Its all about relationship

udonthani-rice-field

I recently chanced upon a video clip from Youtube and that kept me thinking for a while. The video is about a university lecturer addressing his students. It was a science lecture and he was telling them that the basis of everything, or to be more specific the basis of life is relationship. Everything on this planet earth is all about relationship; one thing links to another. The mysterious thing about life is how all these things are interconnected and how, to a large extend, can’t do without each other. He explained that when God created the universe, He first created the physical elements that support life, such as light and heat, water and the air. These elements are then interconnected and eventually giving breath to other life-forms, such as plants, vegetations, living creatures and finally humans. After He created man, He found that it is not good for him to be alone, therefore He created a companion for him, the woman. There, humans are again interconnected through various kinds of relationships. When the man and woman fell from grace, this first relationship and the whole interconnectedness of things in the world changed.

Although shared from a biblical perspective, I find this whole idea of interconnectedness very mesmerising. The fact is we are more connected than we are divided. We need each other more than the fact that we are separated. And perhaps, we are more similar than the differences we thought we have.

Some years ago, I went through a very dark period of my life and I decided to cut myself off from the people around me. I did not physically isolate myself from them, but what I was going through greatly affected my relationships with them. I felt disconnected and life was very miserable. I went away for a period of time and started traveling from Thailand to Vietnam, Malaysia and eventually to Bhutan. In Bhutan, I found a very different kind of connection. I was connected back to nature, back to the mountains and back to the valleys. I was connected back to the living streams that gave life to the trees in the forests and the creatures that inhabit the ground.

In Bhutan, I was surrounded everyday by the Himalayan mountains and everyday I walked through the woods and passed through the rivers and streams. Each step I took and each breath I breathed in, I was making renewed connection with creations and rediscovering the lost connection. It was when I reconnected myself with nature’s energy, I realised how small and tiny I was in all of these networks of life; this vast interconnectedness that we are all living in. My Bhutanese guide often told me that Bhutanese do not see themselves as superior to nature, neither do they see themselves as inferior. They see themselves as all part of nature: the trees in the forests, the rocks in the field, the fish in the streams,  the creatures roaming in the woods and the humans that inhabit the ground, all are part of this whole networks of life and breath. We all breathe in the same breath and received heat from the same Sun and enjoy the coolness of the same moon.

When I came back from my retreat in Bhutan, the first thing I wanted to do was to restore my relationships with my family and friends. With the renewed relationships, I set to make things in order, set the wrong right all over again and slowly build up my strength to face the challenges of life all over again. We never have to live in defeat and despondence if we understand how interconnected we are and how we can draw strength from one another.

Chang, from Bangkok

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Deeper in Conversation

Had a much deeper conversation with Pastor J yesterday afternoon. I was rather surprised that I was able to be rather open towards him with regard to certain issues. I am really thankful to Pastor J for taking up this journey together with me. He doesn’t need to given his busy schedule but still he has been making time to talk and share with me for the past few weeks or even months. He has provided me an avenue to share some of my deeper thoughts and connecting me back to God in one way or another. The journey would have been very different if it is not because of him.

One of the main difference between here and Bhutan is that I have to manage more expectations here. Over in Bhutan, life is simple and I don’t have much expectation. However, here back home, even if I can manage my own expectation, I cannot manage other peoples’ expectations of me. Ever since I came back, there’s been much talk about what I will be doing when I return to school. Various people have spoken to me and sometimes I am lost at all these expectations. I guess there’s one thing I can do, that is to manage my own impression of all these expectations. The people around me have all kinds of different expectations on me, including friends and close ones. Some expect me have a positive change, some expect me to behave in a certain way after I return, some expect me to ….. Well and the list goes on and on. Gosh…what kind of world is Singapore!

My VP1 asked me an interesting question. She asked ‘If Buddhism and its belief system is the key to Bhutanese happiness, then what is it that we are missing in the Bible that make Christians unhappy?’ Basically what she is asking is that is Buddhism then the key to true happiness? My answer to the question is that, it’s not that the Bible is not enough or God is not enough. The issue is a lot of Christians are missing the point in the Bible. We have missed too many points while trying to fit the Bible into our worldly system. They do not realise that it is as good as trying to fit a triangle to a square. I should be able to talk more about this in my future blog.

The gatekeeper