wife and daughter. i thought it best to impress them this time so i prepared breakfast.  went to the bakery  and bought freshly baked bread.  back at home, i fried the leftover rice, cut several bean curd squares for me and fried them as well to a crisp golden brown.  fixed the dip for these -- two spoonfuls of vinegar, one spoonful of soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar.  for my two ladies, i knew they'd be okay with eggs fried sunny side up.

after i was done arranging the breakfast table, i proudly announced, "wake up, guys! breakfast's ready." the two ladies still looked drowsy as they sat.  the wife smiled thankfully at my initiative.  the daughter eyed my handiwork as chef.  after a short prayer of thanks to the Infinite, we started eating.

"what are these, dad?" the daughter smilingly asked.
"why, they are fried eggs, your favorite, sunny side up!" i boasted.
"hmmm, doesn't look like that to me," daughter said critically, "looks more like a cross between crepes or scrambled eggs."

i looked at the eggs again. i must admit she was right.  there was a side up but by no means was that sunny.  i knew what she meant. a sunny side up fried egg should look like two concentric circles, a big white one and a smaller yellow one right smack in the middle of the big white one.  the ones i did were not even close to a circle.  the edges were crisp and brown and overcooked like curled bacon when fried, the yellow was smudged over the white (i knew this happened when i struggled to turn over the eggs).  they were actually semi-circle or half-circle fried eggs.  well, immediately, that novice chef inside of me found these words of wisdom for my defense --

"daughter, if you want to see beautiful fried eggs you have to wake up early and do them yourself."  that said, i took a mouthful of the fried rice and the golden brown bean curd and coaxed my two ladies to try the bean curd and the amazing chinese-style dip i made.  i can only sense mysterious glances being exchanged between my two ladies.

now, i think there is really some nugget of wisdom from what i told my daughter over breakfast -- daughter, if you want to see beautiful fried eggs you have to wake up early and do them yourself.  

we must admit, for us all, most times, we rely on what others do, to get benefit from their skills -- cooking, farming, fishing, carpentry, singing, painting, accounting, laundering, etc.  this is because it is difficult to be a jack-of-all-trades. many times, though, even without any solicitation, we give our critiques or comments which are generally negative and full of dissatisfaction.  that is, without having made even a small effort to give thanks first for the service or services we received. 

i believe, in these instances where you are dissatisfied with a service you are getting, then the best thing is to learn the skill yourself, and do it yourself. in this case, one will be able to expend all efforts to realize that benchmark or ideal that one is seeing in his mind's eye. 

in our mind's eye, we always have this benchmark, this image, of how things need to be done. we use this to pass out judgments or critiques. we fail to realize that the ones doing the work have their own benchmarks or ideals as well that they tend to comply with. now, their benchmarks or ideals might not be the same as ours.  most importantly, they are doing these, sharing their expertise or skills, as a form of service.  even if we pay them, still, in general their sharing of their skills is a service to those who lack those skills.

and so,

we cannot let others exercise for us, if we want to have that toned body we want; we cannot let others sing that song the way we wanted it sung; the way we are hearing it inside our heads;  we cannot let others meditate for us and anticipate cosmic consciousness to dawn on us ..

we have to fry the eggs ourselves so we can get that satisfaction from that sunny side-up image we have conjured in our mind's eyes.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

who would not miss

there are times like this, moments, when one awakes with a very beautiful feeling.  like this morning. i awoke and i feel so light, so happy, so joyful.  the negativities of the previous day gone, or, momentarily unremembered. as i walked towards the bakery i am so aware of my surroundings --

i hear the bird's concerto, i know they're just there among the branches and leaves of the trees that i passed.  i playfully mimicked their twittering by whistling and i thought they answered back. and this old dog, looking so ancient with its emaciated body but still standing so bravely. he looked at me and i saw he's blind in both eyes, or probably just cataracts, for the eyes has whitened irises. yet i know, he enjoys this morning too.  the wind whispers; the green and brown leaves of the trees rustle,  one or two of the browned leaves fall in slow-motion, as if they are resisting leaving mother tree, but, it is now their time to kiss the ground;  the grass leaves that sprouted right in the cracks of the paved road sway gently; and, although it is already morning, up there in the blue sky, the moon is a three-fourth white orb, white as the irises of old dog.  at the bakery store, the owner handed me freshly baked bread, still hot from the oven, the aroma immediately arousing my stomach's juices.

