To Ms Oprah Winfrey: A Millionaire's Ten Golden Secrets of Fruitful Living:
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Posted by Helen Sophia on April 11, 19103 at 02:00:00:

Dear Friends and Teachers,

May we share the following inspiring message with our friends, which have inspired and uplifted many thousands. Best Regards.

(Please print out in small text (email small text) for reading purpose. Thanks.)

Helen Sophia

A Millionaire’s Ten Golden Secrets Of Fruitful Living

(A Special Message of Hope, Faith, Peace and Awakening
which has inspired and uplifted many thousands.
Dedicated to Ms Oprah Winfrey, Mr Zig Ziglar,
Dr Denise Waitley, Dr Stephen Covey and
Mr Anthony Robbins, for implanting the seeds of greatness
in the younger generation.)

An essay By Emerson Lee for sharing with all truth-seekers,
Bestselling author of
Time-Honored Wisdoms On Wealth Creation

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
Proverbs 3:13-14

We have what we seek. It is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
Thomas Merton

We human beings can be nourished by the best values of many traditions.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Eastern folklore has an illuminating story about a little musk deer, an amiable creature which lived on the lower slopes of the Himalayas.

One bright morning, the little musk deer detected a deep lingering fragrance. He briskly went to his mother and enquired, “What is this wonderful fragrance? Where is it coming from?”

The mother deer smiled and said, “Perhaps you can visit some of your friends to ascertain its source?”

Immediately, the little musk deer visited the rabbit, the squirrels, the birds, the monkey, the chimpanzee, the horse, the tortoise, the giraffe, the bear and the elephant. However, to his dismay, none of his friends was able to identify the source of his fragrance. Dejected, the little musk deer returned home.

On seeing him, the mother deer smiled and suggested, “Why don’t you smell your own paws? Remember, you have washed them in the lotus pond last evening?”

The little musk deer lifted one of his paws, sniffed at it and cried out in joy, “The fragrance comes from me ………...”

How can we discover our inner fragrance and inner wholesomeness? Is there a need to discover our inner wealth?

As our life unfolds, it emerges as a succession of trials and difficulties.

Heartrending incidents. Distressing events. Tension, conflicts, turbulence.

Intense economic competition and interpersonal rivalry.

Overdemanding bosses and customers; overtaxing duties and performance targets; workplace hypocrisy, pretences and strife.

Stock market crashes and corporate downsizing; retrenchments, losses and bankruptcies; family breakups and neglected children; poverty and crimes.

Our daily strivings to keep pace with the world. Our loved ones and friends leaving us or ped away.

We suffer estrangement from others and from ourselves. We suffer scorn, humiliation, rejections and betrayals.

Losses, grief and disillusionment continue to beset us. Illness, loneliness, old age and death continue to impinge on us. No one is exempt. None of us is immune.

But are we confined to a life of meaninglessness?

Are we resigned to aimless drifting?

Can we unearth the inner strength and higher wisdom to glimpse into the mystery of all these, to glimpse into the Higher Reality?

Can we be re-inspired?

Can we be rejuvenated?

Can we nurture a healthy perspective of life and sustain our mental, emotional and spiritual health ?

Can we re-commit ourselves to positive growth and give up bad and harmful habits?

Can we be uplifted to see that beyond estrangement, there lies within us the wellspring of healthy self-acceptance, an oasis of peace and deep wisdom.

Can we be uplifted to see that beyond interpersonal strife and rivalry, there lies the opportunity for reconciliation, self-transcendence and growth?

The external refuge that we built in the past has crumbled. We can mend and rebuild it. But its shaky foundation and mirage-like nature have been exposed.

Hence, let us gently awaken.

Let us rediscover and preserve the divine manger in our heart where God resides.

May we rediscover that deep inner peace resides in the depths of our being. May we rediscover that deep inner peace is the ground of genuine fulfillment, the wellspring of enlightenment.

The time is ripe to take an inner quantum leap.

The time is ripe to dwell into the depths of our being.

It is life-changing. It is life-enhancing.

It is said that there are two great moments in our life. The first is when we were born. The second is when we discover why we were born.

The deep Source of Life is awaiting us. It is patiently beckoning at us to unearth and inherit the treasures of the unseen world.

The most precious gift bequeathed to us by our divine Creator are intact within us. They are the pearls and gems of the perennial wisdoms. By gently opening our hearts and minds, they will appear miraculously in our palms.

They will guide , console and revive us.

They offer insights into the origin of sufferings and conflicts in the world.

They guide us to understand the deeper meaning of Life, and the redemptive value of sufferings.

They enable us to see the higher order of things, and align our being with the natural laws of fruitful living.

They guide and encourage us to patiently climb the mountain of setbacks and difficulties, to perceive that every trying moment offers its special insight and reward.

As we muster our courage and inner strength to ascend, as we begin to accept that hardship and sufferings are catalysts for growth, the mountain appears less forbidding.

As we ascend higher, our perspective of the mountain changes further. The refreshing breezes begin to invigorate our soul. The sweat beads on our eyebrows ennoble our being.

It dawns on us that the rocks, crevices and boulders are grist for the mill. It dawns on us that we are sowing the seeds of perseverance, endurance and healthy awakening.

As we ascend higher, our faces being to glow and begin to feel the warmth of radiant sunlight ………..

Alas, the mountain falls into perspective ……… for behind every mountain emerges the eternal source of resplendent light, hope, faith and love.

By patiently nurturing a broader and wider vision of life, it dawns on us that beyond the mountain lies the boundless blue sky, the immense sparkling ocean, the creeks, streams and rivers trickling and throbbing with life, the panoramic breathtaking horizons of lush green meadows, tranquil lakes, vibrant forests, teeming valleys, chirping birds, blooming flowers, magnificent canyons, majestic waterfalls and awe-inspiring rainbows ……….. in divine chorus, liturgy and unison, celebrating the diversity and immensity of Life …………

How do we rediscover our inner fragrance? How do we retouch our inner wealth? How do we transform a competition-riven scarcity mindset into a healthy abundance mindset ?

