Saturday, November 23, 2013

Resilience of the Filipino Spirit


"Filipinos all over the world are united as one and will continue to do so to be able to live a good life and the greatest life that we truly deserve."



It was recently when the Philippines experienced another calamity that was considered as one of the strongest and deadliest typhoon in the world. The typhoon "Haiyan" or local name "Yolanda" has brought misery in the lives of the Filipinos affected by the devastation it has caused. In the central Philippines where the typhoon hit, several regions suffered from this mighty super typhoon.

Weather disturbances of any type are common in the Philippines and the Filipino people learns to accept this phenomena. It is there since several centuries back even before the talks about climate change started. The effect would be massive destruction to property and the loss of lives. It happens and we are not in total control of this so-called acts of God.


Filipinos are known to have a strong spirit in times of calamities and the world somehow acknowledges this thing considering the numerous typhoons and earthquakes that are experienced. However, no matter how strong we are, there are also limitations in our being. Filipinos still suffer from anxiety and post-traumatic stress despite being resilient. We can put smile on our faces but there is still some pain inside that we carry within us. Filipinos are like that; the entire archipelago would share the same attitude when life faces challenges... when life seem to be unfair.


In any challenges; good or bad, there is really something to learn. It is the time to reflect on our ways of dealing with life. Both the strongest and the weakest are tested, if you have the perseverance in times of despair then you remain to be strong, but if you play as a victim and not to take responsibility, then perhaps you may want to become one the weakest link.

In the present time, there are several talks and debates about the climate change and its impact to the world. Some would have the interest about the subject and take action while some would just ignore and just let it be. Indeed, what we do to our environment could bounce back on us. If people still seem to be careless and go on with their business interest not minding its environmental effect, then we are in danger. We have seen already the effects of climate change and it continues to manifest its power of destruction to the nations and the people. We've seen how it affected so many lives in several countries and now same fate just happened in the Philippines. How many lives will still be at risk? I believe it's time to ponder on our simple yet meaningful gesture of care to the environment.


People are now starting to realize and believe that there is a natural force from the power of nature and we have a call of action. There may be lots of factors on why this massive destruction happens, but Filipinos will continue to rise up and begin a new life again and again.


If we help each other and do our share to serve and show love and affection, then we can learn how to get ahead of life's adversities  and believe that something good is coming to our life after we have survived the greatest obstacle that have shaken our spirit. Filipinos all over the world are united as one and will continue to do so to be able to live a good life and the greatest life that we truly deserve.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Incredible India: My Life's Greatest Challenge

"It is not the applause nor the pat on the back that inspires me the most, but it is the simple appreciation that makes me feel special and valued. When the time is up, the next question would be what comes next? What is there waiting for me?... and it goes on..."



It's been 8 months already since I arrived in Delhi and it's a great experience to live independently while doing the work that I love. There are days that excites me and some days that I need to calm down my senses. Those days when I traveled a long distance and enjoying the moment while on a holiday; those days when I traveled long distance to do my duties and responsibilities.


My second trip back to India is challenging for me; this time I have to do my best even on a solitary journey. I rushed and slipped... I ran and fell... I moved on and got stuck. However, it was still a challenge despite the obstacles I have gone through. I never stopped, but I learned to move forward and realize that things aren't easy along the way of reaching the goals. 


In my travels, I have gained lots of stories and insights that are memorable. Sometimes, it's not the place that  puts a smile on my face, but it's the people that captivates my spirit.  I have learned to discover the beauty in every person I have interacted and also from their inspiring stories that can be a source of wisdom.   



It is nice to have known some friends that are kind and cheerful. It is through their helpful gestures that makes my stay in India truly wonderful. A heartwarming welcome from people is something I will cherish. They have shown great hospitality like no other in the world and that has made a lasting impression. 


I have met people from different places where I have served. Young and old, the fortunate and underprivileged, the yogis and meditators and if still recognized, perhaps the Brahmins as well as the Sudras. They have made an impact in my life in quest for understanding the nature of humanity and the world we live in.


Indian society couldn't be much favorable to some, but upon my observation it could be a better place to live in and start making good influence to others. A country that is truly diverse in many ways; the people, the culture and the tradition. It is here where I have experienced the chaos in the city and where different major religions exists without much prejudice and conflict. 


For the past 8 months, I have seen the many faces of India and its diverse culture. From the freezing cold mountains of Dharamsala in the north and the humid climate of Kolkata in the east. The industrial city of Ludhiana in Punjab and the Magical pink city of Jaipur in Rajasthan. Different places with unique identity, yet shares common language of smile and hospitality. 


What makes life challenging in India is to reach out people and offer something for their own benefit. When the clock starts to wake me up in the dawn, it is a non-stop action towards the destination. It is the people that makes you move and it is their spirituality that touches your soul. I talk and they listen... they discuss and I get more wisdom. It is the reciprocity of events that makes learning interesting.




When the spotlight is on and everyone is watching, nothing could be more brighter when you see the smiles, hearing the laughter, feeling the positive emotions, and sensing the good energy of the people. I feel special...I feel blessed. 


It is not the applause nor the pat on the back that inspires me the most, but it is the simple appreciation that makes me feel special and valued. When the time is up, the next question would be what comes next? What is there waiting for me?... and it goes on...


When life gets tough, it reminds me of the things I have achieved. Never to return...never to surrender...never to quit.  Life is passing all the challenges and reaping the rewards thereafter. It's a game of life; you win some, you lose some. In the end, the battle remains and the journey continues. 



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oprah's Lifeclass: What Is Keeping You from Being a Star in Your Own Life




Oprah and Dr. Phil have shared insights on one of the most challenging questions... How to be the star of your own life? 


Whether we want to take full responsibility of our lives in terms of relationships, career and goals; then we can achieve what it is to feel like being a star that we are meant to be. 


Here are some of my answers to this challenging questions on this episode...


