pic: Taken somewhere on Orchard Road, Singapore.
And the moon is where two friends love to meet–sharing stories of light and darkness. In silence, chatter, laughter or tears—sometimes all at once. Or through an exchange of cryptic look, subtle gestures, and delicate smile only the two can understand.
The moon is a perfect meeting place, you see. For the moon does not shine its own light. It reflects the light it receives (mainly) from the sun–just like two friends reflecting one another. It shines a tender light that is never blinding, but still gives enough warmth to the heart and brings smile to the face.
So, I guess I shall see you tonight at the evening sky where the moon is–full or not. White, orange, grey, or pink. For once, I don’t really care about the details.
Even if the moon is not in sight, we still know it is there. We still know where to meet. We are still meeting.
Perhaps the moon is not in sight because it is busy shining on other parts of the world. That is okay. The moonshine is rich enough for many to share. The beauty it shines upon us, though, is exclusively for us. I know. You know, too.
Perhaps the moon is not in sight because its route is not as predictable as the sun is. I supposed it is part of the beauty of the moon. It keeps us guessing, intrigued, and, occasionally, longing. (I wonder whether the sun is the only thing it is reflecting.)
And the place where I am going–it rains all the time.
My challenge is not to remind myself to look up at the evening sky. My challenge is to not look up all the time. I know I must set my sight to what is in front of me and not let my mind wonder too often, even to you.
Besides, deep down, I know you are going to be alright. You are that strong and blessed. That is all I need to know. That is all that matters.
My dear friend. My dear spiritual mentor on how to love, to feel (again), to express (again), and—now—to let go. I know I must let you be, let you walk your own journey.
At the back of the room, sipping warm black coffee, eating cookies, chatting my usual non-sense chat with whomever is next to me.
Smiling proud at you, because of you.
While you are taking the center stage, growing sweet again, and fragrant and wild and fresh, and thankful for any small event.
It is time for us to continue the journey. Together or by ourselves. Or sometimes together and sometimes by ourselves. Yes, perhaps that is it. Thank you for being a travel companion for me and for being part of the blessings in this life.
The mind knows. The heart needs to catch up.
The first picture was taken in Ubud (Bali), the second from here and the third at the Anomali Coffee (Senopati, Jakarta).
I look around and wonder whether I have done enough for them.
I look inside and ponder whether I have done enough for myself.
Happy Id Mubarak 1429H
Have a safe return to your true self.
PS: I know. It is still a bit early, but I will leave the day after tomorrow (Wednesday morning) for the UK. I am taking a six month course in the Beshara School, Scotland, UK. During which, I will have little access to the Internet and mobile technology.
Take good care, darlings. Have fun living!
Al Ghazali said that sometimes God (or nature or whatever supreme power you believe in) would take away things that we treasure so much in our heart to provide us with life lessons.
For us to learn to live without things we hold so dear to us and survive. For us to appreciate the treasure and use it (more) wisely.
Only when we have learned our lessons, He will return them to us.
I have had a lot of things taken away from me throughout my life. Some I still have not gotten back. Some I am reluctant or even afraid to repossess. Denial and avoidance. Guess I am still learning.
post script: But I tell you one thing though. Despite it all, I am still fine and I still consider myself one of the luckiest—the most blessed—beings ever alive. As you are, too. More than you realize. Thank you for being part of the blessings.
Don’t ever think differently.
I was in a group discussion one day, when a participant was telling us her story–how she wanted to help a person that came to her one day but could not because she had had prior engagement. She kept thinking how the woman must have felt and whether she had made the “right” decision by ignoring the plead.
Another was telling us how he has forgiven the people who have hurt him. How we have to be patient. How we need to be forgiving and let go. To accept. To be humble.
I thought to myself, isn’t amazing how we often focus on improving ourselves by reviewing how we behave toward others or how others view us? Sometimes we do not realize that the so-called problem is actually between us and ourselves, not us with them, and certainly not them with themselves.
