Saturday, November 23, 2013

Resilience of the Filipino Spirit

"Filipinos worldwide 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."

The Philippines experienced another calamity that was considered one of the strongest and deadliest typhoons in the world. Typhoon "Haiyan," or the local name "Yolanda,"  brought misery to the Filipinos affected by the devastation it caused. 

In the Central Philippines, where the typhoon hit, thousands of people were victims of this natural calamity that has extended to several regions in Visayas Island. Some have survived, while others have lost their lives. 

Weather disturbances are common in the Philippines, and the Filipino people have learned to embrace this uncontrollable phenomenon. It had existed for several centuries, even before the talks about climate change started. This would be massive destruction of property and the loss of lives. It happens, and we are not in total control of these so-called acts of God.

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

In any challenge, good or bad, there is 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   Perseverance in Times of Despair, you remain strong, but if you play as a victim and do not take responsibility, you may want to become one of the weakest links.

There are several talks and debates about climate change and its global impact. Some would be interested in the subject and take action, while others would ignore it and let it be. Indeed, what we do to our environment could bounce back on us. If people still seem careless and continue with their business interests, not minding its environmental effect, then we are in danger. 

We have already seen 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 the same fate 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 for the environment.

People are now starting to realize and believe that there is a natural force beyond our control from The Power of Natureand we have a call to action to make. There may be many factors why this massive destruction happens, but Filipinos will continue to rise up and begin a new life again and again.

Let's help each other and do our share to serve and show love and affection. 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 most significant obstacle that has shaken our spirit. Filipinos worldwide are united and will continue to do so to live a good life and the most extraordinary life we truly deserve.

© 2014 Del Cusay

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 the simple appreciation 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 since I arrived in Delhi, and it's a great experience to live independently while doing the work that I love. Some days excite me, and some days I need to calm my senses. Those days when I traveled a long distance and enjoyed the moment while on holiday; those days when I traveled a long distance to do my duties and responsibilities.

My second trip back to India was challenging; this time, I had 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 had gone through. I never stopped, but I learned to move forward and realize that reaching goals isn't easy. 

In my travels, I have gained many memorable stories and insights. Sometimes, it's not the place that puts a smile on my face, but the people captivate my spirit.  I have learned to discover the beauty in every person I have interacted with 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 their helpful gestures that make my stay in India genuinely remarkable. A heartwarming welcome from people is something I will cherish. They have shown great hospitality, which 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 and the Sudras. They have impacted my life in the quest to understand the nature of humanity and our world.

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 a good influence on others. A country that is truly diverse in many ways; the people, the culture, and the tradition. Here, I have experienced the chaos in the city and where different major religions exist 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 a unique identities yet share a common language of smiles and hospitality. 

What makes life challenging in India is to reach out to 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 make you move and 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 enjoyable.

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

It is not the applause or the pat on the back that inspires me the most, but the simple appreciation makes me feel unique 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 my achievements. Never to return...never to surrender...never to quit.  Life is passing all the challenges and reaping the rewards after that. It's a game of life; you win some, and you lose some. In the end, the battle remains, and the journey continues. 

© 2013 Del Cusay

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 for our lives regarding relationships, careers, and goals, then we can achieve what it is to feel like the star we are meant to be. 

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

1.  Think about your choices 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. These images in my mind turn out to become a reality. You get things as desired if you put your mind and attention to them. 

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 to on how we truly know our Father as we celebrate and honor their most special day of remembering.

In our lives, our Father plays a significant role in molding us to become better people. Since childhood, when we've developed our awareness about life, he would have guided us with principles through stories that we tend to laugh at but still struggle to understand the story's lesson. 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 feel confident in his presence. Even 'wants' are granted to make us happy and enjoy our childhood.

Fatherhood is the most challenging 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, defender, and protector, sometimes making 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. Life is indeed about service to others after finding our purpose. We find out where we are good at and then make the best things possible. 

Reverence is also one of the teachings that make an impact and are very significant in living a just life. Honor and recognizing the elderly and people in authority bring fulfillment through the wisdom they can share and the virtues we can emulate. We can't stand alone, and we need people to guide us toward our path. We need teachers, mentors, and leaders to motivate and push us to do well and achieve our targets.

