Monthly Archives: November 2016

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Christmas Reflection 2016

The sounds of Christmas bells, carols and the dazzling bright lights of Orchard road always warm my heart this time of the year. My favorite festive has to be the Christmas season indeed. There is a story behind this.

Most kids live the best of their childhoods at 10 years old. I had a rather unconventional one. My parents’ marriage didn’t work, they didn’t bring out the best in each other, and I kind of took the biggest impact of it all. Often physically beaten up for no reason, and emotionally abandoned, I had no access to resources for love and nurturance in the earliest years of my life.

At 10 years old, I contemplated suicide. Standing on a chair at the kitchen window of an 8 storey flat, I imagined jumping off and ending my life. I wanted to finish the experience of being human because I was sad about my parents’ fighting, scared of again being bashed up for no reason, and miserable at having nobody to turn to. In some distorted way, I thought maybe I was the cause of my parents’ disharmony. It seemed better to end this life and hit the reset button.

But I stood there by the window sill for some time, thinking: What if I don’t die? What if I got injured and needed to be sent to the hospital? Do I need to bring my school pass for identification? Do I need money for transport if I don’t die?

Eventually, somebody knocked on the door, disrupting me from the train of thoughts. I got down from the chair and climbed into bed.

The next day when I woke up, I had a new resolve. Since I didn’t quite manage to die, I told myself I shall jolly well live a hell of a life. Let’s make it bad-ass and awesome! 🙂

From 10 to 13 years old, I kind of made it through by studying like crazy, switching off my emotions to avoid feeling too sad about my parents, and praying every single day. I prayed for a way to be free of my circumstances. My big break came when I was 13 years old. That year during Christmas, a friend recommended me for a part time job as sales assistant at a Christian gift shop.

I remembered sitting by the telephone for days, staring at it, willing it to ring, hoping that it would be the owner of the shop calling me to start work. When I finally got the call to report for work at S$2 per hour, I knew that I could be free of the circumstances I was born into.

That was huge to me. I knew then I could work my way to University, and I could create the life that I want to live.

My first Christmas, even though I was only 13 years old, was unforgettable. The Christmas songs that I heard for the first time then, got ingrained in my head, even up till now, and they conditioned feelings of empowerment, hope, freedom, love and support. Images of Santa, snow flakes, reindeers, sleighs and Christmas pine trees always make me wanna smile and dance with joy.

Subsequently, with several other part time jobs, I made it through the rest of Secondary School, College and University. Fortunately, I left home when I turned 14, escaping the abusive environment; bunking in with classmates and their families who treated me as one of their own.

There were many people whom although were not related to me, gave me love and care. Because of them, and generous employers who helped support my studies, I held the world view that people are good, our default nature is to help one another as a humanity, and that the Universe is friendly.

Until today, whenever I think of all the people who had given me love, I’d feel so full of gratitude. They had contributed to my magnificent journey of growth, love, forgiveness and courage. I am still on this journey today. In fact, the older I get, the more I feel like a baby on this thing commonly called the ‘spiritual path’.

In retrospect as I healed my relationships with my parents, I knew that they loved me to their best ability, through whatever limitations, fears and filters they have about life. They were doing the best they knew how to.

Although in my experience as a child, I definitely did not feel loved and cared for. While my parents had their own life paths to live and lessons to learn, I could choose to blame them and remained a victim; or I could take responsibility for my own life, learn forgiveness, cultivate compassion and make my life into a blessing for others. The latter was what I chose.

The circumstances into which I was born into had very little resources. I was probably the least likely kid to grow up to be successful or to be living a life that I love. Today I am loved immensely, surrounded by beautiful people. I’d found family in people who have no blood ties with me, and in strangers who would go out of their ways to help me; I am financially comfortable, and ecstatically blessed to have found my passion early in life, and be doing work that I care deeply about.

Most days, I wake up happy to be alive, and amazed with the miracle of just being able to draw a long belly breath. Just about almost everything from Nature to music fascinates me. Everything tangible and intangible that I have and own today, I’m grateful for them because they came to me by grace.