at home, the table is set for breakfast, with wife and daughter, three white ceramic cups full of sweet-smelling hot coffee already prepared.  this will be a simple, hearty breakfast.  yes, i know, i know, this joy will soon pass.  life's concerns will again intrude upon me as it has done on the previous days. but still, i shall enjoy this moment.  i shall accept.  i will surrender.  henry david thoreau had said it, " to effect the quality of day is the highest of all arts .. ".

difficult, maybe, but i will always try to have a great day as much as the Infinite will allow ..

 a fine morning

who would not miss
such a fine morning as this
when many feathered friends 
sit on the bough sweetly singing,
and the goat's sons and daughters
are busily grazing;
while on my lawn, the dried grasses lie
awaiting the trumpet's call 
for Earth to them reclaim,
and on another corner
the ground gives way
to a sprouting seed
well-timed, welcoming
this merry, merry day!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

and now, to find work ...

and so, daughter and her batch mates had graduated. another fine young crop of highly skilled individuals added to the work force.  problem is, are there enough available jobs for them?  has not the papers shown that in our country many are unemployed or underemployed?  from time to time, as i browsed the internet, i also come across news from other parts of the globe that this problem of lack of jobs is also prevalent in other countries. in most third-world countries.  imagine my surprise when i came across the information that even in the mighty united states this is also happening now!

well, daughter and the rest of the young graduates must be prepared to job hunt.  they are skilled, they are educated.  they have the enthusiasm of youth, the verve, the gung-ho attitude, the wildness even, the hope, the positivity, and the keen sense of excitement to discover Life's other possibilities for them.

this early i am telling my daughter that university or college life is way much different from the work world.  way much different. i cannot elaborate, i cannot explain much. i just wanted her to anticipate that what she experienced as a student will not approximate the challenges of a working person.  of course, she is expected to use the skills she learned in school to hurdle the tests at work once she lands a job.

i remember the time after i graduated.  it was about two weeks after graduation.  i had already submitted a job application and was just waiting for the feedback from the employer.  even in those years, landing a job was very difficult.  i was lying on our sofa tinkering with my guitar trying to experiment on some combination of notes hoping to find a tune that may trigger a song composition.  a car stopped outside.  it was my uncle.  he instructed me to dress up.  he had a sure job for me.  he was bringing me to the factory he was working for.  i hurriedly dressed up and went with him.

it was a big factory.  indeed they were hiring but they needed somebody with some factory experience especially in machinery maintenance. although i am inexperienced, through my uncle's connections, i landed the job. the people at the factory treated me with antagonism and disrespect at the onset.  they knew i was a greenhorn. they knew i got in only because of connections.  so i had a lot of pressure on my shoulders.  i got challenged to prove my worth and also to make my uncle proud. and so inside the factory, i humbled myself, i always kept in mind that although i have a college diploma, still, i should not consider myself above most of the workers who had generally completed secondary education only or high school.  what they lacked in education, they made up by experience.  in my heart i knew they were once greenhorns like me and they also just learned inside the factory.  once again i became a student.  inside the factory i always kept this student frame of mind.  i always looked at every one as a possible mentor. day-by-day, as i interacted, i imbibed new lessons of factory life, of a working man's life.  one day one of the workers approached me and invited me to join them for a drinking joust after work.  right then, i felt i have been accepted.  although i held a supervisory position they knew that i was one of them now.  i spent many happy, fruitful, experienced-laden years in that factory till the day it had formally closed.  monetarily, i did not get much, but i learned much, of Life, of being a working man.

there was a time when we had a company magazine and i was asked to contribute an article.  below is that article i wrote way back august 1989.

