Will To Live and Power of Life

bright, hot and sunny afternoon

We all know that life is precious and we should always cherish and be grateful for life, but how much do we actually hold to that statement as we live through every day? Do we not lament more over what we don’t have, rather than be thankful for what we have? Do we not also sometimes forget the value and importance of our lives, and occasionally wish that we were better off dead when we meet a setback or failure?

It is only when we have a close encounter with death or witness how death can ruthlessly snatch life away that we realize how fortunate we are to simply be alive. It is not just us humans; all living beings cherish life and will hang on to life with every ounce of its strength when death beckons at the door. Something as tiny as an ant has a life too, and its strength and undying spirit in fighting to keep itself alive is many, uncountable times larger than its miniature body size.

When I was starting to wash a plate at the kitchen sink earlier, I allowed the rushing water to rinse through the entire plate to wash off any remaining food particle that was on it. Unbeknownst to me, there was an ant scrambling around at the base of the plate and when my eyes caught sight of it, it was flushed forcefully from the surface of the plate. It looks like the angels have come for the life of the ant through a careless action of mine. 

My eyes darted everywhere throughout the sink in search of the ant, hoping that perhaps I could prevent the ant from being washed away into the dark abyss of the sink hole, where it most definitely will meet its fatal end. I could not see it anywhere at all, and I thought for sure that it had gone to meet its maker.

Just when all hope seemed lost, I saw a slight movement at the sink hole. Yes, it was the ant. 

The ant had half of its body hanging on to the edge of the sink hole while the other half was being flung around behind it as the gushing water rushed furiously passed the frail body of the ant and threatened at every moment to wash the ant away into the abyss beneath. It totally was akin to a man hanging on at the cliff of a water fall as mad water brushed pass him and fall off the edge. The ant was hanging and clinging on to its dear life and it knew clearly well that if it were to loosen it’s grip, it most certainly will lose its life. The ant used every ounce of its strength and every muscle in its body to hold on tight as it battled against the torrential waters that might eventually prove to be the element that ends its life. 

I could see that any delay in rescue efforts would guarantee a loss of its life and I hurried to get a piece of kitchen paper while the ant continued its fight for survival. It was not a normal race; it was a race against death. 

With that piece of paper, I acted in the hope that I could reverse the mistake I had made and prevent the clutches of death from snatching the ant’s life away. 

With fortune’s favour, the ant managed to cling onto the paper as the paper absorbed the surrounding waters and it was caught by the absorbent fabric of the paper. However, it did not move as I lowered the paper onto safe grounds. Perhaps the paper had squashed it, or perhaps the water had drowned him. It appears that it had won the battle against the mad waters, but lost the battle against death. It’s supreme courage and strength to fight for its life looked sadly to be of no match for the overwhelming forces of death. 

I sighed and wished that I had been more observant.. for had it not been for my carelessness, the ant most probably would have lived to see many more sunrises. 

However, the forces of life seemed to have worked its magic.

The ant started moving after awhile and began scrambling about once again after it had regained its consciousness. What a joyous sight to behold to see a being thought to be dead, revived! I arrived at the conclusion that the ant did not move earlier as it was too drained by the battle against the furious waters that had threatened its life and it needed time to at least catch its breath. 

The ant later hurried off to reunite with its friends and it certainly seemed like it would share its near death experience with its friends and realize how fragile and precious life really is. 

If an ant is able to know the importance of life, as displayed by the immense strength and determination in fending off the powerful waters to preserve its own life, what more can be said of humans that have a much more superior intellect? We really do not need near death encounters to remind ourselves that we should cherish life and live everyday to the fullest without any regrets. We should always remember that we only have one chance to live this life and we should make the best use of it and appreciate every sunrise and sunset. After all, we really do not know how many sunrises and sunsets we can witness before our time on Earth is up.

“Every man dies, but not every man has lived.”

Advertisements

Life Is What Happens When You’re Busy Making Other Plans

flashes of lightning, rain expected.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – The Buddha.

The profound and always true words of the Buddha offers much comfort to one’s mind; it is like a guiding voice that gives direction amidst the chaos and madness of the ever-changing world. I can but only read, ponder upon and embrace the words of Buddha, never wanting to give any comments or views because it will only be a reflection of my sheer ignorance to say a word. Thus, I will not say anything about the famous words of the Buddha, and will leave you to think and gain your own understanding of the words of the Enlightened One.

Everyone has, in some points of their life, wondered what life exactly is about and what it ultimately has in store. It is like a traveler journeying on a path and inquiring about what to look out for on the path, what to expect on the path, what to do on the path, and eventually, what is at the end of the path and where the end of the path will lead the traveler to. It is a simple reference but it is really as simple as it is. People most definitely want to know the reason for their own existence and what is to come next after their mission on Earth is done.