We can do so by practicing and sharing the following Ten Golden Secrets of Fruitful Living:

(1) Be convinced of our inner wholesomeness.
(2) Nurture a healthy self-forgiving mindset.
(3) Understand the evanescent nature of thoughts, emotions and moods.
(4) Nurture a healthy commitment to personal growth and inner cultivation.
(5) Regard each day as an extra bonus day for growth and contribution.
(6) Nurture a healthy simplicity in material needs.
(7) Identify and develop our special talent.
(8) Learn to derive intrinsic fulfillment in performing worthwhile deeds.
(9) Understand that we may have to fail many times in order to succeed once.
(10) Choose to be a constructive partner of Divinity.


(1) Golden Secret: Be convinced of our inner wholesomeness.

Without discovering our deep essence and nurturing wisdom, our life purpose will elude us. Inner abundance will elude us. We are unconscious of our ability to enjoy inner peace, contentment and fulfillment that cannot be bought by material riches.

To be oblivious of our inner wealth is crippling. To mire in spiritual unconsciousness is to cloak the inner Light. To be disconnected from the deep significance of our lives is to forfeit our freewill and forego the unique capacity to reinvent ourselves. To pively wait for strong wake-up calls or traumatic events to jolt us from spiritual unconsciousness is defeatist. It is like searching desperately for a comp when we lost our way in a grim forest, only to realize that we did not carry a comp in the first place. In due course, our piveness proves to be a baneful self-imposed handicap.

Even though you live for just one day, if you can be awakened, that one day is vastly superior to one endless life of sleep …….
Zen Master Dogen

Cardinal Newman once wrote: “Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning.” If we remained stuck in the quagmire of spiritual torpor, sooner or later, we would become trapped in the labyrinth of egoistic cravings, unable to unravel and heal the inner mor of afflictive emotions. Our higher intelligence becomes stunted, our higher creative potential stultified. We unconsciously undermine our lives.

An effective way of nurturing a healthy abundance consciousness is to undertake meditation, silent contemplation and creative visualization exercises. These are time-honored methods and stepping-stones for spiritual cultivation. Their benefits are profound and manifold, which cross-fertilize each other. Apart from inducing relaxation and alleviating stress, they enable us to connect with our higher unitary consciousness and nurture a healthy insightful awareness. They enable us to calm the untrained wandering mind and its feverish energies. We can thereby better understand the subtle dynamics, pitfalls, snares and ambushes of the untrained roaming mind. Effective self-mastery and positive reinvention of our phenomenal self begin with recognizing and avoiding these pitfalls and traps.

For beginners, we can undertake the following meditation, silent contemplation and creative visualization exercises at a quiet spot at home twice a day, eg. 20 minutes in the early morning and 20 minutes before we go to bed. Their beneficial effects will dawn on us within two weeks.

Broadly speaking, meditation follows a four-stage cycle. The first stage involves gentle relaxation and calming down. The second stage involves stabilizing our growing sense of inner composure and serenity. The third stage arrives when we touch the immensity of inner spaciousness, boundlessness and freedom. The fourth stage is the state of pure awareness, a kind of composed alertness and vividness, where we can comfortably watch the interplay of our conditioned thoughts, feelings and emotions, and we can choose to repose ourselves in the sacred gaps and spaciousness between our thoughts and sensations.

We shall begin our meditation by relaxing and calming down. Inhale deeply through the nostrils. Hold our breath for five seconds and exhale gently through the lips. Repeat this deep breathing several times. As we compose ourselves, allow our awareness to gently scan through our body to identify muscle tension. If there is muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, hands, legs or other parts of the body, adjust our posture to reduce the tension to a comfortable level.

Close our eyes. Breathe gently, relax and smile. Gently remind ourselves that we have made a salutary decision to allot half an hour to connect with the higher dimension of our being, to dwell into our authentic life purpose. Inhale gently through our nostrils and count silently at the bottom of our heart as “one”. Exhale gently through our nostrils and count as “two”. Repeat this silent breath-counting process up to “ten”. Thereafter, repeat the entire cycle for ten minutes. Alternatively, if we are uncomfortable with counting, we can silently label our inhalation as “in” and exhalation as “out”. The crux of this “mind concentration” exercise is to nurture and sustain a composed attentiveness.

For beginners in meditation, during this ten minutes, all kinds of thoughts, feelings, memories, worries and neurotic projections would ail us. Do not be fretful. Gently label them as “thinking” at the back of our mind. Do not cling to them or invest emotional energy in them. Instead, divert our attentiveness back to our silent breathing.

Gently remind ourselves that by practicing meditation, by relaxing and releasing our sense of desperation and myriad anxieties, we are accessing the innermost state of non-aggression, peace, tranquility, ennobling grace and pure sacred awareness. This innermost state integrates our phenomenal being with the Divine Source of life. It allows us to rejuvenate, retouch and rekindle our altruistic heart and to dedicate its natural radiance to the wellness of all beings.

Next, visualize that we have become a glittering white pebble sinking slowly to the bottom of a clear lotus pond. Visualize the blessed stillness and silence as we rest at the bottom of the lotus pond. Visualize that we have reached this sacred resting place where all our frenzied thoughts and emotions have dissipated. They are replaced by a deep sense of calm and serenity. Our normal consciousness has taken a quantum leap. It has discovered its deep essence and sanctified source. It is positively transformed and illuminated. It is knighted by its pristine sentient quality of “divine thusness”. We become both the glittering white pebble and the fragrant lotus pond. We have witnessed the arising and ping away of the dancing ripples of thoughts and emotions on the shimmering surface of the lotus pond, realizing that these ripples, whether haphazard, feeble, pattern-like or vigorous, cannot disturb the beyond-the-surface inner peace and profundity of the lotus pond.