A book I recently read gave me a different (and interesting) perspective. It advises us (or rather, me) to start with ourselves. Rather than focusing on how we should behave, it invites us to pay attention to the process within.
It is time to be (more) honest to ourselves, about ourselves. How do we really feel? To understand ourselves. To accept that we still feel the anger, disgust, annoyance, happiness and love. All sorts. To be honest with ourselves.
We have spent too much time denying what we feel—especially when the feelings are negative. Too often we just sweep our feelings under the rug—merely shifting the conscious to subconscious, adding to the already stacked up emotional baggage that we have. Not really deal with it.
We start from acknowledging how we feel and pay attention to it. Then pay attention to how the feeling evolves.
The books goes further by saying “breathe in the negative feelings, breathe out the positive ones.” I think it is a brave move.
Only after that process of looking within, we can step up our efforts to reach out to other people. Only by understanding our feelings, we can begin to understand how others may feel. Only by accepting and loving ourselves, we can begin to accept and love other people.
Make sense to me. Don’t you think?
An extra note. Are we really humble when we explicitly claim we are humble? Are we really patient when we claim we are patient? Do we really accept when we say we accept? Or are we just kidding ourselves? Another noun crept up my mind as I wrote this: Arrogance. Who are we kidding, honestly.
I love people (and especially friends) with dreams and aspirations. I love those who follow their dreams even more. I truly believe that consistently recurring inner calling really says something. It is not a mere random meaningless thing. It is anything but.
So I welcome the recent trend of Lentera Jiwa (liberal translation: soul lantern).
Granted, it is a(-nother) great marketing move by Yoris and Morin to promote Nugie’s new album.
Still, it is a great reminder for us all that we can (and should) live life to the fullest. To life up to our full potentials and not let what God has given us gone to waste.
Recto Verso – the newest album from Dee is also an evident showcase of one’s soul lantern. But I am not talking about Dee here. I think she needs no introduction (Love and light, D).
What is interesting here is that he, that friend, has a passion in music for as long as I can remember (which is a long time, since we have known each other for more than 15 years).
He may not be able to devote his time to playing any musical instrument himself, but he gives music what he has—his passion, his organizational and management skills, and his brilliant logic. He contributes to his passion the best way he knows how. He is probably the only one who can fill that spot, making his contribution unique to the whole equation.
The thought brings me back to 2002, where I felt rather helpless looking at all those Jakarta flood victims. I followed a doctor friend of mine around. She was helping the victims. Little old me, what can I do? I helped my friend organize and package the simple medicine for the victims.
Now—looking at my friend’s indie music stories—I realize that I need not to be a doctor to help in health care. By profession, I am a communications consultant. So that is what I do—and what I have been doing to some extent.
I have not found a specific cause—or organization—that I would like to devote myself to. Rather, I would prefer to act as consultants to my friends’ organizations—conducting communications trainings for them, helping them craft up their newsletters, writing their stories, touching up their funding proposals, etc.
Perhaps that is my unique place or function in this whole ensemble. That and probably something else. We shall see.
I will tell you two things though. Firstly, honestly, listen to yourself, and seek that calling. Secondly, take your time. It’s a process. You need not jump to it right here right now. Perhaps what you are doing now is a preparation towards that step you are about to take. Good preparation is half the battle won. Take your time, but not too much 😉
I will reiterate what Lentera Jiwa has written in its website:
“Life is full of choice, but often the best choice is to follow the soul lantern within us. The light that guides us to our purpose in life. Our passion in life. What about your soul lantern?”
My school has not started yet. I have not even started my (physical) travel yet. But the pre-term lessons have begun.
A healing mentor Reza Gunawan told me a while ago sometimes our body and soul know the travel that we are about to embark on and they begin the process even before we start the physical journey.
I can feel that the process have begun. Within. A sensation (or two, or three) so familiar and familiarly intense. They are resurfacing. This time, I (try to) welcome them with all my heart. Try would be the operative word here, as it can be quite challenging.
