Greatest Salesman Month 4 Report

I just finished Month 4 of the Greatest Salesman Course by Og Mandino. I am glad that I finished this month as quick as I did. Last “month” went on for 2 months to make up for the times I skipped/slept through the thrice daily readings.

For the most part, nothing really remarkable happened during this time. That was until I got a reply to a job application, which I wrote about here, and failed miserably, which I wrote about there.

Another interesting event was that I got a Facebook message from this head teacher in the last school I taught in Thailand. In her roundabout way, she was wondering if I can go back to teach at her school. That did make me happy as I liked the school, I liked the kids, and I also loved the teachers’ quarters. That time I didn’t live in an apartment, I lived in a one bedroom house!

I didn’t accept her offer, though. The head teacher likes me and loves how diligent I am in my work. Unfortunately, she loves my diligence so much that she made me do extra tasks. I had to help her out with administration work. I also had to play mediator between her and my rival, “Bosco”. I had to convey her orders to Bosco because he wouldn’t listen to her and he thought he was above school policy. Last, but not least, she metaphorically twisted my arm to stay after school to teach her and her coworkers’ children to improve their English. Why? Because she caught me studying Thai. If I didn’t study Thai, she would not have me work extra hours teaching the teachers’ kids.

While I had a couple of false starts on the job hunt, I like to think of these two incidences as signs that my life is changing and that I am going somewhere. Again, nothing is more frustrating than trying to make my resume have a nice format and craft a cover letter only to receive no reply when I send them both. Insofar, this gives me motivation to apply to more jobs.

I also wrote on this post that I am not going to work out like an athlete or a martial artist and stick to a more minimalist approach. I workout 3 minutes twice a day, do a 5 minute qigong routine twice a day, and a seated stretch workout at least once. So far, I am surprised how much my life improved. It’s not much, but a little goes a long way. I will write more of this in 7-10 days.

The main message of this month’s essay/scroll is “I am nature’s greatest miracle.”

Of course, nowadays this sounds a bit weird as people on the internet call each other a “special snowflake” as an insult. I have met too many people who are entitled narcissists and I can understand why this insult exists. At the same time, though, self-belief is something needed for one to strike out and find one’s fortunes. One has to believe that s/he has the potential to do well and s/he will be able to overcome any obstacles that s/he will encounter.

There is a lot to unpack here, so maybe I will write more on my thoughts of this later . . . .if possible.

Starting tomorrow, Month 5!


The picture above is Vishnu in his 4th avatar Narasimha. I like to refer to him as the Hindu Lion-Man for obvious reasons, although Lion-Man is not really an accurate term and I will explain why later. As a kid I liked the story. As an adult, I loved it more.

Here is the summary.

After years of penance and prayers, a god appeared before King Hiranyakashipu to grant the king a wish. The king wished that no human, animal, nor god can kill him and that he could not be killed on heaven or Earth to which the god complied. After getting his wish, the king then declared himself a god and that other ones will be worshiped but him. Everyone in the kingdom complied, except his son Prahlada (who I think is the real star of the story). Prahlada insists that his father is not a real god and that everyone is better off worshiping Vishnu and/or Shiva.

Due to his son’s disobedience, the king tried to kill his kid in many ways, including trying to burn him alive. Yet, despite all his attempts, Prahlada still lived. The king finally decided to confront his son and tried to get the kid to change his mind one last time. Prahlada told the king that there is no way the king can become a god since the gods are every where. The king then asked, “Is there a god in that pillar?” Prahlada said, “Yup.”

The king then broke the pillar and out came Narasimha. The Lion-Man destroyed the palace like a rock star gone wild. After that, Narasimha put the king on his lap and then tore the king apart with his nails and his fangs. Why did the king die despite his powers? Well Narasimha is not a god, animal, or human being—he is all three. The king was on Narasimha’s lap, so the king was not on heaven nor on Earth.

Here is a cartoon version in English. Here is the scene from a movie I watched as a kid depicting the Lion-Man wreaking havoc.

As a kid, I enjoyed this movie and story as much as anyone who enjoyed Godzilla destroying Tokyo. It was the climax of a somewhat preachy tale of staying true to one’s religion.

The only thought that comes to mind about this avatar is that this is a morality tale about arrogance.

Whatever gifts we have, whether they are developed by ourselves or given by a god, we should never abuse them in any which way we would like. If we use our talents to harm and put down other people, someday those gifts of ours will turn out to be a curse.

As a guy who has seen arrogant martial artists and spiritual masters, I am often reminded of this story and how arrogance sets oneself up for failure.

It is always a good thing to be humble.