on prayer and the power press

early morning, i come to work.  the factory had just opened.  the machines are still very quiet.  i fixed my gaze at the machinery area.  sunlight has stealthily crept in and has illuminated the vast work space.  it is easy to figure out the machine silhouettes.  they looked imposing against the sunlight.  ah, the power presses, i could easily recognize them any day even with half-closed eyes,  they are still sleeping at this time just as the other pieces of machinery do.  and yet, it will not be long before they all come to life.  just a flick of a switch, permitting that power called electricity, to flow through their metal limbs and animate them.  they will be menacingly productive, their familiar sounds filling the air.  alive. vibrating, from the smallest screw to the most sophisticated machine part.  of course, i shall be there, one of the men who will operate them, who will guide them through the day, to oversee that they do right, to be productive.  but then, on second thought, am i different from the smallest screw of this machine i am assigned to operate?  was it not that day in, day out, within the year, within many years, i have been upon this machine? so much so that i have known it and it has known me, silently?  ROUTINE.   my god! routine has reduced me to just another part of this machine!  for eight full hours, i keep on, struggling to be in constant rapport with every other part, so that without failure what is expected will be done.  and so, am i still different?  human?  yes, yes!  for one, i am capable of praying, praying like this:

o Infinite, another day has come. 
after the work-bell has sounded
 i shall be again as a machine myself.  
protect me, keep me from harm. 
ensure that i am always aware of what i am doing.  
i am different, human.  
i bleed.  i feel pain.  i cry.  
and, at the end of the day, i have family to go home to, 
earnestly waiting for me to arrive in one piece.

prayer does make a difference.  having done so, i am confident that i shall end this day with a smile.

Monday, March 26, 2012

congratulations! (you've earned another step in the ladder ..)

she did it! our daughter.  she had finished college and earned a degree in the advertising arts.  congratulations, daughter!

the wife and i attended her graduation day rites yesterday.  we shared a moment of achievement with the graduates and their mentors and fellow parents.  we are all very proud.  i can't say i was not a bit teary-eyed yesterday.  i am a soft guy.  well, she was just 5.13 pounds when she came into this world. she was very sickly and frail during her childhood.  and now, as i looked at her as she ascended the steps to receive her diploma, i realized she is now a full fledged member of the human race, an adult, full of confidence and strength and richness of body and mind. a young individual who will continue to seek her niche in the Infinite's scheme of things.

a i often remind her, this is not the end.  this is just another step in Life's ladder, in Life's journey, in Life-Making.

this is the reason i pored over my old notebooks.  i knew i had written something in the past. a song that i imagined my own father could have written for me when i myself earned my degree.  here, i'd share it now.

for my daughter.  well, humbly, also for all of those young individuals yesterday, with exuberant faces and throbbing hearts full of anticipation for what the next rungs in the ladder of Life will bring for them ...

this is in tagalog. the english translation follows ...

awit ng ama

idilat mo ang mata,
buksan mo ang iyong isip
ikaw ay hindi na bata
sumapit na ang oras
upang ikaw ay iwan
sa Buhay ay makibaka

anak, ang dagat ng dilim
handa ka bang tahakin?
kay dami ng balakid
na kailangan mong supilin.

pakinggan ang Puso
ito ang magtuturo
landas na dapat piliin
at sundan mo ang Araw
ito ang iyong ilaw
liwanag gabay na lihim

'pagkat ikaw ang bubuo
ng musika ng Buhay mo
sa iyo nakasalalay
kung pait o tamis ang dulot.

kaya't gumising na
buksan mo ang 'yong mata
ayusin mo ang damdamin
'wag kang mag-alala
ako ay maghihintay
sa dulo ng iyong landasin. 

father's song

open your eyes                                                      
and mind
you are a child no more
the time has come
to leave you
to face Life

daughter, the sea of uncertainty
are you prepared to sail on?
there will be many hurdles
that you will have to conquer.

to your Heart listen
it will be your mentor
on which path to tread
and follow the Sun
its light                                             
will be your secret guide

because it is just you
who will craft the music of your Life
it is in your power
whether it will be a sad or a happy song.

