Your mantra for the week: “I now let go of what I no longer need or use (including my mates).”
CONTINUED from last Sunday’s column, here are the last four of the eight Beatitudes of Jesus, interpreted metaphysically:
5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
This is probably the simplest instruction that Jesus gave. He is just reminding us that merciful thoughts will bring about acts of mercy, and, consequently, this will attract mercy to oneself. Those who act kindly but have unkind thoughts are guilty of hypocrisy. However, in today’s world, it is called diplomacy which is not such a bad thing because it is really a step towards goodwill.
6) Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
We all know we cannot “see” God because It has no corporeal form like that of a human being.
In IAMISM, I stress that God is synonymous to Good, and the pure of heart will see the good in everyone and in everything, and in that sense, it is like truly seeing God. Also, in modern psychology, pure of heart is another term for the subconscious mind; and those who fill this mind with all that is positive, kind and loving will definitely experience God, which clearly goes beyond just seeing him.
7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
The peacemakers are those who have found true peace of mind through prayer, meditation and contemplation—three forms of communing with the God within. This is why I call my organization the Temple of Prayer, Peace and Prosperity. It is through prayer that we find peace, and from peace comes true prosperity. By experiencing them, one finds serenity—which the mystics call interior soul peace, and those who find this are worthy to be called the true children of God.
8) Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This is probably the most startling of the Beatitudes, but when properly understood, it could be the most fulfilling for those going through the process of enlightenment.
Please keep in mind that the reviling, persecuting and all manner of evil thrown at you do not come from any outside source but from the so-called lower-self in each one of us. It involves our old religious beliefs that fill us with guilt, which revile us and falsely accuse us of evil in the same way that the enlightened prophets of long ago had experienced.
This Beatitude is a total inner spiritual experience which is truly a cause for rejoicing. For in this manner, one discovers the God within, like Jesus did, and thus, elevated himself to what is called the Christ consciousness.
When one understands all the eight Beatitudes as explained metaphysically, they instruct us effectively on how to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Recently we attended two delightful dinners. One was for designer Ito Curata, hosted by Marissa Fenton at The Peninsula’s Old Manila with a menu especially prepared by chef de cuisine Bertrand Charles. His foie gras over chopped ginger and tuna sashimi was truly awesome.
The other was hosted by the well-liked Charisse Chuidian, vice president for public relations at City of Dreams Manila, held at Nobu Restaurant for writer par excellence Glen Gale, and supervised by food and beverage manager Casper Khamphouy.
Among the guests were the charming and friendly Sen. Cynthia Villar, who shared her insights on heirloom rice and the development toward the Philippines’ self-sufficiency in rice. Concerned about Filipinos’ tendency to be wasteful in their rice intake, she said that if each one of us saves two tablespoons of rice that are usually thrown away, we would never have to import rice again, ever.
What made my evening was meeting Sara Soliven de Guzman, who was with her husband John. It was like being with her father, Max Soliven, once more. Memories of the golden days of Philippine journalism filled my mind, especially Max’s powerful prose in his unforgettable columns that landed him in prison upon the declaration of martial law.
I remember seeing him in New York at Gerry Roxas’ wake; when I asked Max whether or not he has been allowed to write again, he quipped, in his typical Max wit: “Yes, I’ve been writing a lot… of checks.”
Meeting his daughter Sara also brought back memories of Max’s TV show, “Impact.” There’s been nothing like it ever since.
Sara is as strikingly intelligent as her father. John is into restoring vintage cars while Sara runs OB Montessori. I kidded her about changing the name of the school to Montehappy.
Speaking of dinners, one of the most touching I have ever attended was the one given by Rustan’s CEO Nedy Tantoco together with her amore, businessman Patrick Jacinto, at her father’s museum-like mansion, in honor of Sonja Vodusek.
All guests invited were personally picked by Sonja for the friendship they shared in the five years she was general manager of Peninsula Manila. She considered her barkada in the Philippines.
I was humbled to be included in her guest list.
That evening began with cocktails and music played on a grand piano by Jun de Guzman, followed by an astounding performance by the Sisters of Mary Girls Town Hand Bell Ringers, consisting of 22 young ladies serenading us with Christmas carols.
The bells were created in Japan and donated to the group. A Korean music instructor trained the bell choir. For an anchor number, they played songs from “Phantom of the Opera.” They truly underscored that Christmas was in the air and prepared us to enjoy Glenda Barretto’s sumptuous dinner spread.
Sonja’s guest list included Tim Yap, who happened to be the first one she made friends with after a chance encounter at the Pen lobby—when Tim said, “Wow! You surely remind me of Kate Middleton.”
There was also Candy Dizon, who I just found out that night was the daughter of Jul Dizon, a longtime dear friend of mine. Even Nedy was surprised to discover that Candy was related to Jul. Everyone knows, of course, that Jul B. Dizon Jewelry has a shop at the Pen.
Other friends of Sonja’s were Cito Beltran who came with wife Karen; Peter Jentes, who was known as Mr. Hyatt before becoming a restaurateur in Schwarzwalder; former Makati Shangri-La general manager Jarlath Lynch, who’s presently City of Dreams Manila senior vice president of non-gaming operations; Randy Francisco who arrived with wife Irene; Mario Katigbak, whose Bulgari and Hermes events are mostly held at the Pen.
By the way, Mario has just opened Hermes Furniture on the second floor of Greenbelt 3 which is attracting a lot of attention.
More friends of Sonja present at the dinner were Paris resident Babette Aquino, here for a vacation and looking refreshed after a yearlong grieving period for her beloved Paul Benoit. I asked her if she was ready for a new relationship, considering how pretty she still looks. She said emphatically, “Not for a long time.” Well, Capricorns do take their time.
Also among the special guests were Stephanie Chong, Sonja’s girl Friday and all other days of the week; Grace Glory Go; and the irrepressible DJ Lopez, whom Sonja refers to as one of her sisters together with Nedy. When Sonja and DJ were asked which they would rather have, a husband or a yaya, both quickly chose “a yaya.”
Sonja had a touching anecdote for each one of her guests and was handed a tissue by Jarlath, who was seated beside her, in case she decided to shed a few tears. “I promise I would not do that this evening,” said Sonja, “because true friends never really say goodbye.”
One of the things that all of us appreciate about Sonja is her humility and her pride of having started her hotel career as a chambermaid in Japan. Now she’s the new general manager of The Peninsula Tokyo.