One of the things I often share in my classes is to trust your gut. Today, I came close to not listening to it but decided to heed that call and join in on a Jivamukti class lead by Keith Kempis, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher visiting from Sydney (who I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to practice with while I was in Sydney). Initially, I had decided I wanted to skip that class as I had just come from assisting a Yin class right before his but for some reason, I found myself hemming and hawing about it. To cut a long story short, I said that on my way to the door, if I found mat space (which was tough because it was a super full class at the Global Mala, a local yoga festival), I’d go for it.

Boy, was I glad I did :) And as always, what I took from the class was beyond what the asanas had to offer.

As is customary in the beginning of a Jivamukti class, the teacher gave a little dharma talk. Today he shared a story about a poor boy who offered all the had to purchase a genie who could give him everything he wanted on the condition that the genie be kept busy at all times. Once the boy had all the needed and wanted, he found it difficult to keep the genie busy and so what he did was he sent the genie up a tower, take in the surroundings and memorize every detail, and when the genie did he came down the stairs and the boy sent him up the stairs to do it again over and over. Keith likened the genie to our monkey mind, something that needs to be doing something but can be harnessed into something greater than us (or at least that’s how I took it — and these parenthetical commentaries in between bits and pieces highlight a big lesson I learned today which I will get to later!) through devotion and practice.

During the asanas, Keith took us through a nice, steady flow and after a while, he had us do the sequence on our own without him counting or giving cues. Before letting us go on our own, he said something to the effect of: you’ve done it, you know it but if you lose it somewhere along the way, don’t worry about it…you can fake it for a bit but just go with it and let your body take you there: this is what it means to lead with the heart. 

And so we began.

I went through the first side in a nice steady stride, staying focused and dedicated to my intention. When it came to move to the other side, a little sliver of self-doubt crept in, much like the parentheses I tend to insert in between statements when I write. When that voice that asked me “are you sure this is next?” whispered so stealthily in my mind, I felt frozen and panicked. Then I remembered what Keith said: just go with what your heart knows. 

And I did.

The monkey mind is a really tricky, sneaky thing. If we let it take charge instead of the other way around, we end up running around in circles and taking ourselves away from the peace and equanitmity that is possible. Self doubt, and it’s friends fear, anger, criticism, envy further let this monkey jump around and get restless. On the other hand, devotion, non-attachment, acceptance, surrender, and trust aremind the monkey that it is okay to settle down and just be.

And so today I thank that little sliver of self doubt that crept in because it reminded me that I can trust myself — be it my heart, my gut, my intution — because the Divine in me knows what it needs. 


Lately I find that whatever little flicker of hope I have for this beloved country is slowly fading away. It is such a sad time to be see how we have become at this day and age. It feels like we have forgotten how to treat each other kindly and with respect. What happened to that spirit of community and hospitality that we as a culture have been known for? Is that only limited to our interactions with people from outside our culture? 

Today I heard a lady berate the cashier in the grocery store because there was no available bagger immediately and she complained that she had to go find one herself (mind you her items werent fully scanned yet anyway). To be fair, she reported that it was not the first time that it happened and perhaps there was truth to her statement. However, her tone towards them was disheartening. 

I think it goes beyond the divide of those who can afford and are less privileged. For example, when we’re on the road, we fail to yield to one another and occupy the intersection even when there’s nowhere to go. Instead of stopping before a pedestrian crossing, we speed up and stay on it. We push our way in an elevator even before letting those who need to get off do so. Why? However, when we see a foreigner in line, we step aside and yield. Similarly, listen to how we talk to people on the front lines, such as receptionists, secretaries or call center representatives. We have little patience for them and at times, the choice of words we use are condescending. Comparatively, when the manager or someone of a higher position comes in, the tone changes. 
I say we because I am part of this system. I have let my emotions get in the way at times too and I have had my fair share of being unkind. It has taken a lot of time and effort to remind myself to be more patient, compassionate and kind.

While I was in Australia, and as well in Singapore a few years ago, I saw the stark difference in the way people treat each other, especially those in the service industry and the people who make our lives easier for us. We are so lucky to be able to have that. However, we treat them with such little kindness. We fail to pause and ask how each other is. That was one thing I learned in Australia: to pause and say “hello, how are you!” and to actually answer with words instead of a head nod or a grunt.

I think if we Filipinos got our heads together and started treating each other with respect, kindness and compassion, we can become so much more. It is tough, indeed, given all our challenges here and the difficulties presented by traffic, corruption and poverty, but we can do it. If we all started to remember we are part of a greater whole, and that each little bit of that whole is essential in the big picture rather than wait till the government or the bigger players get going, we’ll all remain stuck in a system that doesn’t work. How? It will be a challenge. But I think that perhaps it can all begin in a pause between breaths, allowing us to remember what what it is that makes us a living, breathing human and not just another body that navigates the world we live in.