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Thursday, July 30th 2015

6:07 AM

Our quest for Wholeness

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In my observation, whether one believes in God or not, there is in every human being, an inherent desire to find meaning and wholeness in one's existence.  To make sense and find purpose in everything under the sun is a natural drive of every human person regardless of faith and religious affiliation. 

Personally, I believe that it is our birthright as human beings to live the fullness of life; to be fully human, fully alive.  Most people find meaning in external pursuits, meaning they are always externally referented.  This search for meaning is mainly associated with DOING and ACHIEVING.  Happiness, sense of fulfillment is closely connected with HAVING SOMETHING outside of the self.  There is nothing wrong with this because one can really find meaning and purpose through the externals.  This can become a problem only when one becomes obsessed with external pursuits and abandoning the reality that the externals are just one aspect of the game.  This is not the total picture of everything.

The other aspect of this search for meaning and purpose can be found on the internals.  This means taking time to look inward and see ourselves as we are.  There is a vast universe within each person. This inner search for meaning is also needed for one to be able to live the fullness of life. The quest for wholeness starts within the self.  Perhaps, the journey within is not pleasing to most people because it requires one to be vulnerable and be authentic to whatever surfaces in the discovery. Vulnerability and authenticity are not easy.  They are scary because one has to strip off those inner defenses and "armory" in order to see the truth of who we are without the masks, the facade that we love to project to the external world.  Looking within also means, facing our own shadows and confronting our "inner demons." The dark aspects of the self that we usually hide or deny because we deem it shameful, disgusting, unlovable.

So, the quest for wholeness requires an honest examination of our inner selves and do something to reconcile those inner clashes, to make peace with the unappreciated parts of the self and hold it lovingly. Then the outcome manifest effortlessly in the external.  When all the external pursuits of meaning and purpose align with the internal forces of love and authenticity, then one can really live life to the fullest.

 

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Monday, March 7th 2011

8:51 AM

Hello, Friends!

Hello, all!  It's been a while since I posted my last blog entry here.  Many, many things have taken place since then. I've already finished my special studies in pastoral counseling and did actual counseling sessions and lectures with different groups of people.  Very interesting indeed! Now, I feel that it's about time to go back to blogsphere and again fill the empty spaces with interesting and significant thoughts about life and everything there is...

I've been through a lot of experiences and I would like to share it here... knowing that one might be able to get something from it.  The world is filled with beauty; life is beautiful even if it's constantly beset by worries and never-ending litanies of woes (for some).  I feel overwhelmed! (in the positive sense

Just an update, lately I've finished my first-level REIKI attunement.  I feel empowered and confident. I am grateful, truly grateful for every experience.  Okay, so in the next few days (or weeks) I'll be writing again. I am already excited! See you all!
Oh by the way, thanks to all who visited my blog, those who left comments... May you be blessed!
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Friday, June 27th 2008

10:56 AM

You Are...



Another video entitled "You Are..."  I found this inspirational thoughts in my files and I thought it would be good to make a video about it.  The lines are from an unknown author and the soundtrack is “A Single Drop of Water in a Mighty River” by Takashi Kako.

When we know who we really are, it is when we are most authentic to ourselves recognizing our strengths and weaknesses. 
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Friday, June 27th 2008

10:37 AM

Has anyone told you that you are Loved?



Finally, I finished my own version of "Has Anyone Told You That You Are Loved?" This video is inspired by the works of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  I really love this woman! Such an extraordinary life hidden in the most simple, unassuming, daily routine of caring for others.  This is what Ernest Boyer, Jr. refers to as The liturgy of daily life, The sacrament of the routine.  Hope you enjoy this video.
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Friday, June 20th 2008

10:07 AM

Are You In-Love?


According to M. Scott Peck, love is too deep to be understood within the framework of words.  Love has something to do with mystery.  One cannot exhaust its meaning.  But in today’s secular mind-set, love is confined within the domains of feelings or emotions.  Love has something to do with romance, attraction or sex.  I asked some friends and acquaintances about love and the answers varied according to their perspective and what they believe and hold true.  Obviously, relativity is prevalent in the common secular understanding of love.  For most people, love is a subject that always comes with interest; a topic too strong to resist that’s why I never had a difficulty finding a respondent for the “Am I in love?” self-analysis test.

