Two Sides of the Same Coin

Reality is actually very simple. It is so simple that almost all of us miss it all the time.

It is simply the experience of being in the now. Really, indescribable. Once you start describing it, it is no longer. However, continuing from past post “A World of Patterns and The Limit of Language”, patterns are a necessary facts of the human life for convenience, for communication.

Most fundamentally, we can view everything as a play between 2 sides of a coin (or more eastern and traditional, the symbol of Taichi including the yin and the yang).

The key to remember, is that it is ONE coin. But we forget, so we play against ourselves saying, “crap, the head is going to beat the tail”, or vice versa. So it is said, we live among illusions [that we created].

Thus, once you have full realization of the said key, you can see through illusions and learn to observe the play between 2 sides of the same coin. And ultimately, begin to see through most things in life. What you do with such realization, it’s your choice.

Two points to be taken as to how we get lost in illusions.

1. We mistaken all the complex, artificial patterns that are derived from two sides of the same coin, or the coexisting opposite yin and yang, are indeed reality itself.

2. We forget the two sides are indeed the same coin, or that yin and yang exist only because of each other. Or put another way, we believe the seemingly opposing forces are mutually exclusive when they are really two of the same thing. And then we tell ourselves, “Uh oh, we cannot let tail wins. We must beat the other side”.

The results are — We forget reality. We desire illusions. Furthermore, we desire to make illusions real and permanent. And we desire so badly that we’d do anything, leading ourselves into a incessant losing proposition. And we feel unfulfilled and insecure.

Some of us had taken sides with the head, and some of us had taken sides with the tail. Now we battle each other. Over and over and over.

Imagine we keep this up, what happens to the coin? And what do you think will happen after what may happen to the coin? If you can sense the answer, you are getting warmer.

Originally posted 2009-12-08 20:51:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Efficient Driving

As a part of my frugality, I feel that I have always drive my car quite fuel-efficiently. Even driving both locals and highways, I am able to get around 28 MPG each time out of my Scion tC, which is measured at 23/30 MPG. I’ve always tried not to have to brake and timed the street lights to avoid full stops. I thought that was pretty good!

But alas, check out this dude named Wayne Gerdes – the Hypermiler from Wisconsin, who takes it to the next level.

But it was driving his wife’s Acura mdx that moved Wayne up to the next rung of hypermiler driving. That’s because the suv came with a fuel consumption display (fcd), which shows mpg in real time. As he drove, he began to see how little things—slight movements of his foot, accelerations up hills, even a cold day—influenced his fuel efficiency. He learned to wring as many as 638 miles from a single 19-gallon tank in the mdx; he rarely gets less than 30 mpg when he drives it. “Most people get 18 in them,” he says.

But if you read, some of his techniques include going into sharp exits/turns at 50 mph! AND by turning off the engine and glide! I’m not sure if I want to do that… and I am definitely not one to drive like a dead man at 50 mph on a 65 mpg speed limit highway. Especially I’m in the Bay Area, I probably get flicked off and perhaps even tailgated and assaulted. Haha…

But there is a lesson, which is to drive fuel-efficiently as much as we can:

  • Avoid complete stops without having accidents :)
  • Go easy on the brakes. Note that your cars DO slow down if you take the foot off the gas pedal.
  • Get to know the traffic light pattern in your local area.
  • Start gliding if you see a red light ahead
  • Drive at a consistent speed.

Originally posted 2007-03-08 21:54:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Debt and Conspicuous Consumption Speak Fundamental Problem

2007111850020101.jpgDebt and conspicuous consumption are symptoms of a much fundamental problem.

The subprime crisis, consumer debt issue, and negative national saving rate don’t happen together out of sheer chance like giving birth to triplets. They demonstrate the change in people’s values and perception from past decades. What is the difference?

It is a fact that life can be a bitch and some are very unfortunate to be much handicapped to begin with. However, it is also a fact that they are the minority of the population who have no choice being in poverty. Here today, let’s focus on the majority of the population who has the luxury of the freedom to choose.

At the end of the day, people deep down know what they need to do for themselves regarding their finance, but somehow somewhere along the timeline, people stop admitting to reality and ignore what they know. They prefer to be denial, and may even do their best to stay in ignorance, so they can justify themselves. Ah, ignorance is a bliss… but not really. There is always a choice, and people choose to be ignorant so they can be superficially happy through materialism and instant gratification. They like taking the easy way out, though it is only temporary, but they don’t care if it’s only temporary.

Being in denial, people try to become something they are not. And whether they know it or not, that builds up a void within… you can think of it as a spiritual void or a feeling of emptiness. Call it what you want. As this void gets bigger, people try to fill it with external things, which are paid for with money or credits — money they don’t have. These external things provide instant gratification and the perfect noise to mask that void. As time goes on, they lose a great deal of responsibility, integrity, discipline, and compassion with such behaviors.

