Friday, March 27, 2009

The Harmony between the Universe and the Human – for Earth Hour 2009

The ancient Chinese Philosopher Zhuangzi (369-286 BC) proposed the concept of “the harmony between the universe and the human”, which was developed by Dong zhongshu (179-104 BC) afterwards. Confucius and Taoists believe the theory that the universe is nature, and human beings are integral part of nature; there exists correspondence between man and nature, and man should live harmoniously with the environment.

At about 500 BC, Chinese people already developed sophisticated technique of smelting cast iron, 2000 years earlier than the Western world, however, the technology and heavy industry had been intentionally obstructed in China, because people felt technology would destroy the natural environment bestowed by heaven, until 1840, they were awaken by the Western world’s guns and cannons.

Nowadays, while we enjoy all the benefit of technology and science, and utilize the natural resources for our survival, comfort and pleasure, we have also created weapons of destruction and disturbed the natural balance of our earth to a dangerous level. Someday, we may create a world unfit for human habitation any more.

Vote Earth! Switch Off Your Lights For Earth Hour by Shepard FaireyEarth Hour is an annual international event created by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund), held on the last Saturday of March, that asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Today, March 28, at 8:30 p.m., hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn off their lights in a global "vote" for action on climate change. Earth Hour is a symbolic event to raise awareness.

Click here to sign up for Earth Hour.

It is just one hour, but we can do more from our daily activities:

Be mindful of our actions and interactions with our environment: What are we doing? What are the effects? Can we do better?
Live simply: let go of all the unnecessary attachments, spend our time, energy and money on things truly matter.
Conserve everything we use: use all forms of energy efficiently, do everything more effectively, not waste things we use.
Enjoy and appreciate nature: watch the sky, listen the birds, enjoy the flowers, wade in the tides. When we truly love the nature, we would avoid doing things to harm it.
Make clean choice: buy clean products, recycle things, be environment conscious all the time. Collective changes are made up of many small, individual changes.
Develop a green spirituality: grow our ecological mindfulness, feel our connections to all the living things, live harmoniously with our environment.

We human are an integral part of one great living system. We are part of the earth; the earth is part of us. Love the earth we live on; each of us can contribute our positive efforts to change the world.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Zen and Meditation

Did you reminisce your past and worry about your future so much that you couldn’t live at present and enjoy life? Did you feel so miserable and aimless that you couldn’t focus at the moment and achieve nothing? I did.

Zen tells us not to dwell on the unchanged past, not to worry about the unknown future, but to focus at the moment, the only thing we can control and make use of is today. It is crucial to live well today.

Sometimes we feel miserable and unfocused because we have too many illusory and wandering thoughts. Meditation is a practical way to obtain a peaceful and quiet mind. When the mind is tranquil, we will reach a state of relaxation or awareness, wisdom will naturally arise.

How to meditate?

  1. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, so that you can breathe easily and feel physically free.
  2. Find a quiet and relaxing place. It is essential to find a place without distractions and noisy appliances. If you want to play music, only silent and soothing music is allowable.
  3. Sit in a comfortable position. There are several leg positions, such as lotus position, half lotus position, and so on. I don’t follow this strictly. Sit in a way you feel comfortable, either on the floor or on the chair, keep your back straight, close your eyes and relax.
  4. Breathe deeply, slowly and evenly. Close your mouth, begin inhaling deeply and exhaling gently, put your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, return your attention to the breath (or to the counting).
  5. Focus on one thing, i.e. the feeling of joy. When you breathe in, you think about joy, the joy of being alive, the joy of breathing, the joy of seeing, and the joy of hearing.
  6. Calm and clear the mind. Focus on your breath and your body, relax all your muscles. Get rid of all the wandering thoughts, have a pure and lucid mind.
  7. Set yourself a minimum time (at least ten to fifteen minutes) that you want to meditate and try to abide by the minimum.
  8. Be consistent. Meditate regularly, generate the automatic meditation response, try going to deep concentration each time, and within a week you'll start having deeper meditation.

Our life can be cluttered with material objects and stresses; meditation can bring us inner peace and bring us back to our true selves. Compose ourselves; our peace and serenity are untouched by the ups and downs of life.

If you like this post, you also like Becoming Enlightened: A Unique Program of Wisdom & Inspiration

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nourish Our Body, Mind and Spirit

Every life is a miracle; every moment of being is a miracle. We all matter. We should cherish our life and nourish our body, mind, and spirit all the time. Don’t let our precious life fritter away meaninglessly.

Nourish Our Body

  • Eat decent food rich of fiber, vitamin, calcium, protein, omega 3 essential fatty acids. Remove junk food from diet.
  • Rest and relax. Relax in a silent cozy place where pleasant music plays or enjoy our time chatting with a good friend. Reenergize and refresh our body for the next mission.
  • Exercise. It is said chemicals called neurotransmitters are stimulated during exercise, which can mediate our moods and emotions, so exercise can help us feel better and less stressed.

  • Nourish Our Mind

  • Read uplifting books. Good books can increase our mental capacity and improve our understanding of the world, and can enrich, purify and sublimate our mind and soul.
  • Surround us with positive and healthy people. Peaceful and harmonious companionship is vital to our health as food, water and air. Feel loved, respected and needed.
  • Think and meditate often. Have a meditation before going to sleep: what happened today; what I can learn from it, which will build up our wisdom and make us more conscious.

