On Experience – and the Duty to Ourselves

[ it has been a while since I last wrote and here is a portion of it – I have been to paradise, lived the eternity in two weeks (gotta say I was even lucky  for that!) and in all this have learned to be better at accepting the fact that moments come and go – long-awaited encounters leave you empty-handed and with a bittersweet taste in your mouth – it was yesterday when you had looked up at the sky and thanked the universe with all your heart. yet – you were aware that time has a duty – it goes fast when you don’t pay too much attention – and even when you do, it teaches you to be grateful for every moment – including for yesterday -even if today your universe is falling apart. sometimes we learn in a hard way but the important thing is that the lesson is there – that love is within and everywhere – eternity is now –  and the sky is the witness of our echo – an echo as an act of love. and love has no end – it flows through storms and drought. ]

‘The flute of the infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is love.  When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth’. Kabir

It is true that things are transitory. It is also true that in a Disquieted Universe where we lose ourselves in roles, thoughts and external forms, where we are sucked in an avalanche of possibilities and games of power – we tend to identify with them and lose our true perception of what REALLY matters. We lose perception of the truth.

Learn to remember

We forget – we forget to look inwards, to connect and once that connection is lost, we are stuck in this vicious circle where we search for approval, for meaning and ultimately for love and completion.

We forgot that these things did not matter. In our pursuit for happiness, we have dropped the only thing that mattered and that we have unconditionally- to experience, to understand ourselves.

There is a common misconception that we have lost something, that we are incomplete hence we are looking for the missing part. Yet it is not clear to us that in this search we mirror what we lack and hence we will get back the same.

Evolution of Self

Evolution means to understand who we are and to let go of all the conditioning,  see behind the identities and roles we are taught to play since we are toddlers.

It can be the ability to have a self-fulfilling answer to ‘Who am I’ – that ranges beyond looks, rank or status and above nationality, colour or religion. Once you are free of all these social constructs – you are left with one sole thing – love.

Yet, you cannot know love unless you live it. Same as you cannot have a profound knowledge of something you only know at the theoretical level. Here, by love, I don’t intend the search for the ideal, perfect union or partner – but the experience of it inside out. On the outside, it is in the small things, daily, as an act of perpetual curiosity, faith and good-will. On the inside, it is the patience, the support and the compassion that we should nourish ourselves with, regardless of how society or others’ expectations might rule.

Experience and freedom

Experience in this sense is (at least for how I understand it) also the space you allow yourself to deal with that baggage you are carrying – it is the making of it light again and the ability to make small steps every day in that encounter with yourself. Because yes, when we want, we are our worse enemy. Yet when we create that space within, when we are capable to rule our universe, when we are aware of our emotions, roles and work towards not identifying with them – that is the true experience of the self. Then we are free.

‘To see the world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower – hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.’ William Blake

On Creativity – and Living Your Dream

 

For some time now I have been trying to ‘cook’ an article in my head however it did not want to come into form. Not that I did not find a topic nor that I could not put my thoughts together – but because it was not yet time. As a really great woman I have met put it – ‘ you need to nurture in order to create’. Creation needs food. So I have decided to let my imagination and my thoughts play a little. Maybe this article is for you, or maybe you have surpassed these moments. Either way, it is a good time to remind you of the well-known words of William Ernest Henley in his poem – ‘Invictus’:

“It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul. “

Everything has its time, its season – and as long as you are faithful and you are trusting yourself, it will come. Writing for me is that – a sort of release, like something that grows day by day and eventually, needs to be let out. In a way, it is a sort of duty to myself –  it is the ‘creation’ I want to see into being since I like sharing my thoughts. Maybe it could be also that I cannot see myself NOT writing – that keeps me gathering all this nurture I feel sharing. It is, after all, an act of inner freedom – it renders me peace and builds my strength and self-confidence. It makes me the observer- it is indeed, my way of meditation.

Now, I wanted to ask you a question – have you ever thought about your dream? Or maybe I should first ask – do you think dreams come true?  How about LIVING your dream? How about maybe seeing yourself as THE creator of your dream-life – and not let yourself be taken from one day to the other as if waiting for something to happen?

I am not talking about miracles here. I am only underlining that it is all a matter of attitude. It is just as easy as that- how about you wake up and decide that it will be THE day for you – that whatever you will have to put up with, however common and monotonous your days are – you will do your best to notice the small things that you never noticed, always took for granted and got used to? How about you smile more often, take more pictures, talk to strangers, caress a cat or simply admire the sun? You know, like when you watch a series and you cannot wait to see the next episode. Can you see your life like that? Can you jump out of bed in the morning and think how lucky you are for the life you are living?

Maybe all these questions may seem too much altogether, however you should start with small steps. Me – I learned that I should first look for what is not working, make sure I understand it and then maybe accept what needs to be changed – and then see where that leads me. (one good example is smoking – which I am working at right now – it has been a long process yet I am progressing heheh). We all have our ins and outs, good days, bad days and THE worst days, however, I learned that complaining or bringing in the negative will not lead me anywhere. I also learned that doubt is normal, and so is everything else that we would so much want out of our lives – such as pain, anger, despair, loneliness or injustice. Still, despite the fact that we are all humans, we should know how to address these aspects of ourselves and feed only the ones that are positive.

