Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year

Here is a post I wrote on facebook last year, as a reflection on the new year. RIP to all those who died that night, as well as all those thereafter, in the gory year of 2011. You are finally home.

This life.

Last night, I stood in church singing Christmas Advent praises, bringing my mind to the thought of the Eternal, the night after the church bombing in Egypt on New Year's. Right before I went to church, my father showed me a picture of some of those who were killed that night. I was surprised to see many of them looking younger than me, at 18. While I stood in church, I carried my five month old niece. Carrying my baby niece and remembering the young new martyrs this New Year's night, a strange sense of understanding overcame me.

One must pass through a stage of infancy before one can even function in the world, where one learns what it is to be human; a time that is actually filled with suffering--crying because of a diaper rash, crying because one is bitterly hungry, crying because one wants to go to sleep but just doesn't know how yet. A time of which we will eventually remember nothing. Some kids are evidently geniuses from their very infancy, progressing through the stages of learning much faster than the usual for their age. Others progress at much slower rates, sometimes reaching the understanding of a five year old when they are physically in their twenties. Everyone progresses through different stages at different rates. But all are equal.

This life is simply a stage of infancy, that we will not even remember as adults. Our real life comes when we die in the body and live in the Eternity for which we have prepared ourselves. In this life, we hardly gain a glimpse of the Infinite One, but in our Real Life, we will sit with Him, on our thrones next to Him.

I realize that these young martyrs are simply child geniuses. They have progressed through this infancy at a mind-blowing rate, and have left to enter their Adulthood, to form their real memories, to acquire the True Knowledge. Me, I am a very slow child. I cannot yet enter my Adulthood because I am only an infant in every but the physical sense of the word. I am just like Juliana, my little baby niece, drinking milk from a bottle, at most babbling unintelligible words, getting cranky at night. Yes, getting cranky when the inevitable dark nights of life come, instead of accepting them. I am still spiritually immature, I must still be nurtured, learn, understand, and misunderstand, over and over, because otherwise I would not survive in the Real World. If I do not endure this struggle, instead of partaking of the joys of the Real World--of Heaven--it would simply be suffering, because I would be too weak to survive on my own. You don't take an infant out of the house in the first couple months of her life, and much less out into the Kingdom. I would see the Real One, but not understand. The fact that I am still alive is evidence that I am not yet ready to become an Adult.

Fr. Bishoy said to look at the numbers. Out of the huge church in Alexandria, only 26 people were ready. The real tragedy is not that 26 people have died, but that only 26 people have died. Look at what happened in Baghdad last November, where the whole church was massacred. Everyone in the entire church was obedient and were prepared to enter the True Life. Yet this New Year, only 26 out of hundreds were prepared. And what about our churches in America? Have we even begun to prepare? Have we even been born into our infancy?

This year, I do not want to remain an infant any longer. I want to grow up.

This life is not Real.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unexpected Benefits of Fasting

Obviously the main goal of fasting is to practice, and hopefully cultivate, self-control. I've found that one of the means by which I am coping with the desires I am attempting to suppress while fasting has made me more gracious.

For example, when I was craving chocolate ice cream, I decided to go out and buy it, but instead of for myself, I bought it for my roommate as a little surprise. I could not enjoy the chocolate ice cream, but she could, and did, and it was as if I fulfilled my craving vicariously through her. I guess my rationale was that my craving wouldn't go to waste, someone benefited from it, and that made all the difference.

I did the same thing with my other roommate as well, again with chocolate. We were in the middle of exams and I had the urge to indulge in my favorite chocolates, using the excuse that it would encourage me while studying. I bought several bags of various chocolates and made a "trail mix" of them all. I was horrified by how much chocolate I had, just imagining myself gluttonously eating it all within a few days span, so instead I gave it to my roommate to enjoy while studying for her exams, and let me tell you, she made that chocolate last A LOT longer than I'm probably physically capable of doing. She greatly appreciated it and enjoyed it for weeks, and again that made all the difference.

Unfortunately, as a result of practicing fasting since my childhood, I am so accustomed to it that I enjoy fasting food, so fasting doesn't really push my self-control limits. Attempting to avoid my usual hypocrisy, as I craved homemade fries and sweet potato fries for dinner, I decided to make them, but for my roommate whom I knew would enjoy them. I ate a few, told her I was full, and asked her to finish them.

Am I cheating by vicariously fulfilling my cravings? It seems too good to be true, but it's working...

He is mistaken who thinks that the fast consists only in abstinence from food. True fasting is departing from evil. - St. John Chrysostom

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why I Would Want More Hours in the Day

A friend of mine introduced me to the concept of polyphasic sleeping, which I was absolutely intrigued by and considered implementing as my sleep schedule (still in the process of researching whether it is worth it, but appreciate the idea nonetheless). After being introduced to this concept, naturally I began to daydream as to all the things I could accomplish by needing less sleep, being more alert/energized without caffeine, and all in all having more hours in the day to simply do stuff.

