TO OFFER THE OTHER CHEEK

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. Matthew 5:38-39. (New Living Translation)

allukuy

In a relationship, when a couple breaks-up without a closure, there is a feeling of betrayal, rejection, resentment, and victimhood. This usually results in blaming, badmouthing, and the desire to revenge. From ancient times, we were hardwired to get even.

But just like in technology where old tools and programs are continually being phased out to be replaced by more advanced ones, so is the case of human evolution. Instead of the usual human response of fight or flight when faced with interpersonal crisis, when acceptance, understanding, compassion, and letting go replace the old ‘survival response’ program, a new program is well underway.

An individual who would choose to install this new program on their system could be said to have attained a vibrational leap forward in their personal evolution (akin to a far-reaching technological advancement), which impacts the evolution of the human collective as a whole.

It is a leap forward  because it takes a lot of inner strength to ‘turn the other cheek’ when the aggrieved is impulsed to hit back to get even.

 

 

The Only One Thing That Motivates People To Act

rumi on love

 

I had been thinking: what do people look for when they do what they do, whatever that thing they do?

I initially came up with three obvious basic human motivations:

1. Love – The need to love and be loved
2. Survival – ‘To exist’: The survival of the body and/or a person’s self-image or Ego.
3. Search for meaning or a higher purpose – The desire to know the purpose of existence. The desire to seek, reach out, or unite with a greater power.
Some people look for fame because they want to be admired. The admiration they seek is a form of love.

Some people do things and fancy being appreciated for what they do. The appreciation they seek is a form of love.

People act on their passion, joy, bliss. This is simply love.

People do things to provide for their loved ones. This is love.

The search for meaning or a higher purpose is to fill the void – a non-physical need. This search is equally motivated by love – self-love.

People kill other people; nations go to war for various reasons.

At first glance, we may say that the reason for this is simply hate. But why would one hate another if not for fear or a perceived threat from that other?

The reason could be fear, religion, self-defense, revenge, or to control more resources. These are all premised on self-preservation or the survival of body and self-image/ego.

Self-preservation of body and self-image is also a form of love – self-love – albeit a distorted sense of self-love, if you will.

It does appear that the common motivation for any action, whether it be considered an appropriate or inappropriate action, is love.

Therefore, “all we need is love”.

So don’t hesitate to wish love for friends and enemies alike, for they may be fighting an inner battle we know nothing about.

 

Work Hard Then Die

Black cat

Once, in a family gathering, and so suddenly, a relative asked me, “What are your plans?”

I decided to ignore her and to not answer her question. I thought I didn’t need to explain my life to her and even if I tried, she won’t get it anyway. It’s just that we are not in the same frequency level and so our perception of reality, and of life, is starkly different.

I knew she wanted to ask if I am going to get a job, and if I have plans to marry. Does the latter sound familiar to many singles out there? 🙂

I suspect she thinks of me as a lazy person, or one who is without direction, or plans and goals in life.

I do not do ‘work’. . . . I only do what I want/love to do, and what I want/love to do, I do not define as ‘work’. There are things I love to do that are compensated with money, and there are things I love to do that are not compensated with money, but I do them anyway just because I love to do them. I have decided to follow this personal life ethic because I want to, and also because I believe that the foundation of true success is doing what you love to do. It may be a slow process, but at least it is a sure and enjoyable process.

And because of this life choice, I consider myself to be living with ease and being in the flow. Some of my friends think of me as simply lucky while family members are intrigued no end.

Before my current choice of lifestyle, however, I had been, in fact, a hard worker, a perfectionist, and competitive in my past endeavors. I only stopped being the previous version of myself because of a dark and heavy shadow that kept tugging at me. This dark and heavy shadow would not leave me – not until I confronted it during the time of my Saturn Return (29 years old). Such darkness and heaviness first descended upon me after my father’s death – when I awakened to the cruelty and absurdity of what we call ‘life’ is.

My parents worked very hard. I blamed hard work to be the cause of their deaths. My father worked very hard in another town while my mother worked in the fields from dawn to dusk. They worked really hard – just like their parents and grandparents and great grandparents down the generation.