I don’t think people should blame credit cards. Credit cards are merely financial tools and dead object. Like subprime mortgage, like all other forms of intelligent(dumb)financing program. Like money. They are all dead objects. How can they be held accountable? Companies make them available, and people choose to use them.

I think life is structured a way that allows us to make many mistakes. We can make a lot of mistakes at different times, as long as we recover from each. And frankly, we all make mistakes in life. We need to do our best to stay aware and catch and correct mistakes as quickly as we can. I cannot fathom that it is one big mistake that brought everyone down to their knees. Humans are tough and adaptive creatures. The key lies in being aware and always learning — the opposite of being in denial and ignorant.

It only becomes the big issues today as people remain in denail and continuously make the same mistakes, until one day — WHAM!!! — they found out they are holding on to a thread hanging off a cliff. They tried to chase after the something that they vaguely see and believe that will bring happiness but won’t and now they need to catch themselves before they fall. They need to recover from their mistakes, and they will if they choose to.

Indeed, we need external things for survival and for pleasure. It’s a part of life. But when you look to ONLY externals for happiness, you are chasing after shadows.

I believe happiness happens when you look within yourself first. When I said to look within yourself, I mean to find the values in life that are important to you. You need to get to know yourself. Know what you want in life. To each person, there are many important values, so you must prioritize, and I dare claim that no one should have money and fame at the top of the list. With such a list, you shall know what is “enough” and hence, be able to distinguish between “wants” and “needs”. You can then simplify your life and not have excessive externals yet be content, though remember being content does not mean being satisfied and complacent.

Problem happens when people never stop to find out their values. Again, they try to become what they are not. I don’t believe it is entirely the people’s fault because of how they become conditioned the way their are — constantly being distracted by advertisements, bombarded with information, and conditioned about money/appearance/fame. As a result of those: They think they will be happy when others see them as rich. They think they will be happy when they have that next-best-thing. They think they will be happy when they beat their neighbors.

However, there comes a time for each of us to come to understand that such a culture doesn’t work and therefore, learn not to buy into such a culture. It is not easy, but it is what we need to do. This is where discipline comes into play, and where we take responsibility for ourselves.

So at the same time you are learning and reading about all those “methods” on how to get rid of debt or to build your wealth, why not take a pause to learn about yourself and get your values straightened out? Because if you don’t, your changes will likely be short-lived because your character has not changed.

You can shred your credit cards, but if you don’t fix the problem by fixing the fundamentals, the problem will come back as easily as it is to shred the credit cards.

Originally posted 2008-03-28 10:22:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Why No Way is the Way

A way can be said to be a predefined set of pattern or behavior.

It has been a long time that our various social structures and cultural patterns base on our mutually exclusive definition of good and evil, right and wrong have done us well. That is great. However, it is about time for us to move beyond.

Impermanence IS the only absolute of nature, as base on the fundamental teaching of Buddhism and also base on the fundamental understanding in physics.

Time is changing. As we relentlessly continue to develop technology that accelerates the speed for which we and our society change, the more so that any pre-defined set of pattern and behaviors are to become obsolete. That is to say, it is very likely that pre-existing ways will have less and less benefits and more more harms the longer we hold on to it.

In a state of chaos, no predefined patterns, no premeditated thoughts can help us.

That is why having “no way” is the only way to behave suitably as time proceeds from here on. It has never been more true.

Having no way does not mean to fight and to abolish any existing way. Quite oppositely, having no way means MORE so that we need to study and fully understand all, or at least as many as possible, existing ways that we know of. But without being attached, as in clinging to any particular one of them…. only then, we can spontaneously apply a suitable way that maybe one or more of the pre-existing ways in combination, or create a new one, in any particular situation.

And this is only possible if you don’t cling on to a specific way.

Understand both what are defined as “right” and “wrong”… and know that at any time, “right” could become “wrong” and “wrong” could become “right”. Seeing sides without taking side.

This may seem very dangerous and foreign to our mind conditioned to follow patterns of behavior in the last few thousands of years. It is in-arguable that we have the brains to move beyond that.

That is the kind of mentality, living attitude that more and more mankind needs if we are to live harmonically among ourselves and with our environment.

That is the kind of world leader we need, even just as people with influence.

Bruce Lee’s JKD is actually of no particular style. It has its basic routines, training patterns. Many of those may have been drived from Wing Chun or any other style that Bruce Lee studied, and they are good starting point. But you should not be restricted by any of them. He did not even want to call JKD as JKD if he can get by without words.

We have to be able to move beyond all the ways that we have.

As the “no-mind” teaching in Zen, it means for us to go beyond our mind. Reality lives beyond our thinking, our logical intelligence. This is also why the only thing a Zen master really ever does is either destroy all your existing concepts and ideas — including what you think of Zen, or if he thinks you are close, directly points you to the “no-mind” state of being and perception.

To deal with reality optimally, we need no-mindedness and make no-way the way.

Then of course, this choice cannot be made up in the mind as a decision like we usually do, but instead it is a choice that is to known by our heart.

Originally posted 2010-08-23 23:33:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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