I listen to radio when I commute. It is a public station that has to raise funds. Sometimes they will offer a disc as a thank you to contributors. What does this music means to you? How does it affect you? they ask. The campaign would be somewhat annoying if not for the very fine music and the listeners sharing.

Not so long ago it was Bach’s CD and I had an “A-ha moment” when a listener on the phone said that Bach centers her. Just one sentence – so simple and so precise. It brought me years back – into my student life – I had a record with Mahler’s Bach Suite. I played it over and over – and didn’t bother to ask myself why I liked it so much. I realize now, it centered me (just like the Lady said) – it brought the best of me to me.

Nowadays I am learning how to center myself on a different level. It’s a process. And it works – most of the time. Like this morning – I turned on my computer, slightly panicked with the amount of tasks (most are urgent, of course), my shoulders started to rise – tension rushed to my neck, blood to my head – I recognized the feeling and paused – breathed – and looked inside me – yes, looked – somewhere in my chest – and it happened – I managed the stress – my pose, facial features changed – I could tell by the reaction of by passers (we have an “open concept” at work – no cubicles). Amazing! It feels good that the stress is gone – and also that I can do it.

P.S. I still love Bach. After so many years I’m not bored with his music – after all, it brought the best of me to me.
I’m learning now how to recognize and love the best of me in me on my own, which centers me.

Standing Your Ground


I don’t know why it happens or exactly how.  I don’t really see it coming.  It is very sneaky and slowly creeps in behind me.  I noticed it does so especially when I make a big decision to change myself.  Without warning or any apparent cause it will abruptly foil my plans and send me down the wrong rabbit whole ever so gently.  So who is this foe?  Ninjas!   Ok it’s not ninjas, but just as sneaky as they are.

I honestly have no idea what it is, all I know is that it is there and comes to me at important times when there is an opportunity to grow more or if I make a personal choice to do so more.  I can remember at almost every major turning point while practicing Harmony Meditation there always came up some personal disaster.  One time is was an unexpected financial problem, another time a death in the family, another time a major relationship meltdown.  I can go on and cover a span of almost 10 years but needless to say the word coincidence has lost its meaning to me almost completely.

It’s like deciding to head in a direction and almost immediately as you step towards there something off of the path zooms in and steals the attention you are trying to give to your destination.  Then all of the sudden there are so many thoughts and emotions pulling at you that you are unable to take another step. Even more importantly is the fact that you don’t realize it as it’s happening nor do you realize your condition sinking along the way.

This just happened again to me. I guess I can say it’s getting better because I can see it to some extent now. However even though I’ve been there so many times and can see it now it feels like I can’t actually do anything about it. It’s as if I can see myself going down and can think of at least 3 or 4 things to improve the situation but I can’t seem to muster up the will to do it.  A weird sense of positivity trapped inside negativity.  “Ok Matts in a funk”, I tell myself.  Even the thought of doing the smallest thing literally makes my body cringe. Then all kinds of desires to do other things come up that are clearly not in the direction I just set out.

Lol it was really kind of funny this time.  These crazy thoughts came up and I know that they are meaningless and distracting so I try to push them down.  That doesn’t do any good so I start to say, “Ok, let them come up and out”, and laughed at myself as they did.  I won’t share all of them but one that kept coming up and really made me laugh was fantasizing of being on a beach in the Caribbean laying on hammock while sipping a pineapple shaped pina colada, lol. I start to do somethings I don’t want to and even realize it as I am about to do it.  It’s as if my purpose is within me but is powerless and my body is just doing the opposite.

Now I am in the familiar stage where I am just starting to come out of it.  I can do a little more but not nearly as much as I planned to originally.  It will build up and things will be changed in my practical life to some degree.  Thats exactly how I have experienced these things before.  If I can’t move, fine, I’ll stand my ground here for a little while and take a break without venturing off.  Maybe I needed a break or to reexamine my situation.  I’ll just try to make this funk as positive as possible while remaining steady in my heart.

Acting myself – more than an Oscar-worthy performance


Around the time of the Oscars I realized that I actually spend a considerable amount of time acting instead of living my life.  I constantly try to meet expectations and to be what, I think, is expected of me in my role as a senior manager aspiring to the executive level.

However, if I am not acting as my real self, I feel like a fake and like I am just being an actor in a role. I feel like I am pretending to be something or somebody, which has nothing to do with me. If I am not aware of who I really am, I am apart of myself and I am not really alive.  In turn, if I keep my awareness about my real self, I feel good about myself, I feel at home and at peace with being me. This is when I am thoughtful and make the better decisions.

After reading chapter 7 of ‘Harmony Meditation’ by JoHwa Choi, however, I realized that there is another perspective though that I had not considered yet. By keeping the awareness about myself, I can fill this role or any role without acting it! Any role becomes just another facet of myself and one of many ‘mes’ that comprises the real me. If I act my true nature having true love in my heart I can be all these without being a fake.

My teacher pointed out that I tend to aiming too low. I can see now how I am limiting myself and others through this behavior. To aim higher, I no longer need to act, I can be the real me in any role – so it is no longer a role.

These many ‘mes’ then become reflections of my real self, and I keep switching  between them during my life’s journey as I adapt to change, letting me come closer to my goal and becoming my Self.


Love, Interrupted

‘Cause love is the answer
It’s the answer to the questions in your mind
Love is the answer
It’s the answer, if you’re looking you will find

How to love without attaching? I don’t remember since when I started asking myself that question. What is the difference and how can I tell? Why should I desire it? The moments of experiencing the “bigger than self” love were rare. Once at a college party I felt a sudden outbreak and outpouring of love to my friends and everyone around. Another time I met a person I loved and hated for so long, and realized that there is still different kind of love deep inside me despite all the accumulated drama. If we don’t pay close attention, we forget these moments easily, and chase after strong emotional feelings of love.

