jeudi 27 septembre 2012

MINDFULNESS AND THE HUMBLE MAN OF BOGOR: PAK JOE


Today is September 28th, 2012
I have just finished reading an interesting book by Murakami Haruki: What do I think when I am Running.
It has very little to do with Running.

In London, I had coffee with a Bulgarian Researcher who could enlighten me a little bit on how Being Conscious of the Present Moment can be helpful in my projects to Prevent Obesity, Prevent Diabetes and also to become more effective in counseling my patients about Exercise.


 More importantly, today is the 51st birthday of a good friend of mine, who has become like a brother to me, since we have very many thoughts in common when it comes to our position in life with regard to helping others, Pak Joe of Bogor, Indonesia.

All the above have a thread in common…

Compassion
And of course, when you are with American Indians for a while, you understand how they practice compassion intuitively. No body needs to teach them.
No one taught Pak Joe about these things either. Born into a Chinese family, a fairly large one, life’s circumstances took him through a windy road to lead him now to the position he has: a small business, he told me on that plane from Denver to Los Angeles when we met in March of 2012.


The concepts of how to be a better human being has been thoroughly investigated over the millennia and to me it is always amazing how all ancient philosophies such as American Indian and Yogic, have so much in common. And if you want to practice Compassion, even though a strong Buddhist concept one does not have to be a Buddhist, to practice it.  For American Indians building a church or a mosque or an edifice to pray seems a foreign idea since spirituality has to be practiced on a daily basis and compassion.
To practice this on a daily basis one has to be aware of the present, be immersed in present without judging, viewing it from a distance, be aware of oneself.
American Indians never ask,” what are you?” Which in our European cultures takes precedence, the so-called Networking, But they are very interested in Who you are? And many a new comer to their culture is stumped by the question since they are HUMANS who have been Doing things and not paid attention to BEING a human.
The westerners have amalgamated these theories into practices to help the eager westerner: the monk Thay who is a Vietnamese Buddhist; Kabat-Zinn a Psychologist who is Jewish American; Mathieu Ricard, a French Buddhist Monk who lives in the Himalayas, he had obtained a PhD on Molecular Biology from Pasteur Institute in Paris. Having Jean Jacques Revel the French philosopher for a father and a Buddhist nun for a mother must certainly have influenced him?
The newest entry into this august circle is Chade-Meng Tan, an Engineer at Google who heads their Jolly Good Fellow programme, is from Singapour and a practicing Buddhist.
How do the various Mindfulness Training of your mind, appear in the character of our friend who is celebrating his birthday both in Bangkok and Bogor?


1.Openness

2.Non-Attachment to own views so that he can be more open to the views and opinions of others.


3. Allowing others to believe and practice what they would like, while be there to help and guide; including those in your family

4. Awareness of suffering. Pak Joe is aware of his fortunate life and he likes to alleviate the suffering of less fortunate ones

5. Simple, Healthy Living. He was able to give a lesson in healthy living to me, a doctor specializing in Metabolism. He is fortunate enough to live in Indonesia where good simple delicious meals are easy to come by. He is grateful for good food during his travels.

6. He has managed to control his anger; in fact I have not seen his tone of voice change or criticizing another person

7. Dwelling on the present moment. One of his favourite sayings is: Life is beautiful, and let us enjoys it. 
Attention to the present takes precedence to any future or past events or plans

8. Community and Communication



I have observed him at close quarters during my two visits to Bogor and one visit with him to Malaysia and Cambodia. I thought to myself, what kind of a businessman, gives so much free time to his managers so that they can exercise, pay attention to their health and eat healthy food as a group and discuss the social aspects of good living. Not once I have heard him discuss business with his associates including in Malaysia or Cambodia. He does excuse himself and goes away for a few hours when he is dealing with the business end of it of all, but he is very quick about it, no prolonged meetings and the decisions about business are made quickly.
9. Truthful and Loving speech. In our conversations he talks very gently about the people around him and even those who may not wish to listen to his philosophy of living well and keeping your mind and body healthy, he is not antagonistic or caustic. When he talks to me about his family his face is very cheerful.

10. Compassion
11. Generosity
12. Respectful way of treating others.
The last three characteristics is well known to any one in his circle
So obviously, intelligent people can come to the same conclusion about good human behaviour whether they live in an Indian reservation in Nebraska or in the verdant city of Bogor under Gunung Salak.
So your friendship is the gift to me, Pak Joe, in the traditional Indian manner, when they have something to celebrate they give away their precious possessions. You do that on a daily basis.
These universal concepts are the foundation of Spirituality. It is better than most organized religions in the world today where ideology and mindless belonging and self-centeredness are stressed, the east or the west.

So on this day, my brother and friend, Pak Joe, have series of celebrations, beginning in Bangkok in the morning, then on to Bogor and end up in the company of friends who want to show their love and appreciation for you.

I send you my best wishes from Paris and we will see each other in less than one month!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY.