Friday, September 28, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
This is Kok Soon. He was my daughter Hana's classmate. He is now a fourth year medical student at Malayan U.
I have known him since he was a small child. He used to come to the clinic when he was ill to get treatment from me.
It was on one of these visits that I asked him what he would like to do after his SPM . I cannot remember his answer but I think he said he wanted to take a degree in science. It was then that I asked him , why don 't you take up medicine. The idea seemed too far fetched for him at that time .
I then said that all he needed was to go to the Matriculation College and work really hard to score the maximum of four flat and he would definitely get a place to do medicene.
Sometimes when we plant the seed of possibility , we never know the tree that will grow from it, the flowers thatwill bloom from it and the ripe succulent fruits that will be offered to others from the sturdy tree out of the seed of possibility.
He did go to Matrics and he did score four flat and he did get a place to do medicine
For the past few days he has been doing an attachment at my clinic.
It has been my pleasure to have him tag along seeing cases with me.
When I had visitors from overseas and brought them sightseeing around town , I realise I will start seeing my town through their eyes and begin to appreciate things that I had taken for granted.
When I had Kok Soon seeing cases with me , I began to appreciate the skills I had collected over the years of seeing cases. All the things I did that I had taken for granted took on a new perspective as I saw them through his fresh enthusiastic young eyes.
The shy awkward youth I knew when he was in secondary school had grown even taller , no longer awkward but gracefully charming .His shyness had transformed into a quiet confidence.
I will always remember how he used to come after Chinese New Year bringing me Mandarin oranges in his duffel bag which he took out one by one to place on my table saying to me
'"This is for you Dr."
May God bless and guide you to be the best doctor possible Kok Soon , you do me proud.
My children, it does not mean I love you or appreciate you any less . I know each of you is special and unique and all of you are sturdy trees that others can take the lovely fruits from.
"Tis the nature of harm to scurry in trenches already dug, its rivulets deepening its draught and widening its bore in a scurrilous way; though inconsiderate and ostensibly inanimate, its effect denotes purpose, though that may through echo have belonged to another from long ago, an even forgotten owner."
Thus wrote a friend in a post on his blog here.
I wonder if he knows how aptly he has described how our internal wounds keep getting deeper and wider until we reach rock bottom? It is as if the wounds within keep up a chorus , repeating, repeating and playing back to us its message of gloom doom and depair. The original wounds need not even be our own as we inherit via scripting deep emotions from our parents and those who are within our environment when we are growing up. More so when the adults around us are wounding presences. When we are little we absorb and take on these burdens like sponges and make them our own wounds and burdens and then we carry it with us, weighing ourselves down with it in our life's journey , adding to it from time to time from our own personal experiences more hurts , more wounds to 'scurry in trenches already dug' as Simon wrote.
A not so poetic analogy I could think of is how an abscess developes and grows, eating its way at the margins and pushing its way until it makes for itself a path to the outside skin and bursts , or makes its way to blood vessels and cause untold damage pouring its poisons into the bloodstream.
Yet this the nature of things , this is how it happens and this is how we are.
Most of us scurry along in the corridors of life doing what we think needs to be done , adapting ways and devising mechanisms to lessen the pain .
Some encase themselves in shells, some develop thorns, some withdraw into a secret garden within, protecting their private thoughts from any intrusions , some turn to the pleasures of the flesh , to drink , to drugs . Yet others seek a healing and some find solace in religion, in hobbies, in work , yet all the time , the harm is making its course , cutting its way deeper and deeper into the depth our our being.
Unless we find a way to heal ourselves . But healing ourselves is not easy for we first have to throw the light of consciousness into the dark realms of our Being . It is in itself painful. Not the dull pain that we have gotten used to and adapted to but a pain so searing and intense that we would want to avoid this pain. The problem being avoiding and postponing the examination makes the problem worse...like discovering a cancer too late....