I have learned the importance of having the 'fighting spirit' or the so-called willpower to get things done and achieve almost everything I desire. When life seems complicated, it takes a lot of courage and determination to rise up and face the unknown; of what lies ahead. It is fitting that there are times we are so obsessed with the future that we tend to forget how to live in the present moment. Hence we missed a lot of good things along the way. I have learned to live in the moment of 'now' instead of 'soon,' which may or may not happen. Just hold on to the mind. The 'goal' and invisible forces would take you there at the right time. The power of  'now' is significant to me, and I do not regret every single moment of the happy event that happens in my life.

It is a great responsibility for a father to look after the family's welfare. I am grateful that the sense of responsibility is strong despite unfortunate circumstances. He is there to advise and support whatever problems need a solution.

Today, we honor our Father for who we are and what we are now because of him. The wisdom gained will guide us to become the best we can be and live a life on our own when the time is up to say, 'I have guided you, and now is the time that you lead your way.'

© 2013 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oprah's Lifeclass: Changing Your Outlook

Oprah, and one of the most charismatic American Spiritual leaders, Joel Osteen, discussed the power of "I Am" or the positive self-talk we do, which could lead to success or failure. Words that we utter verbally or just thought to give power to who we become and significantly impact how we live in the future. 

How often do we tend to focus on the flaws or imperfections in our lives? How does it affect the perception of ourselves and how people around us would feel the vibrations we are sending out to them? These limiting and destructive thoughts can be blocked by changing our outlook on who we are and how we can attain the life 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 have the will to do things as planned. 'I am happy and contented about the things happening in my life, and I have to strive harder for more positive and meaningful things to come. 'I am grateful for the blessings that have come and look forward to more prosperity and abundance. I am strong and will continue to persevere through life challenges to become a better person. 

2. Whatever follows 'I am' will come looking for you. What has been following you for years? How does this make you look at your 'I am' statement differently?

In a universal law of attraction, I always believe that 'thoughts eventually become a reality if we focus on the words I am telling myself. I don't chase success. Instead, I do my best in a particular task, and success follows. For instance, I tell myself, 'I am' courageous and determined for my goal, then positive forces act upon my uttered words, turning them into a reality. Thoughts are living energies and vibrations that attract success and fulfillment if accompanied by willpower. 

3. What are you putting out to the world? What 5 'I ams' do you say on most days?

Not all days are good. However, I have the power to change that kind of feeling by diverting my attention to more purposeful ways. Things can be achieved faster if I exert my total capacity and not minding negativity. If I put much effort, there's substantial energy I've released, and it will have a positive effect in return. 

On most days, I often tell myself that 'I am' blessed. 'I am' strong. 'I am' courageous. 'I am' joyful, and 'I am' becoming better.

4. Are you going through a difficult time when you think things are happening to you? What if you start to realize that things are happening to you. How does that change your perspective?

Sometimes, not-so-favorable circumstances happen, like dealing with difficult people, but it is not a reason to give up because they will soon become out of your way. Just pay attention to a specific goal, and good things will come. Having faith and belief in self more than anybody would put seeds of negativity into what can be accomplished. 

5. What if you took it further and recognized that you could handle the challenges? How does that make you feel?

 Life throws many challenges, some of which can be handled well. It would take courage and endurance to beat the odds. Working on challenges and conquering them is very rewarding. Getting more confident and assertive in taking life's battles, fighting, and not surrendering. 

6. How do you define success?

I define success as the 'achievement of a particular goal,' whether short or long-term. Success is not the end target, and stopping from there is. When I feel successful in a particular goal, it adds to my self-worth, and its cumulative effect gives me a sense of fulfillment.

7. What 'I am' statement are you integrating into your life?

'I am' grateful for the gift of life and the strength to serve and improve myself.

© 2013 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Special: A Celebration of Love

Mother's Day has been celebrated worldwide to honor and recognize all the mothers' love, care, and sacrifices. 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 is always felt in our being, wherever we are and whatever we do.

