I know I talked about death many times before. Perhaps, I am rehashing many things that I wrote about. But whatever the case is, it is something that is always on my mind. You can say that having death on your mind constantly is a very bad idea. It would always make you anxious and scared.
This is not true. In fact, being aware of death constantly brings clarity to my life. It is only death that has added any value to my life. It is only death that has added any value to your life. Because I know that I will die one day, I am consciously aware of the finite amount of time that I have. Because of this, I don’t dwell in so much nonsense. I try my best to always, always be joyful and happy regardless of what is happening around me.
I guess the topic of death appeared again because I read a fantastic excerpt from The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. Here’s the excerpt:
“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
When I read the excerpt, it really resonated with me. I find life so miraculous. I don’t even know how I exist. Yet, everything is fine. There are so many forces in play that sustain my existence here on earth without me being aware of them. Continue reading
“What are your dreams and goals?” Many people would ask me this question on a frequent basis. Apparently, it is a great way to gauge a person’s future capabilities based upon his dreams and goals. Generally, it tells others what a person is about and sometimes it is an interesting conversation starter.
I know this may sound stupid, but I never liked this question because I don’t know what my dreams and goals are. To others it may be obvious what their dreams and goals should be, but I don’t have any specific dreams or goals.
I don’t have any vision of what my life should be. I have no foresight of what kind of girl I will marry nor how many kids I will have. There are no goals about the kind of house I will live in or the different types of sports cars that I will buy. There is no dream career, nor how much money I want to make in life.
You may be thinking, “Luigi what are you doing? With no dreams and goals, how do you traverse through life? You will have no direction of where to go and what to do.” Continue reading
Depression is a highly unpleasant state to be in. If you’ve ever been depressed before, you know that you lose interest in everything you do. Activities and hobbies that bring you joy and happiness no longer satisfy you. Likewise, there is a surging emptiness within you sucking up all life, causing fatigue and lack of energy.
We all know the symptoms of depression. Many of us went through it. It varies in frequency and intensity from one person to another. To be honest with you, I believe that depression is a normal part of life. You can learn a lot about yourself when you are depressed. However, many people are incapable of this because their emotion becomes who they are.
If you can’t discern your emotion from who you are, then it is very easy to be taken for a ride. You don’t know what is going on because at some point you have allowed the external situation to control how you should think. This means that on a certain level, your brain is on autopilot. You are thinking accidentally without your consent.
So what does this have to do with depression? Well, depression, in a sense, is an emotion. It is very easy to let depression control your life. You can do this by simply paying attention to the negative circumstances in your reality. Continue reading
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
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
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
“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
Being grateful is an amazing state to be in. It is also one of the harder states to be in because we live in a world of consistent consumption and advancement. There is marketing everywhere telling us that we need this or that in order for us to be happy. We must advance in our careers and accumulate more wealth. Everything we do is a means to an end, therefore we cannot and will not be content until our dreams and goals are achieved. Yet the moment we achieved our goals, we create new ones to replace them right away.
I know many people who believed in this. My traditional Asian family and many Asian families (Chinese ones that I know of) are like this. Nothing is more important than money. If you are not spending time making money, you are wasting time. If you don’t make a lot of money, you are useless and worthless. There is a huge emphasis and attention towards the future. We must make sure that our future is bright and having more money is one of the solutions that they found.
At first I didn’t understand why so many traditional Asians are like that. Why do they focus so much on academic success, money, statuses, and other material things? It didn’t make sense to me, but I gradually came to understand their thoughts and actions. They are driven by their conditioned survival instincts. Wealth and prosperity gives them a sense of security. Many of my family members, especially the old ones like my parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents all grew up poor.
I’ve heard stories from my parents and uncles about their past hardships. My paternal grandparents passed away early, so my dad had to fend for himself. He dropped out of school early and worked to support the family. My Uncle Chan slept in a car and had to split a burger with his wife when he first came to America. Continue reading
We live in an information age. So much knowledge is accessible right under our finger tips. We can search online for countless information on topics that are just as endless. It is a marvel sight to behold. I cannot stress enough how seemingly unlimited amount of resources are out there for free.
Just within the internet we have: websites dedicated to online courses and educational videos; forums for countless discussions; free e-books; and competitions. With so many opportunities for learning and growth, there is practically nothing that a person can’t learn.
I don’t know if you understand the magnitude of what I’m saying, but it is simply AMAZING.
Want to learn the technical skills that plumbers, electricians, and carpenters know? You can do that.
Want to learn a different language, perhaps even a computer programming language? You can do that.
Want to learn how to travel around the world on a tight budget, or learn how to be a digital nomad? You can do that.
Want to become an entrepreneur by creating your own company, hiring freelancers, or learning how to sell your own products? You can do that.
Any questions you can come up with, there is a very high possibility that someone out there already has the answer.
All that is required of you is to ask the right questions. Ask the questions, search them up, and learn. That is how the journey of a lifelong learner begins. Continue reading