Friday, August 16, 2019

My sense of Creatvity.

After spending eight months creating my artworks, Insh'Allah I plan on taking a retreat posibly to the East Coast and find a community I can take refuge in to do this. It is time to rejuvenate and revitalize my energies for the next series. I found that in the process of creating my works I had been impatient in the past and also I tend to overwork injecting more than what is complete to create more acceptable pieces to my viewers. Sometimes this works but most of the time I had watered down the impact I was aiming for and then doubts would instigate my mind into adding more than necessary. To be able to accept what is exactly that I see in my heart becomes a challenge in the form of trying to please others or make the images more palatable to those who view my works. I need to  find that instinct or gut feeling that says ,'This is It'. This is what I have in mind  whether the viewer understand it or not, it is the up to their own perception and for it matters they might see more than I anticipate.

Creating artworks has become yet another spiritual practice is a part of my experiment  with life, another medium of exposing my deeper inner feelings and emotions hidden in the subconscious. Art is a medium most conducive towards self discovery like meditation. The whole process of creating, from the choices of a location a studio to the choices of mediums and thoughts and ideas to the theme I would like to express. Sometimes the process itself dictates the outcome when there is free flow of creativity rather than control as far as the theme is concern; Art is the freedom to express my own creative instincts. I am not an artist who can paint a perfect bunch of bananas or coconuts hanging from the tree at least I refuse to become such a craftsman even though there is nothing wrong with it and often time can prove profitable. It does not meant I cannot do it if I try, but repetitious, mass produce of this kind of expression is not my forte; I refuse to draw and paint to please others but to introspect my own ego. I would strive to give reason and meaning to my works where my viewer has an opportunity to participate and enjoy the finished product much more than a beautiful painting.I know there are a great many artists today who strives to achieve the same, creating works that makes you think on a deeper level than merely a well executed and good combination and well designed of colors and forms. Art therapy is a good exercise for young adults and children in this matter if nothing else it helps to get the young minds to focus on what is in front of them that they are working on. It also helps them to enjoy a free flow of their own thoughts and emotions allowing for the mind to express express itself rather than keeping all the emotions trapped within. Sadly enough today we have the I-Phones and various other gadgets to replace this practice of self expression through art. Children today are bombarded by so much negative and mostly destructive sense distractions it is scary to think how the next two or three generations are going to fare.






Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Time to wake up - State of the Nation.

Allah Selamatkan kami, may the Lord save us by His Grace. Slowly but surely this Nation is headed for a civil strife as more and more acts of violence and intolerance is emerging all over the country where minor and some almost insignificant confrontation that could have been resolved rationally flares up ino a racial issue and exacerbates an already potential time bomb that we are all sitting on. It is indeed a tragedy for a country such as ours, rich in biodiversity, natural resources and cultural and religious diversity is headed for chaos from which rest assured there will be no winner when shove comes to blows. We will all suffer and more sadly, our children and theirs will regardless of who we are, rich or poor. 

We are human and being human we make all kinds of bad choices and mistakes, but we cannot allow for this to become an addiction, an incurable decease; there is a cure for all illnesses and we just have to look for it. Malaysians are loosing their tolerance and patience towards each other especially when interacting in a multiracial setting. We become more Chinese, more Malay and more Indian than our forefathers in their days. But nowhere in time of our history has we as Malaysians claimed to be just that;Malaysians, not Malay, not Chinese or Indians and any others. What has made us a unique Nation of a multi-Racial or ethnicity which had enriched our collective culture, is now being threatened by ignorance, greed and anger. Religion has become a major tool for political game and education has become a never ending case for discord; I thought we had elected the best brains in the country to run the government, my bad.

The Parliament has become a court for finger pointing as every member strive to outshine the other in matters that most of their constituencies are unhappy about, like what to do with Zakir Naik, Dong Zong, the Khat or Jawi among other non-essential, and great amount is spent by politicians yelling and screaming at each other over these matters, while the country reels into an economic breakdown, environmental disaster and most importantly civil unrest. The is none to blame, we have created this whole scenario for ourselves like it or not we will have to live or die with it. We have elected the people we thought can make a difference into office and we have often enough chosen to close our eyes as our environment is being raped and desecrated. Only we the people can  heal this country before its too late, by waking up and taking it upon ourselves to practice all that we know to be positive and productive for the benefit of the whole. Wake up, think before we strat to accuse or point our fingers, cease from racial slurs and mindful of where we throw our garbage. 