There are varying degrees of desire in humans to want to find out what life really is about and this difference causes people to live their lives differently. (This is only a superficial understanding that stems from a simply thought process..)

Some people work, eat, sleep, be happy, do the things they want and occasionally ponder over the reason for life when they lie on their beds before they sleep; these are the people who simply live life as it is and worries not about the deeper, underlying meaning of life. They also worry much not about what is at the end of the journey.

Other people work on what they think is the reason for their existence and strive to do their best to fulfill the reason. These people might believe that their lives are for helping others,  and they become doctors, volunteery helpers and givers. They base their lives on what they think is the calling for them in life and they gain satisfaction from fulfilling their “duty”, and they too do not spare much thought as to what lies at the end.

For the final group, they have a burning desire to want to know what life is truly and fundamentally about, and they want to know exactly how the world works and what is life after life. These people are the people who journey on the spiritual path and seek to know the truth and gain enlightenment. They want to gain knowledge of the true nature of the universe and what everything seen and unseen, heard and unheard, felt and unfelt is about. Some of them might attain certain levels of spirituality if given guidance and if they are fated to be, while few attain the highest level possible, enlightenment. Karmic accumulation and fruition probably determines all of these.

Regardless of what may lie in store for you in life and where the end of your life may possibly lead you to next, it is important that we figure out what we want to achieve in life, what we want out of life, and what we can do with and for life. It enables enriched and purposeful living. Let’s see what some famous people regard life as:

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on” – Henry Ellis

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose” – Robert Byrne

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced” – Soren Kierkegaard

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon

“Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die today” – James Dean

“My life is my message” – Mahatma Gandhi

“He who is not busy being born is busy dying” – Bob Dylan

The list of famous people and their famous words on life can go on forever and ever, and it is most inspiring to read what others have to say about what life is to them. However it is not the most important thing.

The most important thing is… What is life to you?

Time and Conditioning

cool, serene night

“Today is the tomorrow which you worried about yesterday”.

How apt is the above saying in describing the humanly, constant worry about what is to take place in time to come. It is in us to always worry about the future, so much so that we miss completely what is happening right at the present moment. It is correct to say that while we were living in yesterday, we worried about the next day, which is today;  and when we are living in today, we worry about what is to happen tomorrow and when we finally arrive at the doorsteps of tomorrow, we start worrying about the day after and everything repeats itself all over again. It is a never-ending cycle of forever worrying about the uncertainty that lies ahead of us in the progression of time, and it is in most beings to be trapped in that wearisome cycle.

In a largely obvious yet oblivious manner, worry can be considered to be a detraction from truly experiencing life to its fullest. In fact, the weight of worry is one of the main obstacles that stand in the way of wholesome and carefree living, which is fundamentally how life should be lived to begin with. We were born with a free and unchained mind that is capable of  generating free-flowing creative thoughts and wonderful imaginations,  but we lose the innocence that comes with it when we mature and start getting oppressed by conditioning that is imposed upon us by everyone and everything. Our minds become imprisoned.

The moment we lose our innocence and ability to wonder, we lose something very precious. It prevents our mind from churning out wonders that can surprise and change the world and instead, our minds start getting corrupted by the less-than-ideal ideas that the world has since established that we all must conform to. Conformity restricts creativity, innovation and freedom, and in its place breeds worry, regiment and mental oppression. It is akin to getting stuck in an endless labyrinth that entails no exit, only an entrance. Suppression from conformity is the trap itself.

Enlightenment of the Soul and Being hails the breaking of attachment and desolution of worries as the first step to reaching liberation. In some sense, the removal of worry and escape from the suppression due to needless conformity is a liberation of its own in this stress and worry laden world where we are reduced to mere stress balls and worry mongers that are ruled by the uncertainties and seemingly unpredictabilities of the future. The human mind is capable of so much more than we can comprehend and it is such trivialities and emotions like anger and jealousy that render us incapable of carrying out and executing what we were born with.

A reflection of the truth is that our world has digress to such a point that such ideals like the one above are considered to be radical and distorted; everyone is too caught up with everything else to the point that they lose their awareness and consciousness.  If you open up your eyes and really see, you might catch some glimpse of the truth of how much the human mind can achieve in actuality.

The question is, are you still capable of seeing the more important things in life? Or have you been so oppressed and conditioned that you have lost your inner self, to the extend that you are incapable of doing something simple as that?  The answer lies in the moment when you are finally given space and time to try to do that, when your mind is not encaged by any unnecessary trouble or worry.

(On a lighter note to end, we even worry about worrying and not worrying..)