Granted that in life, it is never just a bed of roses. There are times where people whom we trusted sort of turned on us and hurt us. In fact, last year’s Christmas and this year’s New Year period was a time of profound growth and heartache for me. Someone whom I had came to trust and love deeply, bailed out on me, my heart was broken. It took me nearly a year to completely neutralize the intensity of emotions so that I won’t co-create the same scenario again.

Shit is not pleasant. But always after shit happens, when we look back, its easy to recognize that all the experiences of hurt are good because they taught us to discern between what is real from what is not. Because my fundamental belief systems are built on the goodness of humanity, I know that Life is on my side. If anything at all, I’m more sure now than before that Life is in my favor.

For your information, Life is on your side too. Universe always says yes. We just need to clean up our minds enough to know what we are asking for.

You see – every one of the 6 billion people here on the planet has their own story of struggle. I believe that no matter what circumstances we are born into, our past does not indicate our self worth. It is what we make out of our story that determines our worth. One important core belief that we need to have in order to be successful, is the belief that Life is always organizing itself to our highest good.

This Christmas, I invite you to ponder on these 2 questions which had served me on my darkest periods. The right kind of inquiry never fail to bring enlightenment if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and face ourselves honestly –

“If all of Life is organizing itself to my highest success, what would I be thinking, saying and doing?”

“What is the one thing that I can do right now to be more loving?”

 

(C) Linda Loo

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Healing Amenorrhea with Living Foods and Yoga

The most amazing thing up to now about my life, is that I reversed Amenorrhea with a decade of Living Foods and Yoga.

When I was 27, my periods began disappearing after years of crazed marathon running and extreme water sports. At first it was a month, then 2 months, and eventually they disappeared altogether.

At that time, visits to the gynecologist revealed that my body was not producing estrogen properly, due to the stressed state of over exercising. Doctors attempted to assure me not to worry because many female athletes experience similar conditions, and periods could be induced with estrogen pills.

So I heeded their advice to take medication; however after taking merely one course of the hormone pills, although my period returned, I broke out in Eczema that lasted months after the period finished.

Not having periods was disturbing, but compared to the suffering of Eczema, it was tolerable. I stopped the hormone pills immediately. And in order to cure the Eczema I went to several skin doctors, spent a lot of money, and got a ton of medication that did zilch to provide relief.

It was kind of a last straw for me, when I decided to accept the fact that western medicine does not really work for my body.

Close to being desperate to cure the Eczema, I went around looking for solutions. That was when I discovered the concept of eating right and Living Foods. Just after my 28th birthday, I sought out Alissa Cohen, a teacher of Living Foods in Boston. After that, my life took on a huge turning point.

In a nutshell, I turned to Living Foods to cure Eczema; through Living Foods I became inspired and passionate about Yoga and spiritual evolution, did a ton of work internally (and still am working on it).

After 9 years, my periods began to return, at first erratically. I was 36 then. And just after my 37th birthday, it started to regularize.

Now, a year later, my periods come on the dot almost every single month; except for the times when I make changes to my Yoga practice where it sometimes comes 2-3 days early or late.

Nothing short of amazing isn’t it? It is almost like having your eggs frozen for a decade and then having your facility reactivated. I was told by physicians that probably I’m going to remain fertile for a longer than average time, and maybe live longer too.

If you google for raw living foods, most of the conversations out there are about menses stopping or becoming light after raw vegan or Living Foods. You would hardly find any case similar to what I experienced.

People widened their eyes in disbelief whenever I shared with them. Even the most open minded doctors and physicians raised an eyebrow when I described to them my experience.

Out of the 10 years, I was on hard core 100% raw for about 7 of them. That means zero cooked stuff and no alcohol. It was also during these 7 years that I did the most impactful inner work. Lots of internal shift and release; really coming to terms with what is life about, and who am I beyond whatever that has happened in my life so far.

