A Japanese friend asked me: “what is heart? and what is soul?” If you got this question, what would be your answer? There are only two aspects of Human Being. The human and the being, the body and the soul, the physic and the spirit, physical and spiritual. Human refers to the body which is physical and Being refers to the soul which is spiritual. We can see the body, but we can not see the soul. We can not see our heart, our mind and our intellect.
Heart, mind, intellect…..all are in one, in the Being, in the soul. The 3 are in the soul, these are the faculties of the soul. Each one has different function. Mind creates thoughts. Mind works like a mirror, it reflects thoughts, it projects thoughts. The second faculty of the soul is intellect. It is called the eye of the soul, it has the ability to “see and understand”. It can see what is right and what is wrong. It has the ability to churn the thought deeply. It experiences the thought. It changes knowledge into wisdom. When the thought is transformed into an experience (a deeper understanding), then the heart does its work – it creates a feeling based on the experience. The stronger you hold one particular thought with your intellect, you think it deeply…..then your heart will create a feeling accordingly.
A buddish friend said to me that there are 3 aspects needed to perform a charity – the giver, the object you want to give and the receiver. These three should be there, otherwise you can not perform a charity. He shared a story of a monk who accepted a charity from his disciple. This disciple gave him something he can’t use or he will never use, yet he accepted it. When he was asked why he accepted it, he said that he wanted to give a chance to that disciple to perform something good, unless she doesn’t perform a charity.
It is true when it comes to give something physical. There should be these 3 – the giver, the object and the receiver. But you can also give something not physical. You can give your good thoughts, good wishes or good feelings to others. In giving this, you don’t need any physical object, you can do it from whereever you are and whenever you want. You might not need the receiver’s approval for this. Just give it away. They will definitely receive it, no one will reject your giving. This is more unlimited than giving a physical stuff. Our physical wealth is limited, but our mind and our heart are unlimited. Our good thoughts and good wishes are unlimited. This is not physical wealth, this is spiritual wealth. The more you give this wealth, the more it will increase. Keep giving and keep increasing your wealth. In fact this is the wealth that you will carry with you forever. Your physical wealth may get reduced or stolen, but this wealth is always safe. No one can take it away from you.
Have a happy weekend!
What can you see in this picture?
Someone said : “I can see a little yellow plant in a glass filled with water.” Others said : ”a hope”, “growth”, “life“ etc. It is interesting. Each one has different answer. All of the answers are right. It depends on from which point they are speaking. If we see the picture with our physical eyes, we can see a little yellow plant but if we are using the eye behind those physical eyes we might see the beauty of it, something different, something more subtle. The beauty is always hidden behind the facades. It needs the ability to capture what is hidden. It is the inner eye that can capture the beauty. Some call this inner eye as awareness, consciousness, heart, the eye of wisdom, the soul or the spirit. In fact it refers to one and same thing.
The key to happiness in life is the ability to see the beauty in small things around you using this inner eye, not the physical eyes. The physical eye only captures the gross things, but the inner eye can capture the subtle things. Beauty is experienced by the heart. Not many big things happen in life. We might not experience big success so much in our life, but there are so many little things happening in each day. Start seeing the beauty or success in small things around you, do not wait till something big to happen to be happy. Open your inner eye and fill your heart with this.
Someone asked me to moderate a panel discussion last year. I don’t remember the topic of the discussion specifically anymore. I think it was about having self respect and maintaining humility at the same time. There would be two speakers. I prepared a list of questions the night before for the discussion.
In the next morning I thought I would like to talk to each speaker and share the list of the questions. The first speaker said : ”You can ask me anything.” She didn’t want to see the list. I thought it was good for me, so I could ask any question. Then I talked to the second speaker. He wanted to read the list. He went through the questions one by one and he asked me to take out one question from the list. It was a very personal question. I asked them to share their personal stories on maintaining their humility while dealing with difficult people. Whether they succeeded or not, it wouldn’t matter. I realized that not everyone found it easy and comfortable to share an honest story about themselves.
