Friday, August 31, 2012

The Secret and Pray like you mean it

Less than a month till departure and here I am, still not revising. Haha...I'm just taking what all my seniors are telling me to do, "ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY TO THE MAX. WARNING: DO NOT STUDY." Not sure whether it's a good sign but since the all the advices corroborates, I'll just take it at the moment and not study. So I ended up reading 2 more books this week. I just finished "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne yesterday and now in the mid of reading "Be the Miracle" by Regina Brett. 
The Secret is no doubt, a very powerful book. It has been classified in the New Age religion genre. I have not watched the movie so when I first saw this book in the book store, I was like, what on earth is a New Age religion? How is that possible? Setting Scientology, Gnosticism, Atheism and other not-so-typical religions aside, how is it possible for modern human to create a religion out of the blue and have so many followers? I believe, the effect that this book has on me has shown that it does have the potential. This book has left me with very disturbing thoughts throughout these few days. It's not all bad, but there are some parts that may not be so suitable for some ' rather gullible' believers. Of course I believe that Christ have chosen you and will lead you closer to Him, but it is definitely not advisable to expose yourself to temptations. Why put your Lord to the test? Read without believing everything in this case.

I said that The Secret is a good book as it has taught me about
  • Law of Attraction, 
  • Thinking positively,
  • Be extra grateful to everything in Life and being aware of our thoughts and our responses in Life,
  • Be joyful despite the circumstances.
Part of the content is eerily similar to Christianity, but of course lack of the essence of Christianity - Christ died, Christ resurrected, Christ saves, Christ reigns forever. It lacks the unconditional, everlasting Love - the core of Christianity. And yet again, how can we ever compare something worldly to story of God? The Secret incorporates part of Bible in it, part of words of wisdom from giants of the past like Charles Haanel.  I believe that we should strive for our best in our calling. I believe that we should remain optimistic and love our life too. I believe everything is good on earth, for everything is the creation of God to bring glory to God thus we should love everything just as Christ loved us but regarding ourselves as God, as eternal energy, as source of all wisdoms, that bit completely puts me off. We are the image of God, His creation. He is omnipresent: in us, out of us, around us, but we are never God Himself. Just as water is in us, but are we water? We have been blessed with the mind to think so creatively and make almost everything possible. Almost everything but we are never God. Besides, in this short book, many parts actually conflicts and contradicts itself if you read cautiously and digest with a critical mind. This has again shown me, no one is perfect, despite how badly the authors in this book wanted us to believe that. We can follow what the authors said in this book THINK we are perfect now, but can we guard ourselves against all imperfection every second of our life? What happens when that evil thought creep inside our mind, are we still that perfect? Of course I believe that we will be made perfect when we are with Christ but being perfect on our own, I doubt the most powerful thinkers on world has the power to guard himself against all evil thoughts, even if it's just milliseconds in their mind, deeply hidden away from the perceptions of others. The author also quoted from a famous religious figure we are what we think and creations are from the mind so we can create anything through total control of our thought alone, but whose mind thought of HUMANS in the first place? Who thought of putting those thoughts in our mind at the beginning? Are we still 'God Almighty' after all? 

At the end of the day, I do not base my faith on a gallimaufry of 'essence' from all religions and histories.

However, this book has brought a Bible verse to my attention: 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

This verse is again repeated just the next day when I am reading Chapter 19 of 'Be the Miracle'. I was reflecting on the way I pray. Too often I do not pray like I believe it will happen, more of like a nag/complain/concession. Of course I know God has the power to do anything, but I keep repeating the same prayer every day, I keep on chanting the same sentences and right after prayer, very often I return to the state of anxiety as before, like nothing happened, like God's deaf. 
I would like to share an example from this book with you:

Let's say I call my friend Beth and ask her to have lunch with me on Thursday, and she says yes. Then I call her every 15 minutes to double-check if she wants to have lunch with me on Thursday. She'd start to wonder, Why doesn't Regina believe me? Doesn't she trust me to show up? That's how I've been with God. 
I'm an asker and a doubter.

