I am reminded that my life has been one full of experience with plenty of exercises in multi-tasking over my life time. Writing this post has an embedded hope to help me fulfill several of the tasks I have accumulated pertaining to my writing vocation that I have chosen in the latter-years of my life. I can only completely explain how the content of this post will help me fulfill all my other writing tasks after I have successfully filled it with content right? haha It also reflects the great faith I have in fasting to help me fulfill the challenge of writing this post as I did start a personal fast myself that began on Friday night to end after I delivered a talk on the Law of Fast in KL branch on Sunday as assigned by the branch presidency.
In the past three weeks, I have been bogged down in Kuala Lumpur before planning to return to Singapore after having spent about 10 days up north in Penang earlier. Many are amazed how mobile a person I am and this may only seem more obvious today to others due to the existence of social media technology on the internet of which I am an active contributor of content in stories, photos and videos. To the few who remarked directly to me in person about my mobility when they do meet me, my usual response is that this has been the mark of my life since I was younger and I guess I have consistently carried on this philosophy of travel as seen in the map of all the places I've been in the world found here.
The key word, philosophy, applied even in my travels as mentioned earlier, has great significance in my life to make me who I am today. Why philosophy? In the words of C.E.M Joad , " Because it is concerned with the study of value or good, philosophy offers a medicine for the sickness of the age. It is not merely that the inquiries which it pursues are in themselves satisfying and noble. More important is the fact that in following them we come to see meanings which were previously denied, and to apprehend values which have hitherto been ignored.
It is difficult to conceive a greater service which could be rendered to the age. Surveying the contemporary world, one is almost tempted to say that any meaning is better than none, any values, even false ones, than the denial that values exist. For those who deny the values of life are apt to find that their lives are without value. A life without objectives, a life unregulated by principle, a life inspired by no dominating purpose, is not only a bored and a boring life, but a tired and a tiring life. Those who have a zest for living are in general those whose lives are inspired by a purpose, who are convinced of certain truths, and who conceive certain ends to be supremely worth while. In the interests of this purpose, in the service of these truths, in pursuit of these ends, they are prepared to make sacrifices, to forgo immediate delights, to discipline their desires, to sharpen their faculties and train their bodies. By these means they capture incidentally that which is denied to those who seek it directly, the secret of the enjoyment of living. If we are always feasting and never fasting, our feasting loses its savor ; yet there can be no motive for fasting unless there is a belief in something which makes fasting worth while. Even if the object of our endeavour is to discover ourselves, it is an object that can best be realized by losing ourselves in that which is greater than the self." (From his book PHILOSOPHY FOR OUR TIMES)
On Sunday morning of 19 April 2015 I woke up to find a facebook message from my oldest brother Sun Yit who referred me to a book of his friend entitled "GOD and MAN." It was a book that took him 5 years to research. Being internet savvy, I quickly found his webpage with his name Tony Yeap and the title of his book. From the webpage I got his email address and used it to find his facebook page. I immediately sent him a message as follows :
"Hi Tony, Sun Yit is my oldest brother who informed me about your book GOD and MAN. Being an internet savy youngest brother of his I searched your name and found your webpage and read briefs about your book and your discoveries at http://godandman.biz/contact.html.
It's Sunday morning and I'm rushing out to give a talk at my Church and thought I'll just quickly share with you my true story that started from 1979 to 2015 which begins on my blog post here : http://spiritlane.blogspot.com/2005/04/silent-testimony-in-busy-busy-world.html
He told me you will be in Penang with him in the first week of May. I hope to meet you some time to collaborate our life's knowledge and experience together which would be quite interesting I would say.
Bye for now"
For this talk, I started a fast from Friday evening to obtain the spirit to speak to the KL branch and will report on this later. This spiritual blog post has become a live reporting of the progress of my spirituality at this time of my life inspired by the Spirit of God.
Talk at Church
At Church I presented my talk based on my preparation with extracts from Church publication and my personal testimony inspired by the holy spirit. With the wonderful resource of the church website at www.lds.org I shared some highlights from the talk of Joseph B, Wirthlin Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on "The Law of the Fast" where the full text and even a video of his talk can be viewed here.
