The Excess in Our Society, Now is the Shedding Time

A friend sent me link about a new Sony Vaio laptop.

The world’s lightest 8″ notebook, the 1.4-pound VAIO® P Series Lifestyle PC does more than you could imagine–with impeccable style. Email at the airport, IM from the park, or just show it off when you want some attention.

Honestly, who really needs a laptop that is 1.4lb that is mega-expensive? What the F is a person gonna use it for? Throw it like a baseball? It’s not big enough to read and browse and work on it comfortably. It’s not small enough like smart phones, with resembling functions, for you to carry around. If you have trouble carrying around a 4 to 5 lb of very portable laptop, may I say you have a physical condition called weak, and by that I mean, weaker than a 5-year-old.

So in the end, it is all about the last comment — just show it off when you want some attention — that which appeals to the emotional side of consumers. And people will fall for it too, as we have come to adopt the consumeristic lifestyle, which boomed in the past decades. Just maybe less peope will fall for it now, but such things like this laptop are the reflections of the excess in our society.

The lavish lifestyle of the super-rich.
The giant house that’s too big even for a family, let alone just a couple.
The big house that parents insist to buy because they have… TWO kids.
The ultra mega-pixel digital camera, when common users won’t even have practical usage of pictures from a 4MP camera.
The pick-up and SUVs for just-in-case big items.
Uh… Hummer!
Fancy gym memberships that 85% (or whatever large amount) of the people don’t use.
The obsessive of saving this and that, or war on this and that, while each individual has trouble taking care of the self, mastering the self.
Talk shows, reality TVs, game shows.
The amount of lawsuits, blaming, victimizing the self.

And the biggest reflection of excess is… the unhealthiness, both physical and mental, of the general population. Just look at obesity, many terminal illness, depression, people going hay-wired, rising health care cost, general uncaring-ness of each other… I believe are all reflections of the same thing.

The excessive excess we have reflects a general lacking inside. Something is amiss which causes us to be so materialistic, even though it is all about looking inside yourself. Since nobody does that, they never fulfill the lack and continue to chase materials, in the form of money, in the form of a successful career, in the form of owning things. Thus the excess. All the while, without looking at yourself and taking care of the self first, people’s physical and mental condition deteriorate because they only know to chase materials. Thus all the physiological and mental illness.

So until each individual learns to take care of the self and learns to look within rather than without, and thereby shedding the excess, our problems will always be re-occurring, if only in different forms. Look at the past 3000 years. Humans hadn’t really changed. If anything, I think we are in worse shape than ever, despite the entrepreneurship, despite technology, despite all the knowledge and information we possess now.

Originally posted 2009-01-16 01:44:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Zen Meditation, is Not Really About Meditation

A long time ago, I wrote the post The Agenda Mentality.

Well, meditation is directly related to that. Because…

True meditation means for a person to arrive at a “no-agenda state.” So really, the goal of meditation is not meditation.

And yes, you heard me right.

Meditation is unlike anything else that we normally do everyday and all that we are taught to do. That is, almost everything we learn and do follows the mental state that can be sum up as “getting from one place to the next.”

Bu to meditate is to be completely here and now. There is no where else to go.

To be completely here and now is to realize and simply be your whole being. And that involves your body, your mind, sensation from 5 senses, your surrounding, and ultimately, everything — inside and outside of you. Your perception is wide open and accepting of whatever your senses tell you.

This is the state of being, which we are all capable of. Meditation is simply a mean for us to practice it and eventually, be in such state of being without trying – doing without doing.

To fully immerse in the experience of meditation, you cannot be doing something specifically. If you try to arrive at “using all your senses,” you have obstructed your ability to do so.

So in a way, we could qualify meditation as a practice of doing nothing. And to do nothing, it is helpful to first be able to observe and re-discover that you are doing something.

Therefore, we are provided with guidelines and steps to meditate. But keep in mind, to meditate is not to meditate, that is, to follow steps and guidelines.

The easiest way to meditate, at first, is by sitting because in sitting, you are at least not doing something physically. Something called “Za-zen.”

It will take many of us a period of time to relearn the ability to simply sit still.

So after that, we move on to the mental part. It is irrefutable that modern people are addicted to thoughts. We find our logical minds so useful that we cannot stop using it. Therefore, we are to sit and simply observe our thoughts.

And we do not try to stop thinking in meditation. If we think, we let it happen and simply notice what we are thinking. Eventually it will go away. If we try to stop thinking, we just end up thinking about trying to stop thinking which is another thought.

