Hidden Light, Guiding Star, Life Purpose

Don’t you know yet?
It is your light that lights the world.” ~ Rumi

I’d like to share some of my process of discovering life purpose. The particulars are mine, of course, but perhaps there will be something in those particulars that others can relate to. If so and my words are of service, then I am glad. If not, then perhaps readers will find some other merit in my personal account.

“What am I doing here?” “What’s it all about anyway?” I used to ask myself these questions plenty, sometimes even in the midst of purposeful, busy times. A pervasive achy feeling lurked; something was missing. I sensed it as a BIG purpose unmistakably mine. Did it exist just waiting for me to find it? Or maybe it and I needed to find each other? I didn’t want to live and die never knowing the special why of my existence. Maybe one star in a glorious night-time sky was “mine” to guide me?

Guiding Star

Guiding Star, or “At One With the All.” Photo of print from painting by Paul Grignon. Used with permission. (Original title: “Phosphorescent Surf.”)

Looking back, I can see that I started to realize my life purpose—to build a bridge of the heart between China and the West—after a series of clues. Some were simple and subtle; others were profound and dramatic, the most dramatic being a fatal head-on collision in a foreign land. The harshness of that clue really got my attention. From two hospitals in China, I managed to get myself home to hospitals in Canada, where doctors marveled that I’d survived not only the accident but also two flights.

I was lying in the first Canadian hospital writing in my journal when I started to become conscious of my unfolding purpose that would involve China. The process had started long before, was gradual and now needed my conscious participation and courage in order to continue. I have a feeling this is how it is for others too.

It occurred to me that Life purpose is a tiny flame waiting to be breathed into a full-fledged fire, an unconscious knowing waiting for a conscious recognition. Once conscious of it, I had, and still have, a choice to either breathe that fire into being and let my light shine, or try to deny it and suffer.

Here is what I wrote while in that Canadian hospital, which I’ve included in my book Dancing in the Heart of the Dragon, a Memoir of China. Rather than fire, I experienced purpose as water at that time and called the section “Tapping into a Geyser.” These words, more than nine years later, still have the power to bring me to tears:

It’s nearing dawn, a quiet time in which I’ve been reflecting on my day and my life. I’ve been thinking about my conversation with Jon and about my life as a river, as blocked as it may temporarily be. I am tired and peaceful yet, strangely, I notice a bubbly kind of excitement building up in me. I seem to be tapping into something deep: my desire to write and not just for myself. I want to write about me and China. Oh, in writing those last words down, I feel a geyser opening up! About me and China?

The Meta-Clue

So, my purpose would involve writing about China in a personal way. But what exactly was my purpose? In addition to particular pieces of music, memories and dreams (which I worked on in my journal), another clue, the “meta-clue” to all the rest, helped steer me in the right direction. That clue is conveyed in a single Chinese character that I saw many times and felt drawn to, 心. When I found it engraved in a stone on Buddhist temple grounds, in the beautiful city of Xiamen, I had to know what it meant. My friend explained, “心 (sounds like sheen) means heart. It also means mind but not the one located in the head; it’s the one located in the heart. It’s the knowing of the heart.” 

[My book shows what “washing the heart” can look like.]

Cleanse your heart and your mind

Nanputuo Buddhist Temple in Xiamen, China. 心洗 means “wash (cleanse/purify) your heart.”

Inner and Outer Guiding Stars

Of course, my heart was and still is my guiding star. Speaking the language of feelings and intuition, its knowing both recognizes and resonates with purpose and keeps me on track. (My head sure doesn’t.) When my heart beats wildly with fear and excitement, it usually means “time to move out of the comfort zone.” I need to breathe; I need to believe the words “follow your heart.” When I do, it’s like a special star reveals itself in the sky, saying, “I am your own North Star on the outside, Ramona. I shine with the light of your purpose just like your heart does. When you lose your way, remember me. My radiance, which is yours, will part the clouds and show you the way.”

High on my bedroom wall I have made a little sign with the two words North Star. Thinking in this poetic way and conversing with my “North Star”/ Higher Self/ Spirit/ Universe/ God (does the label matter?) is the healthiest, most beautiful thing I can do to assist me in making the distinct difference that only I can make.

