Monthly Archives: March 2013

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

The chance that it’s gonna go wrong does not exist, because I wasn’t comparing it with right.
~ Ricardo Semler

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Part 4 – This article

As some of you may know, a recent UK visa application by Elly was refused. This was a trying time for her and we are glad that her following application, in which she had invested a lot of time, has been approved yesterday.

The experience has been a blessing for us, because the refusal allowed us to see the support and love of our friends and family who have written many declarations for us in support of Elly’s UK visa application. It made me realise that in times of need, the blessing of our relationships becomes evident. This realisation helped us to experience the whole situation with a more relaxed and open attitude.

On one day however, I did feel very frustrated by the situation. The frustration was not stimulated by the refusal, as you might think. My frustration came about when I was contemplating the surprise that many of our friends and family members had been expressing to us. We have heard many statements of the following kind:

  • How come they keep the good guys out, and not the bad guys?
  • I can understand that they want to keep out the wrong kind of people, but why are they keeping you out?
  • You guys aren’t fortune-hunters. They need to be refused, not you.

I suddenly understood that it is exactly this type of thinking, that there are some people who deserve to enter a country and some people who don’t, that contributes to the situation that Elly found herself in. I felt frustration because I desired more understanding that this thinking, and not the UK border control, is the real cause of our situation.

When we accept the idea that some people are ‘right’ enough to enter a country, then there must also be people who are not. If we accept this idea, then we must also accept that there will be some people who think that we are among the ‘wrong’ people. We cannot think that this is unreasonable, because it is impossible to come to a universal agreement on who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’, because ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are judgements and they are therefore not true.

I also started wondering why some of my European friends call non-western Europeans ‘fortune-hunters’ and at the same time never question what they have done themselves to ‘deserve’ to be born in an EU country. This thinking made me even more frustrated, because I clearly saw that my need for fairness for everyone is not being met in the world we are living in at the moment.

The frustration was a great messenger to me. When I saw that it was showing me my need for understanding and fairness, I welcomed it. When I welcomed it, it started to disappear.

Part 1
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Part 4 – 本文

中文版本稍後提供。

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The truth about judgements 批評的真相

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Part 3 – This article
Part 4

I am a sweet tooth who absolutely loves chocolate. I have made a good friend here in Taiwan and it’s clear that it’s not our love for chocolate that brought us together; she absolutely hates it.

If you would ask the both of us to say something about chocolate, I might say “chocolate is delicious” and she might say “chocolate is disgusting“.

I have been asking people for their view on which of these statements is true. Up to this point I have only received the answers “both are true” and “both are neither true nor untrue“, neither of which is my answer.

I reject the answer that both are true because both statements are contradicting each other. The truth, in the highest sense, is not subject to personal point of view. In other words, if it is really the truth that chocolate is delicious, then it must be the case that that is the truth for everyone. That means that the statement chocolate is disgusting is automatically untrue.

I also reject the answer that both are neither true nor untrue, because that would mean that both statements contain no information in them at all. It would be the same as not expressing anything at all, but everyone seems to sense that at least something is being said.

My answer is that “both statements are untrue“. When I give that answer, some people have disagreed saying that both cannot be untrue, because at the very least both statements are personal truths. I agree that both statements are coming from some personal experience, but if you observe the statements chocolate is delicious and chocolate is disgusting, you will see that no personal experience is mentioned at all; the word “I” does not appear in any form in either statement.

I say that both statements are untrue because neither “being delicious” nor “being disgusting” are properties of chocolate. Chocolate is chocolate. It is more accurate to say that “experiencing delight” and “experiencing disgust” are possible experiences of somebody who eats the chocolate.

This is why I say that judgements are objectified subjective experiences; judgements are personal truths expressed as absolute truths.

So let’s say that we have understood the analysis above, and you would ask us again to say something about chocolate. I would say nothing about chocolate directly, but I would say “when I eat chocolate, I really enjoy the taste and she might say “When I eat chocolate, I really dislike the taste“.

