Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Dialectic Synthesis of Souls

The Dialectic Synthesis of Souls

Lovers often quarrel because they expect their partners to behave in certain ways; when these expectations are not met, they feel let down, disappointed, neglected and unloved. Unhappiness results.

Often a love would blossom beautifully in its early stages but degenerates later into selfishness and possessiveness. Simple disagreements would suddenly spiral into to bitter fights. Why does that happen?

I wrote in an another blog entry before that sometimes people treat their friends better than the way they treat their spouses. With spouses, they no longer feel a need to maintain a measure of distance and respect. Any harsh word can be said. Any minor irritation is expressed. Expectations on each other becomes unbridled, to the point of being unreasonable.

Because they have become so close, couples do not feel any barriers between themselves. There's good and bad in that. The good thing is that both parties can share anything--one soul is directly connected to the other. The bad thing is that anger is also often expressed directly, with enormous venom and bitterness. The pain experienced as a result is deeper and more heartfelt.

Compounding the problem is the fact that familiarity usually breeds contempt; over time most couples will mentally collect all the negatives about their partners. These negatives accumulate over time and they all tend to be spilt out during those moments of anger. The positives are often forgotten because they are "expected", and are therefore unappreciated.

I mentioned before that marriage is an opportunity for two people to absorb each other's karma--to tolerate each other's weaknesses, to achieve a state of realisation about each individual's faults and then to be able to learn to rectify them together.

Romantic relationships are never easy. Everyone of us is a bundle of theses and anti-theses. A relationship is thus an on-going dialectic between two evolving souls--two systems of forces trying to find some kind of resolution. The outcome--if the process is given the opportunity to work itself out--is a transcendental state: a sublime synthesis of souls. That to me is the whole purpose of marriage.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

A Child's Heaven

A Child's Heaven

We played hide-and-seek under the moonlight--those happy days when we were kids, with the rubber trees silhouetted against the backdrop of stars and the gentle night breeze stirring their leaves.

Yes, we were all carefree kids and the world seemed so much bigger: the hills far and unreacheable; the jungles impenetrable, the rivers savage and uncrossable with their mighty torrents. Nature was our playground then: we fished, we picked fruits, and we harrassed the snakes and the birds--poor dwellers of the wild who were unlucky enough to have to suffer our rude intrusions.

We were happy and we were "princes of the apple towns". We were elves on a dalliance with the mortal world.

Childhood, especially a rustic one, always remains deep inside you, a constant wellspring of strength. We nourish from their memories. And later in life, when we are mired in the many deceits and pettiness of adulthood, we would long for those days when everything seemed "apparell'd in celestial light".

Yes, we were all naive and ignorant of the ways of the world then. But are we better off now? With our shallow sophistication and our selfish pride? Even when I was a kid, I used to feel a tinge of sadness whenever I read these lines by Thomas Hood:
I remember, I remember
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
to know I'm farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.

And having glimpsed heaven as a child, everything else would seem to pale in comparison.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Meditation and the Unix Operating System

Meditation and the Unix Operating System

Meditation is a good way of learning to master control of one's thoughts. Most of the time, in our everyday mode of experiencing the world, we are barely aware of our thinking process--we tend to react to external stimulus. Only on very rare occassions do we introduce thoughts deliberately into our minds.

By learning how to meditate, we seize the initiative; we learn to flex our mental muscles and we actually let thinking reflect on itself. We inject a quantum of thought into the mental screen and watch its effects. We see how thinking germinates from very tiny seeds and impulses, into something bigger that gathers in momentum as we dwell further upon them.

When thoughts have swelled to a critical mass, we lose control of them--they begin to have a life of their own. They seize us, overwhelm us and carry with them an emotional cloud. That's how anger, love or hatred arises. Every emotion has a humble beginning.

Some people get angry very easily because they are not conscious of the early lifecycle of their thoughts. You see, we are all imperfect. Our innate ego, lust and selfishness generates unwholesome thoughts constantly. These thoughts can be checked at a very early stage if we are conscious of them. But because our minds are not well-developed, we are only vaguely aware of their germination stage. And when we do notice them, it's already too late--they have become monsters, ready to take over our entire beings.

Basic meditation shouldn't be associated with something mystical or religious. It is just self-awareness. Thoughts reflecting on thoughts. It is just like someone typing "ps -ef" on a Unix operating system (or "ps -aux", depending on the flavour of Unix that you are using)--you check what are the processes running, and you do a "kill -9" to get rid of things that you don't want.

Monday, July 26, 2004

That's Life

That's Life

I came back to KL and didn't leave my home for three days. It was worth it though: I finally managed to complete my work and now I can enjoy a short break between projects to run my errands--bills to pay, friends to meet and housekeeping work to do.

My trip to Singapore was a fruitful and productive one--even managed to catch a movie, something that I haven't done since I watched Troy in Bangkok. One can only work productively for so many hours a day. I try to set certain daily targets and give myself small rewards for achieving them--the movie in Singapore was one of them. Made me kind of miss those good old days when I used to watch movies at the Shaw House every other week.

Singapore is a good city for lovers--it is full of them: kissing and hugging in the train and in every secluded corner of the city, lost in a heady world of their own. Single and partnerless men or women will feel a surge of loneliness whenever they see these lovey-dovey couples. But one needs to have gone through it all to transcend such innocent longings.

One of my ex-colleagues who had retired to a vineyard in Australia wants to join back his former company. Claims that he is bored. Kind of boggles me: A lifetime is very short; why do some people still have problems using up their already limited quota of time?

Maybe we just need to be preoccupied with the trivialities of life so that we can afford the self-pitying luxury of complaining that we never have time to do all the things that we've always wanted to do. One thing that we always do very well is to come up with excuses for things that we are lazy or are afraid to do. "No time" is often a good and convenient excuse.

We'd rather turn on the "screensaver"--the television--and let it mop up whatever little time that we have left at the end of our working day. The next day we will wake up, dress up smartly, to perpetuate this never-ending monotony we call life.