Now, I’m not complaining that my parents were hard workers. They lived their lives the best way they know how, given the circumstances of their time. And I am very grateful for everything that they imparted to me – even if it is the lesson to not follow their steps as it is not always the best way to live.

After my father’s death, I still vividly remember when I asked my mother – why?

Ma, why was I born?”

What do you mean?” She looked at me in a manner that as if my question did not deserve to be asked.

I don’t know . . . but what am I born for? What are we people born for,” I asked, somberly.

Do you not like to have been born?”

I almost screamed to her, the painful question I had been asking myself over, and over again:

Look Ma, we were born, we grow up, we go to school, we argue and get insulted in school, we marry, we raise children, we work very hard, we get sick, we suffer, and then – we die – just like Father. What is it all for?”

I asked her with utmost sincerity, practically begging her to tell me the answer to the mystery of life.

Mother could not answer my question. She did not know the answer either.

So I went on with my life carrying that burden of a question on my shoulders – a heavy, sinister, shadowy entity following my every walk on Earth – reminding me if this is all there is to life.

I was sorry for screaming at my widowed mother, but I just really needed to know, ‘why?’

What It Means To Be A Native

mothernature

In this time and age, you hear indigenous people saying, “This time is a good time to be a Native”.

What does ‘Native’ mean, and what does the statement mean?

‘Native’ is a term used by Native Americans when they refer to themselves as indigenous peoples of the Americas. But since I’m not going to talk about Native Americans only, I interchangeably use the term ‘indigenous peoples’ as this term has a broader scope, geographically and politically speaking.

In my understanding, the statement “this time is a good time to be a Native” implies that compared to a time in the past, this time is a good time for indigenous peoples to show-up as they are. They are now freer to wear their Native identities, even as they find themselves living in a predominantly non-indigenous setting where upheld standards and values are maybe different, and may even be detrimental to their very existence. This time is a better time for Natives because compared to a time in the past, they no longer have to deal with much of the burden their ancestors have had to deal with during the times of colonization, occupation, and enforced acculturation and assimilation.

I could, of course, be wrong. For many indigenous peoples around the world, this time could still be as difficult as in the past. Indigenous peoples the world over have undergone different hardships and levels of resiliency, but one thing they still suffer from in this post-colonial era is their marginalization. Their grievances are real. And this is why they are categorized to belong to the Fourth World*.

Living closely and harmoniously with nature is one thing indigenous peoples are known for. To this day, they occupy natural and mineral resource rich territories which are the continuing source of conflict and clashes between them and governments that are backed by capitalist companies that are seeking to explore and exploit these remaining protected areas.

What would happen if the remaining natural environment is poisoned and destroyed by mining and logging? Where will the indigenous inhabitants build their self-sustaining communities. Where will they plant their food and where will they bury their dead? Removing a person from the natural environment he or she is best suited to thrive in is fatal; it is like depriving fish of water. As the most knowledgeable people of their ecosystem, and as longtime stewards of nature, when indigenous peoples continue to be incapacitated, reduced, or even wiped out off the Planet, the natural world, and the Native peoples’ centuries-old knowledge of the natural world, will likely perish with them.

Real great minds, advanced technology, and nature can co-exist as they complement one another, but shortsightedness and greed are something else.

The topic about indigenous people is close to my heart. For one thing, I am indigenous. For another thing, I feel a bigger purpose for being indigenous.

For being indigenous, I was able to make it to the top university in my country through its educational affirmative action program for indigenous students. Then as an indigenous student, I was hand-picked and fully sponsored to participate in various educational programs and extra-curricular activities. Other students (non-indigenous) either had to pay their costs or had to demonstrate exceptional academic excellence in order to get strong recommendations from university mentors. Scholarship providers and foreign universities favored me not because I was the smartest-ass among the other applicants vying for exactly the same grants. In fact, some of my peers graduated with honors while I did not. Yet I had been “a chosen one”, I presumed, it was because I’m indigenous while the others are not. At that time, my indegeneity was the only observable difference between me and them.

This is why I feel deeply for the cause of indigenous peoples.

