Let's get in between stimulus and response.

Author: Ying

Ep7. Princess Diana Part 4: The Divorce|You’re Wrong About

Aren’t we all intrigued by THE interview aired last Sunday? I have fallen down a rabbit hole of learning more about the British Royal Family.

This episode focuses primarily on the fall out leading up to the divorce between Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Separation, re-decoration, affairs, rumors, media war. Apparently Princess Diana helped someone to write her biography and giving her first solo interview were the definitive points leading to the divorce. Her famous interview gained her a lot of support among the public. Yet the upper class did not understand why she would reveal so much of her personal life to the point that her own mom would take her call for a few days. I have watched her interview and it is hard not to feel connected with her. Here is a woman talking about her emotional pain, her mental health issues, her struggles in a self aware yet not ashamed way. One quote stood out from this podcast ‘The public sees her first as a person, yet the Royal family sees her first as her role”,

I was very surprised to find out that Princess Diana actually had a very good relationship with the media for a long time up until her affair went public. Then the media was hunting down on her and tried to get her angry photos. They even went to the cruel length of saying provocative things to her just to get an reaction photo. She was being filmed in her private gym by someone who went to her gym and sold the photos to the Tabloid. This level of intrusiveness still shocked me, especially this happened back mid 90s.

There sure is a lot of parallels can be drawn between the interviews. Is it too much to ask that people can remain some level of their humanness beyond their royal roles and duties in the 21st century?

Ep.6 The Beat That Changed Pop Music|AJ+

Let me confess that I have been addicted to Reggaeton or Latin Urban for about 2 years now. I know absolutely nothing about the history of it until last week.

I know it must be related to Reggae given the name. Now I know the beat comes from Spanish Reggae, Dancehall Reggae, Dominican Dembow. Reggae was brought to Panama from Jamaica by the Jamaicans working on the canal. Then Reggaeton was shaped in New York with the final touch of Hip Pop influence. Lots of Latino immigrants settled in the same area, South Bronx, where Hip Hop was born. The mixture of sounds traveled back to Puerto Rico, arguably the center of Reggaeton.

I love how a little bit of curiosity can lead me to such fascinating history. Reggaeton was born in the clubs and I fell in love with Reggaeton and many other Latin dance music in the clubs. It has the raw magic to move your body through the beats. I love the fact it is a diaspora product representing the creativity and potential when different cultures and communities interact with each other organically. It is so much more than the Despacito. I was also shocked to find out that some of the well recognized pop songs have hidden Reggaeton beats.

Ep5. What Female Characters Do We Want More of On Screen|Loud Murmurs

Happy International Women’s Day!

This is a Chinese podcast episode talking about what female characters do all 6 female hosts want more of on screen. It surprised me that I never thought about the entertainment from the creator angle.

They talked about wanting to see more general teenage stories from middle school to high school, more real life working women who eat delivery and work over time, more elderly women who have relationships and show their real aging process, female friendships who support each other (also may include self projection and jealousy), female friendships with men (not just romantic love), women who do not have to stay pretty all the time and just are good at what they are doing.

I absolutely loved their discussions on female friendships and how it is a modern society product. Growing up I have been blessed with amazing female friends who we support each other through everything, from first period, to first boyfriend, to first job. I love when the hosts talked about what women are set out to be are more uncertain. I cannot become who I am today without my friends though all the confusion in teenage years and all the challenges in adult life.

Full Transcript https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/6csEmhDmlipQCiDo6louGQ

Ep4. Muslim mystics on the power of pain|Future Perfect

What would Rumi do during the pandemic? Maybe this is no dichotomy thinking here. Maybe he would pray, wear a mask, stand with people who are suffering, and more.

Maybe Western individualism vs identifying with a collective is also a false dichotomy. After all the American constitution started with ‘we, the people’ and it stated ‘we, the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice.’ Justice was never individual, but it is about society.

Justice and love are not two unrelated ideas. “it’s helpful to think of this love as an oceanic wave that pours through you, and when it pours out of your heart, out into the public square, we recognize it as justice.” Needless to say, my mind was blown after hearing this quote. Love flows from God/Source to us into the public square, that is justice. Love here also includes speaking up and willing to criticize when you see something that is injust.

How do we break open our hearts instead of just breaking our hearts? Maybe seeing beyond our finite ego would help. Recognizing we are one life and realizing our suffering are shared. That makes us feel less alone.

How do we enjoy more of our solitude instead of running away from alone time? In Sufism, there is khalwa and jalwa: retreating into yourself and going back out into society. “You would go inside to be alone with the One, and then you would come back and bring the fruits of that into society.” You look inward to see if your soul needs to be recharged. It does not matter what activity charges your soul as long as you return to it again and again until it becomes a practice. Retreating is not an end goal in itself. Then you go out into the world to share the fruits with everyone else.

