DAY FOURTEEN: Saturday, 3rd April 2010
Today is an amazing day.
Started with me finishing up my “hair colouring” at the Salon. Took me another 2 hours. And you may think that I have hair like Rapunzel with the number of hours that I have clocked in at the Salon. But in truth, it is a laborious process because of the colours involved.
In any case, now I look like one of those Harajuku girls. Totally wicked! Haha
At about 2pm, I walked across the street and went inside Kechara Paradise in order to attend David Lai’s book reading. David has just launched his own book, “THERE’S NO WAY BUT UP”. And his books are sold everywhere in KL’s most popular bookstores. To be exact, they are being featured right at the entrances of these major bookstores. So, now I have a famous author friend in David Lai.
I can’t help but feel so proud of David, watching him sit under the spotlight, next to his parents and reading passages from his book. This book has been both his “thorn” and “rose”. The thorn came in the form of these personal obstacles that David had to overcome in writing and completing the book. Most of his obstacles were his ‘inner demons’. As we all know and probably have our own fair share of ‘inner demons’, these inner obstacles are the worst kind. So, David’s reward is the ‘rose’ that blossoms into its own in the form of a novel. This is his spiritual journey and awakening. And yes, it is uniquely David.
Though it was truly challenging all the way, as I am sure on some days, David probably never imagined that it would be done, but here he is today, reading from his own book.
His book is essentially an honest and sincere sharing. He opens up all his wounds, pains and fears for all to see so that we may somehow learn from them, or just take heart that when we persevere, we will gain more than just ourselves in the end. We may even regain the very best in ourselves, one which we could not imagine.
Hence, I truly value David’s book a great deal because it is real and relevant to our everyday life. And this is coming from someone who has watched him ‘grow up’ into his own over the years. If there is one thing that I must commend David on, is that he truly went all the way. He did not just dwell on his own depressions, self-pity and personal issues. He made the effort to move on because he believed that a “better him” is waiting for him at the end of this personally challenging road.
And for David’s parents, especially his dad, it was a very emotional moment. David’s dad (Uncle Lai) shared very honestly that he could never relate much to David in way that was helpful to David, simply because he could not do what David can do. That is, become a writer. Since he did not have such interest, talent or understanding, he found that he could not really help his own son. However, he said that after meeting H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, and witnessing how Rinpoche has been able to help bring out the best in David, Uncle Lai became a firm believer in Rinpoche, himself. He said that as a father who does not share his son’s gift, it was not possible for him to teach and cultivate something in David that he himself did not know of, or is capable of.
That statement alone blew my mind and I almost wanted to cry. Because not many parents could ever be so honest and acknowledge the fact that they sometimes find it hard to relate to their children because they do not share their children’s passion, interest or talents. And since if the parents did not know what it means to be an artist or a dancer or author, etc – then how could the parents ever nurture their child to become the person whom the child is truly meant to be. Most of the time, we as parents, would pressure our children, or mould them into becoming un-authentic versions of ourselves. Or worse, we expect our children to carry on our dreams and take over our failed attempts in achieving our own ambitions in life.
From that book reading alone, I gained some valuable insights into my own life, as a daughter to a dad who had always expected me to become a much better version of him, because he said that I have more opportunities than he ever did have, and that he had given me the foundation of a quality education that was denied of him. Hence, he said that I should be able to do more and achieve much more – in the corporate world, that is. Because success in life, to my dad, is no different than what most people in our society would define it as well. As always, this is what my father knows best. It was and is what he is really good at doing, and have achieved a great deal from it. And this success has enabled him to sustain all of us as a family.
I have no misgivings, and I certainly do understand where he is coming from. He had survived many great challenges in his lifetime, to give us all what we can enjoy today. But because my dad does not love what I love to do, and he is not bestowed with the same gifts that I am given in this life, there lies our sometimes sharp divide. Our talents and skills may appear similar, but they are very different at the heart of it all.
All parents just want the best for their children, as no parents who really love their children would wish for anything else. Some kids are lucky and their parents like David’s parents, and particularly, David’s dad, can see life from their children’s point of view. And they will love and encourage their children from the children’s point of reference, their point of skills and talents. Above all, they can see from the perspective their children’s passion and natural talent.
It may take a while before my dad would truly understand me. But it is ok, because Dharma and my Guru have taught me how to understand him and all others around me much better. I am less dependent on my dad and others to “build a bridge” and “come to me” in order to close the gaps so that we can achieve a deeper understanding of one another. Even, cultivate a strong appreciation for each other.
With Dharma, I know how to build my own bridges now, and I can go over to my dad, or anyone for that matter, if I truly wish to build understanding, harmony and peace with everyone in my life.
I guess that’s why my heart leapt for joy when I saw David and his parents. It is something I have always yearned for, and I rejoice for David that he has it, because he has built it with his own hands and heart. So, now he can enjoy the fruits of his labour of loving kindness.