I covered some basics at Church in my talk as follows :
"In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members are encouraged to fast whenever their faith needs special fortification and to fast regularly once each month on fast day. On that day, we go without eating or drinking for two consecutive meals, commune with our Heavenly Father, and contribute a fast offering to help the poor. The offering should be at least equal to the value of the food that would have been eaten. Typically, the first Sunday of each month is designated as fast Sunday. On that day, members who are physically able are encouraged to fast, pray, bear witness to the truthfulness of the gospel, and pay a generous fast offering.
We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer. Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry. If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father. Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation."
I highlighted that members can fast more than the regular once a month fast on the first Sunday of the month as I had done since last Friday night, noting though that our purpose of fasting should not be to impress others. The Lord counseled : "Morever when ye fast, be not, as hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast."
I brought laughter from the congregation to say that in as much as I had mentioned of my special fast over the weekend for this talk, I did not show a sad countenance at all! Indeed I believe in the power and miracle of the fast that there are times when I've fasted longer to experience some little miracles and clarity of mind as recorded in a previous post here but I did not mention this in my talk. I did however quote scripture from the Book of Mormon highlighting that through fasting and prayers we can learn of truth for ourselves :
"Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me." (Alma 5:46)
I shared my testimony that it was from fasting and prayers that helped me gain my knowledge of truth and attain the spiritual understanding of many things that made me who I am today since I joined the Church in July 1979. Philosophies and religions may be many and confusing in this world and I believe through fasting and prayers, we can get clarity, understanding and a witness of what we know is the truth when we receive them.
My thoughts then turned to content from The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150, (2004), 42-47 with the title, "Seek Learning by Study and by Faith", found here.
I wanted to highlight our Church principles in education which is aptly covered in the Introduction section of the manual :
"The Lord taught that we should seek learning, even by study and also by faith' (D&C 88:118). As we seek both spiritual and secular knowledge the Lord will bless us. Education is a key to opportunity and should become a lifetime endeavor. It can prepare us to support our families and contribute to the Church and community. Help students understand the need to take advantage of opportunities to improve themselves and further their education. There are always exciting new truths to learn and share with others."
In reading the Principles to Understand, I highlighted the following and shared it with the congregation :
"•We should seek knowledge and wisdom.
•Spiritual knowledge is more important than secular knowledge.
•Education is a key to opportunity.
•The Lord will guide us to areas of learning that will help us better serve others.
•Learning is a lifetime endeavor."
Reviewing the principles taught in this manual, it referred to a favorite chapter in the scripture of mine that our Church uses i.e. Section 88 of our scripture from modern revelation of our living prophets we call Doctrines and Covenants where verse 118 was quoted as the title of the manual as given in the reference above. During my talk, in my introduction, I pointed out that I was a show and tell speaker, to bring out my manual books of scriptures on that day.
....that is it wonderful, I use them thoroughly from computers to tablets and gadgets but the problem is when the energy source is depleted, I am grateful that I have my manual book and scriptures with me. I showed them the well marked scriptures I had with me that were the ones I had used during my mission in 1980-82 and the pages well marked as seen in the 1st photo are from Section 88.
A little more about this 'energy' source later but meanwhile my focus is on the law of the Fast and the spiritual knowledge we can derive from it and will talk about other secular knowledge we should acquire! Let's read Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-80 by clicking here to see the importance of secular knowledge.
Read the following teaching from Elder John A. Widtsoe, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which relates to the scripture referred to above :
“Theology is not the only subject in which the Elders should be interested. They should study:
“Things both in heaven—Astronomy.
“And in the earth—Everything pertaining to the cultivation of the soil.
“And under the earth—Mineralogy, geology, etc.
“Things which have been—History, in all its branches.
“Things which must shortly come to pass—Prophecies.
“Things which are at home and abroad—Domestic and foreign politics.
“Wars—perplexities—judgments—The signs of the times, by which the observer may know that the day of the Lord is at hand.
“A knowledge of countries and kingdoms—Physical and political geography, languages, etc.
“These studies, the Lord considers necessary. [Sec. 88:80.] God does not require all His servants to become doctors, or professors, or even profound students of these subjects, but He expects them to know enough of these things to be able to magnify their calling as His ambassadors to the world” (Priesthood and Church Government in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 55–56).