Courage and alignment with heart’s guidance, I’ve discovered, sometimes open me up to a beautiful kind of magic or majesty. It’s like Universe/ God/ Grace takes delight in helping me even more. Gifts fall into my lap or flash into my head unbidden, like the title of my book did, Dancing in the Heart of the Dragon. (Literally and figuratively, I could not have “thought” of a better title.) The rare time, I even hear a voice that absolutely “knows.”

I can’t make these specially endowed times happen, and I really shouldn’t lament that I can’t. Times of seamless meaningful occurrence, bringing people and events together in sometimes uncanny ways, are truly gifts. (Always natural, whether uncanny or not.)

When I have gotten down on myself or lamented that I can’t “make” these times happen, I’ve learned to hear God tell me, “You do your part, Ramona. Realize that Purpose has its own inherent timing. Your job is to be as ready as you can be.” Or, “Relax, breathe. All in good time, all in God time. I am with you.”

Wake Up

I keep a journal, something I have been doing most of my life. This kind of personal writing has afforded me enormous benefits. (If not for my journals, for instance, I could not have written my book “about me and China.”) In a practical way, journal writing provides me with a record of what I want to remember. In a spiritual way, it centers me and helps me become a more conscious human being.

Reflecting on myself and on my life opens me to “outer” (only in as much as the North Star is outer) help. Consciously seeing and reflecting on “seamless occurrences,” whether they be causally related or not, seems to encourage more and more of the “outer help.”

(When the seamless and meaningful outer events are not causally related, they’re called instances of synchronicity. For the sake of simplicity here, even if the seamless and meaningful events are causally related, I’ll call them synchronicity, okay?)

Synchronicity is as natural as breathing and can go as unnoticed as breathing. If ever there was a time to wake up and notice, it’s now. Being awake, being aware, being conscious is the job of every human being and we need to help each other with this too.

From the smallest speck to the biggest bigness of the Universe, the only thing that will save our planet is the CONSCIOUS evolution of human beings–you, me and everyone else. Just watch the news (if you can stomach it), if you don’t know what I am talking about.

God/ Universe/ Humanity/ Planet Earth (fill in the blank with whatever word works for you) needs every single one of us to wake up, discover our own unique purpose, and do whatever it takes to fulfill it. Yeah, it’s hard work at times, but it sure can be fun too! There is nothing more rewarding.

Say to yourself, “If I could make a difference in “x,y,z” (you fill in the thing for you), I know I’d be moved to tears.” Now ask yourself, “What specifically is that thing for me?”  (No “yes-buts” allowed.) Then imagine yourself on your death bed looking back at your life. What will you realize about your time on earth as far as your own special reason for coming here goes? Will you say, “I didn’t take the time to find out” or “I knew but I always found reasons (excuses) to not to do what was necessary” or “I knew and gave it all I had.” In the latter category, even if your life had been crappy, I can hear you say, “It was all worth it. I am glad, very very glad.”

Don’t Be Afraid of the Light that Shines Within You

I was introduced to this video at the Centre for Inspired Living, the New Thought church I attend in Victoria, BC, Canada. “We warm our hearts and faces/ In the heat of the burning flame/ Something about our spirit/ Never stays the same...Let the light direct youLet the light protect you…” Such a great song by the Irish singer Luka Bloom! Click here for the lyrics if you’re interested.

Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World

Here is another song I hope you enjoy! How far can you get without tearing up? I made it to 15 seconds. If I held on tight to my heart (and why would I ever want to do that?), I might make it to 2:36 and the bagpipes. The image at 4:04 really touches me too. Such a great song this is, by the Canadian singer Johnny Reid.


I’d like to end this blog posting with Marianne Williamson’s wonderful, oft quoted passage from A Return to Love:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

So, please, don’t be afraid of your light, your beautiful precious light! Illuminate your own personal world and the bigger world around you. Let your little light shine, big!


Zhídào xià yīcì, wǒ de péngyǒu (直到下一次, 我的朋友),

So until next time, my friends,

Heart of Friendship From my heart to yours,

Post Script

Just want to let you know what blog topics I have in store. As a follow-up to this one on Life Purpose, I’ll write about Fate and Destiny, a topic I have given a great deal of thought to, especially since my big life-threatening event in China. The concept of destiny will also serve as a perfect segue into the following two blogs on Dr. Norman Bethune, the Canadian humanitarian doctor who is still highly regarded by the Chinese. This year marks the 75th anniversary of his death in China in 1939. In October I will be returning to China with a group of Canadian doctors and other health care professionals to commemorate this anniversary. The group will also provide humanitarian aid to impoverished areas.