My meditation teacher Pak Merta Ade of Bali Usada once said, “When you are ready, try to stay with the sensation longer.” (translation: don’t run away. Deal with it.) He was talking about the bodily sensation felt during meditation. I was hearing a lot more than that. I heard sadness, anger, traumas, and what have you. All those unresolved emotions.
The book I received from a friend urged me to start where I am now. To learn to deal with my current and real (physical and emotional) conditions; to learn from them. Again, all those unresolved emotions.
Both occurrences told me to “slow down, stop moving, sit, and deal with yourself”. So I sat. In silence. With nobody else but myself. And You. It was not easy. Somehow the old feelings and memories have become more and more vivid. I became restless. I wondered whether I was ready to plunge into this once again.
I would not be me if I had not tried to be ‘creative’.
Maybe if I keep myself busy, I would not be too tied up with this practice. I took up some projects even though my departure date is approaching fast. I guess I forgot who I am up against. Both projects were not moving that fast. I still have lots of free time to “be tied up with this practice.”
Well, maybe there is a way to lighten this load a bit. Sharing would help, right? It would not hurt to tell a friend or two, right? Wrong.
Some things really should be left unspoken and unshared. There was always something. Internet got disconnected. One too many people around. Mismatched schedule. Not enough time. You see, it is not that I don’t want to, I cannot. I must not.
So again, I can only sit in silence. With myself and I. And You.
I know the time has arrived. I know it is a personal journey that I have to walk on my own. With nobody else but You. Believe. I do.
You may not understand. It is ok. Sometimes I don’t either.
The mind knows. The heart still needs to catch up.
The mist across the window hides the lines
But nothing hides the color of the lights that shine
Electricity so fine
Look and dry your eyes
So tired of all the darkness in our lives
With no more angry words to say
Can come alive
Get into a car and drive
To the other side
Me babe – stepping out
Into the night
Into the light
You babe – stepping out
Into the night
Into the light
Are young but getting old before our time
We’ll leave the TV and the radio behind
Don’t you wonder what we’ll find
Stepping out tonight
Can dress in pink and blue just like a child
And in a yellow taxi turn to me and smile
We’ll be there in just a while
If you follow me
Me babe – stepping out
Into the night
Into the light
You babe – stepping out
Into the night
Into the light
Nice quote, Tom. Perfect for the night.
These upcoming months of my life was started by one of those unexpected turns in my life. I was introduced to the Beshara group in Jakarta last year.
I attended a weekend course and I must admit I did not connect instantly. But something has pulled me to the group again and again. I obeyed, partly out of curiosity.
Earlier this year, I attended another weekend course. Toward the end of the course, I stroke up a casual conversation with one of the facilitators. I asked whether it was possible for me to join the course on scholarship. He said, “Just email the school director.” The statement was that simple.
The process was amazingly just as simple. I ‘ignored’ that remarks for a week, then something prompted me, and I thought, well, why not. I have nothing to lose.
I emailed the director. The director responded. Yes. Yes??!?!? I text-ed a couple of friends, forwarded the email, and asked whether I have understood the email correctly. I was. Wow.
Some friends asked (over and over again) how come I got the scholarship, on what ground. The only answer I could give them was: “Perhaps, all you have to do is ask.” A succumbing answer given due to lack of other logical explanation. No need for one.
And the rest is history. I received the acceptance email in March this year. Then life happened. Now we are in September. Two weeks from now, I shall be in Scotland, God willing.
So when they heard I was going to Scotland, there were only two comments made: “It is meant to be” and “Oh, you are going home.”
Yes, I feel like I am going home. I am going home. I am going, from one home to another. It is meant to be. I am merely walking it.
If you go there–and you go there with me, I am sure you can see what I see, and feel what I feel, then you might understand why.
I woke up this morning to a text by a dear friend: “May all kind efforts lead the soul to true enlightenment, even if it is not the easiest road.”
I know. You know. No other does. Deep breath.