Wednesday, November 18, 2015

9,125 days, the journey goes on ...

she greeted ahead of me. again. like most times in the past, she beat me to the punch.

" Darling Happy 25th Anniversary sorry I'm not there physically .. " she messaged me via Viber.

" just arrived. Happy Anniversary. " i vibered back.

if i have beaten her to the greeting i would have said, " Happy 9,125th Day! "  after consulting my calculator i was amused upon learning it's been these many days since that November 17, the day we were wed. Wow!!!

i realized though that no matter how you reckon it -- by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years -- a past momentous occasion or event elicits a certain unmistakable tug in our heartstrings, a rekindling of emotion. 

i felt again the joy of the wondrous moment. i know she did the same.

from that day, we initiated the journey as two hearts melded as one. tears, smiles, laughter, pains, joys, defeats, victories. these we shared.  our journey's still ongoing.  we were not always together each of these 9,125 days.  it is not necessary to be physically side-by-side.  it is difficult to do so.

what is important is to be always together in spirit.  to be connected inside.  heartstrings intertwined.  the Spirit of Love soars over vast physical distances.

It is an invisible bridge.

there is this songwriting contest here that i got tempted to join in.  it was a love song i entered.  no, I am not expecting to win but i just ventured boldly to submit my song.  the lyrics were in the vernacular, in Tagalog, as i found my native language more poetic, more expressive.  this is how i translated the words in English.  

reading these words again, i realized I must have written these for me and my wife, Margarita ---

a faint smile
a furtive glance
stirred Love's magic
in the breast

two hearts connected
as if  by chance
but, there is no denying
this is meant to be.

and now, the question is,
Is there really a Forever?
Is there really Unending Joy?

Oh, if Love
is Pure and True,
then the question has been answered

Now and Forever is but one,
Now and Forever is One ....

                             Happy 9,125 days to us!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

not clouds, ... but, it's Claudia, passing ...

yes, not the clouds, it was Claudia.

she passed away just last November 9. it was sad but it was bound to happen.  Time, just as it will do for all of us, had finally claimed her.  old age had made her sickly and feeble during the past weeks and no medicine could ever reverse the ravage of Time.

now as I write this, my mind floated back in remembrance of my last encounter with her.  it was on FaceTime.  there is really such great physical distance between us as she was in the US.  I called her name several times but it appeared the painkillers she had ingested had taken hold of her senses.

she never smiled back at me as she was wont to do.  that warm smile that she had not withheld from me ever since the very first day I stepped foot in their house to start my courtship with her youngest daughter.  I missed it so.  during that FaceTime moment, I never told my wife, but, my heart cried helplessly.  I could only offer a fervent prayer to the Infinite if it is possible to make her smile anew.

Claudia is my wife's mother and so she was my second mother in this physical plane.  there is no doubt in my heart that she had wholeheartedly accepted me like her own son.  as me and my wife hurdled the challenges of married life, she was always there with her words of wisdom, encouragement, comfort, and an all encompassing motherly love.  every occasion we visited, her warmth and goodness and support always shone through.

i will miss the homely baked goodies she loved to serve.  i will cherish in my heart that funny moment during my early courtship days, when, she learned i was vegetarian and she cooked for me a meal of chilli peppers in coconut milk.  i heartily ate those chilli pepper spears to impress her,  confident in my thought that they were the ones that are not hot.  but they were, and they burned inside my mouth, and my tongue, and my throat. tears had formed in the corners of my eyes, and beads of sweat appeared on my forehead.  and she was there, watching me, with that motherly smile, so innocent, unknowing that those chillis had wrought havoc in me.

