Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas - A Fresh Look

Is Christmas real? Consider these things.

Human beings are spirit and flesh. In their current form,their major portals of communications are through the 5 senses, i.e., hearing, seeing, tasting, touching,and smelling. Our Creator who does not leave us abandoned to the whims of chance and the caprices of chaos wants to communicate with us. But He/She is Pure Spirit. For reasons difficult to fathom Her Inscrutable Mind, She exhaled Her Breath out and it slowed down to the degree of the Square of the Speed of Light,,,, thus precipitating into matter as we know it - called woman and man. Hence, Einstein's m(atter) = e(energy) DIVIDED BY c( speed of light )<---SQUARED.

Now, how does He maintain communication with humanity through the ages through time and space? He devised a simple but smart plan. Although he manifests Himself in all things everywhere everyday, familiarity with His wonders makes people take Him for granted. Remember the elephant-in-the-room story with blind folks mistaking it for a rope, a tree trunk, etc...? Well, God is much bigger than the elephant to see! So, He decides to be born in a manger, a reverse psychology of sorts at a time when tyrants were a dime a dozen. And he made sure the story would travel fast through the centuries without Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates...with a simple formula. He created a family scandal ( chose an unmarried teenager in a small village betrothed to an upright man, which left the wagging tongues drooling ). Of course, the expectant mother had to share her secret with her older cousin Liz ( or it wouldn't be a secret, get it? )in another village... She had to travel far to share The Secret, giggles!!!! ). Now, as we all know, society pages are ruled by women writers, weather forecasters ( the magi ) and the village people ( the shepherds )... It's only now that your gay brothers and sisters have caught up. The human tongue, iPhone, Twitter or not, is still king or queen of the media world. Nothing like a live voice face-to-face. Das Movil is so plastic, yucky!

Fast-forward to resurrection, the re-birth, the New Christmas.... guess whom Jesus called first? Mary M.! Another woman!!! Ever heard of Joy Behar, Barbara Walters and Whoopie Goldberg? The Donald surrenders.Larry King just listens. But first, Jesus had to be tried for leaking the truth which would make Assange's brouhaha look like toddler play. Julian is no JC, of course. Christians have maintained through the centuries He was a teetotaler. They have one thing in common, though - conspiracy theories abound.

Question: If God chose to be born of a woman, how come women can't be priests in the Catholic Church?!

Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Note: The author interchanged the genders to describe God/Spirit. He hopes it is self-explanatory.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saving the pearl of the orient

The Philippines was once the Pearl of the Orient, but now being rampaged by ignorance, narcissism, and greed. I remember, as a boy swimming in the clear waters of the beaches and rushing streams from waterfalls, passing through lively rivers. The poor got to fish and planted vegetables. Tilapia was free, for example, yes ! My siblings and I all graduated from the elementary public school system with decently-paid professional teachers, and the town clinic offered good primary care for the folks…. My mother ran for the position of Vice-Mayor and lost by 100+ votes. Her running-mate for Mayoralty lost by some 50+ votes and is the son of the incumbent Mayor at that time. It was taboo to fix the results to win.

From the perspective of social psychology ( I practice psychotherapy ), it seems to me, the culture markedly changed when Ferdinand Marcos institutionalized militarization of ALL aspects of the socio-politico-economic life of the nation. When he appointed ex-generals to civilian positions in government, he created a culture of “ Social Darwinism, “ which essentially means the physically strongest rules the land, and the weakest is left, in extreme cases, dying ever so slowly or tortured, even before they are killed. This mindset sets into motion the subtle but toxic, uncivilized attitude of shoot first, talk or negotiate later. But the Philippine Government is supposed to be a CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT.

Conversely, the perpetrators not only get off the hook, they are rewarded with mansions in exclusive/gated communities. In Behavior Psychology, the bad guys are enabled or spoiled. Try tolerating your kid stealing a hundred pesos from your wallet. Pretty soon, he will drill empty your safe deposit box of jewelries and stashed cash, forge your signature and cash your checks for thousands of pesos, and withdraw cash using your ATM card…

Two EDSA People Power Revolutions have come and gone and no big fish has been hailed to court. You see the plunderers being adored once again; worse, they moralize in public without returning their loots, at least, or serving time. Where is restitution? Bandera et al posit in their Social Learning Theory, that children learn what they see. Parents, authority figures, celebrities, and government officials are critical role models in society. Do we wonder why we have a proliferation of robbery and kidnap gangs? I can hear the dialogue in these criminals’ minds: “ Hypocrites! We’re all the same.. We steal a few millions, you steal hundreds of billions. What right do you have to punish us?! “ The government has lost its moral authority.

In the early 1930s, Germany was so poor after the recession, its people were desperately seeking for a messianic leader. They found one in a master strategist with a gift of tongue that would mesmerize them for more than a decade. He brought them out of recession, restored their pride among the nations of the world, and made them a world power in no time, but at terrible cost to them and the rest of the world! His name? Adolf Hitler.

