Thursday, 31 July 2014

Reflection 85 (professionalism)


Medical doctors are humans
This implies that doctors have the huge capacity to love and do good
This implies also that doctors are not free from making mistakes.

Sometimes big mistakes have small consequences
Sometimes small mistakes have big consequences

If mistakes have happened we have to approach it as professional as possible
A very important part is to improve the system in such a way that the likelihood of the same mistake happening in the future becomes as close to zero a s possible.

~Things that have happened can often not be undone.
We need to determine the best mode of action from there for all.
Anger is usually not serving any good purpose

Monday, 28 July 2014

Reflection 84 (senses)


I am sitting on the grass
but I cannot see the grass grow.
And yet, it grows

I am sitting on the grass
and I cannot see our world spin
And yet our world is spinning

I am sitting on the grass
And I see the sky meet  the sea on the horizon
And yet the sky does not meet the sea

I am sitting in the grass
reflecting on the world
reflecting on our senses

What we observe with our senses is not always the truth.
When we stare into the great big universe through the nightly skies
we see wonderful things
We see black holes
We see colors,fantastically beautiful
We interpret based on our simple earthly knowledge
We believe our senses and our instruments completely
And yet the Truth may be so different.

R.W. Emerson was saying it so much more eloquently in his essay, the transcendentalist:
" The materialist, secure in the certainty of sensation, mocks at fine-spun theories, at star-gazers and dreamers, and believes that his life is solid, that he at least takes nothing for granted, but knows where he stands, and what he does. Yet how easy it is to show him, that he also is a phantom walking and working amid phantoms, and that he need only ask a question or two beyond his daily questions, to find his solid universe growing dim and impalpable before his sense. The sturdy capitalist, no matter how deep and square on blocks of Quincy granite he lays the foundations of his banking-house or Exchange, must set it, at last, not on a cube corresponding to the angles of his structure, but on a mass of unknown materials and solidity, red-hot or white-hot, perhaps at the core, which rounds off to an almost perfect sphericity, and lies floating in soft air, and goes spinning away, dragging bank and banker with it at a rate of thousands of miles the hour, he knows not whither, — a bit of bullet, now glimmering, now darkling through a small cubic space on the edge of an unimaginable pit of emptiness. And this wild balloon, in which his whole venture is embarked, is a just symbol of his whole state and faculty. One thing, at least, he says is certain, and does not give me the headache, that figures do not lie; the multiplication table has been hitherto found unimpeachable truth; and, moreover, if I put a gold eagle in my safe, I find it again to-morrow; — but for these thoughts, I know not whence they are. They change and pass away. But ask him why he believes that an uniform experience will continue uniform, or on what grounds he founds his faith in his figures, and he will perceive that his mental fabric is built up on just as strange and quaking foundations as his proud edifice of stone."

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reflection 83 (the path)

The path

There is a path we can follow
That path in the middle that is paved with diamonds

That path we walk only if we listen to the universe
if we listen to our consciousness, if we listen to our God
The words honesty, purity, kindness devotion are engraved on it,
When we follow the path, that central path, we know we are on the right track

But often we tend to get off the path
The diamond pavement changes to stones, sand
The further we get, the more muddy it becomes
until we get stuck in the mud

Then a wonderful relative or best friend comes along
and pulls us back, back to the path, the central path.

It is hard if you see your teenage son get off the path
Whenever they left the path before a small tug brought them back
When teenage years have come, you give a small tug
But it is not effective. You pull a bit harder, still not effective
You pull with all your force and the peers pull harder in the opposite direction
It is hard.
It is hard to see your teenage son get quite far off

And here comes the critical part.
If our pull, our real hard pull is not effective
our natural response becomes anger.
Deep disappointment, resulting in anger
Deep hurt resulting in anger
Deep anger sometimes going to hatred

Anger no longer pulls, anger pushes.
Anger pushes them further away.
if we pray and reflect, we can discover only 1 solution:
Unconditional love, not the weak one
A principled unconditional love, laying out some rules
with inherent consequences, but without anger.
conveying the love we feel and why the principles are so important
 Continued unconditional love, principled unconditional love
can be the strongest pull we ever exert.
the slightest weakening of the pulling factors form peers
may be effectively counteracted by the unconditional love.