Claudia, or, Nanay Luding, as we fondly call her, is like the white clouds i saw today up in the sky this radiant Sunday morning -- light, bright, easy, happy.

she had passed away physically, but she will remain in my heart. . .

so long, Mother ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

when silence dwells

i thought when i got back to posting last April it will be continuing. i thought wrong. something happened which consumed much of my time and i needed to prioritize. i lost my job and i had to concentrate on getting one the soonest i can.  so i harnessed my energies and focused on landing a job.  i must admit i have not much material especially monetary savings to fall back on.

with the Infinite's grace i was able to get hired again.  the job's not as well paying as my previous one but it should see me and my family through. if one lives Life as simply as one can, one does need so much of Life's accoutrements. if one tries to do an honest inventory of the things that makes him or her    really joyful, one will find these are the things that do not cost so much. and the Joy is even more pure and more lasting.  in his famous book, The Little Prince, Antoine de Sainte Exupery reminded us, What is essential is invisible to the naked eye.

so i was able to land this job. still i cannot go back to blogging. i have to spare much time to learn the rudiments of this new job so that i can perform it to the best of my abilities.  no matter how small a job or a task is, one must give one's best.  to be able to give our best, we must know how to do things the right way.

since my mind focused on learning the new job, it cannot meander and much as i tried to, i simply cannot find anything to write about.  Silence dwelt in my mind.

i am glad today that i am able to write this post.  somehow, the mind was able to meander now. i am getting familiarized with my new job. things are easier and i am getting more relaxed.

analyzing now those times when i was silent, i realize there were two kinds of Silence I got confronted with. one is the Silence where the mind finds emptiness and inactivity, where somehow it is not connecting to anything. the other one is that Silence where the mind finds stillness. this Silence assures the mind that it is still connected, that there is still vibrant activity, that all is well in the universe, that the Infinite still Is.

now, i know what to do. when my mind dwells in silence again and finds emptiness, i will let it surrender and relax and trust that soon the Infinite will fill the void. 

Silence will still dwell but the mind will not be empty.

it will be still.  and it will find the Infinite and its soundless activity.

Friday, April 24, 2015

the oatmeal lie

i think it was 2 or 3 days ago, or perhaps, a week past, my memory is playing tricks on me now.  anyway, it was during breakfast for sure.  i have already prepared our morning food -- just fried tofu and thinly sliced, fresh cucumbers.  daughter went ahead and prepared to brew the coffee.

she sat beside me after she poured the steaming coffee into our mugs.  i noticed she looked distraught.

     " why the long face? " i asked.
     " i'm upset with myself. " she said.  she was holding a black notebook in her hands and she was leafing thru the pages. " i have reread some of the entries i had in this journal and there were these notes here some way back where i affirmed how i love oatmeal. "  she was intently looking at the pages again.
     " and? " i had my eyebrows raised.
     " and at the office i told office mates i don't like oatmeal!  now, i am dying to bring oatmeal as my packed food as i don't want to eat out as much as they do during break periods.  the thing is i don't want to explain myself when they see me eating oatmeal. "
     she really looked upset, worried, as she nibbled on a fried tofu.  hmmm, this is interesting, i whispered to myself.  she was serious.  i kept silent for awhile waiting if there'd be other things she needed to say but she had remained quiet, lost in thought.  I myself got lost in thought, thinking about things i could tell her to help, make her feel better.
     I chomped on some fresh cucumber slices and they were crunchy and juicy, a wonderful complement to the crispy tofu.  suddenly, i remembered the book i bought for her just recently.  i know she had not read it yet but i did.  the book was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  he is a Master of the esoteric Toltec knowledge, an ancient, ancestral wisdom passed on to him by his Mexican mother, a healer, and his grandfather,  a shaman.
     " daughter, " i began, " don't be upset with yourself.  if you feel you've told a lie, you did not.  remember the book by Don Miguel that i gave you?  if you've read it you'll not feel this way. "
     she was not looking at me but i know she was listening.
     " Don Miguel had revealed there that there are self-limiting beliefs or inner agreements that all of us have inside, built over many years since birth, that keep us tied up.  their Toltec Wise Men have recognized these and it is taught that by being aware of these and by undoing or reversing these, each of us will have more freedom and happiness.  î want you to find time to read the book as i want you to get it the way Don Miguel had presented the teachings.
     " for now i believe for your current predicament, there were two things in the book that will apply.   the first is about making assumptions.  don't straightaway assume that your office mates will find fault with you for showing up for lunch with oatmeal just because you've told them you don't like it.  of course you don't like oatmeal before, but now, you do!  things change.  preferences vary over time.
     " when you told them you don't like oatmeal, that was your truth, your preference during that time.  this time, now, you love oatmeal.  this is your truth now.  you have to be steadfast with what is true to you at the moment.  you never lied to them.  if they ever judge you negatively, that is their burden. don't ever forget, it was written, 'Truth will set us free' ".
     i saw a hint of a smile in her face.  i boldly continued.
     " the second thing i found in the book that might relate to this is about doing your best or being your best.  Don Miguel's words were these, ' Under any circumstances, always do your best, no more and no less.  But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good. '
     " just be yourself, daughter, and your truth shall make you free. "  i chomped on another crunchy cucumber slice as i concluded this breakfast's impromptu lecture.

