What Does Heaven Look Like?

Saturday Stories March 24, 2018

"I believe in angels, something good in everything I see..." This line from ABBA's timeless song "I Have A Dream" says what I want to say a lot better. 

I still believe humanity is inherently good. I think we human beings have more in common with each other than we realize. 

We all want to live in peace, we all want our lives to be meaningful, and we all want a better future for ourselves and for those we care about.

We also hold on to the promise of a life after life. Whatever name we give to the source of our being, we want to see a better world than this.

Our ideas of the afterlife have evolved through the millennia but the core elements remain. There is no more boat on a river called Styx, yet there is still a passage. There is no scale to weigh our hearts anymore, yet we'd still see our whole life unfold before us.

A friend and I composed a poem about what awaits after the hour of our death. We named it "Heaven" becau…

Do You Have A Superior Mind?

Saturday Stories March 17, 2018

I was six years old when I learned a wise lesson. In front of our first-grade classroom, above the blackboard, was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt I would remember forever: 

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." 

As time goes by, I see its wisdom more and more. I notice that people who only talks about people are those who spread gossip and intrigue. 

Imagine a whiteboard. Using a marker, put a dot in a corner. Now draw a circle around the dot. A small mind is like this: it magnifies the unimportant and perceives things out of context and out of proportion.

Now erase the circle. The dot is still there, yet it is insignificant compared to the rest of the white spaces. This is how broad-minded people think - they see things in the proper perpective.

Character has nothing to do with intelligence. It's not about how high is the IQ: it's about how open is the mind.

I have the highest respect for those…

Embracing Your Authentic Self

Saturday March 10, 2018

One of my greatest self-discoveries is that I am free to be who I really am. I'm not obligated to wear masks to gain other people's acceptance. Sometimes I felt like an outcast, but as I've said a million times: I'd rather be me than by anyone else. 

And then I found Nicolai Hel. "Never have I identified with a character with this soul-stirring intensity," I wrote in "Shibumi: My Favorite Novel," a 2013 blog post.

As I write about my favorite novel, by coincidence, I also have the theme of my favorite movie as our featured Filipino song of the week. 

The story of Nicolai is my inspiration for "The Art of Understated Perfection," a 2014 two-part blog story in 2014. "I have chosen a path where I found inner peace. Then the story of a young man led me to an even deeper understanding."

"Like Nicholai, I, too, am an orphan with a disdain for the superficial, a need for solitude and an unfathomably deep streak of…

My Favorite Miriam Santiago Jokes Part 2

Saturday Stories March 3, 2018

I have five close friends from way back who are not active on Facebook but we are constantly in touch through PM. Three of them want to see what I look like now. That's 3 out of 5: not bad, and to think that 2 out of that 3 are my ex. So I sent them my latest photo.

Then another friend asked through Messenger for a "Part 2" of my English translations of my favorite Miriam Santiago jokes. This would be fun, and though it's not "Due to insistent public demand," here is the sequel to our Miriam lines.

Gosh you're rude! You didn't even knock but you went straight into my heart!

A crush is like a math problem: if you can't get it, just stare.

Let's play, but anything except hide-and-seek – because someone like you is hard to find.

Let's have an exhange gift: What's yours is mine and I'm yours.

Are you Google? Because everything I'm looking for I found in you.

Can I walk you home? Because my mother …

Mystic Confessions

Saturday February 24, 2018

I'm happy to be in student-mode again with my three online courses, feeling  grateful that I have (and can handle) these while still showing progress in all other areas of my life.

I seem to be developing my own learning techniques which is uniquely suited to me, and I feel that the way I absorb and assimilate new information is evolving. I myself am suprised, but in good ways.

I take a lot of notes on a good old-fashioned spiral notebook and typewriting papers which I study at home.  

It was in another notebook, on March 2017 at Jollibee with spaghetti and Tuna Pie, that I composed my first poetry collaboration with a fellow poet and kindred spirit. 

I put down on paper, in metered rhyme, some of the things I've learned as a student of metaphysics and lifelong seeker of deeper spirtual awareness. 

Our poetry duet, which my partner titled "Be the Guiding Light," appeared in Atunis, the Albania-based magazine which also featured our second, "O…

Infinity In The Palm of Your Hand

Saturday Stories February 17, 2018

My first feature article got published on December 2004 in Philippine Panorama, the Sunday magazine of The Manila Bulletin. Since then, a lot of my stories have appeared in various publications like The Philippine Star and The Manila Times.

DeWitt Wallace, the founder and editor of Reader's Digest, is one of my virtual mentors as a young writer. His essay in a vintage edition has inspired me to write stories that are concise yet timeless, without needless words yet of "enduring value."

The best of my magazine stories became my first book, The Way To Inner Peace. The title comes from my essay on spiritual awakening inspired by Zen Buddhism and  Siddharta by Herman Hesse. 

My book first came out in 2013 from Smashwords, an ebook publisher based in the United States.

This year, The Way To Inner Peace got published in Amazon Kindle.

In the second part of the book are some of the most significant  essays from my journal. I would like to share brief…

When God Met Satan

Saturday Stories February 10, 2018

I found one of my untitled and unpublished narrative poems recently. By coincidence, on the same day, a friend gave me the link to Setu Bilingual, a literary journal in English and Hindi based in Pittsburgh.

"Setu" is Sanskrit for bridge, "to connect the extreme ends of the words," to quote the publisher, "written and spoken, across the globe."

The story of my poem, which appears in the January 2018 edition of Setu Bilingual, is inspired by the meeting of God and Satan in the Book of Job – but that's where all similarities end.

Here is a short excerpt:

"'That’s the most ridiculous thing,'
said the Lord, 'since Vatican!'
The Devil cannot be distracted,
he’s in debate: 'Look,' he said,
'feed a dog and he won’t bite you,
but feed a man and he will.'"

I gave it a name, "Divine Comedy," in honor of Dante Alighieri, author of the 14th century epic Divina Comedia – the tr…