Three Sides to Every Story

I have a niece who is five this year. I found she possesses many characteristics of girls much older than her; just looking at her reminded me of a girl I was quite close to during a stint I had in Junior College. I liked this girl (almost romantically) for while, but slowly some of her habits started to annoy me, though I didn’t know why. Now I know. After observing more little children, I realised that these were signs of immaturity.

Some would call it innocence.

I saw a man who was playing an organ along a corridor of shops, in the hope of receiving donations. He looked like he might have been able to do other forms of work, yet again, maybe he did not. I do not think he had a license to play in public for donations (the government in Singapore requires a license for street-basking). Some people who saw him, pitied him and donated out of stupidity and blindness.

Some would call it generosity and goodwill.

In America, it is common to find Dandelions in many places. In Singapore, where they are less common, they are considered by many as flowers, and beautiful. However, in many other countries they are considered by many as harmful weeds. Some insist they are weeds.

Others insist they are beautiful flowers.

Watch out before you jump to conclusions, all you’ll get is exercise.

There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth.

Why Habits are So Hard to Break

Habits are things we do continually, over and over again, simply because to not do them, would make us uncomfortable. It might be physical or mental. To rid these uncomfortable feelings we carry out our habit. Take for example the (relatively) safe and good habit or brushing one’s teeth.

If one has done so consistently everyday, without fail, one would get into the habit of teeth brushing. To not brush would often lead to guilty feelings; we might feel that our mouth is simply unclean, or any other reason we might come out with, so that we will be forced back to brush.

How about ‘bad’ habits? Smoking? Alcohol? perhaps even shoplifting or other socially-frowned upon activities? What about them?

The thing about these activities is that though we know that they are not good in the eyes of many people, they ease our tension, the uncomfortable feeling that builds up from not having the habit done; we do not really realise that it is the habit itself that is creating that feeling.

Another important thing is that we often have this feeling/mentality of “I can quit anytime I want”. Of course, this is often to the contrary. We often cannot quit anytime we want. It may seem easy, but when it comes down to quiting, it’s harder than we thought.

When we fail to quit, especially when we so expected to, we sort of give up even trying to break it, making the habit even more difficult to break; and it doesn’t help that almost all of us have a habit of accumulating bad habits!What can we do then? Well, we can harness the power of habits.

Much ado about habits

If habits are so difficult to break, why not create more good habits? If we have 5 bad habits, and 3 good habits, we have a “-2” on the habits score. If we accumulate more good habits, we can have an infinite amount of good habits, and 5 bad habits, depending on whether you take the effort to break the bad ones, of course (and I assume you didn’t). This would lead to a “infinity-5” habit score!

So accumulate good habits, and don’t bother so much about your bad ones. Just let them be, and they may go away, or they may not; but remember, out of sight, out of mind. Do not think about your bad habits and they will slowly creep out of your life and be taken over by the good ones you have decided to bring into your life.

So what good habit are you going to sow today?

To Not Be a Wood-Pusher

Everything we do, be it big or small, should lead us towards our overall goals in life.

In the game of chess, there is one major rule you have to follow: do everything for a reason. Every move of a chess piece has to result in an advantage to your cause, even if not directly; but to move a piece without any reason in particular would be suicidal, and you would be nothing but a wood-pusher.

The same goes with the things we do in life. Always ask yourself, “How is this going to help me in my overall goals? Does this fit in with my plan for life?”

Self-discovery

I am looking into the “philosophy” of Buddhism. It seems pretty much what I’m looking for, but I’m not so sure yet, so I’m still doing more reading up on it. About Catholicism I’m still pretty much with it, but I’m thinking about moving away from it and going into some other form of Christianity; of course, there are family (who brought me for batism) pressures, but all in all they are pretty open about this, more or less (especially if I keep it a secret).

Buddhism teaches the flow of life. The very essence of it is the truth, or reality. Not reality of truth in the “you have to see it to believe it” or “the truth is what you believe” or “what you believe to be true, is true”, but more of there is only one reality, one that can be truly called reality, the rest are all only perceptions, and thus not very real.

It is this reality that I am looking for. I go from one place to another, from one school (academic insitution as well as school of thought), wondering where it is all going to lead to. Eventually we find it all leads to death, to the end of life.

But was there ever a beginning in the first place? When did it start anyway? When God created the world? when there was the Big Bang and the Universe was formed? Does it matter even if we knew the answers? Is it of consequence?

I would like to refer anyone who bothers, to read The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Sometimes we live our lives asking questions, and bothering about, matters of non-consequence.

When the very things of consequence that really is not difficult to reach/obtain, once you identify it (which is in essence the hard part), we ignore and instead go for the very things that are meant to bring us closer to the matter of consequence itself.

Take for example you are on a running track in a Stadium, at the start point; you want to get to the 300 metre mark, which is 100 metres behind you, as quickly as possible, but instead of turning around to run there, you make one round along the track, 300 metres long, to get there.

You think that since everyone else is running in this direction, you have to run in that direction too. You ignore the fact that turning around would be faster, assuming though, that you do really want to get there as quickly as possible.

Don’t go one round. Stop and look, and think, and know. The path can be a direct one if you would just take it.

Pointing at the Moon

Life can point the way for you, but it cannot show you what it needs you to see. A man pointing at the moon is not the same as the moon itself.

In Christianity, the Holy Bible is not the truth itself. It is the word of God, the message from God. People praise the Bible, say “oh what wonderful truths it holds”; they go to Church where there are statues of Jesus and the Saints (Catholicism), and pray to these statues. If a man points at the statue of Jesus and makes fun of it, many people in the Church get all upset. But what for? It is just a statue.

What something represents, is not the thing/person it is representing. The Bible represents the way, it is the finger pointing to the moon. It is not the moon itself. Just like all the Sutras written by Buddhas or anyone for that matter, they are not the way, they point the way, that’s all.

Historical truth of the Bible? Probably not to be taken literally. It doesn’t have to be true, it is merely the way to get there. If you’d watched the Matrix, the Oracle said that Neo wasn’t the one. The Oracle also said that only either Neo or Morpheus would survive, both did. She points the way, she doesn’t state the truth, not always.

Do not take representations too seriously, they are merely there to point the way.