Category Archives: Personal Stories

Somecar Named Desire

For the longest period of time I have always wanted to be a monk. It’s just that in my experience of life, I feel that many things that we do are superficial. When the survival process is taken care of by just going to the supermarket, there is an abundance of time and energy for people to do anything they want.

But what do people do? They spend most of their lives making a living. I don’t understand this because every creature on the planet is making a living. We are the smartest creature on the planet and we have made it so simple to live. Yet, people make survival the biggest priority in their lives, even though we no longer have to struggle for it.

It just seems that the survival process evolved into another form. It turned into self-preservation in the form of accumulation. This can be wealth, material things, relationships, knowledge, and various other things. Because it is human nature to expand boundlessly, we find limited expression of this in physical form. We do this by making things ours. We want this. This is mine. It is a part of me. This is all that we are doing. Continue reading

Practice Makes Perfect

One of the best things in life that I realized is that we tend to get good at anything we do repeatedly. We’ve all heard the expression, “practice makes perfect”. But how many of us are aware that anything we do repeatedly is practice?

If you wake up at 7 am in the morning every day, you are practicing waking up early. If you run daily, then you are practicing and using your body. Naturally you become good at running, so you become faster and your endurance improve. Life is just like this. Anything you do can be a form of practice, of conditioning yourself to be a certain way.

I find it amusing when people say that they get distracted easily or procrastinate a lot. It’s just that in my experience of life, anything we do repeatedly, we become good at it. If you place yourself in a situation where most of the time you are distracted, you are, in a sense, practicing distraction. Continue reading

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a very funny feeling to me. The main reason is that when I am nostalgic about the past, I always remember the glory days. It’s just that in my experience of time, the past is always wonderful. The future is always inviting. And the present moment is not the one that I want to be in right now.

The past and the future are wonderful moments to me because I am not in it. If I think about my childhood, it is wonderful. If I think about my college days, and similar events, they are all wonderful. If I think about what the future holds, I get excited. But when I think about the current moment, I just wish it would be different from what it is.

If you are in a situation that you don’t want to be in, then avoidance is a common approach that people take. I do the same thing. Are all my past days wonderful? Of course not. I hardly remember most of them. I just believe and think that those days were amazing because I am no longer in those situations. Continue reading

What is Meditation?

Meditation has always been an elusive, far-fetched practice for me. How does one simply sit there and meditate? How does one calm his mind? Don’t the thoughts still come? How do I achieve the state of no thought? Is such a state possible?

These are just some of the questions that I had about meditation. I always believed for the longest time that meditation means no thought. After half a year of mediation through trial and error, I learned that this is not true. Meditation just means enhancing your perception. It makes you hyper receptive to what is already around you. Continue reading

The Cyclical Nature of Time

“Stop wasting time” is one of the most common phrases repeated around me. My mom would tell me to stop wasting time with video games because it is a hobby that doesn’t get you anywhere in life. Nor does it make you any money.

She believed that time is best spent doing something of value. These values can be making a living, or anything productive. I understand her logic, but I don’t understand how does one waste time.

It’s just that in my understanding of time, you cannot waste it. You can’t even control it. Time is always ticking away every second and every moment. It doesn’t matter what you are doing or not doing, time is not in your control. Continue reading

Imaginary Love and Memory

“You know what will make me really happy?” My mom said as she stared at me while I avoided her eye contact. “I would be really happy if you get married and have kids.”

I gazed back at my mother with an annoyed expression on my face. It wasn’t the first time she said such things to me. In fact, I have heard it dozens of times.

“You should give Amy a call. She’s a great girl. I don’t understand why you don’t talk to her more. Your uncles, aunts, dad, and I are all cheering for you.”

“Mom…” I sighed. “There’s nothing to talk about. I hardly ever talk to any one of my close friends. I don’t even talk to my cousins like Simon. Heck, I barely even talk to you on the phone.”

“Why don’t you then? You don’t have to talk on the phone. Message her. Use social media like how all you young kids do all the time.” My mom lectured me.

“The reason you don’t feel anything towards her is because you refuse to communicate with her. Just because we introduced a family friend’s daughter to you, doesn’t mean we are forcing you into a relationship. You can talk to her and get to know her. Become friends with her. Go out and have fun together.” My mom harangued while giving instructions like she knew exactly what she was doing.

“You are not young anymore. In life, everyone grows up, gets married, and has kids. This is a natural process. Everybody goes through it, why do you resist it?”

I listened to my mother quietly and discouragingly. I don’t want to argue with my mom, so I nodded and agreed with everything she said. She is right. There is truth in what she said, but I couldn’t accept her answers.

I sat there on the bed half absentminded and half paying attention to my mom. There is lingering doubt and fear within me. What she said made sense. I really wanted to agree with her, but past memories kept resurfacing in my mind. They were experiences that left a deep wound in my heart. Continue reading

Unconditional Love and Happiness

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

Needs and Desires

“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?

“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

Lose Yourself to Know Yourself

“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