I’m Doing This For Your Own Good … My Mom Used to Say …

I do not know about your mom, but my mom would always say that she is doing this and that for my own good.  Many times I would challenge her.  Not exactly the easiest son to bring up. ;p

Now, years later, I look back in hindsight, the advices she gave me, the caution she pointed out, not to mention the parties and outings she forbade me … and I wonder how my life would have turned out if I
ignored her advices.  Would it have turned out differently?  Will I be a better or worse person?  One can only guess or speculate.  No one knows.

For the most part, her advices were fairly sound.  Like she would tell me, “study first, play later” or “when you finish your studies, I won’t bother if you play your games (or write them!) … “.  She didn’t know that I would take her word for it.  When I finished my studies, I played games practically, for all intents and purposes, non-stop for two months.  I played until my best friends like got worried for me.  I played until my mom started asking when I’m gonna find a job.  To which I’m like “Didn’t you say that … ” … ;p … tough arguing with that!

I played until my counselling-mentor supervisor at Shanyou recommended me to a company.  No, they didn’t know I was playing games like there was no tomorrow! ;p … I played until my sister got me the Recruitments page from ST, circled a few positions with a highlighter and thrust it at me.  Okay okay … I get the message!  I’ll go get a job!

I was able to do that because I listened … more or less listened to my mom’s advice to study first and play later.  It was a privilege I earned.  But it was possible also because my parents did what good parents did, took care of the family, the kids and most importantly also took care of our home learning 家教.  Without any of that, it would not have been possible.

But there were moments when I didn’t listen to their advices.  I ate eggs, chicken and drank chicken soup on the very evening I was admitted to CDC for chickenpox.  I even bathed!  Fortunately there was the anti-biotics medicine to prevent complications from the water bubbles.  ;p No harm done I guess.

I also got my sis to pull out all my hair one day, ‘cos I was sick of being told that three white hairs would grow in place for each one you pulled.  I challenged that and put myself on the line.  In principle, the statement did not specify the duration for the growth to take effect.  So that’s a blank cheque and loop hole.  So we counted the number of white hairs she plucked and waited.  No, not on the spot silly!  I sorta gave it a month … nothing happened.  But of course nothing short of the usually hair growth happened.  But having disproved it, I rest safe to pull out white hairs if I wanted to.  I never repeated that experiment. hehe

Let’s see, what else did I do?  Oh yes, I also pointed at the moon with my fingers, thumbs and what have you got.  My ears are still intact.

But there were other times I got myself burnt, hurt and cried my hearts out.  Sometimes it is physical trauma, other times emotional ones.  Color me crazy, but I do not regret the emotional ones.  Physical traumas are ones that … given a choice, I would rather not go through it again.  But, having gone through them, I sorta know my threshold for physical pain.  So, maybe it was not so bad after all?

Emotional hurt is another thing altogether.  Meeting a person, getting to know each other and somehow clicking, is something that perhaps will never be synthesized by science.  Given a choice to live my life again, I would go through the relationships again.  Except that this time round, I would be more understanding, more giving, more caring, more patient, more loving, more thoughtful, more forgiving, less flustered, less jealous, less demanding (really?? ;p), less selfish, … … well, if I don’t succeed in ending samsara … many more chances … hahaha …

I learnt a lot from relationships.  From the care and love from the other person, I instinctively extended that to my parents, my sisters, friends and people around.  As I admired the qualities of the other person, I tried to emulate them, growing in the process.  Through loving the special other, I learn to love even more, my parents, my sisters, friends and people around.  As I speak gently to her, I learnt to speak gently to others (but not in the mushy way I hope!
hahaha).  As I cared about how her day was, I learnt to care about the day of others.  As I feel for how she felt towards how I acted, I learnt how I must have hurt my parents so many times.  I think I come out better.  Not by much I must say, but perhaps we have to learn a lot … a lot a lot … through experiences, before we become Perfect, become Enlightened, become an Arahant, a Buddha.

Sometimes relationships are strange as well.  When one or both parties start to act like mommies, things get really strange.  Then we get one person trying to act in the best interest of the other, supposing the best for the other.  Such a relationship can sometimes backfire.  It can backfire in a parent-child relationship, much more in that of an adult couple relationship.  Couples should have confidence and respect for each other, enough to trust that the other person can make his or her decisions and not need to mother over them.  Granted, there are exceptions, but sometimes we have to realise that relationships are not balance-sheets, you cannot account for everything.