My time to speak was short as there were two earlier speakers and an intermediate hymn after them before I could begin. I had just about 10mins to talk about the the fundamentals about the 'Law of the Fast' and to highlight that attaining spirituality was the major purpose of the fast, which is usually followed by a prayer, which leads to the priority goal of spiritual knowledge.
Sunday School followed the next hour with an unusual experience I felt I like to share:
Following a uniform Church Sunday school lesson schedule throughout the world, the day's class had a teacher to teach Lesson 15: “I Am the Light of the World”
New Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2002), 61–64
The teacher had volunteers read a few scriptures on the topic and asked a question what is "Light" which caused me to raise my hand to answer the first thing that came to my head which was "Energy"!
Then he led the class to understand that energy is described by scientists to be in the form of a particle or a wave.
He then started writing on the white board from left to right the following types of waves :
Radio ----->Microwave----->Infrared-----Visible Light----->UV----->Xray----->Gamma
He also touched on Absolute Hot to -273 degrees Celsius/-460 degrees Fahrenheit or Absolute Zero temperatures and wrote the brief information on the white board.
I was amazed that the Sunday school lesson on the light of Christ had touched upon the science realm and when I went home to look online for the lesson 15 on the manual, I found there were no reference to the advance scientific terms that the teacher had mentioned. I guess the spirit must have inspired the him to have prepared the lesson that way using some references to science and since I was fasting, it became a spiritual experience for me too to find the teacher demonstrating something in class beyond the lesson manual that collaborates with the key points of my talk.
Reconciling the different facets of life
My appreciation of learning about the Church at the age of 21 in the final year of my formal institutional education is that I didn't have to prove that God exists using science for the rest of my life. The reason is I had a real and personal relationship with him with spiritual experiences that are well documented starting from here that continued to today in this blog post. I had never doubted God from that beginning of time of my spiritual life and if there were any doubts in my faith, it would be more about myself and my mortal weaknesses of whether I can fully fulfill the purpose of my life that God may have foreordained for me. Before joining the Church, I tended to depend more on reason and critical thinking as my education was focused on the Sciences and later on Commerce. It can be said that I had developed to become a philosophical person who is well grounded through the institutionalized education I had received. After joining the Church and having to exercise faith in God, my whole perspective of life changed to have lived an extraordinary life as my official webpage profile depicts today. I even wrote a spiritual resume for myself to see how different it would look like from a regular normal resume!
Body Mind Spirit
I did mention in the beginning of this post that writing it would fulfill several of my tasks as a writer and this is with reference to a writer's block I was experiencing that I called a 'Gordian Knot' in a post here. Fasting helps me cut the knot to have a breakthrough in reconciling and understanding the synergy of what I have considered to be the 3 strong legs or pillars of an optimal life in our sojourn on this earth i.e. of the Body Mind and Spirit. This is an ancient philosophy based on a holistic or integrating approach of life. My life and my writings covered all three very strongly which made me adopt this ancient philosophy, strangely that began in a city far away in the western part of the world as recorded here and first published and introduced under a series of writings under the heading of My Heart and Mind here. (This link at the time of writing is best viewed on the PC screen as it is not modified to be mobile friendly yet as some pages like this one.)
My Gordian Knot may have come about as I tackled to reconcile or write about conflicts between philosophies and religions against science and technologies perhaps. Then there could be issues about humanity and passion versus politics and capitalism where only the bottom line seem to matter these days. How about the higher rate of breakdowns in relationships between couples these days with the result of broken families due to the fight between the flesh of love that bends to the mind that seeks for justice, equality and freedom? Love versus selfishness or pride perhaps? More specifically, I felt the fast would clear the lack of clarity to continue the following blog posts that I felt I needed to write and started them as parallel tasks to stop them all until I would complete this key or strategic 'Sword post' that would break the 'Gordian Knot' metaphorically speaking before I can carry on working on each of the following blog posts with a desired flow.
Family History Part 4 - Chinese History and the Family Tree (BODY-race)
On Politics, Freedom and Harmony in Malaysia (MIND-politics)
On Politics, Freedom and Harmony in Singapore (MIND-politics)
The role of Philosophy, Religion, Education and "The Law of the Fast" (SPIRIT-religion)
The last blog post above is of course referring to this exact blog post being read nearing its completion at this point in writing. As I briefly analyzed and classified the blog posts above, I can suddenly understand why writing on any of the three topics of Politics, Sex and Religion can be tough as even in the Toastmasters public speaking club, they are discouraged to be a speech topic by policy(in Malaysia) to avoid causing intimidation or raising dissension.
