Welcome to Sharudin Jamal Blogspot

More than two decades ago, I was diagnosed of having a peculiar illness known as Bipolar Affective Disorder. My world as I knew it crumbled; I lost my business, then my job and later my sense of purpose. It was during this dark moments I rediscovered the joy of running and writing. Most of the articles here are about my rekindled pleasure of hitting the tarmac, my coming to terms with the illness and my discovery of the meaning of life.

I always on the lookout for inspirations to write in these three areas with the hope that they will shed new ray of hope to others who are in the same position as I am.

Do keep in touch if you feel connected through these essays.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Universe Within

I'm always fascinated by the Universe Within.  After all, the well being of my universe is solely dependent on me.  I'm responsible in making it thrives or diminishes.  Below is a rare footage of what happens inside our body.  We are a collection of intelligence that makes up our body.  Each of us is a universe of our own rights.  Therefore we need to be benign to the 126 trillion cells within us if we want to sustain our livelihood.

On a different note, life on earth is a collection of microorganism working together.  We are a collection of what seemingly non-intelligent beings.  In actuality these are intelligence working together to form life.  It's a question of whether we accept these forms of intelligence in comparison to our own.  I always have a belief that all creations are intelligent.  Otherwise these organisms won't have a purpose in living; which is the survival of the species.  Beyond the air that we breathe, life is a collection of amino acids working together to form the foundation of life.  Perhaps the video below provides some clues of our glorious origins:  

As a parting thought, let us not forget that we originated from a single entity.  Our brains originated from the same source.  Will it cease to function when we die?  I used to believe that it will.  However, I had shifted my belief after watching Ahmed Hulusi's video below:

We are one.  There got to be one single consciousness.  This consciousness is a  duality in existence.  We may not understand how it works in totality but we can comprehend that there's a need for a balance of forces for life to thrive.  

The Orient had a concept of Yin and Yang.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Therefore good and evil, life and death, pain and pleasure, night and day, will always be there to interlace our lives with peaks and valleys.  Whether our consciousness endures through eternity is something very exciting to be discovered indeed.  Already the evidences of Near Death Experiences (NDE) shed a ray of hope to our future.

To deny the greatness of creations is being prejudgment on our part.  As we speak, there are astonishing discoveries in Quantum Physics that suggested that sub-particles may have memories.  Otherwise how on earth will they remember to appear where they are after they flicker and "die" every sub-second?  The best we can do is adopt the attitude of curiosity.  As we progress a bit more, we will know a bit better.

The Arabs have this attitude - Wallahu alam.  A direct translation means, only God knows.  Yes only God knows, but its up to us humans to keep on searching for the answer.  To live life through an inquisitive mind is truly living life to the fullest.

Wallahu alam,

Of Mind and Matter

One of the deepest and most lasting legacies of Descartes's philosophy is his thesis that mind and body are really distinct - a thesis called "mind-body dualism."  In this thesis Descartes asked us to imagine the mind without the body.  This is easy for us to do.  Now imagine the body without the mind.  This proves to be a lot problematic because the source of the imagination is well, from the mind itself.

Hence, we are who we think we are.  The body is the extension of the mind in action.  We often thought we are in control of our mind but in actuality the mind already decides on an action six seconds before the thought surfaces in our conscious realm.  So are we in control or our mind is the one in charge all the time?

That is why in the practice of Zen philosophy, we are encouraged to trust our instinct.  This can only be achieved when the mind is free from doubt, uncertainty and fear.  Perceive what cannot be seen by the eyes, advised Miyamoto Musashi in his book, The Book of Five Rings.

In order to do this, I practice the state of mushin no shin; the mind of no mind.  Click here for the explanation in mushin no shin.  It is also known as the super-conscious or the third eye.  What I do is I imagine I'm surrounded by eight swordsmen.  I'm in the center feinting the two-sword swordsmen.  Previously I tried defending myself using two swords too.  Unfortunately on the forth move I got stabbed.  So I changed to using a triple nunchaku.  In order to effectively ward the attacks I spin.  There is no penetration and I can do this indefinitely.

I also guard my mind from negative thoughts.  I do this by imagining that I burn the weeds and dry leaves underneath a luscious green tree.  The tree is my cerebellum, the executioner's brain.  After I scatter the ashes at the roots, I then shower the tree with water.

The third ritual that I practice is by setting my heart to sixty beat per minute.  I do this by chanting Allah ooo Allah ooo Allah ooo Allah.  By doing so I am composed all the time.  I seldom panic.  Panic situation can kill a drowning person in fifteen seconds.  It can stop the heart from beating and can prove to be fatal in a fight or flight situation. 

