A refuge within yourself

“Now we tend to think these bodies are pretty, delightful, long lasting and strong. We tend to think that we will  never age, sicken, or die. We are charmed and fooled, and we are ignorant of the true refuge within ourselves. The true refuge is the mind.

So the Buddha said to find your refuge. That means find your real heart. This heart is very important. People don’t usually look at important things; they spend most of their time with unimportant things. For example, when they do their housecleaning they may be bent on sweeping the floors, washing the dishes, and so on, but they fail to notice their own hearts. Their heart may be rotten, they may be feeling angry, and they’re washing the dishes wearing a sour expression. This is what I call “taking a temporary shelter for a refuge.” They beautify house and home, but they don’t think of beautifying their own hearts. They don’t examine suffering. Who else can be your refuge? The true refuge is the heart, nothing else. You may try to depend on other things, but they aren’t dependable. You can only really depend on other things if you already have a refuge within yourself.

So please consider this teaching. Ask yourselves “Who am I? Why am I here? Why was I born?” Some people don’t know. They want to be happy, but the suffering never stops. Rich or poor, young or old, they suffer just the same. It’s all suffering. And why? Because they have no wisdom. The poor are unhappy because they don’t have enough, and the rich are unhappy because they have too much.”

– Food for the Heart, The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah


What is Love?

What does saying “I love you” entail? Do you say those words when you feel butterflies in your stomach? Or when the person fills your mind all day? Maybe.. it’s a case where you feel obliged to say it back?

More importantly, it leads on to the next question. What is love? The internet is filled with articles on their definition of love, but just because you nod off fervently to the checklists do not mean that you should start jumping around congratulating yourself.

Why? Because then, you will be constrained by what others define love as.

When people think of love, they usually think of the sappy love story “The Notebook”. Well, I do too.

That’s the thing about Hollywood films. It makes you go “Awwww.. I want that for myself” but the movies do not depict the difficulty of a relationship on a day-to-day basis. It portrays love as a feeling that will last a lifetime… but will it really?

My idea of love was based on the feeling of wanting to be with this person for the rest of my life. As with Buddhism’s view that all things are impermanent, the feeling of wanting to be with this person comes and goes. Some days you want this person real bad, others you wished they would get out of your face. So today, I realise that is not enough. Feelings are not enough.

Love, instead, is commitment. It is all encompassing. That is the reason why all the articles on love point in different directions. Today, my definition of love is trying to be best person that you can be. More importantly, it is going past your natural tendencies just so you won’t hurt your partner.

My problem is I am afraid of getting hurt. Each time when a disagreement arises, I turn away hoping it will resolve on its own. I walked away 3 times from my ideal partner, expecting him to magically change each time instead of helping him deal with it. I failed him. “Cause and Effect”- I contributed to the cause and now I have to bear the consequences. At the end of the day, it is better to let him go because that is what love is too, letting go when you know deep down that it is the best option for him.

And now, I have to change. I have to stop giving up so easily and fight as hard as I can. I have to be more thoughtful and caring.

Everyone’s definition of love is different. Everyone expresses love in different ways. Hence, it is important to understand ourselves better to come up with our own definition of what love is. However, while you do that, don’t let others’ opinion of what love is affect yours. I made that mistake. I was swayed by someone’s view on love and tried to fit that into mine.

So start questioning and finding your definition of love… today.

If you are looking for words of wisdom, this is what I can offer:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

-1 Corinthians 13:4

Good luck, my dear readers.

What are words

“What Are Words”

Anywhere you are, I am near
Anywhere you go, I’ll be there
Anytime you whisper my name, you’ll see
Where every single promise I’ll keep
Cause what kind of guy would I be
If I was to leave when you need me most
What are words If you really don’t mean them When you say them
What are words If they’re only for good times Then they’re done
When it’s love Yeah, you say them out loud Those words,
They never go away They live on, even when we’re gone
And I know an angel was sent just for me
And I know I’m meant to be where I am
And I’m gonna be
Standing right beside her tonight
And I’m gonna be by your side
I would never leave when she needs me most
What are words If you really don’t mean them When you say them
What are words If they’re only for good times Then they’re done
When it’s love Yeah, you say them out loud Those words,
 They never go away They live on, even when we’re gone
Anywhere you are, I am near Anywhere you go, I’ll be there
And I’m gonna be here forever more
Every single promise I’ll keep
Cause what kind of guy would I be
If I was to leave when you need me most
I’m forever keeping my angel close

Trying to remember.. trying to retain my inner peace

According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It is a progressive moment, a successive series of different moments, joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, where as in reality it is not. The river of yesterday is not the same as the river of today. The river of this moment is not going to be the same as the river of the next moment. So does life. It changes continuously, becomes something or the other from moment to moment.

Take for example the life of an individual. It is a fallacy to believe that a person would remain the same person during his entire life time. He changes every moment. He actually lives and dies but for a moment, or lives and dies moment by moment, as each moment leads to the next. A person is what he is in the context of the time in which he exists. It is an illusion to believe that the person you have seen just now is the same as the person you are just now seeing or the person whom you are seeing now will be the same as the person you will see after a few moments.

Even from a scientific point of view this is true. We know cell divisions take place in each living being continuously. Old cells in our bodies die and yield place continuously to the new ones that are forming. Like the waves in a sea, every moment, many thoughts arise and die in each individual . Psychologically and physically he is never the same all the time. Technically speaking, no individual is ever composed of the same amount of energy. Mental stuff and cellular material all the time. He is subject to change and the change is a continuous movement.

Impermanence and change are thus the undeniable truths of our existence. What is real is the existing moment, the present that is a product of the past, or a result of the previous causes and actions. Because of ignorance, an ordinary mind conceives them all to be part of one continuous reality. But in truth they are not.

The various stages in the life of a man, the childhood, the adulthood, the old age are not the same at any given time. The child is not the same when he grows up and becomes a young man, nor when the latter turns into an old man. The seed is not the tree, though it produces the tree, and the fruit is also not the tree, though it is produced by the tree.

The concept of impermanence and continuous becoming is central to early Buddhist teachings. It is by becoming aware of it, by observing it and by understanding it, one can find a suitable remedy for the sorrow of human life and achieve liberation from the process of anicca or impermanence.