Next, visualize Golden Light streaming and emanating from our heart, from the depths of our being. Visualize that we are comfortably enveloped and embraced by Golden Light. Visualize inner abundance emanating from the depths of our being, abundance of wisdom, compion, understanding, patience and forgiveness. Visualize our inner negativities being dissolved and healed by the outpourings of Golden Light from the depths of our being.

Gently sprinkle some of the following contemplations into our creative visualization exercise :

 Our thoughts, sensations, feelings, memories, thinking and emotional patterns do not constitute our true essence. They are not substantial or solid entities, but transient. They arise and p away.

 Our “ego”, “personality”, “sense of personal identity”, “self-concept” and “self-image” are not independent, substantial or solid entities. Rather, they are habitual thoughts and thinking patterns. Thus, they are intrinsically transient and porous in nature and we should not be fixated on them. We can undertake inner cultivation to foster a healthy character and personality that exude kind intentions, broadmindedness, compion and empathy.

 Our physical body and physical appearance do not constitute our true essence. The millions of cells that make up our body undergo countless miniscule changes and transformations every moment of our life. They are not permanent, substantial or solid entities. They are subject to the natural laws of birth, growth, aging, death and disintegration.

 Our cognitive intelligence, technical knowledge and expertise, interpersonal skills, family and social roles, occupation and title, academic achievements, external wealth, material possessions and social status do not constitute our true essence. They do not comprise the sanctified source of our being.

 Like all phenomenal things, our physical body emanates from the divine Nonmanifest Realm. Our true essence partakes of Divinity. It is innately wholesome, sanctified, eternal, beyond time, space and causation. Past, present and future events cannot undermine our divine essence. External cirstances cannot impair our innate wholesomeness. Our deep essence is part and parcel of divine Cosmic Consciousness and Intelligence. From the very beginning, our true essence is resting in the arms of Divinity.

 Our innate wholesomeness and sanctity resemble the pristine purity of the clear blue sky. Our pleasant or unpleasant sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, memories, intentions, motivations, urges and inner energies are like the white, grey or pinkish clouds floating across the clear blue sky. They arise and p away. They cannot diminish the pristine beauty, vastness and purity of the clear blue sky.

 Our authentic life purpose is to attune our intentions, thoughts, words and deeds with the deep harmony and wholesomeness of our divine essence. Inner peace, contentment and fulfillment are the natural fruits of such authentic living.

 Let us be gently aware that we avail ourselves of this deep insight and understanding for the purpose of healing inner negativities, inner dislocation and existential confusion. We thereby rediscover our spiritual essence and innate wholesomeness. We touch the sacred and vibrant oasis of inner peace.

 Let us be gently aware that we are not generating unhealthy attachment to a new specious spiritual identity. Rather, we are learning to heal and dissolve unhealthy attachment to erroneous concepts in a substantial and separate self. We are learning to avail ourselves of the higher truth of the deep kinship of humanity, of the interwoven fabric of life. We learn to substitute healthy commitment to worthwhile goals for unhealthy attachment to narrow-minded pursuits.

 For beginners treading the path of wisdom, it is valuable to affirm to ourselves that external forces, events and cirstances cannot impair our innate sanctity. Such affirmations connect us with our innate wholesomeness. Our inherent healing capacity is restored.

Visualize that our physical body is slowly merging with the Golden Light emanating from the depths of our being. Visualize that we are dissolving into the Golden Light, partaking of its divinity and sanctity. Visualize that we have awakened from spiritual unconsciousness, resting in that sacred place within us, the wellspring of innate wholesomeness ………. We have returned home. Like the numerous sparkling streams flowing naturally back to the immense ocean, like the early morning rays of beatific sunlight dissipating the last vestige of mist in our heart, revealing the fountain of hope and joy in the depths of our being, we have truly come home ……….

The Buddha said that the potential for enlightenment lies within our fathomlong body. May we awaken to the source of authentic living and ever-flowing wealth within us. May we awaken to the rich cadence and harmony of inner music within us. May we wisely receive the true inheritance of inner freedom and non-grasping gracious living.

By affirming our inner wholesomeness, may we have the inner strength to bring comfort and consolation when there is grief; lovingkindness when there is pain; broadminded acceptance when there is discrimination; understanding, patience and forgiveness when there are hatred, jealousy and discord; generosity and a spirit of sacrifice when there are egotism and selfishness; resilience and fortitude when there are setbacks and failures; peace, insights and higher wisdom when there are confusion and spiritual unconsciousness.

(2) Golden Secret: Nurture a healthy self-forgiving mindset.

The practice of compion and broadmindedness begins with self-forgiveness. Genuine self-forgiveness is not easy. In fact, many of our emotional negativities arise from subtle self-hatred and non-forgiveness of our imperfections. In fact, many of us spend our entire lives aming external possessions and scoring external victories to mask our non-forgiveness of our inadequacies and finitude.

Guided by inner wisdom, inner cultivation is an ongoing process of forgiving and accepting our imperfections as well as the imperfections of others.

For most of us, inner strife, discontent, frustration and unease arise from our inability to forgive ourselves. We could not forgive ourselves for not meeting our high expectations and perfectionist standards. We could not forgive ourselves for not meeting the expectations and demands of our parents, spouses, children, siblings, bosses and colleagues. We could not forgive ourselves for not being as wealthy as our neighbors. We could not forgive ourselves for not meeting the sales targets. We could not forgive ourselves for not being able to afford a decent overseas holiday for our family. We could not forgive ourselves for not being able to afford a splendid necklace for our spouse during her recent birthday. We could not forgive ourselves for not being able to afford a more luxurious car ……….. and the list goes on ………….