I had worked through this pain. It was like being in a dark long tunnel not seeing the light at the end wondering if there was any light at all or, was it pain all the way? I found out it was not pain all the way, there was light but try telling me there was light when I was in the dark tunnel. Try telling me then that it had an end. Only faith had kept me going , faith and knowing that there was no other way around the pain except through the pain.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
What has made it easier to shed my excess bagage was my daughter's detox meals she prepared for me and several of her clients for the fasting month. It is not easy to take because this first week it is a very low salt diet but she promises me it will get easier . I am however beginning to get used to it and there is an added bonus of tastebuds becoming more sensitive to the subtle flavours which the salt used to mask. There is an analogy here about the food. I think focusing on eating masked something that genuinely wanted to find expression within me , and removing food as a focus unmasked it. Now , removing salt is unmasking something that was always there in the food but could not be appreciated by me because of the salt. I wonder how much in our lives we have masked with something and therefore fail to benefit from the blessing that we could not recognise?
I had succeeded in getting myself to a size ten two years after my last child was born , then, after getting quite ill with endometrioisis , going on hormones , I regained the weight I had lost and more! From time to time I would get upset over it and then lose a few kilograms only to get it back whenever I had a training to do or to attend . We Malaysians eat so many times when we attend meetings at hotels. Once I had invited a lecturer from the UK to give our three day International workshop and she commented , you people eat as many times as I would take a walk! I had to accompany her for a walk down the dusty, smokey roads of old KL simply because she did not like being cooped up in the hotel even though I had protestd that her notion of getting some air was misguided in view of the pollution!
I have another reason for self sabotage, ie for not getting myself into normal weight , being content with a BMI just oustide of the normal range . When I succeeded in reducing my weight to normal, I found my physical energy increased. I had more strength, I could walk more, I could run up the stairs and shop without getting aching feet. And then , I also found my emotions began to create havoc. I was not the staid , serious , no nonsense , sensible person that I thought I was. Steadily plodding along doing what needed to be done out of duty and all. With the energy increase, I began to feel a need for action. I used up some of that energy doing aerobic workouts but this did not seem enough and I did not know what to do with emotions running high and causing me to laugh one minute and feel a depth of sadness the next. I think this is what finally developed into my endometriosis and the severe pain that came with every menses. I had to take hormones which brought my weight up again. I later stopped taking hormones , put myself to work studying endometriosis until I came up with a method to treat the disease using homeopathic remedies . The thesis I wrote can be found here.
As I mentioned earlier , I am quite a survivor . No matter how badly broken I am inside of me, I plod on , I try to find answers, I do not give up on myself , on God and on humanity, even though outwardly you would find me distant or flat or indifferent.Through it all I kept doing things to improve myself , read, take courses, attend workshops , bring up my children while all the time having so much pain within me in my physical and emotional bodies.
My breakthrough came when I decided I had enough and wanted to heal. I went to the US, after my husband gave a grudging permission, I studied sufism and spiritual healing, came back to practice what I learned and slowly began to heal from very old wounds buried deep in my soul.
After this , almost every year I travelled abroad to continue my spritual journeys, meet my teachers , meet others on the Path and every time I came back I found some area within my being had changed, I had learned something new , I had internalised some new realisations.
And it is only in the past month that I had found the strength to give up eating to fill a void within me . Perhaps it is not so much a void as a part of me that lay dormant for as long as I filled my belly with food. That part of me is my passion. I know it for what it is now , and perhaps as I am much older now and hopefully much wiser, I will find a way to harness this passion to serve me and to serve my fellow humans better.
With this passion comes a deep longing for a meaningful communication with people I find worthwhile . What is it that prevents this closeness ? Can people not have a meaningful platonic relationship without any need or want for a physical closeness? Perhaps blogging is one way for me to have this depth of communication , as I lay bare my soul for those who care to read. Sometimes after I write something and post it to my blog, I find my heart filled with a sweet joy , and I think to myself, someone somewhere is reading what I wrote and resonating with it and is sending me loving thoughts and I say a prayer of gratitude to my Lord for sending me the sweet love in my heart.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I never cease to get amazed what one can learn , even when one feels that television is shallow and only good for watching when one wants to go into a brainless stupor as a distraction from the pain of living a routine life.