i looked at my daughter and she had this smile of amusement.  i know she was wondering how oatmeal can wax me philosophic.  even i didn't know. must have been the tofu or the cucumber. well, i just wanted to make her feel better.
thank you Don Miguel for helping me help her.

the next time I prepare breakfast, i will do oatmeal and crunchy cucumbers.  never tried oatmeal with crunchy cucumbers before.  

this promises to be an interesting pairing as well ...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

a gem of thought and the radiance of words

i have no doubt there were so many times in our lives when the Inner Man had spoken to us.  this Inner Self is our fountain of guidance concerning Right Living or Living Right. showing, pointing, the way, the direction, we need to follow in the path to happiness and peace.

from time to time, It flashes gems of thought in our minds. realizations that we know to be true and correct and useful especially for practical living.  we follow these and we are blessed.  joy is reaped, peace settles within us.  

there is then this inner urge to share this help with others, with our fellow beings.  there is this inner prodding to communicate these realizations.  herein most times lies the problem.  we know, we believe, we have a gem of a thought and that others will surely benefit.  the thing is we cannot find the right things to say or write.  we are hard put to find the words to make others feel or realize the inner truth the same way we did.  we struggle much in our desire to communicate.

i believe to resolve this we must look at the way the great poets and writers did.  they did not aspire to communicate directly.  they just used plain, simple words.  but, the trick is, they used imagery.  they realized our minds work best if it sees a clear picture of the idea.  the great poets and writers presented their inner realizations  in this manner.  they used words to create a picture in our mind's eye.  once the mind sees the image, the feeling follows, and communication is achieved.

the reader's mind sees what the writer's mind saw.  both small minds converge into the Universal Mind and the gem of thought is revealed.  the radiance of the words is seen in the Mind's eye, is felt, and is understood.

let me illustrate this.  i took this passage from the book, The Man Who Killed Deer.  the writer was Frank Waters, considered one of the greatest writers of the American West. this novel was published more than forty years ago and is accepted as the classic of Pueblo Indian Life.

    Frank Waters wrote --

          It is a deep truth and difficult to learn that the greatest deeds must be done by him
    who is content to remain unknown lest his action be impeded by too ready acclaim.
          Life is like the still surface of a deep blue lake into which a stone is cast.
    Who knows how far, on what shores the ripples spread?  But the stone, having been
    cast has done its work. Let it sink, unnoticed and forgotten, into the blue troubled
    depths.  Until one day when the turmoil has ceased men may gaze into the placid
    face of the water and see there, still bright and shining, the stone lying at the bottom 
    like a gleaming star . . .

a gem of a thought. words radiant.

the mind's eye sees,  the heart understands.


Friday, April 10, 2015

the River Time

yesterday, i accompanied my daughter to the McDonald's branch where she is to meet up with her friend.  being a holiday, they decided to spend the day at Tagaytay, a place many locals and tourists go to during summer as the climate is so much cooler there than in the lowlands.  likewise, people are wont to gallivant there to enjoy the scenery especially since it overlooks the famous Taal volcano and its lake.

they left at around 4:30 am.  it's still dark outside so i opted to stay awhile at McDonald's.  at about 5:30 i went out.  at the far horizon i can see the other buildings' and houses' silhouettes against the soft whiteness of the breaking dawn. there was this gentle breeze and its caress was so cool to my skin.  there were still so very few vehicles moving along the streets. i can hear from some nearby place cocks crowing to hail the daybreak.  the air's still fine, fresher, since the sleeping dust on the cemented road has not been disturbed yet.