The time is ripe to lessen self-criticism and self-flagellation. Many of us have been too harsh and demanding on ourselves. Owing to years of negative environmental conditioning, we have become unreasonably perfectionist.

In order to relax and touch our innate wholesomeness, we need to continuously befriend and forgive ourselves. We need to learn to release our harshness and high expectations. We need to set more realistic standards and learn to continuously compliment ourselves whenever we attain them. With ripening wisdom, it will dawn on us that, regardless of external achievements and failures, regardless of life events and cirstances, we are wholesome in the depths of our being. We gradually rise to a higher form of healthy self-esteem that imbues us with vibrant confidence and commitment to engage in activities that contribute to the positive growth of others.

Whenever I have been too harsh and demanding on myself, I will remind myself of the following factual account which I learnt from a spiritual teacher some years ago:

Whenever a person acted wrongly or irresponsibly in a tribe in South Africa, he would be placed in the center of the village. Everyone in the village stopped working and gathered in a circle around that accused person. Each of the villagers would sincerely tell the person and the other villagers about the good things that he performed in the past. All that person’s positive attributes, good deeds, strengths and kindnesses are clarified for everyone to hear. The ceremony continued for several days until the person is welcome back into the tribe.

Although we rarely encounter such magnanimity and broad-mindedness in our society, we should be magnanimous and broadminded with ourselves. When we have committed a mistake, we repent promptly and forgive ourselves. We retouch our innate sanctity, gently remind ourselves of our strengths and innate goodness, offer sincere apologies and make amends as appropriate. We learn from our mistake and constantly apply mindfulness in our future words and deeds, so as not to commit the same mistake.

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times.”
The Bible

On the other hand, how do we forgive others, if we perceive that they have hurt us?

Many of us subtly cling to past grievances. We harbor anger, resentment and hatred against someone who mistreated, disappointed, humiliated or committed some wrongdoing against us. We may erroneously believe that this is the correct way to protect ourselves and to punish the wrongdoer. We may erroneously think that if we were to extend forgiveness to the wrongdoer, it would imply that we agree with his wrongdoing. We may think that to forgive is to admit that we were wrong and that the wrongdoer was correct. We may think that to forgive is to reveal that we are weak or cowardly.

It is important to clarify to ourselves that these beliefs are not accurate. To harbor an unforgiving mindset is to cripple the wings of our broadmindedness, surround our heart with barbed wires and imprison ourselves in a dark dudgeon. To harbor an unforgiving mindset is to subtly recycle and reinforce inner negativities and hostility. Harboring negative and hostile energies corrode our inner peace and physical health, preventing us to realize our deep potential. As explained by the Buddha, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Hence, we need to learn to extend insightful compion and kind understanding to others. We learn to empathize with their spiritually unconscious thoughts, words and deeds. We gently remind ourselves that we are all human beings implanted with the sacred seeds of innate wholesomeness. By forgiving the spiritually unconscious words and deeds of others, by forgiving their slippage into spiritual unconsciousness, we allow our compionate heart to mature and ripen.

As mindful living is embedded in everyday living, forgiveness does not involve forgoing moral reasoning, ethical principles and values which are valuable for sustaining our ethical vision. We therefore continue to engage in moral reasoning, to distinguish between ethically correct and incorrect thoughts, words and deeds. We continue to uphold ethical norms and rules. We also inculcate in our children correct ethical principles and values, teaching and enjoining them not to commit wrongdoing.

Thus, forgiveness does not mean that we agree with the wrongdoing of other people. We continue to cognitively and rationally identify them as morally wrong. We continue to advocate that we should not commit wrongdoing, that we should not transgress basic ethical principles like the Golden Rule and the Silver Rule. We continue to denounce immoral and law-violating deeds that are detrimental to human well-being.

For example, if we became aware that one of our neighbors is a terrorist who is planning to plant a bomb in a shopping mall, although we forgive his spiritual unconsciousness, we should proactively take actions to stop him from harming innocent people (eg. notifying the local authorities). Forgiveness does not mean that we agree with or support actions that undermine the well-being of other people.

Furthermore, forgiveness does not mean that we pively accept or endure unjust or harmful actions against us. We should honor our own well-being as well as that of others. Forgiveness is an inner process of releasing ourselves from the festering grip of resentment, enmity, vindictiveness and aggressive energies. It is an inner healing and life-rejuvenating process. Inner negativities are transmuted into positive energies, into broadminded acceptance of the ugly aspects of human personalities. It also awakens us more deeply to the preciousness of our body as a sacred vessel to manifest the higher dimension of our being. We therefore treasure our soul and body in a healthy balanced way. In forgiving difficult people who have mistreated or harmed us, we do not mindlessly expose ourselves to their mistreatment or spiritually unconscious deeds. If these difficult people did not awaken to their reprehensible deeds and improve their character, we can extend kind understanding to them and choose to leave the situation.

(3) Golden Secret: Understand the evanescent nature of thoughts, emotions and moods.

If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.
Chinese poem

Discovering and patiently learning the art and science of mind training is to inherit the essence of the perennial wisdom.

Let us share an interesting Zen story about a man riding a robust and energetic horse. He was seen galloping at furious speed in various directions. When the horse was finally exhausted and slowed down, his friends were curious and enquired where was he going. He replied, “I don’t know. Please ask my precious horse ………… ”

Without patiently taming, training and disciplining our galloping mind, it is equivalent to riding on a robust horse but not knowing where we are heading. Mesmerized by its erratic streams of frenzied thoughts and plans, internal dialogues, argumentation and soliloquies, desultory imaginations and fantasies, we lose touch with the inner wellspring of serenity. The cultivation of wisdom is thereby impeded.

An untrained mind has short and erratic attention span. Its concentration power is limited. Psychiatrists, psychologists and social scientists have discovered that a significant number of juvenile delinquents and maladjusted adults in modern societies suffer from short attention spans and low concentration ability.