Beyond the mental part, we have the body. While we can watch our thoughts, we can also watch our body. We can observe all the sensations at the various parts of body. Feel where the tension is. Simply to the instruction about dealing with thoughts, we do not try to relax because trying to relax is itself an effort that causes tension. Simply pay attention.

After awhile, we will notice the intermingling relationship between our mind and body. When we think different kinds of thoughts, we cause different kinds of sensations/tension in our body. So we pay attention to both, which including the reception of our 5 senses and our surrounding is all a part of “the whole experience.”

Of course there are other techniques involved, such as lots of breathing exercises, but that is an whole other topic. One tip is for us to re-learn belly breathing (aka deep breathing) and then we can learn to focus on breathing to help practicing meditation.

Because there is one tip that is very useful, is that it is impossible for us to pay fully attention to our breathing and to be thinking at the same time.

To re-iterate, meditation is about none of the particulars described about meditation. Just that if it must be said, it is a practice of a state of being.

Learning to be here and now.

Not “another thing to do to achieve peace”. Or… well, just forget that goal-setting mindset.

And you start by rediscovering your innate awareness and letting it be free — by paying attention. Pay attention to your mind. Pay attention to your body. Pay attention to your surroundings. Pay attention to things you cannot see. Pay attention to everything.

Thus the story of a master telling a student what’s the secret of practice of zen (meditation) is “Attention, attention, attention.”

Originally posted 2013-01-08 00:45:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Health Care Crisis Is Actually Not A Health Care Crisis

I am amazed. Why? Because I have yet come across any article to realize and articulate the fact that our health care crisis is not actually a health care crisis. Perhaps because it sounds politically incorrect, blasphemous, and anti-Obama? That aside, I am also amazed that no one seems to realize the one simple underlying fact to this crisis, which is merely a symptom of this simple underlying fact, is in fact…

Our health!

Long Lost Health

We have gradually come to behave the ways we are today such that we have forgotten what it means to be healthy. We have forgotten that our body has amazing intelligence to do what is best for us. We have become oblivious to when our body tries to communicate to us. It is the same as how we have become unaware of our own thoughts and emotions and mistaken them as who we are.

Our Silent Body

Actually, our body is not so silent. Here is what we do. When our body feels pain, we pop pain killers. When our body makes us sneeze, cough, diarrhea… we pop anti-histamine drugs. When all else fails, we swallow antibiotics or remove the ailing parts of our body. But alas, there is always a reason why our body feels that way. There are reasons for symptoms to happen!

Instead of trying to help, we do everything to tell our body to shut the hell up, and we wonder why we are not healthy. We silence our body.

Basics of Supply and Demand

We wonder why are health care costs going up?

Well, we are paying a shit load of money because on the average we are un-healthy and are on our way becoming un-healthier. And we will continue to get un-healthier if we don’t stop and reconsider what it actually means to be healthy.

As the un-healthy trend stated above develops, there becomes no wonder that health care cost is shooting up exponentially. There are many factors involved, but we play a part in the increase because we are increasing our demand because we need them (actually, it’s that we THINK we need them). Because we think we need them, they can push the price up on us. Basic supply and demand rule in capitalistic society.

Perverted Capitalism is not Helping

Today, our capitalism has become perverted in the sense that profit is of higher priority to quality products and services. Therefore, on average, it is not in the medical and health care industry’s best interest to make you healthy. I said on average because there are still good doctors and kind physicians out there.

My Skeptical Mind…

And let me say this… that one cannot help but wonder, if the medical field today has deterred from the true meaning of doctor, if we read the original Hippocratic Oath, and then we look at the side effects and deaths related to drugs, and then we also look at the health care system being one of the leading causes of death.

Wait, what about “never to do harm”? I don’t think that is one thing too much to ask for from a doctor… Hmmm, yeah, I do wonder. Doubts aside, I know one thing for sure, which is intuitive, and it is that drugs are not to be a norm in everyday life, and doctors are best performing their jobs when they are least visited.

Back to Health

Let’s set aside my skeptical mind. And Yes, if you broke a bone or have some serious conditions, do go to a doctor. However, it is your responsibility to ask intelligent questions, to learn about what’s happening to your body. Your health is your own responsibility. That is the truth, and it is worth repeating.

Your health is your responsibility.

Only you can help yourself to be healthy.
The key is not health care.
The key is our health.

Therefore, no policy, no plan can solve our “health care” problem because our problem is not “health care”. That is missing the point.

And therefore, we must re-establish the concept of health. First, let us revoke what we seem to think it is but not.