suddenly, i heard my inner Self whisper, " sito, this is an open invitation.  why don't you just walk home?  it will do you good, legs and all, it's been a while since you've done some real walking .. "

i understood.  yes, i walk, but, real walking for me is one where i am fully aware of the action: the thump of my feet over the surface of the road, the pressure of my shoes against my feet, the tension in my legs' and thighs' muscles, the push and pull of my tendons, the automatic swing of my arms, the subtle vibrations in my inner organs as i move purposefully, intently forward; the rise and fall in the path, the scent in the air, the scenes my eyes see as they scan around, the various sounds my ears listen to, the feel of being ambulant, alive, and vigorous, and well .. and the awareness of my connection to the Infinite ..

these are the rewards i get from real walking.  so i heeded my inner Self.  i walked.  i reckon from McDonald's to my house is about 4 kilometers.  real walking is a luxury for me.  it is intent and purpose.  Time is of no essence.  it is the moment that is of value.

i remembered a line from Henry David Thoreau in his book Walden -- 
       Time is but the stream I go a-fishin' in ...

the River Time flows on, but it does not matter, what is important is the Life i am living moment-by-moment, the Now is what matters,

i pressed onwards, and sunlight had started to get brighter, most everyone had awakened, and i passed by people waiting for their rides, for work, presumably.  the street had started to be busy, jeepneys and cars we're laden with people in a hurry to beat Time,

the dust in the street had awakened as well, the air is no longer fresh,

still I walked, i am not in a hurry at this moment, 

i silently offered a prayer of thanks to the Infinite for this luxury of enjoying the brightening sunlight, the now dusty air, 

this moment of Life and awareness of being ..

Saturday, March 21, 2015

just one more for the bird

it was probably my final year in high school or my first year in college when i read Jonathan Seagull's story and immediately i fell in love with it.  my friend and mentor, jose, reminded me to read between the lines and i found new meanings, new insights, from the story as related to my own life and how i would like to live it.

early during my high school days, i was fortunate enough to be among people who believed there is more to Life than growing up, finishing school, getting a job, acquiring fame or fortune or both, raising a family, and dying.

Real Life needs to be learned.  Real Life needs to be earned.

one can attain Higher Consciousness.  one can soar above body consciousness.  there are methods and practices and these have been proven true and effective by the Masters and Sages.  rising above body awareness will allow one the gift of knowing the True Self, one's True Identity, and gives one complete knowledge and certainty as to one's relation to the scheme of Creation.  knowing who one truly is affords one to learn how to be totally happy.

i remembered being inspired to write this sonnet after reading Jonathan the first time --

Sonnet for a Bird

To seek to fly and ride the highest cloud
is ever a bird's undying concern,
for one who's been especially endowed
with wings, the heavens is the only goal to earn;
to sail aloft the wind's playful currents
And then, at times, to fall headlong with fright,
seeing the sky has too its wild serpents
that try its wings and tuck away the Light;
then, as the sunbeams pierce the serpents' hearts
the Bird triumphantly spreads its wings,
plumage gay as the rainbow shines, and starts
anew to where the blue cloud ever clings--
wings flapping rouse Heart to the Silent Sound
whisp'ring, " Cheer up! You, too, are Heavenbound! "

Monday, March 16, 2015

an even more pleasant surprise!

woke up early this morning and sleepily dragged myself to the toilet.  that's where i found this more pleasant surprise!!  i had to rub my half-awake eyes vigorously to be sure i am not in dreamland any longer. 

sitting there on the toilet paper roll's cage is a brand new, crisp, light blue colored book

yes, the complete edition of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  

my daughter unexpectedly bought a copy for me!   if i remember right, this is the very first time she ever gifted me a book and i am so glad, so joyful indeed.  this will make this copy a lot more precious, dearest even.

yet, what formed near tears to my eyes was the note she slipped inside the first page

thanks as well, my daughter!

you know what i will do the rest of this fine day?

i'll go to my favorite coffee nook at the nearby mall and order a hot mug of brewed coffee. very black, freshly brewed so that i will see the wisp of steam rise up from the liquid's ebony surface; so that my nose will be beguiled again by that soothing aroma; then i will sit comfortably and rest my aching back against the chair, and then

i will rediscover Jonathan Livingston Seagull's story.  

