DAY TWELVE: Thursday, 1st April 2010
Today passed by just soooo quickly.
March is gone and now it is April!
Time is just too fleeting! There is just not enough time in one day.
Tomorrow, I will be going to "change" my image.
Yup. Changing my look for the year 2010.
I usually cut my hair before each year begins, or do something drastically different to greet each new year, but this year has been very delayed.
So, by tomorrow, the Shirley Maya Tan version 2010 will be unveiled.
Yea, it’s part of my job to stay 'interesting', 'appealing', to evolve and 're-create' myself like I am some “Play Doh”.
Anyhow, this is what my Day Twelve looks like -
Weight: 54 kg (I am ignoring you now!)
No. Of Prostrations: 25
Daily Sadhanas: Check and Done with Death Meditation and Dzambala Mantra added to the list.
Physical Exercise: Zero. Totally out of time. Will have to make up more in the next few days.
Daily Reflection from "IF NOT NOW, WHEN?" – Ok, here it is. My eyes are closed my eyes and I picked out page 089.
Quote from Page 089 for Day Twelve:
“The heroes we see in everyday life are just like you and me, except they are not afraid to be wrong, to admit their mistakes or to admit they are afraid. And in spite of the mistakes and fear, they achieve what they set out to do anyway.”
Personal Thoughts and Feelings:
Here, I am going to recall and share something Rinpoche said last night at the Dharma Talk, because it is so relevant to the quote above.
Rinpoche actually explained how HE is really no different than all of us. He stressed that he has no super-powers, nor is he the Golden Child.
He said that he has faults, weaknesses and flaws just like us. However, he does not allow these things to cripple him, stop him or even slow him down.
Rinpoche does what he does because Rinpoche has learnt the hard way. He’s committed to holding his vows because he meditates on death every single day.
"The world today has wrongly placed value system, and the misplaced understanding of value", Rinpoche said. Hence, people can quit so easily when they do not understand the value in life, Dharma or the Guru.
Then Rinpoche proceeded to give a simple and logically analogy. He asked us to think - if we were driving in our car towards our desired destination, and upon reaching our desired destination, we would receive 10 million dollars, would we stop the whole journey or abandon the journey just because we get a flat tyre along the way?
I believe all of you reading this would have the same answer as we did in the audience, because it is the most logically answer.
Answer: NO – we will not stop our journey or even abandon it, just because of a flat tyre. We would get out, change the tyre and continue until we reach where we want to be.
And if there were no tyres available for us to change, we would continue to find an alternative mode of transport. The point is, we would continue.
Why - because there is something worthwhile waiting for us when we arrive.
As such with Dharma. It is the very thing that helps us to become the hero that we each can be. Instead of always thinking that it is someone else's job to be the hero, the hero actually lies within each of us.
So, through Dharma, our inner hero would be activated, nurtured and blossom into its own. Then we, ourselves, will become the hero which we have come to admire in someone else.
And just like Rinpoche says, there are no special mantras or spells. It comes from our own effort and hard work, through our own skills, abilities and talents. We all are bestowed with different but equally valuable skills and talents. So, we begin from there, from ourselves.
But when we do not cultivate and sharpen our skills, then yes, we become useless. May be even obselete. Because you are no longer relevant to your family, company, society or community.
Here, I would like to share a personal experience.
I remember an accident that I had when I was still living in the USA – Oklahoma to be exact. At that time, I was really INTO American Football. Like crazy INTO IT, and I adored the Dallas Cowboys so much. There was this final game that the Dallas Cowboys were playing against the San Francisco 49-ers, and the game was going to be held in Dallas. So, I bought myself a very expensive front row seat, and jumped into my car, and drove all the way from Oklahoma to Dallas to catch the game. I just had to be there.
It was not really that far. It takes about 3 to 4 hours’ of driving. And I remembered being so happy and excited, driving in my car and I was singing away. Then out of the blue, my car got hit by a flying tyre that came off from one of those huge 16-wheeler trucks on the opposite side of the road.
My whole car flew, turned turtle twice and ended up in the ditch.
If you had seen the state of my car, you would never believe that the driver would still be alive.
It was completely crunched up like paper.
It happened all so fast and I don’t even really remember exactly how it all played out.
When I opened my eyes next, I was still strapped to my car seat, with my seat belt intact. Good, now I know the seat belts actually worked. But no, the air bags did not even come up.
There were some minor scratches on hands and leg, but really, I was completely unharmed. Unbelievable!
When I opened my mouth, I realised that I had pieces of glass in it. But the insides of my mouth and tongue were not cut in any way. There was literally no blood anywhere.
Then I saw that my windshield was completely smashed. I figured that I must have screamed all the way and while the windows were smashed, some of glass must have flown into my mouth.
So, I crawled out of my very damaged car and proceeded to look for my duffel bag.
Yes, I was still adamant about getting my things and continuing with my journey to Dallas, to watch the game. The fact that I had just walked out of a wreckage did not seem too important.
Then the ambulance came and many kind people stopped by to help me, prayed for me and offered me some warm drinks and waited with me before the Highway Patrol Officers came.
I sent the ambulance away and insisted that I was fine. They were horrified and confused that I was refusing any medical attention. Then they maintained that I must be thoroughly examined first. But I was anxiously looking at my watch and trying to call for a limo to come and pick me up so that I could be on my way to Dallas already! So, finally, the ambulance had me sign a waiver to relieve them of their duties and to declare that I won’t sue them.
