The first night I arrived here in Malaysia, I was laying in my bed with my hands on my heart—and there were tears percolating in my eyes...I felt deeply touched.
Something within my being was receiving a nourishment that I have not drank from in a long time. Something that I have rarely experienced in my Western culture, but only through living and being immersed in Eastern culture.
The experience of true selflessness, family, connection, unity, caring, generosity, giving, and being received into my Malaysian sister's family house was like coming home to something so vital, essential and healthy—that is severely lacking in our Western civilization.
Many of us are starving for true connection and the basic feeling of belonging. And I would say that most people probably don’t even realize or see what is missing, since its considered so normal to live alone, or be by oneself, which is deeply embedded.
In our Western culture, there is a glorification of 'being independent'. It's ingrained in us from such a young age, and is rooted and stamped into the fiber of our bones, that we must be independent at all costs, and that there is nothing worse then to 'depend on others'.
It's somehow seen as weak, powerless and denigrated to rely on others; where in Asia being interdependent is normal and a pivotal aspect of their culture that values family at the forefront.
The asian mentality is that family comes first. The western mentality is prized on the individual and being an individual.
And we have lost so much through this hyper-individualization.
So many of us in the western world are isolated, alone, experiencing this disconnection and separation—that stems from the destabilization of the family structure.
When the family unit collapses, or is not intact, it creates a sense of "fend for yourself, and survival instinct that kicks in". When the family system and structure collapses, it weakens everyone.
There is a great power in family, community, unity and group culture being honoured for the value it provides in terms of nourishment for our mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions of growth.
Asians see the unity and interconnection between our body, mind, heart and soul. It's at the root of Chinese medicine.
Whereas in our western world, there is a perceived dichotomy which comes from our severely inherent disconnection and separation from wholeness.
The disconnection so much interweaved within our system, expresses itself as the separation of the body, mind and spirit in western medicine and many other components of our daily life.
What I have always loved and appreciated in Asia, is an inherent reverence for the sacred and embodied spirituality that the whole is permeated in.
Even when I lived in Japan when I was 22 years old, I couldn’t believe how deeply spiritual the majority of Japanese people are, and how they live spirituality in a way that western society has forgotten. They don’t even have to talk about spirituality, because many simply and naturally embody and live it.
In contrast, I experience our current western world devoid of the sacred. An alienated, production oriented, fast paced, individual culture that only knows bight neon lights, and has forgotten the qualities of the soul, and a simple and natural refinement.
In my experience, spirituality is deeply lived and included in the greater wholeness of Asia.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons I have always felt that many aspects of asian culture are much healthier than western society—and why as a general observation I see asians as much healthier overall then westerners. They also have a cleaner energetic field in many cases I have witnessed through cross cultural living and deep introspection into collective fields and energetic signatures.
And we see the predominance and rise of mental illness in our western world, which has become a very mental mind oriented society and culture that neglects and denigrates the qualities of the heart (ie the feminine).
When the qualities of the heart, and an integrated healthy emotional intelligence and embodiment is dismissed - we see the repercussions in forms of mental illness.
Psychological misalignments stem from emotional imbalances, disturbances and pain. When not fully met in the heart, and fully felt and experienced, it can manifest as symptoms in the psyche. Hence the growing rise of many imbalances in the mind, that have their origin on the emotional dimension, that were not able to be processed.
This is another reason why hypermasculinization exists in our western world, and doesn’t exist in Asian cultures—because there is more an integration of the heart and qualities and values of the feminine yin nature that are honored here.
In asian culture, the strong solid unit of the family, provides a safe container and structure for maturation and growth. They are able to build a strong foundation, and build a healthy integrated self in many cases from a healthy relational network.
I also experience asian women to be embodying a healthy feminine essence and nature, that nourishes the family, and integrates qualities of the heart—whereas many western woman are deeply conditioned from our hypermasculized society, and operate as men, forgetting and going against their natural feminine essence and nature. ie qualities of receptivity, empathy, compassion, softness, gentleness...etc.
These are some of my insights, revelations, observations and reflections from the past few days here in Kuala Lumpur, along with living in Japan for 1 year, living in South Korea for 1 year, living in Indonesia for 6 months and spending a lot of time in Asia the past 7 years…
For myself, many of these insights is why I have always felt more at home in Asia then the Western way of living, and why I have always had strong and close friendships with asians…
Spending time in Asia, is what has allowed me to come back home to myself, and remember, what is truly healthy, wholesome and integrated—and to see the current fragmentation, disconnection and isolation that is pervading much of the earth at this time, especially in our western world, with fresh eyes and a deeper perception.