and so, awake
open your eyes
strengthen yourself
worry not
i will be there, waiting, 
at your journey's end.

to you my daughter and to all your co-graduates

travel on ....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

how to be a poet .. (maybe)

when friends are able to read the verses or poems i am able to write some ask me how i do it.  often, the answer i give is " i really don't know.". 

when i sit down to write, to attempt to record an interpretation of a feeling or emotion i felt, or describe a slice of life i experienced, it just happens.  words tend to come together, sound good together, and project the feeling or the image under a different light.

i just finished poring over my old notebooks and reread my writings and probably this answer to the question, how to be a poet?,  might be true ... 

the trick is to be holy or to be divine
to be a conglomerate
to let lives intertwine
to partake of hunger and excess
to know full hand pain and happiness
to be a man and a woman
to be solid and liquid
to be a sinner and a saint
to be birth and death
to be above and underneath.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


i remember this very well.  the wife was trying to organize her files in her laptop hard drive. she had just completed finalizing several big office reports which she had painstakingly documented over many days and nights even to the unholy hours.

now there was this stubborn big file that she was trying to delete. she saw that this was a duplicate of another file that she had just updated so she's trying to remove it to free some space. yet, however much she try to select it and use the delete key on the keyboard or the delete command on the file management menu the file does not erase or delete itself. it mockingly stayed on hoarding those precious bytes of hard drive space she wants to free.

she got impatient and sought our daughter's help.

" i want to erase this duplicate file and i can't seem to do it with the delete key.  can you help? "

" mother, there's another way of removing files even big ones.  you can use the the short-cut key combination, shift-delete. " our daughter volunteered.

" show me."

our daughter worked the laptop mouse and browsed over the file directory.  " is this the file? " i heard her ask the wife.

" yes."

i saw her place her thumb and small finger over two separate keys on the keyboard.  "there, it's done." she declared and went back to what she was doing.

the wife took over the mouse and went over her files. a few seconds later i heard her agonizing scream.  she dropped to the floor crying, thrashing her arms and legs like one possessed.  "YOU REMOVED BOTH FILES!  HU-HU-HU!  I TOLD YOU TO DELETE JUST THE DUPLICATE. O, MY GOD, A MONTH'S PAINSTAKING WORK, ALL GONE!"  she sobbed uncontrollably.

my daughter and i were both stunned.  the daughter hurried over the laptop and went over the files. nothing.  the updated file and the duplicate both gone. i stared angrily at my daughter and there was this anguished look on her face.  she was trying to grope for words to explain what had happened but her mom's tearful rantings was all we can hear.  i remembered looking into the recycle bin where all deleted files normally go.  turned out the shift-delete maneuver removes files totally and never stores them to the recycle bin so they can be restored later if need be.

" how can you be so careless! " i berated my daughter, " your mom worked so hard on that file." 

" i only tried to help.  i asked her to confirm the files before i deleted. " she defended herself.  she was also teary-eyed.  " i'm so sorry, mother! " 

daughter sat there by the laptop and i saw she was googling something over the net.  file recovery tools.   she was searching.  i admired how she managed to stay calm through all these.  i know she knows it was her fault.  she made a major mistake.  the three of us were quiet for some time. no one was talking.  the wife's sobs had ebbed now and she had started to compose herself..

" sito, we need to bring the laptop to the computer shop.  i'll just pay them to recover that file." she declared,  " i need it very badly. " 

at the computer shop we were told that we have to leave the laptop with them and it will take at least a week to recover the file but they said they cannot guarantee they'll be able to retrieve it in full.  further, they were asking so much for this recovery service.  i saw the sadness in my wife's eyes and the acceptance of what had happened. " let's just go home, " she declared, " i guess nothing can be done on this.  i learned my lesson.  i just have to build this file again. "

at home, the wife sat slumped on a seat. 

" mother, i was able to search for a file recovery tool.  if you will permit me, i'd like to try retrieving your lost file.  i'd like to correct my mistake. "  the daughter pleaded. 