Me-a Cope-ah

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

About a week ago, I was on Cloud 9 once I received an email from this company to take an aptitude test before I can get an interview. 3 days ago I took the test and failed really hard which bummed me about. Yesterday, though, I am feeling much better from the experience.

As you may or may not know, I am currently studying the Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino which requires reading a certain essay/scroll three times a day for 30 days before switching to the next scroll.

One of the passage that I read for my current scroll states this:

“I have been given eyes to see and a mind to think and now I know a great secret of life for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise. I will no longer be fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open. I will look beyond the cloth and I will not be deceived.”

I know that just because I failed in getting that dream job, I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself. I should learn from my mistakes and move on. If there are no mistakes for me to learn from, or if I can’t learn from them at all, I should move on anyways.

Here are some thoughts that come to mind:

Perhaps I dodged a bullet

As we all know about jobs, they will never advertise themselves as being horrible places to work or that everyone is miserable there. They all like to act like everyone is 110% satisfied there and that everything is hunky-dory. The thing is, of course, sometimes the most advertised workplaces are a nightmare and that some people don’t speak up out of fear for being fired or that NDA clause they signed in the contract.

I don’t know for certain if the job that rejected me is a horrible place to work, but there is that possibility. What if the company frowns upon having a life or hobby outside of work? What if talking about one’s own fitness goals or Youtube hustle gets that person in trouble? In my current job, there is a guy who believes that we are not allowed to think about anything but the job and our industry even if we are not on the clock. Thankfully, he’s not in charge or else my office would be a lot worse.

What if my competency of my work doesn’t matter and that the best way for me to get ahead is to schmooze (or sleep with) the boss? I have a friend with an MBA and a lot of experience worked his ass off at a company and expanded the business only to have a new guy get hired to become VP because that dude was the CEO’s college friend.

Plus, I don’t like wearing suits. Sure I might look handsome, but those things are uncomfortable. You would think with all these advances in fashion technology that someone can design a comfortable, but nice looking suit. But no, they have to be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I like things casual.

This also reminds me of 3 articles I have read from Reader’s Digest about Human Resource Officers and how judgmental and slimy there are. Some of them would try to skirt the law in order to deny someone a job or get someone fired. 1 article I read was on print, the other two are here and here.

I should still be appreciative at how far I got

Nothing is worse than sending a resume and not hearing from the job. If my resume shows that I don’t have the experience and education for a job, that’s one thing. Sometimes there are other superficial reasons. I was told that my resume looks too old-fashioned, but I have yet to find out how to make it all snazzy. No snazzy resume means no interview.

There is a phenomena in which people getting rejected for having a non-Anglo name, especially by people who have a stereotypical “Black sounding” one. I am not a Black guy, but I am Indian-American with a very Indian name. A couple times, I have had people tell me “Sorry, we cannot sponsor your visa.” Yes, I was born and raised in America but some people still see me as an immigrant.

While it’s easier for me to get a job teaching English in Asia, I also get rejected because of my skin color. As I am to post a photo of myself with my resume, I’ve had jobs in Asia tell me that I’m not qualified due to my brown skin.

I make these points because this time, I had a chance to prove myself (un)worthy of the job. Instead of my resume disappearing in the Internet ether, someone actually took the time to look at my CV and then gave a challenge.

Better to be proven unfit for a job than to be assumed as someone who can’t hack it.

The aptitude test did teach me something

As I went through the test, I came to realize how weak my math skills are. I know I can’t do math as well as I did in high school, but I never realized how much my math skills deteriorated since then. That’s why I bought a couple of math books and saved a few videos on my bookmarks to refresh and hopefully improve myself in that area.

Mathematics is a valuable skill. Even if I don’t get another job like the one I applied for, at the very least I can use my newfound math skills to improve other areas of life such as finance. If I am stuck in my current job, perhaps my newfound math skills could help me advance far enough that I might be comfortable staying in the same job.

Today I watched an old video of Scott Flansburg, aka The Human Calculator, who gives a lot of useful tips in doing basic arithmetic in large numbers by using one’s brain only. It’s quite a fascinating watch.

History’s greatest people were the biggest losers

A lot of people who achieved success did so after many failures. Abraham Lincoln lost many elections before finally becoming the President of the United States. George Washington is revered in the US as a great military leader, but he was quite mediocre when he was a British officer fighting the in the Seven Year’s War. Colonel Sanders had a long history of screwing up before starting his business of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

My favorite “failure” is Edgar Rice Burroughs. He got fired from every job he worked in and was so much of a failure that his wife left him with the kids to care for. He was basically at the end of his line. He then decided to write a novel which got published. After that, he spent his time writing other adventure and science fiction novels such as the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars series, both became very popular in the early 20th century. Speaking of which, I love the first three of the John Carter books. While he couldn’t expand on the Mars series except for a few comic strips, he made money expanding on the Tarzan series with comic strips, movies, and movie serials.