I would say it would be tough for anyone to intimately write on this 3 bandwidths so to speak if they have never been tuned to all three of them. They may write what they may have researched from reading other related books or websites. Doing this can be equated to Americans who can speak Mandarin fluently and assume they can be successful to deal with the Chinese people in business. The same applies if the reverse occurred. Similarly it is difficult for anyone to do well in a profession if one does not have enough exposure or experience in the field though they may have been academically qualified in the profession.
Having been exposed or experienced in several as well as key aspects of the Body, Mind and Spirit in my life, I feel qualified to be a unique writer who can unravel the mysteries of life but more importantly to be able to find what I call Optimal Performance and Thinking during our lifetime which should derive the authentic happiness that many are seeking for.
As a Chinese growing up in Malaysia, cut off from China for many years of my early life, it is difficult but not impossible to learn of my ancestry and the culture they were exposed to as the Chinese race are proud to proclaim they have a culture that dates back to 4,000 years of history or more. As one who was not adequately exposed to politics, it is difficult but not impossible for me as one who is educated well to have an intellectual mind to understand the politics that I am exposed to in Malaysia and Singapore which are the two countries that I and my family have the strongest roots in. Being a Mormon in a religion that found oppression and persecution from others, it is difficult but not impossible for me to have the spirituality to understand and respect people from all other religions as well as working with them for a common good.
To be continued...
This blog post is continued much later in a place that I have considered some time back to be optimal for the needs of my Body Mind and Spirit with happenings recorded here.
Yes I fasted in Kuantan too on a Sunday when I had expressed that "...I was maintaining an optimal flow in Kuantan on this trip even on spiritual matters!" Here is how I'm concluding this spiritual post that some may classify as religious which I will explain is not. Is this a question of purely semantics?
We can blame it on Western culture dominant in the 21st century where vocabulary is strongly influenced by science and technology where precision and accuracy means everything has to be classified under a proper name or species. A prophet of God when named as the President of the Church is more politically correct. Likewise the 12 Apostles need to be more appropriately named the Quorum of Twelve. Sounds familiar?
Indeed in this modern knowledge world of ours, facts become increasingly more important and I appreciate it that there are even hoax warning websites to counter those trying to spread false information to unsuspecting users of social media websites! An old post of mine that may help readers appreciate the value of faith in a world of knowledge is entitled, "Faith and Knowledge, Not Faith versus Knowledge" is worth visiting here.
7 Jan 2016
In my public facebook account, a total stranger named Lyn Ruston decided to send a private message to me. I did not accept to chat with him and he left a negative post on my public timeline questioning my religion. I responded by going to his public facebook timeline to leave my comments criticizing him for his actions.
The error message below shows that the link I had made to his facebook post by using the embedded codes on this blog post subsequently did not work as he may have deleted my comment post made on his timeline which was basically questioning his need to use invasive methods to preach his philosophy and beliefs on my facebook page. Why must some people question the belief and religion of others by invading to the premise of others with their negative criticisms when they could spend their time building up their own groups to build good and strong people of their own faith. Even if they wanted to be critical, I expressed on Lyn Ruston's facebook timeline boldly that he could preach against anything or anyone in his own internet website due to the freedom of speech allowed in the cyber world without needing to invade into my facebook space!
Matthew 11:13 | View whole chapter | See verse in context For all the prophets and the law prophesied until (John the Baptist))) and Stock in COKE
Posted by Lyn Ruston on Wednesday, January 6, 2016
On making a quick review of his facebook page, I could see certain abnormal repeated patterns in the posting of his photos that I made a screen shot of that is shared below. This reflects that this stranger who invaded to my cyberspace without my permission has some kind of personal problem to make such repeated posts in his own facebook photo album :
13 April 2016
Here is a deeper scientific explanation of why fasting helps to increase our brain power. It is interesting to note that the speaker from JohnsHopkinsUniversity believes that communication can help improve our health, creating awareness of what the worldly businesses are doing to promote activities that generate billions for them when science reveals the real truth about our human biological systems.