One thing I would love to have is a magic wand to deal with doubt – when there is that need for certainty, when that seed of doubt comes into the picture, when there is that voice in my head that does not answer to my questions – and sometimes I have to admit but I have doubts whether I should start another book or just jump in the next train to…somewhere. Well – there is good news about this. I guess that we only learn while doing. So I have decided to make errors. I have decided to be sure of something rather than wonder ‘how it would have been like?’. While you act on your inner drive, when you will make mistakes or maybe you will discover the best thing that could have happened to you – just keep these in mind – ‘ who are you ‘ and ‘ what are you doing here?’

Oh – and I have to tell you something else- you know what is the best practice to get better at this ‘question – answer’ thingy? It is silence and being with your thoughts. Meditation (in any of its forms) with no distraction. Indulging into your thoughts, you will slowly start working on your intuition and short insights will come to you as an answer to matters that have been occupying your mind. It is the sort of mental hygiene that each and every one of us should do. Indeed, if we would do this as often as we tidy our room or our working desk we would most probably lead a much more happy life.

It takes time, of course, it takes time, patience and determination – yet – I have to remind you again – you are your own creator.

You Are The Creator of Your Own Life. 

Trust that you will do a good job at it.

Until next time,

alex

by the rough shores

She walks on narrow streets

Roaming with people

Everything seems so empty

In this floating city…

Empty eyes, burned cheekbones

Wild looks and languages

That are strangled by expired words

Which are out of hope.

By the rough shores

The waves still speak though

They speak of unfamiliar poems

Dialects that were put to die and

Dreams that were not even born.

Rough and surreal

Untold stories are dancing in the abys

Waiting to be heard…

But one day, carried by the wind

They will rise and they will

Create a new sky

Filled with sunshine and blue…

A glowy sea

At the shores of a lighthouse

Called love.

The First Step is The Challenge – Discovering Vipassana

Sun is shining and while the thermometer shows 28 degrees (again – always!:)) I am sipping from my coffee and scrolling on my facebook page. In so doing I saw a quote from two years ago –  ‘Although the road is never ending, take a step and keep walking, do not look fearfully into the distance. on this path let the heart be your guide for your body is hesitant and full of fear.’ I immediately made the connection – I wrote it just before I went on to do the Vipassana retreat in Dehradun, India – the first time that I have been in a retreat and of course, the moment when I experienced this technique of meditation for the first time. And what a discovery it was. Two years ago I have found something more precious than any treasure – I have found myself, I have found peace within, I have found the way to go back there, to that place I long forgotten and the encounter was so, so dear to me.

Today I celebrate once more the opportunity I was given and I am so deeply grateful for it. I first read about a silence retreat in (be ready to be surprised) ‘Eat Pray Love’ – well for me being in silence for so long was such a blissful opportunity- then there was a friend from England that when he heard I will go to India he recommended to do a Vipassana retreat as well as an Introduction to  Buddhist Philosophy (they do not connect and the Vipassana technique is not practiced in the other). That was all I knew – I took note of it it is true but I was actually focused on a project with a so thought to be a friend that failed graciously and beside a good amount of money, I have lost a friend and with that my confidence in people was a bit shaken. I have found myself all alone, with no plans and kind of apathetic – then the idea of the retreat came to my mind. I was actually at that point – with the turn of events – that I was seeking a refuge. I needed some time to regain that trust, the values and the trust that I have lost. I also wanted to get a grip of what did just happen and where did I go wrong.

So I went – with my heart open and there was no moment when I wanted to leave or give up. I came out of it not completely changed – but for sure, something in me changed and I knew that nothing will be the same again. And I am not saying this for the sake of the beautiful, comforting words, but because I have understood that my life was under control now, that I have the tool to deal with it. There was a line or two from the movie that still resonate in my mind – ‘You will get your life back again – you will learn to value it!’ like a prophecy that came true. Because yes – once I was done, I was so joyous and extraordinarily THERE – to enjoy every moment, to stop seeking the future but to be in the moment, that it felt like the time moved slower. I was present and I was happy to enjoy every little small thing like a tuk tuk drive or a piece of freshly made paratha.

I even remember that when I arrived in Rishikesh, I was shocked to see the streets packed with announcements with different healing methods, courses, trainings when I came out of a place where my only distractions were sleeping, eating, meditating, walking and washing. At that time it seemed like a cry of despair. It felt like we have really lost touch with ourselves and keep on looking – as we have been for ages – to the outside in order to fix the inside. Well – the equanimity came in and help me with that too! I understood then again that finding your own truth will not dismiss someone else’s and although I was so happy and joyful to share it with everyone, not everyone was ready to listen – not everyone was ready to accept or to put it into practice. OR better said – not everyone had a butt to sit on and spend some time with him/herself.

Conclusion is – that in the end, we all walk our own path, carry our own burdens, and while we can always make our own choices there is still something we should all learn and practice – to be open. To learn from the richest as well as from the poorest, to listen and to give up to the judgements and preconceptions. To accept that we are not the same. To be more compassionate as we don’t know what hides behind this well carved mask called body. To do things differently because this will expand our mind.

Each has its own way indeed and while ones will take longer, others a little less, we should all reach there.

Wish you a LOVEly day!