1.  Think about the choices you can make to create a positive outcome. What is it you're doing that's working?


Recently, it has been easier for me to attract people and circumstances in my life. These are the images on my mind that turns out to become a reality. Definitely, I believe that you get things as desired if you put your mind and attention on it. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Special: Leading The Way


How do you define a Father? What can you say about your Father? How did your Father raise you? These are some of the questions that we can find answers on how we truly know our Father as we celebrate and honor on their most special day of remembering.

In our lives, our Father is playing a significant role in molding us to become a better person. Since childhood, when we've started to develop our awareness about life, he would have guided us with principles through stories that we tend to laugh but still struggling to understand the the lesson of the story. We shared smiles and laughter that made us feel good.

A Father would always find means to support the 'needs' of their children and protect their security and sense of comfort; the reason why we are feeling confident in his presence. Even 'wants' are granted to make us happy and enjoy our childhood.

Fatherhood is perhaps the toughest job of all. It would take a lot of perseverance and patience to give it all to the family he loves. He is the provider, the defender, the protector and sometimes makes all your wishes come true.

What I could remember from my Father are the valuable lessons about life. To give service to other people in need without expecting something in return. It is true that life is about service to others after finding our purpose. We find out where we are good at and then make the best things possible. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting Into Harvard: Where Great Minds Meet


On this day, I was lucky to have witnessed the commencement ceremonies of the graduating batch of Harvard School, class 2013. Thanks to the power of the internet where everyone can view it live as it happens. It was a pleasant event where the greatest professors, alumni, parents and graduating students are gathered for a special occasion, which is to be recognized for the outstanding performance and excellence that they have shown for several years into one of the world's greatest  and respected educational institution-- The Harvard University. 

Graduate students of Harvard who came from all over the world are honored to have Oprah Winfrey as their Commencement Speaker. Known globally as Oprah, she used her celebrity status and media influence to inspire the graduates through her motivational speech. As how she projects her image on television, Oprah once again showed her energetic personality and charismatic appeal to deliver a highly effective speech that are substantial and meaningful. 

I watched the entire speech live via online streaming and I could feel the excitement that the live audience could have been felt on that moment. The message was short, yet powerful and full of positive emotion. Oprah got teary eyed since from the start until the end of her speech perhaps due to the recognition and trust given to her by the Harvard School  that through her success stories, she may be able to influence the mind of the future leaders that the Harvard has produced.

The message of Oprah was clear, and that is to dream of something big; accept failure, learn form mistakes and have the relentless determination to succeed. She gave a personal example about her biggest dream that the biggest media organizations in America dubbed as flopped or a failure. She was referring to her current media organization which she named as "Oprah Winfrey Network" or simply called "OWN". 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oprah's Lifeclass: Changing Your Outlook


Oprah together with one of the most charismatic American Spiritual leader, Joel Osteen discussed about the power of "I Am" or the positive self-talk that we do which could lead to success or failure. Words that we utter whether verbally or just a thought gives power to who we become and it  has a significant impact on how we live in the future. 

In our lives, how many times do we tend to focus on our flaws or imperfections? How does it affect the perception about ourselves and how people around us would feel the vibrations that we are sending out to them? These limiting and destructive thoughts can be blocked by changing our outlook of who we are and how we can attain the life that we deserve.


Here are some of the questions I've answered about the topic.


1. At this very moment, how would you finish the following sentence? I am_______.


At this moment, 'I am' courageous and I have the will to do things as planned. 'I am' happy and contented about the things that are happening in my life and I have to strive harder for a more positive and meaningful things to come. 'I am' feeling grateful for the blessings that has come and looking forward for more prosperity and abundance. 'I am' strong and I will continue to persevere life challenges to become a better person. 


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Special: A Celebration of Love


Over the century, 'Mother's Day' has been celebrated all over the world to give honor and recognition for all the love, care and sacrifices of the Mothers. This is a special day to give thanks to the woman who devoted her time from birth and even until adult life. Through the years, the presence of Mothers are always felt in our being; wherever we are and whatever we do.

Mother's Day celebration is unique to every individual and families around the world. For some people, it is a chance to treat their mother something special, to give a gift, to offer a flower or dinner together. To others, celebration would mean spending their most precious time despite of being busy at work or with the family on their own.


Celebrating 'Mother's Day' is also unique to some cultures globally. In the Philippines, people honor their Mother for being the"Light of the Household". It is true that a Mother gives us the guiding light in our lives specially when we are young and not yet capable to stand on our own. Whenever we've committed something wrong, our Mother would discipline us through words that can leave an imprint on our heart. If we ask for a question, she gives us the answer for us to get enlightened. Mothers simply wants the best for their kids and wanted them to grow up being disciplined and responsible person.


In India where I am currently residing, I have observed that they honor their Mother as God and would give their respect. I have known someone who shared her stories on how she is raising her kids and how much she loves them. She leaved on her job and became a full time Mom and she find glory watching her kids growing up. She has witnessed how the kids grow up daily, and for her that's the greatest gift she can give to them. I salute her for being such a loving and caring Mother since not all could have the power to achieve what she has been doing.

We have our own experiences as to how we were brought up by our Mother. Being the youngest of the six siblings, I have learned to become strong and have the persistence in life no matter how hard circumstances are at times. When you are down, you have to stand up and start again; never to give up. These are some of the wise messages I learned from my Mother.


Somehow, the saying "Mother's knows best" is right. They know what is good for us. They know our 'ups and downs' and they are always there to give their support and guidance.

Motherhood is perhaps the most challenging profession. It may not be learned in any academic institution, but being a Mother is an instinctive intelligence at work. It's a lifetime commitment; no expiry date but just forever.


In our lives, when we are in trouble or in deepest despair, our Mother can become a source of inspiration. Perhaps, the strongest woman who believes in us and push us to our limits. If we feel weak, she believes we can do it. If we succeed, she's there to celebrate with us. In our society, people look up to some woman or a Mother figure who have made a great contribution. They may be simple in appearance, yet they have shown courage and perseverance to become a leader and create a wonderful legacy to the society or maybe to the world.