About the Author:

Ramona McKean is creating a "Bridge of Light" (aka “a Bridge of the Heart”) to promote cross-cultural appreciation and awareness. An author and speaker, she lives in Victoria, BC, Canada.


  1. Clarke June 13, 2014 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Beautiful blog post Ramona. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience in this way.

    I especially liked reading your quote, “Being awake, being aware, being conscious is the job of every human being and we need to help each other with this too.”

    And thank you for reminding me of this great quote from Marianne Williamson’s incredible book A Return to Love:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

    God Bless,

    • Ramona June 13, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Thank you, Clarke, especially the lines that particularly appealed to you. God bless you too, with lots and lots of wonderful days!

  2. Shannon Hollingworth June 15, 2014 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Very Beautiful Ramona
    It so true that we all need to help each other to be awake and be aware and being conscious
    in this life and time. You are so great at your writing that I am thinking that one day you will be taking after David and Annie and be up at front giving talks. God makes us all shine and some of us it is harder to be that way all the time but we all have light in us. I am always in fear as I not like being alone and I am in fear that when I fall at home I will not be able to get up or anything. Again very well written.

    • Ramona June 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      Your light is beautiful, Shannon, especially when you are with little children! Thank you for reading my blog post. You are a dear person, a truly lovely light in my world. And don’t you ever forget that!

  3. Xin June 16, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Hi Ramona,
    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written and insightful blog article. I can definitely relate to it as I’m also searching my purpose in life now. You’ve found yours, but I haven’t found mine. Right now I feel that my life has to change because it seems that I just get through everyday with little excitement. Life should not like this, shouldn’t it? I know that I need to be a good father and good husband, and that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m trying to get my son into a great college next year, and I want my wife to live a more joyful life. But I think I need have a bigger purpose. So far it has been hard for me to find one. But I know that this bigger purpose will be intimidating to me as I’ll have to get out of my comfort zone to work for it. I agree with you that we need to consciously see and reflect on “seamless occurrences.” I need to be more mindful and awake. Hope I can really live with a purpose just like you. Maybe I should follow my passion? But what’s my passion? I’m not sure. I wish that I could have an inner voice telling me clearly what I should do next.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experience, Ramona. Wish you more success in your journal in fulfilling your purpose. May you have a wonderful trip back to China. I think you’ll be overwhelmed with the many changes that have taken place since you left there about nine years ago.

    Have a great week! -:)


    • Ramona June 16, 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Xin,
      Thank you for such a thoughtful response. Thoreau once wrote “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I think this is generally true. I have discovered my purpose, yes, but I can still experience angst and a sense of being lost/adrift. That’s when I must remember my “North Star” (hence the message on my wall).

      Also, I find that being in a quiet and meditative state, open to Spirit/God, helps. Sometimes it takes me an hour to calm my mind enough to hear my heart beat. Centering myself like this and getting present to the life force (energy/qi) within is getting present to God, which helps sensitize me to receiving guidance. “The inner voice,” by the way, isn’t always a voice; sometimes it’s a feeling or an intuitive sense.

      You are a sensitive, good person, Xin. The something special for you resides in a “little corner” of your heart. It’s smiling at you right now, in no hurry for you to find it, as it knows you will. So please relax, my friend, and smile. In the meantime, you might like to read a great little book, a parable of sorts, called The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. If you do, may you find it as encouraging as I did.

      Thank you for your good wishes. I actually returned to China six years ago, in 2008. Still, I will likely be overwhelmed with many changes. I just hope “the real China” is not losing itself completely in the drive towards bigger, better, more modern.

      Thanks again for writing, Xin. You have a great week too! 🙂

      • Xin June 19, 2014 at 9:41 am - Reply

        Hi Ramona, thank you for your reply and for introducing the book “The Dreamer Giver” to me. I’ve requested it from a local public library. Actually, I’ve been reading such books recently, such as “The 7 Minute Solution: Creating A Life With Meaning 7 Minutes At A Time” and “The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die.” They are like eye-opener to me, but I still find it hard to really put what I’ve learned from these books into practice. I suppose it just takes time. While I was reading the book “Staying Strong: 365 Days A Year” by Demi Lovato, I came across this passage that I think is relate to me:

        We all feel lost at one point or another. Sometimes in order to really understand and know where we want to go, we need to feel lost. No matter what you’re feeling, just remember that each and every one of us has been put here with a purpose and a passion. Our only job is to realize and follow it. If you haven’t realized it yet, don’t feel bad. Trust in the universe that you will when you’re meant to and in the meantime stay open and grateful for everything that comes your way.

