This Racism Is Just Stupid

We are currently living through a global pandemic, brought on by a virus that enters the body and infects the individual.

Racism is similar – It is an infection in the human mind. It is a mental virus that results in sickness and chaos. It’s plagued humanity since the beginning of time.

Just as we hurry with urgency to find cures and treatments for these infectious diseases, we must also rush to find cures for these mental viruses that infect our societies.

World wars, genocides and mass murders – the scale of damage caused by these mental viruses are just as large, if not larger than any physical illness resulting from an infectious disease.

This racism is just stupid – a form of hate and ignorance shown towards those of the same kind. Yes, we differ in skin colour and culture, but fundamentally we are all part of the same thing.

When you show hatred towards others, you are also showing hatred towards yourself.

Get rid of this mental virus. It’s no longer welcome.

Emotional Freedom Technique – A Journey Into Healing

Some 5 or 6 years ago, I had brought mindfulness meditation into my life as a way to treat myself from the painful thoughts and emotions that I was experiencing at the time. In those earlier stages, meditation never rid me of anything, but rather gave me new ways of looking at things.

This small shift in my perception set off my curiosity to find out what else was out there in the world of esoteric practice for all things health and well being.

I remember stumbling across a practice called EFT (emotional freedom technique). I had a book on EFT handy, and I learned what it was about and how to use it. I learned that it could help with all things related to difficult emotions, trauma, cravings and even unfavorable belief systems. The whole practice seemed a little left field, and I don’t remember being able to find any good research to back it, at the time.

I set it aside, only to cross paths with it about 6 years later while in a mindfulness retreat in Thailand.

I would keep my ears peeled while in the dining room of the retreat, especially of a night. There was always an interesting discussion to be had, always filled with insights and wisdom. I heard an Aussie lady talk about EFT and how she used it to combat certain cognitive and emotional challenges she had faced in her life.

A great workshop was held a few days later, and it was there where all the pieces of the puzzle came together for me – Some real life stories describing EFTs practicality, with a good body of research which has only grown in the last few years.

According to the developer of EFT, tapping on different parts of the body helps balance the energy within you and reduce emotional pain. It is considered an alternative therapy for things like depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress, chronic pain, weight loss, and some addictions.

How It Works –

There are meridian points that run along parts of your body. These meridians contain a flow of energy within them. This concept is from Chinese medicine and is similar to acupuncture and acupressure, in which these meridian points are tapped.

According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, blocks or imbalances in the flow of energy lead to ill health. The tapping is intended to restore balance and resolve any issue with energy blockage, which is believed to be the cause of physical and emotional pain.

Harvard medical school studies have revealed that by stimulating the body’s meridian points, you can significantly reduce activity in the amygdala, which is known as the alarm system of your brain. The amygdala is triggered during experiences of trauma or fear, and once it is triggered it releases cortisol through your body – this is the hormone corresponding to stress.

These studies reveal that when one stimulates these meridian points, there can be a reduction in distress, as the tapping signals to the amygdala that there is no danger. An amazing result showed that after a session of tapping, people were able to reduce their cortisol levels by up to 30%.

“Energy medicine is the future of all medicine. We’re beginning now to understand things that we know in our hearts are true but we could never measure. As we get better at understanding how little we know about the body, we begin to realize that the next big frontier in medicine is energy medicine. It’s not the mechanistic part of the joints moving. It’s not the chemistry of our body – its understanding for the first time how energy influences how we feel.”

Cambodia, My Profound Teacher

It’s been 4 months since I returned home to Sydney after a whole year and a half spent living in Cambodia. The most exciting part about the journey so far is how new things continue to pop up in my mind, even after it’s completion.

New memories and new perspectives collide to create a different way of reflection and contemplation.

So many lessons were learned, and I continue to learn more about my experience as time goes on.

What did Cambodia teach me?

