“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” Buddha

Vipassana training: Day 7

I finally decided to ask Xifu the question that I SHOULD’VE ASKED from the first time we started meditating like professional monks and nuns.

“I don’t mind the stillness,” I said, switching my weight between numb buttcheeks. “Or the miseries that stillness brings. Or the blinding pain – NO, REALLY! – I actually DO believe in Buddha and his teachings…I’m only worried that something might break. Something like my heart, or legs...”

“You won’t,” said Xifu, “the human body can do amazing things. Sitting still for a full hour is one of the easiest challenges it had to endure.”

“What if something breaks?” I said, “The way my body shakes from pain and ache...”

“You’ll only become stronger. Both physically and mentally. You know this.”


Xifu’s didn’t say anything for a while. Giving me time to gather courage to look at him. (The courage to hear from another what I already knew, and did not want to believe.)

“Isn’t that the whole point to meditation?” he finally said, and with kindness. “Knowing thyself, and accepting it for what it is, good or bad or broken? You’ll be fine. In fact, you already are...”

Then he winked. As if he’d heard the stuff I didn’t say. As if winking was all that it took for me to believe; and let things become.

And let things, everything and eventually, be fine.

Because, dude, breaking thresholds of pain & fear & faith is a totally and an awesomely fine thing to go through indeed.

(In one way or another, at least, with hemorrhoids and weight loss and deformed buttcheeks and all.)



The Timekeeper’s idea of a house pet.


Plus: A squeezable handful of that house pet’s meals.

Minnie, Mickey...or is that Moe?

Momma’s SO gonna FLIP when she sees this. Hohoho…


"Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~ Buddha As a student of his teachings, on his special day, for Buddha I send a solemn Fatiha.

Happy Vesak Day, everyone.


PS. Here’s a fellow Saudi who observed the day in his own way, in Brisbane.


What’s after Enlightenment?

“If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

If someone has succeeded in detaching from the world, then what’s there left to do?

If enlightenment demands the trimming of the fat of passionate response, whether in love or hate or melancholy, then what’s there left to live for?

All emotions and needs come from hunger of some sort. Hunger for intimacy, for food, for prestige. And when we feed it, we’re only feeding our own stomachs. Then it either stopped there or turned to poop.

[Hemingway sets a dark example to this; when he detached so hard that he lost all grounds to live for.]

On the other hand, if detachment is an effort to feed someone else’s hunger, then it becomes what the prophet called صدقة جارية: a rippling, multiplying act of kindness. A fueled passion.

Because enlightenment, success and all those ecstasies aren’t supposed to happen then stop. What stops the detachment from becoming a meaningless act, is giving with kindness.

If we ever ran out of reasons to live for, then maybe we’re not being kind enough to others. Maybe we’re not listening carefully enough. Maybe we ought to get off our ivory towers and security blankets toy feed people with our own hands.

And ♥s.


Giving Credit

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The skies rumbled from the Archangel’s fury. The Prophet had just returned from a meeting, bruised and bleeding. Obviously, his audience didn’t stop at booing.

“Shall I destroy those bedamned ingrates?” said the Archangel. “Take a pick: a plague, a deluge, or a false note from the horn? You know what, pick all of them!”

“Dude,” said the smiling Prophet, “and make me lose my job?”

“UNBELIEVABLE!” said the Archangel. “Haven’t you done enough already? This project is going nowhere! Not in your life time!”

“Then maybe in the next; if angels ever learned to think ahead a bit.” -- “Don’t you dare...” -- “Right, sorry. But seriously, maybe their children will listen. Or grandchildren. Give them some credit.”

“For throwing shit at you? For responding with cruelty at your kindness?

“For being scared. All bad behaviors come from fear. And if they behave this badly, then it’s probably because that’s how much they already, implicitly believe. They just don’t want to admit it.”

“Dude, cool stuff! Where did you get it from, the Gospel of Matthew?”



Love Hormones

News flash: Humans are designed to love more than one partner in their lives. Maybe not all at the same time. But still…

“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.” ~ Paulo Coelho


That’s the name of hormone that controls intimacy and bonding behavior in both humans and animals. Too much vasopressin makes a monogamist. Too little of it, the polyamorist.

So, yeah, polyamorists rejoice. Here is the biological explanation to why we are like most animals; designed to love with more than one partner in the span of a lifetime.

[Of course, penguins and pigeons are naturally monogamists…but who wants to be compared with birds?]

And while you’re at it, start diluting a cocktail of love hormones in your partners’ drink to keep them from wandering.

But. Srsly.

Every theory on human relationship is an effort to simplify.

It takes the theoretical cocktail of wealth, nurture, genetics, psychology, socio-cultural and religious traditions to explain how long-term relationships happen. Whether monogamous, polyandrous or polygamous.

Either way, whatever relationship we’re working on, there’s no point in overrating and sanctifying monogamy, or trashing those who switch partners; because humans do carry vasopressin. And get bored. And hot chicks/chucks are all over the place.

And, again, those who have been through a lot of love-crash-and-burn-and-love-again in their lives are better appreciators of the restful monotony in monogamy.

Or celibacy. Hihi.

What more.

Rather than make vasopressin (or any other love hormone) as an excuse to start/expand/confuse/end a monogamous relationship (already demanding as it is), why can’t it be used to explain other social behaviors?

Why can’t love hormones explain deep, satisfying friendships with a bunch individuals of diverse backgrounds instead? Or indulging geeky behaviors over some pet, or bonsai and other inedible hobbies like that?

I mean, does deep love have to ONLY be about who sleeps with whom? And how many?



Hateful Cousins

What is she, Arab or Jewess?

