Archive for December, 2011

The Message of Pain

December 28, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Both emotional and physical pain are messages that we need to stop and pay attention.

When we feel pain, our first impulse is often to eradicate it with medication. This is an understandable response, but sometimes in our hurry to get rid of pain, we forget that it is the body’s way of letting us know that it needs our attention. A headache can inform us that we’re hungry or stressed just as a sore throat might be telling us that we need to rest our voice. If we override these messages instead of respond to them, we risk worsening our condition. In addition, we create a feeling of disconnectedness between our minds and our bodies.

Physical pain is not the only kind of pain that lets us know our attention is needed. Emotional pain provides us with valuable information about the state of our psyche, letting us know that we have been affected by something and that we would do well to focus our awareness inward. Just as we tend to a cut on our arm by cleaning and bandaging it, we treat a broken heart by surrounding ourselves with love and support. In both cases, if we listen to our pain we will know what to do to heal ourselves. It’s natural to want to resist pain, but once we understand that it is here to give us valuable information, we can relax a bit more, and take a moment to listen before we reach for medication. Sometimes this is enough to noticeably reduce the pain, because its message has been heard. Perhaps we seek to medicate pain because we fear that if we don’t, it will never go away. It can be empowering to realize that, at least some of the time, it is just a matter of listening and responding.

The next time you feel pain, either physical or emotional, you might want to try listening to your own intuition about how to relieve your pain. Maybe taking a few deep breaths will put an end to that headache. Perhaps writing in your journal about hurt feelings will ease your heart. Ultimately, the message of pain is all about healing.

Feeling Our Words

December 27, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

The more conscious we become, the more we deepen our relationship to the words we choose to use.

Words carry energy and this gives language its power and its potential to heal or hurt. Most of us can remember a time that someone sent a word our way, and it stuck with us. It may have been the first time we received a truly accurate compliment, or the time a friend or sibling called us a name, but either way it stuck. This experience reminds us that what we say has weight and power and that being conscious means being aware of how we use words.

The more conscious we become, the more we deepen our relationship to the words we use so that we speak from a place of actually feeling what we are saying. We begin to recognize that words are not abstract, disconnected entities used only to convey meaning; they are powerful transmitters of feeling. For the next few days, you might want to practice noticing how the words you say and hear affect your body and your emotional state. Notice how the different communication styles of the people in your life make you feel. Also, watch closely to see how your own words come out and what affect they have on the people around you.

You may notice that when we speak quickly, without thinking, or rush to get our ideas across, our words don’t carry the same power as when we speak slowly and confidently, allowing those receiving our words time and space to take them in. When we carefully listen to others before we speak, our words have more integrity, and when we take time to center ourselves before speaking, we truly begin to harness the power of speech. Then our words can be intelligent messengers of healing and light, transmitting deep and positive feelings to those who receive them.

Our Evolving Language

December 22, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

We can create positive change by choosing not to use these words and phrases as we come across them in our vocabulary.

There are many troubling phrases in our language that we use without considering their full meaning simply because they have been accepted into common knowledge. Even as our ideals progress, our language maintains some phrases from our past that no longer serve us, for example: Boys don’t cry; good child; boys will be boys; problem child; illegitimate child; and many more. While these phrases may be used without harmful intent, they are inherently negative. Children can be especially sensitive to such phrases, which may stay with them their whole lives, adversely affecting their self-image and wounding their self-esteem. We can create positive change by choosing not to use these words and phrases as we come across them in our vocabulary.

It is challenging to examine our habits in terms of the words we use to express ourselves, but it is also exciting. Language is an area where we can exercise our free will, creating positive change in the world around us by simply choosing carefully the words we use. It may seem like a small thing, but our words have a rippling effect, like a stone thrown in a pond. People naturally pick up on the way other people speak, consciously or unconsciously changing the way they speak in response. We don’t need to actively try to influence people; it happens without our even thinking about it. All we have to do is choose to be more conscious ourselves, putting to rest words and phrases that are outmoded, insensitive, or harmful. We can also exercise our creativity by creating new phrases that carry positive and loving energy to replace the old ones.

You may already have some ideas about phrases you’d like to transition out of your language, and now that you’re thinking about it you may come across many more. As you consciously decide not to use these phrases, you may feel lighter and more joyful, knowing that you have chosen to drop baggage that was handed down to you from a less conscious time. As you do so, you elevate the language for future generations who would no doubt thank you if they could.

Open Heart

December 20, 2011

Approaching life with an open heart means that we have opened the door to a greater consciousness.

Spiritual teachers have always pointed to the heart as the seat of consciousness, and recently Western science has found evidence to support this realization. It turns out that the heart has its own central nervous system and is not simply under the rule of the brain as formerly believed. Anyone who has taken the time to explore the heart knows this and, more important, has realized that the heart is the source of our connection to a consciousness greater than the ego. Approaching life with an open heart means that we have opened the door to this greater consciousness, taking up residence alongside it in the seat of our soul. Fortunately, at this time there is a lot of support for this shift energetically as well as practically. To some degree, approaching life with an open heart is as simple as shifting your attention onto your heart.