1) People are everything. During some of the later days, I would sit there and long for the closest relationships in my life. I didn’t even want a chat with anyone from back home, I just wanted their presence. Although it may seem like an abstract idea, and we take it for granted because of that, it is so much more simple and fundamental than that. Real human connection was the big theme, as I watched the families and communities show love, generosity, patience and acceptance to one another.

2) The human spirit is extremely resilient. You have your education system destroyed, your whole society is faced with absolute darkness as people are murdered in horrific fashion. The collapse of Cambodian society 40 years ago was so catastrophic, Cambodia continues to pay for it every single day in the present. Everyone struggles over there in their own ways, but their spirits are always high.

There is a sense of purpose, but rather than it coming from the individual level, this is on a collective level – loads of local humanitarians, educators, medical professionals and entrepreneurs who want to contribute to their society in some way. Many of the people in these roles come from tough times that proved to be a foundational key to their service today.

3) I feel like the Cambodians taught me a lot about food. Not only am I referring to the nutritional side of things, but also to the experience of eating. I had lost touch with this before my trip. Sydney can be so fast sometimes, you get caught up in convenient foods because you always feel like you have some sort of time constraints. It can be a go, go, go type of thing. Because of this, many people have lost the ability to sit and really internalise and experience food. You just gulp it down because it’s in front of you and you just want to hurry on to the next thing to do.

The Cambodians had a great food culture. The night times would be vibrant, with street food stalls and restaurants buzzing with all different groups of people. Every night is a full experience. People will sit, eat and talk for hours every night. What they are eating isn’t too bad, either. I was always envious of the energy they showed. You see them constantly smiling and laughing and bouncing around. A lot of the Cambodians my age have this kick in their step and I wanted to know why. This food was so rich and diverse, with fruit, veg and good meats in abundance. They loved their culinary experiences and they had the vibrant energy to show it.

These 3 things seem so simple, yet they are so profound. These more subtle things get taken for granted sometimes because they tend to hide behind the busy minds of modern day living in Sydney. But these things are so fundamental, I believe they should not be ignored.

Daily Systems During Hard Times

With all the things going on at the moment around the world, it’s come to our collective awareness that we must consider mental health as a concern for people who are stuck in doors, without jobs and in fear of infection.

The mental health aspect was one of my biggest concerns very early on, as I have experienced many issues myself and I knew that an event like this with the conditions it has created will come with some it’s mental and emotional challenges.

I’ve spent many years developing a tool kit for myself, things I can do each and every day that will keep me mentally fit and emotionally fit, regardless of what is going on in life.

There are a few things to consider now, as there is a lot of tension in the air at the moment, and the fact that this is on a global scale makes it seem even more grand and vital.

Times are tough and people are hurting everywhere.

In order to weather the storm, it’s important to build resilience of both body and mind.

There are a few things I have been exploring over the years – Every day systems and habits that I am in the process of trying to develop for my every day, regardless of what is going on within me or outside of me.

– Meditation – taking time out to sit still and become present with yourself.

– Yoga – taking the time to become present with your body.

– Walking – being alone with your own thoughts while you get a good dose of nature. We are animals, and we need a decent exposure to nature. There is a biological connection there that should not be ignored.

– Journaling – writing out your thoughts on paper or computer. Writing down certain goals, truthful evaluations and plans for the future. Our minds are goal orientated and having a structure eliminates mental clutter.

– Dietary habits – Whether it is for mood, immunity or overall well being, what you put into your body is no matter to take lightly – good biochemistry is essential.

– Exercise – movement of the body

– Breathing techniques – getting a necessary amount of oxygen into the body. A good amount of oxygen in the body is essential to good blood flow, healthy metabolism and even emotional regulation.

– Cold showers – There are many physiological benefits of having cold showers. The way I explain it is, your body goes into a mini shock, and you walk out feeling more alert and energetic, but also more relaxed and at ease.