So the lesson that I must learn is to keep trying until I can’t try anymore. 

Once the weekend ends and I am done relaxing, I am going to start anew with my quest for better employment.

Well that sucked . . .

Last post I wrote about how after applying to many positions in this Bangkok-based company, I was finally given the chance to take an aptitude test. I was feeling good about this as this was the chance for me to get back to Thailand. I thought about all the places I want to revisit, such where I used to work, the people I wanted to see and the places I have yet to go.

After work, I sat down in front of my computer, logged on to my email, and then took the test.

I bombed.

I thought the test would be a combination of an IQ and LSAT test. One of the links I was provided showed me an LSAT type of question. I’m no lawyer or former law student, but I find them doable. No, instead, these involved statistics. One question was like “In 1999 Zimbabwe had $30 million in GDP and the GDP of each head was $450. What was the total population of employed citizens if 60% of the population makes up the workforce?”

Yeah, I knew I was in way over my head.

I took the test and let the recruiter know that I completed it. She has yet to reply, but I can already figure out the response. I may not be able to track the value of the Euro in relation to the Lao Kip, but I can already figure that I would not be asked for the first round of interviews.

I already knew that this was a possibility. I was even prepared for this to happen and that I should appreciate that I made it this far. Yet here I am, feeling bummed out and like a loser.

Maybe I am going through a chemical imbalance. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am going to take time to rest and to grieve. After that, I will double my efforts to get that English teaching job in Taiwan and also still apply for those multinational firms at the same time.

Holy Hole in a Donut, Batman! (I can’t believed it worked)

Yesterday, I couldn’t sleep out of anxiety.

Going through the same list I always complain about: I don’t like my job and its hours. I deal with family drama. My sleep cycle is messed up.

The main solution to my problems is a better job. I get a better job, with better pay, then all I have to do is move out. Once I move out, I can workout anytime I feel like and maybe even have some space to myself to rewire my crazy sleeping pattern.

But would that be possible? When I got back to the US and got stuck due to COVID, my parents told me to never teach English again. I am to work a real corporate job and move up the ladder to become supervisor, manager, or whatever. No more teaching English.

For the longest time, I applied to many other positions from New York to Taipei to see if they can hire me. No go, no dice. I might get an email saying, “Thank you very much and good luck with your job hunt” but that was about it.

A few weeks ago, I was resigned that the only way I can move out is to work as an English teacher in Asia. Don’t get me wrong, I love the work and I sure as hell enjoy it, but job growth is limited and very few can retire working as one if one does it as a career.

While I was willing to go back to English teaching, I was wondering if that’s all I can do with my life. Will I not be able to do anything else? Will I not be able to even have my own home, so to speak?

I decided to go on Linkedin and looked at the same jobs and companies I used to apply. Then three thoughts came into my mind:

  1. From Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World, “I will persist until I succeed.”

  2. From the first Billy Jack film, The Born Losers, well . . . “I am born to lose.”

  3. From my mind, “If I apply to become company president, the worst that will happen is that my resume will get laughed at. So what the hell!”

There is this one company based in Bangkok I have been trying to apply for about a year and a half. Every time I applied for a position I thought I would excel at, I would get rejection after rejection. That night, I decided to apply to almost every open position I saw on Linkedin. I might have even applied for a senior management position which I had no business applying for!

Tonight, I was checking my email before I sleep and I got an email from the company. I was expecting the usual “Thank you for applying and have a nice day” type of drivel.

Instead, I got an email from the company saying they are interested taking the next step in my application!

I still cannot believe my eyes. I am amazed at how far I went with this throwing caution to the wind approach. Basically, I have to take an assessment test before I get an interview. I am hoping that I will pass for the round. Soon enough, I hope I can get that job and move to Bangkok.

Seriously guys, this is a dream job for me and I never expected that I would be able to take the next step. I hope it won’t be my last.

If it is my last, though, I will still be happy. To me this is a sign that things are looking up and that if I can get this far in the application process of this company, I might be able to get farther in an another one.

How it’s going 5/21/2022

I know I have been acting like a wet blanket for a couple of weeks so I want to try to change that and write about some of the good things that are going on in my life.

As I have written before, as I am studying Og Mandino’s Greatest Salesman Course I must read a scroll three times a day daily for a month. At the same time, I also read Dharma Master Kim Jae Woong’s “Polishing the Diamond” as well as “The Buddha’s Words of Wisdom” edited by Ven. Shravasti Dhammika. In both cases, I also read the same passage three times a day and read a different one tomorrow.