The general assumption is that all Saudis are Muslims. If, within 300 years since the first revelation, Islam had spread across the Arabian Peninsula, then every Saudi should – at least – not be Jewish, right?

So goes the theory.

Stop reading here if you’re sensitive about this. I try not to offend anyone. Though I realize that I can’t make EVERYONE happy. Move on if this isn’t working for you.


KopiShops in Aceh

a DSC_0104

DSC_0342 DSC_0345 DSC_0712 

Things to know before entering an Acehnese coffee shop:

a) Keep an open mind and a strong stomach, especially in matters of hygiene. So many people have had their coffee there, and didn’t die the next day. 
b) Generally, women can’t sit in Acehnese coffee houses.
c) How to say: “Be’ mameh that!” – Not too sweet! (Each cup holds enough sugar to secure a dentist’s annual income).
d) Acehnese coffee is so good that it might not exactly be halal coffee.

To illustrate the last point: you know how Turkish and Arabic coffee is usually grounded with cardamom seeds? Some Acehnese coffee is (rumored to be) grounded and roasted with ganja seeds.

The effect of which will make you more sleepy than alert. If not easier to amuse…

The virgin coffee (no ganja, or elements thereof, included) I used to have before work was squeezed from Bang Ismael’s coffee bags. Simple Acehnese coffee that – if 200ml of it was served undiluted - could cause arrhythmia in a horse.



Another Look

      “Strangers are friends you have yet to meet.” - Anon

There’s no such things as strangers. Not really.

Imagine the first day at a new school. Scary. New. Chaotic. We’re forced to treat every stranger with the same generalized kindness.

That clear slate of unfamiliarity doesn’t last. It’s just the thing with theories of mind: we recognize each other pretty quickly. And we’ll find familiarities with every stranger. We would attract and recognize the most familiar to ourselves first.

The deeper we look, the more similar we seem.

Try looking in different places. At a mall. Or a ball game. Or the fattest vein of a traffic jam.

Once in a while, take a looonger look. Look at a stranger, or a whole bunch of them, and see how we all want the same things. A decent meal, a tight nap, secure our children’s future, and A LOT OF GREAT SEX!

What, you didn’t think I’d know that part?

Take another look…then tell me how you felt.


Who’s mightier…

"True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself." - Henry Miller

…one who fights for his rights, or the one who accepts his fate?

“The second,” said the Timekeeper.

“Really?” I said, “Isn’t that kinda lame and cowardly? Aren’t people supposed to be tough and demand and protect their rights? Aren’t people supposed to at least PROTEST?”

“Child,” he frowned with warning, “if a sweeper’s broom is stolen or broken, his job is to get another and promptly return to sweeping. Not waste time in protesting thieves.”


“Because sweeping is his job. If a man does his best at his craft and worship, where is the cowardice in that?”

“That’s not what I’m asking. How are we supposed to stand aside while the thief gets away with his crime? Oughtn’t somebody put a stop at that?

The Timekeeper didn’t reply in words. He just gave a smile I’ve seen given to imbeciles.

In that smile, I began to realize what I was really asking. Where I was asking from. Whose job description and fate I was protesting.

And he said, “The sooner you get back to doing your job, child, is the better.”

So I wrote.


If it’s really important…

…it’ll come back to you.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you'll make one. - Elbert Hubbard
Click on the image to read the rest of the article.

Sometimes, it may come back in a different form; like a memory or a dream. Sometimes, it’s you who’ll have to change to achieve/arrive at the important. But you know how packaging never matters as much as the essence.

Not if it’s really important. ‘Coz, boy, when the important happens, there ain’t nothing in the world to slow it down.

Like what? You tell me.


This Sexy, Easy Niche

“Uniform ideas originating among entire peoples unknown to each other must have a common ground of truth.” Giambattista Vico

Writing about religion and spirituality is easy.

If we look at our common interest, instead of conflicts of interests, we’ll all come to an agreement.

The soul doesn’t need money and food and fame, but it sits in every thing and every relationship. Even your cats and cacti.

We may walk different paths, have different possessions, speak in different dialects. But once we remove the papier-mâché of our balloons and prophets and rituals and slogans...and we'll find The Ten Commandments, the Pillars, the Dharma; repeated in every religion, monotheist, polytheist and atheist.

Like I said, writing in this niche is easy. The resources are abundant, the subjects endless, and the underline is the same.

But this niche is sexy because we’re voyeurs, and the soul is naturally secretive. It’s not the holy and sacred and transcendental that attracts us to this niche. It’s the sweat and grime, and leafing through ancient – yet common - hurts that gave this niche its schadenfreude-esque zest:

Knowing how you got through your hell, would make me feel better about staying in mine.


Press Release

Blessed are those who work on their craft and service with love. Blessed even more are those who preserve with steadfastness even on the brink of obscurity.

Mighty are those who manage to handle fortune and fame without failing through. Because, you know, when luck picks up, and your ego is flattered, there’s always this HUGE possibility that the sense of satisfaction and pride turns your service to shit and your flow comes to a momentary, disgusting, gloating halt.

I wish I could blame it on Froggles. The darling. God couldn’t pick a better agent to my verbal demise. The way he said it couldn’t be any better:

“Hning’s blog started as a place for her to blabber endlessly about her personal life. Also, like many bloggers, with time her blog evolved, and she found her voice and...[compliment] [more compliment] [then OVERKILL:] GREAT WRITING.

So in honor of Labor's Day, in honor of all of those who remain steadfast at work however the world reacts to them, here is to you.

Your steadfastness IS your best of luck.

Ps. Mom, click: click: Blogazette.net

One Hundred Books in A Year: 17 Lessons Learned

Pexel 1.      Readers will read. Regardless to format or income or legality.   2.      Something to remember: The Prophet was illit...