this time, it will be complete ...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

what a surprise, mr. bach!

it was my good friend and mentor, Jose, who introduced me to the works of Richard Bach. we were avid students and practitioners of this wonderful way of Life called Mysticism.  in a nutshell, we found out there is a way to soar beyond mere body consciousness.  there are methods that have been practiced and proven by the Masters and Sages that one can practice as well.  doing so will afford one the opportunity to explore and know one's Self.  knowing the Self will lead one to his true identity.  knowing who one truly is brings Freedom.

this is what Richard Bach told in his book Jonathan Livingston Seagull. this seagull was able to rise beyond the traditional way of life of his flock.  he discovered he is a bird of flight.  he is not of the ground.  his true identity is Flight.  to ride the wind, to pierce the sunlit clouds, to kiss the Sky.  Flight is Freedom.  i remember this is one of the Conditions of a Solitary Bird which that great mystic San Juan dela Cruz wrote about -- " it flies to the highest point ".

anyway, i still have the copy of that book with me. it is old but it is a treasure. i remembered having bought it as a gift for the woman who'd eventually be my wife. she took care of it and i hope one day my daughter will find the urge to know Jonathan.

a couple of days ago, i was whiling time inside a mall and I decided to visit one of the bookstores there.  i am hunting for a book on the Dalai Lama, the present one, which i am wanting to give a friend.  as i was scouring the book shelves there, there was this one book that jutted out. I pulled it out and it was a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. it was a bigger size than the one I have.  I opened it and there i saw the familiar pictures of the seagulls that accompanied the text.  i was about to return it to the shelf when my eye caught a notification at the back cover -- unabridged edition, includes the missing Part Four.

wow! what a pleasant surprise, Mr. Bach!

it is just now that I knew there was a fourth part.  i bought my copy in 1989!  it's been years.. and now it is staring in my face, my copy is incomplete and yet I have mined it for all its worth of Wisdom's golden nuggets. Jonathan's story has a different ending ..

unfortunately, this complete edition costs so dear.  i will just have to wait till I can afford it.  the store assistant had been eyeing me since i went inside the bookstore.  no private reading, the sign said.

can't help it. curiosity got the better of me.  i had to skim over the missing Part Four.  as fast as  i can.

i promise Mr. Bach, i'll get this complete edition soon as i can afford it. i eagerly skimmed over this fourth part just silently gliding over the most important keywords.  the keywords gave me a general idea of this missing portion of the book.

i smiled when i finally closed the book. the store assistant still has his gaze fixed on me. 

the last Condition of a Solitary Bird is this --

It sings very softly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

the 2nd month's sacrifice

look at her, how she struggles hard to lift her head, to stay upright. and yet, her strength is waning.  not even the cool water could rouse her up.  she knows the Law will come to pass.  several days from now  she will have fully wilted.

she had been Love's sacrifice.

she remembers that day, the 14th of the 2nd month.   she heard it is a special day for lovers.
she had not fully bloomed but somehow someone found her and clipped her stalk.  A red, silk ribbon was tied to her and together with a box of chocolates a young man's hand gifted her to a giggling young lady.

the young lady gently caressed her smooth, white petals, still in the process of unfolding.  she touched her petals to her nose and inhaled deeply allowing her delicate scent to seep into her being. she heard a soft "Hmmmmm" pass between her slightly parted lips.  she does not know whether young lady did this in genuine appreciation of her but she did hold her carefully between the thumb and forefinger throughout the day occasionally passing her close to her nose to be reminded of her fragrance.

the 14th of the 2nd month, that was indeed a grueling day!

the young man, on the other hand, had been sweet-talking her lady love.  she heard him heaping praises on the young lady's beauty, so fragile, so innocent, so pure as her white petals. she heard him promise his undying love, his unwavering allegiance.  he even mentioned her as the symbol of, the witness to, his love's sincerity.

then, suddenly, the day is done.  the young lovers have left.

now, look at her, White Rose, plucked from the garden. she could never return.  she knows.

she only hopes she will indeed be a symbol of, a witness of, True Love, Sincere Love,

and that this Love will never fade nor wilt,

although she will.