A few years ago I made this resolution to read more books than I did the last year. This itself is an ongoing goal. However, some years I would read a good 20 books. Others no more than 10. Because of this habit of reading 3 times a day, I am actually making a point to do some reading. Because of this habit, I am guaranteed to finish at least 2 books before the end of the year. In fact, I am almost finished with Dharma Master Kim’s book and now I am thinking of replacing that one with another to study. I might replace it with “Dropping the Ashes on the Buddha” by Ven. Seung Sahn, “The Mirror of Zen” by Ven Sosan, or “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Dr. Richard Carlson.

I don’t read as many novels as I would like, but I am getting better on that front.

I told myself that I will not do anything more than qigong for fitness. Well I decided to change that and added the exercise routine I modified from Walter Camp’s workout. Sure I won’t get fit anytime soon since it’s a 10-15 minute workout, but I feel good when I do it.

I do want to do both the calisthenics workout and qigong twice a day, but I am not too serious about it now. If I am, I might get frustrated whenever I couldn’t put in a second calisthenics and qigong practice. In fact, most of this week that was the case. I was only able to do a second qigong practice Sunday night.

Monday night was when I was able to do a second calisthenics practice. I didn’t use the workout I posted on my blog, however, but I did practice the routines put up by a Asian governments. That night, I did a South Korean routine, a Taiwanese one, and even one from the North Koreans living in Japan. I didn’t sweat too much since the night was very cold, but I felt nice and relaxed after going through them.

It gave me this idea of maybe memorizing all the routines that are available from the Japanese Radio Taiso to the Chinese Broadcast Exercises and do them in succession for an entire workout, 3 times a week.

Also, Thursday I had a really good qigong session.

Ever since I got back from vacation, I haven’t been able to do qigong. Once I started, I resigned myself into thinking that I would have to wait 30 days until I can enjoy qigong and derive from its benefits. Yet here I am, practicing for less than a week and it felt like I was picking up from where I left off.

At this point I am focusing more on getting to Taiwan. One of the requirements is to get myself fingerprinted for an FBI background check. If I were to go my local police station, I need to bring my own set of fingerprint cards, which no one provides me. I could go, and usually went, to the state’s central police office and I could get fingerprinted there no problem. However, they require an appointment nowadays and my parents use the car during the daytime anyways. Now I found a place that opens late into the evening so I am going to call them up and set up an appointment there.

Also, last night, since almost everyone in my office wants me to work 24/7, I decided to also add in an office workout program. I don’t expect much from it, and I am going to slowly build up the habit of working out in the office, but I am hoping it will become a valuable life skill. The one I am using is one from Denise Austin.

Oh, and since I plan to work as a public school teacher in Taiwan, I found out that they institute nap periods after lunch for all students and teachers. That means either I can rest up or . . . . I get to do put in another qigong practice!

Hell yeah.

. . . then I will work on in despair

The title of the post comes from the 3rd scroll of Og Mandino’s Greatest Salesman book. The full quote goes like this:

“I will never consider defeat and I will remove from my vocabulary such words and phrases as quit, cannot, unable, impossible, out of the question, improbable, failure, unworkable, hopeless, and retreat; for they are the words of fools. I will avoid despair but if this disease of the mind should infect me then I will work on in despair. I will toil and I will endure. I will ignore the obstacles at my feet and keep mine eyes on the goals above my head, for I know that where dry desert ends, green grass grows.”

For the past couple of weeks, I feel like I am being tested in that regard. Ever since I got back from my vacation, everything seemed to stop going my way. My sleeping pattern was more erratic than before. Home life is getting more chaotic. And I’ve been putting more time in the office than I would like.

Speaking of which, the weather is getting warmer and summer vacation is about to start. What makes this a bad situation for me is that most of the staff, especially with kids, will take frequent vacations which means more work for the rest of us . . . including me. I am not liking what the future may hold.

I have written before about doing more qigong, doing more conventional exercises, reading more books and so on. However, all those plans went awry as they do. Most of the time I would work, struggle with sleep, oversleep, wake up and go back to work. I almost never have time for anything else.

The only one cultivation practice I have been keeping up is the readings I do for the Greatest Salesman course. Otherwise, nothing much else.

Today, May 14, I have finally done one qigong set. At this point, I am determined to do just that for the next 100 days. That is to say I am restarting My Qigong Life, I just stick to 1 set a day. Maybe I can do a second set if I am lucky. Although today’s qigong practice wasn’t as “uplifting” as weeks before, I am grateful enough to at least get myself back to practice.

