Welcome to the November Issue of Chiwi Journal! Your monthly newsletter with the content I filtered, curated and wrote based on 140+ hours of reading and listening time.
Quick update from my side:
This month, I joined VIC Art House with many artists and musicians from all over the world to work on a musical festival and art residency program in Aveiro (aka Portugal's Venice).
The VIC Art House belongs to a famous Portuguese artist Vasco Branco who was regarded Aveiro as a 'Salty City'. Coincidentally, my grandpa was born in Salt City in China. The house is now taken care of by Vasco's grandson Hugo. When I connected Hugo on Workaway and sent my first message, he was just about to post an ad looking for a marketing/communications person! So, here I am, writing this newsletter in this artistic house with BGM produced by Hugo.
More surprisingly, I never thought I could have a deep conversation on Chinese classics such as I Ching, Dao De Jing, and Dream of the Red Chamber with people outside China. Again, here I am, exchanging ideas beyond language and geography barriers with a musician from Argentina who reads all of those books and has unique perspectives on them.
Life is wonderful, isn't it?
Now, let’s get straight into the content.
Experience of the month
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
I recently had my first psychedelic experience with the Grandfather plant, San Pedro, at The Lighthouse Retreat.
2 trips in 4 days let me ‘saw’ the themes constantly haunted my mind: time, space, reality and dream. We all know language could be limited when you try to describe something overpowering magnificent. Here is my attempt to describe those visions and insights:
Eighty-four thousand thoughts and ideas,
Landscape transformation in the whirligig of time,
Everything is evolving and decaying in front of my eyes.
Vivid Colours dancing along with the music of nature,
Infinite fractals emerging and disappearing like the Mandelbrot set and Mandala of Sanskrit.
Van Gogh’s painting in a tangible form.
Ram Dass’s message comes into my mind,
“We’re all just walking each other home”.
We are nameless and formless,
We are a pixel and we are a Buddha,
Was vernünftig ist, das ist wirklich,
We’re loved just for being who we are, just for existing.
Let’s accept ourselves and others in full,
Try not to control, try not to force, try to surrender to the power of the universe.
Time and space are a total illusion.
The reality doesn’t seem like what we see.
To see beauty, use our heart, not our eyes.
Feel, and we shall know.
Seek, and we shall find.
I rise above the earth and travel through abstract concepts and patterns.
A snap of the finger is the moment of eternity.
I could have lived forever in that dazzling and wonderful dream,
But your sweet smile pulls me back to the material world.
Life is the eighth wonder.
When we genuinely want something,
The whole universe is always on our side.
P.S. My teacher Isher at the retreat centre gave me the nickname “Zen Master” because I could sit on the platform for hours, calm and still. He mentioned my peaceful energy would help to balance unstable emotions from others.
Apart from the above experience, I do fully echo with what Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”.
Everything that happened in my life has already connected in a beautiful circle. What I need to do is just follow my intuition and walk through the journey with love. Thanks to Grandpa San Pedro ? . See you soon, Grandma Ayahuasca!
P.P.S. I was astonished when I found Mandala flowers at the retreat centre! When I studied Buddhism at an early age, I named myself Mandala, and after two decades, I finally met ‘myself’ again.
Reading of the month
Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.
Derek Sivers is the first ‘niche celebrity’ I reached out to online. He has been a musician, entrepreneur, TED speaker, book publisher, writer and programmer. Having lived in the US, Singapore and the UK, Derek settled down in Wellington, New Zealand. Therefore I had the opportunity to visit him and chat face-to-face back in 2018.
I regard Derek as my online mentor and read 92% of the articles on his website. I resonated with his philosophies on life in many ways: the less you have, the better; choose between opportunity and loyalty; make decisions that offer you more possibilities; life is unpredictable and plan less; constantly changing mind and see things from multiple perspectives.
If you would like to know more about his thoughts and wisdom, his short and sweet books are a great starting point:
His reading notes is also one of my frequently visited pages!
My all-time favourite books recommendation.
Documentary of the month
As a hardcore sports fan, I'm in love with high-achieving athletes' masterful skills and mentality. Whenever I watch sports-related documentaries or movies, 90% of the time I would end up with tears, from Senna to Rush, from Take Us Home: Leeds United to Free Solo.
Recently, I've watched two documentaries Schumacher and The Last Dance. Of course I burst into tears when I tasted the determination to win at all costs (even life) and was touched by the lifelong hard working spirit.
The human body has the potential to do many things beyond our imagination. It's our mind that tricks us falling into the comfort zone and even giving it up. Give yourself permission to stay hard and keep going. You'll love the fulfilled feeling when you achieve your goal.
Here is a poem I wrote to motivate myself: Sprint, Rest, Sprint, Rest...
Theory of the month
Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of ‘Morphic Resonance’ is by far the best theory to explain many coincidences around us.
He has proposed that memory is innate, and our ecosystems can inherit collective memories from all previous things that happened to the same kind. In other words, species are telepathically interconnected.
Some famous experiments that have confirmed this theory include:
Dr Sheldrake believes that memory does not exist in the human brain but in a morphological field and that individual and collective memories are formed through resonance.
Based on my understanding, memories are not like USBs or hard disk drives, which need to be plugged into a computer to read. They are somewhat like Bluetooth devices, which can be shared wirelessly.
'Morphic Resonance' is related with the quantum potential and links to the concept of the collective subconscious mentioned by Jung in his psychology papers.
It’s also quite similar to the Buddhist view: “There is no distinction between the Self and others 「物我不二，自他无别」”. Everything is shared and connected in our world. The truth is revealed as a whole. Our consciousness is spread in everything.
To learn more about this concept:
Question from CY Circle reader:
How do you decide where to move to? What factors will you influence your decision?
Under the influence of Ray Dalio, I wrote down my life principles such as my philosophy, date profile, daily routine, personal values, master plan, questions that bothered me etc. and revisited or revised them occasionally.
Since I’ve been a digital nomad for a couple of years and have explored many cities and towns, here is a list of what affected my decision on choosing where to settle down based on my experiences (see below photo).
Everyone is different. What worked for me might not work for you. The most important thing is to figure out what suits you best (it takes time!) and what makes you feel fulfilled.
Pain + reflection = Progress. The unexamined life is not worth living.
I would recommend reading Paul Graham’s essay Cities and Ambitions and Derek Sivers’ Moving for Good to begin with. Also, don’t forget to check out Nomadlist.com to compare different locations and start your adventure!