While I am very grateful for all the privileges that came my way, and thankful to all the people I had the opportunity to interact with, I don’t feel indebted to the governments and business companies that unconditionally and generously paid me to study any course I was interested in, in the international private universities that I chose to study in. While they paid for my foreign travels, while they wined and dined me and showed me the world, I did not forget the reason why I was having those beautiful experiences.

The reason is because I am indigenous. Being indigenous gave me the edge to be a representative of something different.

My scholarship providers, or rather, their human representatives, had their own reasons for choosing me. I could only guess some of their possible reasons. Perhaps they thought of me and my ’cause’ (no matter how vague it was at that time) as exotically appealing? Or they felt I was someone to be pitied for coming from a marginalized society in whose lands their roaring machines were busily hauling gold, silver, copper and iron from? Or they genuinely sympathized with me, awed by my idealism, and moved by my seemingly strong sense of purpose? Or, it could also simply be that they were intrigued and amused by my youthful brazenness and audacity.

So for me, what does it mean to be a Native?

While I sympathize with the many Native People who are bitter about the horrendous events done in the past and frustrated by ongoing imprudent exploitation of remaining Native lands, while I’m fully aware of the past and present grievances of ‘my people’, I believe that amidst all these hardships, to forgive and to show compassion is an inherent Native trait – at least, as long as I can remember, forgiveness and compassion are primary indigenous values my elders always reminded me of.

Meanwhile, many spiritual practitioners and spiritual gurus teach that there is nothing wrong with the Planet as nature knows how to regenerate, restore, balance and heal herself. They are right. And that’s why we are here. We are an integral part of this Nature who is self-healing, restoring, and regenerating herself. Those of us who feel strongly called to do something for the environment are spawned by Nature herself to tell stories of caring, of healing, of balance, of compassion, of restoration and harmonious co-existence.

Now is really a good time for Native Peoples around the world to come out and share their stories, may it be a sad or a happy story, may it be to teach or to simply amuse and entertain – for the benefit of all humanity – Natives and Non-Natives alike.

This time is called the Age of Communication for a reason.

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Happy EARTH DAY everyone!

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* The First Worlds are the rich countries. The Second Worlds, arguably, are the socialist countries. The Third Worlds are the poor countries. And the Fourth Worlds, where the indigenous peoples belong to, are the poorest or most disadvantaged of all.

Allu Kuy

Allu Kuy

“Allu Kuy” 48″ x 36″ Oil on Canvas, 2015, by JEF CABLOG

I don’t know why this marvelous and somewhat enigmatic painting was named after me. I have not talked about it with the artist, yet. I presume it was named after me because it was spelled exactly the way I spell my name; the artist could have spelled it different way if he wanted to. And he painted this after  reading my story. 🙂

I do not look like the subject in the painting, neither does my grandma (the shamanic mentor mentioned in my story), look like her.

So I take this opportunity to talk about my name.  ‘Allu Kuy’, in my mother tongue, refers to the invisible spirit beings that roam the dense virgin forests surrounding my hometown. At some point in my people’s history, the Allu Kuy were so influential that the townsfolk were very respectful, even to the point of being slightly fearful of them. As a result, when villagers go to the forest to hunt, to fell trees or gather herbs, or to clear a part of the forest for farming, they have to be very considerate, respectful and careful of their activities so as not to disturb and disadvantage these spirit forces whose main job and purpose is to look after the well-being of the forest environment.

My people believe that everything comes from the  Creator, and that every set of creation is special and equal in the Creator’s eyes. Grandma always told me that just like us, human beings, who live in village and town settlements, the Allu Kuy who inhabit the forests have their own houses, families and children to take care, and that the forests and mountains are their respective territory to also take care and protect. The same is true with rivers and creeks which are also inhabited by another group of spirit beings that must also be acknowledged and respected.

All of us, creation-beings, live in parallel universes even within planet Earth. And each type of creation-being has its own designation. These parallel dimensions interweave and the beings within each dimension  interact on various tangible and intangible levels. There is no hierarchy and no stratification; each one is different  in configuration but equal in essence. To maintain and foster harmonious co-existence, respect and consideration are expected from each set of creation-being. Otherwise, there would be ramifications.

laketufub

One of my hometown lakes during summer

I think it is but natural and sensible that every creation-being acknowledges each other’s role in the Grand Circle. In any kind of system, when there is imbalance and encroachment, chaos occurs, suffering ensues, and possibly,  total annihilation.