Mother's Day celebration is unique to every individual and family worldwide. For some people, it is a chance to treat their mother to something special, give a gift, or offer a flower or dinner together. To others, the celebration would mean spending their most precious time despite 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 as the"Light of the Household." A Mother gives us the guiding light in our lives, especially when we are young and incapable of standing independently. Whenever we've committed something wrong, our Mother would discipline us through words that can imprint on our hearts. She gives us the answer to get enlightened if we ask a question. Mothers simply want the best for their kids and want them to grow up disciplined and responsible.

In India, where I reside, I have observed that they honor their Mother as God and would give their respect. I have known someone who shared her stories about how she is raising her kids and how much she loves them. She left her job and became a full-time Mom, and she finds glory in watching her kids grow up. She has witnessed how the kids grow up daily; for her, that's the greatest gift she can give 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 of how we were raised by our Mothers. Being the youngest of six siblings, I have learned to become intense and persistent in life, no matter how challenging the circumstances are. When you are down, you must stand up and start again; never give up. These are some of the wise messages I learned from my Mother.

Somehow, the saying "Mother knows best" is correct. They know what is good for us. They know our ups and downs and always support and guide us.

Motherhood is 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.

When we are in trouble or deepest despair, our Mother can become a source of inspiration. Perhaps, the most muscular woman who believes in us and pushes us to our limits. If we feel weak, she thinks 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 has made a significant contribution. They may be simple in appearance, yet they have shown courage and perseverance to become a leader and create a remarkable legacy for society or the world.

In 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 world's most excellent mothers who ever lived. Like all Mothers, they can make an impact in the society that they live in. One of the most fulfilling commitments is contributing to the community and inspiring people to achieve something worthwhile, just like Mother Teresa's.

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

© 2013 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Her Life and Mission

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

In our lives, we may have someone we look up to or admire; we look at them as our idol and hero. What makes us follow them results from their most significant achievement and 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 of Mother Teresa, who was popularly known as a 'Living Saint' before her death. 

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

Since I was in Kolkata, I've considered visiting her place: the main headquarters of the "Missionaries of Charity," the Congregation she founded. That was when I saw the outstanding achievements of a simple nun with extraordinary power, now Blessed Teresa.

What could have made her adorable and famous is her selfless love and compassion for the poorest of the poor, 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 were hungry, homeless, and dying in the streets due to widespread poverty and famine in the locality. 

She lived the 'Corporal Works of Mercy' and had 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 were 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. Still, due to global recognition and the power of media, they have attracted donations from individuals and organizations worldwide and financial aid from different States and Government Agencies.

Mother Teresa showed her compassionate nature and charisma to attract the right people to support her cause. From 'nothing to something, she built numerous age homes, schools, and orphanages, 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 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 realize how a Spiritually powerful Nun used to live in simplicity in a small room with a tiny single bed. It made me realize that our living status does not matter what we can achieve. Hence, there is no room for self-doubt about 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 the victim in life and degrading people of miseries and misfortune.

Many people are capable and fortunate in life, but they remain empty. They have the feeling of being unloved and abandoned. This would seem like a global epidemic, but Mother Teresa's dedication to 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 for her ways of leadership with the founded congregation. However, Mother Teresa stood up for what she believed was right. Like in life, people see the opposing sides and have themselves put into an exemption. In the end, no matter what people say and do, the mirror still reflects back; and the ones who do better are ahead of the game of life like Mother Teresa did.
A few years from now, the beatified Blessed Mother Teresa will be canonized as a Saint, and people will pray through her intercession. Many devotees would be coming to her tomb for pilgrimage, and once again, people worldwide 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 seems to be unjust.

© 2013 Del Cusay

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Loving People of Kolkata: The City of Joy

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

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

Since Kolkata and West Bengal are blessed with bodies of water, they are lucky to have fishing as one of their sources of livelihood. Bengalis love to eat fish, except for some who become pure vegetarians. 

