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”.

Gift of A Body

Starting to turn around from a diarrhea that lasted for 5 days. To me, there was a lot of gifts in this period of time. It was a time for me to slow down, to honor this kind and loving body that I am residing in.

I remembered how I used to disengage from this body with the strict rigid beliefs that the body is impermanent, that I shouldn’t pay attention to it, should evolve beyond the body. In that, I never really checked in with my body at all. I still remembered those days when I had menstruation cramps, I kept asking why I was in a woman’s body instead of a man’s.

It is really very painful to live from a place where we deny what is in front of us, believing that we should be having the opposite of what we have now. We totally cut off from the possibilities of the best experience from what is happening to us.
“Things happen for us, not to us”. Are you brave enough to let go of the victim role and step forward to look inside ourselves and explore how it could be true that what we are experiencing now is best for us?

Why is it best for me to have the diarrhea?
Why is it best for me to be in a woman’s body?

And the best part is, whatever answers I may find within myself and shared with you could only be a reference for you. The gift is you going in to find your own answers. Why is it good for me….

And with that mindset, we embark on a journey of life filled with gratitude and humility.

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.

Personality doesn’t love, Part 1

“Personality doesn’t love, we/they always want something”

I hear this from Katie many years ago and coming to see the truth of this statement has liberated me from many unnecessary pain in my life.

For years, we have been told and taught ways to be.
“Be generous, don’t be selfish…”
“Be kind, always be polite, don’t be rude….”
Just to name a few.
And if we really look hard enough, are we all kind, polite and generous?  Why aren’t we?
Some of us spend so much time striving to be that and when we aren’t as good as we thought we are, we punish ourselves, we abuse ourselves.  And if we are “good” enough we project out onto others, and we get upset when we read about how people are not kind, not generous and rude to each other.

If we have enough courage to go inside, we come to see that every time I TRY to be kind, polite, generous, doing good, I am trying to get something for myself.  I am trying to do, say something or act in certain way so that you will think certain way about me, to give me what I want – the image that I want you to see me as.  And this is a lot of hard work.

So, the question is, if we don’t work so hard to be kind, polite and generous, does it mean that we are cruel, rude and selfish?  This is what your mind would have you think.

Is it really true that if one does’t act that way, one is cruel?
How do I treat the person when i think this thought?
How would I treat him/her if I never have the thought that if he/she doesn’t do this, he/she is cruel?
And with a turnaround that he/she is kind, if our minds are open enough, we come to see that what he/she does can be a kind thing also.



Do you really want to know the truth?

For many years, I termed myself as a truth seeker and Buddhism has been the foundation of where I learned most of my life principles from. However, the more I knew, the more painful my life was. A simple teaching that says, “True seekers never see mistakes in others” – in chinese 若真修道人,不见他人过 was the killer. I knew in my mind that I was not supposed to see mistakes in other, but, I saw that in everyone that is around me and I couldn’t stop myself from judging them pettily in my mind, which made me even more mad with myself. How could I still judge and see mistakes in others after being a Buddhist for so long!!! I couldn’t find a way out of my misery.

And when I found The Work, I really saw how it was helping me to live the principles – not by mind control or denial or by force. It was through answering the 4 questions and slowly, gently, come to see that I am a human being. It’s through the mirror on the outside that I come to know my very own self. It takes a lot of courage and willingness to be vulnerable as the ego starts to loosen and not be the center of my life.

So, what does it take to have truth as the foundation of your life? I remembered those days when I already have The Work in my life, I would go to my friends and ask them, “if you can say anything about me without worrying about me getting upset, angry or unfriend you, what would that be, what would you say?” I would really listen as they said what they said, and really go inside and feel if there is any uneasy feelings around what I hear. I wanted to allow people to share what is true for them, I wanted to hear their truth, not what I want to hear. I became so courageous because I knew what to do if I notice any hurt feelings, feeling of wanting to run away, feeling of being victimised, feeling of being misunderstood, feeling of separation.

Through The Work and many worksheets that I did, I come to realized for myself that it is never what a person says that hurts me, it is what I think he says that is hurting me. Instead of taking it personally, trying to hide or suppress my feelings, and cut the person out from my life, I question what I think he/she is saying. People no longer have to hide or careful with words around me, they get to be themselves. And I never have to do that to myself and others either. Relationship becomes very simple, authentic and open.

So, if you feel it is very scary to hear the truth about what someone thinks about you, question your thinking. That’s all it takes. It’s a fun ride and there is so much freedom on the other side of the ride.