The key ingredient in being able to learn something from just about anything is to be present to that which is before one.
I am not going to write a sinospis , you can find a sinopsis HERE
This is in point form and if you want to know what I am talking about , I guess you have to look for the series , mind you there are 75 episodes of 40 mins each minus the adverts!
1. There is not truly good or bad people.
2. People do things for reasons they find valid for them, and whatever it is right or wrong in the eyes of others, it is the best choice the person has at that point in time...sounds like NLP , yes it is!
3.We are acting all the time, and I found I can act a part if I want to anytime, yes I have always known I can act , except my path did not take me down that line. Will the real Suriya please stand up? She only exists in the depth of her being what you see is a Performance .....
4. Revenge comes from an ego need that does not fulfill the self . It is only forgiveness that can heal the self/soul no matter how great the hurts
5. When the self esteem is low, one cannot believe a person can love one for one's self and is quick to believe that the other person has motives other than true love.
6. Going away to lick wounds is a cliche of this telenovella...I never have the chance to go away to lick wounds..I go away to seek guidance....journeying in a foreign land is the best way to get to know yourself...away from the routines of normal living...
7. Saving a lady from falling or drowning is a romantic moment to be exploited many times over.
8. Drama and comedy go well together
9. If Manja can do it, so can I. Come on kilograms , shed off! Yes indeed I was thinking of planning a Manjalara diet for my patients , inspire them with a passion to lose the excess baggage
10. Never get hooked on a telenovella that has clifhanger ends...it drives you crazy
From Miftah al-Falah (The Key to Success)
by Ibn 'Ata'llah al-Iskandari
Dhikr is a fire which does not stay or spread – so if it enters a house saying, "Me and nothing other than me," which is one of the meanings of "la ilaha illa'llah' (There is no god but Allah), and there is firewood in the house, it burns it up and it becomes fire. If there is darkness in the house, it becomes light. If there is light in the house, it becomes 'light upon light'.
Dhikr expels from the body impure substances produced by excess in eating or from the consumption of unlawful food. As for food which is lawful, it does not touch it. So the harmful components are burned up and the good components remain.
Dhikr is heard by every part as if it were blowing on a trumpet. When dhikr first occurs in the head, the sound of trumpets and cymbals is experienced there. Dhikr is a sultan – when it descends in a place, it descends with its trumpets and cymbals because dhikr is opposed to all that is other than the Truth. When it descends in a place, it occupies itself with negating what is contrary to the Truth, as we find in the union of water and fire. After these sounds, different sounds are heard: like the ripple of water, the sound of the wind, the sound of fire when it is kindled, the sounds of galloping of horses, and the sound of leaves of the trees rustling in the wind.
I think I know the reaon for this cough. It was about communication. I had thoughts and ideas , I had things that I needed to say but it was not coming out. I was keeping my passions my dreams my hopes my fears and my creativitity all bottled up with no where to go , so it came out in the congestion of my lungs, and the spasm and as a choking cough. and I realise that my blogging is not a waste of time, it is answering a need within me, a need to be heard. Then again it surprises me that I still have this need to be heard because I am all the time giving these workshops and healing classes , I am seeing patients every day , doling out chunks of the way I think at people left right ad center . What I found is that it is not the same as writing them down. For me, writing is a need , it is not a frivolity , it is not a vanity , it is not even a charity to anyone but to myself.
I am finally able to fast today and it has been my disappointement that at the ripe old age of 50+ I am still having my menses which had prevented me from starting the fast at the beginning of Ramadhan. I suppose out of sheer protest , I also abandoned most of my zikrs and contemplations at this time so it was only last night when I was able to pray my Isha prayers that I finally sat in zikr and it was this morning waiting for my fajr prayers that I finally got down to reading the Quran. As I read, my mind was muling over some story and I was not fully focused on what I was reading. A part of me must have been attentive though for I suddenly found myself in tears. Deep tears of sadness, of gratitude and a humbleness that seemed to come from a depth of my soul I know exists but still cannot fathom. I know a little Arabic and Surah Al Baqarah is familiar because of frequent readings of it in the past . My tears and emotion made me read the translation. It was the part where God was having a dialogue with the Angels who questioned about God's intention of putting Adam on earth. It was about God teaching Adam the names of things and Adam knew while the Angels did not know.
