Peace to all who enter here.
Enjoy your stay!
My blog focuses on my life experiences,
on people and events that have touched my life.
I want to share my personal reflections
and stories that are meaningful to me
hoping that others will find in it meaning and value...
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.
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.
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.
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.