Eventually you will be able do this any time, any place, but at first it may help to try it in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Simply sit with your eyes closed and draw your breath into your heart. As your breath expands your chest cavity, your heart expands and opens. You may feel tenderness or sadness in your heart, and you may also feel relief. Any emotions that arise can be effectively witnessed and healed through the meditation process, which benefits both your physical heart and your energetic heart. The more you practice, the more you will find your heart opening to your own presence and to all the situations your life brings.

When we open our hearts, they may feel tender and vulnerable, which simply means that they need our loving attention as we cleanse and heal them of past hurts and blockages. This process asks us to practice some of the heart’s greatest lessons patience, compassion, and unconditional love. On the other hand, we may take up residence as effortlessly as a bird returns to its nest. Either way, approaching life with an open heart simply means returning to our true home.

Obituary : Teresa Hsu = Respect

December 14, 2011

Teresa Hsu’s life philosophy

“The world is my home,
all living beings are my brothers and sisters,
selfless service is my religion.”

[ From newnation ]

Thank you, Teresa Hsu, you will always be the coolest person in Singapore. Because of you, our faith in humanity shall be restored.

Singapore’s oldest woman and super volunteer Teresa Hsu has passed away.

According to an announcement  on the Heart to Heart website, Hsu departed peacefully at her home on Dec. 7 and was cremated on the same day.

Strict instructions were passed down to withhold announcements of her demise from the media.

Even in death, she was caring and considerate, insisting in a notice signed by her close friend and co-worker Sharana Rao, stating she did not want any ceremonies performed that would “cause disturbance and inconvenience to others”.

An avid yoga practitioner and vegetarian, the 113-year-old Hsu was awarded several accolades for her work, such as the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre’s Special Recognition Award (2006) and the Sporting Singapore Inspiration Award for her teaching of yoga (2004).

Her work with the needy was born out of her personal experiences growing up very poor and witnessing the plight of others who were less well-off.

In Heart to Heart with Teresa Hsu, her authorised biography published earlier this year, Hsu remembers being “very poor and very hungry” to the point that she resorted to eating grass when she was seven years old.

That experience left a lasting impression.

Up till the point when she was more than 90 years old, Hsu was at Heart to Heart, an outreach unit in Singapore, where she and her co-worker Sharana Rao, 62, look after the needs of 13 single elderly folks and four needy families in Singapore, giving them basic food and money for rent, utilities, travel and companionship.

Monetary donations are also given to help 47 visually-impaired children and teenagers in Ho Chi Minh.

Hsu was born in 1898 to a poor but caring family in Kak Chioh Swatow, a tiny village in the Guangdong province of China.

Her “wake up call”, as she described it in her recently released biography, came in 1933 in Hong Kong. She was in her mid-thirties.

Hsu came across a beggar asking for food just as she had attended a lavish company dinner.

She described this experience as giving her “great pain in my heart” as she was witnessing the suffering of a fellow human being.

Hsu decided from then on, she would donate her money to the underprivileged rather than spending it on herself.

At that time, she spent an average of only 30 cents a day for food and drink, giving away the remainder of her money.

In the 1940s, Hsu, who was in her 40s by then, joined the Friends Ambulance Unit. Her duty was to look after 20 young men and acted as their translator in China during the Second World War.

After four years, she boarded a cargo ship headed for England to study at the London Royal Free Hospital.

Her determination and desire was so impressive that she was accepted into the three-year course meant only for those aged between 17 to 25.

During the summer breaks, Hsu worked as an exchange volunteer with the International Voluntary Service for Peace in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.

She later joined the Society of Brothers in Paraguay where she worked in a hospital giving medication, injections and attending to women’s health problems.

The Society was a haven for Jewish refugees from Hitler’s persecution. There were 2,000 residents on the grounds.

Besides her hospital work, Hsu would also deliver food to lepers living on the outskirts of the town everyday.

She also gave out medicine and food, meant for society members, to the poor and sick. This frequently got her into trouble with the Society.

Subsequently, she returned to China after eight years.

And in 1961, Hsu moved again. This time to Singapore with her mother to live with Ursula Khow, Hsu’s elder sister who was a school principal.

Hsu continued her social work in Singapore, serving first as a nonsalaried matron at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital for about three years.

Later, she opened an old folks’ home in 1965 on a piece of land in Jalan Payoh Lai.

Khow funded the project as it cost $150,000. Called the “Home for the Aged Sick”, it started with just seven elderly residents but quickly expanded to 250.