You and I, we make the difference whether we are aware of it or not, by sharing, by giving, by loving and understanding like we are a big family, for every and any small gesture of friendship and care makes a dent into effects of negativity. When we are told to stop using plastic we just do it and help to make this happen any which way we can. Let the religious leaders do their share of coming to a mutual understanding among all the religions that is what they get paid to do; hold them responsible. Hold our elected politicians responsible to find solutions towards the state of the nation and not be blinded by their rhetoric simply to just promote their own personal image. We the people deserve more than just being used as pawns in the game of politics; Wake up!Stay Awake, don't let them fool you. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Art of Living, (As an Artist).

Yesterday was the launching date for my Solo Art Exhibition and it went very well with the right people that was to be there were there. I had a few of my fellow artists here and my relatives who had no idea most of them about art appreciation but were none the less presnt because I had invited them for the show. A family of my niece and her children were also there having driven all the way from Kuala Terengganu  on the East Coast which perhaps a coincident but none the leas a very welcome sight as I would rather have them then most othrs back there. The there were a few local art collectors who bought among them five pieces of my works that amount to a good price. Call it a miracle, yes i believe in miracles, that the Higher Being, call it what you may, is indeed watching over me. I have dealt with this issue almost forever in my life and I still am looking for the tuth about myself and my relationship to this universe, this physical and spiritual realm of my existence and I had called it an experiment with life. The experiment is not over and the conclusion thus far has become a whole lot more challenging, but I am not going to accept what is presently my state of being here and will take on the next phase into the future no matter how long I have left.

The last painting had completed was called "Rebirth', depicting an image of a foetus  in the center surrounded by circles of green on one side and red on the other forming something like a Cosmic Symbol of the Yin and Yang. It is 3'x 4' in size and I had the hardest time in completing this painting was handed to the gallery on the morning of the day before the opening. Appropriately, I somehow feel a rebirth in me, a feeling that I had felt on several occasions in the past when I had felt that a change is crucially needed in my personal life. What it is or what I need to do I have a good idea of but will not divulge at present; I have yet ot set things right before it happens. For the past  months preparing for the exhibition has been a great lesson for me and I have been blessed with helps from many who had been kind and supportive that enabled me to complete my works. I am grateful to both my children here for having provided me with a place to live and have my own studio to work from. I am grateful to my relatives who had made sure I had enough to eat when I needed it and to my friends who by being themselves had allowed me to be who I am without frowning or judgemental as to my 'weird ways. I  had learned how vital relationship of oneself to others in all walks of life is if one is to make life itself meaningful. Perhaps if I have my show sometime in the future I would call it, "The Art of Living" (As an Artist).
 
Today I celebrated my seventieth birthday and I would not demean myself saying that I have not much to show for as this Blog would testify among other accomplishment that i had achieved; I dare say that I had lived life to its capacity as much any any man can say. It has been one long roller coaster ride and most of which I could have done better. I cannot claim myself to have been a saint but I am sure of having been a sinner and for this I need to find a complete healing of my soul; of who I am. I have to embark upon a journey of spiritual healing and purification before i die. I hope and pray that I would find a place that i can do this without too much disruption and external influences; like saying i need to find the cave where I can sit and converse with my Maker; my final journey towards self liberation. If i can catch a glimpse of 'Truth' on this final phase I would be more than satisfied, I might even call it enlightenment.





  




 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Art of Living.

A God given talent is what I have inherited from my grandfather and my father, both hailed from Sri Lanka and found their ways to this country through their gif ts . My grandfather was an artist and my father was a goldsmith and both has left their legacy in the forms of their creative abilities, My grandfather left  Mural paintings that covers the entire walls of the Mahindrama Buddhist Temple, one of the oldest Hinayana Buddhist temples in Penang, while my father left a one foot tall solid gold statue of Lord Subramaniam that is yearly being carried to and fro form one temple to another of the day of the Tahipusam as part of the ritual. When my family moved to the state of Terengganu he created many pieces of jewelries for thh Sultan of Terengganu. However these talents are not what they are remembered for by their children and grand children, they are remembered for being alcoholics and frowned upon by the God fearing Muslim pro genies; they are remembered in shame.

As I turn seventy, I too realize that my life has been just like theirs were and there are times that I feel like I am carrying on their legacy in terms of my abilities and lifestyle so much so that I had often wished that I had been a successful businessman or a mechanic rather than call myself an artist. From my childhood days I had been recognized as having a talent to draw and paint in my primary school and later  as a teenager and moving to the East Coast Art became a problem I had to content with as my mother deemed it a waste of time and most probably it reminded her of both my grandfather and father's traits. There is no sense in looking back too closely, however suffice to say that I did not enjoy growing up as a teenager until I decided to become a rebel and went about my own ways rather than be stuck with the norm; I was an angry young man who took it out on the world around me to satisfy my egotistic tendencies. I detested being pitted against my twin brother and having to live under the yoke of an eldest brother who was also my school disciplinary teacher. My face has been slapped so many times by so many people, who loved me so to speak that I have lost count.