These spirit beings inhabiting the rivers, mountains, fields, etc., are usually minding their own roles in their respective territories. As they were not configured to carry material bodies, nor do they build material structures, to survive, they practically do not need anything from the human-being group of creations. Only when they are disturbed or provoked by human beings, through the latter’s inconsiderate, destructive and greedy activities, that these spirit beings get back at humans.

Anyway . . . back to the painting above, I am guessing that the subject’s peculiar expression gives us a hint on what the artist may have had in mind when he painted it. If you look closely at the painting, especially the background, you would see eyes, faces, and other obscure images or formations. These are the Allu Kuy.

 

A Lesson in Unconditional Love

toreachgod

I believe that at a certain juncture, a spiritual seeker comes to a point where he has to let go of all the tools in the path, and even let go of a certain path, or paths, in order to transcend all worldly constructs. I see this process as a pivotal step towards spiritual enlightenment.

When a seeker stops clinging to the tools in the path, and stops holding on to only “one right path,” he arrives at the equanimous, balanced state of Non-duality, or Oneness. 

A non-dualist and unconditionally loving person does not judge and criticize others who act and think in a different way from his definitive notion of what is right and wrong. A non-dualist understands that people act the way they do because of a reason – some reason he can know and understand, but many other reasons he may never know and may never understand. And so his best recourse, as a non-dualist perceiver, is to accept and love others in spite of who they are and what they do, in spite of how they choose to live their lives – knowing and understanding full well that anyone who is in their best state of mind would not deliberately do anything to disadvantage themselves or another. So instead of judging and condemning another who may be doing something “wrong”, a non-dualist perceiver would instead feel compassion towards the other.

In my early journey as a seeker, most of the teachers and spiritual traditions I encountered are wrapped up in dualistic consciousness: they maintain a strong idea about good and evil. In consequence, they tend to act that as if a lurking evil is out there to get them. Some of them do rituals and repeat mantras to “protect” them from the alleged onslaught, or corrupting powers of so-called evil forces. A fear-based spirituality such as this is threatened by so-believed lower vibrational beings, impure situations, sinful elements, immoral people, people who are certain to reap negative karma, etc. As a result of this fear, and perhaps mixed with a feeling of righteousness and superiority, fearful spirituals actively resist associating with certain people and situations which they judge to be of “lower vibrational frequencies”.

Ironically, what we resist persists. The very people and situations we are trying hard to avoid all the more pop up in our reality to get our attention. It is because we attract our disowned parts until such time that we learn to embrace, integrate, and to love them unconditionally.

There are some people, whose ingrained beliefs are threatened and challenged by a different perspective or paradigm, who often form exclusive groups with members who only agree and validate who they think they are. There is certainly nothing wrong in choosing to hang around certain types of people; I see nothing wrong with fortifying oneself with like-minded folks who tend not to create friction in a perfect bubble world. My rebellious temperament, however, often gets the better of me that I find it wrong to judge and censure others who happen to have divergent thoughts from certain established dogmas.

I had a recent personal experience. For the past 1.5 years, a spiritual guru, whom I have neither seen nor talked with in person, often appeared in my dream state. The dreams were repetitive and consistent in their theme. In dream state, he was sending me letters, emails, books, invitations, calling me through a cell phone, gazing at me while projecting very loving vibes. For some reason, the “giving” was only one way: he was doing the action while I was a passive recipient of his actions. In waking state, however, the situation is very different. I was the one initiating communication with him, mostly only to tell him about the dreams and to ask his opinions about it. His vague but standard or typical guru response, as to why I was dreaming about him, is because we have a “soul-connection”, “mystical connection”, “past life connection”. My unusual dreaming about him intrigued me greatly and drew me closer to be more interested in him.

