Love – The Ability

I had an urge to write this entry much earlier, but between hectic schedule and laziness… I’ve been putting off writing it. I’ve also thought, “dude, maybe I’m too young to write about this, but hey, what the heck, I’ll go for it”. Perhaps you’ll see why I said that. Here goes.

It’s actually a good thing I delayed as I came across this reading from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey:

…My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked.
“That’s right,” he reaffirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“Love her,” I replied.
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
“Love her.”
“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend, love is a verb. Love — the feeling — is a fruit of love the verb. So love her. Sacrifice.
Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”

As such, love becomes a word with two meanings depending on the context we speak in, IMHO. A verb and a noun. Currently, pretty much in everyday-scenario when we use or run across the word “love,” it’s being used as a noun. When people say “love”, it is referred to as a feeling. We’re told everyday on TV and Hollywood movies that such is so. That, when we love, it is this feeling within us about a special person, and that we are driving by this feeling. Because we say that we are “driven,” we are implying that there is no decision/responsibility involved. “My feeling is making me do so~~~ Love is telling me to do so~~~ I love this person so~~~” In other words, we shed the burden of “making decision” when it comes to love, but in a way, we allow ourselves to become puppets of our feelings.

Frequently when we claim that we are in love, I think we have somehow confused ourselves. That we may just be “in love” with the strong, passionate feeling itself. We enjoy the feeling that is stimulated by a particular person. The feeling clouds our visions, giving us this imagination/ideal image of the person that causes us to overlook reality… as time goes on, reality starts to catch up and lucky would be a result that this special person isn’t too far off from our imagination but otherwise, unfortunate it would be.

Whether that is true or not, I believe that there comes a time when you have to make a decision in relationship. The decision to love. This is an action, succeeding the initial feeling. The action to love, where love becomes a verb. This is where we will choose to perform the act of love or walk away because either situations do not allow or we deem not worth it.

Well, any action we take in life requires certain abilities. Then love, involves some of our abilities… and what abilities are we talking about? This is something we all have to think about. In my mind, they include… ability to be independent, ability to make the decision and commit, ability to sacrifice, ability to share, ability to observe, ability to appreciate, ability to think clearly, ability to change/improve ourselves (even in the most drastic ways), ability to respect, ability to be patient, ability to endure loneliness, ability to support each other even though the most dire time… Basically, love is such an important action that it entails so much and the list goes on and on.

In conclusion, I would say that love is more than the feeling of liking, of passion. We have to materialize it through our actions, an action that involves all our abilities. As such, love is easy to say, but can we really do it?

So next time when we use the word, why don’t we give it some thought? Can we really go one step above the feeling, to accomplish the act of love? I think that when we’re ready, when we can do it… happiness won’t be too far away. It is not love, the feeling, but love, the action, that once we hone our abilities for the act of love… at that point, we may just have the answer to all the problems to everything.

Originally posted 2006-10-28 01:46:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Returning to the Moment

Last time I mentioned that a good outcome may come for everyone through the way the economy is going and the shedding of excess, if allowed (aka. if people stop screwing with the system). If we ever explore what I mean by “excess”, we will inevitably reach the agreement that such “excess” is related to the pursuit of external, materialistic, glamorous, yet ephemeral, things. The worst part, we have come to want them so badly that we became greedy, and we let our desires take us away from truly living — the “being” part as a human being.

So really, money problem is not money problem. Health problem is not really health problem. Environmental problem is not really environmental problem. All problems we have is but one problem. That would be our way of living, which lead to all those side effects.

There are a lot of names we can call it. Greed. Entitlement mentality. Instant gratification. Attachment to things. It does not really matter what we label it…

In the end, we have simply stopped living. We stop being. Have you ever wondered why we are called human BEINGs?

If you ask me what I am doing with my life now, I will answer you that I am to be present in the moment. All good things happen in the moment, and because I cannot think of a better way to put it, I will quote Shannon Lee, the daughter of Bruce Lee:

My philosophy on life, the thing that I work on the most is to be present in the moment. My father had a saying, to change with change is the changeless state. meaning, being there in the moment, if you are always in the moment then you are taking life head on and you are changing with every moment that comes. You are present and you are aware. It’s sort of the state of perfection to be in, and the place where all good things happen.