No life was not all that bad especially after I decided that enough was enough and took to the road living mostly estranged from my immediate family; I discovered the dark side of the path and embraced it. I do not blame anyone for the way life has been for me and as a matter of fact accepts it as a blessing in disguise form I became more resilient and  diverted my anger towards becoming a survivor. For over ten years I did not have anything to do with Art until I moved to a place called West Allies in Wisconsin when I was twenty eight years of age. It was there I I decided to past my time painting again after working for more than three years as a meat cutter or boner in one of the packing house in downtown Milwaukee. Later I took up Art more seriously when I became a university student in Green Bay, Wisconsin and it was during this time that I was able to explore my potential as an artist. It was also in my years as an art student that I started to embark upon my journey of self discovery; Who am I?

I kept an on going journal of my works and thoughts wherever i went and to date have managed to salvage more than fifty sketch books dating back to 1978 which I started when i traveled to England on a study program. I was able to travel to many countries doing my studies before I graduated through a pioneer program called the University without Walls, a program initiated by the University of Madison, Wisc. At the moment I am writing this post the azan from the State Mosque came on with the special Hari Raya Haji call to prayer and it is ironic that here I sit relating my past that has a whole lot to do with my faith and belief that has yet to be reconciled even as I celebrate my birthday tomorrow, the day after the opening of my Solo Exhibition today.
“The spiritual confusion of the human world is indeed expressed in its religions. Religions have distorted the emotion of sincerity or piety: thus followers never have the opportunity to correctly reach the exquisite reality of spiritual truth.” ~The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth

Yes I envy those who are very close to God     especially they who can perform the haj to Mecca two or three times in their lifetime for I seriously doubt that i will ever be invited to the Holy Land. Yes i fear of the consequences of my life's actions, my faith and those of my children in the afterlife but I will remain the seeker that I am of the truth that I hold to be yet revealed unto me even if it is too late in my life. I would rather discover the truth for myself than follow blindly what is preached by the religions of the world; I will remain a rebel. It is said the "And the Truth shall set you free," in the teachings of Jesus. I have accepted life itself as a piece of Art, I live my life as an artist; I call it, The Art of Living.

For All the faithful I wish Salam Eidil Adha in Malay Selamat Hari Raya Haji. 









Thursday, August 08, 2019

OUT - SAM B. A Solo Exhibition by Shamsul Bahari.

At five am. in the morning I woke up and sat on my bed I felt peace after the head had been cleared of all the rattlings and the rumblings of the day before where i had handed over my 19 pieces of Artwork to the gallery for my Solo Exhibition. Peaceful in the fact that i have met my commitment towards having the show itself which I have worked on for the past eight months fron the moment I was offered a space in the gallery's busy calendar fo me to have my show which fell in August and the opening being on the day before my 70th. birthday and which also fell on the day of the Eid Mubarak when the Muslims all over the world celebrate the end of he Haj in Mecca. Since  the month of January i started to paint with body, my mind and my spirit having Katsushika Hokusai's words as my inspiration and the need to make an impact on the Art scene in my community as my  motivation.
"From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive..." - Hokusai.
 I painted using acrylic on canvass and had I used oil it would not have been possible to create as many as 19 or 20 in 8 months and the apartment would not allow for such purpose. I would have preferred to paint in oil, however. The canvas are of tow sizes, 10 are of 3x3 feet qhile the other 10 3x4 feet in size  The hardest thing about  for me  about producing a body of works is what to paint, what subject matter. I solved that by giving up thinking about conformity to subject matter or style and just painted what my heart decides to paint. I poured paints on my canvases and allow for things to happen and nature took its course. My sometimes become free from inhibitions and my subconscious exposed itself into unique expressions. As a whole I enjoyed my eight months of painting my heart out witnessed only by my daughter who made it all happen by providing me with the space to work from. This was the first time I could say that i had worked from my own studio.



















Friday, August 02, 2019

Look within in Silence.

 Silence is the highest form of learning and teaching. The Buddha was once said to have sat in silence holding up a flower in his hand where he was suppose to give a sermon before a vast group of devotees, and this created a stir among those present and some thought He was loosing His mind. After quite sometime a monk smiled at what was happening and bowed towards the Buddha. The Buddha broke his silence and addressed the congregation, " All that I am able to share with you in the form of words and explanations, you have all understood, only one man understood this teaching of silence among you." and the Buddha left. MahaKasyapa, the monk later became the next in line to lead the teachings of the Buddha after the Buddha's death. This is known as the Direct Transmission in schools of Mahayana Buddhism. When the mind is in absolute silence there is a direct open of channel between one and the other, between man and the universe. There is no walls or veils no distractions whatsoever for the cosmic energy to flow freely from one source to another. In  absolute silence, it is said, one can hear a needle dropping to the floor even in a room full of people.