How do we heal inner negativities that are spawned by our attachment to the past and overwhelming anxiety about the future?

Meditation and silent contemplation can nurture healthy attention span, ameliorate energy-wasting anxieties and lessen aimless mental roaming that distracts us from present-moment experiences. Cultivating present-moment awareness alerts us to the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual imbalances of a frenzied life that is dominated by urges to achieve future goals and satisfy future expectations.

Growing up in materialistic societies have negatively conditioned our minds. We are being constantly bombarded by negative stimuli and erroneous messages echoing that happiness and personal success depend on external achievements, material acquisitions and social status. Without patiently training the galloping mind, it will internalize and recycle these erroneous messages. Running amok like a wild horse, self-gratification and self-advancement become its primary urges and motivations.

As time pes, the robust energy of the galloping mind generates a gamut of inner negativities in response to external events that hinder its quest for self-advancement. Fixated on the physical-emotional dimensions of the phenomenal self but oblivious to its deep essence, the galloping mind misconceives that only the satisfaction of self-seeking urges would bring fulfillment. It misconstrues “thoughts”, “ideas”, “notions”, “concepts” and “viewpoints” as the enduring building blocks of “self-identity” or “personality”. Hence, it insidiously transforms our consciousness to an anxiety-ridden fear-dominated scarcity mindset.

By undertaking meditation and silent contemplation on a daily basis, we can calm the galloping mind. It will dawn on us that the endless streams of erratic thoughts are mere thoughts. They do not constitute our true essence. We do not need to seize and transmute them into tangible entities.

(4) Golden Secret: Nurture a healthy commitment to personal growth and inner cultivation.

By committing ourselves to inner cultivation, we realize that it is the royal road to positive maturation. With ripening wisdom, it will also dawn on us that post-awakening practice is an ongoing lifelong process. It is a year-by-year, month-by-month, day-by-day, moment-by-moment nurturing and maturing process. Unending post-awakening practice is the foundation and wellspring of enlightenment.

As we continue our inner cultivation, we should be vigilant and wary of slipping into spiritual unconsciousness. Owing to years of negative environmental conditioning, although inner cultivation can enhance our spiritual-emotional maturity, we can still lapse into spiritually unconscious thinking and behavior. It is also relatively common that as we continue our inner cultivation, we will be ailed by doubts, anxiety, uncertainty and disappointment over our imperfections and seeming inability to consistently uphold compionate intentions. Nevertheless, do not be discouraged. This is part and parcel of post-awakening practice, of the lifelong process of cultivating wisdom.

As we continue our spiritual path, it is useful to constantly remind ourselves that although we have caught glimpses of our innate sanctity and the ontological Higher Reality, post-awakening practice is even more important. The crux of post-awakening practice is to continue to nurture and sustain a healthy insightful awareness in our daily living, to foster a healthy commitment to catch ourselves slipping into egoistic thinking. Such catching is itself of momentous significance. It is an important signpost of deeper awakening.

As we continue our inner cultivation, such catching and alertness will ripen, becoming more natural and proficient over time. It will dawn on us that owing to years of negative environmental conditioning, we are always at risk of regressing and slipping into egoistic thinking and behavior. It is therefore imperative to be mindful at all times, so as to minimize such slippage and the emergence of unkind behavior.

Post-awakening practice also involves the healing of emotional negativities and inner strife. No spiritual teachers or mentors can undertake this process on our behalf. By undergoing this self-healing process, we learn to stop clinging to the past and worrying about the future, to cease clinging to an ossified self-identity. We learn to relish the immediacy of our experiences, the immense healing potential of our innate spaciousness and broadmindedness. Our basic conscience and compionate awareness will emerge to guide our daily words and deeds. In the words of the Buddha, we become “a lamp unto ourselves”.

As time pes, it dawns on us that daily living is the fertile ground for planting and cultivating insightful awareness. Daily living can be naturally transformed into mindful and enlightened living. As time pes, we awaken to the higher truth that enlightened living is the naturally healthy, liberating, joyful and vibrant way of living. In contrast, unenlightened living whereby we are driven by self-seeking energies and urges are not only crippling and destructive, but fundamentally unnatural. They corrode our natural sense of peace, afflicting us with restlessness, anxiety and inner strife.

With ripening wisdom, we realize that enlightenment is not a static immutable achievement. Instead, it is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour and moment-by-moment affair wherein our words and deeds are aligned with the deep harmony and potential of our divine essence. Enlightenment is grounded on committed, patient and compionate post-awakening practice. It is grounded on and arises from the ongoing non-idealistic non-romantic practice of sustaining mindfulness in every word and deed, of avoiding slippage into spiritually unconscious thinking and behavior. It is grounded on and arises from sustaining a healthy insightful awareness over subtle egoistic cravings and urges, so as to heal and dissipate them. Enlightenment arises from moment-to-moment acceptance of the present, of relaxing into our inner wealth and wholesomeness, of sharing St Luke’s insight that “The Kingdom of God is within”. Enlightenment arises from moment-by-moment mindfulness over our basic unity with the Ultimate Reality, with Divine Consciousness and Intelligence.

With ripening wisdom, the key message will dawn on us: Upon awakening to our deep essence, we need to patiently nurture a healthy insightful awareness. We need to be vigilant against slipping into spiritually unconscious words and deeds. Whenever we slip, do not be discouraged. Quickly pick ourselves up and practice again. Do not give up. Do not despair. Do not flee. It is human to slip. But it is divine to muster our courage and innate goodwill to pick ourselves up and try again with a pure heart. It is divine to remind ourselves that the only way to practice enlightened living is through daily living. By extending indomitable kind intentions toward ourselves, through commitment and determination, we become attuned to our authentic life purpose, deepening our insight that we are destined to awaken to our inner Light and to be guided by it.