I am from Adam, and I know the Names, or at least, I have the capacity to know the Names. I am from Adam and I have also within me the capacity for a greatness not given to the Angels. In all humbleness , in all my weaknesses , in all of my faults , it is within me. This is what has moved me to deep tears of sadness and I find it awakens in me my passion , which had lain asleep as I choked and choked it back in my Being resulting in my prolonged cough which seemed endless .
To understand the Names, one may want to read a chapter from Ibn Arabi's Fusus al Hikam
Yes my passion is awakened and it is sweet and painful at the same time. To be vulnerable , to be sensitive , to be able to love is also to be able to feel sadness. The deepest joy cannot be experienced except if you open yourself to the deepest hurts. The only alternative is to encrust your heart in sheets of ice and a shell...and not feel, neither joy nor hurts.
My heart was awakened by Beauty. Allah had chosen that Beauty would be seen and appreciated by me and knock on the closed door of my heart and open it . But alas for the human, when passion awakens , with it comes a bittersweet longing that sets the hapless soul on a journey of seeking the Beloved .
Friday, September 14, 2007
"Be mindful of how you approach time. Watching the clock is not the same as watching the sun rise."
-- Sophia Bedford-Pierce"Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, agendas, planners, schedules, beepers. Chronos is time at her worst. Chronos keeps track. ...Chronos is the world's time. Kairos is transcendence, infinity, reverence, joy, passion, love, the Sacred. Kairos is intimacy with the Real. Kairos is time at her best. ...Kairos is Spirit's time. We exist in chronos. We long for kairos. That's our duality. Chronos requires speed so that it won't be wasted. Kairos requires space so that it might be savored. We do in chronos. In kairos we're allowed to be ... It takes only a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, but it does take a moment. All that kairos asks is our willingness to stop running long enough to hear the music of the spheres."
-- Sarah Ban Breathnach
"He who postpones the hour of living rightly is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses."
If there is another redeeming feature about me it is that I do not like to trouble people and like to bear my burdens alone.
What then happens is a sense of isolation because of all the stuff I bury in the depth of my being while putting on the mask of professionalism . And it results in a need to expression which comes out in writings and possibly finds expression if I allow myself to indulge in dance, which unfortunately I have abadoned , perhaps out of sheer laziness.
So when I do not express myself and take out the stuff I bury inside , I become blocked and my creative juices come to a halt...and out goes the book project I started and cannot seem to make any progress on , the cases I need to analyse and find remedies for , the zikr I am supposed to do with consistency but don't .
Perhaps by blogging these thoughts I will get the work done , and indeed I have made some progress as I started on some cases and did the planning for the November International Homeopathy seminar and will now proceed to plan the healing class this Sunday .
What is causing this procrastination this time? Or I think what I am seeing is a thawing of the ice with which I seemed to have encased myself in.
And I find the center of my being is in a liquid molten state of warmth and passion that seems to want me to do something about it but what?
It is energy like a coiled spring wanting to come forth in ways the sedate grandmother body I have cannot express...so this is why Rumi started his whirling dance of ecstasy...and this is why Hazrat Inayat Khan gave expression with his music...
Harness this energy Suriya...harness it and use it to Get Work Done.....
Thursday, September 13, 2007
When he came back , he had learned how to surrender and was able to do the same thing minus the ego part that wanted fame and a standing. What he said about debate: It will only be worthwhile when both parties put aside the ego.
Have you felt it? That lovelorn feeling, that aching longing that nothing seems to assuage. an unquenchable thirst ? Sometimes for brief periods, that longing is fulfilled , only to come back twice as painful and leave you feeling twice as empty.