When Someone Criticize Us

Girl holding note
When Someone Criticize Us:

Before doing The Work, we become sad, hurt, feel being wronged, feel like a victim, we get personal, and we ask, “how could they do this to me… ” ;(

When we start doing The Work, we feel like we are walking on and through burning fire, we find ourselves still in one piece after that. We start to experience what it means by the outside world is our projection. We become more courageous. We are more willing to die in our egoic self. :I

After doing The Work for a while, we become very excited when we hear it, we ask for more, we take in the criticism like a newly discovered child that we never knew we have. We are so grateful for the gift of that missing piece that is given by them.

True Spirituality

I once went shopping with a dear friend in Beijing some time back and she pointed a store to me and told me that they sell spiritual clothing. “What do you mean”, I was really puzzled. “This is where spiritual people buy their clothes from” she explained. I went in and saw that they were mostly linen, loose comfy clothing. I then matched those clothing in my mind with the people that I saw in workshops and classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and realized that those people did wear similar kind of clothing. 😉

How interesting to actually notice this, I thought. Hmmm… how many people actually start dressing like that in order to feel belong to this group, to project the image that they are also spiritual…

If you ask me what it means to be spiritual, if a person is spiritual, I think my only perception would be that he/she is very human, humble, much in touch with the fact that he/she is only human and stands on the same ground with every one else. That’s as far as I can go with spirituality.

After all the far out game one plays, he/she has to come back to reality, to open his/her eyes to seeing the extra ordinary within the mundane ordinary day-to-day life. That is true spirituality! hahaha….

Lesson at Gambling Table

gambleWas in Singapore Sands Casino a few days ago. That’s our to-go place every time we are down in Singapore. Casino is a wonderful place to notice and hear the mind because money is one thing that most of us have strong identity and attachment to and being in a casino can easily bring up our issues around money.

For me, I love the game of gambling. I grow up in a family that gambles every Chinese New Year. Starting at the age of 6-7, we would all gather around and placed our 3 cards bets on the living room floor with my brother being the banker. It’s always feels like a way to connect with all my cousins and friends.

Even till now, every weekend when my dad and all the uncles gather around, they play mahjong or gin rammy. They don’t play for the money but for the fun of gather together and for love of the game.

Sometimes when I watch people play, my mind thinks it can find a pattern around how the game is being played and it wants to come up with a formula to beat the system. And I always end up with lots of humility coming to see that no one has it down. No one can absolutely know what comes up in the “big/small” roll of dice table. “See, it was big for the last 4 rounds, this time it has to change to small.” And then it was another round of big, or a change to small. The best thing is, the mind would give reasons and try to make sense of why it was big/small. It would do that over and over again until it finally realizes it for itself that it just can’t know for sure.

And if we are not so stuck on whether we are losing or winning, we will at least get to enjoy the game while engaging our bets in them.

And if we take this lessons at the gambling table into our lives, we get to enjoy the game of life without attaching to our loss and gain, after all, they are all games.

This Too Will Pass

stormsI love the wisdom of what this phase “this too will pass” brings me.

I remembered when I was first presented with this phase, I cried so hard. I cried to the death of my dream of being “enlightened”. I was wanting to achieve a peak state in my mind and hope that it would be forever.

The same phase also brought me great comfort when I was in physical pain. This too will pass – it is going to get better, that is how the mind interprets it.

Regardless of the peak or the valley in life, this phase reminds me to be conscious of the working of the nature, Tao. And slowly, gratitude arise from knowing that the state I am in is constantly going off forever, and every moment is complete in itself.

Thank you pain for sharing your life with me in different moments in my life.
Thank you success and happiness for sharing your life with me in different moments in my life.

The sweetness is what remains constant in this experiencing of the valleys and the peaks in life.

Overflowing and Half Cup

cupThere was a poem that was shared by a friend that I took it to my heart for many years.

In the poem, the poet referred us human as cups. It talked about how important it was to fill up our cups, to be an overflowing cup instead of a half cup.

“An overflowing cup need not do anything, it is full of abundance and it can’t help but to share freely the water overflowing its rim.

A half cup has to tilt over to share its water, and often it tumbles over and break.”

It just came to me today that I have been working on giving myself what I want to give to others. What I realized long ago was, I wasn’t able to give honestly, I gave with the motive of having you like me, thank me, so that I can feel good about myself.

Since doing The Work, I give myself what I want to give others. Totally selfish! And after doing that for many years, i think my cup is starting to be full and coming to overflowing.

I now feel absolutely ecstatic when I give or help someone. I no longer have have to wait for the response or return. I feel great when it was never found out. It is so effortless, it feels like I am doing it for me, I so love myself. That’s how I could describe it.

And I love that it is always for me. I am the projector.