It is hard to see your teenage son not follow the rules
It is hard to see them move a bit from the right path
It is hard to see our well meant pull is not working
It is hard to not give in to anger that would immediately become a push
It is hard to choose love, unconditional love, principled unconditional love
But I keep praying and I keep the strong hope alive,
that all teenage sons and daughters who went off the path
will one day come back and learn that love is the path.
All have the capacity to love
We need time and patience.

See also reflection-10-second-chance

Reflection 82 (appreciation)


About a year back, my dear father died of Alzheimer

In the final months and year, he needed so much care.
And up to now I am really grateful that he got the care he needed
I would like thank all those people who contributed

Now that is easy to see and easy to say
But in the heat of the problems, we often see the imperfections and how the people could take still better care than they do. I think we have at all times a choice  of incredible importance to make. If these imperfections are the point of our focus we will become critical and dissatisfied. On the other hand if we decide to accept some of the imperfections and get focus on all good intentions and good things that are happening in the care, we will be able to express our appreciation. We do not have to accept bad care but we cannot expect perfect care

Everybody needs appreciation so much.
We thrive on appreciation.
Surely if we get appreciation, we will be extra motivated.
That goes for caregivers as much as for anyone of us.

I did express my appreciation to the caregivers of my father on and off
I feel I should have given a lot more appreciation still at that moment
But then again, i am not perfect.

I try to learn a bit from my own imperfection through reflection.
A reflection I am sharing with you.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Reflection 81 (happy-unhappy)


A very short reflection today, something I read somewhere more than 12 years ago,
a great wisdom:

A man has no power to be happy
while thinking and acting selfishly

He cannot be unhappy
while thinking and acting unselfishly


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Reflection 80 (the kings)

The kings

How do you become a king?
If you are born in a royal family, that may tremendously help.
But these families have not been royal for forever.
How did the first king of a royal family become royal in the first place?
History suggests that it was NOT because they were the nicest people in the nation.
Was it not often the most violent ones taking the throne?
Did honesty help them to get the throne? Or respect for fellow people?

Keeping the above in mind, I often wonder why, in the 21st century, royals are still so popular.
The traits that helped people on the throne, centuries ago, are most likely nothing to be proud of.
So to be a direct ancestor of these people, should not be something to be super proud of either.

If one sees the amount of protocol they sometimes demand, it is astonishing.
Most people will still greet kings with very special greetings.

But if we look deep in our own heart,
do not the people humbly serving us and our community for (often) a low salary deserve as much our respect and our special greetings? Let us, at least for today, treat everyone we meet as if they were a king or queen. Wouldn't the world be fantastic?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Reflection 79 (grandmother willow)

Grandmother  willow

Today, a distant acquaintance came to ask for a large sum of money to 'borrow', far exceeding 1/10th of my basic salary. The need he was in was huge but I was unable to verify completely whether or not it was completely true and if  true, whether or not he would get better after this as for the need not to recur

A difficult decision. Should I give and run the risk of allowing others to have blatantly cheated on me? Should I not give and run the risk of missing a big opportunity to help someone in a big way?

My heart told me I would be much happier, have much more peace of mind with the first solution (giving). If I would find out later, I was cheated, I would feel bad about it. But if I would not give and find out later the huge need was real and he would have been ready to improve on his ways so the huge problem would not recur, I would have not have felt bad but truly miserable.

I am so sure that a certain percentage of beggars are crooks.
I am equally sure that a certain percentage of beggars are in big need.

Let us follow our heart and not sacrifice our good deeds for the needy by the ugliness of a few crooks. On the spot we cannot say who is who, so lets give to the crooks, lets give to the needy. The needy will benefit greatly and give us peace of mind. Let the crooks suffer in their own greed. The problem is not ours, it's theirs.

If we are in a dilemma to give or not to give. Let us think about the benefit of doubt and listen to our heart.
Grandmother Willow said so clearly to Pocahontes: Listen to your heart!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Reflection 78 (success or service)

Success or Service

I think all of us want to certain degree be successful in our lives.
This drive, this ambition is making us work hard

Most of us want to serve humanity as well.
But if we think about the time and efforts we spend to serve people
and compare it to the time we spend to advance our own success,
the balance may tip over to one side very much.