        I think this is quite inspirational to me. Hope I’ll soon find my direction.

        Thanks again for your great blog, Ramona. Have a nice weekend! -:)


        • Ramona June 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm - Reply

          Xin, I love the quote: We all feel lost at one point or another. Sometimes in order to really understand and know where we want to go, we need to feel lost. No matter what you’re feeling, just remember that each and every one of us has been put here with a purpose and a passion. Our only job is to realize and follow it. If you haven’t realized it yet, don’t feel bad. Trust in the universe that you will when you’re meant to and in the meantime stay open and grateful for everything that comes your way. Thank you for sharing it.

          When I feel lost or discouraged, I create little messages and put them around my work area. One is “Trust me, Ramona, everything is taken care of. Remember: All in good time, all in God time. Now breathe. Loving you, God.”

          As far as I’m concerned, Xin, you’re the best! May the sun shine lots for you today. 🙂

  4. Paul Graham June 17, 2014 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Hi Ramona. Fascinating look at your guiding light. Although Chinas history and philosophies provide much that is attractive, I trust you will approach its current evolution with an open mind. Though some elements are lost through modernization, some have also been gained and have value in their own right. Sheen will never be lost and hope you will bring some back and spread it around !

    • Ramona June 17, 2014 at 11:17 am - Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Paul. I aim to keep an open mind as regards China’s evolution. I live at a distance so am not directly impacted by the “out with the old, in with the new” problems such a rapidly developing nation is experiencing, pollution being one of them.

      Of course there are many valuable gains being made through modernization and a greater acceptance of Western influence. At the same time, I just hope China in its frenetic drive to modernize is not throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water! I, like many of my Chinese friends, want China to remember and value their deep, rich cultural roots. Not all in the name of “progress” is healthy or good. Chinese people know this all too well. I think they and everyone else in the world would benefit through mindful washing of the heart and mind, “Xi Xin” (“shee sheen”)!

      And, thank you, I will do everything I can to “bring some [sheen] back and spread it around,” not just in China but everywhere else too!

  5. Jacqueline June 17, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Beautifully written and so many valuable messages. Funny how people don’t know that they aren’t awake until someone thinks enough to help them see. That’s striking to me…that there is so often a hidden light.

    • Ramona June 17, 2014 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Thank you, Jacqueline. 🙂 Yes, there is so often precious light hidden away, buried in people’s hearts. How beautiful it is when people discover, own and release their light! Do you think so? Dispelling darkness through the merging of light is an amazing thought to visualize and hold onto for the world.

  6. A.K.Andrew June 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for a lovely post. We are afraid of the power within is, whether it’s more or less than fear of not having it is debatable, but getting to know oneself and being in touch with your inner spirit is definitely a way to lay balance to the world.

    • Ramona June 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your comment, A.K.Andrew. I agree with you completely.

  7. Dre Lavack June 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Hello Ramona,

    A very good post! I think all 3 points are valuable to keep in consciousness and each could be a post onto itself. Hidden Light, Guiding Star and Life Purpose.

    I’m happy to say that I have been getting clearer and clearer about my life’s purpose and am looking to ways to implement it into everything I do. This is the value of having a life’s purpose. It becomes the rudder that steers your life in the right direction.

    How can I possibly know what to do in my life if I don’t know my purpose. Although important, this does not mean that one’s purpose is easy to discover! Not even close. I would say, from my experience, that most people don’t have a clue what their purpose is and it’s a shame.

    Well, I want you to know that I support you and your vision. Bring healing to the world through awareness, acceptance and love! May you have an awesome adventure in China this fall and I look forward to hearing all about it. To me, it is clear that you know and are following your purpose.

    May many people be inspired by your story…

    • Ramona June 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      Wow, thank you, Dre! Yes, “the rudder that steers your life.” I picture being at sea, my life being a little boat. When I know my purpose, it becomes my North Star. I can steer my boat/life in its direction. When I get thrown off course, as I most certainly will, largely due to my own inner resistance (the fearful yatter in my head and its accompanying lethargy), I know I must align with my North Star. Alignment and continuous re-alignment is how it is for me.