In the celebration of 'Mother's Day', I've written about "The Blessed Teresa of Kolkata: Her Life and Mission". This is my tribute to one of the greatest Mother in the world who ever lived. Like all the Mothers, they can make an impact in the society that they live in. One of the most fulfilling commitment is to have the societal contribution and to inspire people to achieve something worthwhile; just like Mother Teresa's way.


Our Mothers are one of the sources of our strength. We have to honor them and let them feel special and being loved. Our existence is one the most wonderful gift ever and we shouldn't forget to give back and fulfill our responsibility of  being a good son and daughter not only to her, but to the world that we live in.



© 2013 Del Cusay




Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Blessed Teresa of Kolkata: Her Life and Mission


"Blessed Teresa did not only show her motherly care, but she taught humanity how to live in modesty. To live a life in simplicity and remain to be strong when life seem to be unjust."


In our lives, we may have someone whom we look up to or admire; we look at them as our idol and hero. What makes us follow them is the result of their greatest achievement and a purposeful living. They have set themselves as a role model and later became an icon for the world to emulate.

When I visited Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), it flashed back to my mind the name of a single person. She's not just ordinary, but a blessed one in the name Mother Teresa who was popularly known as a 'Living Saint' before her death. 

Mother Teresa became a global sensation since when I was a young child back in the Philippines and even became world-renowned in the 90s, until she passed away on the year 1997. It was then, we saw Mother Teresa as a simple nun caring for the sick and the dying in Kolkata. Her work isn't extraordinary, but it is just ordinary deeds accompanied by great love, compassion and commitment to serve people in need.

Since I was in Kolkata, I've thought of visiting her place: the main headquarters of the "Missionaries of Charity" which is the Congregation she founded. That was the time I saw the great achievements of a simple nun with extraordinary power, who is now Blessed Teresa.

What could have made her adorable and famous is due to her selfless love and compassion to the poorest of the poor, to the sick, the abandoned and the dying people. In her early years in Kolkata, she used to be a teacher in a convent school until such time she had a calling from the Divine to look after the needs of the poor people who are hungry, homeless and dying in the streets due to widespread poverty and famine in the locality. 

She lived the 'Corporal Works of Mercy' and have it in action to stand the test of time. She fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, visited the sick, visited the imprisoned and buried the dead. All of these works has been achieved by Mother Teresa when she was living. 

Her congregation, the "Missionaries of Charity" started with a mission to save the people who needed care on the streets. She had nothing to give financially at first, but due to global recognition and the power of media, they have attracted donations from individuals and organizations from around the world and financial aid from different States and Government Agencies.



Mother Teresa showed not only her compassionate nature, but also her charisma to attract the right people to support her cause. From 'nothing to something' she was able to build numerous age homes, schools and orphanages and currently operating not just in India but the rest of the world in more than 120 countries.

Perhaps, it was the shortest pilgrimage I had in my life to visit the Mother house where the tomb of Mother Teresa is placed. It is a simple tomb with a chapel inside for the visitors to offer a prayer. It is a peaceful place with people of different creeds coming in to witness the thousands of archives relevant to the work of Mother Teresa located in the room adjacent to her tomb. Visitors will also have a realization of how a Spiritually powerful nun used to live in simplicity, in a small room with  tiny single bed. It made me realize that our status of living has nothing to do with what we can achieve in life. Hence, there is no room for self-doubt as to what we can accomplish.


Mother Teresa served the poor people, however she could have also meant people who are poor in spirit. Nowadays, people become a victim of their lower emotions. Some are playing as a victim in life and degrades people of their miseries and misfortune.


There are so many people who are capable and fortunate in life, but they remain empty. They have the feeling of being unloved and abandoned. This would seem to be a global epidemic, but Mother Teresa's dedication of love and compassion speaks it all.


Like all the successful and accomplished people in history, Mother Teresa has a share of unjust criticism from her critics globally. She had been condemned and ridiculed in her ways of leadership with the founded congregation. However, Mother Teresa, stood up for what she believe was right. Just like in life, people are seeing the negative sides and having themselves put into exemption. In the end, no matter what people say and do, mirror still reflects back; and the ones who do better are ahead of the game of life, like the way Mother Teresa did.

Few years from now, the beatified Blessed Mother Teresa will be canonized as a Saint and people will be praying through her intercession. A lot of devotees would be coming in to her tomb for pilgrimage and once again people from around the world will remember her name eternally like an immortal Spiritual being. Blessed Teresa did not only show her motherly care, but she taught humanity how to live in modesty. To live a life in simplicity and remain to be strong when life seem to be unjust.

© 2013 Del Cusay



Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Loving People of Kolkata: The City of Joy


"The city of Kolkata may have different impressions to everyone and to the visitors, but to truly appreciate and understand a particular place, one needs to travel and be there to experience what it has to offer. We may think of not so good things about the place, but the moment we are there, our perspective would have change and create a lasting memory."


My recent trip in Kolkata has a lot of learnings about the history and culture of the people known as 'Bengali'. It is the former capital of India under the British rule until they transfer the Administrative center in New Delhi to make it the new capital. It was just a recent past (2001) when Calcutta was changed to Kolkata.

The city is hot and humid on summer considering that it is located in a coastal state surrounded by seas and lakes. The weather might be unfavorable to some, but I have the tolerance on its extreme; my country, The Philippines could even get hotter all throughout the year. 

Since Kolkata and West Bengal are blessed with bodies of water, they are lucky to have fishing as one the sources of livelihood. Bengalis' loves to eat fish except for some who chose to become pure vegetarian. Fishing industry is quite good in West Bengal and they are the leading fish-producing state in India. Majority of the Bengal's population eat fish just like some of the coastal state of India like Maharashtra (capital, Mumbai), Bihar and the state of Kerala in the south. 

Kolkata may be one of the most populated cities in the world, but the population density of the place is not that high as what I've thought. It is not much crowded compared to the cities of Delhi and Mumbai. And later I have known that people in the city doesn't travel a lot for shopping, outdoor fun and other activities. Some of the locals wouldn't think of how big and progressive kind of city that they have. Some of them would even think of Kolkata as a typical village with a slow paced living. 

