Yun Yi's Stuff

English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromya...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since most people take modern medicine as “absolute” (by saying that I mean, people believe modern medicine can take care of all physical illnesses, except fatal diseases like cancer), they easily consider the cause of unknown illnesses as “mental”. This is why we often see people try to “encourage” those who suffer invisible diseases to work “harder”, to push through, as if they are mentally weak individuals. I still remember once a kind lady’s first words to me after hearing my brief story: ” be tough.” I have to say, not only this is a wrong approach, but also offensive attitude (even an insult) toward those patients. Why, because one of primary reasons these people got so sick is precisely because they are mentally tough – so tough that they overdrew their energy, and their illnesses are nothing but the consequence of their mental toughness.

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Sign of narrow mindedness: disbelieve something just because you don’t understand it.

Children are comfortable with their ignorance, adults are not.

Book of love, was opened
by a gentle hand
page by page;
story of love, was told
by a tender voice
word by word –
texts drifted
voice whispered
chapters undulated
story lines intertwined
and when music quietly danced through,
they all scattered, like autumn leaves
along PATH
OF LOVE – woven by
rose
and thorns

Long time ago, a young man paid a visit to a Zen master, asking for truth. The master welcomed young man by some tea: he poured tea from tea pot into tea cup. When the cup was full, he continued pouring, so tea overflowed. The young man asked: “The cup is full, why are you still pouring?” Answered the master: “You are right. If the cup is full, I would not be able to pour fresh tea in. Same as our heads, if they are full, now new ideas could be put in. So, do you have an empty head?”

This is a legendary tale in Zen history. In life I realized, so often our existing beliefs or knowledge would not only prevent us from learning new knowledge, as this Zen story implies, they also distort our observation. Some time we think we saw “fact”, but we barely saw what we wanted to see. How I took this photo of gas light lamp is a perfect example:

One day I drove past an apartment gate I saw two gas light lamps hanging on each side of the stone gate. I decided to go back to take some pictures of them. In my memory, the frames of lamps were all black, and I was glad because the contrast between black lamp frames and stone gray background would make a perfect image. So I went back the second day with camera. To my disappointment, the lamp frames were not black, but steel gray, and they didn’t make good contrast against background as I anticipated. I wonder if the dust on lamp surface make lamps looked gray, but after I checked I found that’s not true, because it was rained earlier, the surface of lamps were perfectly clean. But why I remembered they were black? Then in a flash of moment I realized why: because all gas light lamps in my memory were black! That’s why! That’s how my “knowledge” distorted my observation: I “knew” gas light lamps were dark colored so I “saw” dark colored gas light lamps.

So this experience reminded me the Zen story of tea cup. I think the inspiration of this story is invaluable to human intelligence, that is, only when we empty our mind, put what we think we already knew aside, can we have fresh eyes for truth.

I say “God is just” is another convenient excuse for practice of selfishness, because if God is just, why do we have to help the poor? That’s God’s will!

Another argument for religious people on this subject would be, letting some people to be poor so others can help them is one of God’s lesson, or “design”, in order to let people to learn kindness. Really? How about those helpless, those who died in pain, suffering without cure? And is the lesson of kindness really worth thousands, millions sacrifices of life? Would those who were burned alive agree that their excruciating pain (actually I doubt “excruciating” is enough to describe how they felt) was a means used by God to educate others? If so, I would say this God is either unspeakably cruel, or incredibly dumb. Or both.

If there is one suspense book that strikes me the most PSYCHOLOGICALLY, it’s Whispers And Lies (referred as W&L below), by Joy fielding, one of my favorite contemporary mystery writers. I wrote a review years ago, but that’s not enough. I even wrote an email to the author a while after I read the book and was thrilled to receive her kind reply. I also purchased a copy for my friend in China. How my friend enjoyed it I do not know (her English might be obstacle of enjoying the story thoroughly), but all these years, this book remains as the best psychological thriller to me, and that’s why I purchased another copy recently, and re-read some of my favorite parts of it.

W&L starts slowly and gently, with the main character Terry Painter, a middle aged single woman and hard working nurse, interviewing her potential tenant of her cottage, the 29 year-old good looking Alison Simms:

She said her name was Alison Simms.

The name tumbled slowly, almost languorously, from her lips, the way honey slides from the blade of a knife. …

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