Health is NOT Non-Disease, Non-Illness

We need to truly start looking after our health, which again, does not mean non-disease or non-illness. More technology, medicine are not going to make us healthy. They probably can keep us alive longer. They probably make us feel better in short term, which is synonymous to our irresponsible and instant gratification desiring mentality that also is manifested through our subprime mortgage, consumerist-related issues.

But technology and medicine making healthy for us? Nope. They can help, but for now, they are not really helping because of our misuse.

By the time you start having symptoms, and full-fledged illness, you are already quite far from being healthy, and one last stress factor to the body has brought you over the edge.

Real Change

We need to change. We don’t need the health care system to change for us. We don’t need change that creates a health care system that allows and validates our indulging behaviors in lifestyle and diet. We need to accept that we have developed a lifestyle that is against our own body’s nature, our health.

We need to stop delegating our responsibility to experts. And definitely stop using our genetic disposition as excuses. (Yes, there are unique and extreme cases but most of us are not.)

Being Kind to Others

You may ask, what about being kind?

I understand the concept of being compassionate and charitable. That is why I would ask you, “Is validating other people’s bad behaviors, enabling irresponsibility of one-self a compassionate and charitable action?”

100% Responsibility to Health, to Life

Until you take full responsibility for your health, for yourself, you will always be in trouble. Until you look at your life holistically — body, mind, and spirit — your life will always be “in pieces” because that is how you are treating it. So we have a unique different approach/pattern to treat each piece; meanwhile, we completely overlook that those pieces are all connected. Life is all aspects as a whole!

Final Summary

Health is not difficult. If I must sum up what one needs to do to become and stay healthy, I’ll say 3 things and a few sub-points for each:

  1. Balanced lifestyle
    • Are you constantly stressed out?
    • Do you spend more time working than sleeping?
    • Do you vegetate in front of TV for many hours and claim you don’t have time to exercise
    • Do you take time to connect with others (while not worrying about other things)?
  2. Balanced diet
    • How much processed and junk food (mostly empty calories) do you eat?
    • Do you rely on supplements and disregard your regular meals?
    • Do you drink enough water?
    • How much real and/or organic food (useful calories with things body can use) do you eat?
  3. Thoughtful and sufficient exercise
    • Do you exercise regularly?
    • Do you exercise with mindfulness (vs. just going throught the motion)?
    • Do you challenge your body to fix your physical weakness?
    • Do you ever dig deep enough to understand what exercise you need? (ie. knee pain could be caused by incorrect use of the ankle or hip joints, etc.)

Health only requires a bit due diligence on our part, related to the 3 aspects above, to assist and support our body in what it does. Each of us has to realize what health truly means. Each of us has to rediscover what healthy feels like. Each of us has to relearn how to listen to our body.

And nope, no one else can do it for you.

PS. You don’t have to agree and believe everything I wrote, but don’t you think at least some of them are worth considering? Your health is up to you.

Originally posted 2009-06-18 21:21:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Agenda Mentality – Doing is Always a Mean to an End

Everything we have these days seem to be designed to be fast and easy for us to get somewhere, to have done something — always having a destination in the mind.

Everything we do had become a mean to an end.

When we do that, we have made the means almost meaningless. As such, when we reach the end, we will most certainly regret, or be in denial, because we have given up everything for this end… only that, this end… this moment you have hoped and wished and dreamed about is not much more special than all the other moments you have sacrificed, if it is more special at all.

That is why I said, “We are trying so hard to live now that we are not living.”

Everything is a mean to an end. For modern people, the end is a moving target. Then everything becomes a mean, meaning there is no end to their pursuit. They ignore this moment. They have little respect for
whatever they do now.

Living in the moment is just that. Not for sake of peace. Not for the sake of happiness. When you seek, you have not. But that is not what we teach. That is not what the society teach to next generation.

The idea of good behavior is no longer because of the good behavior itself but becase you can get something out of it. This agenda mindset, has seeped into most aspects of our daily life, and has led to the perversion of everything that we do. The rampant desire for an end has overwhelmed the quality of the means.

It is not wrong to have an end. Just that the means are always perverted (meaning, bad shit happens) when one is concern only about the end. Because we will do anything to get to the end. That’s how desires make us do bad things.

For example…

The virtue of frugality lies in its non-wastefulness, not because you will have lots of money and become millionaires.

The goal of relationship is the relationship itself, not because you NEED to network, or that you will become happy or you will get something out of the relationship.

The reason to create quality is for the quality itself.

One of the way I determine success now is, “Am I being sincere in the moment of doing whatever I am doing?” Sincere being the keyword. The more I can be sincere, the more “successful” I consider myself.

Originally posted 2009-03-29 22:33:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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