It was interesting to find that during this casual reflection, I quickly came to a definitive list of the activities I absolutely enjoy the most in life. If my life were saturated to its fullest capacity by the following seven activities, I would be the happiest person in the world:
  1. going to church
  2. reading
  3. engaging in discussion with family/close friends/interesting people
  4. exercising/keeping in good health/improving my body
  5. writing (i.e. thinking and recording my ideas; not really anything creative)
  6. relaxing and enjoying the company of family and close friends
  7. some sort of volunteer work
That list is my current definition of living a full life--these activities being the greatest tools God has given us to use to continuously refine one's character during this developmental phase in Life, our juvenile time here on earth. How enjoyable it is to become the new Eve, to become the better person He sees that I can be.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A philosopher is a gadfly.

The philosopher is always considered a necessary evil. He is hated by most because he questions all, and will not shy at undermining even the highest authority. Yet he is also relied on in every age, for without his questioning, we would have no answers and no progress. This very same philosopher can be loved and hated within any individual, for every individual is a philosopher, with him sometimes urging one on to seek the truth, and sometimes tormenting one relentlessly when one makes a poor decision.

A philosopher is a gadfly. If you kill him within yourself to end the pain he inflicts on your conscience, rest assured that the pain and hell you will experience without him will be far greater suffering, that you would prefer ending life itself than living without this necessary evil within you. This necessary evil, urging you on to perfection, certainty, and highest purpose.

For a philosopher is nothing but a lover of Wisdom, and Wisdom is Christ.

The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death. -Socrates, The Apology

Friday, November 25, 2011


What I am most thankful for is self-awareness. It is the greatest gift, the greatest tool, the greatest asset to life that God has granted to human beings, and to me.

Thank You God, for allowing me to see myself for how I really am. The pain I go through as I see how low I can sink is a thousand times more precious than any self delusion or unawareness of my faults, no matter how pleasurable and comforting that self delusion might be, no matter how blissful ignorance might be.

If I did not see me how I really am, I would not be able to see You for who You really are, in all Your graciousness and mercy.

Thank You.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Peace on the Road

Something I frequently imagine while driving is people having the ability to communicate telepathically. It is strange, I've had this thought many times, but only while driving. Anyway, what I usually imagine is a world where people completely understand each other, because there is so much misunderstanding on the road. A world where no one has to beep their horns, because I can simply telepathically tell the mind/person behind me, "Okay, I'm sorry, but I'm a bit lost, and though I am in the left lane I need to get into that right exit over there. Would you please be kind enough to let me in ahead of you?" and they merrily reply, "Well, of course you can! I am simply on my way to the gym! Have a great day!" and I joyfully reply, "Thank you, good madam! Have a great workout!"

Saturday, October 8, 2011


This past year has been the best year of my life thus far. I have begun learning how to be happy to be alive, something I've never been before.

Now I can only fall to my knees and weep at the feet of the Christ, begging Him to give me the will to live my life in incessant thanksgiving to Him.

Thank You for life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

Imagine how many people die every year for the same reason Amy Winehouse did. This world we make is so cold, to let a person's misery kill her. And we made this world.

God have mercy and repose her soul and the souls of all those who die slaves to addiction.

May God have much more mercy on our souls, we who refuse to take responsibility for perpetuating and encouraging sin in the world.

May God have mercy on us, we who continuously repeat, over and over again, the first sinful thought, the most arrogant question asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9)

May God have mercy on us, according to His great mercy and not according to our deeds, we who allow sin to roam the streets freely and shamelessly, when we know that it is what leads to death.

Have mercy on us, O God, we who pay no heed to the struggles of our fellow man, we who choose to judge instead of edify.

Have mercy on me, O God, I who choose to ignore, instead of extending a sturdy hand to one drowning.

O God, have mercy on us all, we who think that to ignore the destruction that the sins of another leads him to, is what it means to accept him. Accept what, when they are dead? We, who think that to be tolerant is to ignore the sickness of a sick person. Tolerant of what? The ashes of Amy Winehouse?

O God, save us. For how long, O Lord? For how long will You allow us to hate truth and swallow lies, feeding them to others, and all the while choking on them ourselves? For how long will we deceive ourselves? For how long will we hate You?

O God, heal us of our pride, we who are too self-righteous, to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of the salvation of our fellow man.

O God, save us from ourselves, we who are the blind leading the blind. We, who call good evil and evil good.

O God, extend Your everlasting mercy toward us, we who deserve to have millstones tied around our necks and thrown into the sea, for leading others astray by our neglect.

Repose the souls of those who have died at our hands. For their blood is truly on our heads, and we have greatly sinned against You.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Are there other minds?

Perhaps it is true a property of reality is its indelible ability to seem unreal. (Philip Mendola) Maybe that's the only proof I have that other people are real. Because they are just so unrealistic.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Knowing Great People

You either let someone inspire or intimidate you.

What you let a given person do for you can change from time to time. Perhaps at first you found them inspiring, but then when you realized that you were too lazy to do anything with their inspiration, they started to serve as a judgement for your lack of creation, and you subsequently became intimidated and even annoyed with them.

Or perhaps at first you found them intimidating, their words too profound. They started to show you that you don't understand everything, and you were too proud to allow them to do that, so you shied away and avoided them. But then you got to relate to them a little more, you started liking them a little more; you realized your own ability, and that being in wonder is indeed more pleasant, and then used their inspiration to push you forward to create for yourself.