" do what you want to do, " my wife answered coldly, " anyway, i'll be working on that again. i will spend many days and nights again building that report.  i just hope that you yourself learned a lesson on this.  carelessness will not do you any good. "

the daughter feverishly worked on the laptop.

 after a while, she declared triumphantly, " mother, father,  look! " 

we stared at the file directory.  there it was.  the lost file.  the wife opened it to confirm if the retrieval was successful. the look of desperation on her face faded.  the exhausted countenance gone.  she smiled sweetly at the daughter.  i was able to heave a sigh of relief.  this was a good ending for this episode.

in life, we will always find occasions to be careless. to be on the shift-delete mode.  to act swiftly without much thought or careful consideration. often, it is only later that we find we made a mistake.  most times, our ego will dictate on us, assuring us that it is okay not to undo these mistakes even if we have hurt or have inconvenienced others of these acts.  and so with indifference we go on, unrepentant.  yet,  the masters and the sages had taught that the Infinite has ways to get things evened out. for scores to be settled. for mistakes to be corrected. 

the law of karma.  we reap what we sow.  cause and effect.  debit and credit.  even if we manage to follow the ego's dictates to ignore things,  Life itself will keep on giving us opportunities to square things out.  even if it means living life again and again...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

book sematary

way back in college days, i always bring one of my treasured paperbacks, walt whitman's leaves of grass.  ever since i stumbled upon one of his poems, he became one of my favorite poets.  his style was different, his message so mystical, so spiritual.  and so, i tried to save up so i can buy the leaves of grass. during every lull from school work, i just sat idly by and immersed myself in whitman's poetry.  on the empty spaces on each page i dutifully scribbled my notes, my impressions for the poems, things i learned from whitman. so, imagine my dismay when one day i found out it had dropped off from my back pocket during one of the jeepney rides. i lost my treasure.  i vowed that once i am able to land a job, i'd immediately buy another copy.

well, it's been years, and i never was able to fulfill this vow. until the other day. when suddenly, as i passed this book store, i had this irresistible urge to go in and browse.  this is a shop that sells only second hand books.  i sometimes refer to this store as the book sematary. well, to admit, i coined this word as a take off from one of stephen king's horror novels, pet sematary,  it should actually be cemetery but one of the child characters in the book had painted a sign for the pets' burial ground and misspelled the word. the increased popularity of e-books and the current fad of using handheld portable devices which can download and store these had somehow eroded many peoples' fancy for the printed books.  well, it's really not hard to understand why most people had gone electronic -- they can actually now carry every day with them almost their entire collection of books! they have their entire library right in the palms of their hands!  very convenient indeed!  thus, many people now, as soon as an e-book version becomes available, immediately acquire the e-book and dispose the printed one to the second-hand shops.  and so i say, this is how the printed ones get "buried" in the book sematary.

well, i'm still one of those old-fashioned bookworms.  still enamored with the paper version of books.  i love the feel of the book in my hands; the way i struggle to keep the page i am reading on while the wind teasingly blow the pages away; the manner by which i frantically reach for a pen or a pencil to draw lines below the texts that i found interesting, or to dog-ear the page if a pen or pencil is not available; i savor the time i spend annotating the book, using the vacant spaces on the pages, to write down my own thoughts, sometimes debating with the author on ideas i found contrary to mine; then, closing my eyes that got wearied of reading, i lie down in some quiet corner, propping my book as a pillow underneath my head. 

so, i entered the shop. and behold, right there across the shelf opposite me, i found whitman again. the leaves of grass.  this one's not so used. the cover's cut up though at the right corner. the pages are still crisp.  there were some dog-ears.  the book smells good.  it had not been buried for so long.  i inspected the pages. no torn pages. no writings on the vacant spaces of the pages. a complete book.  leaves of grass,  mine again for only 75 pesos.  i thanked the lady at the book sematary.  she and another lady were busy though.  i noticed they were getting ready to catalog a fresh batch of second-hand books that just got delivered. soon, they'd be "burying" these books in the shelves to be hopefully resurrected later by another old-fashioned bookworm
outside the store, i looked at the cover again. walt whitman, bearded, long, silver hair, cocked hat. they say he had attained cosmic consciousness, nirvana. that's why his poems are sweeping and panoramic and of a different melody.  i'll discover it again.

whoever you are holding me now in hand,
without one thing all will be useless,
i give you fair warning before you attempt me further,
i am not what you supposed, but far different.