The fishing industry is quite good in West Bengal and is India's leading fish-producing state. Most of the Bengal population eats fish, just like some of the coastal states 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 is lower than I thought. It is relatively quiet compared to the cities of Delhi and Mumbai. And later, I have known that people in the town only travel a little for shopping, outdoor fun, and other activities. Some of the locals would need to think of how big and progressive the kind of city they have is. Some would even think of Kolkata as a typical village with slow-paced living. 

There are few forts, tombs, and monuments in Kolkata compared to Delhi, but the former British Raj has built impressive historical infrastructures

I have seen the magnificence of the Victoria Memorial, built in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain. It is somewhat similar to the architectural design of the Taj Mahal in Agra with white marble 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 'Fort William,' which was built as a military headquarters and still serves its primary purpose now. Adjacent to it is the Race Course, which hosts one of India's most significant horse race events. It used to be the pastime of the elites during the British regime, but now it is open to everyone. 

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

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

Kolkata is making progress and faster development in terms of the local economy. Both residential and commercial buildings are on the rise, particularly in the reclaimed area of the northeastern side of Kolkata.

Due to the lack of available space to support the growing population and the increasing demand for housing, the local government has planned expansion for reclamation projects to benefit the people. 

The city is also becoming an Information Technology hub, and several Multinational companies built their headquarters in the vibrant place of 'Salt Lake,' which is the 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 'Durga Puja,' which celebrates the triumph of good versus evil.  Although the spiritual significance is similar to the Holi Festival, the 'Durga Puja' celebration is mainly prayers and chanting. 

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

During my short stay, I 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 enjoyed the acceptance and treatment they showed. An emotional connection was handled, and there's a substantial soul of the city and the people. 
No matter what social status they are living in society, they still find some happiness and joy in their hearts. 

In the future, I would love to come back to this place and witness its transformation. It is not just the beautiful place but the joyful people that make you feel good and loved that matters most. 

©️ 2021 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 Lent on 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 Lent gives us a unique perspective about life as we reflect on ourselves. It allows us to acknowledge our misconduct and to have the act of repentance. This leads us to achieve peace of mind and opens our hearts to give more time for self-ministry to fulfill our 'life purpose.' 

Last Sunday, Christians celebrated the Lord's coming by waving palm leaves to welcome the great 'Rabbi.' The event symbolized humility when Christ came into 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 are strengthened in a solitary moment of contemplation. This is the right time to know yourself and be in Christ's loving presence. 

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

In the Philippines, where Christianity dominates, the faithful would have a special 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 visiting different churches and pilgrimage sites and offering a prayer. The old way of reciting a prayer with a melody called 'Pasyon' is still practiced by devotees. 

On Good Friday, the 'Seven Last Words' are celebrated in a holy mass. It offers a deeper understanding of the passion of Christ and his last words until his death on the cross. The solemn observance of '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 look 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 the winter season in India, and today people celebrate 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 already celebrate with their families and friends. I have witnessed how they make fun of the colored powder called 'gulaal.' Almost everyone of any age group is having fun while putting these colors on the face of each other, hugging and greeting each other. In the evening is the bonfire, a tradition with spiritual significance. According to the Hindus, the Holi festival commemorates the victory of virtue over evil. 

On this day is the main celebration. People everywhere in India and expatriates abroad celebrate with a joyful spirit. This is the best time to become boisterous but in a polite manner. Whatever you do is acceptable and memorable to others. This is also the time to be at peace with someone for any conflicts you have had. People temporarily set aside negative feelings towards someone. Enemies became friends again, thus creating a healing atmosphere.

Watching kids carry their water guns filled with colors and run after other kids while spraying on them was fun. Although some may have been hurt slightly, the laughter continues. No anger, no irritability, but full of enjoyment. 

Some ladies and gentlemen dance to a tune of Bollywood music, and they dance gracefully. I have seen familiar faces from last year's event and have more fun and appreciation this time. Although I have not gotten any colors compared to the previous year, I'm still satisfied with what I have experienced.

Celebrating Holi Festival last year was as vibrant as the event today. The park is full of people, mostly small children guided by adults. The lawn became muddy because of the heavy water and the children playing in it. However, the entire day is full of joy and positive spirits. 

At the near end of the celebration, some faces look 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. 

