My cat teaches me about simple living

My curious cat when she was less than 2 months old.

My curious cat when she was less than 2 months old.

For good or for bad… some stuff my beloved cat teaches and reminds me.

We don’t really NEED that much — all the stuff and consumption — in life.

Life could be simple. One can enjoy and just eat, shit, play, sleep… repeat.

You don’t have to have a reason to do something.

Work? What? Productivity? What? Nothing to do or accomplish and just great.

It’s my way, or no way. For people, I think this translates into “Stop bullshitting each other.”

Being affectionate, physically close, or simply cuddly with a person you like is great. And even without doing anything together, is wonderful. But of course can be enhanced with some patting, licking, and… well, hopefully no scratching… unless you prefer that way ;)

Keep yourself clean.

Be attentive at all time.

Originally posted 2013-01-22 11:05:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Mortgage Bailout and Rate Freeze, Government Comes to the Rescue?

Based on current news, the federal policy will help a selective group of subprime homeowners by freezing the rate for a period of 5 years applicable to those who are still on time with their payment but could not afford a rate reset. In a sense, the selectiveness of this plan is good news because the less government intervention the better, and it means limited government involvement with a free market that badly needs to correct on its own. Nonetheless, the concept of a government supported bailout is still scary, no matter in what scale. Notice I said concept.

Let’s walk through some implications that I had learned.

Promoting Irresponsible Spending, Investing Behavior

Let’s be honest. People who are truly responsible are not those who cannot afford their mortgage. People who are responsible would learn and understand what they are getting themselves into and buy a place they can afford down the road. These people who took an ARM made a bet, whether they think of it this way. Any betting involves risk, just like investing in stocks, starting a business, or gambling in casino. Now that they lost the bet, are they supposed to be able to kick, scream, whine, and complain to get away with it? People who lost in casino don’t get saved. People who bankrupted on their own business don’t get saved. Why this case? Sorry to sound cold-blooded but tough love is sometimes best to teach a lesson. Without consequences, it is difficult for people to learn responsibility, like how we teach kids. If they provide a bail out in this scenario, they may as well bail out people who lost money on stocks, lost money in business. Heck, they should even bail out those who are defaulting on their car loans. After all, we need to “protect the American dream”, and last I heard, that includes owning a McMansion and luxurious vehicles. And what lesson? Who needs to learn anyways?

Repurcusion for Future Home Buyers

Banks are not the owner of the money they lend out. They receive those money from lenders who are looking to receive return base on interest rate. If the government freeze the rate, that takes away the potential return that they invested their money for. They will be intimidated by what else they government can possibly do in the future and therefore, will become much more conservative about investing in the bank loans. To secure a certain income level and to entice lenders for their money, banks will start charging higher rate for all mortgage loans. For this, let me laugh at those who will take out mortgage in the near future. You just got screwed. Oh wait, I’m one of those people… crap!

Punishment for Taxpayers

This is speculation, but the government may end up paying some lenders, not the banks, who actually own the loans to compensate for their loss. Additionally, the government or the banks will need an agency to identify qualified homeowners and process their applications. Someone has gotta foot the bill. This means taxpayers are paying, including many of us who are too responsible to take out an ARM to buy a giganto house. Banks will try to come up with ways to pay for the cost of this plan. They will do things such as increase various financial charges, invent new types of financial charges, lower saving account’s rate… So why save? All you dummies should be taking out ARM you cannot afford. Wait, I don’t have an ARM either… Argh!!!

Prolonging the Housing Bubble

We can all agree on how bloated the housing prices have gotten, especially in major cities. A correction is needed and is a healthy process for the cycle. Responsible people who have been saving diligently to afford a home will benefit from the correction that will lead to more reasonable pricing. Looks like they will have to wait longer now.

Renters will also suffer

Based on the last point, less people will be able to afford their own place due to the lack of, or a delayed correction. Consequently, they will have to rent. The demand for rentals together with sustained high housing price will lead to high and increasing rental prices, which also means less saving to contribute to a down payment. Ouch, a double whammy. I’d like to point out renters in the bay area is definitely feeling the pain of the ever-raising rent. On a side note, I guess when the government says “they will protect the American Dream”, they apparently mean they will protect the American Dream just for those who already own a house, and not those who rent. Renters don’t deserve to dream. I guess I’m stuck in reality then.

Delaying the Inevitable

Last but not least, people who need to be bailed out cannot afford a rate reset on their ARM payment now, how likely are they able to do that 5 years down the road? Their possibility for this is not high, unless the interest rate drops to something like 1% again, which very very unlikely. These people stand a good chance to lose their home to foreclosures 5 years from now still. Will the government bail them out again? I guess we will have to see.

Unpredictable Outcome and Behavior

We don’t know the specifics on who and how ones qualify for a rate freeze. Once we find out, some may take drastic measures in order to qualify. The possibility for abuse simply exists.