My respondent’s initial reaction to the questions was one of rationalization.  He never thought that the analysis was deep and probing.  It revealed his value system and his perspective of love.  He described it as an “AHA!” experience for it enabled him to really look into himself and evaluate his feelings and thoughts about his present romantic relationships.  My respondent is in his mid twenties.  He has a girlfriend but at the same time meeting other girls whenever opportunity provides.  He reasoned that doing so would allow him to gauge whether he is really in love with his girlfriend.  He is sort of looking for the “right” partner that is to say that he is not yet sure of his present relationship.  Before giving him the test, I asked him about his love-life and he told me that he is looking for somebody who can take care of him, satisfy his needs and meet his expectations.  He wants to settle with a person whom he can rely on and turn to for support in whatever aspect of life. From this point of view it occurred to me that there is a real need to transform the popular secular belief about love or loving.  In a society with materialistic orientation, it is very common that “I” is the center of every relationship.  The “I” takes the spotlight.  During the conversation, I controlled myself from giving advices or opinions concerning his perspective on love and relationship.  I might end up sermonizing.  I just listened and allowed my respondent to express what he felt.  I hope that the self-analysis test would serve as an eye opener for him.  However, I gave him a copy of the test for him to ponder on from time to time. 

To gauge whether a person is in love or not based on today’s popular secular point of view is quite easy.  It appears that majority of today’s youth or young adults are mostly focused on the satisfaction of the self in terms of having a relationship.  Narcissism is prevalent in today’s culture.  I observed that majority of today’s young adults are jumping from one relationship to another, seeking for some form of satisfaction.  There is a great need for self-fulfillment and meaning .  I think this gesture is somehow an indication of interior emptiness.  In today’s trend, romance and relationship can be found in the internet or cyberspace.  Webcam to webcam interaction that leads to some kind of physical attraction that serves as a medium for finding “love”.  I wonder if one can find authentic love in this manner of relating.  Well, there are really exceptional few whom I have known to have found stable and fruitful relationships through this medium.  I was reading M. Scott Peck as a springboard for this reflection.  M. Scott Peck's new psychology of love is a real challenge for the secular mind-set.  It calls for a radical alteration of the society’s common understanding about love and loving.  Authentic love after all, is desiring the highest good of the person whom you loved without any condition. 

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Thursday, June 19th 2008

10:29 AM

From Unconsciousness to Real Awareness



As a requirement for my course on Psycho-Spiritual Approach on Marital/Premarital Counseling, I asked a couple about their willingness to be my respondent in the compatibility tests. As expected various questions and apprehensions suddenly surfaced.  Questions like “what if after answering the questionnaires they (the couple) found out that they are incompatible” or concerns like “this might be the cause of their possible break-up”. I smiled and told them that this might be an opportunity for them to know the real score between them.  After all, they might not be the “ideal couple” as they appear to be.   Anyway, I finally convinced them to answer the tests.  After two days, the couple expressed their gratitude for the questionnaires.  It gave them the opportunity to examine themselves more deeply and their value system.

My observation is that it is a common reaction that most people find it uneasy if not scary to look into their selves more profoundly. To venture into uncharted areas of life brings a sense of awkwardness.  It’s uncomfortable to discover something in life that one is afraid to deal with.  Majority of people seem to content themselves to what they have already seen and discovered at their present state of being.  They are afraid to venture outside their comfort zones.  Worse, if these comfort zones are unhealthy and act as barriers to progress in all aspects of human development.  They can be hindrances to establishing real human relations. 

In my own experience, I find it so liberating to know oneself more intimately.  I came to realize that there is a vital need to acquaint myself with “myself”.  I can see that there is a vast area of information within and these “informations” sometimes come to the surface without my knowing. They usually manifest in my unguarded moments and sudden rush of unconscious responses.  It is surprising to know how these vast informations operate even without my conscious consent.  Traditional wisdom evokes the metaphor of a journey to describe what life is.  This journey starts from womb to tomb, very objective and definite.  I guess the longest journey of life is from unconsciousness to real awareness.  In my opinion, this journey is indefinite.  It could start at any given moment when one is ready or at a ripe stage.  Sometimes, this could not happen at all.  Sad to say, many may have reached the final stage of their earthly journey but never dared to walk even a few steps in this fascinating journey of awareness.  As one travels on this road he/she might discover or encounter some “creepy figure” along the way and this is scary.  The way to awareness remains the road less traveled by. 

In the case of my respondent couple, I found out that fear to some possible issues of incompatibility was evident initially.  But because they took the risk of knowing and overcoming their fears, they discovered that truly there are noticeable differences.  According to them, these differences are not barriers to their commitment and love for each other.  Both are willing to work out and listen to each other’s concerns.  Unexpected cool-offs may occur but at least at some point in their relationship, they have reached a certain of degree of awareness of their selves, value system and ideologies.  