There are not much forts, tombs and monuments in Kolkata as compared to Delhi, but the former British Raj  have built infrastructures that are impressive and with historical significance. I have seen the magnificence of the Victoria memorial which was built in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain. It is somewhat similar to the architectural design of Taj Mahal in Agra with white marbles and Mughal design. The structure is beautiful from afar and the lawns and garden are pretty and well maintained. 


The Victoria Memorial

Near  the Victoria memorial is the 'Fort William' which was built as a military headquarter and still serving on its primary purpose until the present times. Adjacent to it is the Race Course which hosts one of the largest horse race event in India. It used to be the pastime of the elites during the British regime, but now it is open to everyone. 

The park located in Queen's way street offers a large playground for everyone and a favorite place for cricketers. It is pleasant and spacious park and some statues built in bronze are visible. The street was named in honor of a Queen's visit in Kolkata on the way going to the Victoria Memorial. 

These are just few of the many good places to visit in Kolkata and I am grateful that even for a short period of time I have witnessed the grandeur of the place. What I appreciate most is the history that I've learned behind the great architecture and places. It is not just what you see that will move you, but it has also some stories to tell back in time. 


Kolkata is making progress and faster development in terms of local economy. Both residential and commercial buildings are on the rise anywhere particularly on the reclaimed area of north-eastern side of Kolkata. Due to lack of available space to support the growing population and the increasing demand of housing, the local government have planned expansion for reclamation projects for the benefit of the people. 


The city is also becoming an Information Technology hub and several Multinational companies built their headquarter in the vibrant place of 'Salt Lake' which is city center situated in a reclaimed salt-water lake, and that's how it got its name. 


With the rising progress of Kolkata, the locals remained to be spiritual. I have witnessed how they observed the 'Vasant Navrati' or they call it 'Durga Puja'  which is the celebration of the triumph of good versus evil.  Although the spiritual significance is the same as the Holi Festival, the celebration of 'Durga Puja' is mainly prayers and chanting. 


The city of Kolkata may have different impressions to everyone and to the visitors, but to truly appreciate and understand a particular place, one needs to travel and be there to experience what it has to offer. We may think of not so good things about the place, but the moment  we are there, our perspective would have change and create a lasting memory.


In my short stay, I have felt the hospitality and warmth of the people. They treat visitors nicely and do their best to make one feel special. I had a nice feeling and I enjoyed the acceptance and the treatment they have shown. There's an emotional connection that was felt and there's a substantial soul of the city and the people in general. No matter what social status they are living in the society, they still find some happiness and joy in their hearts. In the future, I would definitely love to come back in this place and witness its transformation. It is not just the beautiful place, but it is the joyful people that makes you feel good and being loved that matters most. 


© 2013 Del Cusay



Friday, March 29, 2013

Holy Week 2013 : Christ As Our Guiding Light



"The solemn observance of the 'Good Friday' and 'Black Saturday' is a message that Christ has died to save the sins of humanity. This is the centering thought of the Holy Week and this is a call to follow Christ  to lead and be the guiding light in our lives forever."



The last week of the Lenten season is the highlight in commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. During the past 40 days, we have observed liturgical events that are significant in understanding the life story of Christ on His suffering, crucifixion and ascension to heaven. We started the Lent on the ash Wednesday with the message of  Embracing Christ in Our Lives. On this day we begin our journey by following the path of Jesus and emulating the virtues that He has taught.

Every year, the observance of the Lent gives us a unique perspective about life as we reflect on ourselves. It gives us the opportunity to acknowledge our misconduct and to have the act of repentance. This lead us to achieve peace of mind and opens our heart to give more time for self-ministry in the fulfillment of our 'life purpose'. 



Last Sunday, Christians celebrated the Lord's coming by waving palm leaves to welcome the great 'Rabbi'. The event symbolizes humility when Christ came in the crowd riding a donkey. This would remind us to practice the virtue that we must serve everyone selflessly with all our strength. 

On this year's Holy Week, I have been observing it in a non-dominant Christian world. It may be a different experience, yet my devotion and faith is strengthened in a solitary moment of contemplation. This is the right time to know thyself and be with Christ's loving presence. 


My observance of  Holy Week 2012  is meaningful and memorable as I have seen fellow Christians of a different nationality expressed their faith in Christ. Though we may have different culture, still we are united in faith before Christ. It was a great Lenten experience since I have visited some of the Churches that are famous among Christian devotees. 


In the Philippines where Christianity dominates, the faithful would have an extraordinary observance of the Holy Week, especially during Good Friday. Some would perform the religious tradition called 'Senakulo' which reenacts the passion and death of Jesus. Some men would even allow themselves to be crucified to experience the suffering of Jesus and with the belief that their sins would be forgiven. Other traditions include, 'Visita Iglesia' or to visit different churches and pilgrimage sites and offer a prayer. The old way of reciting a prayer with a melody that is called 'Pasyon' is still practiced by devotees. 


On the Good Friday, there is the 'Seven Last Words' that is celebrated in a holy mass. It offers a deeper understanding of the passion of Christ and his last words until his death in the cross. The solemn observance of the 'Good Friday' and 'Black Saturday' is a message that Christ has died to save the sins of humanity. This is the centering thought of the Holy Week and this is a call to follow Christ  to lead and be the guiding light in our lives forever.



© 2013 Del Cusay





Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Celebrating Holi Festival 2013


"At the near end of the celebration, some faces looks funny with all the colors on their skin. Even the colors would take some time to wear off, but the memories would remain forever. After all the true significance of Holi is not on the outward expression but it is through unity, freedom and peace to prevail forever."



It is officially the end of winter season in India, and today people are celebrating the most colorful festival known mostly among Hindus as the Holi festival. For the second time, I had the opportunity to witness and experience this vibrant festivity. 

A day before the main event, people are already celebrating with their families and group of friends. I have witnessed how they make fun of the colored powder called 'gulaal'. Almost everyone of any age groups are having fun while putting this colors on each others face, hug and greet each other. On the evening is the bonfire which is a tradition that has a spiritual significance. According to the the Hindus, Holi festival is to commemorate the victory of virtue over evil. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Oprah's Lifeclass: What on Earth Am I here For?


