Saturday, November 13, 2004

Eid Mubarak and Remembrance

Eid Mubarak!

Ramadan has officially ended. More or less we will be back in a normal groove for our schedule. Muslims all over are practically celebrating – legally there is no work but I go to work anyway – no one wants to be trapped “not celebrating” or making like a vegetable in front of the TV set.

For non-Muslims, the best analogue to Ramadan is like rolling Lent and Christmas all into one. While I’m not to criticize somebody else’s religion if it works for them, I just find it funny that instead of losing weight and reflecting on the words of the Prophet during this time, people actually eat more and end up being more vacant-eyed during the day.

As for me, eating in secret (especially if one finds great leftovers in the fridge) has always been a thing to do even during my days back home, so nothing is different. Hehe, but I do hate having to eat big meals instead of small snacks. It was difficult doing it during the entire month, but now I can munch as much as I want on my desk.

The days of remembering have just gone by. I said a prayer for the dearly departed before I went to bed and got to reflect on some life lessons.

Life does pass us by, and there’s rarely a relationship where there is finality – there’s always something you want to say that is left unsaid, there’s something you wish to do for that person, or to do together with that person, that remains undone. Obviously there’s nothing more to be done but to appreciate each moment – because just as that familiar letter-writing activity goes, saying “I love you” can never be done too many times. And ironically, we yearn to say these words when it’s already too late.

Hindsight is the most common form of wisdom. At the same time, I always remember that line from “The Matrix” which has been very instructive: “Knowing the path is different from walking the path.” You can add “Being the One is like being in love – you just know it, balls to bones.”

So now, back to life and living. There are days when I miss my father terribly, but since he is gone the only thing I wish to do is that I could do the same for my future family all the good that my father has made it possible for our family. I pray that I will be true to this promise. As to the bad… well, I wouldn’t have known the good if not for the bad.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Burden of Memory

A remembrance for my father, dead these past eleven years.

Plea (Song for my Father)

I break the silence of my heart to cry.
I crave for the truth even as I lie.
Understanding that words are never enough
To express the warmth of dreams, the stuff
That allows visions to live and be true.
Oh, for the life that belonged to you!

Is it inevitability that laid first claim,
For no heralds call out to shout your name?
Or has weak human flesh denied us our fate,
For unearned wisdom that arrived too late?
Time has come for the toll of your bell . . .
When my memories fail what more can I tell?

In peace or oblivion goodbyes are so trite
However I wish, or will with all of my might
Even as I gasp out the very life of my breath
My love will never match the power of death.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Walking Down Old Paths

I opened up some of my old work and this poem struck me for its length - it was meant to be a closed-eye experience, called "autogenics" in our seminar-jargon so long ago. Fourteen years ago have not stained the freshness of the thoughts. I would tend to hate the construction, but what do I know? Dedicated to SHARE Batch 10, November 1991. Many thanks, Gina V!

Journeying Within The Self

The First Voice
I am the voice of your inner shadow.
Let your world escape from your mind.
Let the shadows be the expression of your being.
For in this shadow without your world's glitter,
The wholeness of your being takes shape.
For in this darkness nothing else would give light
But the beauty of your person...

Let it come forward! Let your self find its voice,
Among the din of wayward melodies
Which you call upon for your guidance.
Drop the pale figure of your everyday masks
For here they are nothing but ghosts
Insubstantial forms, nothing more
Like the shadows which encase your being...

The Second Voice
We wear these masks to protect ourselves
To hold off everybody we meet,
For they savor the glamor of the creation
And not the simplicity of that
Which comes from the heart.

We seek to protect that image
We carefully contrive for ourselves
So that we can keep what we can
To satisfy our petty whims and egos.
For this is our only safety,
To be secure in what we believe in.

But stop! For the shadows catch up
To tear away at your wrappings
And reveal all your confusions,
And wounds, and scars, and fears...
Which you try to overcome
By running away...but you cannot.

The Third Voice
You don't wish to recall
The time you felt so hurt, so empty,
So much draped in your loneliness.
You are alone here in this darkness,
With only your conscience for company...
Do you remember how does it feel to be alone?
How does it feel to see
All your dreams shattered,
All your aspirations dashed to pieces?
How does it feel to be imprisoned
By your own masks and lies?
Your empty shell breathes its hollowness,
And the silence becomes deafening...

You cannot run away from truth,
But you can start facing yourself...
For in this shadow comes your light
And it speaks to you, saying ---

The First Voice, softly
I am the beauty which is barely heard
Like some sweet melody
Which visits your ears in that moment
When you are at peace with yourself.

I am the inspiration which opens
Your mind to scale greater heights
And break down barriers
To reach your goal.

Come, reach for me...
Journey within that being you call
And find me there, waiting.

The Second Voice, imploring
Don't be afraid of pain
For in pain comes happiness.
But for loss, we will never understand gain.
But for smallness, we will never see immensity.
But for limitations, we will never grasp forever.
But for selfishness, we will never know sacrifice.
But for loneliness, we will never feel love.

The Third Voice, inviting
Let your soul begin this journey
To seek and understand yourself
To grapple with the darkness
And discover your inner light.

Let your mind find its peace
Among your life's wellsprings
This is the beckoning call of our search:
To find ourselves through service.