  • Nourish Our Spirit

  • Find the purpose of life. Our Spirit guides us grow in the physical, emotional and intellectual dimensions of our lives. With a clear purpose, we can persevere on our life journey and lead a meaningful and accomplished life.
  • Appreciate beauty everywhere. Soothing music, periods of silence, sunshine, birds singing, water flowing, leaves rustling, enjoy them naturally. Stand in a wild field, breathe all the beauty in. Smile often.
  • Contribute to the world’s consciousness. Live consciously and peacefully with the entire world. The universe is a wondrous miracle, absorb positive energy from it and contribute positive influence into it. Let our spirit be present in everything we do.

  • Life can be very stressful. It is easy to feel bored, angry, depressed or discouraged. But we have a choice to encounter the life with a positive attitude. Get rid of all the negativities; fill ourselves with all the nourishments. Peace, joy and love in the world come from each one of us.

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Anyway, Do It Anyway, by Kent M. Keith

  • People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

  • If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

  • If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

  • The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

  • Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

  • The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

  • People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

  • What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

  • People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

  • Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

  • Dr. Kent M. Keith is an inspirational speaker and author who helps people find personal meaning in a crazy world.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Happiness is Everywhere

    Zhuangzi and Huizi were sauntering along the dam of the Hao waterfall.
    Zhuangzi said, “The minnows swim freely and play at ease in the water – they truly enjoy.”

    Huizi asked, “You are not fish - how do you know that fish enjoy?”
    Zhuangzi rejoined, “You are not me. How do you know that I do not know that fish enjoy?”

    It is a famous debate in Chinese philosophy. I would like explain it in this way: You are not me - how do you know that I do not enjoy my time watching the fish swim? You are not me, you can’t judge my happiness. Happiness is a self definition.

    When you are in good mood, you think everything is happy, swimming fish, flying birds, running dogs, playing kids and more. When you smile, the world smiles back to you; when you are happy, you transmit frequency of happiness around.

    Happiness comes from peace of mind. How hard the outside world is, with peace of mind, you can take the tense situation calmly, drinking a cup of tea, reading an uplifting book, and listening soothing music, taking pleasure in a quiet moment. Keep cool you will win through.

    Happiness comes from generosity. Be broad-minded towards others, be kindhearted to the needed, and be tolerant to the different. Spend less time on criticizing others, more time on improving oneself.

    Happiness consists in contentment. Either being rich or being poor, either staying home or travelling, enjoy what you have, proactively develop yourself for better. Feel grateful for people who ever help you and show your true appreciation. A contented mind is a perpetual feast.

    To smile or not to smile is an attitude. Happiness is in your heart; happiness is everywhere.

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Right Timing, Right Location and Right People

    The sage Mengzi (Mencius) ever said, “The right timing is no better than the favorable location; the favorable location is no better than the cooperating people.” If we want to pursue great achievement, we should do it with the right people, at the right location, and at the right time.

    We don’t rise from nothing; we are the product of our environment. The family and community we grow in, the culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape our thinking, behavior pattern, social situation and connection.

    However great and talented you are, if you are at the wrong location with the wrong people, you are unable to tap your real potential and feel shackled, as a misplaced pearl loses its sparkle in the darkness. A dragon should go swimming in the colossal ocean; a tiger should be the king of mountains. If they stay in different surroundings, they lose their power.

    Although when and where we grew up make a big difference, we are not entirely passive to our environment. We are defined, but not limited by our environment. However hard it can be, we can create and change our environment, proactively communicate with people we like and respect. No one truly makes on his own.

    As a tall tree grows from a hardy seed, a lot of highly-achieved people are born in modest circumstances and by virtue of their own determination and talent fight their way to greatness. Hardships and obstacles train their character, refine their skills, bring opportunities to them, and pave a way for them to the tower of success.

    At the right location, with the right people, if we can’t grasp the right timing, the time will pass by quickly. Nevertheless, it needs a lot of wisdom to judge the right timing, the right location and right people. Maybe, a real wise person, living in a realm of freedom, will never be restricted by the limitation of time and location, and will be never disturbed by the wrong people.

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    Each According to His Own Lights

    There is an old European saying, there are a thousand audiences, and there are a thousand Shakespeares. Everyone has his own understanding; everyone to his own taste.

    There is an ancient Chinese proverb, “The benevolent see benevolence; the wise see wisdom.” When viewing a same activity, the kindhearted see kindheartedness; the wicked see wickedness; the obscene see obscenity. Each one perceives according to one’s own lights.

    In the real life, we may behave like the six blind men who touch an elephant to figure out how it looks like, stumbling blindly, touching only small parts of the information, and coming away with a narrow and fragmented understanding, jumping at a quick conclusion and then believing we can represent the truth.

    People have different family backgrounds, personal experiences, cultural customs and social economic situations. The reality is observed differently depending on one's perspective, as a result, what is deemed an absolute truth may be relative due to the deceptive nature of half-truths. And a half-truth may be a total lie.

    Everyone has blind spots in every aspect of life; however, we are unaware of our ignorance, we assume we know all and we make good judgments. We have to accept the inadequacy of human observation and reason. Don’t grasp only a part of the object, but claim comprehending the whole, because the result is bound to be false and one-sided.

    The first step to true wisdom is to recognize and accept the limits of one’s own ignorance. Understand we have limitations; there is always something that we don’t know or don’t see, and even what we see isn’t always what it seems.