In a discussion with Oprah, one of my favorite Spiritual teacher, Rick Warren gave an insight to one of the most important question of existence: What on earth am I here for? 


As a motivational speaker and writer, Rick Warren has inspired millions of people through his book 'The Purpose Driven Life' which is my all-time favorite. 


Yes, we tend to find an answer on this thought-provoking question, what on earth am I here for? Here are my insights on the topic. 



1.  According to Rick Warren, everybody lives at one of the three levels in life, the first level is survival--where people are putting in their time, waiting for the weekend and just going through the motions. Would you consider yourself at the survival level? If so, why? 

I've been through with this level in life. I was not certain about the path I'm taking and the future that lies ahead. I have missed productive days and I was contented of what's there at the moment. Day after day, I felt incomplete and empty deep inside. This was just a recent past; now things have change and I have taken the vows of a more productive life and a life of purpose. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis: The New World Pontiff


"The Pope has a great responsibility towards his followers and I hope that he will be able to finish what he started until his last breath of his reign. We need a leader who will resolve the issues that created trouble and confusion among his people. May His Holiness remain to be strong in all levels so he will be able to act on duties vested in him."



It was just few days ago when the conclave started to elect new pontiff to lead the Catholic Church. There were 115 Cardinals from around the world gathered in Sistine chapel to vote whom they think is capable of guiding and leading a billion of followers. After several attempts for the voting, finally a new Pope was declared. 

A humble man from Argentina, Jorge Mario Borgoglio was chosen by his fellow Cardinals to be the successor of Pope Benedict XVI who declared his resignation last month. At the age of 76, he will be the guiding light of the faithful towards their spiritual path. 

His Holiness will be officially addressed as Pope Francis after he has chosen the papal name as his title. I must believe he was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi and decided to adopt as his designation. I hope that His Holiness will be able to uphold the reputation of St. Francis as an icon of humility and peace. 

As a Christian, I adore St. Francis for his life stories and holiness and I love to sing the prayer that was made in his name; The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis could be like him and start the great transformation in the Catholic church. 

It would take will-power and great love for the Pope to reform the church against controversies that is left unresolved. However, like the late Pope John Paul II; I believe that Pope Francis has the charisma and heart for the reformation of Christian values and will be able to influence people regardless of faith and religious beliefs. 

The Pope has a great responsibility towards his followers and I hope that he will be able to finish what he started until his last breath of his reign. We need a leader who will resolve the issues that created trouble and confusion among his people. May His Holiness remain to be strong in all levels so he will be able to act on duties vested in him. 

'The Pope' not only shows greatness as a title, but it is such a great responsibility and accountability to uphold. I highly admire and respect 'The Pope' as my source of inspiration and religious wisdom and 'The Pope' who believes and teaches people that 'There is A Certain Holiness in You'

The world is becoming more materialistic as we reach the modern age, but we have to strengthen our spirituality and faith to our Divine as the ultimate source of life. We have a lot to improve and there are 'Nature and Sources of Power' in the fulfillment of our Divine self ministry.

I am grateful that now we have a new Pope that will lead us to Christ. He is our spiritual Father living on earth that was chosen by his people. He will guide us and he needs our support and prayers for spiritual devotion and evangelization.  




© 2013 Del Cusay

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Meeting The Dalai Lama in New Delhi


"Meeting The Dalai Lama is a rare opportunity and truly a blessing. His spirituality and compassionate nature gives hope and faith to the people to appreciate life and realize that there is a certain holiness in you.  It is for us to discover our 'Dharma' or 'life purpose' and live in the holiness of our being."



Today it was another great opportunity that I have met and attended His Holiness The Dalai Lama's teaching in Buddha Jayanti Park, New Delhi. It was just few days ago when I was blessed to travel -- 'Meeting The Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and attended his lecture about 'Jataka Tales' which is about the story of Buddha's birth and rebirth. Today, he addressed to thousands of attendees about 'The Three Principal Aspects of The Path' which is significant to the Tibetans-in-exile and also to everyone present regardless of nationality and creed.


The majority of the crowd are Tibetans followed by Indians and some foreigners who are followers of The Dalai Lama. After falling in line towards the entrance of the venue, it was good that I have found a seat at the back which is more comfortable than sitting on the ground like my previous experience in his lecture in Dharamsala. Some people in groups are sitting on the lawn while others are busy roaming around organizing the event.

Image from: tibet.net
At the entrance, people are welcomed with Tibetan ushers and walking on the path are blossoming colorful flowers around. The chirping of birds and the vibrant surroundings makes it relaxing to the senses. Even rabbits and flocks of swans in a pond are visible and have been taken good care. Walking further are some hilly path ways with petals scattered on the aisles which is made especially for welcoming His Holiness. The weather is warm but tolerable since it is not the official summer yet. In his lecture in Dharamsala, it was cold while in Delhi it was a good weather for me since I like tropical season.

As the open ground is about to be filled by attendees, The Dalai Lama together with his entourage walked towards his elevated podium while greeting people with his smiles. This time there was no chanting ceremonies by the Namgyal monks prior to his lecture which started at around 2 pm. The good thing about his lecture is that there was an interpreter who translates every part of The Dalai Lama's lecture in English language for the benefit of the non-Tibetans. This is better since the previous lecture in Dharamsala was delivered in Tibetan language and only those who had an fm radio were able to hear the English translation. However, if the same thing happened as the previous experience, I do not worry since seeing the The Dalai Lama for me is enough and I do not mind the language he will use in his lecture; but since there was an English interpreter, I felt more grateful and happy that I understood his message better. It was also good to hear The Dalai Lama to have tried speaking in English to give his point. He still cracks some jokes accompanied by his world-renowned laugh and smile to uplift people's spirit. 


