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Breathing in Hong Kong

I cannot really recall since when...but it is this thing...this thing that I have been more intentionally seeking...

In my last semester at Yale, I participated in one session of a semi-psychological teaching session, and my proud take-away from that session is the importance of breathing. By focusing my mind solely on my breathing, its rhythm, its sound, its intensity, my mind could focus solely on the present. A beautiful and magical thing indeed actually! I often practice ever since I moved to Hong Kong. It is like an immediate and free cure every time I realize that I have to break away from my thoughts.

Since moving to Hong Kong in last August, it becomes obvious to me that this city charms its visitors by its speed, its materialism and its ability to create persisting desires. As one of the oldest financial hubs in the world, Hong Kong hosts millions of workers in its financial sector, and the truth is that they are the fuel that powers this city, as without the talents or the reputed international firms, Hong Kong may just become one of those port cities that survive only through tourism and some shipping business.

Underneath its glamorous skin is the high blood pressure. It does not take long for me to be fully subject to it as one of those millions of workers. From the perspective of physics, in a high pressure environment, a particle is restricted in the sense that it could not move freely as it wants or it requires additional energy for it to move to the direction as it wishes. Of course, I am talking about a particle with a measurable size, volume and weight, like a normal human being, because otherwise physics tells us that an infinitely small particle will not feel the pressure at all, maybe we could call it the cost of having a size, the cost of having this flesh of human being is that we are inevitably subject to the pressure from the environment we are living in.

You may ask why I was talking about breathing a second before, and now I am talking about pressure. Because I think breathing could be a cure to limit the pressure. How so? Not by making one infinitely small so that the pressure would go away, but by making one infinitely large. In what sense? Putting one's mind on breathing makes one be fully conscious of one's existence. From a particle in the system to a particle wherein the system plays, that can be a way to resolve this. A full awareness of one's existence in this world could enable one to see one's problems with perspective, with distance, with calmness, with objectivity, and be full aware that one's flesh is the only thing that will persist in one's life time, and all others are like clouds passing by.

Hong Kong is a city in the center of glamor, but it is limited by its size. To play in the game, but also realize that it is just a game --- that is the attitude, because who wants to tie one's only existence in this world just to a game, a game, despite its excitement, could never allows one to truly celebrate one's existence and the freedom that associates with it.

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