A Great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson has a wonderful and extremely relevant quote in regards to personal development IMHO:

What you are shouts so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Closely related to that…

“I cannot hear what you say for the thunder of what you are.”
old Zulu proverb

What I understand from these quotes…

if we want to change ourselves, we need to work from the inside out. However, this approach to change and improve takes time, in fact, it takes considerable time and effort. But this is also the only way to make changes to ourselves effectively and allow us to keep them permanently. This is something we must understand.

My observation in this age and era is that frequently, people look to improve themselves but what they seek are in fact only “quick fixes” that do not last. I see this from people in search for a better body where they rely medication and limiting of food intake but not together with exercise, to people relentlessly looking to boost their skill sets such as by trying to improve their communication skill where they seek superficial techniques but with no genuine desire to listen (and “listening” is a major part of communication, some research/references even claim it as 80-90%).

When we understand this, and with patience and perseverence, change and improvement to ourselves are no longer impossible goals.

Originally posted 2007-05-16 23:58:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Illusion of Going Green

img_2422.jpgSorry to disappoint you if you arrive today to read about personal finance or self-development or to nose about me. Nope, today’s none of those. Instead, I want to point out some silliness I observed about the social hype of going green.

Hybrid Vehicles

If you are going to get stuck in traffic for hours with a hybrid, you are still burning fuels like all other cars, albeit less. And don’t even get me started on those hybrids driving 80 mph on the highway. You know the urge from watching a motorbike that haplessly swerves by you and wanting to run him into the boulder? It’s the same feeling.

How about drive less, carpool, plan your driving trips, walk/bike when possible, or not buy a house that comes with a 10-hour commute just to own more square footage…

Solar Panels

Solar panel itself is a solution. But guess what, these panels have to be produced, and guess where over half of them are being produced? Yep, none other than the almighty China. With loose regulation, by-products from the production of solar panels – chlorine and hydrochloric acid – are freely dumped in nature.

Go for it if the thought of many to-be-dead Chinese excites as much as going green.

Carbon Offsets

Personally, I think this is the dumbest idea of all, where you pay a company to “go green” for you and you say “Oh, I’ll pay someone else to do my responsibility to save the environment”. How irresponsible is that. It’s like paying someone to not cheat so you can cheat on your husband/wife.

On top of that, carbon offsets companies are not required to disclose what they do with your money. Half of the money probably end up in their pockets while the other half will go into investment of other “green technology”. The left over money will probably be used to hire gorgeous interns naively excited about “going green” while you think a tree must have been planted by now. But honestly speaking, most of the money will be used to pay for administration and personnel cost.

I’m not saying the above three things matter naught. Each of them can be part of the solution if people truly adjust their behaviors. To truly minimize pollution to the environment, we have to begin by minimizing our wasteful behaviors, where each humble citizen of Mother Earth should be mindful of what their actions mean to the environment and act accordingly – recycle, turn off lights, lower the heat and A/C, stop littering… We must understand how we are all connected and stop thinking selfishly.

I wish people can stop being silly, but I’m afraid Einstein is yet correct.

Originally posted 2008-03-30 15:51:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Mother Earth and Nature are Precious

Let me repeat, Mother Earth and Nature are precious. Sometimes we all get so caught up with our busy life and we forget. We forget that humans are part of the animal kingdom. We forget the existence of nature that sustains our livelihood. We have come to act like we are separate and bigger than nature, while the entire time…

We human beings are a part of nature…
As the air we breath.
As the water we drink.
As the ground we walk.
As the sun that shines.

Upon expressing my sentiments, a colleage shared with me a poster on his wall. It is a wonderful piece written by Chief Seattle, as a letter in response to President George Washington’s offer to purchase his tribe’s land. Upon research, I found that it is not the authentic writing. Nonetheless, I love the messages brought to life by the words.

THIS EARTH IS PRECIOUS

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

ALL SACRED

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.

The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.

The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man–all belong to the same family.

NOT EASY

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.

He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.

This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

KINDNESS

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.

The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

He leaves his father’s graves behind, and he does not care.

He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care.

His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads.

His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect’s wings.

But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand.

The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinion pine.

PRECIOUS

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath–the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.

The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.

Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.

And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.

ONE CONDITION

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way.

I’ve seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.

I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.

For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

THE ASHES

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.

All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

We may be brothers after all.

We shall see.

One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white.

This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.
Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.

Whatever we do to nature, it will come back to us. If we don’t live to experience it now, then may our children do so in our place. People can keep talking about going green. People can market about carbon offsets all they want. People can keep urging for lower emission cars. People can keep arguing. People can keep asking for more and better evidence.

In the end, if people truly care for nature and the environment, they will come to understand that we are part of nature and their action will speak such understanding. If their intention is pure, it will be clear in their action. The same for ill intention.

Everything’s connected. What we do to other things on earth will be done upon us eventually. If our doings cause fast extinction to other species, then so shall be our fate. We are part of nature. If we are harming it, we are harming us. We are all one.

Originally posted 2008-01-09 23:26:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

In praise of idleness

I keep seeing the occasional spike in the article that I had written awhile back – The Art of Doing Nothing so I feel like to add a few thoughts to that.

Productivity seems to have become the end-all-be-all goal in our current time. Driving up productivity is an unquestionable aspect in driving more values in business, at all cost.

The attitude from such execution results in the mentality that we have to be useful, productive ALWAYS into all aspects of our lives. Thus…

To be doing something useful is great!
To be idling is blasphemy!

I know we don’t really say things like that but when anyone says that he had done nothing over the weekend or something, he’s usually met with the reaction “oh… (maybe you should be doing something more useful, or be out doing something exciting).” Well, something along those line. In short, the reaction to an “idling answer” is always kind of awkward.

I find there is a lot be praised to be able to be idle — and that includes our physical and mental capacities. To be honest, we need to be able to be idle. Not always, but I think it’s necessary on intervals.

There is something rejuvenating about it.
A lot of creativity arises from moments of idleness.
Epiphany usually only happen when you can stop to be idle.
If we ignore all the above, we simply need a balance in life.

Idleness is the couter-balance of productivity.

Slightly different version of being idle is to be able to move/act at leisure.

But I think in our pursuit of growth and mostly only economically… sometimes also for fame and power, we give up this important concept. And we almost chastise each other for being anything other than productive.

I read something awhile back that I’ll always remember… You know what kind of people would not be hostile and try to always fight with others? People who can stop to look at and genuinely enjoy a beautiful scenery.

I enjoy being able to be idle and leisurely.

Maybe we need more people like that. Maybe we need to start teaching that.

I feel the reason behind our distaste against idleness has to do with our deep desire to control. We want things to happen our way instead of letting things happen by itself when in things, many things happen outside of our control. Sad to say, that is more healthy to let things take its course. To always control is a very short sighted perception due to insecurity.

It is also a fact that our brain does MUCH more than we are consciously aware of. Thus when we feel sleep/rest is wasteful, that is also completely wrong. Think of it as a digesting process when we let ourselves rest… of all the events that happen during the day, the stress, the hormone, and all the emotional wear and tear that occurred during everyday!

Originally posted 2012-09-26 22:28:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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