I wish I could one day say this to you. As close as we are, I can’t seem to break down your wall. But one day, when the moment comes, here’s my advice to you:
You don’t have to be better than others for them to respect you, nor do you have to gracefully contribute to a conversation for someone to be fascinated in you. My greatest realization in this social world that we live in is that people are drawn to you by the way you make them feel when they’re around you. They are intrigued by your grace, whether you say a million words or nothing at all. Your patience and careful yet natural placement of your body pulls people in like how the moon is pulled toward the earth by gravitational force. You don’t need to raise your voice to be heard, nor do you have to smile so wide to convince others that you have been accepted. Say that I’m idealistic, but I firmly believe your presence alone can stop a room full of people for I have found the most beautiful people the monks who sit peacefully and naturally and speak ever so meditatively. I am forever intrigued by their calmness and their contentness. How can someone be happy with the slightest things yet find no attachment toward superficial and internal pleasures? I only wish for your realization and well-being that follows.
Your beloved cousin
Enjoyed some Napa wine today with Eric :)
It’s 10:13pm on a Friday night and all I’m feeling is how excited I am to go to meditation camp beginning Friday (8/22) to Sunday (8/24). Sadly I will be missing my father’s birthday, but I promised him we could celebrate it on 8/21. It took a long time for him to accept that his daughter would one day follow the Dhamma and meditate as it seems like such a passive thing to do when you’re in college.
But I do wonder how this time will be like since I wonder if there will be an English translator there and this time, I won’t be bringing a friend with me since Sharon is moving to LA, Kyla has nursing school starting next week, and Alex is studying for GRE’s. But, I have always been comfortable doing things alone and I can see myself doing just fine meditating. I’m still contemplating on whether or not I should turn off my phone during that time.
This is something I’ve been looking forward to all summer since I couldn’t go to the young adults retreat while taking summer classes in ATL. I want this for myself, but I need to be careful of my intentions. I’ll start meditating Wednesday so I can start breaking that awkward tension I always get during the first 2 days of meditation, then take it more seriously in San Jose for the next 3 days. I am ready for this mental challenge and at the same time, in need of a spiritual cleanse. TMC here I come :)
I am in love with the naturalness of your body and the way your eyes look into the faces of our bodies. They way the eyelids don’t seem to flutter out of second thoughts or doubts. Because in this natural state, there are no back thoughts, no presumptions, no judgement. They say the eyes are the door to your mind. Physically and mentally I can see it. I am so in love by the grace and attention to each movement, and concentration, and the mindfulness. There is nothing more moving than the little force needed to be in such a natural state. I am in love with your presence.
"When you meditate and your mind becomes really calm, quiet, and peaceful, all thinking stops. And you realize you have no problems. And you realize, what’s the problem? It’s your mind. It’s your thinking."
-Sayadaw U. Jokita
I can’t believe a whole summer has passed to let me know that I’m finally about to begin my senior year at Emory. It’s interesting to think about how much things have changed from the moment I graduated high school until now. I’m truly grateful for my parents for supporting me throughout all this time because I know I wouldn’t be here at all without them. I am forever grateful for my mother’s optimism and strength and my father’s patience and sacrifice.
While reflecting back on junior year, I realized how many obstacles had to be overcome mentally, physically, but most importantly spiritually. I started off junior year somewhat ice cold. When my really good friend left for the army I didn’t know how to be. Nothing was natural, my walk, the way my eyes gazed at strangers (fear, anxiety), I knew I didn’t have the initial thought of wishing anyone well because I was so wrapped up in missing him (desire). I almost resented myself for feeling that way because I felt so embarrassed that something could faze me this much because I thought I was stronger than that (ego).
Then I remembered my grandmother was sick and I had almost forgotten because I was so far away and I’m still far away. I felt an obligation to study more and not go out with friends because who am I to stay out late at night with alcohol in the air while my father stays in the nursing home all day, multiple nights a week to take care of his mom with such little sleep (guilt). Time is too precious to be spent with lack of awareness (pride).
Regardless the second half of junior year, I continued to keep going. The thought of applications for med school weighed on me. I didn’t know how to fix people’s problems anymore and there was this sense of worthlessness I felt (anxiety, fear, delusion) and I felt so sorry that I didn’t have the right words to help them feel better. At this time in my life, I knew something about this thought wasn’t natural and I shouldn’t feel a type of way because my mind wasn’t fully in the present. I tried to watch my physical and mental bodies closely but my mind wasn’t quiet enough for me to observe what was truly happening.
Today my friends say I’m pensive and I know my eyes aren’t steady. I used to look into people’s eyes to gauge their comfort level and now I find it difficult to look into my own without thoughts forming. Nothing is innocent I feel. I wish to look at others and see everything but feel no resentment or extreme happiness toward them. I fear the extreme happiness because it leads to fear and worry when they’re not around. I fear the resentment because I would like to extinguish the unwholesome thoughts that arise as I see them. But fear in itself is the real problem. The way I handle situations is the result of my fear and my ability to handle things objectively, fairly, and perhaps calmly. At times I sense discomfort in others, and I just need to let it go. Let them be and wish them well. That’s at most I can do and with the right intentions I cannot blame myself for making others feel unsatisfied.
I am constantly reminding myself to be mindful. Always mindful and trying so hard to remember that. It’s so easy to forget.
Today I want to start my humble voyage in discovering self-awareness. My findings may have been lost from the time I entered Oxford College until now and I’m starting to realize that not being self-aware does impact the way I feel around others in social situations, in class, and who I am when I’m alone. It’s important to me to be content and unconditionally peaceful when I’m by myself and when I’m around others. It’s become a pursuit, but hopefully not a greedy pursuit.
I want this for myself because I can be a better person for those I care about. I know it sounds like I’m am servicing my mind for the benefit of others, but when I’m peaceful, others around me feel peaceful (at least I hope) without even a word. It’s an internal struggle I’ve conceptualized throughout these years and even more so heightened since last year. I would like to take an honest look at myself and truly see my nature and so from today onward, I’d like to slow down and encourage others to do the same and hopefully find a peace within themselves and bring it to those around them.