As I reflect upon the process of recovering the body of a healthy normal woman, in retrospect, I realized there are several valuable lessons that I learnt. And I am sharing that below so they may benefit others too:

There’s a will there’s a way

Can’t emphasize this enough. From grand civilizations to state-of-the-art skyscrapers, all great things are accomplished with determination and persistence. Whatever it is that you want, hold that possibility in the mind, continue to hold the vision as you work towards it, and be happy working towards it.

10 years is considered a rather long time for healing a health condition. The beautiful yet strange thing is that my main goal was first to cure Eczema, and after that was cured, I wanted to just heal my body and spirit. It was good enough for me to have above average health, extraordinary energy, to open up more parts of my brain, and of course looking good would be a bonus. Actually I did not really pray for my periods to return any more than a solid relationship with Divine consciousness.

I simply held the vision of progressive healing, recovery, growth and enlightenment and kept working at it.

Listen to yourself above others 

One of my favorite authors Neale Donald Walsh conveyed before in one of his conversations with God “There is only Truth in your heart that you need to know. Everything else is just what others say to you.”

Short, sweet and so to the point.

How many times have we failed in something, or failed to even start a project, just because somebody said to us that we would not make it?

How many times have we allowed ourselves to play small simply because someone told us we could ‘not make it’?

Many people told me it is not possible to heal Eczema; or to escape sicknesses when you grow old. I even knew people who ‘talked themselves to sickness’. It is quite sad to witness people telling themselves limiting beliefs about their own health just because some ‘authority’ said so.

In my own life, from well-meaning doctors to family and friends, I have had all sorts of things told to me. I I were to believe even half of them, I would probably be six feet underground now.

Whatever people tell you, if it limits you in anyway, listen to it with a grain of salt. And watch the way you talk to yourself. Most of the time the thoughts you think may not even be generic.

Our human body – the most amazing and advanced organization of cells and tissues

You are dwelling in the most incredible creation of Nature – the human body. I continue to be amazed and humbled by this masterpiece of cells, tissues, organs, bones and skin. The reason I stuck by eating raw living foods, even though I already achieved my objectives of healing, is because I want to continue to honor my body with the best raw materials, and allow it to perform its best.

Our bodies is a continuous work-in-progress. It is a temporal state in time, and not static at all. Every day old, cells die and new cells are born; in 6 months we get new organs and in 12 months we get entirely new structures of tissues.

To maintain top notch health and energy, we need to minimize metabolic waste. It is possible to do so within boundaries of still having our life work and be enjoyable. One of the things I’m grateful for in life is that I learnt to be a Living Foods chef because I can make healthy foods taste good, and I could offer this value to everyone I care about.

You could too, if you learn how to be Living Foods Chef. It is actually very easy and fun!

What brought you here, may not bring you beyond

A meditation teacher once told me before ‘Picture a wheel with spokes. Your objective in meditation is to get to the centre of the wheel, by taking a particular path – which is the spoke. Once you get to the centre of the wheel, you let go of the spoke because you don’t need it anymore.’

As human beings, there are tendencies to overly attach to a ‘path’ that we take, whatever that may be. At one point of time in my Living Foods journey, I was so fixated to extremity, that I would feel like sin if I so much as ate a vegetable soup.

Some would say that it is the flip side of determination, and some would say it is a disease unto itself to be so anal about it. Looking back now, I recognized that this kind of obsession was necessary for me before I could reach the point of dualistic neutralism without losing enthusiasm.

What I mean by that, is to be enthusiastic about health and Living Foods, yet sufficiently detached from blind pursuance. As long as the majority of my actions are generating health, it is ok to relax sometimes over a good glass of wine, maybe 2.

Sometimes I have so much fun that I drink much more than that (wine is indeed my weakness); but then I make sure I detox with juices and Vinyasa the next day, and I make healthy choices all over again.

The funny thing is that after my menstruation regularized, my body seemed to have change. I found my body colder than before, and I needed more calories everyday. If I wanted to fast, I had to make sure I eat more the 2 days before, or otherwise I was less than functional.

