Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Life Is Like A Stock Market


Last Sunday I attended Buddhist Fellowship Indonesia’s “Beautiful Heart and Peaceful Mind” event at Central Park Ballroom, Jakarta. The speakers were two great masters from two Buddhist traditions, Ajahn Brahm and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

In his talk, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche shared a story about his friend who was a stock trader. He said: “Life is like a stock market.” I kept thinking about this and I would like to share with you what I had contemplated in the last two days.

First, life is like a stock market because it goes up and down. It is changing all the time. Although the stock market index might not change at the end of the day, the movement during the day would be unique to that particular day. As in life, there isn’t a day that is exactly the same.

Imagine if the stock market is flat all the time, then nobody can make any money. Life that is flat will be boring. It is the change that makes every day colorful and interesting. Therefore we should accept, even embrace change if we want to be happy in this life.

Second, life is like a stock market because it is shaped by many conditions. There is no single explanation why something happens; it is usually a combination of things that causes something to happen. In stock market, we can never determine the exact cause why did the price go up or down? There are so many factors that can influence the price of a stock. Since we can never know the exact cause, it is wise to learn to see things as they really are, life as it is.

Third, life is like trading in the stock market, it is full of dissatisfaction. For example, when we think the price is low, we would buy the stock. After we bought the stock, the price went down and we became unhappy because we could not buy at the lowest price. On the other hand, when the price is high, we would sell the stock. After we sold the stock, the price went up and we also become unhappy because we could not sell at the highest price. Either way, there is a chance of disappointment and anguish. Even when we are right and make profit in trading a certain stock, the happiness will not last because we always want more.

What should we do then?

Mingyur Rinpoche gave this advice: “Let go but never give up!” It means that we should try to do our best to create the best condition but do not cling too tightly to the end result.

Like in the stock market, we study the market to our best ability, we make decision to buy or sell to the best of our knowledge, and then the market shows us whether we make profit or loss. Nobody profits all the time and nobody loses all the time.

In life, we also need to do our best. Sometimes we make right decisions, sometimes we make wrong ones. Even when our decision turns to be  wrong, we should learn to let go and learn from the experience. Remember that we are not right all the time and we are not wrong all the time.

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good, Bad? Who Knows!

On Chinese New Year while everybody else was having fun with family, I was not feeling well. I had a sore throat, headache and my body was feverish. I took a Panadol and sleep, hoping that the next day I would feel better.

The next day, I felt no better. I decided to go and see a doctor in the morning. Since the doctor was only a block away, I just walked there. When I arrived in front of the doctor’s clinic, I saw a “CLOSE” sign hanging in the window. “Aaah more bad news,” I thought.

Since the other doctor only practices in the evening, I decided to stay at home and rest. I was sleeping most of the time, only waking up to eat lunch. I didn’t even do my ritual of reading blogs on my notebook computer that morning because I couldn’t stand the glare from the screen.

That afternoon I was sleeping comfortably accompanied by the sound of heavy rain. The sky was quite dark, the air was cool. I thought, “What a perfect weather to stay at home and sleep!”

Suddenly my sleep was interrupted by the sound of loud crash! I thought, “Oh no…the maid who cleaned the house must have broken my new vase!” I quickly got out of bed to have a look. When I opened my bedroom door, this was what I saw:


The ceiling had collapsed and water was pouring on top of my desk like waterfall. It was basically raining inside my house! Water drenched my computer equipment, my chair, and my books! The collapsed ceiling was all over my work desk. I quickly jumped through all the debris and started pulling the plugs. (It was a dangerous thing to do with all the water flooding the whole area. I had a brief thought about the danger of being electrocuted, but somehow I still decided to do it). After pulling the plugs, I quickly grabbed my notebook bag and other bags from behind the desk. Then I started to worry about my books. Fortunately the design of the bookcase was such that the water couldn’t get in, it just flowed straight down outside the bookcase door.

After the crucial few minutes, the maids and workers came in and they started to help minimizing the damage. Two of the workers went up to check the drain and clear the blocked drainage so that the water stopped pouring inside the house. Everybody else was frantically busy to mop and clean the place. After about one to two hours, we finally finished cleaning the whole place.

While they were mopping the floor, I moved all my gadgets to another room and started to check the damages. Most of them were alright but I still spread them out and let them dry.

IMG-20110204-00159  IMG-20110204-00158

I didn’t even bother trying to save my printer, monitor, keyboard and networking equipment on top of the desk because they were really soaked!

What’s worse…I had two guests staying over at my place that night! I was sure that they were quite shocked to see the condition of my place. I was glad when they were very understanding and sympathetic. 

The aftermath….

I still went to the doctor that evening. After taking the medicine I felt so much better.

The next day, workers started to fix the ceiling and they worked real fast. Within three days, everything was back to normal.



Almost all of the gadgets and computer equipment work normally, even the monitor works! The printer also works again after a minor service. I thought the toner would be useless after getting drenched in water but they are still usable. The only thing that couldn’t be saved is my logitech dinovo keyboard.

Some afterthoughts:

  • Being ill that day was actually a good thing because I was home when the incident happened and I could save most of my electronic gadgets and equipment. If I wasn’t home, the maids and workers wouldn’t have known what to do and what to save.
  • It was a good thing that I was too sick to work because otherwise I could’ve been injured if I was sitting on my desk when the ceiling collapsed.  Moreover my notebook would have been on top of my desk and it would have been soaked wet and all my important data during the week lost.
  • I was able to remain relatively calm during the whole episode. I didn’t feel sad nor upset watching my things got soaked. I believe that it is attributable to my daily meditation practice. I was able to accept that things happened as it was. I was able to focus more on the solutions rather than the problems. 


Good, bad? Who knows?

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Doing The Right Thing

On August 5, 2010 I ordered some books from Amazon.com. I bought five books for USD 95 and the shipping cost was USD 30. The estimated delivery date was September 3, 2010.

By the end of September 2010, I still hadn’t received the books, so I contacted Amazon. They asked me whether I’d like to get a refund or to get the books sent again, this time by expedited shipment. I chose the latter. The new delivery date was November 04, 2010 for the three books that I ordered. The other two books were out of stock and had to be sent separately. They also said that if I had received the original shipment, I should have sent the books back to them.

I actually received the two books that were sent last earlier than the other three books because they sent them by DHL International without additional charge. The other three books I received in December 2010.
That’s not the end of the story…

Last week I received a notification letter from the post office that I had received a package from USA. It turned out to be the five books that were sent in August 2010. Those books finally arrived after more than 6 months.

Now I have two sets of books!

What should I do? I have three options:
  1. Keep the books without telling Amazon that I actually received them
  2. Send the books back to Amazon
  3. Inform Amazon that I received the books and pay for them
If it happened to you, what would you do?

Would you be tempted to take option no 1? Frankly, the thought crossed my mind! I know that it was not the right thing to do, but the temptation was there. It is impossible to prevent the thought from arising in our mind; the most important thing is being aware of the thought and decide what to do with it.

I decided to take option no 3. I informed Amazon.com that I received the books and I’d like to buy them. I asked them to waive the shipping cost and they agreed.

I chose no 3 because I did not want to bear the burden of guilt for not being honest. Although no one else would know if I had decided to take the books, there is one person who will always know, ME! I can’t hide nor run away from myself.

I do not share this story to brag about how virtuous I am, but I want to encourage more people to do the right thing when the situation arises.

Learn and Grow!
Inge Santoso, B. Com