      I think that not knowing our purpose is what causes a lot of despair and depression in people’s lives. And you are right, purpose is NOT easy to discern. Being as open and as conscious as possible is ultra important to discover it. Helping each other to live consciously really helps too.

      Thank you for your support, Dre. May many people be inspired by your lived purpose too.

  8. Crystal Ross June 17, 2014 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    I love that quote at the end. This is a beautiful and uplifting post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Ramona June 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Crystal. I’m glad you liked it and I too love Marianne Williamson’s quote. I wonder if she could have foreseen its widespread, beautiful appeal.

  9. William Butler June 18, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Hi Ramona,
    Thank you for sharing. It’s a beautiful way to learn about you. When it comes to discovering our purpose, I’m fond of saying, “When you know your WHY, you know your WAY.” I’ve been in a rollover accident, and had a couple of near-death experiences, so at a certain level I can relate to your experience. I live by the light of four words: BE LOVE TO OTHERS.
    Thank you for shining your beautiful light.

    • Ramona June 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      Bill, what you have written is beautiful. Thank you! The “why” leads to the “way”–yes, indeed. And I agree that living by the light of being love to others is a wonderful thing. Our world would be transformed in an instant. I’ve looked at your website and I thank you for shining your beautiful light. 🙂 Ramona

  10. Lenie June 18, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Ramona – What a beautiful post and I love Marianne Williamson’s quote. I will be looking forward to your posts about Norman Bethune, someone I’ve long admired.

    • Ramona June 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      Lenie, thank you for writing. I’m so glad you know who Norman Bethune was. Hardly any Westerner I’ve spoken with has ever heard of him. A sad state of affairs in my opinion, and I would like to change that. Though he died 75 years ago, Dr. Bethune is still considered a hero in China, his memory commanding the greatest of respect. When I was in China, especially the first time, it was like I could feel his spirit. I felt deeply moved when people associated me with him. “You are a Canadian, and so was Bai qiu’en (Bethune).” In the fall I am looking forward to travelling with doctors who are keeping his legacy alive. Before leaving on that trip I am also looking forward to having my Bethune blog ready to post. Thank you for your support. Ramona.

  11. Mina Joshi June 19, 2014 at 5:40 am - Reply

    I found your blog article very interesting. So many good messages valuable messages. You remind me so much of my husband’s philosophy. He too had a life threatening experience and feels that he has been given a second life which he should use to try and change the World. I loved the song “Try to change the World” and will be sharing this with him and my facebook friends. You are so right – Life is a journey and we are here for such a short time. In this journey, we meet so many people some whom leave an impression on our lives. I hope that I too will leave a good impression in someone’s life. We should do everything to enjoy life and fulfil our wishes and have no regrets at the end of our journey.

    • Ramona June 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Oh, Mina, I love what you have written! Yes, life is a journey for sure. I love Taoist teachings which liken our Tao (our own unique way in life) to a river. We flow along, then things happen–sometimes pretty traumatic–and the flow is blocked for a time. It’s during those times especially that friends can be of true service, helping us to get back into the flow. Living a life of purpose can present problems, of course, but every problem dealt with as creatively and consciously as possible can be useful. “We should do everything to enjoy life and fulfil our wishes and have no regrets at the end of our journey”: I agree with you!

      By the way, I love the vegetarian recipes you share on your blog: . Your purpose, or part of it anyway, must be to help the world be healthier through yummy food! Thank you for writing.