The spiritual journey is one of continually falling on your face, getting up, brushing yourself off, looking sheepishly at God, and taking another step.

(5) Golden Secret: Regard each day as an extra bonus day for growth and contribution.

By embarking on inner cultivation, we do not cling to the past. By exercising healthy self-forgiveness, we move on. We affirm and regard each day as an extra bonus day for us to contribute to the well-being of our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, and to the larger society. Try affirming at the beginning of each morning that “each day is a bonus”. We would all feel invigorated.

(6) Golden Secret: Nurture a healthy simplicity in material needs.

To heal emotional negativities, we need to nurture a healthy simplicity in personal needs, and redefine and lower our inner criteria for contentment. In many instances, our inner criteria and rules for happiness are excessive and sky-high. They forbid us to congratulate ourselves and celebrate the many little successes in our life journey.

Ponder deeply on what are the inner criteria that we impose on ourselves before we allow ourselves to feel contented. Can we really feel at ease and peaceful when we have achieved our worldly prizes, when we have several million dollars in our bank account, when we have two bungalows, two BMWs, a yacht and a private helicopter? Are we confident that when we possessed all these items, our galloping mind will automatically cease its endless comparison with the rich and famous? Are we confident that we can thereby dissociate ourselves from further self-centered pursuits and yearning? Are we confident that we will automatically emerge from the abyss of self-fixation, that we can resolve the gamut of negative emotions induced by our egocentric competition-driven mindset, that we can automatically heal our gnawing sense of fear and apprehension of our physical vulnerability?

The foremost secret of contented living which is free from the festering grip of inner negativities is to have a low threshold for happiness. We allow ourselves to feel contented and happy by strolling along the beach, by having a simple picnic near a mountain lake, by hiking in a tranquil forest, by watching the fascinating activities of dragonflies and erflies near a lotus pond. We allow ourselves to feel contented and happy by simplifying our personal needs, by dislodging from self-centered pursuits, by attuning our daily activities to the guidance of heart wisdom. We allow ourselves to feel contented and happy by not cluttering, clogging and burdening our daily living with excessive material requirements and attachment to material comfort.

By nurturing healthy simplicity, we learn to de-stress and slow down our pace in life, to heal the gnawing sense of desperation, emergency, urgency and frenzy. Slowing down is liberating and refreshing. We relearn to be receptive to the beauty and radiance of the dancing daffodils along the pedestrian walks. We relearn to enjoy watching the placidity of the white clouds with countless permutation of shapes and sizes floating leisurely across the blue heaven. We relearn to enjoy watching the playful movements of goldfish in a clear garden pond. We relearn to imitate the leisurely yawning of little kittens ensconced in a simple wooden shelter in our backyard. We relearn to intelligently melt into the sparkling eyes and innocent laughter of our children and grandchildren. We relearn to embrace the supreme joy of resting our heart in the inherent simplicity of life that opens itself to the graceful fashioning hands of cosmic affection.

(7) Golden Secret: Identify and develop our special talent.

Let us share a traditional story.

There was once a notorious bandit in India who, after many successful raids, realized the terrible suffering he had inflicted upon the villagers. Yearning to atone for his sinful deeds, he visited a famous Hindu master. He confessed to the master, “I am a sinner. I have robbed the rich as well as the poor, and had caused much sufferings. Am I incorrigible and hopeless? How can I make amends?”

The Hindu master looked at him compionately and asked, “Yes, you can make amends. Do you have any talent or unique skill?”

“No, I have no talent or unique skill,” replied the bandit morosely.

“I think you are good in something. God has always fairly endowed each of us with some special gift or talent. Ponder over this matter and visit me again two days later with the answer,” advised the master.

The bandit returned to his hideout and pondered deeply. Two days later, he visited the master and said, “I think I do not have any talent or special gift, except for stealing.”

“Aha,” exclaimed the Hindu master. “That is precisely the skill that you need to liberate yourself from inner torment and anguish. Now go to a quiet place and patiently watch your breath. Use your vast imagination to steal the stars and planets in the sky and dissolve them into the immense spaciousness of your pristine mind which is filled with natural lovingkindness. Sooner or later, you will awaken.”

To tread the royal road to inner and outer success, we need to identify our “inherent abilities”, our natural aptitude and talent that can create value for others. Aligning healthy life goals with our natural aptitude and talent imbues us with higher levels of enthusiasm in working toward them.

How do we identify our inherent abilities, natural aptitude and talent?

The basic steps are as follows:

First, reflect on the list of positive activities in which we have a pionate or keen interest.

Second, ascertain which of these positive activities can effectively serve the needs and requirements of humanity and enhance their well-being, whether it be related to their physical, emotional, intellectual, economical or spiritual needs. We should ensure that the activities that we have a pionate and keen interest are conducive to creating value for others as well as to our personal growth and maturation. We can thereby avert pursuing activities that would reinforce self-centeredness and self-seeking urges.

Third, reflect on whether we have the inherent abilities or natural aptitude to undertake these positive activities, so as to effectively serve the needs of humanity.

All of us have some of these abilities in a smaller or larger measure. The important point is to nurture and develop those abilities with which we are endowed in a larger measure which can be defined as our “aptitudes” or “talents”. We can do so by identifying and enrolling in appropriate functional courses or degree programs. We should also seek to match our aptitudes or talents with worthwhile activities which we have a healthy enthusiasm or pion in undertaking. By constantly enhancing our natural competency, aptitudes and talents, they will mature gradually. Constructive wealth creation becomes a natural by-product of our refined competency, aptitudes, skills and talents that are oriented toward creating optimal value for others.

We can also apply the following technique for fulfilling our vision:

(a) Write down as clearly as possible our vision.