                                                          ---- walt whitman

Thursday, February 23, 2012

starry night

just yesterday,  i was up early at 12:30 preparing to leave for my 4 am shift at work. i was done with my meal, done washing the dishes,  got dressed. suddenly, electric power went off and all around was pitch black.  i hurriedly looked for candles and lit two.  there was the familiar yellow glow of the candle lights, the flames flickering in slow motion as the cool, gentle breeze found the window.  i momentarily watched my shadow as it danced to the flickering lights. there was something poetic in the moment -- the blackness outside and the yellow light inside my house, the coolness of the air, and the sudden silence, well, the dogs stopped barking.  it was the cicadas unseen amid the branches and leaves of our avocado tree that gave that moment its peculiar song.

i had to leave.  i woke my daughter up and gave her instructions on what to do once power comes back.  i told her to always monitor the candles but i made sure that they'd be no cause for any fire even if they burn themselves off if the power interruption lasts long.

i went out to greet the darkness outside. the streetlamps were all off.  i stood outside our gate for a few seconds to familiarize my eyes with the blackness. no moon this time.  i did not bring any flashlight.  i walked gingerly.  occasionally, i turned on my mobile phone using its glow to see what might be in front of me.

i looked up.  the sky was very clear.  the stars! so many of them and the surrounding darkness made it easier for me to see those glittering sequins of this night's black robe.  as i was walking, i tried to play a guessing game by myself.  trying to figure out the configurations i see in the heavens and naming them as in the horoscopes or astrology columns i seldom read. 

that could be the big dipper, i said to myself, as i outlined its form, or maybe the small dipper?  what about there, could it be the bull?  i frantically searched for my astrological sign, the lion, but much as i tried hard to, i could not make out its form.  amazing! and these were what the ancient mariners and travelers used as guides as they went from place to place.  i told myself i'd research on these later.

the night was poetic. as i neared the stop where i'd be taking my ride for work, i stopped for a while and looked up again. 

i remembered vincent van gogh and his famous painting,  starry, starry night.  i could not help but whistle one of my favorite songwriter's, don mclean,  song tribute to vincent

it was a poetic night.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

in the silence

just could not blog so much these past days. still trying to get this body get over the inconveniences. further, i had to assist my daughter in  editing her thesis prior to printing. can't believe she's nearing graduation from college.  ah, time sure flies fast! she was just 5.13 pounds when her mom delivered her and look at her now,  a beautiful young lady enthusiastically finishing up her thesis on travel photography about my home province. ah, time! this is probably why henry david thoreau wrote -- " time is but the stream i go a-fishing in."

i came across an article in one of our broadsheets, the philippine daily star, about our philippine tarsier.  it is known to be one of the smallest primates  and definitely the one that has the largest eyes.  the report said that a group of scientists have just found out that this little one has the capability to communicate in ultrasound.  this means it can send and receive messages far beyond the hearing abilities of humans and animals. thus, this ability enables it to approach and capture its insect preys and also send out warnings to others of its kind about approaching predators.

this brings to mind that fact declaring effective communication does not necessarily need spoken or written word. lovers have this special ability. they just stare into each others eyes and communication is completed. an understanding of feelings is recognized. paintings, photographs, musical compositions, and other forms of art, including fashion shows, all these communicate to us not in the regular medium of language.  somehow, these tweak something in our inner beings and we feel, we recognize, that which the painter, the photographer, the composer, the clothes designer, wishes to convey. our inner eyes and our inner ears capture that which is being communicated.