This silence is the absence of the "I', that which we call the self, it is more than just the absence of thoughts. In deep meditation one attain to this silence state and often experiences a sense of absolute beingness, one becomes 'whole', complete and perfect. Being encapsulated in this physical form however this state being-ness cannot last indefinitely as the body is subjected to fatigue and tiredness and will cause the mind to reclaim its role as moderator of physical existence. Aches and pains will draw our mind back from the silence we have experienced no matter how delightful and peaceful we may feel. Our awareness of breath will draw our attention to the need to draw in a deep breath like one who was experiencing being drowned or suffocated or we let a long sigh of relief and return to the physical state. Thus being fully conscious of breathing in and out and the intervals in between is a great way to cultivate longer states of silence in our consciousness. 

For the believer, God speaks from within the silence, from the Secret of Secrets of the heart. Only those who have been able to silence their mind and remove their attachment from the mind created personality of the 'I' can hear the whisper of the Divine within. It is in silence that the heart is able to reverberate with the sound of the universe like that of the beating of the heart in an empty chamber; this is the goal of every man of wisdom and understanding. Withdraw your consciousness from the distractions of the external earthly realm and enter into the realm of the unseen and the mystique of the Sufi Masters and the Sadhus, the Saints and the Arahats; the Temple of the Living God is within.












  

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Zikr vs Sitting Meditation.

And this loneliness won't leave me alone. There are days when one slips sliding back into the state of doubtfulness, of dependency, of  wondering what the heck is going on in one's life and there is only one self to look at for answers; what to do? A friend posted on Face Book a video about Zikirullah or the chant to Allah, albeit His Names or simply reciting the Shahadah or profession to becoming a Muslim. my friend was not answering my question but indirectly he did as he reminded me of all the ways and methods of deviating the mind from over indulging into doubtful thoughts that often than not leads to depression. Zikr or the MUslim form of continuous chants through the recitation of the Verses from the Quran, or simply reciting the Name Allah is a very effective form of meditation and various other religious and spiritual practices has developed one form of chanting or another for the purpose of bringing the mind under control at least focused on something more spiritual and positive than dwelling upon the negative energies. If you have had a chance to travel the Middle Eastern countries one would notice how most of the people especially the men would have a bead or rosary in their hand and they keep counting the beads non stop. More often then not they look calm and collected as compared to those around them who are less centered.

Counting the rosary beads while reciting one thing or another is one way of not allowing for the mind to keep occupying one's thoughts with whatever it fancies and often the mind has more negative thoughts to share than positive at least find it out for myself. The continuous chant or recitation provides a barrier that does not allow for any irrelevant thoughts to penetrate into one's consciousness. It is like a cassette tape that is fully loaded and one cannot add anymore data into it even if one wants to. The longer the time span of the Zikr or chant, the longer is the consciousness free from unwanted interruption to the conscious mind. In a way it is self hypnotic al and has its drawbacks as one becomes dependent upon this state  and the mind become petrified and looses its flexibility. Meditation devoid of any crutches such as chant and dances and so forth is pure and free of any dependence; thus this Blogger recommends simply Sitting Meditation and counting the ins and outs of breath as the toll towards achieving single-mindedness.











  

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Rambling on Issues that are current in my life.

Woke up this morning , 4;30 am., with a whole lot of negative vibes floating in my mind about life and my status in it thus far. Yes, no matter deeply you think you have understood yourself, the workings of your mind, the psycho emotional ups and downs of your consciousness. you have yet to touch the truth to your being who you are. Time and again I find myself slipping back into depression, dejection and the whole works, like a man sinking into a bog and clutching for dear life to stay at least physically if not mentally and spiritually. In my younger days this would be the moments when I would succumb to getting high, or drunk or contemplate ending this  life of mine and I did tried to, at least twice. This is what depression is all about and it is a very heavy condition one that many has lost the battle and gave in to one form of destructive trait or another. This is more prone to those who make it their venture to  dive into the meaning of life on a deeper level.

I have not been making my blog entries as I used to not because I have run out of thoughts and ideas but simply because i have become become saturated by  all that is happening in and around me. I feel like stepping out of this time and space and engage myself into the unknown   where I can be free from all these bogus experiences that i am being exposed to, experiences that are repetition of the past over and over only on a more intense and deeper level. Perhaps it is part and parcel of getting old and I have less resistance to being invaded by negative thoughts and feelings about the daily and mundane course of life. Perhaps I am expecting miracles where miracles are a rare commodity even for the enlightened; what is bugging me? I have a roof on top of my head and a beautiful daughter and son to content with and I have a beautiful cat for a friend to care for. I eat well and and thus far for the past eight months have almost completed 20 paintings ready for a solo exhibition, what is bugging me? Perhaps I am hoping for too much, hoping for what to happen, hoping for enlightenment?; that is a joke. How can one whose life is like a yo yo become enlightened and what is this state of enlightenment anyway?