If only all of us could build bridges across the room and connect with everyone, with loving care. And we need not waste so much time in bickering who should do it first, or make the first move or do more of the job, but we just do it because we choose to focus in the ‘caring about each other’ part much more. If only we could focus less on the limited benefits we will receive when we just think about ourselves first or only us, all the time. If only we could understand the extent and depth of the words: GREATER GOOD for all. If only.
So, please get a copy of David Lai’s book: “THERE IS NO WAY BUT UP”, and read for yourself.
Later in the night, at around 9:30pm, I decided to join Sharon and the Kechara Soup Kitchen team for the first time in ages. Yes, it is very sad and shameful that I have not joined KSK in feeding the homeless in the streets of KL for quite a long time now.
Sadly enough, I was the first official KSK President when we first formally organized ourselves. But I was horrid and thoroughly shameful. I did not deserve the title at all. Can you imagine that the President does not even show up for our own meetings, and she does not even join in the feeding on the streets itself? And at that time, we were only feeding about 30 packets of food or less, because we were still so new. Today, KSK is feeding about 700 to 900 packets of food since November 2006.
Needless to say, KSK could not expand or grow in any way during my Presidency. Not surprisingly. Yet it did not occur to me, to even care more or change my ways. IT DID NOT OCCUR to me that I was actually the cause of the problem and fast becoming KSK’s greatest obstacle. I was more concerned with my own things, my preferences and in the preservation of my own comfort zones. I was not prepared to push myself and exert any effort for KSK.
It was truly disgraceful, in every sense of the word.
Today, under the leadership of Ruby Khong, who is a mother of 3 children and has her hands full to her eye balls as it is, having taken on so many roles in the Kechara Organization - she and her amazing team have worked relentlessly hard to make KSK into an NGO that is respected in our Malaysian society.
KSK has been featured by all sorts of media, and now they are also renovating their newly purchased building so that KSK can serve their ‘clients’ 7 days a week. What a difference when the right group of people takes over and commit themselves. They not only become the solutions to the problem, they become the true saviours of those less unfortunate, who are unable to voice their suffering because they are mostly ignored, neglected and rejected.
From KSK, I have learnt a painful lesson – I cannot be of use to anyone, even myself, when I do not care about what I am doing. More importantly, when I do not even see how damaging I was to the organization, I diverted the blame to everything else and everyone else that I could assign it to.
I refused, for the longest time, to even come clean until only much recently. And yet, in all this time, all of Kechara did not shut me out. Rinpoche did not give up on me. And even Ruby became my mentor. The point is, the people in Kechara did not stop caring for me, even when I failed to care for them.
Why I feel compelled to share this story, because I needed to shed light on how much work goes on behind the scenes in Kechara. Hopefully, you will get an idea to what extent the Guru and the Dharma brothers and sisters will keep caring for those who walk through the doors of Kechara.
In this respect, I will always feel very small when I am in their presence. And yes, I have good reason to be feeling so.
The Kechara personnel are GIANTS because of their great capacity to care more, to go beyond themselves just to help others, to the point of sacrificing their own personal comfort. And they do so, every single day of the week, 24/7. They are giants because they do not give up on helping others. And trust me, they do not ask for anything in return – only that you become the best that you can be, and be happy.
This is the Kechara I belong to, and will always belong to. This is my spiritual home and family.
It is with great honour and pleasure that I can be in their company. And I truly pray that I will be able to honour them by becoming just like them, one day soon.
Here, let me share what my DAY FOURTEEN :-
Weight: 54 kg (so, what else is new?)
No. Of Prostrations: 25
Daily Sadhanas: Check and Done with intense Death Meditation and Dzambala Mantra added to the list.
Physical Exercise: Nil. More involved with the mental exercise for now, but it does not mean that I am not counting my pay back in this department. I am like Karma in counting and yes, it gets compounded as each day passes just like Karma. There is no escaping.
Daily Reflection from "IF NOT NOW, WHEN?" – Ok, here it is. My eyes are closed my eyes and I picked out page 043.
Quote from Page 043 for Day Fourteen:
“In giving to others, you give yourself; in giving to yourself, you give to others, because the happier you become, the more you can do for others. And the only way to create happiness for yourself is by making other people happy.
A direct, long term and permanent solution for depression is the continuous practice of GIVING: giving of time, love, help, advice, care, Guru Devotion, giving to the Sangha, giving medicine, money, shelter, Dharma, practice, devotion and material needs to others continuously without self-centred motive, especially to those who cannot benefit themselves. In time, you will see depression lessen and its duration shorten as a direct and immediate result of giving.”
Personal Thoughts and Feelings:
For once, I shall refrain from making any comments.
Because it is all been said and explained very clearly.
The only way anyone cannot understand the precious verses above is when that person’s heart is closed and his/her mind is selfish.
We do not lose anything when we give. We certainly cannot lose any more of ourselves.
In fact, we regain all of us, and then some!
Think about that, please.
This is the best gift I can give to you today.
Have a lovely evening.
(Day Fifteen is on its way)