© 2013 Del Cusay

Sunday, March 24, 2013

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

In discussion with Oprah, one of my favorite Spiritual teachers, Rick Warren, gave an insight into one of the most essential questions of existence: What on earth am I here for? 

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

Yes, we find an answer to 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 this level in life. I was not sure about the path I was taking and the future that lay ahead. I have missed productive days and was contented with what's there. Day after day, I felt incomplete and empty deep inside. This was just a recent past; things have changed, and I have taken the vows of a more productive life and a life of purpose. 

2. What would it take to be more fulfilled in your life?

I follow my goals and do things as planned to become happy and achieve a sense of fulfillment. It is a strong positive emotion and always lasting. Happiness is just temporary, while fulfillment is something that leaves an imprint in the heart and mind. 

3. The second level is a success. People at this level live a comfortable life, have a roof over their heads, and most have what they want. Yet, they still feel unsatisfied and need help figuring out why. Are you at the success level? If so, describe your life.

I must say, 'I don't have everything, but I have enough.' I'm living a quiet, comfortable life where I can do things I desire. However, sometimes, I ask for more, but not for material and superficial things. I'm asking for what is truly essential in my life. Something that I could do for others and the commitment to serve.

4. What would it take for you to live with purpose?

To know our purpose, we must assess ourselves on what we are good at; our excellence. I have discovered my skills and am doing my best to cultivate them and make better use of them to achieve my goals of living a life of purpose. 

5. Question of existence. Why are you alive? 

I am alive because I have something to fulfill in life. I have goals and dreams that are yet to be accomplished. I live to serve, and there are tasks ahead of me for self-ministry. 

6. Question of intention. Is there a purpose for your life? If so, what is it?

I believe the most crucial purpose of living is 'service.' My goal is to give back what I have been given, to share what has been showered, and enjoy a meaningful life. 

7. Question of significance. Does your life matter?  

Everyone matters in their own way. I must believe in my issues in life because I have been blessed to serve in my own capacity and ability. I have asked for and received it, so I have something to give. It doesn't matter to be significant, but what matters is meaningful living--living with a purpose. 

© 2013 Del Cusay

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis: The New World Pontiff

"The Pope has a great responsibility towards his followers, and I hope he can finish what he started until the 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 at all levels so he will be able to act on duties vested in him."

A few days ago, the conclave started electing a new pontiff to lead the Catholic Church. 115 Cardinals from around the world gathered in the Sistine Chapel to vote for whom they think can guide and lead a billion followers. After several voting attempts, a new Pope was finally declared. 

A humble man from Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio 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 toward their spiritual path. 

His Holiness will be officially addressed as Pope Francis after he has chosen the papal name as his title. He was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi and decided to adopt it as his designation. I hope His Holiness will 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 made in his name; The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis could be like him and radically transform the Catholic church. 

It would take willpower and great love for the Pope to reform the church against controversies that are left unresolved. However, like the late Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis has the charisma and heart for improving 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 he can finish what he started until the 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 at 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 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 must strengthen our spirituality and faith in 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, chosen by his people. He will guide us and 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 give hope and faith to the people to appreciate life and realize that there is certain holiness in you.  It is for us to discover our 'Dharma' or life purpose and live in the holiness of our being."

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

Most of the crowd are Tibetans, followed by Indians and some foreigners who are followers of The Dalai Lama. After falling in line towards the venue's entrance, it was good that I 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.

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

As the open ground was about to be filled with attendees, The Dalai Lama and his entourage walked towards his elevated podium while greeting people with his smiles. This time there were no chanting ceremonies by the Namgyal monks before his lecture, which started at around 2 pm. The good thing about his speech was that an interpreter translated every part of The Dalai Lama's lecture into English for the benefit of the non-Tibetans. This is better since the previous lecture in Dharamsala was delivered in Tibetan, and only those with an FM radio could hear the English translation. 

However, if the same thing happened in the previous experience, I do not worry since seeing the Dalai Lama for me is enough, and I did not mind the language he used in his lecture. Still, 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 tried speaking in English to make his point. He still cracks some jokes accompanied by his world-renowned laugh and smile to uplift people's spirits. 

