Recently, two days before the school re-open, I heard my 13 year old nephew, Jeremy telling her mum just after a family reunion dinner in celebration for New Year 2009, and in his words “I hate going back to school”. Well, from my sister’s reaction, it seems that wasn’t unusual for him to have felt that way each time before the school re-open. I was quick to advise him, like a great philosopher, to appreciate his youth days because it only comes once in his lifetime. Again, in his words “I tried to love school but I still hate it”.
Soon, my advice echoed to me for a quick reflection into my own previous school days experience when I was a teenager. On hindsight, I used to dislike school as well and have problems with students and teachers who belittled me. I had had lower self esteem compared to many other students who had good academic achievement. I used to wonder, “why doesn’t everyone pay more attention to me and treat me with respect? Why doesn’t everyone know how much I suffered?”
Relating this to one of my teenage years’ experience. Like most average girl, I was also a concerned teenager about how pretty I looked and how well I grew up to be. I am naturally born with bigger body frame compared to my peers. People often regarded me as “Big Size Girl” and although the speaker doesn’t feel anything negative with the remarks and often treated it as a compliment for me (well, they all said it’s better than fat), I certainly hated the comment and I used to feel utterly humiliated and embarrassed and often not wanting to be at the scene any more.
As the years passed by, there are more and more things that will trigger my reaction towards things. More words seem to be unpleasant to hear. More action seems to be intolerable for me. I wasted most of my youth years waiting to be a grownup to earn more respect from everyone.
Then I thought to myself, “what could I have done at the time that would have made a difference?” I thought the answer would be “I’ll enjoy the flow of life each and every moment of it. I’ll laugh during difficult times and treat everything lightly.”
Then, what could have stopped me then? Mainly because I was totally unaware about the nature of my feelings, emotion and perception towards life. Everything that I experienced went without awareness and therefore I was not taking the responsibility to create change in myself. I always relied on others to change their attitude not realizing that the real problem was the inner pattern I programmed myself to be that triggers the discomfort and suffering on me.
It is after going on several retreats, reading books, practicing yoga and meditation that I started to understand a little bit more about how suffering works. I suffered because the unpleasant feeling seems so real, but “Is my feeling, emotions, thought really me?” It takes some time and inner query to understand that this feeling, emotions, thought cannot be me because it comes and go, arising and passing away and soon replaced by another phenomena. Feeling and pain may seem real initially but after a while it disappears. Soon after that, another feeling will arise again and again. Same with thought, our perception towards everything never last. It’s always replaced by another perception. So why bother?
Though there are many great practices to cultivate awareness in our daily life, the effort of the practice always goes along the same basis to get to know the “knower” in us, that there is another “self” other than the self that we are so involved in all these while but never satisfied.
Try to slow things down, stop and look and it would be obvious that, this “knower” seems to be unchanging, always there and could look into the reality at any time when you return to be aware of the happening phenomena inside you.
Recognizing this truth, you’ll be so relieved to understand that your suffering doesn’t belong to you and you don’t have to fight with it anymore. It’s through this understanding that you let it go and stop blaming people that cause unhappiness to you, including yourself.
And that this shall be sufficient for you to wake up everyday to enjoy life, love, meditation and the beauties of the world in every existence and go with the flow of life.
And this is a journey within that I am committed to and let’s see what comes up.