Scatterbrain

Brains melting on this sweltering afternoon.

Sniffing once, twice, fluid bits of binary operations

oozing from tips of fingers

tinkering with minute details of

impossible Computer 6 programs.

amalgams. anagrams. space jams.

To the beat of Michael Jordan,

whirring on the ceiling, on puerile fans.

one understands

that if I flunk this, man, I’ve gotta scram!

though it was fun blasting away

at 30 minutes a time, sautéing my brain

for a computer scan,

tying bits of ends of puzzles

too crazy to understand, comprehend,

apprehend, suspend,

the inevitability of it dawning on me,

man…

understand? —

had no other stand but to take it,

banking on my passing it;

so when the box is on, I am.

And when things flicker on the screen,

man… my brains scatter;

then I have to reach out with both hands,

fingers extended in a trance,

no chance

to capture that rapture

on my teacher’s stance

as he converses with the air molecules.

All askance.

(composed 19th March 1997)


I dug this out today, made me smile at my funny attempts at “poetry”, and it also coincided with what I have been doing these past 2 days: learning how to navigate an LMS, a learning management system, which is a platform used by schools to facilitate online learning. Whew. I passed the training with perfect scores! Nope, doesn’t mean I got it all perfected, ha-ha-ha, but that I was able to survive the pressure of producing outputs at the end of the sessions, so that I’d be given a certificate saying I’m not totally ignorant ot it! 😀

Some words I used, defined; copied from different sites (thanks!)

scatterbrain = a person who is forgetful, disorganized, or unable to concentrate or think clearly

askance = to look at or think about someone or something with doubt, disapproval, or no trust

amalgam = a mixture of different elements (not necessarily of the chemical kind)

anagram = an anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase, typically using all the original letters exactly once. For example, the word anagram itself can be rearranged into nag a ram, also the word binary into brainy and the word adobe into abode.

puerile = childishly foolish; immature or trivial

This GIF-art is by “Segawa 37” or “Thirty-Seven Segawa”; [Segawa Atsuki].

Lessons from Taoism: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

My mom has always advised me, “Let your mind, your thinking, flow like water.” Little did she know that she was advocating a Taoist priciple in order to cope with the heavier stresses in life. I thank Mr. Andrew for his very good post, which follows…

A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life

It was at a university book sale where I was first introduced to the ideas of Taoism. Hidden away deep in the philosophy section, I picked up what initially seemed like a strange esoteric book – the Tao Te Ching. It was a short text, under 100 pages, that was filled with often puzzling language and concepts which seemed contradictory at first.

As I dived deeper into the book exploring its key themes and lessons, I saw its potential to act as a roadmap for inner freedom and liberation. Moreover, I understood the possibility for Taoist ideas to be used as a remedy for the anxiety of our current age. A period in which we have come to measure success in terms of status, wealth and power. Mass pop culture has propagated homogeneity and conformity, resulting in everyone feeling the need to be the same. This has detached us from…

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See You in Heaven, Lolo, Daddy

Heaven exists. I go there someday to see my grandfather and father again. I refuse the idea that there is no heaven because otherwise I will not see them again.

They are the strongest influences in my life.

Grandfather, my mom’s father whom I call Lolo [which is from the Spanish ‘abuelo’], was 103 when he died. He was waiting for me but I did not get to him on time. He was helathier than many 40-year-olds today except for cataracts in his left eye and a very bent back. He had perfect hearing, perfect memory, sharp humor, gentle disposition, active daily in the garden, almost never sick.

At 82 he alone, with his hands, put up the bamboo fencing around our house. He prayed the Rosary every dusk without fail. It was my pride to dedicate primarily to him my doctoral dissertation. He never studied beyond the first grade. He was illiterate. He would rather pick guavas and lounge around at the back of his water buffaloes, away from his strict teachers, when he was kid.