(b) Write down the key long-term goal that will contribute toward fulfilling this vision. It is prudent to set a realistic timeframe of 3 to 5 years to attain this key long-term goal.
(c) Privately pin up our vision statement and key long-term goal at our working table at home, so that we can read it aloud to ourselves at least two times a day.
(d) Do detailed and comprehensive research. Read up useful books relating to the attainment of this key long-term goal. Find opportunities to converse with people who have attained worthwhile goals that are identical to ours and tap upon their valuable experiences.
(e) Based on our research, readings, studies and conversations with our mentors and teachers, devote two weeks of our leisure time to silently contemplate, brainstorm and write down the detailed activities that we need to complete in order to attain our key long-term goal. Thereafter, we can consider to show this list of detailed activities to our trusted mentors or teachers with the requisite expertise for their advice. If their advice or comments are valuable, we can modify the list of activities.
(f) Write down a schedule on the amount of time that we plan to allocate on a daily basis to work on the detailed activities. Do not be over-ambitious. ign a realistic timeline to complete each activity. Depending on our financial situation, we do not need to resign from our full-time . Nurturing our aptitudes and talents takes time. Working on our worthwhile long-term goal takes time. If our current full-time does not align with our deepest interest, and our financial cirstances forbid us to resign, we can still plan to allocate 15 to 30 minutes a day to undertake activities that will lead to the achievement of our key long-term goal.
(g) On a monthly basis, ess the rate of our progress toward completing each key activity. Learn to derive fulfillment and satisfaction from completing each key activity. If there are any significant obstacles or setbacks, reflect on them as valuable learning opportunities. Reflect on whether we need to modify our activities or overall strategy. Guided by our heart wisdom and healthy life goals, we can be creatively flexible in modifying our strategies and approaches in working toward our key long-term goal.

(8) Golden Secret: Learn to derive intrinsic fulfillment in performing worthwhile deeds.

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his well.
Martin Luther King

Studies repeatedly indicated that many of us are not deriving fulfillment and satisfaction from our current s. The list of frequent grumbles include: “my working life is ruined by a tyrannical supervisor”, “my pay is a pittance when compared to my boss”, “my colleagues are so selfish and unhelpful”, “promotions are reserved for the elite and favorites of our boss”, “there is no promotion and career prospect for me as my boss is biased against me and disregard my good performance”, “there is no security since everything depends on results, profits and bottomline ……..”

In our intensely competitive working environment, it is difficult to nurture intrinsic motivation and fulfillment from our . However, all the more we should learn to do so, to learn to put in our best and excel. This is the foundation of inner and outer success.

We need not be mired in a particular if we do not like it. Nonetheless, before we look for another , it is important to learn from the negative aspects of our current . It is important to cultivate foundational wisdom, spiritual qualities and emotional maturity that are required of us no matter where we work. If we do not commit ourselves to continuous learning, to continuous broadening and upgrading of our technical-functional skills, to cultivating higher wisdom, emotional maturity and spiritual qualities like patience, understanding, forgiveness, empathy, broadmindedness and perseverance, no matter where we work, we will encounter similar patterns of inner strife, frustrations and discontent.

Someone remarked to the famous French philosopher Blaise Pascal, “If I had your brains, I would be a better person.” Pascal thereupon replied, “Be a better person and you will have my brains.”

This seemingly cryptic remark of Pascal contains an ocean of truth. By realigning our values and life goals to our authentic life purpose, to upholding integrity and honest living, we experience continuous waves of enthusiasm and moral courage to pursue constructive activities. Guided by heart wisdom, we learn to derive intrinsic motivation and fulfillment from engaging in activities that are attuned to the deep harmony and potential of our being. The achievement of outcomes and end-results become secondary. We learn to put in our best in performing every worthwhile activity. A natural law of success is that when we put in our best in performing each daily activity and task, the higher is the likelihood of attaining the positive end-result.

We need to learn to inspire ourselves to put in our best to create value for others, to ist others in their positive growth, regardless of human commendation and recognition. When we become receptive to inner wisdom and learn to view Divinity as our true long-term employer, we begin to see things in their proper perspective. We no longer hanker after human approval and external prizes. Instead, we learn to derive intrinsic satisfaction and fulfillment from engaging in tasks and activities that are guided by worthwhile purposes.

Let us share the memorable story of little Annie.

Many years ago, in a mental institution in Boston, a young girl known as little Annie was locked in a dudgeon. Although this institution was one of the more enlightened ones for treating the mentally ill, the dudgeon was reserved for the “hopelessly” insane. In little Annie’s case, the doctors had given up hope.

However, an elderly nurse refused to accept the doctors’ view. She believed that there was hope in all of God’s creations and was determined to nurse little Annie back to good health.

On many occasions, Little Annie was violent and aggressive against anyone who visited her dudgeon. Nevertheless, the patience and affection of the elderly nurse slowly changed her. During each visit, the elderly nurse would bring brownie biscuits to little Annie and placed them outside her dudgeon. Initially, little Annie ignored the elderly nurse. But gradually, little Annie became aware of the elderly nurse’s lovingkindness and started to eat the brownie biscuits.

Many days ped. The elderly nurse continued to show her love and concern for little Annie and would bring brownie biscuits during each visit. After a period of time, the doctors were surprised to observe that little Annie had become more normal and receptive to advice. In due course, they decided that it would be safe to transfer little Annie to the normal hospital room for treatment.

Soon, little Annie recovered and the doctors finally decided that she could return home. Thereupon, little Annie decided that she would become a nurse. She was determined to emulate the example of the elderly nurse and bring love and hope to the less fortunate.

Years later, the Queen of England, while pinning her country’s highest honor on a foreigner, asked Helen Keller, “How do you account for your remarkable accomplishments in life?”

Without hesitation, Helen Keller replied, “Had it not been Anne Sullivan (“little Annie”), the name Helen Keller would have remained unknown.”