I have been trying to achieve the state of enlightenment as that which was attained by the historical Buddha for most of my adult life only to realize that I was born enlightened and most of my childhood life was spent in an enlightened state but it got eroded as i grew in age;now I am suicidal. If I could end my life without becoming a sinner or disrupting, the lives of those closest to me, I would. One of my Zen teachers used to ask," Is this all there is? Is this the peak of the mystique mountain?" Well, what do I expect? Before enlightenment, I used to cut wood and fetch water, after enlightenment I am still doing the same as a Zen saying goes. What I truly need is a good cup of Nescafe black with sugar right about now. 

The call for the morning prayer has just ended and I am brought to mind of my religious commitment as a Muslim something that i have been at odds with for most of my life, to pray five times a day. This is one of my guilt trips that I have grappled with as i find it hard to pray like other good Muslims and as such I am not fit to consider myself as one as it is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is not that i do not believe in God, I do as a Muslim I believe in the One true Divine Being, a Being that I worship with every breath and have absolute faith in. However I have a problem when it comes to performing the Solats which I  tried in the past but find that it does not work for me, perhaps I did not try hard enough. I have always considered myself a of a spiritual being than a religious one simply beause I find religions to be a source of  humanity's major problem rather than a comfort. It is said that religions has caused more death and destruction than any other factors in human history and I believe so. Often enough I encounter devout Muslims who are haughty and arrogant assuming themselves to be above everyone else, frowning upon those they consider non-believers: i find no comfort in praying in the mosque from this negative experiences. I worship my Lord and you may call by what name you like, in my own way and the very fact that i have to deal with the issue of faith and worship makes me a constant believer as it keeps my Lord in mind every so often when the question of faith and practices arises and it does more often than not for me; I know i come from my Lord and will return to Him sooner or later and that I will have much to answer for.




















Monday, July 22, 2019

AI - what role model?

Has been sometime now since last I made my blog posting and it is not there is nothing to write about, it is simply because i have been busy getting my twenty odd paintings ready for the upcoming solo exhibition. I am almost there but not quite and there's like three weeks left to go before launch day, which falls on the 11th. of August, a day before my seventieth birthday. Wow! 70 years ag I was born, brought into this realm of existence to work out my karmic evolution towards whatever that lies ahead. It is not like I am ready or not afraid to leave this existence as it can happen at anytime for a man my age, however i must say that i am not fully awakened towards what it was all about these past 70 odd years; what was it all about?run  I feel like I am on my final run, sitting my final exam, having to wrap up my theses, write my final conclusion of what had transpired for the past 70 years and I have no clue where to begin.
 God or no God, Money or no money, friendship or no friends, I have passed through these moments that has shoved me forward as i grew up and still does till now as i am headed for the final countdown. On looking at it over the years it seems like time flew by as though it was all a dream, or nightmare as the case may be and each fleeting moment  has become faded memories into the past, some still memorable while others are mere blurs in the distant landscape. Today I have noticed that I am becoming more desperate to be in the here and now more so than ever before. I savor the food in my mouth and witness with intense consciousness the changes in the clouds as it appears and disappears in the deep blue skies above me. I listen more closely and with deeper interest as to what my friends has to say and give them more of my attention in communicating my feelings with them. Every events, every action and  reflections is becoming more concentrated and deliberate as though one is savoring their presence like for the last time. The question arises every now and then, what would i miss once I am liberated from this physical realm and my five senses are no more in function. The  feel of the earth under my feet or the breeze through my hairr, or the cool water running through my fingers, the fire that warms my body in the cold of winter's nights; what would I miss most.
 Would I miss my children? Yeah, somewhat, like how they would miss me and truth be told not too much. I was never a good father and I really have not idea what a good father is truly, but I have tried to do my best and if my best is not good enough too bad. However if the proof is in the pudding, all four of my children are doing as fine as any in this day and age. Regrets, I have many but none worthy enough to carry to my grave as destined all is written, as the Muslim calls it Makhtub, predestined, written in the Book of Records the Loh Mahfuz.- The Book of Life. Not as far in difference as the recorded Laws of Karma that is ever registering every word thoughts and deeds of every living thing throughout the Universe- in modern terminology, this is the Matrix that governs the workings of life.