At that time, Hsu was also caring for 26 needy families and single elderly folks through her outreach unit, Heart-to-Heart.

After 20 years at the home, Hsu retired. She turned her attention to Heart to Heart, where she spent her final days tending to the welfare service she was at for more than two decades.

Her tireless work and indomitable spirit never made retirement an option.

In the Yahoo!News interview she gave in July, Hsu stressed: “No temptation can come into my house. I have work to do, I am not diverted.”

Her message to young people today: “Go all out to help those who don’t have the basic needs. See that nobody needs to go hungry.”

 

A Magical Mind

December 8, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

When we wish for something our consciousness opens to receiving it like a flower unfolding its petals to receive a bee.

From blowing dandelion seeds into the air to throwing a penny into a fountain, we have all felt inspired to make a wish, to whisper our secret desires into the ears of the universe and wait for signs that we have been heard. Some wishes come true while others remain ethereal visions that either stay with us or fade like a star in the light of morning. Whether they come true or not, wishes are important missives, expressing our heart’s desire as well as our intention to create something new in our lives. When we wish for something, our consciousness opens to receiving it, like a flower unfolding its petals to receive a bee.

There is something innocent and magical about making a wish, something that recalls the energy of childhood. Wishing is not about formulating a plan and following it step by step to attain a goal, which is the realm of adulthood. Wishing is more like a playful volley across the universe, an invitation to play. Waiting for the response is an integral part of the process. Wishing inspires an innocent opening to the possibility of magic as we wait to see if the invisible realm will bring our wish to life. This opening is a beautiful gesture in and of itself, regardless of the outcome. We place ourselves in a magical mind, and this mind is arguably as wonderful as the fulfillment of our wish itself.

In our straightforward, action-oriented society, we may tend to dismiss the power of this seemingly passive process, yet the power of a wish is well known, hence the cautionary phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.” If you have given up wishing in favor of more adult pursuits, you might want to bring its magic back into your life. The next time you see the first star of the evening, or find yourself in front of a birthday cake covered in flaming candles, give yourself the gift of the magical realm that you knew so well as a child—close your eyes, open your mind, and make your wish.

The Wisdom of Surrender

December 7, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

A deep feeling of gratitude can emerge as we open to the experience of being helped.

Most of us pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. We like to be responsible for taking care of ourselves and pulling our own weight in the world. This is why it can be so challenging when we find ourselves in a situation in which we have to rely on someone else. This can happen as the result of an illness or an injury, or even in the case of a positive change, such as the arrival of a newborn. At times like these, it is essential that we let go of our feeling that we should be able to do it all by ourselves and accept the help of others.

The first step is accepting the situation fully as it is. Too often we make things worse either by trying to do more than we should or by lapsing into feelings of uselessness. In both cases we run the risk of actually prolonging our dependency. In addition, we miss a valuable opportunity to practice acceptance and humility. The ego resists what is, so when we move into acceptance we move into the deeper realm of the soul. In needing others and allowing them to help us, we experience the full realization that we are not on our own in the world. While this may bring up feelings of vulnerability, a deep feeling of gratitude may also emerge as we open to the experience of being helped. This realization can enable us to be wiser in our service of others when we are called upon to help.

It takes wisdom and strength to surrender to our own helplessness and to accept that we, just like every other human being, have limitations. The gifts of surrender are numerous. We discover humility, gratitude, and a deepening understanding of the human experience that enables us to be that much more compassionate and surrendered in the world.

Good Vibrations

December 2, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

When the vibrations of our physical and spiritual bodies are out of harmony it can cause disease.

Everything in the universe is in a constant state of vibration, including our bodies. Sound is vibration that can be translated by the delicate structures of our inner ear, but it moves more than just those tiny receptors. It is part of the spectrum of energy vibrations that affect us on the mental, physical, and spiritual levels. Long ago shamans recognized the power of sound when they first used chants and drumming to heal people. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and India, the use of sound and music for healing was a highly developed sacred science. Sonic vibration has been one way of experiencing the energy of the universe for much of humanity’s history.

When the vibrations of our physical and spiritual bodies are out of harmony it can cause disease. Sound healing gently massages the molecules back into the right places, clearing blockages and restoring harmony. Ancient healing systems such as Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda associate specific musical notes with subtle-energy systems of the body, such as in yoga where particular notes of music correspond to each of the seven chakras. In Tibet, priests have long used bells and bowls over and around the body to tune and clear the energy centers.  Chimes and tuning forks are other tools that have been used to heal not only the body but the energy in a room as well.

Knowing that sound has the power to heal, we should also try to remember that sounds from modern life can have a negative affect. Choosing silence over discord may help us maintain a state of equilibrium. As we seek soothing and harmonizing sounds to surround us, we may be doing more than creating a balm for the noise of the world. We may actually be performing an act of self-healing that connects us with one of the most basic vibrations of the universe.