Having an inquisitive scientific mind, I could not find a satisfactory answer to the origin of these moments. These moments were special because I knew they could not possibly come from my own self, from my usual “scrutinizing everything” self. This feeling of love was so big and absolute, without limits. Or gentle and true, omnipresent.

I could not rest without knowing the answer. I kept pondering – how can I reproduce the feeling? What internal and external factors can I change to increase the probability of having this love a regular guest in my life?

Love is so confusing. Love is widely misunderstood. In the book “Harmony Meditation: A new way to completion” my teacher talks about a MuAh centered love, a bigger kind of love. He also talks about summer-like, spring-like, and winter-like love. One of the major sources of confusion about love is that we rarely acknowledge winter-like love. It takes time and wisdom to recognize it. We tend to put higher importance on the love we did not get enough of. If our parents were always strict, we would desire the emotional love and try to give the abundance of that love to our kids. The type of love we crave the most also defines the kind of partner we attract in love relationships.

Emotional love without a strong base, though, comes with a price tag. It is nearly impossible to figure out what is the exact right amount of emotional love, and the party sharing that love in abundance can’t help but feeling depleted from time to time. It creates of habit of dependence in the receiving party and prevents them from going deeper and looking for their own source of love.

The winter-like love is calm and trusting. It believes in the process of learning, and it trusts that the other person will overcome the challenges on his or her own. It does not try to control every step of the way. It keeps that everlasting love continuously, uninterrupted, without the need for recognition from the other party. It teaches the principles, not techniques. It teaches how to get to the source of one’s own love, creativity, power. Recovering and growing that unconditional love is much harder than expressing emotional love. It may take years of practice. Is it a goal worth striving for? Absolutely.

I was babysitting a child who was a bit cranky. He started crying for no apparent reason and after trying to cheer him up I left him alone. I was watching my own emotions. My standard response would have been – he is bad, he is unreasonable, I should just leave him alone. Then I reminded myself of bigger love and suddenly I realized I don’t have to judge him as good or bad, I don’t have to fight against his sad emotions with my angry emotions. I don’t need to close myself off either. I can just tell him his choice is bad, but it does not make him bad, he can always change his choice. And I can continue sharing my love with him. If my love is expansive enough, I can easily do this. What a feeling of freedom, WHEW! Practicing Harmony Meditation is absolutely worth of this state of awakened and conscious love. I still have a long way to go to keep that love every single moment no matter what.

What happened with the boy? He stopped crying. If you can remember yourself as a child, crying takes a lot of energy, and is utterly exhausting. I congratulated him on the good choice he made, smiled brightly, and we carried on with playing and having fun.

Staying Humble to Avoid a Bumble

The phone is ringing on both lines. 3 waiters are giving their drink orders simultaneously.  Customers are waiting impatiently. There are people all around that need something.

Needless to say this is a stressful moment and I lose myself in the whirlwind of the restaurant business. On top of all that I have my own dreams to fulfill that are not easy and take a lot of planning and action.

It’s easy to get busy and hurried. A lot of times when that happens it’s common  to get cynical and feel a false sense of importance and pride. “Look how much I’m doing and how little they are!”

I think it’s important to achieve your goals, but if your goal is to grow as a human being then your attitude while achieving them may be even more important. If there is a sense of frustration in others, or blame, or impatience, or self importance while flying through the tasks to get to your finish line then may be you lost your humility.  Getting back into the right mind isn’t easy.

I do smile meditation and my head naturally bows by itself. I remember that the true purpose is to grow and not just develop skills or self righteousness. Memories of previous incidents that I didn’t recognize come up and humble me some more. My head bows even deeper until I’m walking through the dining room like I’m looking for cockroaches, lol.

“Oh man this hurts”, I tell myself and let out a chuckle.  Good intentions and moving quickly is great but keeping the right mind is everything.  These are the growing pains I have felt before when meditation makes me see myself more honestly.  Times like this make you want to run away and brush this whole growth business off and I have seen that happen before.  Being mindful while busy is important and affects everyone around you as well.

Master Johwa has said many times, “First do it, then do it well, then do it fast.”  Before I move next I will check to see if I have my mind with me and tread carefully from there.  I appreciate this lesson, but it’s the kind of lesson you want to learn once lol 🙂

New Neighbors Puts Things Into Perspective


Nasa recently announced the discovery of 1700 exoplanets.  Exoplanets are planets that exist outside of our solar system and orbit their own distant suns.  There were thousands more found but these 1700 have been officially confirmed to exist.  Pluto was demoted to a “dwarf planet” not so long ago leaving us with only 8 planets in our solar system but we don’t need to feel so bad because we have a lot of new friends, lol.  Scientists also believe  that there may be billions of worlds just in our neck of the universe.

In the hectic hustle and bustle of daily life our own problems, worries, achievements, and aspirations seem like the most important things in the world.  Some times I feel like we are all walking around in our own little bubble that is our important life bouncing off one another struggling to just get by and make some meaning of it all.  Now that we know there are so many more worlds out there, possibly an infinite amount, how small my worries feel.  I remember one day I was stressed and Master Johwa told me to go outside and look at the sky.  It seemed like a waste of time to me but when I did it and saw how big the sky was my heart felt lighter immediately.

Letting go of the importance of this small bubble leaves room for bigger and better things.  The second I remember this during a stressful day all of the faces around me change.  The people that were viewed as obstacles look more like partners with me.  Opening my heart to myself and others makes daily worries of no importance and gives me a sense meaning with every interaction.  When my bubble bursts the loneliness  goes away and I feel grateful to everyone who is around me.  I love when gratitude comes in, it makes even painful times feel like a blessing.