What the mind can do is beyond our wildest imagination.  The physical brain is a powerful receiver.  It is bombarded by inspirations that come from the First Cause since the beginning of time.  It was said that cosmic rays contain all the information we need to decipher from the Creator.  Hence, it's good to be exposed to the outdoor for us to be inspired.

I may not be able to prove this scientifically, but normally after I had one of those long runs, I became very motivated to write.  Ideas seem to flow effortlessly.  It may just be an unfounded theory but I certainly benefited from being active throughout my life.  The longer the run, the better I am in my writings.  Inspiration is abound when I expose myself to the outdoors.

I also feed my mind with quality input.  In the study of computer programming, we were taught that a program is Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO).  So I turned that around and changed the term into Good In Good Out.  As much as possible, I will ensure I get quality information.  Albeit Facebook, WhatsApp, news, tv programs or songs, I will sieve the garbage from the gems.  Who I mingle around, I also filter.  In gatherings where I meet a myriad of unknown personalities, I rather remain quiet than talk nonsense.

Most importantly I make a point to capture my thoughts in the Evernote.  That way, I can analyze my thoughts as part of my personal reflections.  This blog had helped me a lot in achieving that purpose too.  That is why I tagged songs to the postings.  It is a part of the accelerated learning and in stimulating my multiple intelligence.  As stated in an advertisement by the United Negro College Fund I saw a long time ago - a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

So whatever you want to achieve, it's all in the mind.  Whether it's about quitting smoking, running a marathon or merely being motivated to wake up in the morning, it's all about mind over matter.


Back to Being Normal

There is one peculiar thing about being a Bipolar is that you don't ever realize when you are being in the mania  mode.  That is why I like writing a blog.  With a blog, I can analyze my postings and see when the mania started to escalate.  I can then delete the posts that I think that are off the wall.  This is not the first time it happened.  This blog was scraped twice and I had to start all over again because the contents were too esoteric.  The sad thing is, I also unintentionally deleted the well-researched articles too.

This time I deleted 11 postings.  Not that they are not credible but rather they are off tangent from the thinking of the masses.  I would like to share everything about being me.  However, I am concerned that the readers may not be able to relate to my thoughts.

Being a Bipolar is like walking a tightrope.  I got to balance between fantasy and reality.  To me the line between these two is blurry.  That is what makes it interesting.  I can talk to various imaginary friends and things.  For example, I can have a meaningful conversation with my neurons and cerebellum.  I can talk to water and I can have as Napoleon Hill suggested in the book Think and Grow Rich, an "Invisible Counselors."  These are imaginary cabinet members that advice me on my daily actions.

I regard this ability to have conversations with various unforeseeable beings as a gift.  I know they are a figment of my imagination, but I treat them as real.  That way I am able to resonate on my thoughts as if I am standing in a room full of mirrors, reflecting on the various facades.

It's not all a bed of roses, though.  Sometimes the brain got hyperactive.  When that happens, I cannot regulate the surge of dopamine.  Just the right amount, the dopamine makes a person motivated.  Too much, it leads to psychosis.  Most of the time, I lead a happy and humorous life.  What do you expect?  I'm a cartoonist.  But when the surge happened, I was consumed by surmounting rage.  It was a roller coaster ride of anger and sadness.  I was fortunate to be on medication.  At least it tapers of the mood swings by regulating the dopamine.

To be honest, I like being in the mania state.  It's a happy place to be.  The world seems funnier and more sensible.  I became more motivated and uplifted.  After 17 years, I now can understand my illness better.  It comes in waves or cycles.  In the past, without proper medication, the amplitude was higher.  Nowadays they are just like the waves sweeping by the beach.  More calm and sedated.  

I still cannot control the mania, though.  I can only look back at the aftermath and take corrective action post event.  If I can control the illness, then, it won't be considered an illness, wouldn't it?  Nonetheless, this is my life warts and all.  I had come to terms with this illness.  It won't go away.  So I might as well accept it as part of my well-being.

"Wow... oh... wow..."

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thoughts are Things

Look inside your house.  All the belongings were the manifestation of your thought before you buy them.  Yeah, you Googled the items, you look in the magazines, you scouted around, and you fantasized how your house might be like.  And wallah, little by little the forms start to take shape.  But before these things are real, they are already real in the minds of the creators - thoughts are things.