I have also been asking people to let me know what they think of these two statements, and all have said so far that both statements are true. Contemplating this, I gained an insight that has helped me very much: When you judge, you lie. When you express your feelings, you don’t (lie).

This insight that judgements are lies has helped me to become more free from them, because we automatically let go of mental concepts when we understand them to be untrue. It has also helped me to gain an insight in what it means to express opinions, but I will leave that insight to another article.

I would like to conclude this article with an interesting observation for people who are familiar with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Yoga starts from love, because its first practice (ahimsa: non-violence) is love applied. Love means accepting all and rejecting none. Love is therefore free from judgements and since judgements are lies, the practice of ahimsa automatically leads to satya (truthfulness).

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Part 3 – 本文
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我是一個熱愛甜食的人,非常喜愛巧克力。我在台灣生活期間認識了一位好朋友,但並非因為我們對巧克力懷抱同樣的喜愛。我的朋友非常厭惡巧克力。

如果你問我們兩個人有關巧克力的事,我可能會回答: 「巧克力真好吃!」而她可能回答: 「巧克力真噁心!」“.

我問了許多人,這兩個說法,哪個才是真的。至目前為止,我聽到的答案包含:「兩個都是真的。」、「兩個都不是真的,也不是假的。」,但這都不是我的答案。

我拒絕「兩個都是真的」 這個答案,因為這兩個說法彼此矛盾。就最更高意義而言,真實是不能取決於個人觀點的,也就是說,如果c巧克力真好吃這個說法r確實是真的,那麼應該每個人都是這麼認為。這表示巧克力噁心的說法,自然而然地是不真實實的。

我也拒絕了「兩者不真也不假」的答案,因為那意謂著,這兩個說法並未含有任何資訊,就好比這些說法從來沒有表達任何事情一樣。但是我想每個人都可以察覺到,這些說法當中至少表達了某些事情。

我的回答是:「兩個說法都不是真的。」當我提出這個回答時,有些人不同意,因為他們認為不可能兩者都是假的,畢竟兩個說法都至少包含了某些個人真相。我同意這兩個說法都是來自於個人經驗,但如果我們進一步看這兩個說法:巧克力真好吃以及巧克力真心,你會現這些說法中並沒有提到任何個人經驗,這個字並沒有出現在任何一個說法中。

我之所以說這些說法都不是真的,是因為「好吃」以及「噁心」都不是巧克力的成分。巧克力就是巧克力,較準確的說法應該是說,「體驗到喜悅」或「體驗到噁心」,這都是在吃巧克力可能產生的體驗。

這就是為什麼我會說,評斷是 客觀化的主觀經驗;評斷是個人的真實但卻被表達為絕對的真實。

假設我們瞭解上述分析,你可以再請我和我的朋友說說巧克力。我不會說任何與巧克力直接相關的事,我會說:”「當我吃巧克力的時候,我真的很享受巧克力的滋味。」,而我的朋友則說:「當我吃巧克力時,我真的很不喜歡那個味道。」

我也問很多人他們對這兩個說法有什麼看法,至目前為止,大家都說這兩個說法都是真的。從這當中思考,我也因此獲得了我相當有幫助的洞見:當你評斷時,你在說謊。當你表達感受時,你不說謊。

批評是謊言的這項心得,使得我能夠從評斷當中解放,當我們瞭解這些批評並非真實的時候,我們就能夠放下它們。這也幫助我了解何為表達意見,但這個議題,就留待另一篇文章再行探討。

我希望能夠以一項觀察,做為本篇文章的結尾,特別是提供給熟知帕坦加利的《瑜珈經》的朋友:瑜珈由愛開始 ,因為該經典所列的第一項練習(非暴力),正是愛的實際運用。愛意謂著接受一切,毫不拒絕,因此愛是免於評斷的。而既然評斷是謊言,那麼非暴力的練習自然而然地導致誠實(truthfulness)。

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A practical meaning of the tàijítú (yin-yang symbol) 陰陽符號的實用意義

A few months ago I was in a very relaxed mental state when I started contemplating the relationship between my inner and outer life. I became aware that I am very happy with the balance that I have found between my spiritual and material life. I asked myself if there is a way in which I can make it clear to other what this balance is that I have found. I then had a visual insight into the meaning of the yin-yang symbol, which I would like to share with you now.