Most of us are oblivious to these inner workings of the human mind that for ages and generations  wise men has been trying to unravel for us that we may have a thorough understanding of who we truly are. We choose to live out life in the survival mode of existence every trying to become the most successful, most wealthy,most this or that that we miss the finer and more sublime nature of our being. Success is gauged in the material state rather than spiritual and most of us are slowly loosing the connection we have with nature as a whole. Our materialistic pursuits has become or daily prayer and we worship what we hoard in this life calling wealth and success; nothing wrong in that. We however do have a more deeper and richer aspect to ourseelves that is being eroded through lack of awareness and neglect through the refusal to study and understand. Ironically today science is very much into the creation of artificial intelligence (AI), to prove that we can become as close to God as we can in Creation. But what we feed into these AI is not very clear and we are treading upon the thin ice of Creation employing a matrix that is imperfect and incomplete just as who we are if taken as a template for the production line. 















 

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Meditation-The Middle Way.

Meditation is not just sitting on your butt, but more importantly sitting on your mind, the dual, thinking mind the egotistic mind the mind that has tales to tell and horror stories to share from the past and into the future. Meditation does not end when you leave your meditation seat or the meditation hall, it expands into the next action you take, in essence it happens with every breath you take while sweeping washing drinking, singing, dancing, feeding your cat or driving to pick up your children; it is called Mindfulness meditaiton, in some schools and Meditation in action to others. Whatever technique you employ it is entirely up to your own choosing, that which works for you. Zazen, Yoga, Chigung, TaiChi, or Sufi style, there are schools from way back when to learn from; be eclectic. Most importantly is that you do it, as Nike says, 'Just do It.' Even tem minutes each morning and evening would be a good  beginning, the first step towards the destination of awakening your mind.

Listen to J.Krishnamurti talk on You Tube or Alan Watts or Osho or Eckhart Tolle, Mooji Baba, Sat Guru, the list goes on and you will get a good perspective on what is Meditation. Why it is very crucial for humanity at this moment to be practicing this age old way, is evident in our current state of affairs on this Planet. To heal the world, humanity one has to heal oneself, understand the workings of one's mind and what is consciousness, what is being in the here and now and taking action straight from the heart not the mind; if the heart disagrees, do not act, Meditation helps to bring us closer to our hearts and away from the dual thinking mind where right and wrong, good and bad, black and white becomes predominant in our thinking. The heart is guided by Love and Compassion when in action and we have drawn too far away from our hearts and we making errors through manifesting the ignorance of the thinking mind that is clouded by too much external stimuli and acts on the principle of survival rather than coexistence. The 'small mind', the me, me and,my. mine personality that we manifest into the external environment is one of possessiveness, clinging, cavorting, hoarding and claim this is life living. Other than prayers and invocations, chants and singing, meditation is the safe and direct way towards uncovering the heart where the original nature resides, that which is who you truly are; 'The Temple of the Living God is within you.'

When you are neither wide awake nor in deep sleep state, you are on the middle path where the traffic is usually smooth and consistent and you get home without too much stress. This is the path of meditation, to slow down and not be drawn to move too fast or too slow, but consistent. Steady as she goes as they say, takes stress out of the equation and even if it recurs it is handled with Loving Kindness not blame and accusations; I am right, you are wrong! To many meditation brings them to a state of blissfulness while to others it helps to stay focus, whatever the benefit, it is yours to enjoy while in this physical form and mental states; your goal  if there is any is to arrive at an awaken state of consciousness. To view the Universe with your heart ,not your mind. It helps for you to seive through what makes sense and what is nonsense; Sit! Not standing nor laying down, it's the Middle Way.











 

Friday, July 05, 2019

Why we Meditate -Consciousness.-Bruce Lipton

After all is said and done what else is there to do? You sit! You sit facing the wall of emptiness before you like you always do and watch what rises and what fades away into nothingness in your mind. It is boring yet at the same time can be if very entertaining if you are fully aware of what you are doing. You become the 'watcher of your own mind and its mejntal formations and activities. There so much that arises that sometimes you fell overwhelmed, return to watching the rise and fall of your breath and in the same manner get in touch with your inner being and your physical body, let the alignment take place. Your spine erect and locked at the bottom of your skull, click! Feel the flow of energy throughout you body as parts of the muscles lets go and release a tension that it has been holding back, your shoulder drops, your and eventually you enjoy a sense of weightlessness, you feel light, you begin to feel enlightenment. So when all is daid and done what you do is you get within and touch base with your true being; this! This is, in essence, what sitting meditation or Zazen is.

Sitting is the posture in between standing and sleeping where one i not fully awake nor fully asleep, you are in the twilight zone of consciousness; if you are truly into the meditative state. The mind has ceases its ramblings and the body has turned to stone only the air moves in and out imperceptibly throughout your body; a feeling of solitude and lonesomeness. Some calls this State, Samadhi Shikantaza,

Shikantaza (只管打坐) is a Japanese translation of a Chinese term for zazen introduced by Rujing, a monk of the Caodong school of Zen Buddhism, to refer to a practice called "Silent Illumination", or "Serene Reflection", by previous Caodong masters.[1] In Japan, it is associated with the Soto school. Unlike many other forms of meditation, shikantaza does not require focused attention on a specific object (such as the breath); instead, practitioners "just sit" in a state of conscious awareness.