That is why the Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki advised us to guard our thoughts against negative thinking.  He went further to suggest that every day we visualize burning the weeds and dry leaves in our garden's minds.  These "weeds" then in return will be transformed into fertilizer in our luscious garden.

Here is how I nourish my garden:  
Every morning when I wake up, I visualize I am underneath a big tree.  The tree represents my cerebellum, the executioner brain.  I then pick any dry leaf and weed underneath this tree and light it up.  Then I scatter the ashes at the roots.  After that I shower it down with water.

This way, I turned into a gardener of my Inner Garden.

Our thoughts are cause-set-in-motion.  In short, we are governed by the LAW of Cause and Effect.  Earl Nightingale said we become what we think about all day long.  Cause-set-in-motion requires one thing to happen before the next event takes place.  I give you an example; before you can cook a pot of rice you need heat.  Prior to that, you need firewood.  And before the firewood burns it needs fire.  You cannot say, o rice do cook then only I bring in the fire.  It doesn't work that way.  The fire comes before cooked rice!

That is why in the Zen philosophy, the end is the beginning.  You must know your outcome before you start.  Dr. Stephen R. Covey stated this as, "begin with the end in mind."  "If you don't know where you are going, how do you know how to get there?"  Said the Chesire Cat to Alice in the book, Alice in Wonderland.  Because whichever road you take will get you somewhere.  That is why Dr. Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich said you got to have a definiteness of purpose.

We are the result of our thoughts projected all the time.  We are creatures of habits, which are the manifestation of our thoughts.  These habits will turn into our character.  Our character then seals our destiny.  That is why you got to be careful of what you wish.  It might come true, for better or for worse.

Each of us humans is our own separate universe.  Our universe is confined to the magnitude of our thoughts.  When we communicate with others, we are extending our universe for others to come in.  That is why I write this blog.  It's a legacy I want to leave behind for my generation to enter my universe.  Long after I'm gone, I will still have a mean of communicating with my children and hopefully their descendants.  I will live through death and extend across time.  I then hopefully become timeless.  Perhaps when I do return back through my genetic coding, I remember who I was.

Yes, I also expanded my universe all over the world by sharing.  To date the blog had loyal readers in Malaysia, USA, Singapore, UK, Australia, India, Pakistan, Switzerland, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, South Korea, Vietnam, Ukraine, Japan, China, Netherlands, Indonesia, Poland, Turkey, Austria, Canada, Sweden, Mauritius, Oman, UAE, South Africa, Russia, Qatar, Croatia, Romania, France, Brunei, Taiwan, Thailand, Bosnia & Herzegovina, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Israel, Argentina, Egypt, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Albania, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Cyprus, Turkmenistan and Germany.  As my mind connects with them, my thoughts expand.  I want to be connected to my readers.  Every day my Empire of The Minds as Dr. Denis Waitley suggested increases.  It's like having several power generators all over the world.  My circle of influence continues to expand and thus my extended collective actions.

I am honored to have Tun Dr. Mahathir, our now retired prime minister as my patron.  I wonder what kind of impact my universe has on his super massive universes.  Already I saw a little impact on his thought process.  Anyhow, I just sit back and see the results.

Speaking of results, it is worthy to mention that the outcome of the result is beyond our control.  We can only be accountable for our effort.  Using the rice analogy, we are only responsible for controlling the fire and the firewood.  The cooking is no longer our domain.

Our brain is like a transistor radio.  It picks the stations and projects the music.  The same concept applies to the function of the brain.  Which is to pick up the thought waves from the Infinite Intelligence and broadcast it out.  This is what is known as inspirations.  The source of the consciousness however as Ahmed Hulusi mentioned is from one source, Allah the Creator.  There can only be one source, call it whatever you want, there is a First Cause.  So our thoughts are not ours, we are merely the broadcaster of the First Cause.  A physical extension of the thought waves coming from Him.

Tune to the right station, then the inspiration floodgates open.  The signal must be crispy clear, though.  No distortion.  Hence your thought process must be pure.  Ill will, fear, doubt and uncertainty need not occupy this sacred space, the receiver of inspiration from God Almighty.

I think you get my point.  Your thoughts are your most precious asset.  Guard it well, use it wisely.  Your destiny in life depends on it.  Do not waste it on worthless gossips and rumor mongering.  Miyamoto Mushashi advised us in The Book of Five Rings, to not do anything that is of no use.