Actually the truth, as I see it, is that there is no question about service or success.
The wrong part of the equation is the word "or"
It should be AND

Success and service
The two are quite inseparable.
Of course we all know greedy people who are successful
We all know big cheats who are successful
But are they really successful?
Does their success come with peace of mind, with satisfaction with happiness?
Or is their success only a source of more and more greed and new and new desires?
Our definition of success should include peace of mind.

Only through true service, we will will obtain peace of mind and along the way success will come and visit us.  Think about how you feel if one says: 'How can I help you?'
Let us serve and be truly successful. Greed and desire can lead to gains in money and position but mostly it will make people miss out on the true success that includes true peace of mind.

Throw away the OR and replace it by AND

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Reflection 77 (small meditation)

Small meditation

The soft silence of my room
invites my thoughts to wander
Connecting to the universe
refusing on the news to ponder

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Reflection 76 (sell your cleverness)

Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment (Rumi)

Let us start purchasing bewilderment.

Today I heard a press conference of a Malaysian minister about MH17 which was shot down over Ukraine. Malaysian Airlines had been flying that route for years long and so had many other airlines. No airline had decided to avoid that route because of the conflict between Russia and the Ukriane and international agencies had declared formally that the route was safe. And yet a passenger plane was shot down by mistake.

The questions that were asked by the reporters showed so much of misguided cleverness and luckily a few asked questions of genuine bewilderment.

The "try-to- be-clever" reporters were still trying to make the minister say that the Malaysians had made a mistake by considering the route safe. Next morning headlines would be: Malaysian government admits mistake. A much more human approach was adpoted by one reporter asking about the feelings of the Malaysian people. And one asked about what the minister would do and say to the persons who fired the missile if he was to meet them in person.

Luckily the minister was wise enough not to claim the mistake to be his, not to burst out in an unwarranted display of emotions.

If we hear the news about MH17, it makes us sad, we feel for all people and their families involved in the äccident. We want our authorities to do everything possible to avoid similar things from happening in the future.

With that in mind we can choose to fume about it and let things like this and other things in the news spoil our mood and put us in a state of worry and anger for many days, keeping our focus on that one grossly negative event.

Or we can choose to pray for the victims, whenever we pray, but then put it aside in between prayers and choose a life of bewilderrment and gratefulness for all the good things happening in our world and in our life. From the sunrise to the beauty of the flowers and the grass. the beauty of the skies and of the wonderful friendship. I wrote about awe in one recent reflection.

Oh, yes let us live in awe, let wisdom govern our cleverness and on and off we have to exchange our ever calculative cleverness for bewilderment. What a great quote of Rumi !

Reflection 75 (being understood)

Being understood

Life is a lot about being understood.
If we feel sad and someone says, don't feel sad, they do not help us
If we feel sad and someone says, Wow that must be hard on you, we feel understood
When somebody convincingly understands us, we feel a bit of relief.

Today I went to do my on call round for the many babies in my ward
We have two wards. When I entered the second ward, there were quite a number parents there and as a habit I smiled at each of them. One man did not smile back, his look stern.

When we came to his baby the mother was quite depressed and they wanted to take the baby home even though the baby was not ready for that at all. I took the parents for a sit-down counselling session. I tried to really understand them and then express the understanding to them. Mother's first pregnancy, full of positive anticipation, and then the baby born as Down syndrome. not gaining weight, feeding problems, spending most of the first month in hospital. On top of that financial difficulties and more. How could I ever have expected them to smile back at me. We were talking for long. I do not know whether I have said and done the right things but there was some signs of relief on their face. When we left we all had watery eyes, but in the process of sharing, I think that our Creator showered a bit of peace on each of us.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Reflection 74 (light)



Many words have multiple meanings
But rarely two meanings of a word are as positive as those of 'light'

Light is not heavy, light is also driving away darkness

When our spiritual world gets a bit dark,
we often search for light outside of us
But within us,
within our heart,
within our soul
there is that spark that never stops shining.
We just have to make is silent to notice it. :)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Reflection 73 (water)


This morning I was drinking a few glasses of water.
This is so important. A good amount of water helps us hydrate our body.
It allows our blood vessels to open and so all the good in our blood can reach freely the tissues.

