I’ve always yearned for the unconditional and divine. Who doesn’t want their love and happiness to be unconditional? When no conditions are needed to love and to be happy, we can declare that our love and happiness are altruistic and genuine. There is no limit to them; therefore they are pure and divine.
For the longest period of time, I have searched for the boundless expression of love and happiness. I have always longed for love and happiness that needs no condition. But the more I sought after them, the more they elude my grasp.
This is because there is an enormous paradox in my desires. For example, the more I desire unconditional happiness, the more I realized my happiness is a product of conditions.
I think about having certain people in my life, the connections, the possessions, and the right circumstances. How can I want unconditional happiness if the happiness that I want has to meet certain conditions? Am I contradicting myself with what I want? I believe so. Continue reading
“What is the difference between a billion and a million?” My Uncle Dan asked in a lecturing, questioning tone. He was pondering philosophical thoughts in his slightly tipsy state after a party. I was his designated driver for the way back home.
Without thinking too deeply, I replied with a casual smile, “The difference is only a thousand times. A billion is just a thousand million.”
He didn’t pause and asked another question. “What is the difference between a million and a thousand?”
Understanding where my uncle was heading with this conversation, I continued my initial response. “The difference is still a thousand. A million is just a thousand thousand.”
“No Sheng,” My uncle corrected me. “There is more than a difference of a thousand times when you compare a thousand and a million to a million and a billion. What is a thousand? That value may be large, but it is still small. When you have a thousand dollars, you can’t afford to buy a house. You could pay for brand new tires for your car, but that’s about it.” Continue reading
“Do you believe in God?” A missionary asked me directly after handing me a church brochure. He had a jubilant expression on his face, eagerly waiting for my response.
After coming to the front porch of my house unexpectedly due to the sound of the doorbell, being greeted with such a question made me flinch. I looked at his face for a few seconds, not sure how I should respond to him.
Then I cleared my throat and uttered, “I don’t know.”
The missionary was unfazed by my response. He continued his gospel on the bible, telling me the benefits of how accepting Jesus Christ as my lord and savior can change my life for the better. He was super ecstatic about preaching what he believed.
Seeing how the missionary was having such a good time, I went along with him. I nodded at everything he said. I smiled and exchanged some laughter with him. In the end, he told me to consider the idea of becoming a Christian; to become someone of virtue, love, devotion, and worship.
I did not reply to him. I merely said my goodbyes and gently closed the door.
Alone in the silence of my home, I shook my head from side to side and sighed. “To believe or not to believe, the results are one and the same…” Continue reading
Anger is a really fascinating emotion. On one level, it is highly unpleasant and destructive. When you are angry, your heartbeat rises and your eyelids may twitch. The adrenaline kicks in and you are in a fight-or-flight response. On another level, your senses are heightened; your voice grows louder, and your reactions become faster.
If you’ve ever been angry before, you know that there are just two elements that make up anger: energy and unpleasantness. When you are angry, you are energetic. Your energy level becomes intensified. The only problem is that when you are angry you are highly toxic and unpleasant to be around. You whine, complain, cry, yell, and do all sorts of shenanigans to express your frustrations.
However, anger doesn’t subside. It stays within you waiting for the right moment to strike. We know that being angry is unhealthy. Science has shown us that when you are angry, you are literally poisoning your own body.
If we know all this is true just by evaluating ourselves when we are angry, then why do people still get angry?
I’m afraid the answer is really simple. Anger is a reactionary response for most people. People indirectly choose to be angry; it is an unconscious reaction. What this means is that anger is happening accidentally without your consent. If outside situations are good, you are good. If outside situations are bad, you are bad. Continue reading
“I feel like I’m in a mid-life crisis right now…” My Cousin Simon spoke to me in the truck as I was driving him home to his house after a late lunch at our family’s restaurant. He cleared his voice slightly, and sighed. “I feel so lost right now.”
I glanced over quickly to observe Simon’s expression before reverting my eyes back on the busy road. The traffic was incredibly slow; we traveled less than ten miles in a span of thirty minutes on the highway.
Feeling concerned, I asked, “What’s wrong?” and waited for his response.
