School is considered a very important, if not the only important focus in a child’s life in the Asian culture.
I was never really interested in school – it was something that I did because I believed I had to do it. Apart from the most basic foundations in language, maths and social skills, I found most of the subjects we had to study uninteresting. Going to school seemed like being in a vacuum that took me away from daily life. But more importantly, to be recognised through the education system meant I have made a pact to disconnect from myself.
As a child knowing this is what awaited me in entering our education system, I had two choices: to rebel, which is to say no (in reaction) to all that is felt to be not true, or to excel, which is to say I agree to numb from feeling the disconnection to myself that I choose. I did not know there was any other way.
I chose the latter, but not without consequences.
During my elementary and high school years, every day after school, the moment I got home I would sit at my desk and start to do homework and study. I would not break for anything except a haphazard dinner with my family, returning immediately to study until midnight. As a student I was not taught or expected to do anything else but study.
By age 11 I was put on tranquilisers before school exams because there was just too much to memorise and I was already living in deep anxiety and had insomnia at that tender age. I was encouraged to just do mediocrely at school by my parents after they witnessed the emotional distress I put myself in, but that was actually not a truly valid choice. I already felt imprisoned in a system where, no matter how I chose, I would lose. If I rebelled against school, I would be ostracized in society and suffer; if I chose to excel, I would equally suffer from further disconnecting from my own body. Whatever I chose I felt disempowered, but excellence in academics would earn me a recognition that the world bought into, so I chose to play that game whilst knowing it was not true success. What was seen as ‘A’ grades on the outside was very far from my true story that was not told.
My growing up years in school were spent crying and studying in bed with a sea of books around me.
I migrated to Canada when I was 17 with my younger sister because my family was unsure of the political future of Hong Kong, then soon to be under Chinese rule again. I got into a prestigious university studying Chemistry. I did not particularly feel equipped to study science, I just got in because of my grades.
I was very disillusioned in life at that point that I was close to giving up. I did not know what I wanted to study, I did not know what life was about, I did not know myself, I had very little confidence, I was hurt and deeply lost, and my physical and emotional health reflected all of that.
On top of that, this was considered normal by the world.
College days were also completely devoted to study, but panic and anxiety grew as now I was studying in a foreign country and had to take care of life with a younger sister. I knew there was so much more to life than just studying, but as a student in my culture, school was the be all and end all of life. And I did not know how to live life outside of studying! Without any idea of how to self-care, eating and sleeping as how I liked was common, which meant a normal daily diet would include coffee or chocolate covered cocoa beans for breakfast. I would start my day exhausted and eat fast foods or instant noodles during the day so that I could have the most time to study.
The way I had studied throughout my school days was not special, it is one typical example from many students who grew up in a culture where academic performance was the only life we knew.
Life is reduced to studying… the awesome possibilities and potential of a human being are reduced to the knowledge from books. I felt very trapped as I did not feel that I have learned anything in life at all. The anxiety that I felt not only came from having to fulfill academic pressures, it was knowing that the choices that were presented to me and that I chose, were not true: disconnecting from my body and retreating into the mind was the only way I could cope with the horror that I could feel but wanted to avoid feeling at all cost.
In my desperation I made the choice to quit studying life: I wanted to live life, I wanted to experience feeling it from my body, I wanted to truly learn.
I had to be very honest to myself and started to feel into all my choices. I made some pretty big choices at that time which had to be implemented, but I was willing to go there. From Chemistry, I switched my major to Chinese Studies, as what I truly felt to explore then was my culture because being in a foreign country highlighted a feeling on inequality within me, which I was on my way to exposing. I was still conscientious about studying but I started making friends and having life outside of school.
I wanted to truly learn through human relationships and the relationship with myself. I dropped studying science, and started to live the experiment of life.
Knowing that every moment is a living science brought back responsibility in my life. If something didn’t work out, I would have to go back and look at the data that built into the result. I didn’t want to rely on book knowledge because I knew there was a deeper way to live, and the only way to test that out was to fully give myself permission to trust in my own heart. The more I gave my heart the opportunity to express and got out of my own way, the more my life flowed with the results from this experiment as I built my foundation upon it. I knew love was a part of the equation, and it was something that was calling for a deeper exploration.
That was the time when I met Serge Benhayon in the 2012 Universal Medicine Vietnam Retreat. I was ready to go deeper with my experiment and practical tools would be supportive. From Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine I have learned that the missing link to the True science of life is self-love. The tests I thought I had been doing with love over many years were still producing results which were unloving, and now I understood why. I hadn’t given myself the permission to express this love to myself. For the last three years, this was the living experiment I tested, researched, got more understanding of what worked and discarded what didn’t work in my life.
Life became clearer. I have chosen to be born in a place and in circumstances that have offered me ample opportunities to experience the devastation of what is not natural on a daily basis, so as to come back to loving myself. Loving myself was to constantly say no to what is not natural and choose to live the naturalness that my body knows. Without a foundation of what self-love feels like in my body at the start of this experiment, I had to feel the intense disconnection I have chosen to live from the reactions I had towards the world.
Life had felt unbearably lonely and I was always seeking to escape this loneliness. I could easily give up, saying this study of life is too difficult, as it indeed was. But with the support from Universal Medicine, I didn’t give up.
Instead I have come to the simple conclusion that in self-love, I just have to give love to myself, consistently without perfection, in all moments that my awareness allows.
In moments where I was unaware I had to go back and ask why, further refine what determines my ability to be aware, and test again.
No one can offer love to me, no one can tell me how to love myself, no one can force me to accept this love. I didn’t have to do anything special or to go to a faraway place to love myself, I just have to give myself permission to feel my own love and offer it back to me. I simply had to be myself.
In this living experiment, the data becomes the confirmation. Nothing outside of me can truly confirm the success of my experiment or not, the only true confirmation is in my own body.
I have found another way to learn, a way which brings me deeper back to myself every day. Every choice that I make and how consistently these choices are made, will be everything that comes back to meet me, so taking responsibility is a given. Every moment is an opportunity to learn; if I dismiss any moment, I would have to take the responsibility to catch up and feel the consequences of that delay. In learning with responsibility, not only do I feel more energy and vitality, anxiety is replaced with joy. I am growing and expanding and always welcoming more to learn. Did I mention I am also looking and feeling amazing and beautiful?
By Adele Leung, Creative Director/Fashion Stylist, Hong Kong