the thing is,  for us to be able to fully understand the message, that which is being transmitted in silence, we must be fully receptive. much as the philippine tarsier transmits via ultrasound his warning signals to other tarsiers about approaching danger, we also must rise to the level of the painter, the photographer, the musician, the couturier, so that we can  comprehend the exact message. failure to rise to their level will result to over-interpretation or under-interpretation, and thus there will be miscommunication.

the Old Sages and the Masters teach that the Infinite communicates to us in silence.  we must endeavor to raise our consciousness to Its level.  and it is by going deep within ourselves that we will be able to achieve this. by stilling the mind, by rising above its distracting waves of thought, by being one-pointed.  to be deeply aware of the Infinite is to be Silent.  to be fully absorbed in Silence will allow us to Listen to the Infinite, and understand ...

in the Silence
i sought Your Smile
seeking softly 
that for awhile
You'd find me worthy
and reveal
that Inner Beauty
You conceal
from those whose hearts
remain impure
a single pain
could not endure
i'll wait dear Master
hard i'll try
to win forever 
Your Radiant Smile!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


this leafdropper got ill. for several days now he is experiencing some inconveniences.  perhaps, the rust of age is creeping in.

it does not matter though. i still consider this period of inconvenience as a blessing.  one time as i lied on the bed trying to relax this body and be free of pain, my mind suddenly focused itself on what's happening and one word kept hovering in my mind's eye -- impermanence.

yes, these days of body struggle made me realize again the impermanence of things including health.  during these times, i tried to use all of the practices i learned to resolve body inconveniences and i must admit it was very difficult.  the discomforts keeps getting in the way of the mind to try to get settled and command the body to rest.  i then remembered the Old Sages' and Masters' admonishments that the time to do self-inquiry and self-knowledge should be during one' healthy times, not when one is already distracted by discomforts.  this is a lesson that really most of us need to remember.

in fact, i believe, this is really what we need to always do.  if one is desiring to be a poet, a writer, a painter, a musician, a photographer, a blogger, .. one should embark on this immediately while one is fit to do it.  time is not on our side and we cannot stop things from being impermanent.

this leafdropper is ill now but he is willing himself to be whole again.  impermanence allows comforts to become discomforts but it will also allow discomforts to become comforts again.

every time i turn my head
all i can see are changes
none remains just as before
every thing is less or more

but, only You are True
only You are unchanging
only Your Love is real
only Your Love is unbending
won't You give me Your Love
give me Your Heart
and let this weary mind rest in You.

this summer flower that gently bloomed
will lose its hues and kiss the ground
this bird that sings fond melodies
will soon be silent lose its sound

for, only You are True
only You are unchanging
only Your Love is real
only Your Love is unbending
won't You give me Your Love
give me Your Heart
and let this weary mind rest in You.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

at your service ...

3:30 am, as i turned around that familiar bend in the street, i immediately heard the drone of his jeepney engine. he is already warming it up. i'm sure he had already checked the brakes, the lights, everything.  he is an early riser like me,  he's the jeepney driver.  i know he had also walked a long way from his home to this  jeepney owner's house. i don't know his name, but, because we always see each other mornings like this one, we sort of became acquaintances.  he is already busy cleaning up his jeepney for his day's trips.

"good morning, friend!" he smiled at me as he puffed on his cigarette.  its tip glowed orange-red against the dimness that still draped us.  he dipped the piece of rag he was holding into the pail of water by his feet, he squeezed the excess water dry and wiped the dirt and grime off the backrest of the seats. "i have to keep this jeepney clean. it will be my fault if the passengers' clothes will be dirtied." he explained.

"good morning to you too!" i greeted back. i approached the vehicle and did a mock inspection of its interior just to humor him.  i gave him the thumbs up sign as i walked past him. "drive safely." i told him.

"of course, thanks friend." he answered.

i was able to get a ride right away.  the jeepney i rode on was halfway full of jute sacks filled with a variety of leaves and  plant cuttings. i surmised the jeepney is on its way to deliver these. definitely these are medicinal plants owing to the scent that pervaded the vehicle. the young man sitting beside me spoke to his lady companion.