We always could learn from other’s story. I believe that we can learn more from someone’s experience than just from information. Infomation is a theory and experience is a practice. Because experience is coming from the heart so it will inspire people more. Sharing an experience is always much better than sharing an information. It is a heart-to-heart sharing.
Someone shared her thoughts on how to become creative. She said that we should learn from children to be creative. I notice that most children are very creative. Their spirits are free….to explore everything. They have no worries and no fears in their spirits. They are not aware of what fear is. Each one of us was very creative when we were so young. When we grew up, we suppressed this spirit. We started creating fears and worries of what people might think about us. We started creating fear of being rejected by others. We might then stop doing something because of this fear. At some point in our life we might miss that spirit in us.
I remember when I was in a retreat, I escaped from one of the morning sessions, I went to the garden in the corner of the campus instead. The garden was small, beautiful and quiet. It was really enjoyable to sit there especially in the morning hour. I also could enjoy little birds and squirrels. They were running around on the ground, jumping from one twig to another. Sometimes they went so close to my feet. I really enjoyed it.
That morning I had an appointment with David who stayed above the garden. David is an artist and a musician. He promised to teach me how to feed squirrel at 7 o’clock. I was so excited about it. My heart said “If I can touch and hold the squirrel with my hand, it would be an achievement for me”. We might think that this kind of thought belongs to a child, not an adult. I knew it was the spirit of a little child in me who had that thought. David was ready with bread crumbles in his hand. He then made a little sound to call the squirrels with his mouth. We sat there and maintained silence. We should not make any movement that would create a feeling of threat in the squirells. We created a feeling of love to the squirrels. I said in my mind that we were friends and we loved to meet and play. I held that thought and created a feeling of friendship. We waited patiently and after a while one squirrel came closer to us. It jumped onto David’s lap and started eating the bread. It was so cute. I took the video of it. I hope I can share the video next time here. Then David gave the bread crumbles to me. I held it in my hand and the squirrel came to my lap and started eating the bread. The spirit of a little child in me was so happy.
Nurture this spirit inside you and you will experience so much freedom and joy.
We had a little discussion on desire. Desire is always the cause of problem in human life. It seems desire is endless. One desire is fulfilled will be followed by another desire, then another desire. It is never ending. The heart will never experience contentment when it has any desire unfulfilled.
Supposed you just bought the latest model of gadget or camera that you really wanted to have. You were very excited. But how long does the excitement last? This feeling of being fulfilled won’t last very long, because soon after that you might already have another desire to be fulfilled. The heart won’t really become full by having this temporary fulfillment. The heart is not contented. A discontented heart won’t experience fullness (peace and happiness).
It says “conquer your desire if you want to have a peaceful and contented life”. Then someone asked ‘what does life look like by not having any desire?’ Someone might say that life without having any desire would be plain and not exciting. It is not called a life.
Not having desire is not similar to not having aim. An aim of life is usually much bigger than a desire. It is more a long term goal. Having aim in life makes you enthusiastic, it makes you feel excited, it makes your life even more alive. You have something to pursue. To have aim in life is to have a goal to achieve. You need to work on it. When you can achieve it it is called an achievement not a fulfillment. The feeling is different. The energy is different.
It is said that knowledge is power. You might have heard this many times. But how do you experience this practically in your life? You might have read so many books with great advice to become a better person. You might have attended seminars, trainings and workshops and that you felt so inspired. You were inspired to make a change. You really wanted to make a change in you. But, do you experience that a change is easy? Is it to change yourself easy? I think a change is difficult. You might reflect on yourself after sometimes and ask yourself “have I changed? how much have I changed?” You might not see so much change in you. You wished to become a much better you, but it didn’t happen the way you wished to happen. Then, knowledge is not power yet. It doesn’t have power to change you.
Knowledge will become power when you use it to really make a change in you. To change means to change the mindset. To know is the first step and to change the mindset is the next step. Only when your mindset is changed by your new understanding, then you can say knowledge is power.