In 1972, a bar topnotcher, similarly mesmerized me and my generation into thinking he would bring the country into a new era, the New Society, make it at par with rising Singapore…. Just sacrifice our freedom and we will progress. Well, the few rich were replaced by new rich friends…

In 2010, the specter of Martial Law all over again is real, looking at the picture, by virtue of being outside the frame. How ironic is it that the spokesperson who dropped the remark was a wanted refugee of the dictator’s years! Recent events showing massive glitches in the Automated Election System (AES) of the Philippine Commission of Elections have raised the probability of a real failure of elections leading to chaos. Were these errors, compromising the integrity of the machines and the process, gross incompetence or planned failures? Did the spokesperson know something we do not know?

What the nation needs is deep, authentic healing from the multiple traumas the people have suffered from centuries of violence from foreign oppressors. It does no good to the national psyche for a Filipino to continue the oppression of her own people. This is beyond political stripes or factions. My appeal to Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1978 ( with members holding key command positions in the military ) is to shed their label and think of love of country, which is imbedded in their hearts; for government officials to think beyond self; for President Gloria Arroyo to touch base with the Higher Power in her heart, the Light of the Holy Spirit. All this worldly power will come to an end someday and, like Ari Onassis’ alter ego, we will realize on our death bed, “ We are not gods. “ Then the nation will heal, move forward, and thrive!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Breaking stereotypes

It is natural to feel comfy within one's circle of friends with similar likes, cultures, traditions, age brackets, etc... but the risk is one becomes insular and biased, if not careful. SO, this writer takes extra careful to notice the many little good things " others " do to break certain stereotypes which society imposes on him from time to time.

On two successive remarkable days, the Universe, so to speak offered him a gift of knowing the soul of erstwhile strangers for a brief moment of time, where the clock stopped ticking... All of you, dear readers, who have experienced this know what he means...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at a staff meeting: I came early...It was freezing cold and most of my colleagues were late... but a young Korean intern was early enough... She greeted me with a sweet, sweet smile... and asked me gently in a soft voice if I wanted Oolong tea. I hesitated for a moment, not sure if she meant it for me. after realizing it was really so, I thankfully said yes. The tea was super-delicious, not because of the brand, but because of her heartfelt kindness and generosity which blew away the winter chill in my marrows.. After the meeting, our Project Director from Hong Kong, hugged me after a long respite from work to show she still welcomed me after all this time of absence. It is nice to be valued as a human being, not as a salary item in the budget spread sheet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009:I flagged a cab as I was running late for my meeting with the boss at the Central Office. I normally took the buses but they were nowhere to be found... Here came a Nigerian immigrant cab driver who did not switch on his meter. I reminded him to do so. He remarked, " Why, don't you want a ride for free? " He proceeded to switch the meter on, when I realized I did not have cash. So,I told him my dilemma. His credit card machine was not functioning either. He replied, " I understand, brother. I've been through tough times, myself. It's free. I don't know why I decided to pass this way, but something in me told me to do so. " He, then, stopped the car at the island halfway through the boulevard so I could save half the cross-walk! " We shook hands.... and addressed him, " St. Charles... " Bless him. I will never forget him for the rest of my life.

Come lunch time, I went to my favorite lunch place and found myself a quarter short for a sandwich. The Latina lady behind graciously offered one for me!

Love, sacrificial love, is well and alive in New York City. Fear not!!! In fact, it's everywhere... seek and you shall find !!!

Have a Blessed New Year.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Prejudice and love

John 4:44 " For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. " ( New American Bible ).

Matthew 11:28 " Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke is pleasant, and my burden is light. ” ( International Standard Version ).

One of the most painful hurts one can experience in life is rejection from his own people. Oftentimes, this rejection is borne out of automatic, wrong assumptions ( negative thoughts )ascribing negative motives to completely innocent behaviors and intentions. A simple clarifying question, " What happened?, " could have cleared the air. It is true on the macro sphere of politics and spiritual life; so it is, even in daily activities of micro living. One's beloved people - nation, community, family, son, daughter, significant other suddenly rejects or minimizes your feelings, motives, illness, struggles, losses; misunderstands them completely way out of bounds... way out of the ball park, and the pain becomes so searing, albeit invisible for others to see it is impossible to describe. Expectations can be hugely bigger and higher that what one can deliver and the stress suddenly becomes overwhelming at the moment. And all of your life's works seem to have gone with the wind.

Then, one is confronted with the existential angst of being so terrifyingly alone... until a Solitary Man, who understood pain as no other, stretches out His hand in comfort to say, " Come to me, you who are tired... my love is more than enough and eternal. "

I'm writing this between dizzy spells as shafts of energy and wisdom break through clouds of darkness. I need to go back to my doctor for another check-up after this. Call it lucid interval, perhaps. One may be tempted to ask, " How can you write this piece and claim to be sick? " My answer is: " I don't really know. " All my blog posts have been written with spurts of energy and light from On-High. He... She is the Source of all this. If you ask deeper... you have to ask the Maker....He /She knows best... Life is full of ironies and paradoxes, and this is one of them, an ill man able to write this piece... " Wounded healer " perhaps can weakly explain why... because there are others equally hurting who needed to read this message and feel peace, inner peace.... because it ain't over till it's over, and only God knows the time and day. Namaste!