Another good news is that I am much more determined to get myself to Taiwan. For some time I was trying to work in an office there, like in a multinational company. At this point, I don’t care. I am going back to teach English as a Second Language. While it is not considered an honorable profession by many, even in East Asia, at the least I can do some good. Besides, I enjoy teaching. Sure I have to deal with that one disruptive punk in the class and there is paperwork involved, but it feels less like work than what I do now. Some of my favorite memories of Thailand and Korea are the funny interactions I had with the students even if I was the butt of their shenanigans.

Plus working set hours means I can depend on having free time to do more important things such as Zen cultivation, playing video games, and reading bad sci-fi novels. I might even write one of my own in the same vein as Edgar Rice Burroughs and L. Ron Hubbard. I dropped those two names because I do not see myself as equal to Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, or even the underrated H. Beam Piper.

I don’t really have any strong religious beliefs, except for one: A person’s life can change for the better as long as he or she changes him or herself. Because I should be able to focus more on self-cultivation and self-change, I can see my luck improve for the better. Maybe the school teaching job will be the very last one for me and that I will stay there for the rest of my life. Maybe that job would help me find better employment in Asia or in North America. Either way, though, I feel optimistic about my upcoming move.

I do have to say that the only problem that I have still yet to figure out is what happens whenever I deal with controlling individuals. As you might figure out, I always think about when I was in Korea and dealing with that Anson guy as well as the Korean-American professor. Both of them tried to micromanage my free time to a point I would face harassment for not capitulating to their demands. The last place I worked in Thailand, I dealt with this guy who I call Bosco and how he was always trying to bother me because he was too bored with his life. I never wrote about him before, but I also dealt with an American in my first time in Korea who always personally attacked me and threw temper tantrums if I did not obey his commands or even parrot his opinions.

Therein lies the question, will I deal with people like them if and when I move to Taiwan? Will I meet with a Brit or Kiwi who thinks that my sole purpose in life is to serve them? Will I meet an American or Canadian who will spend time making my life hell because I stand up for myself instead of complying to their demands? Will there be an Aussie who will manipulate me into doing things I don’t want to do and get disrespected for it?

That is a possibility. One stereotype that is enduring in East Asia is that Westerners who teach in Asia are maladjusted losers who couldn’t get a job back home. I’d hate to say this, as I met lots of awesome teachers abroad, but it is true on some level.

While I am planning for my move abroad, I also have to plan on meeting those types of individuals. The one tool at my disposal is that I have a decent indoor workout that can be done in an apartment. I can definitely use that as a way to improve my health and channel out any stress that I would incur by meeting those creeps. I can try to think of other coping methods, but the workout is a good start.

Until then, I just have to keep moving no matter how slow.

Greatest Salesman Month 3 Report

This has been the “longest” month in my Greatest Salesman study so far. As I have a rule to add in a week for every day I miss, plus my vacation to the Cascades, my 30 days of study extended to many many weeks.

I figure it’s not a bad thing. The psychological function of the Greatest Salesman course is to impress upon my subconscious mind the values to help me become a better salesman, or at the least a better worker.

This is what I like about the course thus far.

A lot of us have these morals and values that we love to espouse to be true and righteous. However, as we all know, it is easier to talk the talk rather than walk the walk. We might pontificate about the importance of being kind, honest, upright, and so on only to have past habits and our environment influence us to act otherwise.

The biggest problem with keeping up with our own sense of ethics is that we often try to do so from an extrinsic point of view, as in through our conscious thinking. The thing is, though, our subconscious mind influences our thinking and actions more than we realize.

Therefore by doing something similar to the Greatest Salesman course, such as reading an essay or a list of rules over and over again, your subconscious thinking and your outlook gradually changes to a point that you act out these ethics out of instinct rather than compulsion.

On that end, I can tell it is working. It will take time, but it works.

I looked at the central messages of each scroll in the Greatest Salesman course and what I can say that I won’t be learning anything new. I am familiar with a lot of the concepts that Mandino teaches from other books. However, the biggest question has always been how to incorporate those teachings, which is being resolved through this course.

Last month, I was reading an essay/scroll about being more loving. While I never felt more loving during that month, a couple weeks after I was done reading that essay love has started to bloom in my heart. As people who read my blog, I would ruminate over people I met in my travels who did me wrong (in my defense, it’s because I have been trying to figure how to deal with people like them). However, by thinking in love, especially silently saying “I love you” whenever I think of them, my frustration has been slowly disappearing. Do I still think of them in anger? Yes, but a lot less now and it’s only a matter of time when love will replace those negative emotions.