When World War II happened, he was a regular at the American barracks, free to get in and out anytime he wished, because he was a favorite and a friend of many American soldiers. He would cook and do the laundry for the officers. They gave him many parting gifts and photographs when it was time for them to vacate the country.

Lolo was a kind and uncomplicated man, industrious, independent, helpful and generous, and did not tolerate wastefulness of any kind. He refused to eat chicken because he raised some himself. Thank God chicken isn’t served in heaven.

Mommy and Daddy, in their fifties, taken before 1998.

Daddy was the only person I felt fear for, in the sense of not wishing to face his displeasure when I break some house rule. His disciplinarian ways was normal in their generation, having experienced a more strict regimen from his father himself. He was already 27 when he was in his 2nd year of high school (this is the Grade 8 of Junior High today). Nevertheless, by sheer determination and industry, he eventually became an engineer.

Mostly self-taught in whatever he’d put his hands on, he developed a habit of reading so that he accumulated paperbacks of the Robert Ludlum genre. Before working in the construction industry he was a public transport driver, a common laborer, a candy maker, a printing press assistant. After semi-retirement he raised poultry, cultivated his own rice paddies, operated a bakery, and himself drove public transportation again. He was making building plans again, the civil engineer’s blue print, the year he started to suffer in his lungs. He was smoking since he was in his teens.

I thought he was Superman when I was little. I remember being thankful to God for giving me such a good life and good parents. I was just maybe 4 or 5, happy of a life that didn’t lack provisions. I was a contented kid, counting the many fowls that my father raised around the house: chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese. Much later we also had a fishpond that had fishes one can eat. We had goats, pigs, dogs, cats, birds, and in the midst of all this were relatives and friends living with us, helping with our income-earning activities.

My respect and love for books came from him. I was holding his hands when he took his last breath. I assured him that we will see each other again, when we’d finally get to where he was going, in heaven.

If there is someone you love who has died and you miss them so, and you want to see them again, just hang in there. We’re in this together.

Amen.

(In the featured photo on top, Lolo was around 100 years old then.)

If you wish to read an academic discussion about resurrection, you may click on this link. In there I summarize from the book of the Prof. Dr. [Rev.] Hans Schwarz, of the University of Regensburg Institute of Protestant Theology. Just FYI, the former pope Benedict XVI (Ratzinger) was a faculty member of the University of Regensburg.

Have a great day!

To See Clearly

Have you ever had an experience when you felt that you can see clearer, that scales have fallen off your eyes and you can see more detail in the world? I’ve had two such experiences before. I got the third one a couple of days ago.

The first one was when I was 17 years old. I was listening to a preacher who had come to talk to us kids at the university about his faith (I was by then already in my third year of my Liberal Arts undergrad majoring in mathematics, which means I was at the verge of getting ready to handle heavier faith-stuff relative to the usual). Because of the preacher’s message, this was impressed into me: the possibility and the rightness and the importance of being able to examine in my head, with rational tools, the essence and substance of my inherited system of faith-beliefs. That was emancipating. An awakening.

The second one was when I was already writing my doctoral dissertation in delightful Regensburg (nope, it wasn’t an ostentatious nor a well-traveled period at all, which is one of my regrets!). It was a usual cold winter morning, in my little student’s apartment. I was about to sit on the grandest seat of the house (guess where!), and, voila, I got it suddenly, an enlightenment I called it, and I even wrote a post about it in my old blog… that… there are no rules. THERE ARE NO RULES.

Before that day I was discovering zen buddhism for some time with whatever video or post I had the time to read or listen to. It’s a fascinating way of life, this consciously embracing zen, which is outside of the ‘rational.’ Nevertheless, something like a satori happened to me (oh, ah, uhuh, if you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, then I won’t be offended if you tell me).

Obviously there are rules, and I know this, and I have no problems with rules. But knowing that there are no rules [from the perspective of the ‘universe’] made sense to me. That happened as I was sitting on that grandest seat in my little apartment (haha!).

meditating on the grand seat


The third one was basically a couple of days ago but I got a delayed reaction — the feeling that scales have fallen off my eyes and I could see clearly — which did not happen until this morning as I was about to sit on …tada!… the grandest seat in the house (again! And to many people this is also where and when innovative thoughts suddenly dawn on them with clarity!).

