Why We Do What We Do

A dear dear friend is torn between his job and his family. According to him, he took up the job because his parents thought that was the best job for him and they wanted him to work there. On the other hand, he didn’t like the job at all.

Sometimes in life, we do certain things to gain love, approval and appreciation (LAA) from people whom we love. We were so attached to gaining the LAA from them that we never asked the one that matter the most —— our dear self.

We could go on like that for a while and one day we just couldn’t take it anymore. We want a way out. And we think we need a very good reason to justify our actions. We start to blame them for making us do what we don’t like, we feel angry that they never care about what we like. That’s usually how the story goes.

Like Katie says, “Until we take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, the world would be our enemy”.

Why are you not doing what you love?


Met up with an old friend last weekend.  She was very excited as she just received her certification in yoga.  She started to teach part time in her friend’s studio.  It’s a joy seeing her finally getting to do what she enjoys.

So often in life, we just hold on to what we wanted to do.  And we give excuses like:

Wait till I am rich…
Wait till I have this XXXX amount of money…
Wait till my kids are grown…
Wait till my wife approve of it…

There is really nothing wrong with holding off… I always believe that there is a time for everything.  However,  many people hold that dream far away, it seems to help them to stay anchored in this dream.  The ego feels safe thinking it has an unfulfilled dream that it needs to do whatever it is doing now to work towards it.

This is when death comes as a great teacher.  It takes out right into the core of who we are.  Given this amount of time that we think we have, what is it that is really important to us?  Do we still want to continue this way of life we are living, do we still want to sweat over this stuff that is bothering us, do we want to carry this emotional burden to our death beds?

Death and sickness allows us to take an honest inventory into our lives on earth.  And we start to make amendments in our lives and start anew NOW.  We never ever lose when death comes, birth always awaits on the other side.  Without the concept of death, would there be life?

I am NOW and now I AM.

Does Scolding & Judging work?

A dear friend told me she constantly judged herself as stupid and dumb when she found herself not performing at the level that she wanted herself to be at or when she found herself not knowing what to do.

Our mind tells us that if we scold ourselves enough, we would change for the better or smarter. And this concept has been carried down for generations without inquiring into the truth of it. Does it help if we scold ourselves?

When we inquire into the truth of our stupidity, we may come to see that we are forcing ourselves to be good in something that we have no interest in or something that we think we have to do and not something we want to do. We live in a confused state.

We can be very skillful in something and absolutely “stupid” in another field. But, if we hold the thought that we have to be good in everything or in a field that we hold as a goal for us, we fail to recognise our gifts in life, we deplete ourselves the energy and motivation to excel and be the best that we can be in areas that really interest us. Instead, we walked around trying to be everything for everyone.

Maybe instead of judging and scolding ourselves, we may start to pay attention and notice what we are good at and what we really don’t want to involved in. We may spare ourselves lots of time in finding and pursuing our passion in life.

Why Question our Thinking?

free kid
Someone asked me the other day why question our thinking? Why don’t they learn some techniques to stay centered and calm instead?

To be honest, I think learning techniques to stay centred and calm is wonderful. We can learn meditation, breathing techniques, learning to have body awareness. They are all great ways to have the body-mind connection that people talk about. And I am all for them!

Questioning our thinking is a totally different level of ball game. We are looking at things at the causal level. There is this sequence that people who does The Work recognise —
“The Order of Creation”: Think -> Feel -> Act -> Have

Everything is born from a thought, a belief. So, we identify the emotions that signal us that something is off with the belief that we are attached to and with this indication from the emotions felt, we identify and question the belief that is limiting us. Through inquiry into this belief, we come to understand at an experiential level the truth and falseness of the thought and naturally be free from it. And calmness and centerness is experienced effortlessly.

Do we have to teach babies to breathe naturally, to be calm and centered? That is its’ natural state. Only adults have to learn this and to master how to do it right and sticking to doing the right thing disconnects us from our feelings sometimes. We feel angry with a person and we learn techniques to deal with the person, to handle our anger, but we have not looked at the root of the problem, why we are angry with him/her in the first place. Once we come to undo the cause of the anger, there is less effort needed to learn to handle our anger.

“Free the mind, the rest will follow” i love the title of En Vogue’s song.

Inquiry on Being Ignored

ignoreA dear friend told me that she is aware of a deep fear of being ignored. She had a conversation with her boyfriend and towards the end of the conversation she noticed that she was ignored AGAIN.

“What can I do? I just couldn’t stand being ignored. It’s just too painful!” she said.

As we look deeper, we found out that throughout the 7-minute phone conversation, they were both laughing and were having great exchange. And it didn’t come to her to feel being ignored until the minute when he had to hang up the phone.

So, what happen to the 6 minutes when you were not ignored, when you were having a good time with him? Isn’t it strange that you were waiting to indict him, to live out your belief that “you will always be ignored”.

Maybe we can see what is truer?

“He did not ignore me”
Yes, he didn’t ignore me. He was giving me his full attention for the 6 minutes.

“I ignore him”
When he said he wanted to hang up, I was angry with him and ignored him totally.

“I ignore me”
I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I wanted him to do that for me.

Life can be a lot simpler when we take time to inquire the truth.