The same could be said for the current month. I have been getting myself to become more tenacious and persevering in my thoughts and actions. To be brutally honest, though, my life has been rough and there were times I spend half a day asleep out of hopelessness and depression. By all appearances, I am doing the opposite of what I am studying. However, I have faith that in a couple of weeks, I will find myself becoming more persistent with my efforts to succeed in life.

As it is, I am already planning on what I can do to teach English in Taiwan at the very least.

Qigong will still be a primary means of fitness for me for the time being. I still want to mediate, but I cannot see myself doing it for sometime since I don’t see my life settling down any time soon. Right now I am incorporating more of Shakti Gawain’s creative visualization techniques, both to get myself working a better job and giving out good vibrations to a workplace rival.

I am glad I took that vacation to the Cascades region, but it did throw my off in my cultivation pattern. As it is, I feel like I am starting from square 1 in qigong. The only thing for me to do is keep on practicing and be patient in doing so. I might go back to practicing only 1 qigong set a day and slowly add another set and another once my sleeping pattern stabilizes. I might even get myself back to adding more meditation to my life, again when I can sleep a lot better.

Tomorrow I am going to start Month 4.


The painting above depicts Vishnu’s 3rd incarnation, Varaha the Boar.

Traditionally Hindus believe that all the planets float upon a cosmic ocean. In fact, you might see paintings of Hindu gods floating on water and that is why.

When the universe was recreated Earth was stuck underwater in that cosmic ocean. So Vishnu turned into a boar to pick up the planet and move it above water. There was a demon who conquered heaven and wanted to kill the boar, knowing that boar was Vishnu. The two fought, Vishnu kicked the demon’s ass. The Earth is now floating on the ocean, the heavens are free, and everyone is happy.

That’s the boar’s story in a nutshell. You can watch a cartoon version here. Also, here is the an old school Bollywood depiction of the fight, with bad-but-oh-so-good special effects and all.

So far, the common theme in my writing about Vishnu’s avatars in how I have to research and rediscover all of the stories I forgot about growing up. I may not have been the most religious kid, but I loved the stories and it was probably the only thing I liked about growing up Hindu. So rereading some of the tales is quite an enjoyable thing for me.

It’s also a bit frustrating.

Usually whenever I research these stories, I start on Wikipedia. Wikipedia being Wikipedia, reading up the stories also means reading up the various retellings and inconsistencies from one text to the next. It has become quite a task for me to figure out which details in the legends are important and which aren’t.

One day, I was reading this anthology collection of Batman comics and then I had this thought: are the changes in Hindu mythologies no different than the changes in superhero comics?

If you think about it, superhero comics tend to reinvent themselves in style and story telling over and over again. The way Bruce Wayne becomes Batman gets retold in different movie and comic book versions. Batman’s personality changes over time, from a upright do-gooder* to a brooding anti-hero.

Also who is the Joker? Is he a giggling, mischievous maniac like how Caesar Romero** portrayed him? Is he a suave, sophisticated gangster like how Jack Nicholson played? Maybe he was an insane criminal in the vein of Heath Ledger? What about the crazy emo-goth incarnation of Jared Leto? How about a sad, tragic man driven to crime like that of Joaquin Phoenix’ interpretation?

The whole point is that even in modern times people take beloved tales and retell them with their own spin. Why not the same for Hindu mythology? Just like how a regular schmoe like me is trying to figure out these ancient Hindu tales, it could be possible that someone thousands of years into the future will look at a comic book heroes and get all confused with the inconsistencies that is part of the subculture.

And yes, what is considered popular, low-brow art today will be considered higher forms of literature in the future.

* Adam West is my favorite Batman. When I first watched his version of Batman as a kid, I thought it was just an action TV show. When I watched it as an adult, I realized that it was more of a comedy and it made me laugh.

** Since Adam West’s Batman is my favorite, Romero’s Joker is also a favorite of mine. You can tell Romero was having too much fun with that role. Whenever Romero gets interviewed on camera, though, he exhibited a classy personality that I aspire to become.

Change in plans, 4/23/2022

Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan on Pexels.com

I have this problem of being too ambitious and swimming against the stream when it comes to cultivation.

Once I start one cultivation practice, I want to do more and more until I am satisfied that I can cover all my bases when it comes to self-improvement. In a sense I am spoiled due to my past “successes”. When I came back from my first foray in Korea I was practicing Zen for hours a day, since I was unemployed. On my second time in Korea I spend 3 weeks at a martial arts temple and of course I was doing all sorts of practices which made my time there wonderful.

But reality is reality and, I guess in my case, people need me to pull me into their problems. This is especially how I might stay late for work or deal with family issues. Also, my sleeping pattern is still erratic. It’s getting better, but it is erratic. Without a decent amount of sleep, most of my practices would be too difficult for me to do.