This most recent ‘enlightenment’ is something personal, with several people involved, and so I cannot talk about it here just yet. Nevertheless, as I was sitting on the grandest seat this morning, I thought of having “leapt that quantum leap of realization, a fantastic escape from one understanding onto the next that wouldn’t have happened had I not insisted on pushing my perception to the extreme, and so confront the now glaring obvious… and the solutions to my recurring puzzles are finally laid bare, tantamount to being able to see the foundation of matter, the ‘strings,’ the basics of the stuff that are of Heisenberg’s uncertainty idea. The big puzzle of my life is now dissipated, puffed out, gone with the wind.”

It has liberated me, allowed me to move freely, think clearly, see better, and so act accordingly. With caution and with tentative steps. To newly found breathing space. It is envigorating.

I hope you understand what I’m saying here. It is good, these opening-of-the-eyes experiences in a non-esoteric sense. Something I can casually talk about with friends over cake and a cup of tea anytime.

Thanks for the read and the smile! Incidentally, I’m listening to traditional Japanese koto music as I write this post. Lovely music. The featured image at the top is the golden Kinkakuji Temple in Japan. Have a great day!

This GIF-art is by “Segawa 37” or “Thirty-Seven Segawa”; [Segawa Atsuki].

The Neuroscience of Vision and Breathing

The connection between breathing and vision is yet another marker on how infinitely complex the human body is. We know of this intuitively, and science has again put into human language a law of nature. I thank Dr. Leonard J. Press, an authority in vision development and vision therapy, for this post. I have his permission to re-post it. Many of us in the holistic quest for thriving, as God intends for us all, will find pleasure in this post. Blessings!

The VisionHelp Blog

From an article on mental health published on November 16, 2020 in Scientific American journalist Jessica Wapner encapsulates the work of Dr. Andrew Huberman about vision and autonomic arousal. She relates that Huberman, a neuroscientist at Stanford University who studies the visual system, notes that stress is not just about the content of what we are reading or the images we are seeing. It is about how our eyes and breathing change in response to the world, as well as the cascades of events that follow. The bodily processes of vision and respiration therefore offer us accessible releases from stress. Here are some excepts from Ms. Wapner’s interview with Dr. Huberman:

What is stress’s relationship to vision?

When you see something exciting or stressful—a news headline, a fraudulent credit-card charge—heart rate increases; breathing increases. One of the most powerful changes is with vision. The pupils dilate, and there’s a change…

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Fight and Live to Tell

This post is my tribute to choosing life and heeding the wisdom of one’s elders. The featured scene is from Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2014). I will only speak about Kenshin and his teacher here, and then no more, except what is relevant to this post.

Kenshin was the best assassin of the past government. He had since sworn to not kill anymore, carrying a sword that has the sharp egde at the wrong side.

The new government has asked for his help to kill a rampaging ex-assassin, who is threatening the safety of the land.

Aware of his weakness after a recent duel, Kenshin asks his teacher (also called “master”) to teach him the ultimate sword tehnique of their school so that he can defeat the enemy.

His teacher agrees. They fight-train —physically, mentally, emotionally— a holistic approach.

Teacher tosses a real sword to Kenshin. It is a real fight with real swords today.

He’s figured out that he’s afraid of neither his teacher nor of death.

But his teacher has warned him that if he cannot figure out what’s wrong with him, then he will not be able to defeat the villain. Moreover, he might even die in today’s training-duel, without having learned the final technique at all.

He resolves that he will not die just yet, and fights back. After some time, he eventually slashes at Teacher and scores a point!

His guilt has made his fighting resolve distorted. His guilt has numbed his positive purpose for fighting, which was why he was defeated recently — his sword broken, and was not able to rescue Kamiya Kaoru also.