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

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

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Likewise, a person can become happier and experience less suffering if enlightenment is achieved. In Buddhist philosophy, spiritual tools like prayer, 'The Power of Meditation,' and selfless services to people are indispensable in attaining a happy, fulfilled, and enlightened life'The Power of Meditation,,' and selfless services to the people are essential to achieve a happy, fulfilled, and enlightened life in Buddhist philosophy. 

Although I am a Christian, this principle is relevant and meaningful. We can learn these things from the Buddhist perspective of living. 

At the end of The Dalai Lama's lecture, he thanked everyone for making the event possible and successful. It was followed by his recessional ceremony going back to his destination. Before he finally vanished into 
sight, I met him up close while he waved his hand to the people who signaled his blessings

Meeting The Dalai Lama is a rare opportunity and truly a blessing. His spirituality and compassionate nature give hope and faith to the people to appreciate life and realize that 'There is 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 moments. His simplicity and compassion for the people made him a great name in the history of Spirituality. His message of enlightenment  is significant in today's time and truly a timeless piece of wisdom dedicated to 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 vibrant community with spiritual people living serenely in the cold breeze of mountains beneath the Himalayas.

Although the Tibetans of Mcleod Ganj have been living in an asylum for several decades, they have still tried to preserve their culture and improve the living conditions of the thousands of refugees. They may be far away from their motherland, but they are fortunate for the achievement of freedom in exile. I have found 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 genuinely admirable. They remain content with the blessings they receive and make the best effort to develop their lives utilizing the valuable teachings and philosophies of their Spiritual teacher and leader, His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama, vested with 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 the energy and vigor to protect his people and become a man of love and compassion that the world has known.

The Dalai Lama, the head of state of the Tibetans, is the most popular and respected Buddhist monk, yet His Holiness describes himself as a simple monk 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 world, including the Nobel Price Award for his peaceful means of fighting for the sovereignty of Tibet against Chinese communist rule.

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

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

Since visiting The Dalai Lama's temple on my first day of the visit, I have known that he will 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 for this event, so I attended for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet The Holy Man.

The Tsuglagkhang Complex

A day before his scheduled lecture in Tsuglagkhang temple, I had the chance to visit some places and the nearby sightseeing in Mcleod Ganj. From the place I am staying at, Snow Crest Hotel in Naddi Village, it took me a half-hour trek to reach the 4 km distance to Mcleod Ganj. On the way, I was delighted to see the natural wonder of Dal Lake and pass 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 was busy preparing for tomorrow's event, and many pilgrims started to arrive, so I took some 'Kangra tea' at the famous tea house--moonpeak espresso cafe, as recommended. I did not wait for the sunset and returned to the hotel to reserve my energy for the next day's event.

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

Now that I was free from restricted gadgets, I passed by the two security checks before heading to the Namgyal monastery just above the checkpoint. I went to the right section to find my seating place reserved for English-speaking people. When I found the right place overlooking the Holy Man without barriers, the monks gathered, and pilgrims worldwide were excited to see The Dalai Lama.

The residence of The Dalai Lama 

At around 6:20 a.m., The Dalai Lama is set to leave his residence for his processional ceremony. The monks and pilgrims, including myself, were rushing to the nearest place where the Holy Man would 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.

The Dalai Lama and other monks performed an early morning ritual of sacred chants and mantras for about an hour and a half. At 8 a.m., His Holiness and his entourage went down and proceeded to his lecture place, an elevated rectangular platform with Tibetan decorations. Another 20-minute chant and mantra were observed before The Dalai Lama lectured in the Tibetan language at 8:20 a.m.

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

The Namgyal Monastery

The lecture ended at 10 a.m., followed by a recessional returning to his residence just a few meters away. The audience witnessed the Holy Man's last walk before he was gone out of sight. The people along the aisles were lucky to have shaken hands with The Dalai Lama while others started walking down the temple to return to their respective places or destinations.

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

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

I am grateful for another day full of learning and energy. I hope to see His Holiness The Dalai Lama at another 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