“I feel like there’s no purpose to life…Everyone will die one day. I will die too. I’m scared of being a nobody. I want to make an impact in the lives of so many people.” Simon voiced his feelings as he emotionally recalled the past few days. “I don’t know why, but I’m feeling very depressed. There is no growth in what I do. I feel that the path I am on right now only leads to mediocrity. It is the same thing every day. Don’t get me wrong. I love college. I love my friends. It’s fun and all, but if I keep going down this path, I can already predict my future.”
The traffic came to a halt as we stopped in the middle of the highway with an endless stream of cars in front and behind us. My eyes were glued to the back of a vehicle in front of us. The tail lights were shining straight into my pupils, but I was unaware of them. My mind was slowly taking in what my cousin said. Without taking my eyes off, I took a deep breath and replied, “OK then, what are you going to do about it?” Continue reading
Just a few days ago, my cousins came to visit me. When we were conversing with one another, I shuffled through my old journals and writing pieces. Some of them were written over a decade ago. When I looked through my past writings, I was filled with joy and deep sense of longing. The events that I went through so many years ago vanished, but the lessons were recorded. My writings are my legacy.
They are my constant companion reminding me of my journey through life. I read through a few of them and, lo and behold, many of them were terrible! Most of them described the physical activities I did in those particular days. I wrote about where I went, who I met, and how I felt. There were many grammar and spelling mistakes. Some of them were even written on napkins!
Nonetheless, I was awed by my writings. Just reading what I wrote felt like traveling through time. I could relive the struggles and growth of those past moments in the present. Each and every one of them told a different story. It made me realize how vibrant, wonderful, and majestic my life has always been.
It does me no good keeping those writings to myself. I learned that the best way to honor them was to share them. I read them to my cousins. Some journal entries made them cringe like the great, awkward teenage years. Others made them mindful, because I was sharing a deep part of myself.
Now I want to share one with you. The writing is from a decade ago when I was a sophomore in high school. May you learn something from it, or at the very least, get a laugh from it. 😀 Continue reading
“People need to make up their damn mind.” My Cousin Alice spoke in a loud voice. “People always say that we are the same and that there is no difference between people. On the other hand, they also say that we are different and that no one is the same. Make up your mind, geez!”
Her face flushed with a tint of red. “I don’t know what to celebrate and believe anymore. Am I supposed to believe in our similarities or differences? Should I celebrate diversity, or neglect it? I don’t get people at all.”
I chuckled as I listened to my little cousin’s dilemma. She has a very interesting perspective on this topic. Are we similar or are we different? This question isn’t hard. In fact, a preschooler who had read the Sesame Street book called We’re Different, We’re the Same knows the answer. As the title suggest, we are different and we are the same. We are both.
You can ask, “How can we be different and the same, aren’t they opposites?”
I would answer. “Well not necessary. For example, everyone have eyes. Some people’s eyes are blue. Some are brown. And so on and so forth. The eye colors may be different, but they all serve the same function. We use our eyes to see.” Continue reading
“On July 1st, it’s Canada’s independence day! In fact, this year is the 150th year of independence for Canada. It is a really special event.” Radikha, my Indian co-traveling friend, spoke proudly in an excited voice. “We are in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada on this very special day. It looks like all of my planning hasn’t been for naught.”
It was the 3rd day in our road trip to Canada. We have driven almost a thousand miles to reach our destination. I looked wearily at her and lightly smiled. The Canadian flag dangled down vividly on the top of every light post. Between the intersections of the streets were huge concrete blocks cutting off entry from cars and trucks. Police officers guarded these posts in abundance.
Beyond the barricade was an endless stream of people flooding the streets wearing different shades of red and white attires. Even red maple leaf tattoos were visible on the faces of several native Canadians. Continue reading
“It’s not his baby!” A distraught, middle-aged woman yelled at the top of her lungs. Her brown disheveled hair concealed her face, covering up her inharmonious contours and wrinkles. She lunged forward in heavy steps by-passing me without noticing my presence.
I looked at her shockingly as she stumbled further down the sidewalk. Her arched back slowly disappeared into the dark night. I could no longer see her, but her loud voice continued on echoing in the air. It was all gibberish, nothing that I could understand.
As she disappeared into the background, I slowly shook my head and sighed. “It looks like she is totally lost in her own mind. Something unfortunate happened to her, and she kept those events alive within her. Walking by, she didn’t even notice me standing next to her when she yelled.” Continue reading