The Disfiguring Merlion

drizzling, cool and breezy evening

When you gaze into the open skies and watch as the majestic clouds gently float by, are you not awed by the wonder of how the world and life can both sustain themselves concurrently? Do you not have the sentiment that the world is filled with endless possibilities, and that there are no boundaries withholding you from achieving marvelous feats?

When you watch the waves softly  retreat and caress the fine, minute grains of sand on the shoreline, do you not have the thought that everything was created to co-exist harmoniously in everlasting peace? Do you not think that optimum living and maximized potential of the being is  best nurtured under conditions where oppression is close to non-existent and in its place is freedom and the space to explore and create?

If you ever contemplated the above before, you should know that society never much embraced those ideals (freedom to explore and create, innovation, creative thinking, freedom from oppression etc) and it has never worked in such a perfect way; in reality, it never even worked a mile close to that. Maybe some societies in the world operate close to that, but not the one that I live in.

The manner in which the local system work is devoid of freedom and space. It places severe over-importance on results and statistics and this singularly is the menace to innovation and creativity, and it certainly undermines ability and talent. With the cream of the crop and deep pocket people virtually breathing elitism  out of their “superior” nostrils and the under-performers, late bloomers and weaker members ditched to lick their own wounds, played up with a rigid education and societal system that is forced down people’s throats, can we ever produce talents and capable people at all?

Yes, of course we do have so called “talents” amongst our midst that the media promote all the time. Think Tao Li, think Feng Tian Wei, think Qiu Li, think Shi Jia Yi. Do those names mentioned ring more with foreigner, or authentic citizen? To the game masters, it is of no difference. To us? A resounding foreign stunk.

With the top posts, loftiest positions and top school places all served to foreigners on a gold plate, the authentic citizens of the nation are left to their own devices to face and compete with the intruders. Clearly, the odds are against the locals in every measure.

With the game masters favouring the opposition and the game plan set to trounce you at every opportune time, how do you overhaul the odds and emerge victorious?  The answer lies in either soaring above the system, or stepping out of the system. Any other way is not feasible.. unless you want to become the feast.

May the mighty roar and beaming courage of the Merlion aid us in our struggle for our future and the future of our beloved nation. It is such a pity that our grand Merlion is slowly being disfigured by the faces and ethnics of the unwelcomed guests.

Real Steel & a Little Bit of Love

Drizzling, cool evening

After missing countless good movies that has screened over the past few months, I finally managed to catch a movie on a free and relaxed evening.  Let’s face it : a movie without a bag of popcorn is like a car without headlights; incomplete. That was why I had to indulge in those light crimson-coloured, taste bud wetting, butter-coated irresistibles which brought the movie experience to a whole new level. You should have tasted the sweetness of the crunchy popcorn which was further enhanced by the aroma it exuded as an indication that it is freshly popped and good to be served!

Okay, before people get tempted to drive out to get a bag of popcorn.. let’s get back to the main subject : Real Steel. (In case it is forgotten, I went there for the movie, not the popcorn.. well okay, maybe for both.)

As a start, I think that Real Steel is a great film with a decent and neat plot, and the choice of cast enabled the movie to be brought out well. It is a movie based on robot fighting set in the near future, and this concept forms the primary stage for many themes to be brought out throughout the movie. The many scenes of the mighty robots fighting is realistic and adrenaline-pumping and it serves to wow the crowd and I think they have  been very successful indeed. The selection of Jackman, Goyo and Lily to star as the main characters ascertained that the roles of the characters were maximized and credits must be given to the actors for a brilliant performance, especially to Goyo, who has put in a prolific performance as the young boy who has an apparent cool attitude and style.

The prominent themes of artificial intelligence versus human instincts, father and son relationship, romantic relationship, redemption of a man and unwavering faith were all nicely showcased and these themes formed the basic mechanics in which the movie ran on. The portrayal of the father and son relationship was successful in connecting with the audience and stirring up emotions, and this contrasted with the many fight scenes between the robots brought the best out of the two different aspects of the movie.

Overall, I would rate the movie to be a 4 / 5 and this is a highly recommended choice for boxing / sporting enthusiasts as well as people looking out for an awesome movie to catch over the weekends. Good too if you favour played up emotions.

“Champions aren’t born. They’re made.”

Well, in my point of view, they sure made a champion out of this movie.

Drum Roll…

drizzling, cool and windy night

Nothing is constant in this world and if you ever have to mention something that is constant.. it is ironically, change itself.

Everything experiences change and we are able to notice it if we pay attention to it. We can pick up changes in other people and other places, but it is often we ourselves that change without us even being subtly aware of it.

In order to surpass that and live life more in-depth, much work has to be done to our awareness and consciousness.

We are constantly and continuously changing as time passes and life goes on. Can you say you’re the same person yesterday, today, and tomorrow?