Monthly Archives: January 2011

To Feel or Not to Feel?

Sometimes I feel questioning whether or not to acknowledge my feelings or simply ignore them. What I mean is, I know that I have a generally easy life, but at the same time I think of the complexity of some aspects of my life. Am I going to ever see my father again? Am I going to keep my job? Is our house going into foreclosure? Is my physically challenged brother ever going to experience independence? All of these questions tend to make me feel sluggish and disillusioned with life. How are we ever going to be debt free? It’s basically one problem after another. But at the same time, I remember all the suffering that really happens in the world, such as the people starving in Haiti, the political violence in Egypt, the senseless war in Afghanistan, and then I reflect on my own self pity and think to myself “Well, I better suck it up, because there are people out there who are really messed up!”. So, I question myself sometimes how much emotional ordeal should I really experience considering the more serious suffering that occurs elsewhere in the world. And also, shouldn’t I stop seeing situations as “problems” and start seeing them as “challenges” instead, so that I can feel more motivate to overcome them? I think that my inclination is to give up all the self pity and start doing things for others. I think that I prefer to not contemplate on my own “challenges” so much because doing so is the same as being selfish, considering the real suffering that occurs out there. Yes, I think that my focus should be on others, more on what I “suffer”. And I understand that I should love and take care of myself before being able to do the same for others, but I think I take care of myself automatically anyways. So when I get up in the morning , I want to have a refreshing perspective and think about how I can be a blessing for others, pray for those who are starving and hiding from terrorists, and continue my walk. If I don’t feel like smiling, oh well! I will then remind myself to suck it up and keep walking. This is my latest attitude. Thank you for reading.


Which Cartoon Character Are You?

Does eternity really exist? How is it possible that God has no beginning and no end? Does God really know the future? These questions have been in my mind many times. I have found ways that can begin to answer these tough questions. I have learned that this life is more like a story. Life has been written like a story in a book. A book has a beginning and an end. A book also has an introduction, a climax, and a conclusion. Some books are about mystery, others are romances, and some are children books. I rather perceive my life as a cartoon script. If my life is seen as a cartoon, then God is the cartoonist. I am one of the cartoon characters. By looking at my life using this analogy, I can more easily understand the concept of life having a beginning and an end, within an eternal state of existence. The same way that an author can begin to read his own book from beginning to end, God can “read our lives” from beginning to end. The author’s life is not bound to the story that he wrote in the book. The author can see ahead in the book and read its final chapter. The same way, God can look ahead in our lives and see the final moments in this life. But, the same way that the author can go back and forth on the same book, God can see our lives entirely from the day we are born and the day we die.  We cannot see the end of our “story” but the author of Life can. So, in thinking about this analogy, which cartoon character would you identify with?  Or what book character would you be if your life would be written like a story? How about a movie or TV program?

Surrender, Simplify, and Serve

I recently changed the subtitle of this blog to what I call the three S’s: Surrender, Simplify, and Serve. It is simply the process that I think can further help live the Kingdom of Heaven. To Surrender simply means to accept who I am. We are constantly trying to present a facade to the world, which I call the Ego. This is the fabricated self that we create when we don’t want to be hurt by others through rejection, ridicule, abuse, etc.   So, in order to prevent being hurt again, we create a false self, the Ego, to pretend that we are untouchable.  We manifest this when we say “fine” when someone asks how we are. It is manifested when we are formal and cordial in front of others.  To Surrender would imply the brave action of taking down the protection and admit we are hurt, accept our limitations, and be ok with it. It implies not being afraid of others’ rejection.   This will utlimately lead  us into yielding to God, which is the same as being “poor in heart”.  It implies loving yourself just the way you are (accepting God’s unconditional love), without  the anxiety of having to please the world.
Simplify would be the next step, which means to live in the here and now.   We often carry loads from our past, which can make us bitter or depressed. We also live in the future, worrying about what could happen or trying to live the “what ifs”. Simplifying means focusing more on the present and not be concerned with what happened (which cannot be changed) or what could happen (which is not here yet). The past is to learn from and the future is to plan, but the present is to live.  Not being concerned about trivial affairs, such as my appearance, and my ambitious longings, also helps to live in the present.  Don’t get me wrong, having dreams and goals is good, but being more aware of today will help me experience  life better.  It also means to look at the big picture.  Worrying too much about the details of life gives us anxiety that is not worth having.  We must remind ourselves that we are part of a higher purpose, greater than our trivial selfish affairs.     Finally, to Serve is what this blog is all about. To step out of my comfort zone, and reach out to help and take care of others. It also means to regard others as equals, regardless of their personal values and attitudes.

Surrender, Simplify, and Serve. I can easily see these qualities in Jesus. He surrendered His divine majesity, and obeyed God until His death. He prayed “Your will be done!” when He was tempted to do what His human nature wanted to do, but decided to do what God wanted Him to do.  He simplified His life being a homeless, without the vanity of this world, and living in the present with His disciples.  Jesus invited us to be meek like himself, and not worry about everyday affairs.  He served us by teaching us about the Kingdom of Heaven, healing us, and giving His life for us.  He said “I came to serve, not to be served”. This is my latest steps in my journey.

I want to know what you think about this subject.   Thank you for reading.  God bless.

