I consider my teacher, Dr. Shan-tung Hsu, a true natural philosopher of our day. He is an advocate of living a life in accord with nature, following and respecting the earth. Through his teachings, he’s guided myself and thousands of people to lead a more holistic life.
He has taught and reminded me that nothing in life is linear. Just like how a river flows, our lives meander here and there, picking up nutrients, getting caught in the weeds, increasing and decreasing flow and sometimes even gathering unwanted elements. But we must continue to flow. That’s just the way nature intended. We all have to follow our own path.
Often in life we are confronted with issues in our relationships, job, family, health, and finances. Many times we don’t know where to turn to or who we can trust. We need someone who has the ability to see the larger picture in life. Unfortunately, such people are not easy to find. Many that claim to be spiritual leaders often do not live the life they preach. Master Hsu is one of the few that actually lives the life he preaches. I know this because I have seen it for many years on a first hand basis.
Today, we have lost so much trust in our leaders. There is always much disappointment when you read about those who preach an honest life, and turn out to be leading a life of greed, adultery, and deceit.
Others that teach a philosophical way of life have no sense of our daily reality. There are those who live in a faraway land, with no resemblance to our lives. They will inevitably have no idea what we are talking about when we discuss life problems in the U.S. . What they know is their culture, their lifestyle, and their situation. Sometimes we can apply their solutions to our life but many times we just can’t. For example, meditating for hours a day is just not feasible if you’re raising a family or working 10 hours a day.
Maybe it’s naive for us to expect these people to solve our worries and problems. But, Master Hsu’s teachings have given me tools to best deal with what life brings. It may not always solve everything, but gives me guidance. It gives me the strength to look within. I believe we all need to learn those tools to help us.
I have found Dr. Hsu’s teaching can help us in our reality of today. In fact, I found that sometimes it is more valuable than some of the advice of the monks I’ve heard speak. Why do I say this?
Several year ago, a famous Tibetan monk came to town to give a talk. I was eager to listen. I was excited to learn. I attended with a very open heart and mind.
First, let me say that I can be naive at times, but having lived in many parts of the world, I do understand cultural differences. And of course I know that language can be a barrier. My perception may have some biases. But, please understand that this is just my perception.
Nowadays, when we hear that someone is a Tibetan monk, we have automatic respect. They must be spiritually enlightened. Their knowledge must have the answers to our problems and they can teach us ways to solve them.
At this particular talk, I came to realize that most of these monks live extremely secluded lives in very remote parts of the world. Their lives and our lives have nothing in common. They exist in parallel to us, yet our existences really don’t cross. And that’s okay.
The problem is, we expect them to understand us, how we live, and what we go through in life. The reality is, they have absolutely no idea about our lives. Why should they? It doesn’t have anything to do with them and why should they bother wondering about how we live.
The problem lies with us. Work, traffic, parents, children, health, finances, and relationships are part of our lives. And they all contribute to our stress. We look to spiritual leaders to help relieve our worries and stress. But, maybe they don’t understand because they don’t know how we live.
One attendee at the talk discussed his problems he was experiencing. Having a very high pressure tech position, he said many times stress had got the better of him. He had sometimes shown extreme anger to his family and didn’t know how to deal with it. I think many in the audience could relate to his question.
The monk just said, “meditate”. That’s it. Meditate. Not how, why, what, or any other guidance. Just meditate.
To be honest, I was disappointed. I wanted and needed more. I thought this monk would teach me something enlightening. For many of us, we need more concrete answers. We need a practice, a form, a way to help us meditate. We also need a way to understand why we have such emotions and how to deal with them.
You see, my teacher, Dr. Hsu does this. He makes us reflect on our own behavior, have empathy for others and how we can improve ourselves one day at a time. And that’s what Dr. Hsu teaches.
For those of you still searching, I want you to come and learn with Dr. Hsu. He will make you think in ways you never thought about before. He will stretch your mind, open your heart and expand your views. It’s a lifelong journey worth taking. For more information please visit: Blue Mountain Institute. Classes begin June 25, 2016 to July 4, 2016.