Dreams in Life

A dear friend told me that she wants to make a lot of money. Her reasoning is that her mom is growing old and she wants to make enough money to set aside for her mom’s medical bills later on.

“Great” I replied. I love how this story is working for her.

I remembered a time when we had a discussion about importance of dreams in life. As we went deeper in the conversation, she told me that she couldn’t and won’t allow herself to not have big dreams in her life. “I can’t move forward”, “I will be like a fool”, she said.

I want what you want. Why would I want you to be otherwise?
This is how self-love feels like, I guess.

Learning to be loved unconditionally or to love unconditionally?

I recently posted a poll for people in my facebook group to choose between wanting to be  loved unconditionally and wanting to love unconditionally.  What sparked me to do this is I have come across many courses and books out in the business world and what I noticed is that almost all the methodology implemented were on wanting to be perceived a certain way.  And that is also true for self-help books.  It’s also about learning what to do to get what we want from others.

And if I have to choose between learning to be loved unconditionally or to love unconditionally, my choice would be to learn to love unconditionally.  I find that that is the only sane choice for me.  With learning to be loved unconditionally, it sounded like there is something I can learn to do or act to make someone love me.  It sounded hopeless and too much work.  Everyone is different in their ways of showing their love.  If I have 10 friends, I would have to learn 10 different ways.  And I would have to wait for them to show me if what I am doing works.  Too much work!!!!  But if I can love unconditionally, I am already getting the joy that I want and if it is true that the outside is my projections, the more unconditionally that I can love someone and myself, I  would have to see that they are loving me unconditionally also.

And the best part is I can’t really know how that would look on the outside.  How exciting!

Working with Limiting Beliefs Pt 3

Let’s say you are aware that you have a belief about money, “I need to work hard for money“.  In fact, there is nothing wrong with this belief if it is not stressful for you.  It’s working when we know we want money and we work hard to get it.  We only investigate and inquire this thought/belief if it is stressful.

So, let’s inquire into this thought using The Work:

I need to work hard for money
Is it true?
Yes, it feels true.

Can you absolutely know that this is true?

How do you react when you think the thought?
When I am not working hard, I blame myself.  I feel pressured.  I feel lousy, I think about people who has money and I get upset with them for not sharing their money with me.

Who would you be without the thought?
I would go with what feels right for me.  I won’t push myself so hard. I would be more open to be around my friends who have money.

Turn the thought around.  I need to work hard for money.
I don’t need to work hard for money.

Is this thought true or truer?  Three genuine examples in your life?
My parents paid for my accommodation and food when I was young.
What I am doing is not very hard to do. I actually am having fun.
I had good returns from investment.

So now, the mind comes to realize for itself that there have times in my life when I didn’t work hard for money and still had money.  It also comes to witness the suffering that it brings upon itself when it believes the thought.  Either way, the amount of money I have hasn’t changed.

We can go on telling ourselves that I don’t need to work hard for money over and over again.  But, without realizing this truth inside ourselves, we will still go on living life with the stress and fear of not working hard enough for money.

We have to live out what we believe, not much choice in that.  This is the power of thoughts!

Working with Limiting Beliefs Pt 2

So,the next question you may ask is, “how do we get rid of the limiting beliefs?”  Before we do that, let’s understand how our mind work.
“As man thinketh, so is he”.  Yes, beliefs are the beginning of all creation; manifestation in all forms start from a thought, that when left unquestioned, will form a belief and over time, becomes our religion, and who we are.  And these beliefs are programs that have been installed in us at our early days.

So as an adult, we really don’t have a choice, we just live out beliefs that have been filed away in our mind and whenever the files of belief are triggered in life, we will act accordingly to these underlying beliefs.  Our minds are like tape player or mp3 player, it only has rewind, fast forward and play functions.

In my experience, limiting beliefs were adopted in the past, that used to work for us for whatever reasons, and may not be working for us now.  So, they are really not our enemies, not something that we have to get rid of!  What we can do is to take time to understand it, then it will let go of us.  And using The Work of Byron Katie (4 questions and turnarounds)  to investigate the validity of this belief has helped me to undo many beliefs that are not serving me in my life now.

So, here are the 4 questions from The Work:

1. Is this thought/belief true?
2. Can I really/absolutely know that this thought/belief is true?
3. How do I react when I believe this thought?
3a.When do I first believe this thought/belief? (sub question)
3b.What do I get for holding on to this belief? (sub question)
4. Who would I be without this thought?

Working with Limiting Beliefs Pt 1

Every now and then when I attend a talk, a class or a workshop, I would always hear speakers talk about the conscious and subconscious mind, about how the limiting beliefs in the subconscious mind would take over our conscious mind.

And during this past weekend, I attended a workshop on internet where the trainer talked about replacing the negative beliefs with the positive ones.  He had us close our eyes and ran a positive affirmation meditation with us.  And the participants were left to think that if we believe in these positive beliefs hard enough, our beliefs would be replaced.

But, seriously, does that really work?  If you ask me, my answer is, “yes, it may”, during good times in our lives, when things are going the way we want, affirmation always works.  But, what happens when things are not going our way, when we lose our job, our loved ones, something of great value to us.

It’s during these time that we get to find out what our beliefs really are and how much we really believe what we have been affirming all along.