I Learnt 3 Valuable Lessons

I Learnt 3 Valuable Lessons

Whilst growing up I was never around animals and when I was, I was afraid of them. I have no idea why I was scared of them. I must have been incorrectly wired to believe that animals can hurt me so I always kept my distance. Besides, living in the city I did not have much opportunity to be around them so my lack of exposure limited me in knowing and understanding them.  Fast forward to today. I’m in love with animals. Especially in the last year. I am stunned at how little I knew about them. My ignorance got me curious to learn about the many beautiful species and so my journey began.  One of my favourite animals are dogs and specifically border collies. I have been lucky enough to get to know Lily. Lily is 4 years old and shes is a quarter labrador but she has very distinct border collie characteristics. Lily loves being around people and when she is stroked or itched, her facial expression can melt one’s heart. I know because it did mine. I am learning valuable lessons from Lily.  Lily is authentic. She waits by the stairs because she knows that we walk down the stairs and she gets attention; love. She is not embarrassed to display that side of her. It reminds me how I used to find it hard to ask for love. I masked what I wanted hence made it hard for others to know when I needed support or comfort. But if I showed what I felt then there would not be any issues in getting the love...
What makes a holiday oh-so special?

What makes a holiday oh-so special?

Going away for the weekend to spend a bit of downtime together led us to Tai Chung, a city in Taiwan. We loved every bit of it. Not because it was glamorous because that would be Hong Kong or Dubai. It was very average in terms of urbanization. So why did we like it so much? The city has the perfect balance of great infrastructure with greenery infused in it. On Friday morning, we were in the middle of the city in a cab and we were surrounded by trees everywhere. It is a rarity to see this nowadays and in Hong Kong. So you’re thinking, what, trees? Really! Is that why you liked Tai Chung that much? Actually, that’s not why. It’s the subtle things that happened randomly. Allow me to explain. We were curious to see what a local supermarket was like so we headed to Carrefour. It was like going to Asda or Sainsbury’s in England. I hadn’t seen anything that big and encompassing in Asia. Okay, so the supermarket was like England, that couldn’t have been the highlight of the trip, right? Right. We were walking along one of the aisles, when an American man who was with his Taiwanese wife started talking to us. It was very random but at the same time very natural to them (which we learnt later). We chatted briefly and it left us with a smile on our faces. Why? Here we were, checking out the senbei (Japanese rice crackers) and here comes someone saying to us, “Hi, where’re you from?” The reason this was a “wow” moment is simply because...
What a blissful weekend looks like? 

What a blissful weekend looks like? 

Have you ever gone to a place and felt like time has stopped and you’ve gone back in time? That’s how my weekend felt like. We frequently go to this place, the second hand bookstore and get some great buys. Last Saturday was no different. As we left, we got chatting with the owner, a retired Englishman. I learnt so much about him, his family, his life and we even chatted about diet and fitness. I was so intrigued that I didn’t want to leave! He reminded me about life and brought me back to me. I am an emotional person, I like simplicity, nature, snails, books and the chance to write. I like the old Hong Kong, the less developed HK where there are lesser malls and more local stores like I grew up in. That’s probably why Mui Wo and Pui O feel comforting. The simplicity is appealing. Where it is simple, there is more community, lesser competition, drama and greed. People are more content at simpler places. My day continued with more experiences of nature and simplicity that left me in awe. On Saturday night, as we were heading to the Silvermine Resort, rows of bulls marched quietly towards the beach. Their orderly manner amused me. They walked mindfully and in a row. One behind the other as if they were school children heading for assembly. It was the cutest sight! I stopped and wanted to see what they were going to do. But also I just wanted to take in this rare beauty. All the bulls found a cozy spot on the sand and as...
Live Your Childhood Dream

Live Your Childhood Dream

I’m hitting 41 this year and yet I feel like a kid. I feel more alive than ever. I remember when I was in high school, I loved writing. I was one of the editors of the school newsletter and was so proud of my work even though it probably wasn’t all that great! I had the passion and the love for writing. Even though I was not fortunate enough to study writing after graduation, my first Masters was in Creative Writing and now I blog whenever time permits. As I get older I realize more of what I want to be. I say be and not do because ambition should be derived from the heart. I can recall the days and nights of writing poetry in my diary when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I did that purely because that was my way of expressing myself. Today, I still write as it eases my mind and I feel alive. We all have dreams especially when we were kids. The dreams could have been as simple as being the best person you could be or earning a million dollars or it could be being a jewellery designer. Whatever your dreams were, are they dead now or are you living it? I would like to share something Rabten, my Budhhist teacher shared recently. He said during the death meditation which is done at night, we say our byes to everyone and everything, including our dreams and the people that have done us wrong or vice versa. Would there be any regrets? Something we can ponder about. Because...
For Buddha’s Day of Enlightenment

For Buddha’s Day of Enlightenment

I’m often reminded in my own practice about the different states of consciousness that the mind can reach. I was doing a Sam Harris meditation with my husband a few days back and it very much stressed the idea of anatta (no self). This is a great meditation for realising that you have no self at all but it slightly ignores the different stages of consciousness that can reach towards this one point. For beginners, this would be an extremely difficult meditation as it doesn’t pin point the necessary conditions that are needed to reach the state of no-mind. In Chan Buddhism there are four states of consciousness. The first is often called “scattered mind”. This is the condition that most people are in throughout the course of their lifetime. A scattered mind clearly thinks their thoughts are real and are guided by every passion and emotion that they feel. Every mood they feel or thought they have is truth (even if some thoughts are contradictory to others they might have a few minutes later). A scattered mind is likely to make decisions based on emotions and will constantly be in the midst of a raging storm. But like a Sharknado, the storm doesn’t actually exist. One could imagine sharks of all kinds swirling on the edges of the storm but in reality NONE of these thoughts are real. Osho calls this “the state of unsanity” in which most people live every day. The second state of consciousness in Chan is “simple mind”. A person realises that their mind is the Master and seeks to address the imbalance. A...
Are We Awake?

Are We Awake?

Samadhi is usually translated as concentration and from my perspective it is an essential meditation practice. The practice of Samadhi envisages a mind that is calm, clear and gentle. It is unattached to anything and let’s go of thoughts as easily as raindrops gently dripping from a leaf during a summer storm. It is very hard to achieve this state of mind as we have been so conditioned by life. Every form of conditioning must be removed for Samadhi to be achieved. Samadhi can be achieved in short bursts or in a whole lifetime (an example would be the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh). To obtain longer spans of Samadhi we must look to firstly reconditioning ourselves, and secondly to letting go of conditioning of any state or form. This is much harder than it sounds! Samadhi, in simplistic terms, is the way the mind learns to settle. To do many of the more advanced meditations you initially need this state of mind. It is so easy for us to get distracted when we try to meditate. A myriad of internal thoughts suddenly assail us, all desperate to take our concentration away. Feelings arise that need to be acknowledged and not ignored or neither dwelt upon. Small sounds suddenly become larger to our senses and the outside world has a host of distractions. Sitting in Samadhi isn’t an easy activity, even if it looks like it’s the case. It’s like a swan on a lake. All looks calm and fluid, but if you look under the water you can see the effort that the swan makes to retain that...