  12. Wang Ingrid Zhang June 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Dear Ramona,
    I have read your blog. Here are my feelings.
    The beginning is very good, with the question of “purpose”, which is a frequent asked question, I’m lead to think it over again. I once read a book named “purpose driven life” by Rick Warren for many times in searching of meaning of life and it was encouraging. Though I am not a Calvinist, nor believing in pre-destination, I do believe that God has plans for us. The plans are dynamic, both God and us play a role in them. We have choices to make. Sometimes God smiles at our choices, sometimes not. I believe it was Him who makes us ambitious and passionate about something, not everything. We are His great works. He is curious about our choices.
    One of my friend said that it is noble to build a bridge between Canada and China and I agree with that. Apart from the differences, we can look at the good sides, and those values we share in common, and some heritages that we cherish for thousands of years. They are worthy to study. In China, there are something we are ashamed of and definitely something we are proud of.
    Apart from the opinions of the government, we can look at the views of the people, who are too often silenced in public. They would be excited to have their voices be heard.
    There is something valuable and fascinating among the people and that is why China continues to live today. Apart from the oppresive and tyrannical ideas of the ruling class, China has a streak of living water, fresh blood which keeps her alive. It is the obedience to the conscience, as it is mentioned by Paul in Romans 2:13-15” 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)” The law of the conscience, the study of it and all the efforts we make for it, is the reason why we Chinese have not been assimilated by other nations yet. For thousands of years, we are still alive today. We, not the atheistic tyrannical communists, not the people who addict to destroy the nature and trample the poor, but the honest, kind, enduring and intelligent people, who hear the voices of the conscience, knows to repent, and open to change, are the descendants of Chinese ancestors. This is why we have something lively and special; this is why we are not ashamed to be called Chinese. It is our responsibilities and the pleasures of many foreigners to find out that sparkling goodness and make it shine.
    As a descendant of Confucius and Lao TZ, we don’t think those tyrannical emperors and atheistic people our ancestors and countryman. In my eyes, they are all strangers and aliens. Our ancestors fear God and love people. For us, people who follow the steps of Confucius and Lao TZ, just as Jews who follow the steps of Moses and David, it was those who fear God and obey the law of conscience are our ancestors and countryman. Yes, I admit they are few today, but they are still alive, they make China beautiful. I believe such people will never die.
    It is a blessing that you can look at Chinese with a big heart and curious mind. I think it is a loss to neglect or ignore the good heritages of China. As a Chinese, I myself am still curious and exciting about many things our ancestors have given us. You have made a wise choice to study China.
    In the meantime I have to tell you that not everything in China is good, especially the Buddhism, actually it was originated in India. I believe the culture of Buddhism (the reformed Hinduism) is the reason why India, China, Thailand etc. are so corrupted, and it is why Japanese are so negative (they have a high rate of suicide). The culture of Buddhism in China is a blend of many things, Indian Buddhism, local religion, “Dao”(which is the teaching of Lao TZ) and some other superstitions. Overall, Buddhism is very negative, unrealistic and non-scientific religion, it makes people ungrateful, corrupted and lose mind. Most of the Buddhists in China are corrupted governmental officials, uneducated superstitious people, and those who are devastated and hopeless people who depend on the assumption of the “next life”. It is so hard to make Buddhists live in real life and live by law, because Buddhism has no law, they live by the rule of psychological debts. I will share with you more specifically later when I have time. However, this is my personal opinion, only for reference. Bless you for your journey in October.
    Thank you and best regards!

    • Ramona June 19, 2014 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Wang,
      Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I truly appreciate Chinese people’s feedback to my views. As a foreigner in China, I most certainly found the “sparkling goodness” you mention. I experienced it greatly in my students, 1st year university students and masters students. It was their goodness that opened my heart so much. They possessed a refreshing, natural innocence (lack of pretension) that softened me then and softens me even now when I think of it. That same kind of goodness I met in Chinese people of all ages. It is now my pleasure to share that.

      Yes, I look at Chinese people with a big heart and a curious mind. I find their (your) culture/heritage fascinating. A tremendous amount of accrued wisdom exists dating back thousands of years. I personally believe that were the people of China to revisit and earnestly renew their respect for their ancient culture, the problems they are facing as a nation would be alleviated greatly. Especially if leaders at all levels led the way (would that take a miracle?), Mother Earth, the environment, would rejoice! In fact, I believe people everywhere could benefit from ancient Chinese wisdom.

      I read an extraordinary book a few years ago called The Man Who Loved China. Author Simon Winchester’s engaging style and extensive research made this book a true joy to read. Subtitled “the fantastic story of the eccentric scientist who unlocked the mysteries of the middle kingdom,” the book is about Dr. Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge biochemistry professor (1900-1995) who travelled to China in the 1940’s and 50’s. I was fascinated to learn of the discoveries Dr. Needham made about Chinese technology, which he included in his many volumes of Science and Civilisation in China.

      Like you, Wang, I am not a Calvinist, nor a believer in predestination. And like you, I do believe that we have the choice to work with God (some say “the Universe”) to create a dynamic plan for our lives. I, and a number of others, refer to this as “co-creation,” an idea I find exciting!