My thoughts, your thoughts, they are one.  Soon scientists predict we no longer need to use communication devices to talk to each other.  We can do so by telepathy.  We are constantly exploring the best means to transfer this newfound technology to the masses.  My prediction, we can achieve this in a very short time.

Know thyself and the knowledge will set you free - Socrates.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Prepared in Mind and Resources

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  So imagine a few pictures put together to form a story.  Some of these finished products are the products of my creativity.  I like artistic challenges especially in arranging stuff, either graphically or physically.  I seldom start from scratch.  A lot of these like items one and two are cut and paste efforts, the turbine spiral is an artwork using fractal geometry.  The Van Gogh Sunflower are jigsaw puzzles.  They belong to my wife.  The last one is using the good old paper and color pens.  

This is how I keep my mind occupied.  I am always arranging.  The arrangements in my house are mostly my effort.  I am in charge of home decor especially when comes to buying interior decorations.  My house is my heaven, my Firdaus.  Fir in the house, get it?  The only place I want to be.  That is why even my office is at home.  Literally a home office.

The door sign is the most interesting project.  It may look regal, but actually, it is made from cardboards and paint I bought at the DIY store.  I use the laser printer to print the characters and traced it.  It says, "Fok, Lok, San, Hei" meaning prosperity, harmony, longevity and happiness.  In the olden days. Chinese shopkeepers hung plaques at their shop entrance as a source of motivation.  I thought I keep that tradition since my wife is half Chinese.  Plus I am so into the culture of the Orient.

So if I ask you to write an essay based on these pictures, will you be able to come up with one?  My essay will be about a story larger than life.  Something that you thought may only happen in fiction but it's very real and yet sunder.  How I wish I can explain what is happening in the alternate dimension.  Of the majesty of heaven and the dwellers.  And yet it is also a story of strict reprimand.

Let me just say that there are ninety-nine heavens and one hell.  It's a figure of speech.  Or perhaps I just stop explaining and let you see what I am trying to show you.  Someone asked Helen Keller, "What is worst than being blind?"  Helen replied, "Those who have eyes but cannot see."  And thus stands the idiom, in the land of the blind the one eye is king.  It's a duality.  Yet it is a spiral.

Words cannot describe the amount of things that I want to tell you.  Enough if I say... and they all live happily ever after.  

Seek and you shall find;
Ask and it will be answered;
Knock and it will be opened onto you.

I give you a hint.  You can start by asking yourself the question, "Who am I?"  How are you to enter heaven if you don't know your essence?  You may have to forgo your past limiting beliefs in order to reach for the answer.

Happy writing...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bipolar Art Circa 2007

Circa 2007, I had one of the worst episodes of mania attack.  At that time I was working as a consulting manager in MSC Technology Centre in Cyberjaya.  I owned a Palm TX then.  So when I was admitted to the hospital, I started drawing profusely.  Something I had not done since school days.  Shortly after the episode, I never take up drawing again.  It came like the Zephyr wind and never to return.  I, therefore share some of these images as a legacy of my illness.  Some make no sense.  So sit back and enjoy...

I also had a little project of constructing a board game I built using figurines and other objects.  The figurines are like a chess set with their own set of rules in moving them.  Here are the figurines being positioned at various stages of development.

It started with a question, "me and what kind of resources?"
 “Animis Opibusque Parati,” or “Prepared in Mind and Resources,” 

The mindset of a Samurai - To Serve.

I then turned my SOHO into a Command Control Center (CCC)

I was arranging the objects around me.  Not knowing what they meant.  Some like the metal object on the left were bought out of curiosity.

I now started playing the game.  The chess board is called Al-Araf 7:7  based on the chapter in the Al-Quran

It was a duel of supremacy between two opposing forces.  Here presented one of the joss sticks broke in a contest of equal.

The chess game stretched beyond boundaries.  Here it encompassed the two bokkens (wooden Katanas).

The Special Ops Black Epoxy Kukri played a vital role at this stage of the game.

Here is the basic setting of Al-Araf 7:7; which signifies the world map.

It also covers the alternate reality dimension.

The complete set of Al-Araf 7:7.  The external universe and the Universe Within.

His Majesty Service.

The final outcome of the game,  all humans to enter heaven.

Al-Araf 7:7 was a massive project.  It took me two years to finish the construction and to play the game.  I just finished playing the game mid-2016.  There was a time I scraped the whole project vowed not to look at it again.  But it was like a calling.  Hence, I reassembled the figurines and played until the end.  It was worth the effort.  I now know more about myself than ever before.  Through Al-Araf 7:7 I had discovered my destiny.