Les Lois De L’Energie Spirituelle

April.5. 2020

The Laws of Spiritual Energy is now available in French.

My thanks to Pierre Baril for translating the book.

To download the book, please click this link:

Les Lois De L’Energie Spirituelle

To download the original book, please click this link:

The Laws of Spiritual Energy


Truth and Beauty/2

April.4. 2020

In the big scheme of things, there’s nothing more beautiful than a wooden box with six strings. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

And that’s why the guitar is supremely suited to a journey into beauty.

There’re some who claim that beauty is subjective.

What they’re talking about is not beauty but preference.

For example, some people prefer a certain kind of look, or a certain kind of aesthetics. That’s all preferences.

True beauty is as objective as truth itself.

Take a sunset and you’ll find complete unanimity as to its beauty. Yes, you might find someone who will try to argue that it’s ugly but then, you will always find people who will try to find polemics in everything.

In my search for beauty on the guitar, I’ve found that beauty is actually the outer skin of truth itself—it is truth manifested.

The true beauty of something lies in its honesty, a faithfulness to its spirit.

For example, a beautiful Mercedes Benz. Yes, it’s something to behold. (And no, this has nothing to do with materialism. You’re coveting it not because of its materialness but because of its spirit, its power and its super maneuverability.)

But suppose you open the hood and you find that, in place of its normal engine, someone had swapped in an old crappy Honda engine.

Will you still find it beautiful without its original engine?

Beauty is tied to the true spirit of things.

A fake thing is never beautiful. (Unless, of course, if you’re into polemics.)

So my search for beauty on the guitar is really a search for spirit, the spirit of the guitar as well as the spirit of everything I play.

This means you dig deep, deeper than anyone’s ever gone before.

You bring the piece to its ultimate place.

One of my favorite artists, Glenn Gould, used to call this ultimate place, ecstasy.

These days, ecstasy is an overused and much abused word. In this context, it simply means the ultimate in artistic expression, where you reach a state of transcendence.

There’s another artist, I forgot who it was, who also said, that if he could find two minutes of pure beauty in a two hour concert, that he would be perfectly satisfied.

That sums it up.

Beauty is rare, it’s fleeting and it’s precious precisely because it’s so rare.

So I’ve been blessed to have the guitar as my vehicle of choice to find beauty.

And it is true, in the big scheme of things, a wooden box with six strings is something of very little consequence.

But strum and pluck those strings and you open up a world of endless possibilities for beauty.


Truth and Beauty

April.1. 2020

In life, there’re only two things worth pursuing—truth and beauty. The rest are mere distractions.

I’ve been fortunate in my life to find the perfect vehicle in my search for truth and beauty.

Yes, it’s true; the guitar is a very small part of the human existence. (When I told a friend of mine this years ago, he added, “and getting smaller all the time.)

So what does playing a wooden box with six strings have to do with truth?

Everything.

You may have heard of the phrase, “The truth shall set you free.”

This phrase is never more true than in playing the guitar.

Because unless you get at the truth, you will never be able to play it well; you’ll always be struggling with it.

So what is the “truth” on the guitar?

It’s the true expression of you, not somebody’s prescription, not some formulaic portion, not a slavish imitation of someone you admire, but your true authentic self.

Only by tapping into your true self, will you be able to open up the flood gates within you. When that happens, power and speed will course through your body effortlessly.

Why?

Because you’re following the natural lines of energy within your body, your energy is able to flow unimpeded; you’re operating without obstructions and blockages.

Your body is literally set free.

The reverse or lack of “truth” is blockage.

Blockage that occurs when you constrict your body or force it to conform to some external prescription on how you should hold your body or make it move.

Your body will not operate at its optimum because it’s not a true expression of who you are, but rather a slavish attempt to implement someone else’s idea of the “truth.”

In finding the truth, the key is an open mind—a mind with no preconceptions.

It works like this.

Suppose you lose your key and you start to look for it in the garage.

No matter how hard you look, you can’t find it.

Now suppose someone had told you, “No, don’t look anywhere else. It’s in the garage.”