The good that can come out of all these pain is for us to return to the moment.

When you are NOT in the moment, you are looking at the past. You are looking at the future. You want all these things so you focus on your desires. You focus solely on your dreams and ideals (notice I said solely, not that dreams and ideals are a bad things). You let greed blinds your sight. You let emotions and thoughts dictate your decision. It is a state of unawareness.

In such state of unawareness, we want external things. We want things to change externally FOR us. We rarely look to ourselves for change. To change with change is the changeless state. To have inner change accompanying the outer change is the changeless state. When we seek only outer change to force the external state to match our desires, we introduce chaos into the system, which leads to consequence (chaos) in order to restore the system into a changeless state. (kind of like the concept of entropy in physics)

At the current state of global economy, a lot of pain is being felt, and it will probably get worse before it gets better. That is my assumption because as pain keeps increasing and reaches a certain threshold, people either break or make. If people don’t break, they will unavoidably have questions in the line of “What the F is going on? This is not working. Something is wrong? What is wrong? Maybe what we are doing is not what we are to do?”

When people ask those questions, that is the beginning of real (inner) change. That will be the starting point of people’s returning to the moment. A way to truly experience life.

Similar to many examples of individuals’ rebound when their life had bottomed out. At that point, they can crash and burn and they may try to run away. Violence could be one such way. Suicide is another. Violence is an unacceptance of the current state and one’s attempt to destroy it (forcing outer change). Suicide is also a denial of the current state where one sees no possibility of outer change and forget about inner change entirely. Both fundamentally display the attachment of how things should be.

On the other hand, when people bottomed out, we all have already heard how many successful came to be because they dug themselves out of it.

Something similar has to happen to the whole population. We are in the bottoming out phase, and we either dig ourselves out or crash and burn. This has to happen collectively while simultaneously, this process of inner change, toward awareness, a kind of awakening, can only occur by each person on his own, if he chooses to, if he desires it bad enough.

That means we will experience life in our unique manner still, each with our own truth, but in a higher statement of awareness, we will be living quite differently, not so destructively, not so all-to-his-own-ly. This is a state where we are truly compassionate to others and nature, not because we should, not because we need them.

Dare I say, if we look beyond all the bureaucracy, dogma, rules, traditions of all religions, this is the principle they share and try to teach — the principle of living in the moment.

Living in the moment does not mean living hedonistically. It is also NOT a carpe diem mentality.

Read Living in the Moment here. I will revisit it also in the next post.

Originally posted 2009-03-04 23:27:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Can People Really Change?

Yes. I believe people can change, that it is possible for anyone to create positive change.

Then how come people seem to be unable to do so?
Even when they know for sure they want positive change…
Be it personal finance, health, relationship, or life-in-general…

I will take a crack at the answers, and I hope you are ready to read with an open mind.

Wrong Expectation

When people talk about change, they often mean that they want change without effort. They want magic pills. Everything people do, everything people want, is a matter of instant gratification. People are high on the instant gratification drug. They want something and they want it NOW. Simultaneously, they want results but they do not want to pay the price.

Obviously, they could not be more wrong, if they truly want permanent positive change. That is why you and I keep hearing people keep talking or thinking about changing this and that but never see any results. Or they tried this and that but nothing worked. Perhaps you are one of them. How can one expect to change with such expectation?

Change is difficult. Change is never easy. And nobody wants to hear that. Change involves being uncomfortable. That is why the phrase “go out of your comfort zone” exists.

The Curse of Habits

The ways one person acts and thinks are habits. Creating positive change means substituting bad habits with new ones. Old habits require discipline to get rid of. New habits require discipline to adopt. The longer you have maintained an old habit, the longer it takes you to learn and adopt a new behavior as a habit. This is the nature of habit. This is the reason why it becomes harder to change the older one is. And yes, it is possible to change even if you are mega-old.

To create permanent positive change is a constant struggle of changing habits. And it WILL take time and patience.