I’m not saying that all of these things WILL happen. They are all possible ripples that may result from the government dropping this stone in the pond. However, in the grand scheme of things, this plan which supposedly “protect people from losing their homes” will hurt everyone in more ways than one and at the same time, will “save” just a small group of homeowners only within a 5 years period. You can decide if this is worth it. I personally see more political agenda for this action than the government genuinly want to do something for the people. Now they can claim they have done something. I feel the situation is dire because our economy, and therefore our life, is dictated by a bunch of halfwits who seem to be irresponsible, lacking foresight, and high on we… I mean, greed.

Thank you for reading my commentary.

Originally posted 2007-12-08 23:06:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Essence of Life Is Breathing

Remember back when we’re young, when we’re so full of energy and exuberant, that we never seem to out of breath? That’s right, we never ran out of breath. We used to breath correctly. We breathed correctly with our entire body.

So what happened to our breathing? Because of outter influence, stress, pressure, bad habits, we lost our ability to breath properly. We become upper chest breathers as we grow. We no longer breath properly and only breath JUST ENOUGH for survival. But we no longer breath enough to keep ourselves in optimum shape. There are plenty of articles out on the Internet that talks about WHY breathing properly is important. So I won’t re-invent or plagerize here.

I can speak of some effects of obtaining the skill. Your body can be more easily relaxed. You will feel more energized. It’ll help you tremendously in all sorts of exercises and activities. Your mind can be more sharp. The benefits are countless.

Deep breathing involve all the major parts of the torsal and facial mask, not just the chest. First you need to keep your nasal cavity opened, which requires the relaxing of the facial muscle in that area. You will feel they are kind of “lifted” when done correctly. Then you need to learn how to breath with the diaphragm. One tip is to focus on a point that’s 2-3 inch below the belly button toward the back. Take in air deep pushing diaphragm downward, feeling the sensation and focusing at the focal point. You will notice expanding of the rib cage and the belly. And finally, the chest can expand slightly to take in more air, but no raising the shoulders. The whole process of breathing in and out should take a lot longer than only upper chest breathing (heaving). It will take discipline to make it into a habit. However, it’s a truly refreshing habit to have.

Give it a try.

Originally posted 2007-03-07 00:48:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Having a Calm and Still Mind

What is the most important attribute that will get us through any situation in best ways possible?

Over time, I have come to reach the answer of the question, and that is composure. I will relate the answer to Zen/Buddhism’s promotion of finding the stillness in mind, a imperturbable sense of calmness through continuous self-examination and self-discovery. Just a reminder that I am not preaching philosohy or religion, instead, I am stating something that has worked well for me and I believe in now.

I can still feel angry, disappointed, sad, happy, estatic, but I have come to realize that whatever emotions and feelings I may get, there is a stillness in my mind that can be kept. My mind is a part of my entity. Those emotions are not. And with a calm mind, I can maintain my awareness, assess the situation, and come up with the best way to respond or to handle those emotions. Some simple examples (taken from my personal experience):

  • If you play basketball for a long time, fatigue starts to build up and your shots are becoming more inaccurate and your body becomes less coordinated, would it do you any good to fret and get scared to take shots?
  • If you are a singer, half way into a song, gone over the most difficult part, and all the singing muscle becomes really tense, would it do you any good to panic and start thinking about not hitting the right pitch?
  • If you are to present in front of some very important individuals, in school or at work, would it do you any good to get so nervous and studder through the presentation?

As smart as you all are :) the apparent answer to all those are, “No, it is best for us to remain as calm as possible in order to make it through the situation with best possible performance.” I am not saying we should never be nervous because that is not possible, as I get nervous myself too! But staying calm and keeping a still mind will allow us to deal out the best cards we can at those moments, albeit subpar. It could only be worse if you get nervous, panic, and have a mental break-down.

In other words, there is no reason for us to fret or panic about anything. The only thing panicing will do for us is to make matters worse. Even if the situation is desperate, dire, and nothing can be done to help, we can reason that everything will come to pass in life, which is the truth. Why should we panic, fret, and worry ourselves to death? Just aim and do our best possible with support of a calm and still mind.

The quote provides the most suitable description of what I just mentioned:

“When the mind begins to become still, we then begin to truly see it. When you first try to stabilize and pacify the mind, initially it will become very busy because it’s not accustomed to being still. In fact, it doesn’t even necessarily want to become still, but it is essential to get a hold of the mind to recognize its nature. This practice is extremely important. … Eventually you will find yourself in a state where your mind is clear and open all the time. It is just like when the clouds are removed from the sky and the sun can clearly be seen, shining all the time. This is coming close to the state of liberation, liberation from all traces of suffering. … The truth of this practice is universal. It isn’t necessary to call it a religion to practice it. Whether one is a Hindu or a Moslem or a Christian or a Buddhist simply doesn’t matter. Anyone can practice this because this is the nature of the mind, the nature of everyone’s mind. If you can get a handle on your mind, and pacify it in this way, you will definitely experience these results, and you will see them in your daily life situation. There is no need to put this into any kind of category, any kind of “ism.” Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche

So remember, you can be nervous, you can be angry, you can be overjoyed, but maintain a still mind that will help you get through any situation the best way possible.

Originally posted 2007-04-25 23:17:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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