Relationships are also not businesses.  It is not about being efficient or productive.  If you want that or be calculative, go start a business.  Countless people spend countless hours, days and nights, making small little things to express their admiration or appreciation of their special other.  We say that it is the thought that counts, but the effort behind also speak volumes.  After all, “mind is the forerunner of all” – Dhp 1, the mental effort behind those physical effort must be tremendous!  If one were to try to be ‘efficient’ then maybe one can and should just buy this or buy that … or …

But in some ways, relationships are also like businesses.  If one were to spend too much time worrying about the outcome, one may never start a business.  In Singapore, we have a joke about how most graduates are workers, albeit executives, while non-graduates are businessmen.  You see, after pondering, calculating, speculating, discussing, planning, anticipating, charting, mulling, and all other “ing”s, they get too frightened, drained or immobilised, they give up altogether.  I’ll leave you to figure out about why non-graduates are businessmen.

In this aspect, relationships are similar.  If one try to chart out a relationship from start to end, one would never start it.  Why?  Because you either suffer first or suffer later.  Having said that, I say that if you want to begin a relationship, go in, give it your best, give your whole totality in it.  Otherwise, don’t.  If you fear being hurt, and so you don’t love, you won’t have love.

To love or be in love.  Do you care more about the other person’s feelings and well-being (to love) or do you care more about your own (good feeling of being in love)?  Sometimes in relationships, there comes a time when you see that the other person is hurting just to see you.  While you know that they want to see you, and yet for whatever reasons, your presence causes them to feel pain, grief or agony, what would you do?

If seeing the other person means hurting them, then I would rather not.
If hearing my voice means causing them grief, then I would rather not.
If thinking of me means making them feel sad, then I would rather not.

Are you ready to love like there is no tomorrow and still be without fear of pain?

Or will you listen to your “mommie”?

Pondering kindly is ezi


3 thoughts on “I’m Doing This For Your Own Good … My Mom Used to Say …”

  1. Can humans really become perfect? Was thinking about this briefly and can’t find the answer except to establish perhaps, hypotheses…

    I guess that depends on the definition of perfection…is it just point-in-time?, i.e. Perfect for a period of time before lapsing into imperfection and then oscillating between perfection and imperfection…

    How about the scope to be considered for perfection? Is it just mind control? Or achievements in certain regards? Etc.

    Finally, how does one measure one’s level of perfection? Is there a maturity model where one can benchmark one’s progress against milestones to perfection? And, who evaluates or judges if one has indeed attained perfection?

  2. Perfection. The saying goes that no one is perfect. It’s fairly true, as most, if not all, people are beset with mental defilements.

    It is fair to consider the ‘parameters’ with which one measures Perfection. Others may prefer to say that Perfection is beyond words, beyond the state of measurement, but I will leave such rhetorics to philosophers instead.

    The Buddha’s teaching is concerned with how we can have Happiness. Dependable Happiness. True Happiness. Happiness that is not dependent on gaining this or that, in the worldly sense. Happiness that is the complete absence of agitation, of dissatisfaction, of change, of uncertainty, of suffering.

    Simply put, Perfection in Buddhism refers to those who is completely free of such suffering, free of the causes of suffering, ie craving and attachment (clinging).

    How does one benchmark one’s progress you ask? By becoming mindful and aware of the mental and emotional* states, one is aware of how much agitation still arise and how much does not. Over time, one can know if the non-arising is due to the lack of stimulus, presence of mindfulness (that cut it out quickly enough to present a seemingly calm state of mind) or true eradication of agitation and the causes of agitation through the actual transformation of how we see things internally (not just superficial mindset, but deep rooted ones).

    Strictly speaking, we evaluate ourselves. We ‘can’ lie about our attainments, and fool others. But we cannot lie to ourselves. If we are still agitated or afflicted, we are. If there is no more agitation, no evaluation, judgement or criticism can change that.

  3. Venerable Shi ChuanGuan,

    Thank you for the insights and advice.

    Your framework of benchmarking one’s progress over time is very useful for visualizing one’s progress.
    The journey towards attaining sustainable Happiness certainly takes a lot of wisdom and willpower, amongst other traits.
    Being able to map oneself’s position on the journey is quite useful to understand where one stands, what one has overcome and what needs to be done to progress further in the journey.

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