– Learn – There are many reasons as to why I learn daily. For one, I am interested in a whole range of topics and I enjoy the process. But perhaps more importantly, it keeps the mind sharp. I am training it and programming it daily with valuable insights. There have been studies that suggest that when we learn something new, the brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is neurotransmitter and plays a key role in the feeling of pleasure. There is a pathway in the brain between where dopamine is created and the part of the brain that is associated with motivation and reward. One can conclude that being a biological learning machine, the learning process creates a sense of pleasure and achievement. At its core, it can be the learning of any skill, topic, language, interest – something of value to you and those around you.

– Sleep – I don’t know too many details here. All I know is that it’s considering equally important to diet and exercise for our over all well being.

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality –

I write a lot about spirituality these days. I have always told myself that I am a spiritual person, not really knowing exactly what that meant. But, as I continue on my journey, I learn more about what it is to be in touch with your spirituality.

A lot of people think of mystics, palm readers and spiritual energy healers when they hear the word spirituality.

Spirituality is not about mysticism, magicians, healers or religion, for that matter; although many people access their sense of spirituality through religion, which can be a great method.

Spirituality is all about discovering your true nature. It is about going beyond the illusory mind, the dissolution of the ego and the sense of self, into a dimension of connectedness and oneness. It is a home coming, in recognising your true self beyond the body and the mind, beyond the material world – self-realisation.

Every life wants to be a full fledged life, and the ultimate goal of spirituality is in self-actualisation, where one gets to access their full potential.

It is about uncovering the truths about the nature of reality, liberated from the delusions created by the egoic mind.

One of the functions of the mind is to create this sense of separate self. Who you know yourself to be, by name, job title etc, this is all a construct of the egoic mind. This is not who you really are.

Those memories you hold in your mind are just a collection of events that have already passed. That body you see is just a collection of cells that last no longer than a decade before they die and regenerate. You are not the same entity as you were 10 years ago. The mind has you believe in this continuation, as it creates this illusion of time, another function for survival.

This egoic mind creates a separate sense of self, a survival mechanism that keeps you alive, but when you look hard enough you come to see that you are not separate, but rather just another small piece to this big puzzle. You are made of the same chemical elements found out far into the cosmos – essentially, you are the cosmos.

You are the observer, the one that experiences all of the physical, mental and emotional events that occur within the living body that you inhabit. These mental, emotional and physical events are not who you truly are, however most of us identify with these things as if they are ours, and that’s when we lose touch with our true nature.

Your body and your mind is your jump suit. You wear it so that your true self can experience life, but this jump suit is not you, you are the one who is watching and experiencing.

This is what spirituality is all about. It is in realising your true nature, and uncovering the nature of reality, free from the identification with mind and body – free from delusion.

Expanding Our Awareness

I have been in the meditation and yoga scene for quite a few years now. These things began as a practices to alleviate experiences with anxiety and depression, but have now turned into practices that expand my perception and awareness of reality – A practice that began as a form psychological therapy that turned into a deep spiritual practice.

Over the years, I have spent countless hours refining my skills. I stopped the counting around the 200 hour mark. I have read many books on mindfulness meditation and have heard many stories of people who have had profound experiences of contentedness and transcendence. Others claim to enter states of pure bliss and ecstasy.

I have always remained skeptical, even though I know intellectually that these experiences can happen in people, given the right conditions. I find my mind to be still full of so much tension, so much so that I still have difficulties letting go.

Although my experiences during things like seated meditation have been quite ordinary, I have adopted a new practice in walking, and this practice has really taken off for me.

I walk with no purpose. There is no destination, there are no headphones, there is no set pace. There are no goals of calories burned or kilometers traveled. Its literally a mindful stroll through the streets at a very slow pace.

Never have I felt so connected before as I do when I am on these walks. I walk passed things like trees, and its as if I am seeing these things for the first time in my life. I am seeing the colors in a way I am not used to seeing. I am smelling and hearing and experiencing things in such a different way, this sense of curiosity just overtakes me. Everything becomes so alive and vibrant, I just stare at things with so much intrigue, its like I’m seeing, hearing and smelling everything for the first time.

