Be of Service… My Story of "Enlightenment" - Tao, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, the Law of Attraction…
I found a way to seamlessly integrate Eastern culture into the Western World that I believe would brings values to the world.
Rather than arguing on the right or wrong, which religion, culture or whatsoever is superior than the other, focusing on the beauty of each one of them and accepting the way they are created.
What’s more important is whether you can learn all of the essences of those great philosophers, cultures, religions to feed your own growth.
New Year’s Eve 2019, I was sitting next to the window, in my tiny little room in this big city. While a greater number of people in the city were waiting in excitement for that Ball Drop at Time Square or partying, I was holding a cup of tea I made for myself, celebrating this day solo.
It’s gonna be the 7th year living abroad, while all of my family is of 8,000 miles away. As I was astonished how time flies, I opened YouTube and clicked the first video in my rec list— a New Year wishes video by Chin Kung, a 91-year-old Buddhist monk.
I watched the entire video, and the first couple of minutes in, tears were all over my face.
It was not just a sense of touch, seeing him as to how genuine and devoted he was as a Buddhist monk, but also it was like something inside of me has been lit up. As if I’ve found what my calling is.
Actually, I don’t know if it’s a calling, but all of a sudden, I seem to be brave enough to start doing something that I’ve always wanted to do, to be a cultural ambassador (the seed I buried in my mind while studying abroad in Spain), and to fulfill my general wish to help make this world a little better than it is.
It might still sound pretty vague at this point, but this “divinity” really empowers me to put my fear behind and get started to do something that truly matters. I thus launched this project called, Eastern Minds Alike, in the hope of
helping people nurture a better inner world through 5000-year Ancient Chinese Philosophies.
As I was connecting my dots backward, it was not something accidental, but more as something is destined. Every little thing I have done in the past, intention or unintentional, paved my way to this “enlightment” moment.
In my culture, 7 is a magical number, and it certainly is for me. In the past 7 years of living abroad, I was amazed at how many things that I’ve never been exposed to, and I was learning voraciously from Sadhguru, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Jay Shetty, Mel Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Gabriel Bernstein… as well as those great eastern philosophers, educators, Buddhists, such as Nan Huai-Chin, Zeng Shiqiang, Chin Kung, to name a few. (Thank for my trilingual background that allows me to learn in different languages)
They’ve all taught me those great principles to live my life in abundance, most importantly, there’s one common thread among all of those influencers —
“be of service of others”
I genuinely wish people could just be like me — being someone who can benefit from both eastern and western cultures to try to achieve general well-being and be a happy person, regardless of what they are experiencing, there’s always this inner space that’s peaceful and intact.
I’ve always wanted to find a way to teach people what comes intuitive to me and share those principles that work for me so that we can all blossom as a human being together.
I’ve always wished to introduce all those Ancient Chinese pearls of wisdom to the west in a way that’s easy for people to understand and to make their life better.
That moment, I think I’ve found that way. At least a great vision to start with, and something I know for sure that I will do for the rest of my life,
Integrating Ancient Chinese Wisdom into this whole “well-being/mental health advocating” troop, and sincerely wishing for the well-being for the whole human race.
I truly believe in the values of Ancient Chinese Philosophies together with the wisdoms from other cultures, and the power and potential of it to eventually help tackle some of the mental issues that we are facing today.
This aha moment might just sound like a one-second thing, but it really took me 25 years to figure out, I’m glad that I’ve never stopped exploring, and never ever gave up searching.
I’ve always had this motto I believe — Everything happens for a reason.
Growing up in China, my learnings, formally or informally, were mostly comprised of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (known as The Three Teachings). Most of the time, it was driven by my own curiosity and passion, as if there’s this a moral guide inside of me telling me what and where should I invest my time and energy in that gradually pave my way to something greater.
I learned Ancient Chinese (like people in the west learning Latins) at both elementary and middle school, which helped to extend my interests in not only the language itself so I can read those classics but also deepened my knowledge of eastern culture in general.
My family lives really close to a famous Buddhist temple — Ling Yin Temple灵隐寺 (Also known as, Temple of the Soul’s Retreat), it was also considered to be one of the biggest and wealthiest temples in China. Luckily for me, I was able to be immersed in an environment of a Buddhist culture. I was also privileged to visit two enlightened Buddhist monks couple years ago, which enriched my spirituality in different ways.
