Thursday, January 24, 2008

22 days

22 days have passed since I penned down the first post of this year.

In this span of three weeks and one day, I have certainly experienced a trying struggle of keeping my head lowered and burrowed in the piles of reference sources to complete my overdue academic assignment, as well as coping with the physical outbreak of stress-related symptoms.

It is a period I will never forget.

Incidentally, while swimming through these events in a painfully slow speed, I have kept my head under the emotional breaking point. It certainly had allowed me to observe myself from a detached dimension that I had not been overwhelmed by the flooding mental pressures, which often led me to an outbreak of mental frustration and subsequently defeated over-stretched state.

What had caused me to feel as such? I believe it is the recovered faith I have picked up, in myself, in my faith's practice, in my object of faith's worship. It is ultimately a tranquil sense of inner peace and crystal-light strength that allows me to fall back on, in the face of meeting my external work and study schedules as well as my internal fluctuating turbulent thoughts.

Around this time, I had also another realisation with regard to this seemingly undetectable yet tangible change - I had felt a genuine, concrete sense of relief from the emotional baggage I had carried from last year when I posted the letter coupled with a photo to my Mentor Ikeda Sensei. The letter was sent out on 5th Jan, and I presumed it would reach him three to five days later. It was around that time that I began feeling a sense of gratitude and peace springing forth from within me. I almost instantly knew that my Mentor had offered his prayer for me.

Till this day, I could still travel back in time, in me, and locate that clear, unstained spring of compassionate embrace.

It was also with this realisation and clarity that I embarked on completing the second assignment of my second academic module. To read a matter or issue distant from us is probably never good a choice; to write something that is distant, yet bringing it forth and establishing a link between it and the world takes on a much more difficult and strenuous level - one has to suppress any alternate, intruding thoughts and keep focus on attempting to understand what has this world incorporated for it to become as such.

The pursuit of knowledge and life's wisdom certainly has not been an easy one.

With the submission of the assignment, and a reply from the lecturer that no penalty was administered for my five-day delay, I managed to lower the pressing force that has been dwelling in my chest for weeks.

Coupled with this positive outcome, I prepare myself for the final third assignment of one of the two modules - Nuclear (Non)-Proliferation. It is something I have wrote to Sensei, promising to him that I would do my best in introducing his thoughts and ideals, through my academic work, to my University, which I believe I do owe a living gratitude toward. It is the best I can return to my alma mater, as a student of life.

As the night falls and the moon brilliantly shining, I set forth for the final thrust of this academic finale.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2nd January 2008

The weather has suddenly turned cooling. It was still heat and sunny before the conclusion of 2007, but once the turn of the year has come, the weather has been milder and softer. Could there be a link between the collected inner temporal calmness and gratitude of humanity, and the outer reflection and projection of the environment? I certainly do not have an answer for it.

New Year's day. It is a day which I have never lost sight of, not only because it returns as a forceful reminder that I am still alive, and living in this world with a cause, it also generates interest in me in observing how people would come to welcome it. The live telecast of the counting down for 2008 at New York Times Square, flashed across my TV screen, showed happy faces of thousands, all gasping in breath as the New Year Eve Ball made its descent by every second ticked. As it finally descended to the back of '2008', the figure lighted up, churning sparks of flash lights and euphoria into the air. Many kissed and more hugged, with even a man on his knee and a ring in his hand. The bride-to-be could not contain her joyful tears any longer.

The world has once more been revived by her annual renewal of calender life.

It is at this point that I would always reflect upon myself: while I can certainly be part of this gigantic throng of happy people, counting down and making merry of this joyous occasion, what has gone in me that allow me to live through the year with a directed sense of clarity? Would I again be lost in the whirlpool of my own weaknesses, and shaping the surrounding, to eventually lead me to where I have promised to depart? Would it again be a 'full circle' and got me into problems which I am suppose to discard? Would I again be committing mistakes and errors that I have resolutely set to dispose, on the eve of this new year's day? My mind wonders as the clock ticks continuously. Time waits for no man.

It is also with such a thought circling in me that I welcomed January the 2nd. It is the birthday of my Mentor, Ikeda Sensei. While the first day of each newly arrived year belongs to the world, including every sentient and non-sentient beings, I deem it fit to see that the second day belongs to humanity. It is a day where humankind would feel joyous in welcoming it, for this day witnessed the arrival of a great human being.

Incidentally, the excitement brought on by celebrating the New Year's Day would seem short-lived and unsettling. After the party and songs, everyone returns to his/ her own usual social and family settings. The celebration of the birthday of a great human, on the other hand, brings on calmness and resolution: it brings forth one's determination to want to be that person, the courage to live that person's dreams, and the conviction to re-ignite that person's unwavering committment to a noble cause, what it may be.

It is, by and large, a celebration of echoing one's own inner fortress of strength and courage with that great human's. It is a celebration of life.

When all dust are settled and the world returns to her norms, what we have will only be the same economic, social, political and envrionmental conditions as the year before. What will be different will be the hearts and souls of those who have gathered a gushing of human spirits and strengths determined to making this brand new year a different one from the last. Perhaps it is here that lies the true meaning of celebrating a new year's day. It is from within that we ought to begin, and end with.