And the things people do to stop that ache, find a lover , indulge in food or sex , bury their heads in a book, get addicted to online games, or sports or dancing or drugs or constantly work or seek wealth . Perhaps they get totally absorbed in golf, or hunting or carouse the night away . Some seek to stave the pain via prayers or zikr or do charity work yet the pain goes away and still it returns unless one learns to numb the pain. Numbing that pain however has a price . One becomes flat , nothing is felt , life becomes flat , work is flat , family is flat and life becomes one grey blur of eating sleeping working and going through the motions. This flatness could in time become a callousness and a hardness and a harshness for one has in effect , developed a casing around the heart to protect it from the pain. In trying to be invulnerable , one loses one's humanity for that ache, that pain , that longing is not simply pain, it is a bitter sweet nectar , a passion and a prelude to a great joy that is also the human destiny.
That pain is Ishq, that pain is passion, that pain is the creative juice that pours out as poetry and art and ectsatic dancing. That pain is what moves people to greatness. There is only one great love that can remove the pain , no matter that you could not imagine it is so , and that love that will quench this thirst is what the sufis call FANA.....
Al Ghazali who wrote Alkimia Al Saadah went in search of this happiness and wrote it into his book the Alchemy of Happiness....
The DVD I ordered a month ago is here. It cost me RM200. I think it is worth the price. It is a Documentary on the Life and Works of Imam Al Ghazali a film by Ovidio Salazar.
His Muslim name is Abdul Latif.
Director:Abdul Latif Salazar
Writer:Simon van der Borgh
The story line:
Exploring the life and impact of the greatest spiritual and legal philosopher in Islamic history, this film examines Ghazali's existential crisis of faith that arose from his rejection of religious dogmatism, and reveals profound parallels with our own times. Ghazali became known as the Proof of Islam and his path of love and spiritual excellence overcame the pitfalls of the organised religion of his day. His path was largely abandoned by early 20th century Muslim reformers for the more strident and less tolerant school of Ibn Taymiyya. Combining drama with documentary, this film argues that Ghazali's Islam is the antidote for today's terror.
You can peep at some parts of it here
Actually I think somebody downloaded the whole DVD on u tube..that is a shame...it must have cost a lot of money to produce , and putting it up for free is infringement of copyright.....
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Published on 7 Ramadhan, 1424.
The Muslim Fast and our Body
By Dr. Suriyakhatun Osman
Medical Doctor, Sufi Healing teacher and Homeopath
- Beginning the Fast
- Supplements and Drugs while Fasting
- A Scientific Experiment
- Physical Activities and Sports
- Food Allergies
- Inward Looking Time
- Some Questions and Answers
The Muslim fast on the other hand is a semi fast but also a complete fast. One goes without food and drink and, more that this, one goes without negative thoughts, if that is possible. The fasting one undertakes is to fast from all negative things, including negative thoughts. It is also a withdrawal from fulfilling some of our bodily needs that are related to our desires and urges. While these are not forbidden in themselves, they are to be abstained from while in the state of fasting. This includes all actions pertaining to the sex act. However it is only abstained from while observing the sun up to sundown fast and is permitted in the night-time while not fasting even in the fasting month of Ramadan.
It is not my intention to discuss the merits and demerits of fasting but it is my intention to address some of the benefits, problems and mechanics of fasting to help the individual who wants to undertake the fast. It is also not my intention to go into great technical details nor is it my intention to write a scholarly treatise with references since there is a time constraint to my writing. Having said that, most of what I am writing have been verified and data on it can be easily found on the internet and in books.
Beginning the Fast:
The fast begins with a pre fast preparation. The pre fast preparation for the average Muslim faster is to get up before dawn to eat a meal! Of course those who are afraid of going hungry will eat a big meal if they have the appetite to eat at this hour! But, in actual fact, the bigger the meal you eat, the faster you'll get hungry. It would therefore be wise to eat a small meal that is packed with the nutrients one needs for the day. A complex carbohydrate meal with a lot of essential fatty acids and a helping of vegetable protein would be good. If you take a cup of muesli with yoghurt and honey adding some flax seeds, it would make a good pre fast meal. A liquid meal made from a complete food powder may be a good choice for those who have no time to waste preparing a meal, a light wholesome meal may be another option. Milk with dates is also a good pre fast meal, adding a whole food vitamin and mineral preparation would not be a bad idea. If you are allergic to milk, substitute the milk with soya milk. Taking refined carbohydrates like white flour and white rice is not such a good idea because these foods digest pretty fast and you get very hungry very soon, as well as your blood sugar will rise very fast and then drop very fast. A complex carbohydrate on the other hand, will digest much more slowly keeping the blood sugar steady.