Whatever it is called the main purpose is to find that silent and empty space or the the pause in between for this is where the door between the conscious and the unconscious is found. Here, in the silence of the mind like dried seaweed resting on the riverbed rises to the surface as the water moves in; here the subconscious seeps into the semi conscious state of mind and vice versa. It is in this moment in time that one discovers or is exposed to the original primordial state of one's true being positively or otherwise, for the storage room of the subconscious mind holds a vault full of skeletons and treasures of wisdom beyond wisdom for one to collect from as it is all yours to begin with. At moment of death it is said that the walls of the vault holding the subconscious mental energies collapse and relases the who nine yards of information into the conscious state as a blinding light. Every now and then a 'near death experience ' subject would relate seeing a bright light initially and move on to everything else that they see or felt. The ability to meditate properly in essence is a good way to build a thorough understanding of one's death process as it happens, when it happens.

The Bardo Todol, or the Tibetan Book of the Dead as it is called in the West explains this more thoroughly and is a text by which a Lama would recite to the dead, the beginning to the end of the 49 Days of the Bardo State of consciousness. A mind that has been accumulating countless images and thoughts throughout a life time and even previous lifetimes according the Buddhist, has a sizeable vault to hold all these, what is holding these from breaking out into the open? Consciousness?  






Wednesday, July 03, 2019

A Farewell to my Grand Auntie-'Minachi'

Today I received a sad news that my grand auntie, the oldest surviving relative has passed away. She was wife to my Grand Uncle who was the younger brother to my grandfather. His name was Paul Martin as Sinhalese from Sri Lanka,  unlike my grand father he refused to be converted to Islam like my grandfather did upon marriage to my grand mother who was devout Muslim from Deli, in Indonesia. My grand uncle married a Hindu and became a Hindu and today his wife just passed away, A Piece of the family tree falls off to the ground to be buried in time and forgotten in memory; she was a very soft and gentle lady and always has a sweet sad smile about her. I used to spend times visiting my grand uncle's family to play with my uncle Ranjan, and the two sisters Kamala and Susila and the youngest brother Sukananda. I looked forward to the Indian cooking and sitting on the floor with my uncles and aunties having a good time.

All  that I can remember is that they had always lived in the quarters of the 'Old' Methodist Boys School where my grand uncle had worked as the caretaker and he was also the caretaker grounds keeper of the Mahindrama Buddhist Temple on Kampar Road, across the road from the MBS. This is the very same temple my grandfather was commissioned to paint the inner wall murals and ceilling when the Temple was constructed. This was how my grand father ended up in Penang he was the Buddhist Michael Angelo, and his works are still as it was today; the Life and Times of the World and Time Honored One; the Buddha Shakyamuni, or the life of Prince Siddharta Gautama. Before i was relocated to Terengganu and converted to Islam I was raised a Buddhist for twelve years and as a child would visit this temple every weekend for the Pali lessons. When I mentioned that my granduncle was the ground keeper of the temple I could only imagine how like a mythical plaace the temple grounds was with tall palm trees and white sand in the quadrangles, like the Japanese sand garden. I can still feel the warm breeze and the smell of incense that filled the whole area and I can still see serene half close eyes and the half smile of the Sittng Buddha under the large Bo tree; he is sitting there today.

With the departure of my grand auntie 'Minachi' a piece of our ethnic heritage slips into the past as today our families drifts far apart from one another. Most of my nephews and nieces and my children included has now idea of her existence, their Great Grand Auntie. I will remember her as a fading background image of my past and filed it away into  my subconscious storage bank. Her smiles, her cooking and how she dressed are all etched into these files as a piece of the jig saw that makes up my heritage. Three religious faith are intertwined into this scenario, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism and being me, I had made deeper contacts with each through my childhood experiences. Today I feel spiritually rich from having been exposed to all three at the same time in one chidlhood age. Farewell to you my Grand Auntie, may you be reborn into a more pleasant realm and be among those you once loved; may you become a Buddha free from pain and suffering. 













 

Monday, July 01, 2019

I Am The Artist.