Of course, everyone is free to pray in whatever way he/she likes. There's no rule that says, YOU ARE FORBID FROM REPEATING YOUR PRAYERS. You pray standing, sitting, kneeling, lying, before eating, while eating, while conversing, flying and every moment of you're awake. It lies with the intention, the faith, are we praying like we mean it? Are we graceful enough to receive whatever we've prayed for, or are we still taking things into our own hands? 

Pray like you received it. Thank you, Lord. :) 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of removing birthday reminders on FB

I admit, I am no where near the description of being thoughtful. I can't remember dates well. I can't remember my friends' birthdays well. Remembering each of my immediate family members' birth dates by heart is a great recent achievement! I remember certain details of past events, but never the dates. It'll be no surprise that one day I'll forget my own birthday. Oh wait, that's quite unlikely. I would be celebrating Christmas anyway, if I ever forget about my own birthday. Not quite sure what will happen for my future anniversaries though so I'm hoping my better half would complement me in this sense. :p

I could still recall the great sense of relief that I have when Friendster and Facebook came with the birthday reminders. People just put up their birth dates without having their long-time friends to ask the awkward question: When is your birthday again? (Yes, this author agrees with the unspoken rule of close friends are obligated to know each others' birthday)

But here's my point: It's not that I do not want to remember these important dates, it's just that why can't we just enjoy these 'services' available? Good for you, if you are a thoughtful person, gifted with the ability to remember dates accurately. However, why not put in more effort in celebrating and remembering the moments with the person instead of plainly memorising the dates then give half-hearted, last minute birthday wishes? I do not know about you, but there's this situation on Facebook trending nowadays: People removing their birthdays from FB. It's ok if you want to keep your birthday a secret, it's your privacy, I have no problem with that. :) The problem arises when you deliberately remove your birthday with the intention of testing  who 'your true friends are', and 'those insincere people' like yours truly, who has horrible memory on numbers and dates forgets to send you a birthday wish, and subsequently the victim starts blaming all those friends that didn't send a birthday wish at the strike of 12 midnight, and finally resolves to declare a cold war against all those morons friends.

I'm just upset and extremely confused. Why opt for the difficult way that will hurt a friendship when there's obviously free, easy reminders around.That's what reminders are for right? It is so that we can remember important dates, prepare and celebrate together! In all past circumstances which I was reminded of a loved one's  birthday ahead of time, it was all happy memories shared and to be reminisce together one day. There you have it, you're happy, I'm happy, we're both happy - win-win situation, happy ending, why not?! I know, some people say, if you are concern enough for a person, you will remember every single thing of that person. I understand, of the gazillions wishes you get on the wall on past birthdays, you wish to segregate the genuine wishes from the half-hearted ones on this special day of yours so you took this radical step, this risk to lose many friendships at one blow. If you wish to know the truth and a birthday wish is, in your terms, the parameter for measuring the sincerity of friendships, from this day onwards, my dear friends, let me warn you of this:

This friend here, wholeheartedly apologise if I ever forget about your big day. By this point, you ought to realise that you have a friend with super lousy memory on dates and may be the most unthoughtful person on earth and (insert whatever adjectives you like). Yes, she has been relying on Facebook or mobile's reminder to look out for people's birthdays and most important dates because whenever she jots the birthday down on a piece of paper/journal, that hard copy will be lost very soon. She has been trying hard to remember birthdays by heart but to her dismay, it doesn't seem to work very well until today. I am truly sorry. Am I a sincere friend to you? We are adults, I believe you have been blessed with a sound mind, matured enough to consider carefully. Judge yourself and take whatever actions that comforts you but please pardon me in this case for I could only ask for your forgiveness on behalf of this memory of mine. I will definitely try my best, to my knowledge and ability, to wish you a great great Happy Birthday.  :)

With or without the birthday wishes, it's still 'one year older, one year wiser' so do enjoy your day, mate!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Humility

"Hey, you should come and help me with this," my mom said holding up a half fresh chicken with bloody looking internal organs, "so you'll know how to cut people's next time."

Now I know why did she protested so strongly when I first told her about my ambition.

About setting an ambition, I've been talking quite a bit recently about my past experiences of finally settling with medicine and whenever this happens, this whole dilemma of showing pride with honesty or hypocritically-pretending to be humble hits me. It just happens every single time. In fact, I don't know why I always get this pang of guilt talking about my past experiences/achievements, as if I have done something wrong. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut no matter what next time. A confession: I really did do something wrong - for allowing pride taking over.