His fierceness in fighting will not return if he continues to be weighed down by the guilt of having killed so many people before.

He has to embrace his guilt, forgive himself, and be positively fierce again in order to defeat his enemy, who is also the enemy of the people whom Kenshin is trying to protect.

(This has something to do with his failing to rescue Kaoru. She was shouting at him to look after himself, to fight fiercely but to stay alive, but he was distracted by his fear for her safety . So, Teacher seemed to be saying that being on the defensive position, on the side of the helpless people, has somehow weakened Kenshin’s fighting prowess).

(I wish I can understand Japanese!) Teacher seemed to be saying that Kenshin has denied his life-loving fighting self—his innate positive personality, and his life’s discipline and upbringing with his Teacher—ever since he resolved not to kill anymore. Indeed, his Teacher never trained him for the purpose of killing, but so that he can protect people. However, he made choices that led him astray and caused him to kill even defenseless people. The senselessness of his deeds caused him to gamble with his life many times—fighting fiercely without regard to his own life. So now, if he can resolve his guilt and embrace again the purpose of his life’s training, then he can fight the villain and live to tell about it.

Teacher’s important lesson: YOUR LIFE IS AS WORTH AS OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Hitokiri Battousai the famous assassin passes away from existence, and in his place stands a very alive Kenshin, the life-loving defender of the weak.

Himura Kenshin and I learned something very valuable from Master today.

Domo arigato gozaimashita. (That’s a very respectful ‘thank you very much.’)

Finally, I Begin

Written in February 20, 2014.


beach (1)

Three years I surfed the pages,

arms extended, fingers outstretched,

the gray continental sky indifferent to my need for light;

beach (2)

Three years I paced the shore,

back and forth, tracing the break’s contour,

shifting, ephemeral, undulating;

beach (4)

On the beach on the sand that is my brain,

lets information, like water, in,

pass through, then away, soaked;

Three years the troughs and crests and I

kept holding hands and letting go.

beach (5)

The other day I traced the shore at the bus stop.

Concrete platform undulating like lapping waves.

Cigarette butts like flotsam lining the pavement.

beach (7)

I saw the sea foam in my mind.

I smelled the salty air.

I heard the rush and splash.

I felt the breeze in my hair.

beach (8)
A fisherman cleaning his net.

Three years came to pass and I arrived

at how it should have been all along. I have beached.



Today is July 15, 20021.

It was a tremendous relief when my Doktorvater, my dissertation supervisor, finally agreed with how I envisioned my research work to proceed. When I wrote the above meditation-verse, I was celebrating with the sound of the sea in my ears, the wide sky looking down on me and the extensive beach, and my feet getting ready to wade through the vast ocean of information ahead. I knew that I had a very long way to go.

Landing on the beach is also a picture of restfulness. I felt that I have reached a base after a long time of aimless wandering. That was a great happy time, just me and my beach in my head and the almost empty university bus-stop, newly constructed, in Regensburg, the concrete platform edges gently undulating before my downcast eyes as I gaze, in my usual fascination, at the cigarette butts strewn all over the pretty pebbles.

It was a dreary winter day but I felt spring light my spirit.

My Prayer (For Positivity)

By 2016 I’ve already had many cycles of deep despair and heedless hope pass by me. I have witnessed many episodes of miracles as well as devastating disappointments. I was also in the middle of an important life’s work, my [doctoral] dissertation. My brain cells have been bashed around and rejuvenated again and again.

Just before the New Year’s celebration, for the arrival of 2017, I paused and breathed in hope, and was encouraged anew to keep on with life.

