NOW!… all that matters.

July 17, 2015

This morning while having breakfast in the village Bak Kut Teh shop. Hardly had I sat down. A man began to lament….The specter of famine hangs before us…El Nino is coming…soon the earth will crack and there will be no crops. We matilah! Shortly thereafter another man turned to me. This time lamenting about the free falling ringgit against the Sing $….if this goes on, then no matter how hard I work, it will be like ploughing the sea…my wife back home in Chua Chu Kang will be reduced to picking up cardboard…..we matilah! And after he finished, another lamented about how the sign of the times are turning darker. As this man went on to say, ‘I heard there are people fighting in Bukit Bintang…where will we all be in ten or twenty years from now?….matilah some more.

That was when I lowered my chopstick and leaned back slowly into the chair as if deliberating the weight of all these Lamentations. Till a grave silence hung over the table as everyone sat at the tip of their chairs.

Then I told them all…the sum of all my lamentations in a slow gravel voice.

‘Do you know what will be the death of us all? Do you know will kill us all faster than a speeding bullet?’

Everyone leaned forward. The tension was tight as a drum. Even the zinc roof of the shop began to vibrate and all the patrons who had been secretly eaves dropping on the conversation lowered their voices, till the drop of the pin sounded like a sledge hammer.

Then it came in a whispering rush.

‘This Bak Kut teh is way too salty. We will all die of high blood pressure, if we keep this up!…this one sure 100% mati one!’


‘Disciplining your mind to live in the present does not mean you are so carefree like a hippie, you don’t even bother to plan for the future. Neither does it mean you are so reckless that you do not regularly deliberate on your past words and actions so as to use it as a means to gainfully improve yourself in the present and future.

No! Living in the present does not mean any of these things. Not at all.

It just means you are fully conscious of what is happening all around you 360 degrees NOW! This very moment when you are speed reading this blog post…slow down, let the words fill your mind like water filling a glass. You are conscious of everything that goes in and out of the revolving door of your mind. You are even conscious of what is above and below and beyond. So alert and mindful are you of NOW, that you are even conscious of how the past or future thoughts and images can creep up on you like a ghost to influence the way you make sense of the present.

This insight is the key to awakening ones consciousness which is the opposite of sleep walking….automatic living…cruise control living…autopilot living.

If you take the trouble to step aside and just observe all around you. You will see the vast majority of humanity are sleep walking….they may be proceeding hastily to work, dedicating themselves even to the rigor of an eight hour work day etc etc etc….but since, they are neither mindful of the past, present and future and how it all tugs and pulls in different directions to unbalance, distract and disorientated the mind.

They are all sleepers. They are sound asleep.

Not very long ago I was asked by one of these sleepers. A plantation lady to render my expertise as a marksman to help improve her archery. For over ten years this woman who is an avid archer has not been able to even hit a barn door despite her dedication and after spending a scandalous sum procuring the most expensive equipment and hiring the world class coaches.

When she visited me. I asked of this sleeper to shoot a dozen or so arrows while I watched. Thru it all she was asking, is my form right…how is my posture….is my arm sticking out….how is my neck…. etc, etc.

As I watched on….it was so very clear to me why she can’t shot for nuts! the problem is directly before her like a school bus. But since she is asleep. She cannot see it!

After watching in agony for quite a considerable period. I asked of this lady. Madam how badly do you want to improve your archery? The lady replied half puzzled, ‘what do you mean? I am here right?’ I went on to press the point further, ‘yes, I know you are very committed, but I am asking of you a very different question – how badly do you want to improve your archery?’ She thought me strange. So I asked her to assume position to take a shot.

As the bow was strung. I moved closer to her. So close that I was only a mere hair’s breathe from touching her. While her focus began to disintegrate. Almost immediately, this lady began to lose her composure like the super structure of a steel bridge that was creaking and protesting under high winds just before it breaks away – her countenance began to take on strain. Her muscles tightened imperceptibly. She was transformed into stone. When the stress got too much, she even murmured as if thinking aloud ‘what is the meaning of this?’

When she loosed the arrow – it went wild.

I merely quipped, that is what happens when you are distracted and not in the moment!

I could tell from the lady’s strained and quizzical look she was about to ask why had I come so close. But before she could even verbalized her thoughts, I went on to request of her to prepare to take another shot.

To which she obliged somewhat reluctantly as she flashed me a look of suspicion – this time just before she loosed the arrow…I touched the square of her back with my palm. The shot was so wildly off the mark. I suspect the arrow may well be somewhere on the moon.

Thereafter the lady retracted most visibly and this time she asked of me in a tone of upmost distress and consternation, ‘Sir, I was under the impression you are a gentlemen…’ Before she could complete the sentence again, I removed my sunglasses and asked her to draw another arrow and prepare for another shot. This time my voice was firm.

To which she obliged again. As the bowstring was pulled back this time. I leaned towards her and whispered, now regard my touch like the caress of the gentle wind….I am not asking you to ignore my hand. I am only asking of you to regard it as the natural thing in this world that does not have the power to affect you. As you are in another place called NOW…..this very moment you are in stillness like the silence in the eye of the raging storm. Here in the absolute silence of nothingness. Thought you are aware of my touch along with all other thoughts. They are all powerless. And can never affect you. As you are so much in NOW. You simply are….

This time when the lady loosed the arrow. Her form was sweet and clear, everything was so natural and the arrow could do nothing else except find it’s mythical mark squarely on target.

Thereafter, the lady smiled supremely and for a brief moment I felt a shudder go thru my spine like electricity requiring me to take the same advice I had just given her. As from the very essence of her expression of complete and unbridled satisfaction. I found myself wondering whether it might have been something else beside striking the bullseye that accounted for the smile she wore that day that reminded me so much like a Cheshire Cat who had just caught a mouse.’

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