While on these walks, I feel so blissed out and in love with everything around me. I make eye contact and exchange smiles with the people who I walk passed, as I feel so open and connected. I am not distracted by music in my ears or a call on the phone and I have no place to be.

I’m in these states of peace and bliss and I lose touch with the chaos in the mind. Most of the time, the mind shuts off almost completely.

If I come across an object that catches my attention, I can get stuck in these small trances, where I just stare and get lost in the details of whatever it is that I am observing.

Our mind identifies objects and then comes to its quick conclusions about those objects, but the reality is, there is so much more to that object than what our minds tell us.

How often do we actually stop and truly observe these objects without coming to quick conclusions and labels?

For instance, what you see is not “just a tree”, as the mind will tell you, but rather it is a complex living mechanism, a whole system of cells that work together to create what you see. Your mind gives it its label, but in reality what you see is just 1% of the whole picture.

Hardly ever do we slow down and really pay attention to the finer details.

There is so much more to things than meets the minds eye. With curiosity and close observation, we can start to fully experience things for what they truly are.

The Madness of The Mind

One of the greatest challenges we face right now in the present is just this;

The human mind has become so programmed to constantly seek distraction. Our lives have become all about doing more. We pack our lives with things to do and we keep so busy, its almost manic.

Why do we conduct our lives this way? – Because the human mind is filled with madness and sickness. If you think about all the problems we face as individuals and as a species, they all start in the mind; world wars and genocides, just to name a couple. On the other end of the spectrum, its the sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction that we usually experience day to day.

We don’t want to face this reality of ourselves, so we keep distracted; we work longer hours, we watch more television, we eat more food, we take more drugs and alcohol and we become addicted to our technologies.

All of these things is partly because we are too afraid to face the madness going on inside each of us. As a result, we have become incapable of sitting still. We always have to be on the go – run, run, running away.

I spent many months away in a very isolated environment. I was living in a quiet Cambodian town and my only contact with people was when I was teaching at the local school. Other than that, I was all on my own. I was stuck with my thoughts and I learned after so many internal battles that there is no escaping what goes on inside.

As ugly as it can get, the mind will always be ticking over in the background, most of the time controlling how you feel and behave, especially if these thoughts occur unconsciously. There were times where I thought I was on the path to insanity, only to realise I had been there all along. There was nothing new going on here.

The mind was ticking over in its compulsive, mundane loops as it has always been. I was just more aware of this mental madness because I was forced to sit still with it. There were so few distractions, I had no place to run any longer.

Just like tragedy or death in the external world, we try and avoid some of these uncomfortable truths of our internal worlds. We don’t like to confront these things because most of the time, we dont like what we see.

Right now, we have the perfect opportunity to self inquire. People are on lock down and we now have no place to run or hide. So, go inward and watch the mind. Its in confronting our internal reality where we can begin to face our fears and then let go, without masking the truth with our short term band-aid solutions we are so accustomed to applying.

Entry Into Bachelor’s of Psychological Science – The Start of A New Journey

An offer of admission letter from the university of Wollongong for a bachelors of psychological science.

When I started This is Philanthropy, it was for a few reasons. One, I wanted to document my experience as a humanitarian worker in the hope to inspire and educate people around some of the social issues faced in overseas third world countries.

Another reason for starting the page was to build a platform through a content strategy that made people aware that whatever path I choose to go down, it’s always going to be focused towards nourishing and developing upon the well being of humanity.

Throughout my journey so far, I have learned that when working with people in any given context, it’s good to have a solid base of knowledge in business. That’s the case for when working alongside NGOs as a humanitarian worker. Commerce and philanthropy go hand in hand, if you are to create systems that improve upon current conditions.

But I also realised that having obtaining knowledge in the sciences is equally important. We are biological and psychological beings, and so a solid base of knowledge and wisdom in these fields is necessary for the sake of people’s development and well being.