Friday, February 13, 2015

is this Flower lonely?

is this Flower lonely?
is this Flower alone?
no hand had helped to plant it
somehow it suddenly flashed its bloom;

it is a pleasant surprise 
as its pink petals kissed Sunrise

it proved me wrong
my case smothered
assured me i should not be bothered

assured me that
out of drab Regularity
out of boring Monotony
Beauty will Itself reveal!

of course it will just be a moment
'tis but for a short-lived Delight
just for an instant Joy
just for a hum Divine,

else, if Beauty stays,
She will become monotonous 
She will just be regular
she will not be beautiful.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

that Old Man walking in ...


jan 15 to 19. these were the days when he visited us, the Philippines, especially, Tacloban, those who were hit hardest, battered, devastated, lost family, belongings, and Hope, by that super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda here.

he was an old man who walked in, but, it is said "the eyes are the windows of the soul", and his eyes betrayed him. he is timeless.

Divinity is ageless.

he is Pope Francisco or Pope Francis. he is head of the Roman Catholic faithful the world over. I am not here to discuss Office or Authority. I am here to tell what came to pass.

throngs of people lined up the streets he is to pass. multitudes gathered in the places he went to. braved the rains, the winds, the cold, the arduous wait of his arrival. just so to be included in the sweep of his Divine Eyes. just to be encompassed in the wave of his hands.

he brought Mercy, Compassion, Love, Hope, Light.  his smile gave warmth.  his Presence gave Inner Joy.  his Silence, Inner Peace.

i was not among the multitudes who were physically present at the places he went to. i just followed his sojourn here on television. watching him even on TV made me feel awfully blessed for reasons I know not what.  i can  only imagine what the.physically present ones felt when he was there with them. i am pretty sure each one received the gift due him or her.

they say Holy Persons do this.  make people trust in Divinity again.

i just hope we can sustain this blessed feeling even after his feet got off from Philippine soil when he enplaned back to Rome on jan 19.

Monday, January 19, 2015

that new kid walking in

hmmm .... interesting! strange indeed even! my previous post was dated jan 6.  I noted there that encounter between the old man 2014 and this kid 2015. there was this " passing of the baton ", the transference of world events from old, tired, feeble hands to new, fresh, eager hands.
and then, that glance, the one-time eye contact, between the two. the old man's wishful stare said it all -- " do better than me, kid! "

now, here's the kid, his name's 2015, just a few days old, the date is jan 7, a day after i returned to blog, the whole world got stunned -- the Charlie Hebdo killings !!

is the kid starting on the wrong foot? 

this massacre has spawned negative feelings, hatred, to be more specific. hate is birthed from both sides -- those that condemn this violence by men against fellow men and those that justify this, reasoning that the killings has been provoked.

i will not dwell on the event details. the Internet got loads of information.

i am just curious. i hope the kid remembers the glance, that eye-contact, when the old man passed him by,

i hope the message is well understood ...

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

that old man walking out

from the corner of my eye, I saw him. the old man. he was leaning heavily on his cane. he was walking slowly but purposefully. his steps were sure. his back was so bent from the weight of some unseen huge burden.  he had his head bowed. although his head was hooded, strands of his long, unkempt, white hair still managed to flow out from under the hood. I was guessing he was bearded as well. long, pale-white beard. a regular Merlinesque old guy.

where's he going? 

of course, he's on his way out.  out from our lives. his name's 2014, by the way, and he's just twelve months old, but, look at him -- he's tired, he's beat, he' sad.   he feels, he knows there were more bad things than good things that happened during his sojourn with us.

more devastating calamities, super typhoons, record-breaking climate changes,
more unwarranted deaths, more unwanted births,
more instances of man's inhumanity to man,
more hate than love, 
more turmoil than peace.

i saw when he cast this furtive glance at this little kid by the wayside. so innocent looking, so full of promise. his name's 2015. 

" do better than me, kid! " 

that's what that fleeting glance told. it was but a moment's eye contact. the old guy allowed himself to disappear in the confusion of the fireworks's mesmerizing lights and the deafening roar of firecrackers.

it is my hope that the little kid understood.  it is my fervent prayer.