It also doesn’t help that some of the practices I do involves time to overcome internal resistance. My meditation practice is a perfect example. Sure it takes me 15 minutes to meditate, but I have to give myself a pep talk in order to sit down and meditate. I feel great after I am done, but I still have to push myself to do it and that takes time.

Also, and as frivolous as it sounds, I need to have fun dammit! I have a pile of books that I want to read and I hardly ever get to do so. If anything, I miss lying around and getting lost in a story. I downloaded a bunch of games to play but I never play them. The same goes for the movies I possess. If work and family doesn’t suck up my time, my cultivation does.

Last week, I did some qigong but I mainly focused on the readings. This disappointed me as I want to live a more cultivated life in which I deal with life’s problems in a more elegant fashion. Lately, though, I had to stay up late due to work and other errands. Last weekend also sucked for me since I spent most of it sleeping.

So I am going to try something new. I am going to get myself back into cultivation, but in more harmony with my current obstacles. This means working with sleep, family, and job and not against it.

First and foremost, I will still keep up with the readings. I still want to see to through to the end to find out if it helps me change my life for the better.

I am still going to do qigong three times a day. Since stress seems to come naturally to me like mud to a pig, I have to keep on “cleaning” myself from all the drama so that I won’t let the pressure get to me.

I am still going to do the creative visualization work to help make my rival’s life a lot happier. I am also going to do the same for myself; one visualization when I get up and one before I sleep.

I am also flirting with the idea of mediating five minutes a day, twice a day. The same with doing an Asian calisthenics workout, a la Japan’s radio taiso, as well. I am also thinking of doing a sitting isometrics and stretching workout. For now, though, I am going to add them one week at a time so I won’t get too overwhelmed.

Oh, I have to be brutally honest. As much as I talk about finding a new job, my efforts have been lacking. This time I am going to go for broke. That’s also part of the reason why I am doing the creative visualization exercise for myself, to motivate myself to get going and stop wasting time!

The picture I posted above to remind me to keep the dream alive.

I’m back and what’s next

The traveling was a pain. The red tape getting into Canada and back into the US was a headache. All-in-all, though, I really enjoyed my vacation. I enjoyed my vacation so much that I even told my friend in Vancouver that I want to move there.

Of course, the thing about vacations is that they put me out of rhythm when it comes to self-cultivation.

For the Greatest Salesman Course, I did the readings once a day only and that was it. I am now getting myself back to the habit of doing the readings three times a day. I am also adding another 2 weeks of reading my current scroll.

Qigong is another matter. Originally I was planning to do qigong for 100 days straight to prove to myself that qigong is a good fitness system. I was practicing qigong everyday until halfway through the vacation I stopped. I have read somewhere that I need to do three days of qigong to make up for one day I missed. Since I stopped doing qigong for at least 5 days, that is at least 15 days for me to do qigong to make up the days I missed during vacation.

So why not start over?

It sucks that I didn’t do 100 days straight of qigong (yet), but I have been able to prove to myself that qigong is good and good for me. I am still surprised that I lost belly fat in the process!

This time, as I wrote before my vacation, I am going to do three different qigong sets three times a day: one I get up, during office hours, and before I sleep.

Also, I am going to meditate when I get up as well. I feel like I have been in a rut for some time and I need that meditation to help me get of out that and to see my life in a different perspective. I need new ideas to change my life and I need it pronto.

I am also getting myself back into the calisthenics workout. I don’t need it as much for weight loss or athleticism as much as I need it for the endorphins. To be brutally honest, I am getting annoyed at work almost everyday and I need a way to make myself happy before I lose control. Again , it doesn’t help that work-life balance is almost non-existent in my job.

Last, but not least, I am going to try something new. I am going to use creative visualization to send positive vibes to a work rival. Long story short, this rival hates me and I don’t know why. I do try to get along with her but she refuses to let go any and all ill-will towards me. I told her straight up that I don’t want to be her enemy, but she wants to be mine whether I want it or not. Story of my life as it’s the same with almost every other rival I deal with.

So every night before I sleep I am going to imagine that she will get a promotion with a huge raise. She will get that promotion and will move to a better city like New York or Paris with a sweet apartment for her. She will work less hours, make more money, and live that Instagram worthy lifestyle. Of course I will add an affirmation about how this or something better will manifest for her.

That I will do every night for 100 days. If somehow she does get that raise/promotion or that our workplace relationship improves then I can use this tool to deal with other people; whether I work in an American corporation or teaching English in Asia.

What I need to also address is reality. It’s great if I can do all these things everyday but I know I won’t.