When the Highway Patrol Sheriff finally came, he was more concerned that I seemed to be too anxious in wanting to leave, and was frantically looking for my duffel bag. He found it hard to believe that any sane person could walk out of such a badly damaged car, and was more concerned with making arrangements to continue with her journey, refusing to go to the hospital, and not even caring to wait until the tow truck comes to take her sad car away.
So, he pulled me aside and said to me in his very Southern American English accent, “M’am, I think you have to follow us back to the Station.”
I was totally shocked and getting quite upset by now, as precious time was ticking away. I was thinking, "I am late. I am so so late, for a very important date."
“WHY?! WHAT FOR?” I raised my voice.
Imagine a small Asian girl, with her arms at her waist and shouting at a 6 foot Southern Highway Patrol Officer. Yup, that would be me.
And I have to say, the Officer was actually very patient with me. May be he thought that I had a concussion or internal bleeding and was not thinking straight. It was not until we got to the station that he told me that the FBI was on standby.
“FBI on standby? What for? Are they going to accompany me all the way to Dallas, just to make sure that I get there safely? But I don’t need them, you know.” I said in my very irritated voice.
“Er..no m’am, the FBI is on standby because we all suspect that you must be smuggling some drugs into Dallas.” He said in a very matter-of-fact manner.
My eyes went white and for a second, I was dumbfounded.
“Smuggle drugs to Dallas?! Are you out of your mind?!” I exclaimed, with fury, I might add.
“Yes, m’am. Because we have never seen anyone crawl out of such a bad accident, and the first thing they are looking for is their bag, and they refused all medical attention, and all they want to do is to continue with their journey. We find that most suspicious.” The Officer explained gently and plainly.
I rolled my eyes and felt most exasperated. The game had already begun in Dallas and there I was stuck in some small town, just 35 minutes away from Dallas, being detained by these folks because they thought I could be smuggling drugs!
I was fuming and I think my face may have turned red at one point, and the Officer asked if I was all right.
“Look, you probably don’t get to spend that much time with Asians to know that we really care about our things. Oh yea, that’s right. We love our things so much, an accident is not going to separate us from our things, ok. And what I care most about right now is getting into Dallas and watching how the Cowboys will kick the 49-ers’s ass because I paid like 300 dollars for the bloody seat! So, can you help here or what?” I ranted and raved like a lunatic.
“Ok, calm down, ma’am. This is what I can do to help. If you would allow us to open your bag and search through the bag, and we find nothing in there, then you are free to go.” The Officer explained.
“Bloody hell, why didn’t you just say so earlier?! Please, go ahead and search all you want. Knock yourself out! I am so missing the whole game! This is not funny!” I was seething by now.
Seeing that there were no drugs to be found at all in my bag, they allowed me to leave. As I walked towards my limo, I could hear the officers talking amongst themselves, “Are all Asian people this strange? Or is it just her? I have never seen anything like this!”
I didn’t get into Dallas until around 8pm. And by then, the game was well over. I was finally feeling the exhaustion. So, I decided to go straight to my hotel.
As I walked into the hotel’s lift, I saw all the Football players of San Francisco 49-ers coming back from their game. All of them looked so happy. So, I guessed they must have won. Steve Young, their Star Quarterback, and some other players were in the same lift as me.
“So, you guys won, huh?” I asked.
“Yup, we sure did. It was a great game.” One of them answered and Steve smiled.
I growled silently to myself.
“What happened to you? You look like a mess, lady.”Steve asked.
“Don’t ask. You wouldn’t want to know." I replied.
It wasn’t until I reached my hotel room that I took a good look at myself in the mirror. Steve was kind in his words. I had looked like road kill.
So, what’s the point in sharing that particular story?
It is to highlight the fact that we can and do continue with many things in our lives. But somehow, for all the really important stuff, the really valuable things in life, we may not exercise the same determination and tenacity. We are very selective at using our own 'heroic' abilities.
So, although we all have this ability, this resilience and stamina, we just don’t use them rightly.
In essence, when we give up too easily and quickly on all the really good stuff in our lives, and this is not even restricted to just our spiritual practice or path, it applies to everything that makes up our life and our daily living, we are giving up on our real growth as an individual.
This is, simply, the truth.
So, if we can do this to ourselves on a daily basis, it is no surprise that we can do much worse to everything and everyone around us.
This is why Rinpoche said that an ignorant person does not realise the true value of Dharma and how Dharma can help them change their lives, their future, and even their destiny.
Rinpoche went on further to explain that this is also why only such ignorant person(s) would not have the maturity and tenacity to overcome their problems or obstacles in life. They will always play the "Blame Other People" game.
In the end, it is simply a matter of exercising a choice, each and every single day - do we want to be a hero or a loser, or worse, a zero?
And please bear in mind that nothing is permanent, everything is dynamic and changes.
In making the wrong decision, at any point in our life, we can also fall from grace at any point in time. As fast and as easily that we can rise from a zero to a hero, we can also fall from hero to zero. Remember, Tiger Woods? That's right.
It is a decision and choice we make at every moment, on a daily basis. And every single day can turn out to be bad or good, depending on how grounded we are, how committed and mature we are.
I'm going to end here. Finally, I am updated to the current date.
To be or not to be, the choice is yours.