0235 – The Things We Don't See

I’ve just watched the film Unmistaken Child today, a story of a young monk’s search for his disciple’s reincarnation. If you are at all interested in the Buddhist tradition, or the notion of reincarnation, or even the idea of faith and devotion, this is a must see.

I’m not going to say too much because I don’t wanna spoil it, but it is really something we don’t see everyday, especially here in the western world. To me, seeing far above the trivial details of the movie, I see a whole another world – a very inspiring one. It was awestruck by the level of commitment, belief and devotion that the villagers have for their master and religion, and that the disciple has for his master. It was on a whole different level.

It’s just amazing how diverse the world is, and how our extremely limited view has not allowed us to see all the other things not in our proximity. There really is just so much in the world that just makes me wanna go out and do an eat-pray-love kinda journey (but in  a not-so-gay way) or the geography of bliss kinda thing. Bhutan maybe? See how Gross National Happiness works! Also, Britain’s announced some sort of happiness indicator that will somehow reduce the emphasis on GDP I think. Should be interesting to find out more about.

But anyway, I sidetrack a lot, just cuz I am starting to open my eyes to see the world. I am opening my eyes to see that there are rich traditions that are fascinating to learn about. Faith and devotion are amazing things. I think it’s come to a point where I don’t think we should no longer care about our differences – no longer care if we believe in God, no longer care if we believe in karma, no longer care if we believe in divinity. We should just care if we are happy. We should just care if we have faith in humanity, and try to understand the things we don’t normally see, and try to move forward together.

And isn’t it amazing how much time I spend thinking? It’s ridiculous.


0234 – Inspiring Lives

It is currently 6am and I have been awake for 22.5 hours – 22.5 hours dedicated to community service. And I will be up for another three hours. Forty people. In one house. Doing 24 hours of community service.

Sometimes I ask myself what the point of all these is. What do you get at he end of the day if you cant even see the effect.

Then I see the executive board and my fellow volunteers – walking about in their usual business, with the ever-strong resolve. No complaints. No let down. No stopping.

Then I thought. And I thought. I didn’t think I can ever been so selfless, and here I am complaining. Why am I complaining when many of us out here are being the inspiring leader that they are. Maybe I should stop complaining, because even if nobody else gives a fuck about this, this is what brings us together. This is what inspires us,this is what motivates us, this is what propels us and the world forward.

0233 – Being a practical idealist

Went to a talk by John Hammock yesterday. He’s the co-author of the book ‘Practical Idealists: Changing the World and Getting Paid.’

I’ve never really quite thought of myself as an idealist before. I used to be more of a realist really. After all, it seems preposterous to sit and dream about great things, when clearly the world has issues that require fixing. I do dream about effecting change in the world, but after a while it’s almost like the world would slap me in the face and say ‘bitch, stop dreaming get back to the real world’.

But a practical idealist.. doesn’t sound too bad, does it? He’s practical at the very least, and practical is good. So I was intrigued. How do you be a practical idealist?

There were pretty interesting points Mr. Hammock brought up yesterday. The single biggest thing that I think would resonate with me and many of you who might come cross this blog, is that you gotta stop. You gotta stop, especially right now when you’re in the academic world. You gotta stop and think about what you love to do. You gotta stop and think about what makes you get up in the morning. You gotta stop and think about what you truly want to do in life?

I cannot emphasize this enough. It really is the most important thing – to give time to yourself to think about all these. And you know what’s the single most inexcusable excuse? I don’t have time. You can always make time. If you ever dream of being happier or changing the world or making a difference, you need to stop and do this. Or multitask. I do it in the shower. People do it on a run. People do it on a leisure stroll. People do it during yoga. People do it with close friends. Don’t think dirty, by the way. But seriously – just stop and think. I can’t tell you how many different things I’ve come up with during my shower introspections.

Another thing that was mentioned yesterday that’s really a common theme in everyone’s life is the issue of balance. Mr Hammock put it this way: ‘How much is enough?’ A lot of life is about finding the delicate balances between things that you want to do and things that you need to do. So in this case, you really have to be thinking about how much money you want to make in this life to be satisfied, and how much ‘success’ you’ll need before you can be content. I think this is where diversity comes in and we have different kinds of people from CEOs to high school dropouts that still live very happy and inspiring lives. So, in relation to my previous posts, you gotta realize how much of this societal values do you wanna adopt, and how much of your own values do you want to pursue.

That is perhaps the key – the delicate balance of life.

So maybe I can be a practical idealist after all huh. When I told Mr. Hammock that I want to make the world happy and realize that one doesn’t always have to follow the prescribed paths, he shook his head, chuckled and wished me good luck. And I thought that was funny and I smile every time I think about it, because it really is such a larger-than-life goal. But hey, I’m happy doing this. I’m happy trying to inspire people. I’ve been inspired so much this semester, by people like Mr Hammock. So if you read this, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you very much.

P.S. I hope you enjoyed this slight change of style/tone of my blog. I think I might be switching gears a little bit here. I’d be interested in going more into maybe the educational side of happiness (in terms of positive psychology – as understood by Pete the novice) if people want to hear.

0232 – Ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder why everything consumes oxygen? Ever wonder why CO2 is bad for the world? Ever wonder why we have strong desires to win? Ever wonder why resources in the world is limited? Ever wonder why we can’t all be happy? Ever wonder why we can’t all love each other?

I wonder about these things. A lot. And it seems like they are questions that I’d never be able to answer. It seems that you’re born into this world, to suffer and to smile, to grow and to degenerate and to live and to die, without much choice really. There are predetermined elements that are beyond our control.  I used to wonder why they make life so difficult for us. Why the world is so difficult to live in. Why we cannot just have eternal happiness. Why we cannot be immune to pain. Why we cannot choose the world we are born into. Did somebody up there plan all this? It seems like we’re being challenged. We are being challenged to overcome the difficulties and corruptness that we face. Maybe we are being challenged to fix the world.

My portrait of utopia is something relatively far off from the current state of messiness and confusion that we live in, and I wonder. I wonder. I wonder if I should even hope that utopia will be realtopia one day.

Then I start seeing the world in a new way. Instead of fearing the domineering darkness of the path, I choose to see the glimmers of hope that glow ever so bright. I choose to let them guide me, raise me up, and move me along.

I will hope. I will always hope, even in the darkest of times, that one day, we will all emerge happy. I will hope that we all will rise up above all challenges.