Has been sometime now that I have been able to sit an unravel my mind and today seems like a good day to catch up with what has been ans what iss going on within and without. I have been making an effort at creating a few more paintings for my upcoming solo exhibition at the Gallery Seni Mutiara with the opening date on the 11th. of August, same day as Hari Raya Haji and the next day on the twelfth would be my seventieth birthday. It's a package show whereby I'd try to share all that i am as an artist. How far or how near have i understood the significance of living the life of an artist; Art in Quest of the Universality. This was the title of my letter of proposal to the members of the different faculties explaining what I intended to do for my Fine Arts Degree. It was accepted without any of my need to defend my letter and I was given the green light to embark upon creating my own Art degree under the program called, University Without Walls through the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was a pilot project and I was accepted to participate with the blessings of all my Art professors and fellow Art Students; They had a banner hung saying, " Stay way Sam! as long as you can!" ( not really.)

The next three years of my adult life was spent discovering myself through my travels away from the studios at the University and onto the srreets of London, Whales and the Mesas and deserts of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Through the Andes Mountains from Colombia to Equador and celebrating the Gawai Hatu along with my Iban Hosts in a Long House where I spent three days and nights awake high on tuak, or tapioca wine; I became an Iban warrior in that space and time and it was during the same journey the i walked alongside my late uncle Ranjan, a Hindu while he performed the Kavedi during the Thaipusam celebration while visiting Penang. The slide shows I presented to classes by request of my proffessors to coin their phrase,"Blew their minds". I enjoyed my college years going through the bes and worse of my times in the coldest State of the US; Wisconsin at Green Bay. I spent eight years living in Green Bay full of trials and tribulations as a father and student; I was in my early thirties. 

For me being an Artist is a bit more than just being able to produce great masterpieces the fetch handsome prices, nothing wrong with it but it has never been my luck to have it all my way. I allowed myself to float along from one station to another, one level to another, in my effort towards self discovery, answering the most basic question of ,Who Am I? Who I am I came to understand is the same  who I was and who I will remain to be. How exciting or boring it may be it is entirely up to me; I am the Artist. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Happy Father's Day - to me.

I must admit that I have not been much of a father to all my three children, however i am ever so thankful that all four of them has turned out for the better in their adult life. Perhaps it is all thanks to their mothers, all three of them, two Americans and a Swiss. Oh it is a long story no doubt how I turned out to have sired four children of different mothers and iI am sure that somewhere in this lengthy Blogging I must have tried to justify the story one way or another in the effort to convince myself that I was not all that bad and things could have been a whole lot worse. There is no doubt in my mind that the three boys hold one form or another of a grudge against my way of bringing them into this world or how i had wronged their mothers. At this age I am too concerned anymore over all the errors I made in the past with regard to their upbringing and I know i have tried my best to remedy my mistakes as best i could. All my justifications will not convince them as they does not do me any satisfaction either and so I will have to let it be and hope that the persons they have become will in its own right speak on my behalf as a father.

In honor of my father and my grandfather I am writing this short tribute all fathers who have raised their children to the best of their abilities. As a father the welfare of my children has always been the force that motivates and kept me seeking the true path through knowing who I truly am and what my potentials are as a man. I have never and never will blame anyone else for my errors nor will I ever claim that my way is the best or any better than others'. I have and will love my children no matter what they may think of me. Their well being will always be in my heart and mind and I have tried my best to be there when they needed me most. As a father it has taught me that being there in the right time and moment in the lives of my children is all a matter of faith in the desire to make things right and in the effort to ease their burden in life. I do not hope that they will ever turn out to be just like me for my path was the less traveled in comparison to most fathers. I took many a wrong turn and gambled my way through my own life in order that I can pave my own journey towards becoming who I am knowingly or otherwise.

As I am close to take that one step beyond into the unknown, I feel I need to take stock of my track record as being a father and this Blog as well as my journals would be testimonies towards what had happened and what the consequences has been.I have tried to be as honest and candid as I can lest my writing might do more damage than help to heal. As far as healing goes, my Blog is about healing myself through understanding, through my own perception my own experiences and my own  judgements; and i am prone to be wrong most of the time mostly through assumptions and my own distorted projections. Being a father is has been a touch and go experience for as my children grew up in sorts of mixed environment and cultures, I have to adapt to their thinking accordingly.There is very little to fall back upon as examples that can be assimilated to when situations arises. I mostly have to trust my gut feelings and take my cues from what is presented before me to tackle. Most of all I rely upon the fact that these are my children and they have their own personalities and upbringing through having lived most of their lives with their mothers. I treat with utmost respect their stand and accept the fact that iknow little about how or what tendencies are. I rely on the fact that my task as a father is to ensure their comfort and well being and that they has a little to blame life for their father's errors.

Hence Happy Father's Day to me as I am seeing that my children have grown into strong characters with allot of potentials ahead of  them once they too discover the truth of who they truly are. In the meantime I will strive to keep on being who I am to the best of all our interests, by being healthy and productive for as long as I possibly can. By being being an artist, a writer, a cushion when they fall, a helping hand in some small way to help ease their load as they grow into adulthood themselves.