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 ..