I Don’t Have a Soul

I don’t have a soul. I don’t have a spirit. I don’t believe that I have anything that resembles anything spiritual or divine. What I do have is a body that someday will cease to exist. What I do have is a mind that plays tricks on me. But wait, let me explain further. I don’t have a soul, because I believe that I am a soul. I am not a body, a brain, or a machine. I am a spirit, trapped inside a physical body that does not act anything spiritual. But I do, in other words, the soul that I am has the capacity to act like God, although I am not God. I am a spirit that longs to be reunited to God, but the body impedes this from happening. Jesus taught me that I should not worry about taking care of my body, because God will do that for me.  What I do have to worry about is taking care of my soul, which I do by loving others.  But before loving others, I must love God first.  A person who does not believe in God once asked me what is the difference between someone who believes in God and someone who does not if they both give charity and serve others.  The answer is simple:  the believer recognizes that service is a reflection of God, not a reflection of the self.  Believers serve for the purpose of manifesting a higher purpose.  Serving by itself is experiencing God, whether we recognize it or not.  When we don’t believe in God, we automatically believe that the body is all there is; the brain is the self.  But I am not my brain.  I am a soul.  And I acknowledge that I am not the center of the universe, there is something bigger than me, and I can call it karma, Higher Power, Jesus, or God.  But not my self.  Another question was, what do my feelings have to do with whether of not God is valid?  God does not fall under the category of measurable things.  It transcends everything we can understand fully.  But we can experience it.  The same way we can experience creativity, passion, confusion, joy, and ambition, but cannot measure them.  In summary, I am a Soul, and I believe the person reading this is as well.  God bless you.

Lesson 7: Peacemaker

“Blessed are the peacemaker, for they will be called ‘sons of God,” Matthew 5:9.  The world is loaded with wars, conflict, terrorism, and hatred.  History books tell us about wars existing since the beginning of mankind.  Nations and empires used and continue to use war to conquer one another, protect themselves, and win political battles.  It has been a way to survive.  In nature, we see carnivores chasing and devouring herbivores.  The spider traps and eats the little bugs.  The cheetahs chase and apprehend the giraffes.  The snakes suffocate and swallows mice.  It is all part of nature, and we can do the same in order to survive, right?  Not to each other.  Even if it is our natural instinct to fight with the other human being to obtain food (or whatever we want), it is not the way it is done in heaven.  And, because we are superior to animals, we can do better.  Our citizenship should be the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, instead of creating wars, we should create peace.   Whenever there is misunderstanding, there should be dialogues to create understanding.  Whenever there is envy, there should be reconciliation and agreement to be equal.  Whenever there is afflicted pain, there should be forgiveness.  It is not the way we do things, but it sure is the way it is done in heaven.  “Be perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect” Jesus said.  I dream of a nation where, instead of citizens trying to show off their patriotism and nationalism with a show of force, that citizens depend on God first, accept their weaknesses, strive for equality, be meek, serve each other, have clean hearts, and solve conflicts.  It would simply mean to please God.  

We are so Distracted

Everyday I get up in the morning and get ready for the day. I brush my teeth, eat breakfast, help my children get ready for school, and off we go. I go to work, spend most of the time in front of the computer, talk some on the phone, eat lunch, work some more, and then return home in the evening. Next day, the same thing. But sometimes I stop at a traffic light and I see a homeless person with a sign that says “Anything will help”. I turn on the radio and hear a news about people shooting other people. I go on the internet and read stories of people in Haiti still dying of cholera. These are a few reminders of what life is really about. LIfe is about responding to the need of the people. Life is not about the easier things, like responding to our own needs. Jesus commanded us to love each other like we love ourselves. Can I love others and pretend that I don’t read the homeless sign? Can I love others and change the radio station about people killing others? Can I love others and ignore the news about Haiti? We are so distracted about trivial things that makes us heartless beings.  We engage in useless discussions about whether we are living during the end times, what is the best religion, or if we should feel offended by someone’s comments about our faith.  Our own personal affairs make us selfish. Jesus taught us to be selfless. I cannot continue to be a Christian and be distracted. I must focus on Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven. I must simply  serve the poor.

Why are we here?

Why are we here?  To live and then die?  To suffer until our last day?  To see other people suffer without significant reason?  I contemplated on these questions today at the dinner table with my wife.   After a long day at work, after handling bills, driving kids to and from school, cooking, cleaning, etc, we both sit down at the kitchen table and question what is the purpose of it all.  We struggle so much and at the end of the day not much is accomplished.  And the worst part is that we worry so much for nothing.  We need to be responsible, but what is the use of worrying about the bill that is due, the broken light bulb, the accumulated house chores that we haven’t had time to complete, the amount of dust over our ceiling fans, the classes we still need to take, and the other meaningless and trivial affairs that truly do not define who we are and what we are supposed to do with Life.  I am sick of it all!  What I am willing to worry about is everything about our children: their health, education, social lives, spiritual state, and interests.  These things I welcome as worries; I embrace this kind of pain.  But everything else is worthless.  The only other exception is taking care of those in need in the community.  But I need more time and energy to be able to this, and that is exactly what I am talking about.  Because I spend so much time and energy on the other trivial things, I don’t have enough time to spend on what I am supposed to do in  this life, besides worrying about my own children.  God’s children also need my help.  Rats! What is wrong with me?!  Why is this world so upside down?   What is the purpose of it all if I don’t have time to do what I am supposed to do?  About two years ago God opened my eyes to the realization that I am here to serve the poor. Why have I not done something about it yet?  Because of the stupidity of the trivial things I worry about that keeps me distracted.  I haven’t emptied myself enough to fill me up with Life; with the purpose of serving others.   I am still stagnated in my selfish lifestyle and I am not even aware of it, until now.  My new year’s resolution?  I was afraid of coming up with one, but I know it is to finally free myself from my selfish shell, go to a place, any place, and volunteer to serve the poor.  This will be my Salvation.