In this life of suffering, I realise that it takes courage to seek happiness. Those who dare to live move ahead in life, blind and deaf to the gossip mongers who are stagnant in their own shit. These daring individuals don’t allow their perception to be clouded by fear and paranoia. And are able to defend their natural rights and say.
One day, I believe, I’ll become brave to be happy. At least, I’m trying hard now to do so. It is times like this when I wished life was easy on me. Ironically, I do not regret my difficulties, because they pave my way to greater successes.
There were two monks walking through the forest. When they reached the river, they saw a lady who needed help to cross the river. Having made a vow to chastity that forbade him to touch a woman, the younger monk ignored the woman and crossed the river. The older monk carried the lady across.
This shocked the young monk but he kept quiet. As they continued their journey, the young monk burst out, “Don’t you feel unclean carrying the woman. Did the vow hold no meaning to you!”
The old monk replied this calmly, “Why should I feel unclean? I’ve left the lady by the river. And you are still carrying her.”
The story above depicts a quality I’m in need of. To let go, instead of carrying the burden. To live in the moment instead of worrying and stressing.
Reality is sometimes bleak and hopeless; an unending cycle of suffering. Constantly, we question the wherefores of the cruel nature of reality. What is reality…
We experience the world through the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. We process these five senses through a filter of our past experiences and beliefs.
This is reality. A highly subjective experience of life that is limited by our five senses and influenced by our experiences. An illusion…
Just yesterday, I felt some hopelessness towards my future. Unlike my usual episodes where I spiral down into melancholy, I had a zen moment. I realised that I was looking at my future through the eyes of a person that society deems normal.
What an irony… Why should I look at my own life in the eyes of someone other than myself. Why should I, an extraordinarily eccentric person, judge myself based on other people’s sense of reality? Why should I, someone unique, strive to take the conventional path towards a predictable mundane destination?
With sheer determination and will, I will carve out a path for myself. I will look at my own life through my five senses and my beliefs; be happy in the reality I create for myself. And hopefully, during and after my journey in life, I can light the way to those who have yet to arrive.
I was talking to someone a while ago about a friend who seemed depressed at that time. This friend whom had hit a low, was usually so cheerful and lively. It therefore was unusual to see her exceptionally withdrawn.
I told my conversation partner that some people laugh so that they can ward off the sadness within. When circumstance is hopeless and unchangeable, people surpass the stage of crying and laugh instead. The bitter laugh of misery.
Laughter temporarily allows them to forget their sorrows. Though odd, they sometimes laugh at nothing or little things. It is just the way they cope with life; the way they try to see the light rather than the dark.
She then asked me whether my talk on ‘laughter being a mask’ was referring to myself. I simply smiled and shrugged.
I do use laughter as a subconscious coping mechanism. However, most recently, I find it difficult to have a good genuine laugh. And perhaps I lost the ability to cry as well. Even then, I feel myself escaping into my world of fantasy, in which I was abandoned as a child into this dimension of the world. Time and again, I search for the gate to return to the dimension I belong to but can never find it.
Bad memories of the past are coming back to haunt me and I fear one day I would succumb to those thoughts. I remember the times when I was powerless against the teasing at school. I felt pathetic for not having the guts and tenacity to fight back.
My fears on the future aren’t pleasant as well. I doubt circumstance will grant me the happiness I desire. My simple want of having family and friends by my side may shatter. Before it shatters and hurts me, I’d rather abandon them than be abandoned.
Sorry for being so bitter. But when you were once scorned before, you’d harden your exterior to prevent your spirit from being hurt again. You learn to wear a mask, and become an actor. Sometimes, you get so caught up that you forget who you really are.
Thankfully, I live my life as close to who I am as I can…
Last Thursday, I met up with Mrs Wendy Lai, who had been my form teacher during my upper secondary years back in Beatty. We had the opportunity to meet in Ngee Ann (my current school) because, she was taking her students there for an accountancy-related event.
During the two years in upper secondary, she used to be my mentor when my team participated in a few business competitions. We had sacrficed afternoons and sometimes mornings just for the sake of those competitions. And when our team won third place for both years, it was worth it.
My team not only had gained experience but had bonded with Mrs Lai considerably. Therefore, you can imagine that we were really happy to catch up after my graduation two years ago.
Anyway, as we conversed about how the class was like back in the day, she suddenly asked if I was doing any emceeing in Ngee Ann. When I answered ‘no’, she asked why not.
In trying to answer her, I remembered last semester when I stumbled in my presentation. And it seemed thereafter that I have developed a sort of mental block towards public speaking. This I told her.
Instead of looking exasperated, she reminded me of the business competitions, both of which I had presented really well. When I tried to tell her that my fiasco of a presentation was an indication of how my nerves had affected me, she told me that I had no problem presenting my team’s business plan in front of hundreds of people for two years. And it reminded me about how coolly I answered the judges’ questions, criticisms and praises.
I won’t analyse what went wrong on that day when I stumbled. But to think that a presentation in front of 40 people affected my nerves was laughable indeed. I can only resolve to prove to myself that I can do what I did two years ago.
Sometimes, it takes someone to remind you of what you once were capable of. Thanks Mrs Lai.
I finally visited my grandfather two days ago. He was happy to see me and we did talk for quite a bit.
Knowing that his memory was failing him slowly, I bought him green tea. I wanted to get him some reading material but his eyesight is bad. And in my opinion, it can contribute to memory problems.
The eyes can be said to be the windows to intellectual stimulation, such as reading, doing word puzzles and so on. Without intellectual stimulation, especially in old age, the brain power can actually deteriorate. But I’m not to worried for the old man, because he tries to read albeit with great difficulty.
From our conversation, I found out some interesting things from him. He had fought for Singapore during World War 2. He was injured during the bombings and till this day has shrapnel stuck in his shins. After the war, he was offered citizenship in England and medical care for his injuries. He declined.
Throughout the conversation there was a shade of bitterness in his voice. He talked about the shortcomings of age; the lack of ability to be self-sufficient and befalling to illness. I could tell that he was lonely. It makes me think, would I one day feel this sense of loneliness. Would I lose my ability to support myself and fall into the ills of age. And eventually would I pray for death to come swiftly, to escape the pain.
The human condition dictates that we only see the partial truth. What do I mean? Can you experience truth in a direct manner? The answer is no. We perceive truth, through our five senses and mind. While the five senses are rather reliable, they are still prone to error. The mind, however, is more so unpredictable.
I shall illustrate this with my own example.
Some days ago, I was upset about what someone had said about me. The moment I heard what I heard, my mind immediately dug up past references of similar events. By the time I had finished replaying my memories of the past and what had happened moments ago, what the person had said became ten times worser.
Very often, things that happen to us aren’t as bad as how we perceive them to be. However, the mind doesn’t let your past hurts be gone so easily. The mind likes to take the good things that happen for granted, and choose to relish in painful memories.
This is the human condition. From moment to moment, we seek to free ourselves from suffering by anticipating and then avoiding suffering. We seek pleasure to numb the pain. We become paranoid due to past incidents.
But think about this, if you continuously try to avoid suffering by being paranoid, isn’t it additional suffering? After all, what we perceive is only the partial truth. Paranoia is the overactive imagination at work.
To truly be free, you have to let go of the bad; if you decide to carry the burden of bad memories, they will fester inside of you and eventually consume you.