I prayed:

I am calling on all of the efficacies of prayer,
on all the collective love of all sincere hearts that selflessly wish for only goodness to all of humanity and all living creatures,
big and small in the biosphere, in all parts known and unknown,
from the deepest of the ocean floors and caverns and cliffs
to the highest of the habitable atmospheric layers that can sustain metabolism…

I am calling on all pure intents for the support of life, love, freedom, respect, celebration, sustenance, generosity, humility, understanding, acceptance, goodwill, health, mutual dependence and mutual giving,
and thankfulness…

I am calling on all the powers of LIFE and the celebration of life
and acceptance of all peoples…
Let us bless the earth, let us bless one another,
let us pray for each others’ lives,
let us focus our wishes on each others’ wellbeing and inner happiness
and continuous hope
and never-ending supply of strength for the will to live and let live…

I call on all powers of life to curse the greed that is enslaving the systems of this earth…

I call on all greed to be found out and to be defeated and to be banished…

May it all happen. May it be so.

It will be so. It is.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Photo by Sam Kolder on Pexels.com

Do Parents and Elders Deserve Honor?

In the Old Testament, the expectation that children honor their parents comes with the understanding that parents have fulfilled their responsibilities towards their children.

This was a matter of consequence because parents were the only ones who could function as provider, protector, and educator. This honoring implied all that comes with it in the context of the familial parent-child relationship, most especially attention and deference, where parents were figures of authority in almost all aspects of life.

It was a given fact that the parents were responsible for the well-being of their children, being the primary movers for the procurement of provisions for the entire family.

This family was part of a bigger or extended family that could include everyone in the community, and that the rearing up of children was a corporate responsibility of this bigger family where everyone was interconnected with each other in personal relationships. The adults in this bigger family were responsible for their collective children. There were no other agencies that may take this responsibility away from the parents, unlike today where the state may.

The parents were answerable only to God in all their responsibilities to their children. If ever the angle of the “state’s” interference can be entertained at all, the hierarchy will be negligible because the “state” itself was answerable to God since its authority was not absolute but rather sprang from God.

The Fourth [or Fifth] Commandment [that is, the commandment to honor parents] was a reiteration of the adult children’s obligations towards their parents in view of the natural course of human life that leads all parents to aging. It was an assumption that children will eventually be the ones who will take care of their parents.

This was the natural course of life for all within the context of the bigger family, which was the same with all [the] other communities.

There was no question about whether parents deserved the honoring because had the parents been irresponsible in their duties as parents, then none in the consequent generation would have survived to later become responsible parents themselves.

It was in this context that the rabbis interpreted the commandment to honor parents, that the honoring is due by virtue of parenthood, as God had commanded it, and no other requirements were needed. It was assumed that parents deserved honoring from children. If the question would be about the honorableness of parents in the way they performed their duties, then the children’s being able to survive into mature adulthood was itself proof that the parents had fulfilled their responsibilities to their children.

an excerpt from my published dissertation: Siacor, Mona Lisa. The Significance of the Elterngebot (Iloilo City: CPU Press, 2017).

The question of how to honor narcissistic parents deserves another major research altogether (uhuh, I don’t have it in my dissertation, though I certainly do want to find out, and fast ! ). What’s more important is that one has become aware of the situation, and so start from there. . . It certainly is very tough going, to be in the middle of this. . .

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Chiaroscuro = light-and-dark

Meditate.
Live purely.
Be quiet.
Do your work with mastery.
Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds!
Shine.

(I have yet to make sure if this is really the Buddha’s)

The power of the above group of words, put together, is enhanced by its bareness.

It is so powerful that after reading it one is compelled to blessed quietness, and so rest.

My picture here is not of the moon, but of the yang, the active sun, searing and unforgiving.

Nevertheless, it cannot force its way all the same through kilometers upon kilometers of cumulonimbus thickness—however gossamer this body of suspended water is.

Such contrasts is what makes up our earth, and meditating on our inadequacies side by side these contrasts may help us chance upon the courage to break out of our own heavy and dark clouds.

The constant will to shine is what makes us alive.

( Update 14 July 2021. I have the same post put up in my sacadalang.com blog. I just discovered that search engines might label either or both of my two blogs as “sploggers.” I hope not! )

Thanks for visiting and have a great day, Everyone!

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