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Self-Reflection (16) — Lessons of Life


With my iPhone ear piece on and a nice song ringing through my ears, I listened carefully to Wang Feng’s “The River” and pondered over many things.

I have taken the first row of the bus’ upper deck so that I could see the busy world whizzing past in front of me and continued with my self reflection that was left over from last night.

In a discussion with a colleague over a project for our customer yesterday, we had a slight disagreement and I made a remark that upset her and immediately regretted. She then raised her voice and claimed that I was unfair and have made an unreasonable remark.

To be honest, I was shocked by her reaction and of course felt embarrassed as we were in the open with other colleagues around us doing something else. But it was just a matter of half a minute and I reflected upon myself.

I took a deep breath and observed what was going through my body, and I could feel a source of “over-powered” energy bursting frantically somewhere in between my chest. (In Chinese, we called it “Huang Ting” and it is believed that all our emotions and feelings are somehow controlled over there.)

And then it just occurred to me that my practice of mindfulness and awareness has yet to attain the level that I wish. I was too judgemental and have allowed my own subconscious thoughts to get the better of me.

Looking into her eyes and held her hand firmly, I apologised to her sincerely and told her that I understood where she was coming from. The discussion ended not as bad as I would have thought and I reminded myself that it was another lesson in life that I need to remember.

As mentioned in my previous post, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and this came from the belief that everyone who walks into my life brings with him/her lessons for me to learn. And that’s exactly what I learned from the books I’ve read recently.

My colleague was there to teach me a minor lesson in life.

6 years back, during one of my darkest hours, I started to pen my thoughts down to let go of my emotions and disappointments. And I wrote in Chinese which not many people understood and as I wrote, I began to improve on my writing skills.

I started to translate my thoughts into English for a friend who loved me and wished to read my blog, never to realise that one day, my blog’s readership would grow, especially when I started to share thoughts on meditation and mindfulness.

When I started following the daily posts of Be Inspired and fauxcroft, where I can find short quotes about life and law of attractions, I feel inspired to do the same thing, for I have promised myself long long time ago, that I wish to share my thoughts with the world through my words and photography.

There’s always a first in anything in this world, and my post was re-blogged by another blogger yesterday, for the very first time ever since I started blogging.

I am truly happy that I am getting more and more followers in my blog. I am happy not because I am getting attention, but more of feeling thankful that my posts are inspiring some readers in a way or two.

I am happy because I am connecting with like minded people, and as they like my posts, they trigger me to visit their blogs and I find more interesting blogs to follow in return. There are just so many people in this world who are searching for their inner souls, and we are connected through the virtual world, teaching each other life lessons as we share our thoughts and life!

Rebecka (from Power of Positive) has walked into my virtual life, teaching me a new lesson, so has another blogger, Mad Magarita (from Another Day in Paradise).

Some other bloggers have left their footprints in my blog and have given me words of great encouragement and allowed me to pursue my long time wish to be a blogger who can help others.

Thus, I am thankful to all these bloggers who have walked into my life recently, and I begin to see myself moving on to a new journey.

In Chinese, there is a saying that goes – life is a journey of practice. And the more I dive into the world of soul searching and begin reading up other bloggers’ posts, the more I feel that life is truly a journey of practice.

We are all acting as a teacher and student at the same time. We walk into each other’s lives teaching lessons on love, hatred, anger, happiness, disappointments, anxiety etc. It’s never ending.

Life is a journey of practice and full of lessons for us to learn. Some lessons are really tough and hard to understand. It took me great pains to go through it, understand it and then learning how to let go.

Whatever that has happened and whoever walked into my life or left my world has taught me great lessons and I thought I’ve learned the most during those dark hours. But reality is not that kind to us, for it will continue to teach us until we are fully certified.

As I read in another book, we shall not be complacent to think that we have mastered a lesson after a great fall, because life may just hand us the same subject and topic but with more difficulties to test us.

Hence, I am thankful to people who loves or loved me, for they have showed me the beauty of this world and love. They have brought warmth to my life, singing songs of happiness near my ears.

I am thankful to people who dislike or despise me, for they are telling me that I’m not as good as what I think, that I’m imperfect. I shall not strive for perfection, for I have always believed that imperfection in itself is perfection.

Only through imperfection then can we appreciate life better. Without the downs, we will not enjoy the ups.

For people who has loved and left me, I thank them for teaching me the lesson of impermanence. Forever is just something that is valuable at the point in time when it was mentioned. The pains that they have brought to me have made me a stronger person the moment I complete the homework they have left for me.

Hence, I choose to believe that every new person who walks into my life is here to help me with the journey of practice, teaching me lessons of life.

I thank all of them.

And I thank myself for disliking anybody who walks into my life, for that also teaches me that I am far from being compassionate and loving. It is said that the basics of Buddhism, in fact, all religion, is love.

Love in this context is not the love that I’ve known for years. True love is far more unconditional than our greed to possess things or people that we love. It is compassion, a love for mankind and every single thing in this universe and hoping for peace and happiness in this world.

I especially love the way how Buddha described love:

One of the kings of India met up with Buddha and he asked: “Please allow me to ask a simple question. When it comes to love, there’s always biasness, wants and attachments. Base on what you said, these will bring us sufferings. But how can a man love without such feelings and emotions? How can I avoid sufferings for the love that I have for my children?”

Buddha replied: “First, we must look at the characteristics of our love. Our love should bring peace and happiness to our loved ones. If our love contains greed of possession, then we will not be able to bring peace and happiness to them. On the contrary, it will only make them miserable. Such love is like a prison, and once they feel that they are being caged, they will find means to free themselves.”

Then Buddha continued: “My dear king, from the perspective of practice for the way, love needs understanding. Love in itself is being understanding. If you don’t understand the people whom you love, you can’t love them truly. If you wish your loved ones to be happy, you need to learn how to understand their pains and what their wishes are. Once you are able to understand them, you can help to free them from their sufferings and realise their wishes. This is then what I call true love. But if you choose to ignore their needs, and only focus on what you want, that is not true love. It is just a greed to try to possess and control them.”

(The above was extracted and translated from “Legend of Buddha” written by Thich Nhat Hahn. I read it in Chinese and my translation may not be able to truly express what was written in the book due to my poor command of English language.)


Francis Lim


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