And suppose you believe this person, and you keep on looking for it in the garage. Now if the key is actually in your bedroom, will you ever find the key?

An open mind will tell you that if you’ve turned the garage upside down and you still haven’t found the key, perhaps you should start looking somewhere, perhaps in the kitchen.

And if you still can’t find it in the kitchen, perhaps you should start looking in the bedroom.

But if you’ve already made up your mind that the key is in the garage, you’d never find it.

My journey on the guitar has taught me one thing.

The truth is there. All you have to do is find it.

It may and will take a long time, but it’s worth the time and effort.

Because the lessons you learned from it are far bigger than the actual vehicle itself.

As I mentioned earlier, a wooden box with six strings is actually something of very little consequence in the big scheme of things.

Next, the other thing worth pursuing.


Insult to injury

March.30. 2020

Suppose someone were to accidentally set your house on fire, and then have the nerve to blame you and claim that you’re the one that started the fire!

How would you feel?

That’s the scenario playing out right now.

Whatsapp is a great tool, but the disinformation I’ve been getting lately is ridiculous to say the least.

They say, it’s only in times of crisis that a person’s true character will emerge.

I say it’s in times of crisis that a person’s true mental capacity will also emerge.

For a grown person to believe everything they read on the internet without subjecting it to intellectual rigor, what does that say about the level of their intellect (or lack thereof)?

Children believe everything they’re told, adults have to do better.

Well, it’s in times of crisis that you will also lose a few friends. Because that’s when they show their true colors.


The City/2

March.28. 2020

So what was it about this poem that captivated me?

At first it, was just the feel of the poem. I’m drawn to a certain writing style, a certain ambience. Some poems would make no sense whatsoever to me, and yet I would find myself irresistibly drawn to it.

It’s like listening to a song in a foreign language. I don’t need to understand the lyrics to appreciate its beauty.

But then later, I began to understand its deeper message, which brought my appreciation to another level.

And the message is—no matter where you go, you can’t escape yourself.

If you destroy your life in one place, you’re likely going to destroy it again in another place. The problem is not the place, the problem is you.


The City

March.21. 2020

About the same time I discovered Leonard Cohen, I also discovered Constantine Cavafy.

One thing about my old hometown—Sibu, it had a great public library. That’s where I spent most of my youthful afternoons and evenings. And that’s where I found the collection of Cavafy’s poems translated by Edmund Keeley.

It’s probably my heritage, but I find I’ve always gravitated to narrative type poems, poems like those of Tu Fu or Li Bai, and Cavafy’s poems struck the perfect chord in me.

Here’s one of my favorite Cavafy poems:

The City

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart—like something dead—lies buried.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighborhoods, turn grey in these same houses.
You’ll always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there’s no ship for you, there’s no road.
Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world.


Sinners of a millennium

January.26. 2020

I read the following today on CNN:

“… the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission posted on social media that, “Anyone who puts the face of politicians before the interests of the people will be the sinner of a millennium to the people.”

Interesting how politicians all over the world tend to put their self interests ahead of the people and country.

Exhibit A of course is the self-proclaimed Stable Genius, but the Senate is not far behind.

With all that’s going on in Washington these days, perhaps we also need a Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission in this great country of ours to remind us to put country before self.

This so-called Land of the Free and Home of the (not so) Brave senators.


Epiphany

January.11. 2020

The concept of forgiveness as taught by the great Master has always been a sticking point for me.

It smacks of extreme gullibility.

Of letting others ride roughshod over us while we keep offering the other cheek in forgiveness.

The other day, I realized that like other parts of his teaching, the concept of forgiveness is actually a self-healing mechanism, one that is essential to entering into the Kingdom of Heaven.

It’s important to note.

The Kingdom of Heaven as taught by Jesus is not about the afterlife but rather about this life, about creating a life of joy and abundance in this life, as opposed to a life of pain and mediocrity.

The afterlife version of the Kingdom of Heaven is a fabrication concocted by the early church fathers to advance whatever agenda they had in those days.

My sudden epiphany had to do with the concept of forgiveness as a central part of the Kingdom.

Because how can you live a life of joy if your mind is racked with feelings of hurt and of being ill-treated by others?