As time went by, I started to understand that all of those setbacks, traumas, wounds, are meant to let me be tougher, and helped me to get closer to that truth. As the quote goes,
Therefore, before heavens bestow upon him the weight of the worldly duty,
He shall distress his mind, tire his limbs, famish his body, deprive him of his possessions, and frustrate his endeavors, so as to strengthen his resolve, fortify his mettle, and enhance his powers. — Mencius 故天將降大任於是人也，必先苦其心志，勞其筋骨，餓其體膚，空乏其身，行拂亂其所為，所以動心忍性，曾益其所不能。 — 孟子
Simply put, whatever weakens you makes you stronger. We “suffer” for a reason. And to the end of the day, there’s no real suffer nor failure, they are all just parts of the whole journey. All in all, there’s only a higher “good” that is meant to do you good, to strengthen and complete you to be a full-fledged human being.
Indian Yogi Sadhguru once said that “wakefulness does not equal to consciousness”. We can be awake but it doesn’t mean we are all conscious. Without consciousness or conscientiousness alike, we are all behaving compulsively, and are controlled by our old habits (especially those habits/mindsets made you suffer/unhappy), thus living in a vicious circle that we don’t know how to get ourselves out of it.
Change has to be happened from inside out. People want to change only because they want to change.
That day, I don’t know what does all that bursting into tears mean to me, but I, at least, feel that I am a fully conscious human being.
As I stay in this spiritual journey longer, I tend to ask myself often, as a Chinese, who grew up in the east, and was privileged enough to experience the western culture for a long period of time,
What can I offer?
Then it came to that moment and I’ve had my 2019 manifesto, that states,
I wrote those words at the beginning of 2019, not remembering the exact order. But as someone who truly believes in the law of the universe and the law of attraction, I know that they all came and happened to me for a reason.
You have to be brave enough to own your voice and let that greatness inside of you out, so other people can hear, be able to resonate with you, and share what they think to help each other grow to be better.
Every one of us has that superpower. A Buddhist master I met at Lingyin Temple once said, “each one of us is a buddha”. Still, most of us are unaware of that either because we are unconscious or are too preoccupied with the busy lives that we don’t have room for anything new.
Like Sadhguru always says, you are a complete life yourself; in Christianity, you could understand that there’s a god resides in you or you are your own god, who guides you throughout your life; according to Ancient Chinese philosophy, “自助者天助之”（“God” helps those who help themselves）; to put it in a Spiritual term, celebrating that “divinity” within you, and the universe is the co-creator of your life.
Different religions serve as a gateway for people to understand the truth of life, in Ancient Chinese Culture, we called it,
Tao is everything, and it is nothing.
What I’ve learned? Growing up In a family that has different religious influences…
In fact, my background was a bit more different than most families in China — my paternal side of the family are Christians and my maternal side of the family are Buddhists. Despite the fact that there were lots of conflicts and struggles in my family happening in the past, funny enough, none of them has to do with religious beliefs.
Coming from a background like this really teaches me an important lesson in my life — be respectful and open-minded to different religions, and
It’s never about trying to overpower one another, or to proof who’s more authoritative and to exert your believes to others.
It’s more about being in a status that you could be open-minded enough to hear other voices that are different from yours, and get the best of those ideas to help each other grow and elevate to a better level.
It’s all about whether you are respecting each other on a human level, not just seeing each other as man or woman, Christians or Buddhists (or any other religion).
Seeing each other as a HUMAN BEING is the first and foremost. We have to acknowledge the fact that we are not created to be perfect, we have our own fears and insecurities, we have our own desires and egos… We are born not to be perfect, and we are here to learn and grow. Most of all, to be of service of others, and to the world.
People tend to put things into “boxes” and try to define things in a tangible way. It does make sense because it’s easier for others to understand. But under certain circumstances, it would be a self-limiting and even a dangerous thing.
When you first unavoidably judge other people by their appearances, social status, education backgrounds, gender, career, or nationality, it tends to hinder you from seeing a bigger picture and respecting the other person as a human, the same species you are.