Examples of complex carbohydrates are brown rice, whole meal cereals including wheat and all vegetables and fruits except for the very starchy ones which have much less fibre and a lot of carbohydrates. Fruits are very good for breaking the fast because they have a lot of easily utilised sugars but they are not likely to cause the sudden rise and then fall of the blood sugar. It is eating simple sugars (white sugar) that sometimes make people dizzy after breaking the fast, because the blood sugar shoots up suddenly releasing insulin which then works to bring down the blood sugar again super fast as well. The fibre in the meal slows down digestion, hence the blood sugar rise is gradual when we eat complex carbohydrates.
For those who are usually constipated while not fasting, the bad news is that it is going to get worse when fasting and it is also going to negate any beneficial detox effect of the fast! For these people, I would suggest that a few days before beginning the fast, eat light foods, avoid animal proteins, drink lots of water and take a preparation that would cleanse the bowels. Depending on the type and manner of constipation, these are the suggestions : Take a fibre preparation before bedtime with a large glass of water, ones that can be bought at a pharmacy are psyllium seed preparations or asperghula husk. You can make your own preparation using local ingredients (getah anggur, kembang semangkok, selasih). Take a tablespoonful of Lactulose (available over the counter at the Pharmacy) or if this is too mild, add two senokot tablets or granules prepared according to instructions on the pack you bought. Senokot may cause some griping pain while being a good bowel cleanser and each person has got to find their own suitable dose! Start taking more fibre with your meals but, if you have been used to eating low fibre meals, you may find that suddenly increasing fibre intake will cause bloating! Adding a suitable amount of chlorella and spirulina may help with the detox but having said that, please make sure the brands you use are from pollution free sources and, also there are some people allergic to chlorella and spirulina so please start with a small quantity, way below the recommended dose! You may want to know why I suggest a detox to begin the fast. Most Muslims do not do any kind of detox and simply plunge into the fast. Many will have been fasting for a few days in the week the previous month and this will be a detox in itself. Those who plunge into the fast may have a tough time the first week of the fast if their bodies are having a lot of waste matter that has not found its way out of the body in the normal course of its metabolism. How is this possible you may ask?
A Scientific Experiment
This post is very long so I am sending you to my website to read the rest....
I think doctors are not the most methodical of people, given the irregularity of the free time on their hands, and with me gallivanting here there and everywhere almost all weekends does not help at all.
But work is piling up, a book to write, procedures to read through a homeopathy case to analyse, a healing class to prepare for..When are all these assignments due? Now ! And what do I do about it? Almost nothing! At least I have marked the patho assigments and sent them back !
My children are amused ! I have been watching a Malay telenovella based on a Mexican one..you guessed it , Manjalara..it ends today and what a blessing! Remind me not to get hooked on another one. Admittedly a lot of cliches and some scenes like a female character tripping and is caught by the male character is just too common but..having said that, and being a sucker for romantic moments ..I let myself be moved by it...oh? so you thought grandmother types do not have any romance left in their hearts..guess again....
The beauty of a teledrama is that it leaves much to the imagination, like what is going on in the mind of the character that is unspoken ..that one has to guess from the expression , the subtle nuances of the voice etc...I have to admit that the quality of the acting and the actors and actresses have improved tremendously since the last time I spared the time to watch malay dramas ...which is a pretty long time!
So , how on earth does this relate to spirituallity? It does really , and I will relate this in another post , soon as I can get the shadowy ideas in my mind into print!
Yes I have a healing workshop for a very small group , kept small on purpose...
I find more people who are the type of people I am most able to help are coming to me ...perhaps because they are ready for me and I for them?