If we do not drink enough our vessels constrict and blood flow reduces, our tissues suffer.
It logical to assume that an adequate water intake can help us prevent diseases.

But here I suggest to give an extra dimension to your next glass of water.
Hold it in both hands, think about all the good it can do to our body and silently, in the depth of your heart say thanks to mother nature for providing you with clean and pure water to make your body healthy. ~This will create a completely different experience. After you drank the water, imagine it running to the most remote areas of your body, your fingertips, your toes and say thanks again. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Reflection 72 (ten small ones)

A wonderful story of a girl buying a birthday cake for the younger brother of her friend.
The apparently small act was meaning a huge thing for the boy from a real poor family who received on that occasion his first birthday cake ever.

Sometimes we think we do small acts of kindness and think they not have a big effect.
Perhaps that is true for many of our small acts of kindness but perhaps 1 in ten do have a major effect on the hearts of the humans around us.
Ten small ones

Let us perform every day ten seemingly small or even very small kind acts, like just a smile, the opening of a door, letting someone go first or just be kind in your very own way. The impact you make in other people's lives may be huge. In a year we will have done more than 3000 small kindnesses and if just one tenth has an unexpected large effect, we will have three hundred people really happy, just because one of our seemingly small kindnesses.

Here I want to share my poem, Speck-of-significance. Enjoy

Speck of significance

In the universe, a human so small,
Looking just like a speck of dust
But born with a mind and a soul
And able to think, love and trust.
Many think that as a human, just one
Not a positive change can be made, nothing great
What could a good deed selflessly done
Ever mean in a world full of hate?

But if a butterfly in India, flapping its wings
could cause a storm over the Atlantic
Just see how one of the small insignificant things
Can have an effect, so gigantic
Then why would your simple random kind act
Just by chance or by divine intervention
Not snowball and have a huge impact,
Perhaps a kindness revolt of enormous dimension

So in each of our lives we must
Make a choice of incredible importance
Do we want to be just a speck of dust
Or a speck of significance. 

(PS: if you click on the link above, you will be taken to 'PoemHunter' where the poem is read out in a video on top of the poem. I have been posting poems on PoemHunter since 2010 (*under the author name Aufie Zophy) and the website administrators have recently put voice and music on most of the poems.)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Reflection71 (vanity)


Some humans are vain.
Many of those in power demand privileges for themselves, titles, honours and many more. Kings and sultans demand extensive protocols and sometimes even expect people to bring their hands together on their foreheads as a way to be greeted. 


But if people call us by a nice title, our ego grows a bit and the more we let our ego grow, the sooner we will demand more titles and more honours and protocol


The worst part of vanity is if we project these feelings on our Creator, our God. And that is perhaps the worst thing about vanity. We think our God, so powerful, is basking in glory when receiving our elaborate praise. The Creator of the world is not vain. If we need to perform an elaborate protocol for a royalty for a top notch politician, our God is much more powerful and it must be our God requires a lot more protocol. The big problem lies in giving human traits to our Creator, in projecting vanity of rulers on the Divine. Our Creator has no anger (see previous reflection), our Creator has no vanity, our Creator does not demand protocols like top vain politicians, like top vain royalties.

We were given prayer and have quickly transformed it in a routine, in a kind of protocol, often performed without even thinking what is the meaning we want to convey. Religious leaders have transformed guidelines in strict prescriptions. If their prescriptions are not followed from a to z, they claim that surely our prayers will be annihilated, rejected by our Creator, on whom many leaders project a boatload of vanity and by doing so distance themselves so far away from our Creator. Prayer is still a gift of God to us. It is an opportunity to get closer to our Creator. Perhaps best done in a very quiet place and time. Sure it feels good to pray on and off together with our fellow believers. Good. But let us understand the purpose and meaning of prayer. It is not to please a vain God, it is a gift we accept a wonderful opportunity to get a bit closer to our God who is most gracious and most merciful.