In the context of the third world, people struggle to obtain things like education and medical support. In the first world, mental health is one of our biggest problems we currently face, and so it is important for me to be well versed in some of these areas.

I look forward to starting my next journey as a student in the sciences, building upon my aspirations to be part of this mental health crisis we experience in these more developed countries.

I’ve always said that philanthropy to me means more than signing a cheque. I believe philanthropy is also, if not more about being on the ground and working in the trenches, first hand. This is my way of being directly involved in people’s development, health and well being.

It Is Time To Go Inward

Be careful with how comfortable you become with material things. Be wary of how accustomed you are to high living. These things are like potent drugs – once you set that standard, its very hard to turn back.

Think about this – You get a job and it pays well. For the time being, you are satisfied. What keeps you in this job is the continuous increase in income its providing. On the outside, life seems good. You can purchase that fancy car, those nice clothes and you can go out for expensive dinners without a worry for the bank account.

But what happens the day you decide you no longer enjoy this job, or better yet, what happens when you discover you never liked the job to begin with? – You were just lured in by the seductive pay check.

How hard will it be then to give up that fancy lifestyle you created? You got yourself into the habit of picking at the finer things in life. Sacrificing all of that now seems impossible, because your whole identity is now tied in to your status, your title, the clothes you wear and the car you drive.

If you get your sense of fulfillment from the material things, then you leave yourself open and vulnerable because you are relying on something outside of yourself to bring you that sense of happiness and fulfillment that we are all fundamentally seeking out.

You leave yourself closed off to some of the opportunities and experiences that can develop and nourish your life, because you can no longer let go of this addictive, drug-like way of living.

It could mean that you choose to do things like stay in that job that makes you miserable and not going for the things that make you feel passionate and inspired, just because you cant let go of the dollar.

Technology is growing at exponential rates. Each of us will need to undergo career re-invention at some point. That could well mean taking a huge pay cuts. In this case, its important we learn to get humble.

During a time like this when global finance is at huge risk, its important to learn how to get fulfillment and happiness from things that aren’t material, because tomorrow things may change for the worst. Its important to learn how to live humbly, exposing yourself to a more simpler way of living.

Its not about giving anything up. In fact, you only have to gain – that sense of liberation when you realise there is more to life than the “things”.

Don’t get me wrong, nice things are nice. But they are only nice until you realise that nothing will ever be enough. You can chase and chase, like a hamster on a wheel. You will never reach your destination, because it simply doesn’t exist.

The only real destination that exists is the one within yourself.

Love During Times of Adversity

Times are tough for all of humanity. We are experiencing unprecedented events that are unfolding before us, bringing about this strange sense of uncertainty and sometimes doom.

Its during these times where we band together to offer each other love and hope – these are two of the strongest forces in our nature that will help us weather the storms.

I dont mean love in the romantic sense, but the love that comes with our desire to live life and contribute towards its well being. This is the type of love we must approach with.

What does it mean when we stare down adversity in this way? It means we must all step up and apply our courage and intelligence. These moments of adversity are the moments that bring about breakthroughs, as we learn from the lessons that help us realise that what we thought to be true was completely false, and that it is time to re-calibrate and find new trajectories that help advance us and our quality of life.

People are being told to stay indoors, and with that comes anxiety. But, now is the perfect opportunity to sit with whatever is going on, turning inward so that we can gain more insight into the true nature of who we are.

If we can find a sense of stillness during times of havoc, then we can begin to learn more about how external factors in life need not be the catalyst for how we feel on the inside. Life will happen, both good and bad – this is the nature of the beast.

Nature doesn’t know the difference between good and bad, it just operates the way it knows. Its our perception of these events that give them their labels. By using these rocky events as opportunities for self inquiry, we can start to see that external events need not control the way we feel and perceive.

We then get to decide from within ourselves how we want to respond as individuals and as a collective community.