I’ll use the relationship between our personal and professional lives to explain my understanding of the yin-yang symbol. There is a natural relationship between the personal and professional aspects of our life: through our experiences in personal life we grow and shape ourselves, and we use whatever we have gained from those experiences in our professional life. Sometimes we do this consciously and sometimes unconsciously, for example when we make decisions at work or talking to our colleagues. In the same way, we also use what we have gained from our professional life in our personal life.

As you know the yin-yang symbol is composed of two colours, usually black and white. Let’s say that our personal life is represented by the colour white and our professional life by the colour black. The balance that most of us have is as follows: we often think about work when at home and we quite regularly think about home when we are at work. One common expression of this is what I call “midnight-worry”; when we are at home, ready to sleep, and all kinds of thoughts and worries of both home and work come rushing in the moment we close our eyes. This ‘disorganised’ state of mind could be visualised something like this:

That figure does not look nice to me. When I look at the picture, I feel disturbed inside. It will make it easier to understand the article if you identify what you are feeling when you see the figure above before you continue to read.

If you feel disturbed like me, you might look for a way to organise the picture so that you do not feel that. One attempt might be to do this:

The meaning of this picture is that the relationship between our personal and professional life is severed. There is a sort of a ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’-like touch to this idea: you are one thing here and something completely different there. I believe that that is an unnatural state of being. I feel slight anxiety when I look at this picture, because the two aspects (white and black) seem to oppose each other rather than support each other.

Now observe the yin-yang symbol:

This is where I experience harmony. The beauty of the yin-yang symbol is that the two aspects are not opposing each other, but supporting each other. That support is indicated by the ‘fish eye’ (small black circle in the white area, small white circle in the black area). At the same time, the two aspects retain their individuality, which is expressed by them having their own space.

This is what a harmonious balance between personal and professional life could be like as well. Work can support our personal life, because it has the ability to, amongst other things, give financial stability. Personal life can support our working life, because it can give rest, clarity and inspiration which is needed to do the work well. It’s nearly impossible to do your work well with a disturbed mind, and it’s very hard to be relaxed and happy when you are fighting for your basic needs.

My insight is that the yin-yang symbol gives a clear direction on how to balance the so-called opposites of life. A good understanding of the yin-yang symbol can make it easy to understand how to balance your time in fulfilling spiritual and existential needs; how to be both an individual and a partner in a committed relationship; how to find a right balance between taking a break and doing efforts; etc.

All these ‘opposites’ are there in support of each other, and both aspects can be enjoyed in their own right.

幾個月前,我處在一個非常放鬆的心理狀態中,開始思考內在與外在生活之間的關係。我發現自己對於目前在靈修以及物質生活之間的平衡,感到很滿意。我問自己,有什麼方法,可以讓他人也清楚了解我所獲得的平衡狀態。後來,我對於陰陽符號有了進一步的理解,在這裡我想和大家分享這份觀察心得。我會運用我們在個人以及職業生活之間的關係,加以解釋我對陰陽符號的理解。在我們生命中的個人以及職場生活間,存在著一層自然的關係:透過個人生活的經驗,我們成長而成為現在的我們,而我們將這當中獲得的經驗,加以運用於工作上。我們時而有意識地、時而無意識地這麼做,例如在工作上做決定或者和同事談話時。同樣地,我們也將在工作上獲得的經驗,運用於個人生活之中。

如你所知,陰陽符號是由兩個顏色組成,通常是黑色與白色。假設我們的個人生活是以白色為代表,而工作職場生活則以黑色為代表。我們大部分人的個人與職場生活之間的平衡狀態是如此:當我們工作時,腦袋裡想著家裡的事情;當我們在家時,卻經常想著工作的事情。有一個很常見的狀況,我稱之為午夜憂慮。我們在家準備要上床睡覺時,突然間所有有關個人和工作的思緒以及憂慮,就在我們閉上眼那一瞬間襲捲而來。這種雜亂無章的心靈狀態,可以用以下的圖象代表:

那幅圖象,在我看來並不那麼好看。當我看著這幅圖象時,我的內心感到不安。在你繼續往下閱讀之前,如果你可以先辨明當你看著以上的圖象時的感受,那麼你將更容易理解這篇文章。
如果你和我一樣感到不安,也許你可以試著找找看重新組織這幅圖象的方法,好讓自己不會感到不安,例如以下的方法:

這幅圖象意謂著,我們的個人與職場生活是完全切割的,這樣的想法彷彿是變身怪醫一般:在這裡你是這個樣子,到了那裡你又是另一個完全不同的樣子。我相信這並非生命的自然狀態。當我看著這幅圖象時,我感到些微焦慮,我看到黑與白這兩個層面似乎完全地彼此對立,而無法互相支持。
現在,讓我們看看陰陽符號:

在這裡,我感受到和諧。陰陽符號的美妙之處在於,黑與色兩方並非彼此對立,而是互相支撐。這份支持表現在兩方的「魚眼」(在白色區域裡的黑色小點,以及在黑色區域裡的白色小點)。同時,這兩個層面仍保有各自的獨立性,這表現在它們各自擁有的空間當中。

這正是個人與職場生活之間和諧平衡的樣貌。職場生活可以支持個人生活,例如它可以給予我們經濟上的穩定。個人生活可以支持職場生活,因為它可以提供工作所需要的休息、清明和啟發。當你心思不安時,幾乎不可能有好的工作表現,而當你必須為了基本生存需求而掙扎時,也很難感到放鬆、快樂。

我對於陰陽符號的觀察,提供我們一個清楚的方向,教我們如何在所謂彼此對立的生活之間尋得平衡。對於陰陽符號的理解,可以使得我們更容易瞭解如何在滿足靈性以及生存需求之間找到平衡;如何成為一個獨立個體,但同時成為一段認真關係中的伴侶;以及如何在休息和努力付出乲間找到最佳平衡。

這些彼此對立的事情,其實可以互相支持,而兩方都有箇中樂趣,值得被發掘。

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08&09/06/2013 – Healing The Heart

Beste vrienden,

Ik vind het fijn om als direct gevolg van de goede reacties op de vorige workshop een volgende seminar met Wolfgang aan te kunnen kondigen. Deze zal op 8 en 9 juni van dit jaar plaatsvinden in Capelle aan den IJsel (regio Rotterdam).

Een flyer met meer informatie over de inhoud, locatie en kosten is via de volgende link beschikbaar: Healing The Heart – English.

Ik hoop jullie weer te kunnen ontmoeten bij deze workshop!

Update (07/06/2013): Tijdens de workshop zal een diepe ontspanningsoefening beoefend worden. Het is handig om voor deze oefening de volgende objecten mee te nemen

  • Een kleine (zachte) kussen waarmee nek en hoofd ondersteund kunnen worden;
  • Een dunne deken waarmee het lichaam bedekt kan worden;
  • (Indien mogelijk) een yoga of fitness mat om op te liggen tijdens de oefening.

Het is aangeraden om losse, comfortabele kleding te dragen omdat dit de ontspanning helpt verdiepen.

Dear friends,

I am pleased that as a direct consequence of the positive feedback on the previous workshop I am be able to announce a new seminar with Wolfgang. This seminar will take place on the 8th and 9th of June of this year in Capelle aan den IJssel (Rotterdam area).

A flyer with more information on the subject, costs and other details is available via the following link: Healing The Heart – English.

I hope to once again meet you at this workshop!

Update (07/06/2013): A deep relaxation exercise will be practiced during the workshop. For the convenience of this practice, it would be helpful to bring along

  • A soft (small) pillow that can support the neck and head;
  • A thin blanket that can cover the body;
  • (If possible) a yoga or fitness mat to lie on during the practice.

It is recommended to wear loose, comfortable clothing because it helps deepen relaxation.