It is good to follow the guidelines given through prophets, like fasting, prayers and much more but we have to realise that these are things we do for ourselves. Whatever we do, does not affect God. How, as a small human we can affect God, we can only through our devotion allow God to affect us.

Reflection 70 (obedience to authority)

Obedience to authority

There is a real shocking experiment that was conducted in the sixties regarding obedience to authority. A summary of the experiment is found here. It was Milgram, a psychologist at Yale university conducting the experiment.

Not only was the methodology shocking but much more shocking still were the results. A majority of normal 'good hearted' persons could be brought to do amazingly cruel things to an innocent person in a teacher-student situation, just because they were authoritatively ordered to do so.

It is at the same time eye-opening and scary how malleable our behavior may be in the presence of authority. ~This  may not only be the authority of professionals but also simply the perception of group and peer opinion. So much of the groups of students bullying others consist of students who may feel very uncomfortable doing these things but giving in to the authority of the group and hunger group-peer approval is often so much stronger than their own values and principles.

When we teach our children obedience and respect, we have to incorporate a sense of value and really incorporate and teach them that obedience and respect is second to the important values and principles of life such as integrity, honesty, kindness, caingness, empathy....

Note: the above mentioned experiment is scary in the way that it may explain how Hitler could have risen to such great heights of authority and high number of followers, with the possibility of history to recur. On the other hand, we may hope that in the future we are able find leaders using their authority to REALLY make the world a better place.
Let us hope and pray for the latter and try to lead whenever we have the opportunity in such a way 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Reflection 69 (anger is loss)

Anger is loss

this is a little bit more about anger. (continued from reflection 68)

Anger is a loss of control
a loss of temper
a loss of dignity
a loss of respect
a loss of reason
a loss of sanity

Most of the time we regret what we say during bouts of anger.
Anger control is something we all should work at.

Take a deep breath, let it flow away.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Reflection 68 (anger and God)

Anger and God

So many people like to talk about the anger of our God
When I told my sons that our Creator does not get angry,
they gave a me a hard time.

I really believe I have a point and
this is what I told them in response:

Anger is one of the lowest human experiences.
Some thing we do not like makes us temporarily insane
We lose control.
Anger makes us say things we did not want to say
makes us do unacceptable crazy things

If you believe in our God, do you really think it is right
to project such temporary insanity onto our God?

I think if we get to know anger a bit better and
we get to know a little better our God,
none of us will still project anger on our Creator.

God is also not vain
See reflection 71 for a short essay on how some people consider our God to be vain.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Reflection 67 (windows)


Here I want to start with a wonderful poem by RW Trine (from his book in tune with the infinite):

 "Let there be many windows in your soul,
 That all the glory of the universe
 May beautify it. Not the narrow pane
 Of one poor creed can catch the radiant rays
 That shine from countless sources. Tear away
 The blinds of superstition: let the light
 Pour through fair windows, broad as truth itself
 And high as heaven. . . . Tune your ear
 To all the worldless music of the stars
 And to the voice of nature, and your heart
 Shall turn to truth and goodness as the plant
 Turns to the sun. A thousand unseen hands
 Reach down to help you to their peace-crowned heights,
 And all the forces of the firmament
 Shall fortify your strength. Be not afraid
 To thrust aside half-truths and grasp the whole."

Our search for truth should be really never ending and all encompassing. We should not rely on one teacher, one source but on all teachers, all sources and then make our own conclusions. And none of our conclusions should be final, because there is always something more to learn.

I think this is such a powerful poem. Enjoy.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Reflection 66 (perspective)


The inequalities of Andes and Himalaya are insignificant in the curve of the sphere.

While I was reading Emerson's essay self reliance after writing reflection 65, I came across the above quote. 

So powerful. It puts everything in perspective. If we are in front of the Himalaya and perhaps the Everest, they look like giants, masters rising. But then if we look at the globe, the world they do not even interfere in any significant way with its spherical nature.

So tend to be the problems in our life as well. They may look like un-overcome-able mountains, but then if we look at them versus the totality of our being, they may not even significantly affect the smoothness of our life.

Let us see everything in its right perspective!