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Thursday, June 12th 2008

10:20 AM

A Reflection On Aging


Our last discussion on Assessment & Intervention of Relationship Disorder was about Aging and I am inspired to write something about it.

Aging like all other biological changes  is part of the natural processes of life and people have different perspective about it.  It inspired and still inspiring science to discover ways and means to reverse its effects or delay its arrival.  For many, aging is a source of fear or insecurity because it limits one’s capacity to do things or makes the person vulnerable to the threats of life.  While science is concerned about aging and how to deal with it, our faith teaches that aging is a part of life where one reaches ripeness and has acquired wisdom from the vicissitudes of daily living.   I remember the scripture passage in Ecclesiastes that says “there is a time for everything under heaven.  A time to give birth and a time to die.”  Existentially speaking, aging presupposes death, yet behind this stark reality, aging has something beautiful to teach us. 

I find it meaningfull to reflect on aging as the twilight of life.  Twilight precedes evening time.  As evening of life approaches, twilight gives us the opportunity to reflect and gather our thoughts how far have we gone with our life.  At twilight, the sky is filled with subdued colors of orange, golden yellow, red, purple, gray and lavender.  These colors transform the horizon into beautiful scenery that adds drama to the setting sun.  In similar manner, aging adds depth and color to the remaining years of a person’s life.  Aging is an opportunity for quiet meditation and examination of the life spent in busy and exciting occupations of youthful years.  For me, aging is not something to be feared of but a time of gratitude to the Author of life for the many ways we were blessed and given the opportunities to learn and acquire wisdom through the ups and downs of life.

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Monday, June 9th 2008

8:48 AM

The Need for Love and Compassion

As a final requirement for my course on Assessment & Initial Intervention of Individual & Relationship Disorder, I joined a field trip at the National Center for Mental Health.  It was an opportunity to encounter people who are objects of our discussion in the classroom.  The first thing that caught my attention was the condition of the patients in the male ward.  The ventilation was poor.  I can smell the sweat and human odor in the air.  The lecturer-guide began to take his cue.  I purposedly slipped out of the crowd and focused my attention to the patients in the male ward.  I wanted to see and observe what was going on inside the ward.  I carefully observed their movements as they interact with each other.  Some watchers were there.  Some patients acted strangely, murmuring while lying, some were tied on their beds while others were walking here and there with blank looks.  I took the opportunity to chat with a staff and found out that majority of the cases are schizophrenia, some bipolars and mentally retarded ones.  As we passed through the corridor, I noticed a young lady in her early twenties, singing and reciting incoherent words.  She was restless.  In short, I saw people, young and old living in their own imaginary worlds.

Having seen these people in their pitiable state, I wonder how in the world do they come to this condition.  Perhaps their personal problem and concerns or maybe the circumstances in which they find themselves were too overwhelming for them to bear.  I felt pity for these people who gave up their sanity and living like moving objects who in one way or another lose some qualities of being a human person.  I also realized how inadequate the facilities and services our government is giving to the patients and the institution.  Seeing these people living a "sub-human" state, losing their sense of reality and connection to their families and the rest of the human community is what affected me most in this experience.

Those moments of encounter with the patients gave me a sense of awareness to the other side of the reality of our existential condition.  This strengthens my conviction about the fragility of the human psyche.  It made me think and feel the need for LOVE and COMPASSION in our human relationship.  I am inclined to believe that somewhere along the way, these individuals did not experience enough love and compassion as they carry their own “burden”.  Perhaps, they felt alone and uncared for or felt that they have nobody to turn to or to talk with about what’s going on inside them.

As a way of realization, I feel the invitation to do something for the welfare of others.  There is so much hurt in other peoples’ lives. I can speak from my own experience of hurts and burdens.  I have to do something to lessen the pains and loneliness that are pervading in our human community, however little.  Perhaps a gentle smile, a tap on the shoulder, a kind word of comfort, a warm hug, or an empathic listening to a friend's burden.  Spreading seeds of kindness and scattering sunshines need not be in heroic, extraordinary manner . Through this course in CEFAM I will be equipped to help myself and others in my own little ways, to listen and perhaps to “journey” with them as we move forward to our quest for meaning, joy, wholeness and healing.
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Friday, June 6th 2008