How do we understand death? Maybe we are all water from the same ocean. The underlying existence never changes, but water can change into different forms. Our loved ones who passed away might become a mist that surrounds us at all times.

Transcript:https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/7/15/21315120/rumi-sufism-muslim-pandemic-isolation-omid-safi

Ep3. The Limits of Empathy|Code Switch

In 1968, a white journalist, Grace Halsell, turnt herself black and lived like a black women for half a year. She documented her experience in a book called ‘Soul Sister’. How far could this kind of ‘walking in other people’s shoes’ empathy go?

We have limited capacity for feeling other people’s pain. We tend to still identify with individuals in the other group who are more similar to us instead of the collective. This kind of identification only reinforce exclusion. This so reminds of Michelle Obama talking about some of her friends still only have one black friend, her.

Even when she tried to understand other black people, she was looking for ‘authentic black’ experience, that meant she included more stories of suffering and hardship, not the ones with joy. She didn’t understand how black people interacted with each other or with the Civil Rights movement. She did not discuss anything about oppression of the institution and structures.

So is empathy enough? The answer is probably not. Empathy is great when it inspire actions and actual solidarity. I think empathy also could provoke us to look at the underlying intuition and seek change. I feel bad for you is probably not enough in a world we are so interconnected.

Partial Transcript https://www.npr.org/2020/03/06/812864654/the-limits-of-empathy

Ep2. How Do I Keep From Being Triggered?|Eckhart Tolle

How do we stop being triggered? Don’t we all want to know the answer to this million-dollar question?

  1. Invite presence into your life regularly.
  2. Once more presence is available, over time your awarness that my ego was just triggered will rise faster and faster.
  3. Once realize your ego was triggered , just shine the light of awarness on the ego. Feel the energy associated with the ego rising in you. Do not try to supress it.
  4. Now you have a concious choice to make. Do I choose to act from the ego even if it does not serve me well or do I choose to act with conciousness?
  5. How do we start to invite more presence in our life? It starts with peaceful situations, in nature. For example, using visual perceptions to sense the life essence of a flower without mentally labeling it as just a flower. The same life force flows in you and the flower. If you access the life essence of the flowers first, you also get in touch with your own conciousness. Let nature teach us stillness.

Ep.1 – On Buddhism and Blackness|Future Perfect

This episode is 60-minute of golden nuggets for me. The host is incredibly informative and asks insightful questions and Valerie Brown’s voice embodies mindfulness. Together they soothe me and give me more understanding and hope. This episode talks about many important topics:

1. How can we not be consumed by anger while fighting for the world we want to see?

Fighting non-violently and peacefully for a world that everyone can belong to, that has justice, freedom, and liberation.

Dr. King said, “Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the instruments of love.”

Anger is a fiery emotion and has its lure. The first thing we can do is to be aware that emotions are activated. Then we calm ourselves through breathing. With the pause, we ask ourselves ‘Am I sure’. We bear witness for others. Remember if someone is being unkind they’re probably suffering a lot. The north star is to water the seed of love instead of the seed of anger and to play in a bigger space, not letting bitterness restricting our heart

2. Valerie Brown’s own journey from lawyer to Buddhism

Now Valerie does her work from a place of softening and peace. Even with people on the opposite end of the political spectrum, she first whispers soften to herself, changes from the persuading mode to the genuinely interested mode: “Tell me more. Help me understand. How are you doing, really?” The interpersonal mindfulness shared at that moment is peace.

3. What is Engaged Buddhism and how Buddhism can help us today facing the pandemic and social movements?

Thich Nhat Hanh coined the term ‘Engaged Buddhism’. He chose to participate in non-violent actions that can increase the wellbeings of all instead of only praying in the monastery.

Buddhism teaches us about interbeing. We are all connected. When one of us gets justice and peace, we all benefit.

4. The friendship between Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Martin Luther King

This friendship is largely credited to shape Dr. King’s anti-Vietnam War stand. Dr. King said ‘I’m against segregation at lunch counters, and I’m not going to segregate my moral concerns’ while facing pushback on this issue.

5. How can we possibly understand suffering contains the seed of joy in the face of the pandemic?

“I am committed to looking tenderly at my suffering, knowing that I am not separate from others and that the seeds of suffering contain the seeds of joy.”

We suffer when we lost a loved one because we love them so deeply. After all, the suffering shows that person’s life is meaningful and valuable.

Full Transcript:https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/7/2/21310378/buddhist-mindfulness-meditation-black-activism-future-perfect

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