"mother, i really thought we will not be able to make this delivery." he said.

 "why'd you say that?" the old lady opposite him asked.

"well, i feared we will not be able to fill up the sacks and complete the order.  while i was cutting these, i noticed many of the leaves have lots of discolorations. i inspected the plants and i found these bugs underneath.  some of the older plants are getting infested. we have to buy some bug spray later." he narrated.

"very good, son," the old lady patted his right hand, "these are medicinal plants and we have to deliver them as clean as can be.  we need the money, but still, we don't want people buying things that might harm them.  now, are you sure you inspected these cuttings very well?" her eyes were looking straight into her son's face.

 "of course, mother!  i will never forget this is our livelihood and i will not do anything foolish to ruin our good reputation with our buyers." he told his mother reassuringly.

"i'm glad you know." the old lady adjusted herself on the seat and closed her eyes trying to grab some needed sleep.  her son caught me looking at them.  i gave him the thumbs up sign.

my jeepney driver friend and this mother and son team, they made me reflect on something i read a couple of weeks back about how each of us must always be mindful of our actions.

many of us never realize that at every moment of our lives we are initiators of causes.  each and every action we undertake will cause an effect towards ourselves, towards our fellow beings, towards our environment.  and so we must always be wary, careful, and responsible, for each and every act we undertake. 

our actions must not result to harm or to hurt.

we must endeavor always to have that frame of mind of my jeepney driver friend and the mother and son.  we must remember at every moment that we are servitors. we came to serve. and we must do this to the best of our abilities and with utmost honesty and sincerity.

as i trod the steps of the stairs leading to our office, i said softly to myself:  o, Infinite, please always make me remember, that,  i am every moment,

at Your service.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

checking back (old pedro's lament)

i tried to review my posts the previous year.  i started with the january posts.  what caught my attention was the one i did on old pedro the streetsweeper.  it is very seldom that i see him now.  it was said that he was again given permission to do odd jobs for the folks in our village. last december i was told he dropped by the house looking for me.  i know he was expecting a gift from me.  whenever i can, i try to give him something.  up to this time, i have not met him yet.  usually it is during the wee hours of the early morning, from 2:30 to 3:00, that i come across the old guy. during this time, he is already beginning his street sweeping. my guess is that the old guy is not being entrusted odd jobs anymore.  i still have the one hundred pesos i set aside as my christmas gift to him.

i remembered hearing this from him once, last year,  during one of our conversations: "boss," he said, "it is difficult to be old and still have to provide for one's family.  my spirit is more than willing, but my old body can only do so much."  he said this with a smile on his face but i know he is masking some pain inside.  if only his family will be able to hear this lament. i just told him to take it easy and just do things which his body will conveniently permit him to do.  he just gave me a weak nod and proceeded to battle the scattered leaves on the ground.

i distinctly remembered this because of something that i resolved to do this year -- that is, to devote more time to know my true self more. to let my mind to spend the bigger chunk of time looking inward, not outside.  i have already examined things and i am definite i will never be able to find contentment hankering over the things outside myself.  they offer only fleeting pleasures.

now, what i realized as an important lesson from old pedro's lament above is this -- that, i should try to do this inward gazing, this looking in, as early as now.  while my body is not decrepit yet, while my body is not yet a captive of old age and its inconveniences.  if i wait till i am old and my body is withered and plagued by diseases and old age miseries, then my mind will never be able to look into itself comfortably, because by then it will be besieged with the inconveniences of old age. 

thus, we all have to consider the wisdom in old pedro's lament.  we have to start now. begin early while the body is not beset with inconveniences.  let us make the journey inward to where the Masters say we will rediscover our true nature.

we are not these bodies that decay and rot. 

many of us might have received notebook planners as gifts.  it will be very pleasing to see inside those planners this entry as a reminder --

today, i have completed my outer pursuits, having done so, i will now sit in a quiet corner, close my eyes, and look within, the Inner Me is beckoning, i will endeavor to learn more now of this stranger.