The Dalai Lama, being the living Buddha of compassion has made his teachings as meaningful and lively as possible. Even though it was a long time sitting, it was not tiring and one can feel his loving and compassionate energy to the people. His teachings include human suffering, happiness and enlightenment which is still significant in today's time. 


According to His Holiness, the primary cause of suffering is discontentment. People of today are becoming more materialistic and wants something more in spite of having enough already. Nevertheless, happiness can be attained by contentment and satisfaction to everything. The feeling of 'have enough' and being spiritual at the same time can be an ultimate source of internal happiness and peace of mind. 


Image from:  tibet.net
Likewise, a person can become more happy and experience less suffering if enlightenment is achieved. Spiritual tool like prayer, 'The Power of Meditation' and selfless services to the people are indispensable in attaining a happy, fulfilled and enlightened life in a Buddhist philosophy. 

Although I am a Christian, I find this principles relevant and meaningful. These are the things that we can learn from the Buddhist's perspective of living. 


At the end of The Dalai Lama's lecture, he expressed his gratitude to everyone for making the event possible and successful. It was followed by his recessional ceremony going back to his destination. Before he finally vanished to our sight, I got the chance to
meet him up close while he waived his hand to the people that signals his blessings. 


Meeting The Dalai Lama is a rare opportunity and truly a blessing. His spirituality and compassionate nature gives hope and faith to the people to appreciate life and realize that 'There is A Certain Holiness in You'. It is for us to discover our 'Dharma' or 'life purpose' and live in the holiness of our being. 



© 2013 Del Cusay




Monday, February 25, 2013

Meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala


"My experience with meeting The Dalai Lama is one of the most unforgettable moment. His simplicity and compassion to the people led him to have a remarkable name in the world history of Spirituality. His message of enlightenment  is significant in today's time and truly a timeless piece of wisdom dedicated to the mankind and the future of the world."



For a few days since I arrived in Dharamsala, I have been accustomed to the unique culture and tradition of the people, most especially the Tibetans-in-exile living in Mcleod Ganj. It is a community that is vibrant with the presence of spiritual people living in a serene environment;  in the cold breeze of mountains beneath the Himalayas.


Although the Tibetans of Mcleod Ganj have been living in asylum for several decades, still they have made an effort to preserve their culture and continue to improve the living condition of the thousands of refugees. They may be far away from their mother land but they are fortunate for the achievement of freedom in exile. I have found the peacefulness and spirituality in this sacred place in The Land of the Tibetans in Dharamsala: Closer to Heaven


The simple way of living of the Tibetans is truly admirable. They remain to be content with the blessings they receive and make the best effort to develop their lives by means of the valuable teachings and philosophies of their Spiritual teacher and leader, His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama.


The Dalai Lama who has been vested the authority to rule his people has shown the capacity to lead and transform the lives of the Tibetans-in-exile. At his age, The Holy man still has got the energy and vigor to protect his people and to become a man of love and compassion that the world have known.

The Dalai Lama, being the head of state of the Tibetans is the most popular and respected Buddhist monk, yet His Holiness describes himself as a simple monk who was chosen to lead by the Tibetan people. He is not secluded in the hill station of Dharamsala since He is a well-traveled man. He has met a lot of foreign dignitaries for spiritual and peace talks and received numerous awards and recognition from all over the word including the Nobel Price award for his peaceful means of fighting for the sovereignty of Tibet against the Chinese communist rule.


The main teachings of His Holiness is for the humanity to live in simplicity and contentment while cultivating a loving and compassionate nature. I am not a Buddhist, yet I could say that his teachings are beyond religion. It is still relevant to everyone regardless of religious beliefs and merely a universal philosophy that was started by a Holy man is conquest of enlightenment thousands of years ago.


I have read some of The Dalai Lama's books when I was in Delhi last year. One of my favorites is the book entitled "The Art of Happiness" and the book about 'the four noble truths'. Reading his works gives some encouragement to live a better life, to find inner peace and happiness and to seek enlightenment in a troubled world.


Since visiting The Dalai Lama's temple on my first day of visit, I have known that he will be giving a lecture on the 25th of the month, about the teachings from the "Jataka Tales". It is a story based on the life and rebirth of Buddha. There was no registration on this event and so I decided to attend for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet The Holy man.



The Tsuglagkhang Temple
A day before his scheduled lecture in Tsuglagkhang temple, I had the chance to visit some places around and the nearby sightseeing in Mcleod Ganj. From the place I am staying at Snow Crest hotel in Naddi Village, it took me one and a half hour trek to reach the 4 km distance going to Mcleod Ganj. On the way, I was delighted to see the natural wonder of the Dal Lake and passing by the Tibetan Children's village, just a few-minute walk from the lake. For the second time, I visited The Dalai Lama's temple to pass around the prayer wheels and to observe the monks in their afternoon rituals. The temple is quite busy in preparation for tomorrow's event and a lot of pilgrims started to arrive, so I went ahead and take some 'Kangra tea' at the famous tea house--moonpeak espresso cafe as recommended. I did not wait for the sunset and came back in the hotel so I could reserve my energy for the next day's event.

Today, the 25th of February, I woke up early to prepare and go to The Dalai Lama's temple. The cab driver  upon request pick me up at 5 :30 a.m. and reached the temple before 6 am just few minutes before sunrise. The guard at entrance were strict  and no cameras and cellular phones allowed inside. I leaved my things in the nearby coffee shop and carried a handbag with a notebook and a pen for taking notes. The man on the shop was so kind and I told him to get it as soon as the lecture is finished.


Now that I am free from restricted gadgets, I passed by the two security check before heading to the Namgyal monastery just above the check point. I went to the right section to find my seating place which is reserved for the English speaking people. At the time I found the right place overlooking the Holy man without barriers, the monks started to gather and pilgrims from a round the world are in excitement to see The Dalai Lama.



The residence of The Dalai Lama in Tsuglagkhang Temple

At around 6:20 a.m., The Dalai Lama is set to leave his residence to have his processional ceremony. The monks and pilgrims including myself were rushing to get to the nearest place where the Holy man will pass by going up to the Namgyal Monastery which is adjacent to his residence. As the procession started, he was guided by the Namgyal monks and guarded by the security men. The entourage followed the footstep of the Holy man who waives his hand to greet the thousands of people gathered in his temple.