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A recipe for success 達到成功的秘訣

Imagine that you want to be a chef and you decide to study many recipes from all kinds of cookbooks. How good a chef will you be if you also decide never to cook a single dish yourself?

The question above touches on the difference between intellectual and experiential knowledge. The knowledge that results from understanding a concept with the mind is intellectual knowledge. Experiential knowledge is the knowledge that results from experiencing a truth. Said in another way, intellectual knowledge deals with concepts and experiential knowledge deals with truths.

According to me, experiential knowledge is much more clarifying and satisfying than intellectual knowledge. It does not mean that intellectual knowledge is not useful. The value of intellectual knowledge is that applying it leads to experiential knowledge. Practice is the key.

I have often seen it happen in both my professional and personal/spiritual life, that one person is sharing his experience about something and that another perceives that sharing as a theory. For example, somebody might express: “You will become very strong from within when you take responsibility for your own feelings.” If we have never experimented with this we will see the statement as a theory, because we have no way of knowing within ourselves whether it is true or not. To know something in the deep sense of the word, is only possible after an experience of it.

Because of the lack of experience, it is very natural to perceive the truth of others as a theory. Having said that, I do not believe people share their truths so that they may become theories. I believe that the desire behind expressing a truth is to help another come to a similar experience. If this is the intention, it becomes very important to learn a method to find out your truth about a certain theory. I believe that such a method should contain at least the following:

  • Understand: Ask questions when you’re unclear about something. Have many doubts resolved in this way, because doubts disturb the practice.
  • Practice: Have a method to practice what you have understood. Ask the one who is sharing his truths for a method to practice, or be creative and come up with something yourself. Practice the method with as much sincerity as you can.
  • Observe: Experience the results of the practice by observing both the inner and outer effects of the practice.

As it often happens when I write something for this blog, I am left thinking that there is much more to say. At the same time I hesitate to write more because I’m afraid I’ll turn a simple article into a book! For now I hope that this article clarifies a few things about what it means to practice and why it is useful to practice.

請你想像自己是個廚師,而你覺得從各式各樣的食譜書中,研讀食譜。如果你決定決不親嘗試任何一道食譜,你想你會是怎麼樣的廚師?

這個問題觸及了理論和實證知識的不同。來自於對某一概念理解的知識,是理論的知識。來自於親身經歷某一真實的知識,是實證知識。換句話說,理論知識對的是概念,而實證知識,面對的是真實。

就我而言,實證知識要比理論知識來得更能釐清問題,更讓人信服。這並不是指理論知識沒有用處,但理論知識的價值,在於當實際應用這知識時,它能夠使你獲得實證知識。實際應用才是關鍵。

在我自己的個人/修行和工作當中,我當看到,有人分享了自己的經驗,但這個經驗卻被認為是理論。例如,可能有人說:「當你能夠為自己的情緒負起責任時,你就會變得很堅強。」如果我們從來沒有實驗過,我們會把這個說法視為理論,因為我們本身無法得知它究竟是真是假。若要真正深刻地認識某件事,唯一可能的方法就是實際體會。

因為我們缺乏經驗,所以很自然地會將他人的真實,理解為理論。我不相信人們分享自身的真實,是為了讓這份真實成為理論。我認為在分享真相的背後,是一股幫助他人獲得類似經驗的渴望。如果這是分享的意念所在,那麼找到一個方法,分享你對某項理論的真實體驗,就變得很重要。我認為這個方法應當至少有以下元素:

  • 理解: 當你有不清楚的地方時,務必提問。有任何疑問,就提出來,解決它,否則疑問會影響練習。
  • 練習: 找一個方法,練習你所理解到的。向那些分享個人真實的人請教練習的方法,或者發揮創意,自己找出一個方法。儘可能誠心地練習這個方法。
  • 觀察: 透過觀察練習所產生的內在與外在影響,體驗練習的成果。

如同往常,當我在網誌上寫文章時,常覺得好像還有很多話沒說。但同時我很猶豫是否應該再寫下去,因為我擔心我會把一篇簡單的文章,寫成像一本書一樣!我希望這篇文章至少釐清了一些關於練習和練習的益處的問題。

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