Boss might schedule a meeting during the time I should be sleeping. I still have that coworker who expects me to clean up his mess. He’s getting better, but he still tells me something in the vein of “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Also, now that the weather is getting better I will probably be expected to spend more time working in the office as my coworkers will take their copious vacations. At the same time, my home and family life almost resembles a Hindi soap opera where small problems get blown out of proportion, especially during Hindu and American holidays.

So the question is what can I do about this?

My only answer is this: as long as I keep up the Greatest Salesman Course, get at least 1 qigong practice in a day, and do the creative virtualization work to help out my office rival then it should be good enough.

Until then, I just have to keep on going or as Og Mandino writes, “I will persist until I succeed.”

How’s it going 3/9/2022

사랑합니다

I know my last post on racism is not the most comfortable thing to read, but the uncomfortable truth is that racism exists. It’s not something I like to talk about, but it is a thing in our lives. Also, how is it I can talk about Buddhism and not address the issues in our society? The whole point of studying Buddhism is to learn how to deal with such problems. All too often, many people who practice and study Buddhism delve into metaphysics and forget that even the Buddha himself eschewed that type of talk.

In fact, there was a story in the Malunkyaputta Sutta in which a monk named Malunkyaputta expressed his dissatisfaction of the Buddha and his teachings. The Buddha asked why and his student went on saying that the Buddha never taught him things like how did life begin, how was the world created, will it be destroyed, and other esoteric questions. The Buddha bluntly told the student that he was not interested in those questions. The Buddha was more interested in understanding the sufferings of our daily existence and how to transcend them.

To this I agree and this is one aspect I love about Theravada teachings over the Mahayana. Metaphysical debates are fine, but in the end all of the teachings of Buddhism should gear towards how to deal with life’s problems. We have relationship problems, problems at work, problems at home or with family, problems with money, problems with our mind, and so on. Racism is one of those problems and, unfortunately, is rarely spoken about in the Buddhist community. I can go on talking about some of the racists issues I have seen over the years, but this would require a longer discussion.

Speaking of my own problems . . . .

I have to admit, that when I wrote about certain people as being toxic White saviors, that perhaps I am seeing things in not the most correct angle and maybe race doesn’t have anything to do with our dynamic. However, I cannot say for certain. At the moment, I will keep the appellation as it is since they did talk to me the way British colonials talked to Indians centuries before; as in how it is unfortunate that we Indians are born as Indians and raised in our backwards Indian ways, that we need the British to civilize us and abandon our culture.

Again, I must emphasize that I don’t think all White people are like this and there are always bad examples in every race. If anything, I feel fortunate that I have friends from different races and ethnic backgrounds as it made life more interesting and fun. Having friends from all walks of life truly makes the world my oyster.

For that matter, I don’t think all British people back then looked down upon us. Hell, there were more than a few who got into Hindu philosophy and yoga before it was cool.

Now that I have wrestled with this revelation of the past conflicts I had with certain people, I am going to do something about it.

This week, I am still writing the signs of what to look out for in terms of someone with a toxic savior complex.

Next week, I plan to restart and actually finish the book Emotional Blackmail by Dr. Susan Forward so that I have the strategies I need to deal with controlling people.

As much as that realization of the problem angered me it has given me a sense of peace. Before then, whenever I got mistreated by certain individuals I was always told it was my fault. Either I was too diffident or too confident. Either I was a nice guy or I come off as too cocksure. Either I am too compliant or that I stand out too much. Ultimately, it has less to do with me and more to do with them. That took a lot of pressure off of me.

I believe very strongly that everyone has the right to do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t harm themselves or others and doesn’t disturb other people. For example, I don’t go around punching others because it harms other people. I don’t play music too loud as it disturbs others. However, if I am in bus and sitting alone doing silent meditation and someone else complains, that’s their issue since I am not bothering anyone.

(Funny enough, that did happen. I was sitting alone in the third row of the bus and the person sat all the way at the end. Yet despite me not making any noise and sitting far from her, she complained constantly of my meditation even though she could simply ignore me and talk to her friends.)

Furthermore, as per Og Mandino’s instructions from last month, every time I think about those with a savior complex who tried to control my every move, I think to myself “__________, I love you.” In Dharma Master Kim Jae Woong’s book, Polishing the Diamond, he advises to say something like “I wish _______________ finds his/her Buddha-nature, so that s/he can serve the Dharma well. Barwon [or perhaps Sadhu?]!”

I am doing that. It is helping me take the edge off of the anger, but I still have to examine how those people acted and read up on how to prevent further manipulation.

Or as someone in the internet once said, “Do no harm, but take no shit.”