For about an hour and a half, The Dalai Lama together with other monks performed early morning ritual of sacred chants and mantras. At 8 a.m., His Holiness along with his entourage went down and proceeded to his lecture place which is an elevated rectangular platform with Tibetan decorations in it. Another 20-minute chants and mantra have been observed before The Dalai Lama started to give his lecture in Tibetan language at 8:20 a.m.


The whole complex is filled with the audience mostly Tibetans who understood the message very well. Some have brought an fm radio since the lecture is also translated in the English and Chinese language in a specific radio frequency. I did not have one so I just listen to the original message in the Tibetan language. The Dalai Lama's voice was clear and calm and he even cracked a joke to the crowd.



The Namgyal Monastery
The lecture ended at 10 a.m. followed by a recessional going back to his residence which is just few meters away. The audience witnessed the Holy man's last walk before he is gone out of sight. The people along the aisles were lucky to have shook hands with The Dalai Lama while others started to walk down the temple to return back at respective places or destinations.

My experience with meeting The Dalai Lama is one of the most unforgettable moment. His simplicity and compassion to the people led him to have a remarkable name in the world history of Spirituality. His message of enlightenment  is significant in today's time and truly a timeless piece of wisdom dedicated to the mankind and the future of the world.


The Dalai Lama is committed to serving the humanity and not just the Buddhist Community. The world has been constantly changing and there is no such thing as permanence. The Dalai Lma is a Holy man, but the ordinary people is capable of achieving enlightenment given that There is Certain Holiness in You.


I am grateful for another day full of learning and energy. I am hoping to see His Holiness The Dalai Lama in some other time if given another opportunity. From now on, what is important is to live with the message of love, compassion and inner peace--The Dalai Lama's way.



© 2013 Del Cusay




Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Land of Tibetans in Dharamsala: Closer to Heaven



It is always nice to have a vacation in a far away place; to unwind and escape from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. It is great time to relax and become one with self while enjoying the soothing ambiance of the place. Since I am in India for the second time, It was surprising to receive an invitation to visit the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, particularly in the highly elevated town of Dharamsala--the place of the Tibetans-in-exile.

From the Tibetan Colony called Majnu Ka Tilla in Delhi, it took approximately 12 hours to reach Dharamsala. The bus departed at 7 pm of the 22nd and I arrived at 7 am the following day. It is the longest land travel on a single journey that I have experienced so far. In the boarding point in Delhi, I got the chance to talk to some people about the history and culture of Tibet and its people living in the upper Dharamsala called Mcleod Ganj. The bus got delayed for an hour and a half so I was lucky not to get bored while waiting. It was a pleasant conversation, and I have instilled the knowledge I gained on that moment.


In the bus stand of Dharamsala, It took approximately 10 minutes to reach the hotel at Naddi Village--about 3 km. from Mcleod Ganj. It was not a tiring journey since they have a good quality road linking the northern state. When I stepped out of the bus, it was so cold as the temperature reaches near zero degree centigrade. The whole day was rainy and and the whole place is covered by fog and the wind is chilly.


I had time to set my things and prepare myself to go to Mcleod Ganj after I took breakfast and few hours to rest and contemplate. Back in Delhi, I already read the popular tourist spots and the activities happening. I wanted to spend my time wisely and get the best thing that Dharamsala could offer, so it is nice to have planned ahead of time.


The Dhauladhar Range
Although it rained on my first day of visit, I got to see the picturesque panoramic view of the Dhauladhar range which is widely visible at the balcony of hotel located in the Kangra district. It is truly magnificent to view the snow-capped mountain range with the tall deodar and pine trees in the alps. The Dauladhar range offers a great view of the whole Kangra Valley. At this time, the mountain is not open for trekking since the weather is unpredictable. 

I have planned to go trekking in the triund hil which is about 9 km. from Mcleod Ganj and it would take 2-3 hours to reach there, and they said it's a good place for sightseeing the frosty mountains and the alpine forest at the ridge of the Dhauladhar range. Since it is temporarily closed, I only get to see it from afar while imagining the life of the Naddi/Gaddi people living on the cold  mountains and what is it like to be there at the snowline of the Himalayan foothill. I myself needed 3 thick blankets at night, and going closer to the snowy mountains would really be a great challenge to conquer.


I am in the Naddi Village and I have witnessed how they live in peace and harmony. In a place that is culturally preserved, they live simply with contentment and happiness. They are friendly people and seeing them early in the morning bringing their cows in a greener pasture of this hill road is a wonderful experience.


In the afternoon, I prepared myself to go to Mcleod Ganj to go to Tsuglagkhang temple--the place of the Dalai Lama. It was drizzling and cold  but I dared to go for some sightseeing. I walked uphill and entered the temple that was full of monks and tourist. I have felt the serenity of the place and seeing the pleasant smiles of the monks while roaming around the Namgyal monastery of the temple. I have been there for 2 hours to have a glimpse of the Tibetans-in-exile. They are peaceful and happy people despite the miseries they have suffered under the Chinese rule in Tibet.



The Tsuglagkhang Temple in Mcleod Ganj
The Tibetans in Mcleod Ganj have formed their Government under the leadership of the 14th Dalai Lama. I have met a Tibetan souvenir vendor just below the temple and had a brief conversation about their condition. It was then I have learned that the Tibetans fled to Dharamsala after the failed uprising that took place on 1959 headed by the current Dalai Lama. They have suffered cruelty and harsh treatment from the Chinese invaders and the best thing they did is to have themselves in exile. After 50 years, the Chinese Government have not given back their sovereignty which is what they have been fighting for several decades. The history I learned from this encounter gave me the knowledge of the existence of the Tibetans in Dharamsala.