Thus, it’s hard to see everything just the way it is.
All I know is that I know nothing. — Socrates
It is almost human nature that people love making assumptions based on what they’ve known, and even worse that some of them love drawing a conclusion in absolute terms. In eastern culture, it can always be boiled down to 3 words — 很难说（It depends）. In my culture, you rarely hear people say stuff in absolute terms, they tend to stay vague. As deep down, we know the fact that
the only thing that’s not changing is the change itself.
A Taiwanese Scholar, also considered as a great I Ching Master, Zeng Shiqiang once said,
Chinese people know Yin and Yang very well but are bad at balancing them.
So, does it matter which religion you are believing in? My answer would be, it is important to some extent, but it doesn’t matter at all under certain circumstances.
It might be important to you as an individual since you want to be perceived in a certain way, but it becomes a dangerous thing when you are too obsessed with this idea that makes you to even generate an aversion to people with different beliefs or doing something dangerous in the name of your religion.
It’s all about striking that balance.
When you are seeing people from a human perspective, you will be able to see everyone just as perfectly imperfect as they are.
All it matters is whether you have this idea in you:
Be of service, which was the core idea of Taoism in eastern culture. (What is Tao?)
Be of service of others, be of service of the world; be loving and caring, not only to yourself, but to other living beings, and everything on this earth.
This was the enlightenment I got, not only from my own culture and family — always prioritizing others before myself, but also something that I learned from the western cultures — be of service.
We All Matter, every one of us — the wellbeing of the society
We are all children of this mother earth, and part of this society, the whole wellbeing of the society is going to be up to each one of us, and eventually is going to affect everyone who lives in it.
Our relationship to the society is like what was described in the Ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi’s Joy of Fish story — we are the fish living in this ocean named “society”.
Although what’s being argued in this story was slightly different from what I’m talking about here, yet the analogy is perfect to describe the relationship between human being and the society.
All too often, we almost forget we are part of this ecosystem and we forget that we can’t live well if the “ocean” was contaminated and not be able to call this place our home anymore.
We are our own “god”, we are created this way, but it’s not to teach you to do things that hurt others, or even worse, bring harm to the world; we are powered that way so we could resume more responsibilities as a human being, to truly blossom as an individual, and to create things that benefit us all.
When you blossom as a human being, you will find that you do not belong to any mold. — Sadhguru
A lot of us, we either belittle ourselves or are pompous of ourselves.
The lack of self-trust is mostly because we simply ignored the fact — I MATTER. And we didn’t believe in ourselves that I, as an individual, could do a little bit more than I think I could.
Those who feel overconfident in themselves are usually those who have had achieved the so-called success and believed that it was all their own efforts. They are usually hard working people, no doubt.
While in the book Art of War, Sunzi and Sunbin (Sunzi’s grandson) once said, every “battle” you win has 3 factors, right time, right location and right people. Without the right moral principles to support an individual, those fortunes you’ve earned could be easily lost or taken away by “the higher power”.
Those people who truly live in abundance, who have enough fortune are usually people who are fearless and never have to show off. Most importantly, they do things according to a set of moral principles. For them,
Instead of them chasing for money or feeling insecure about keeping the money, it’s rather that money chasing and be attracted by them.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether you are Chinese, American, British, Indian, French, Japanese, Korean… what we would care is whether we’ve lived the life the way we want, whether we’ve lived a life that’s meaningful and fulfilled, and whether we’ve let our humanity blossomed in a way that we’ve helped this world to be a better place for our future generations.
Having this genuine wish for the general well-being for all and have this trust in ourselves that we could do a little more than we thought would eventually let the best things to happen to each one of us.
As simple as it might sound, it might still be easy says than done for most people. Because most of us are so preoccupied with what we are having now, we all living life differently. But, what we really need, which also took me a long time to figure out, is just a bit more self-trust as well as trust to others and the world, be more courageous and to put fear behind.
Everyone and everything has its own timing, so give it some time to let life to unfold itself to you at its own pace. Taking the ownership of your own life and always try your best regardless of what you do.
I am sure good things will happen if you are doing what matters to you and be fully involved in what you are doing. Remember that we can’t control what’s happening externally, but we have 100% control of what’s happening inside.