It was little Annie who did not give up hope on Helen Keller who was stricken by a disease at a very young age and became blind and deaf. Anne Sullivan continued to shower love and affection on her, encouraging her to lead a normal life despite her physical disabilities. In turn, Helen Keller influenced millions with her courage and dedication to help and inspire others.

(9) Understand that we may have to fail many times in order to succeed once.

There was once a scientist who planned to demonstrate before a group of alcoholics the pernicious effects of alcohol. He placed before them two gl containers, one filled with water and the other with undiluted alcohol.

The scientist placed a worm into the container filled with water. The worm swam around and headed for the side of the gl. It slowly crawled to the top of the gl. Thereupon, the scientist took the same worm and placed it into the container filled with alcohol. The worm disintegrated rapidly.

“What can you gather from this demonstration?” the scientist asked the cl.

A voice from the rear said, “If we drink alcohol, we will never have worms in our stomach.”

There is a factual story of two brothers who grew up in a broken family terrorized by an alcoholic father. The father was unemployed and always came home beating his wife and two sons.

Years ped and the two brothers grew up. One became a drug addict while another became a highly successful businessman.

When asked, the drug addict said, “How can I possibly be different from my father? He was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I’m merely following his footsteps …………”

The other successful businessman said, “Since young, I grew up in a broken family tyrannized by an alcoholic father. I resolved to myself everyday that when I grew up, I shall never become an alcoholic. Instead, I should continuously strive to improve myself and become a useful member of society ……”

What makes the following famous people to triumph over adversities and succeed in realizing worthwhile goals ? It is the recognition that we may need to fail many times before genuine success beacons at us: -

 Blindness did not prevent John Milton from writing England’s greatest poem, Paradise Lost.

 Deafness did not prevent Beethoven from composing some of the world’s most beautiful and inspiring music

 Deafness and blindness did not prevent Helen Keller from becoming a renowned author.

 One day, a young child came home with a note from his teacher and showed it to his mother, “Your Tommy is too stupid to learn, get him out of school.” Tommy did not give up, persevere in his self-education and transformed himself into the renowned inventor Thomas Edison. Before Edison invented the light bulb and brought light to the world, he failed more than 10,000 times. Deafness also did not prevent him from inventing the phonograph.

 Walt Disney visited more than three hundred banks before he found one which would invest in his theme park idea.

 Noah Webster, the famous lexicographer, spent thirty-six years to compile his great dictionary.

 Leonardo da Vinci spent a decade to complete The Last Supper, which was considered one of the finest works of art in the world.

 John Wesley preached an average of 3 sermons per day for 54 years, traveling by horseback and carriage for more than 200,000 miles. At the age 86, he was embarred to admit that he could not preach more than twice per day and that he would sleep until five in the morning.

 As First Lord of the Admiralty during World War I, Winston Churchill’s first major offensive, the Dardanelles Campaign was a great failure in which thousands of British troops died and he resigned. However, he did not give up. Learning from his mistakes, Winston Churchill successfully led his country as Prime Minister during the Second World War and prevented the s from defeating Britain.

 Stricken by polio and barely able to walk at a young age did not prevent Wilma Rudolph from winning three Olympic gold medals as the “fastest woman on Earth” in the 1960 Rome Olympics.

 Being imprisoned for 27 years did not prevent Mr Nelson Mandela from succeeding in his fight against racial discrimination in South Africa where he finally became the President at the age of 76.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.
Mahatma Gandhi

(10) Golden Secret: Choose to be a constructive partner of Divinity.

A group of children was playing on a beach. Each of them brought along simple tools to build separate beautiful sandcastles of various designs, shapes and sizes.

After an hour or so, each of the children proudly declared his separate sandcastle to be his sole possession and would not allow other people to tresp on it. Thereafter, they began playing chasing games and one of the children accidentally stepped upon the sandcastle of another child and partially demolished it.

The sandcastle’s owner was infuriated and shouted at the top of his voice, “You destroy my sandcastle. I shall also destroy yours.” In a revengeful manner, he promptly jumped upon the sandcastle of his tresper and kicked at it angrily. Soon the two children were fighting with each other. They clamped around each other and rolled on the beach. The other children watched and laughed, with the mischievous ones cheering them on. The more mature children intervened and mediated between them until they reconciled and began to continue their chasing game.

When night came, the children realized that it was time to return home. In their rush to go home, they stepped upon each other’s sandcastles and ignored their “sole possession” status. Everyone was too busy returning home to defend his or her separate sandcastle.

Did we sometimes lose our perspective of the higher reality and bigger picture, and become fervently embroiled in defending our separate sandcastles? Did we sometimes become preoccupied with relative notions of “yours” and “mine”, with erroneous concepts of a separate self that needs constant defense and protection? Did we sometimes mistake the relative truths as the higher reality, and lose sight of our life priorities?

By patiently nurturing higher wisdom, we will gradually awaken. We will begin to catch glimpses of the inner Light within each of us. The deeper recesses of our consciousness are illuminated. A profound sense of higher purpose is ignited, unmasking our unique gifts and talents, authentic potential and capabilities, revealing that we are intimate partners of Divinity engaging in constructive co-creation. Like the Northern Star illuminating and sanctifying the path of all truth-seekers, the inner Light reveals that we are ingenious designers, architects, craftsmen, artists and molders of our lives.

The inner Light has always been there, awaiting our discovery. With its guidance, we can tap our inner wealth. With its guidance, a clearer vision of our life purpose and direction will dawn on us. With its guidance, we can awaken together to a fulfilling and fruitful path.

May we embrace authentic living and manifest the full measure of our humanity. May glimpses into our inner Light, innate sanctity and wholesomeness continue. May we realize that we are destined to awaken to them and to be guided by them. May we become tireless bridge builders for each other, for our children and posterity.

By author Emerson Lee,
Author of Time-Honored Wisdoms On Wealth Creation
at or

……… let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
Romans 14: 19

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.
Benjamin Disraeli

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