Adjacent to the Namgyal monastery  is the residence of the Dalai Lama. The most surprising moment is when I learned that the Dalai Lama is in town and have been meditating in his room on that period of time. He will give a talk on the morning of the 25th. It is open to the public and there is no need for registration on this particular event only. My visit was a good luck and I will be attending the lecture of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. I still have a day to explore the place before the lecture of the Dalai Lama, so I need to prepare myself to see and meet the Holy man.


It was raining in the afternoon before I left the Monastery so I decided to have a cup of cafe latte in the nearby coffee shop. I stayed for a brief period to warm up since I can't go out and bear the downpour of rain. I thought of not getting sick and reserve my energy to see the Dalai Lama, so I bought an umbrella and started to walk going up to the square center which is the central area of Mcleod Ganj. Along the way I passed by some souvenir shops, bookstores, tea shops, restaurants and numerous hotels. It was still raining when I standby to wait for the cab driver going back to the hotel. I planned to stay in Mcleod ganj until 8 pm, but since it was raining and cold, I decided to have some rest and be ready for another journey the next day.


Bearing the extreme temperature is a challenge. I am used to a tropical and humid climate, but I am now becoming tolerant with cold weather that at some point reaches negative degree centigrade. In a few days time I will be leaving in this heavenly place and what I would be carrying is not a thing, but a collection of memorable experience from the finest places of the sacred mountain and the wisdom from the great people.


© 2013 Del Cusay


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chilly Winds of India's Wintertime: A Reflection


"India could be a land of contrast, but I have witnessed and learned how they persevere and raise the bar towards excellence making them achieve economic progress and rising power. There may be some serious challenges confronting them, but with faith, unity and goodwill, then India could gain something it deserves."





The wintertime in India is about to end, yet early morning is still misty and foggy while late night gets chilly. In daytime, the weather is a bit warm specially in the afternoon, but it is fine and favorable weather. Few days ago when I arrived on the evening of the 16th, the temperature is quite tolerable and that I did not wear thermal jacket compared to last year when I arrived for the first time on November when the weather is cold and chilly.

I leaved India on the summer of mid-April last year. It was about ten months ago and now I am back for the second time. I had a pleasant experience on my first visit since the people were nice and friendly. The warm acceptance and welcoming smile is their way of showing hospitality to visitors; and this is what I felt like when I arrived few days ago; in return, greeting people in an Indian way 'Namaste' is a good start of embracing their culture and beliefs.

Misty and chilly morning in Dwarka, Southwestern Delhi

I never imagined that I would go to India and become exposed to its cultural and social norms. Back in the Philippines, I learned the Indian salutation 'Namaste' but later I learned its spiritual significance. It is not just a normal greetings but it means that when two or more persons meet 'the presence of God in me, meets the presence of God in you' is the real significance of this sacred word. In a philosophical context, it is right since God is present in everyone and it only needs recognition of this fact. 

People of all ages greets 'Namaste' whether at home, in the street,  in a social gathering and even on the phone conversation. Bowing of head while putting hands together in the center of the chest shows courtesy, friendliness, love and humility. This simple yet graceful gesture is significant even in today's time, however I have observed that the use of this salutation is declining due to the influence of western culture. Saying 'hi and hello' is what I have been receiving. Last year, when I was in Mumbai, I was seldom greeted 'Namaste' and what I have been hearing most of the time is 'hi and hello'.

I remember when I was in elementary, we used to greet our teachers and visitors in a Filipino way 'Mabuhay' but before the 20th century ended, it was changed to 'hi and hello' which is both a formal and casual way of greetings in the west. 

In India, 'Namaste' as a form of salutation feels like being at peace with someone even without using the bowing and the hand gestures. Just by uttering the word is already a humble experience like no other in the world. 

for someone who is not used to cold weather especially winter season, it is not easy to wake up early in the morning. The good thing is that I had my winter clothing kept here when I went back home in Manila last year. Morning walk is possible but could not do jogging or any vigorous exercises on the street or else I get chilled.

Foggy streets of Dwarka in Southwest Delhi

On a foggy and a misty morning, people starts their day bearing the coldness. They wear 
thick clothing usually made of wool while riding in a bicycle. I have seen some students chatting while patiently waiting for their school bus. It is obvious that they are tolerant with the winter season and they have nothing to complain but to bear with it.

In Mumbai and the rest of southern Indian State, they don't get this kind of weather that northern India including Delhi are experiencing. Himalayan region of India is very cold at this time and could even have some snows in the mountain range. The place called Dharamsala, is one of the most visited place in India and most popular among foreign travelers.

In the cold weather it is nice to have some cup of hot tea with milk or they call it Indian chai. I have learned to make this kind of beverage and it has a warming and soothing effect. Tea is a staple drink in India and the country is among the top producers of tea in the world. I like the Indian chai rather than drinking a regular tea, however I could not miss drinking a cup of coffee since I drink it regularly any time of the day. I am in India, so I can enjoy both beverage that they can offer.

I am also grateful to been taught how to make their staple food called 'chapati and paratha'. Both are plain bread that is made from whole-grain flour, but cooking differs in thickness. I also learned to cook the 'dum aloo' which is a dish made of potatoes and some spices and it complements with the 'paratha' or 'chapati'. I eat rice as my staple food, but since I am in India, I have to learn eating the Indian way.

It is always good to learn something new. To learn the culture and the tradition of another place is not just a wonderful experience but a wisdom. In a land that is multi-cultural and diverse, there is nothing to be ignorant about, but to understand and accept its norms, beliefs and social standing.

India may be a land of contrast, but I have witnessed and learned how they persevere and raise the bar towards excellence making them achieve economic progress and the rising power. There may be some serious challenges confronting them, but with faith, unity and goodwill, then India could gain something it deserves.

Wintertime in India  is about to end while spring/summer is fast approaching, and it is like the rebirth--the restorative phase. It is the most wonderful season when the sky is clear and the weather is warm with the blossoming flowers around. I hope I could witness their celebration of the 'Holi festivalwhich marks the beginning of the spring. For now what is important is to be grateful for the learning that the winter could bring, until such time that it will come to an end--then comes the season of rebirth.


© 2013 Del Cusay






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