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Archive for April, 2010

Perhaps a glimpse of freedom is reflected in an image of a person who finds satisfaction in just being ordinary. It is freeing to be ordinary. When one has to strive to be something more than what one truly is, one moves into the area of the ‘conditional.’ In this circle, life is determined by others. The public face is of ultimate importance. In the conditional, one betrays one very own self. Hence to move toward the unconditional may just be the journey toward the ordinary. To just ‘be’ in the ordinary sense of the word is liberating. It is serene. It frees us to become the very being from which we were called by God. It releases us from the pretentious public obligation. It offers a space for us to breathe deeply and invites our souls to the realm of rhythm and poetry. In the unconditional, one moves and flows, reshuffling and reconfiguring. One just becomes in the transformation of self. I remember vividly as a teenager sitting on a bus one afternoon. Two old Chinese ladies got on, one at the front and the other, the back. They wore funny clothes. They were clumsy but cheery, carrying funny stuff with them. They talked loudly exchanging words all the 45 passengers on the bus could hear. And I thought, how embarrassing. But now I wish I could be like these two old ladies, old self-differentiated ladies. They were free and liberated. They had no need to fit-in. They had no need to strive. They were just two old Chinese ladies happily traveling on the bus having a great conversation and sharing their intimate information about their husbands to all the 45 passengers.

In chapter six of the Inner Chapters, Chuang Tzu reflects on what it means to be a real person.

What is a true man? The true man of old did not oppose the minority, did not strive for heroic accomplishments, and did not scheme over affairs. Such being the case, he did not regret it when he made a mistake nor feel smug when he was right. Such being the case, he could climb high without trembling, enter water without getting soaked, and enter fire without feeling hot. Only one whose knowledge can ascend the heights of the Way can be like this.

In our quest for spirituality, the way is unknown, the path is unnamed. Transformation takes place not by transforming. We live in a noisy society. There are many voices that keep reminding us of what we ought to be, of various standards and multiple criteria. These noises make us want to move in various directions complying to their callings. In the midst of these seductive invitations remains a lost soul. Silence, on the other hand, is how we come to really hear the essence of who we are. Not by judging nor analyzing but just listening. The soul finds its destiny. Be ordinary. Flow in the stream of life and one may be awaken to the real discovery of oneself in the presence of God. Jasmin Cori provides a possible description of such a person.

Running through the village
embracing everyone she meets,
she laughs in ecstasy.
People call her mad.

“New eyes!” she cries.
“I have been given new eyes!”
And it is true.
For the scales which had previously blinded her
are gone now, erased
revealing such utter glory
that her mind took flight,
leaving only a rapturous heart
in an old, weathered body
racing through the streets
on fire with love.

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