I think this is how friendships and relationships end, when you let the intimidation get the best of you. You stop feeling useful anymore, and you stop allowing yourself to do something with their inspiration so as to have something to offer the other person as well. The other starts to feel guilty too, like a burden to you, as if simply being themselves was destroying your relationship. And then they become detached.

But it is also how they flourish, if you let the inspiration get the best of you and use it as fuel to push forward and discover the Truth yourself. When you indulge in the eternal circle of fascination.

A Cure for Acne

If I were to make a useful toy, the toy would be a face. A face that has pimple-like protrusions that can be popped. Maybe it would be a mask that one can put on, popping all the pimples on the mask instead of one's actual face.

Then, when you've satisfied your compulsion, you leave the bathroom mirror, take off the mask, fold it up, and be on your way, with your face unscathed, and clear skin.

An Eye For An Eye

When people say, "An eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind," they are just trying to maintain the delusion that somehow modern society is morally superior to ancient societies, and the assumption made in that statement is just a sign of their hypocrisy. In fact, even so, I think the world has deteriorated to such an extent that it would do us good to return back to "An eye for an eye," because obviously "Do unto others and you would have them do unto you," hasn't done us any.

If the case really were an eye for an eye, then I think no one would be blind, because they would think about their actions before plucking out a person's eye, like "Jee, I wouldn't want to lose my eye, maybe I shouldn't pluck this person's eye out after all." But apparently people these days miss the point, and that seems to be the favorite thing of people to do these days.

For one to say, "An eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind," he must be making such an assumption based on what he sees in his own society today, and so his society must already be that way. It must already be evil, to only have the potential to lead to more evil. We must already be blind.

What I've concluded during this minuscule life of mine is that people don't want to get what's coming for them. That's why they make up self righteous mantras like, "If I actually gave a damn as to how what I did impacted others and held others in the same esteem that I hold of myself, well, that would just be preposterous! I would be blind to think that every way I hurt others, I am only hurting myself just as much! I must be self absorbed, for that is all a person has in this life, one only has his ego!" Oops, I meant to say, self righteous mantras like, "An eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind."

Yes, please go on and make the assumption that everyone is just as egocentric as you are. You've already plucked your own eyes out, saved another from doing the dirty job.

Oh yeah, it's been 36 centuries since that law, and people still have eyes. Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Soul, Body, Mind

Taking the leap of faith: the heavens, the ethereal and all things above.
Falling in love: the seas, the deep and all things therein.

Where is the earth? The terrestrial, and all those that walk upon the ground?--It is reason. The mind with reason is what distinguishes the two and allows one to see the variant beauty in each.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Being Healthy on Behalf of Others

One of the wonderful things about modern society is that we have very easy ability to be the healthiest creatures, regardless of how we were raised, and what's more is that we can use our very own health to help others. I think that is why I love donating blood so much. I simply take care of myself, and by taking care of myself not only do I sustain my own health for decades to come, but my healthy body can even sustain other bodies. Giving blood is also the most direct way to show yourself that yes, your life is literally useful to the life of another, so you better stay alive and well.

It fascinates me, how great of an ability the American person has to do good in the world. It brings moral responsibility to a whole other level.

Won't You light my way?

Lyrics to one of my favorite songs by Audioslave, Light My Way.

In my hour of need
On a sea of grey
On my knees I pray to You
Help me find the dawn
Of the dying day

Won't You light my way?
Won't You light my way?
Won't You light my way?
Won't You light my way?

A bullet is a man
From time to time he strays
I compare my life to this
To this I remain
And I'm willing
To listen to Your answers
And I'm not ashamed
To tell You I need You today


So when I'm lost
Or I'm tired and depraved
Or when my high bullet mind
Goes astray, won't You light my way?

Don't save it for another day
Don't save it for another day
Hey, don't save it for another day
Hey, don't save it for another day
Hey, don't save it for another day
Hey, don't save it for another day
Hey, don't save it for another day


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If it can go wrong, it will.

I have found that if what I am doing is not 100% in line with God's will, even if only seemingly slightly off, it is a hopeless endeavor. And this describes the "can" portion of Murphy's law, in my opinion. Anything done in obedience to and accordance with God cannot go wrong. If it can go wrong, it follows that it is not being done in obedience to and accordance with God, and therefore it will go wrong. Only God's will cannot go wrong, and will not go wrong. Anything else is fruitless.

100% honesty, or else it can go wrong, and it will.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If only to have gills.

I miss the water. I miss the silence and loneliness. I miss not being able to hear anyone no matter how loudly they yell. I miss being able to swim away. I miss controlling my breathing. I miss being able to sprint across the pool without taking a single breath.

The only things you hear in the water are your movements, and your thoughts. You only focus on your own existence. You only focus on getting to the wall, and back again. You try to make every stroke perfect. Every move you make has to be exactly calculated.

I miss having to isolate every single muscle at the perfect moment. I miss focusing on my skill and strength all by myself, without any criticism or input of others. I miss having every part of my body work seamlessly together.

I miss being alone.