It comes down to one principle.

To live in joy and abundance, you must not allow the actions of others to intrude into your Kingdom.

In other words, to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, you must let all feelings of hurt and transgressions go.

To do that, first you have to practice acceptance.

People are different. Just as physically, there are no two individuals who are identical, so too in spirit, there are no two individuals who are identical.

This means that we have to accept people as they are, with no expectations.

It means that whatever they do to hurt us or offend us is a result of whom and what they are, it’s not personal.

Just as snakes will bite—it’s in their nature, they can’t help themselves—so too some people, they can’t help themselves.

Through acceptance of people for what they are, we are able to let go their transgressions against us.

So true forgiveness is a one way street.

We do it as a measure of self salvation and not because of some feelings of ‘love’ or ‘kindness’ for the other party (who has probably in all likelihood forgotten about the episode).

We do it because we want to let go the negativity and toxicity within us that has resulted from the experience.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting the transgression.

It is not about pretending that nothing has happened.

By forgiving the snake, we’re doing it not because we expect it to stop biting after that—a snake’s nature is to bite and to expect anything else is foolhardy—no, we forgive the snake because we want to move on.

There is no room in the Kingdom for any hurt and bad feelings.

In this sense, forgiveness is first and foremost, a self preservation mechanism.

There’s a second part to forgiveness and one that’s not often mentioned.

To prevent any future recurrence, avoid the transgressor in future. No need to expose yourself to any potential future forgiveness again.


The Promised Land

November.23. 2019

I’ve been on a journey of sorts these past ten years, searching for the Promised Land.

It’s an especially important journey, not because I was looking for some fictitious place that I had heard about or read about, some unrealizable utopia that only dreamers dream about.

No, the Promised Land is a very real place to me.

Because I’ve been there before.

I know it exists. I’ve tasted of its sweet honey and drank of its cool waters, and I know how delightful a place it is.

But somehow, one day, it was all taken away from me.

The journey has been eventful and along the way, I’ve found out more about things and life than I could have ever imagined.

So perhaps it was fated that I had to embark on the journey.

But why did it take ten years?

Because finding the Promised Land is a bit more complicated than you might think.

It involves so many variables to be exactly in the same place and at the same time.

Let’s say there’re five elements that must exist at the same exact time for you to find it.

And one day, perhaps you manage to stumble on the first four elements but because the fifth element is missing, the puzzle is incomplete and you fail to find it.

You conclude mistakenly that the entire solution is wrong and you decide to go back to square one, not realizing that you actually already have four of the elements in place. All you need to do is find the fifth element.

But you decide to throw away the entire solution and start from scratch.

In the process, you come up with a new set of variables which includes the missing element from the previous answer, but because you have gone back to square one, now, another principle is missing.

And the Promised Land remains elusive.

You conclude again that the entire answer is wrong and you decide to try a whole new set of answers again.

And so it goes on and on and somehow the answer always seems to lack that one essential element to complete the puzzle.

It seems like a no-win situation.

How do you ever get the breakthrough?

It is here that the principles of faith and belief become critical.

With enough faith and self-belief, if you keep persisting, one day, all the elements will fall into place and you will see the Promised Land.

So what’s the lesson in all this?

It is this: the Promised Land exists.

It’s not a figment of imagination, not some made up fictitious place, not a fanciful firmament in some imaginary afterlife.

It’s very real and when you find it, life becomes effortless, you don’t have to struggle and yet every one of your dreams will be fulfilled.

The irony of course is that to gain the Promised Land, the land of effortlessness, you will have to expend a great deal of effort, as evidenced by the process I just described above.


Greed

November.17. 2019

I have mentioned Andy Stanley before as an unusually enlightened preacher. (And he is, when he’s not preaching about money.)

Today, however, he disappointed me with his pronouncements on what greed is.

Greed, he says is holding on to what you have, and he goes on about hoarding and personal consumption.

I beg to differ, Andy, but greed is self-proclaimed messengers of God (aka pastors) looking at the hard-earned money of regular hard-working folks and saying, “Hey, God says you got to give me 10% of that!”