      I respect your views on Buddhism but mine differ. I suppose some Buddhists in China are “corrupted governmental officials, uneducated superstitious people, and those who are devastated and hopeless people who depend on the assumption of the ‘next life’.” My Buddhist friends in China are none of these things. Rather, they are kind, peaceful people and I enjoy knowing them.

      Thank you, Wang, for the good wishes for my upcoming return to China in the fall. I will have lots to share after that trip! I will be very happy to hear from you next time.

      Till then, 我的新的中国朋友, 祝你好!

      Ramona (明心)

  13. Carl June 21, 2014 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Wow, that was a heartwrencher! You have an amazing story and telling it through the threads that you constructed here was a great way to approach it. That Character is also pronounced as “Shin” in Japanese but more famously as “Kokoro.” It has a very important meaning and when one invokes that word to say they are speaking from their heart, it’s a big deal. I enjoyed your tale as it really seemed to come from your own heart. Great post!

    • Ramona June 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Carl,
      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing about the special feeling meaning of 心 (sheen/shin) in Japanese culture! I did not know about kokoro. I’m so glad you shared that with me.

      I was in Japan in 2002 and had no idea of the natural beauty. The lushness of all the green I shall never forget. (I was mostly in Wakayamashi but made it as far “south”–or does one say “west”?–as Hiroshima and Miyajima.) I was intrigued to find airport, bus and train station signs in four scripts—three Japanese and the other English. One of the Japanese (Kanji), I learned, was actually Chinese (Hànzì or 汉字).

      It sounds like maybe you have studied Japanese or lived there? Have you ever been to China? Blogging is such a wonderful way to meet other people. Do you have a blog? If so, please send its link, okay?

      Thank you again for responding, Carl.
      Ramona (aka 明心)

  14. Lorraine Reguly June 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Ramona, I found you via BHB on LI, and I have to say that finding your guiding light is often difficult for many people. You have been fortunate to find yours! Thanks for sharing your experience and insight – and it’s nice to meet you.

    I had a real epiphany when I almost died as a result of having my appendix out, and my life has never been the same since. It’s been much better! So I have to say that I found my guiding light, too. (My story can be found on my blog if you search “how I nearly died” – if you’re at all interested in knowing my story.)

    • Ramona June 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      Lorraine, thank you for writing and it’s nice to meet you too. Thanks for letting me know about the blog regarding your near death. It’s wonderful the blessings that trauma can bring into one’s life, isn’t it? I’m glad your life is much better now. Keep taking good care of yourself.

  15. Maxwell Ivey July 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    such beautiful words such an amazing story. it breaks my heart that your posts haven’t been shared more. it reminds me of a few months ago when i visited a site with a list of many blind bloggers and podcasters and noticed most of their posts weren’t getting read or shared. I decided to start introducing them on groups and sharing their posts and podcast episodes. I could still do more. I am doing my own part to share my story and inspire others now. while reading this i was thinking of a day back in college. one of the people who read for me and i were having a conversation. the subject came up why do some people have disabilities. one person asked is it to teach you something. in a rare moment of bravado i said when the lord gives people a disability he is doing it to make it easy on the rest of you. I’m sure the truth is i am meant to learn a lesson i was lacking in before being sent here. and even more so there are people who have things they need to learn and to whom I will be their teacher. thanks for sharing this and take care my beautiful new friend. xoxo max

    • Ramona July 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Max, you are truly a gem! Thank you for such a beautiful comment. Your attitude is refreshing and uplifting. 🙂
      Please let me know if you were able to access the videos in this post.
      As for my blogs in general, I guess I haven’t figured out yet how to get them more widely circulated. I’ve used twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Perhaps more diligence on my part is needed. I value your support. You take good care too, my dear new friend. Ramona

  16. paul quintero September 21, 2015 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Ramona, I was able to use your photo ( Wash the mind/heart) to explain a point in my blog about the mind/heart in Zen. Thank you so much. Lovely blog and contribution to the world. Your photograph was of great help. I mentioned your name and blog so others can visit you. With deep respect, Paul Quintero.

    • Ramona September 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      Paul, thank you for your lovely feedback. I’m glad you found my “xi xin” photo helpful. Like you, I love to share beauty and goodness with the world. 🙂 Thank you too for including my link on your blog: Budas de Agua

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