A few years ago, while visiting some friends in the province of Pangasinan, I visited a beach resort in San Fabian, near Dagupan.
That beach is definitely not the best possible in the country but it was the closest possible to where I was staying.
While walking on the beach, I observed a rather unusual scene for the Philippines: a man was basking in the water alone and was staring at the horizon in a state of contemplation.
The reason why I say that the scene was quite unusual is because Filipinos prefer connecting to reflecting.
Filipinos are highly gregarious and spend most of their time connecting with people and, as I’ve said a few times, solitary meditation is pretty rare.
Quiet contemplation is the fuel of inner peace and peace within creates peace without.
Inner calm is rarely the product of always socializing, chit-chatting and gossiping.
When you meditate alone and wonder at the majesty of nature you realize how unimportant and pointless it is to get stuck in arguments. You ponder over the deepest stuff of life and resentments, conflicts, the need to be right and argue take a back seat because the majesty of nature is so overwhelmingly beautiful that the little ego that needs conflicts and enemies can hardly thrive.
Filipinos are known for their balat sibuyas attitude and many of them quickly vent on others and this can definitely happen in a marriage with a Filipina.
I believe that one of the reasons is an excessive amount of socializing not just physically but also online that leaves little room for solitude.
The antidote against high emotionalism is doing what the man I saw in Pangasinan was doing.
I don’t know what brought him there to meditate. Perhaps he had just lost a loved one, maybe he had just been told by his doctor that he was ill, I don’t know.
I just know that I carefully observed how this man spent a few hours in sheer stillness and contemplation and that blew my mind because I had never seen a similar scene before in the hectic Philippines