In waking state, our atmosphere of interaction is quite formal. And in fact, we at times vibrationally clashed because of our differing approaches to spirituality. He is one of those teachers who maintain a dualistic mode of thinking and perceiving. He pushed my buttons. I might have done the same to him. Since his vibes in dream state and waking state are incongruent, I was perplexed as to whether he has a conscious agenda or not. It turned out that he has not. He was not telepathically contacting me in dream state, at least, not consciously on his end. Since I thought he was just a source of unnecessary confusion, I tried to totally avoid him. But as I “blocked” him, the dreams became even more intense and outrageous.

Lesson learned:

I claim myself to be a non-dualist and who is then unconditionally loving. Yet I perceived this individual as a dualist, and I was “bothered” by his dualistic teachings. I was provoked by some of his strongly held dualistic beliefs which I considered to be judgmental and discriminatory against other people who do not necessarily share his spiritual convictions.

He censured others. I censured him for censuring others. He judged others; I judged him for judging others. I criticized him because I wanted him to be more like me – a non-dualist – one who does not see higher or lower, but only strives to focus on the good in others. However, by judging and perceiving him as a dualist, by being provoked by his dualistic teachings, and by censuring him for censuring others, I have become a dualist myself!

I just found myself re-schooled in my lesson about non-duality and unconditional love!

Saving a Soul, Saving the World

Sacredly-Secretly

Many activists, empaths, including so-called Way Showers and Light Workers have it deep in their hearts the genuine intention to save the world. This, because they have been moved, touched deeply by what they see around them – suffering, injustice, tragedies, pain, deaths.

I call them Wounded Healers. It takes one to be wounded to really feel and empathize with the hurt, the pain, the wound of others – of the world.

When one is wanting to save the world through their well-intentioned desire to save another person who they see is suffering or going through destructive habits or addictions, it is usually because one is also nursing their own wound – a part of them that is needing some attention, healing, some nourishing and nurturing.

This wounded aspect draws in an external actor to mirror the internal need. When we find ourselves nurturing the external actor, we are at the same time nurturing that inner part of us that is needing healing or attention. This is why we feel relieved and uplifted when we care for another as our act of healing and nurturing another is healing and nurturing that resonant part of us.

Every other creation we are observing reflects an aspect of us. We are not separate from one another.

I once wanted to save the world. I became a communist who at one point was on the verge of joining a guerrilla army to fight against capitalist-backed government forces. I was seventeen, a top college freshman. No, I was not brainwashed. I knew exactly what I wanted and why. I wanted to fight for justice, for equality, for the end of poverty, and to fight against environmental destruction of indigenous peoples’ ancestral domains.  If I was not wounded by injustice, I would have not perceived it the way I did. If I was not bitten by poverty, this social affliction would have not meant that much personally to me. These issues were in my face, they were my very personal wounds.

I once wanted to save certain people close to me. When someone you love is hurting, you feel their pain as if it is your own. When someone you love appears to be going down the road towards self-destruction, you want to rescue them. You want to rescue that part of you which is interlinked with them.

But there is just too much to save and many of them do not want to be “saved.” Or they do not see any need for saving. They are right. Everyone came with a different agenda, different experiences to explore, different paths to try on which is not greater or lesser than yours, only different.

Perhaps one person’s agenda is to annoy you to no end so you could see the futility of trying to change them into what they are not.

Many Light Workers and Way Showers end up being hurt and resentful when they feel that their efforts to help and rescue another is not acknowledged or valued. They are setting themselves up for disappointment when their rescue operation fails because the ones they are trying to rescue cannot live up to their well-meaning goals and expectations. Disappointments and frustrations happen when do-gooders expect something in return. When they expect their actions to be validated by others.

As an empath and  activist wanting to get something done about the many problems of the world, I have struggled with this “saving” dilemma for some time until I got energetically drained and tired of holding on to my hero/savior self-appointed identity. I was then young and rebellious, ready to take on the problems of the world!

I say that a Light Worker and Way Shower should continue doing what they do, not to save another’s soul, not with the overarching goal to save the world, but simply because they love to do what they do. They do what they do because it is their genuine self-expression and it makes them happy just to be in their self-expression.

In the end, we can only save ourselves, through personal development and strengthening of character. Then those who we are attempting to save may notice our example and by their own volition, they may or may not come to us. If they come to us, it means they are in a receptive mode and are more likely to be open to hear what we have to share.