So I began making small changes – adding in organic milk, organic eggs and deep sea salmon 3 times a week while keeping the majority of my diet raw vegan. I found that as long as I keep up the green juices, smoothies and warming fruits like durians, I am ok in terms of stamina and brain alertness. Whatever I do, I discovered that I usually get into trouble when I miss out my green drinks for the day. So I simply made sure that I get that checked.

Someone asked if I would still be eating Living Foods in my 80s, my answer was ‘I don’t know; but if I were to know, most likely it would be a yes because I want to have health in order to experience a great life, great relationships and discover my potential as a human being.’

I hope my sharing added value to you. If it does, please write to me; I would be happy to hear from you.

Be fixated on the goal, not the means.

Namaste!

(C) Linda Loo

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Meditating on Tibetan Mantra: Aum Mani Padme Hum

There are more than several similarities between Traditional Indian Schools of Yoga and Tibetan traditions of Buddhism and Tantra Yoga. Tibetan teachings date back to roughly 200 BC (while the Vedas which forms the Upanishads, date back to roughly 1,200 BC). Many seekers and teachers including myself, believe that the original teachings were from one same source, and over the earliest years of our current civilization, had gotten dispersed.

Tibetan Yoga focuses substantially on Mantra Invocations. Sound has become something that many commercial Yoga centers leave out nowadays. Many conventional Yoga gyms and studios have avoided the practice of Mantra and Meditation to attract more customers and avoid possibly coming across as religious.

(More about that misconception of Yoga appearing ‘religious’ in another discussion.)

There are many similarities between the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and the Upanishads; although I like both, personally I feel the deepest connection to the Upanishads more than anything else. Each time i read a verse from any of the 12 major texts, it seems to be talking right at me, and it feels like home.

However, something about Tibetan Buddhism catches my attention – the Mantras.

The word Mantra comes from the root word ‘Man’ which means “Mind”. Mantras are sound invocations to adjust the control panels of our Mind. And it is totally cool because these invocations work even if the reciter does not understand the full meaning of a Mantra. As long as full attention and feeling is given when singing the Mantra, the effects would be felt.

One time, in a TV interview, the host asked the Dalai Lama his Holiness to translate and explain the meaning of the well-known Tibetan Mantra “Aum Mani Padme Hum”. Smiling with the innocence of a child, and shaking his head gently he said “Oh no no no, it is impossible to translate into English.”

That is the superiority of Mantra over language. Be it English, French, Mandarin, or any other language, regardless of the richness of the history, it is still a meaning-based tool, and bears little power over working on the subtle entities of thought and emotion. In fact, language is often a subject of our thoughts and emotions. We speak a certain way because we have a certain thought or emotion.

While we could attempt to understand roughly the vibrational meaning of a Mantra, it is simply not possible to capture the full meaning of a Mantra into words.

Let’s look at the Mantra in a little bit more detail:

Aum

Containing 3 pronunciations – Ah – Uh – Mm, this sound represents the past, present and future dimensions. It also symbolizes the cleansing and transformation of impurities of the body, mind and speech.

Mani

This sound is given to mean ‘Jewel’ or a ‘Precious Stone’. It symbolizes the preciousness, and purity of our intention. That in all that we say and act, we base our intention on compassion. Compassion for ourselves and others.

Padme

This symbolizes the flower ‘Lotus’. Think of the Lotus flower that is grows from mud, and yet keeping its head above water and looking clean, beautiful and serene. In the same way, this invocation reminds us to always keep our head above water, to maintain our ‘Lotusness’ even in the face of mud. One can also take the meaning further to understand that the spiritual journey involves mud coming into life, and that mud is inevitable. But we can still remain Lotus-like, and we have the power and discernment to choose people and situations that perpetuate our Lotusness.

Hum

This symbolizes the methodology and wisdom for transforming impure to pure. So that when we call out the Mantra, we will find the right method towards the right wisdom.

The right method brings us right wisdom; and then we will have wisdom to choose the right method. 

Brilliant and beautiful isn’t it? I hope you may find this useful, and that you would start using this Mantra for meditation.

(C) Copyright Linda Loo