Fine, let's not even pull 'being proud' into the picture. To be genuinely humble, is extremely difficult. A person can be self-effacing, gentle, meek and 'humble' all the the time, but is the person really humble? Or is he just pretending to be humble, a hypocrite, so he can earn his rewards? Is he trying to earn praises from his friends, seniors for the sake of his resume/popularity, or is he really putting others' higher than him?

Next, how much 'humility' is humility? Where is the fine line separating humility and low self-esteem? What if I'm being so humble such that I've discredited all the blessings that God wants to me share with others, as a testimony of His love in my life, and yet here I am, keeping everything to myself? Should I share?

A friend once told me, that's not the point of humility. (I've talked to a few friends regarding this, but none seemed to give a pragmatic answer, or what a pragmatist would be fond of.)  Rather, humility is about imitating Christ. No doubt, humility has been a very central virtue of our Lord. But, what exactly is imitating Christ?

Who, being in very nature God, 
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing 
    by taking the very nature of a servant, 
    being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death 
        even death on a cross!

(Philippians 2:7-8)

Was reading this passage as a friend suggested. Then I read the whole chapter.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4)

There, that is more like a practical, clear first step of imitating Christ. :) 

Slightly more than 40 days till departure. I've been back from camp for almost 3 weeks and I'm back to madly reading. I mean, 40 days left to read whatever I like. Got bored of non-fictions, have been reading quite a few beautifully-written fictions. The stock-up session at Bookxcess in KL few weeks ago (3 books bought only) has proven to be obviously very inadequate to satisfy my craving for stories, but thank God for the another financially-able book-lover at home - my sister-in-law. Her library is amazing. So...back to reading!

Friday, August 03, 2012

I need a BIG bookshelf

I have had enough of the incessant complaints from my mom and the eldest brother.

"Books...books...books everywhere!!!! Your room is a complete mess!"

"That pile of books on the dining table better be vanished before you leave for university!"

"Where are you going to sleep tonight? I can't see your bed!!! Is it underneath all those books?!?!?!"

"Your study table is huge but I can't even see the surface of it!"

etc etc.

Urgh. You know what's the best solution? Give me a library and I'll store all those books, (which strangely are eye sores to them) or perhaps, I'll enjoy the luxury of storing myself inside that library too. Hehe. :) However, since it's quite impossible at the moment to magically set up a library, all I ask is big bookshelf in my room. Then, I'll promise those 'mess' will never again appear in any corner under this roof.
Caught reading during work time.
What!? They didn't assign me any task for hours!
You guys have any spare change to donate towards this cause?

***************************

I was wondering what will happen to this blog once I go over to the UK? I mean, it has been 'sort of' abandoned before when I was working on my exams during college days. I believe the workload in Medicine is much bigger than A-levels. Will I stop blogging? 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"Somewhere Only We Know" - Keane (ft. Max Schneider & Elizabeth Gillies)




I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete
Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches of it looking at me
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
So why don't we go

This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know

This could be the end of everything,
So why don't we go,
Somewhere only we know,
Somewhere only we know,
Somewhere only we know.

**************************************************
By 25, I hope I remember this
You are young enough to believe that anything is possible, and you are old enough to make that belief a reality.

Maximising Memories


"...we need to appreciate that our senses are not designed to record the world, but instead to make sense of it."

"leave pretty women to men devoid of imagination"

" It's an imaginative process where we actively discover meaning on the basis of prior knowledge. We only really perceive what we know how to perceive."

- The Importance of Obeservation, The Guardian, 15 January 2012. 


 when learning, it is best to continuously and cyclically review information as you go.

the ideal time to review a memory is just before you are about to forget it. 

your memory gets stronger with each review, the times at which you should review the information increase exponentially.

 it is often very helpful to review information you wish to remember just before you fall asleep. In the morning, what seemed complex and cloudy can appear surprisingly lucid.


- How to Improve Long-term Memory, Ed Cooke, The Guardian, 15 January 2012.

Tips to Maximising Memory:
Rehearsal
Elaborative Processing 
Mnemonics
Retrieval Practices


- How to maximise your memory, Jon Simons, The Guardian,  14 Janurary 2012