Doing Differently Feels “Wrong”

Change means doing differently, and doing differently is awkward. To change means having lots of awkward moments because things you have never done before naturally feels wrong (and uncomfortable) when you first try it. People are not ready to do “wrong” and be uncomfortable.

One of my favorate quote from the movie 40 year old virgin:

Andy: This doesn’t feel right.
Jay: Of course it don’t feel right! What has felt right for you doesn’t work! You need to try some wrong, dawg.

The Intractable Ego

People is obsessed and in love with being right. They will do whatever it takes to defend what they think is right. Everything else is wrong. When you let your ego dictate you like that, you will be intractable. If your ego is too strong to bend, then it is unfortunate because part of changing means admitting what you think is right is in fact wrong.

Not a fan of finding faults within yourself? Then ask yourself the question, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be better?” What is your answer?

Options and Backdoors

People make it an option to change. I am not saying you must change. If you are happy the way you are, that is wonderful and I am happy for you. However, if you want to change, you must make the choice to change and not let it just be an option. You cannot leave yourself with backdoors to back out. You must finish what you started.

And you must not dissuade yourself with crappy excuses such as “Yes, but…”, “I am too busy” because whenever I hear people say those, it means they are not ready to do what it takes to change.

Loneliness

Believe it or not, when you start to change your behaviors, you make others uncomfortable. Not only that, you may find yourself having difficulty to communicate to others and to have others understand you. This turns into a certain degree of loneliness each person who is changing must face. And it is possible that you may have to find a whole new set of friends.

Additionally, if you are striving to do something extraordinary, it is certain that you will face discouragement and isolation from people you know. Because not everyone has the same goal and perception to be extraordinary, or as I would call it — greatness. So really, not everyone, not many will understand you.

If you want to change, ask yourself the following questions…
Am I ready to get uncomfortable?
Am I ready to struggle constantly?
Am I ready to do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?
Am I ready to be wrong?
Am I ready to go from the starting line to the finishing line without giving up?
Am I ready to be different from your peers, friends, and family?

Lastly, I think it boils down to the next few questions…
Do I want to be better?
Do I want it bad enough?
Am I ready to do whatever it takes?

Originally posted 2008-05-09 17:26:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Discover Your Limit

Have you ever wonder what your limits are? Physically? Mentally? Skill-wise?

Today I did leg-press at 235 lbs. More than I have ever done. Rar! More than I could barely do last week, which was 190 lb. Our body is truly an interesting and amazing piece of machinery.

By the way, some of you may think that is nothing… it maybe so, but keep in mind I weigh a little under 130 lb.

I mentioned the difference of 45 lbs in my ability to do leg press within a week’s period. Surely, my body hasn’t changed so drastically in a week’s time, and thus reveals how our mentality, attitude affects what we can do. This is the most amazing part about weight training. You start to discover what your body can do, what you are truly thinking, and what you, as a whole being, can do.

The process of weight training, not simply for health reasons, allows me to learn more about myself than ever. Of course it is a physical activity, but simultaneously, there is an internal aspect of it where you must be aware of your body (posture, breathing, [which] muscle tension), and also pay attention how your mind affects you during your routine.

Now the most interesting part…

At the point of exhaustion while moving some massive weights, when I feel that I am exhausted, the questions comes in… Is it truly physically impossible for me to move? Or is it that I am my mind affects me, or letting my mind acquit myself with excuses, and that if someone points a gun at me to move it, and will shoot me otherwise, I will muster up the strength to move agian? Which one is it? I need to be truly honest with myself. Can I move just once more to discover my limit? To overcome my limit? Despite the doubts. Despite the pain. Just to discover my own limit. And probably help myself grow.

This is the fun part to training. The process of growing and learning about yourself. I will be honest, that if it is only for the health aspect of it, I probably would not put myself in such god awful discomfort continuously. I will also be honest that, proper weight training WILL give you a better looking body :P

This idea of training is not only true for weight training. It is the same in just about any form of trainig… for physical activities and for art. You have to ask yourself and be fully honest, am I really reaching my limit? And if not, am I finding excuses? What is holding me back? How can I move beyond?

Originally posted 2009-02-16 22:23:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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