10:44 AM

Let Go and Let God



I have come to believe that life’s provocations are tools that shape and polish us into a brilliant diamond.  But sometimes going beyond my comfort zones is quite scary and twitchy.  This is a real challenge for me for I have the tendency to hold on to where I am most at ease and secure.  The healthy option tells that I must let go and go with the flow of life otherwise, growth and maturity are always far behind.  I have this fear of death in the family.  I think there is only one-way to face fear: confront it.  It begins with my acceptance to some dynamics of life.  Death is a natural phenomenon. People come and go and sometimes leave us behind.  On the deeper reflection it is not death that I am afraid of rather, it is the pain that comes with the loss of a loved one.  Painful because I want to hold on, I don’t want to let go.  But I must let go otherwise I will block the flow of life.  I realized that death has something precious to share and it carries with it a sense of urgency; meaning the reality of death puts me in the position of demonstrating my love and affection for my significant others NOW otherwise, it will be too late to express it.  It also means that what I have to do to make life a little bit happier and meaningful, I have to do it NOW or life will pass me by.  Tomorrow might be too late, now is the time.  My fears are indications of a faith-deficient life. At this point in time, my faith is somehow distorted by painful life’s experiences. I feel the need to fortify my faith.  After all, it is FAITH that will accompany me through life’s dark journeys.  To do this I must nourish my interior life, the center where God dwells.  The habitual awareness that God is within strengthens my faith.  If God is at the core of my being, then fear has no place.  I believe that Love and fear cannot dwell together.  I have no greater friend than God – a friend who is always there to listen, always there to comfort me. When I am troubled I believe that God is with me, listening to my every word.  If I am grieving over the loss of something or someone, God tenderly holds my hand. If the weight of life’s burden seems too heavy to bear, God carries my burden for me, loving me so much that I have love to share.  These realizations cannot happen in an instant unless God will give me the tremendous gift of faith.  This is an on-going process.  Human as I am, I tend to fail and feel discourage but I can learn to totally and wholeheartedly rely on God’s active presence in my life.  I can draw upon the comfort and strength of God at any time…
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Thursday, June 5th 2008

11:27 AM

My First Experience of Death in the Family


 

Fourteen years ago, I recall that my father died a violent death.  This stressful event made an enormous impact in my family affecting each individual member.  It was lunchbreak in the office when my manager who happened to be my neighbor informed me about the event.  The morning of that day (Feb. 1), I felt a strange feeling.  I don't have the enthusiasm to talk, even to smile as it were a gloomy day for me.  My father owned an automobile repair shop beside our house.  He had a heated argument over a certain job contract with his customer several days before his death.  According to my brother who witnessed the incident, my father was physically resisting the two men who were forcing him to enter their car.  There was an attempt to abduct my father.  To make a long story short, these men failed and shot my father instead.  He was dead-on-the-spot inside his shop. 

I arrived at the hospital with mixed emotions.  As I entered the emergency room, I saw my mother in her indescribable sorrow.  Her clothes were tainted with blood and my younger brothers were also there staring at the lifeless body of my father.  I find it very hard to describe my feelings at that moment as if my emotions were totally snatched from my being.  I was unable to cry.  Questions like “Why this has to happen to my family?” “What am I going to do now?”  or “What’s our future as a family going to be like?” things like these flooded my mind…  Instead of grieving I occupied myself with practical things and logistics.  We had a hard time recovering from that misfortune especially on the part of my mother and also the economic aspect of our family life.  During that time I was living independently as I was renting my own pad.  I took my mother with me and my brothers took refuge in my uncles for fear of the possible assaults from the associates of the suspects because two of their companions were caught by the police…  It took us three years to settle the case in the court.  The suspects were charged with murder and finally they paid the price of their violence but the effect was very devastating and even until now my mother is still silently suffering the emotional and psychological repercussions of that traumatic event.

 

The sudden death of my father is obviously one of the Unpredictable Horizontal Stressors of the family life cycle.  It created an adverse domino effect in every aspect of our family life.  My mother on the other hand was immobilized by the event.  Obviously, the marital system collapsed and she found herself lonely and grieving.  Such was her anxiety that every time when darkness starts to cover the horizon; she shivers with fear and appears panicky. The bloody imagery of the event seems to come alive within her.  There I discovered that behind the seemingly strong image that she projected over the years, she is a frail woman, dependent to my father and has little tolerance for anxiety.  This lasted for years.  The family system has changed abruptly.  The family business went down and eventually the shop was closed.  Being the eldest, I have to be strong in all aspects as much as possible.  I felt that I have to act as such even though inwardly I was also affected.  Emotionally, my mother aligned with me and her prayer group for support.  My only source of consolation during those hard times were prayer and faith.  God was my source of comfort so to speak. Fears of sudden death, financial instability, future of my mother and my youngest sister are my dominant concerns at the moment.  Still I was unable to grieve...

 

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