Row, row, row your boat


What’s on my mind? I feel rested and ready for a new trip. Today I will go to Nubra Valley. The things we do are alternatives for the ‘real trekking’ because the mountain passes are not open yet. This is a bit of a bummer but also not because I don’t know what these treks are like so I don’t know what I am missing. I have let go of the idea that I can or must see everything two weeks after the start of my journey.

Yesterday I visited a monastery and an old royal palace. I both place there were huge statues of the future Buddha Maitreya. It was impressive. Also the locations of these buildings are pretty impressive: always on the most impossible top of some mountain. I don’t know why. Maybe because of strategical reasons, maybe because they didn’t want to make it too easy on themselves. But the places are certainly powerful and the views are overwhelming.

The Master Within or: How to Feed a Holy Cow

Holy cow food

A Holy Cow ate the book I wrote about yesterday today. I assume the cow attained Enlightenment instantaneously after completely devouring the collected encounters of one of the highest yogi’s with the saints and masters he met during his life. When I came back to my meditation cushion I found only the cover still intact. The other moment was when I opened my eyes because I felt something and there was an Indian guys prostrating in front of me, touching my feet and wanting my blessing. This is described many times in “The Autobiography of a Yogi” as the way one respectfully approaches his guru. Let it be clear: I didn’t see this one coming.

If this were again the Universe teaching me, what would it mean? Why can’t I finish the book I was halfway reading? And why mistook the devote Hindu me for a guru/ teacher/ something else spiritual or holy?

The fear of death

Every plunge in the unknown without a safety net confronts us consciously or unconsciously with our fear of death. When you are really honest with yourself you will almost always end up there. That’s why it is so hard to leave our comfort zone and that’s why we don’t like to be in a vulnerable position. I saw this for the first time in 2004, just after my awakening experience. I was still fighting for the relationship that was falling apart. My heart had opened, I had changed tremendously overnight and I could ‘see’ all my previous ignorance. In my eyes this was a very good reason to take me back but for my girlfriend at the time this change in behavior was suspect and creepy enough to threaten to call the police if I would ever talk to her again. I was devastated. I friend of mine told me to stop fighting. I told him I couldn’t. He asked me why. I told him that I had been fighting all my life. Then I said “when I stop “they” will beat me to death”. This was the underlying fear. This was the first time I saw that fear of death was under my behavior. All my behavior was fear driven and under all my fears was fear of death. I was not just fighting for my relationship; I was fighting for survival.
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I have taken the jump. I’m flying from Frankfurt to Athens now. I left Amsterdam at 11.00 this morning. I have no idea what is ahead of me. The idea of being away from home for a whole year is still unimaginable. It feels like I have released the inevitable. Something is set in motion that is bigger than me and outside of my control. I feel scared, sad, vulnerable and accepting. There is nowhere to hide. Whatever wants to hit, hurt, penetrate or embrace me can touch me. I’m defenseless.
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What if?

Birth of Fear

The idea is great. I should venture into the world with an open heart, offer whatever I have to offer. Be it in writing articles, coaching people online or giving cool workshops wherever I go. Social media will be how the Universe manifests. You, my audience, can follow me and become involved. You can share my stuff, connect me with inspiring people, hire me or help. PayPal will offer the opportunity to make big or small donations. By constantly updating my site with new insights and adventures and you reading and sharing we will create a snowball. Good things will happen to when we start spreading goodness, this adventure will create its own momentum. That’s the theory.

But what if it doesn’t work? What if the whole Universe turns against me?

A sense of urgency

The tricky thing is: to awaken means to die first. If you are not prepared to die and are obsessed with your own survival don’t expect others to let go of their ideas about security and freedom.

My friend told me: “When the systems crash we need people like you. Because we will not fall back into the middle ages. We will have a developed society without guidance. We know what mechanisms brought us down. New forms of leadership will emerge. We need the warriors you are talking about. They have to show us a new paradigm for living. They have to show us how to live from the heart. That’s why we need you to go on your journey and that’s why we need your book.” You are not convinced? Let me illustrate it once again. Michael Franti performed on Occupy Amsterdam. He gave a free performance to the protesters. In the video below you see an interview with him where he voices to problems beautifully and eloquently. A true warrior he is, a man who united and not divides. Listen to him when he sings. And then pay special attention to the cheering of the protestors when the song is over. They are no different than the bankers that they react against. Let’s appreciate the complexity of the issues at hand. We must be willing to look at ourselves first before we judge the other. The sooner the better. Now.

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It is not about the wisdom, it is about the realness (and I am like a goldfish)


I have been blogging on this website for a little over four months now. For me writing is a way to practice openness and sincerity. I give voice to what is alive in me at the very moment of typing. That means I hardly ever know what I will write about when I sit down. I just observe what comes up and type it down. It is a practice of courage as well as I find it often scary to publish what goes on in my heart and soul. But by doing it anyway I make you, the reader, a witness of my inner journey and an accomplice on my spiritual path. I trust that this is a good thing but quite often I doubt that too.

Open letter mysteriously disappeared from Genpo’s wall

Genpo Merzel on his Harley

It has been 4 full days since I posted my ‘open letter to my teacher Genpo Merzel’. Because I wasn’t sure if Genpo read the letter himself I send him an email, informing him about it, giving him the link and inviting him to respond. Yesterday morning I received an email back from him asking me to send him the letter as an email as he could not open the link. I send him a pdf file at 12.43. pm. At 5.14 pm Pausha Foley posted a comment on my blog “Your post was removed from Genpo’s wall – did you remove it, or does Genpo censor his wall to show only positive feedback?”

And you know what? I don’t care so much. The post could have been removed by accident, by technical failure, for political or commercial or out of fear or anger, by Genpo himself or by a third person. I just don’t know.

Open letter to my teacher Genpo Merzel

Atalwin receives Jukai from Genpo Roshi

From the moment I heard the news about your disrobing because of an affair with your student and Dharma successor KC I knew I wanted to write you an open letter. But it is now three days later and I still don’t know what to say. It is not that I don’t have anything to say but the topic, the person whom I’m speaking to (you, my teacher) and others who can (and probably will) read this (like senior members from the sangha) make me feel fearful. I guess I fear the judgments of others and I feel the fear of feeling humiliated for saying or doing something stupid. My initial reaction is to shut up meanwhile brooding on what I want to say until the momentum is over.

Bali nuisances for the ego


If you are hedonistic or even narcissistic, maybe a bit insecure or have some false feelings of superiority about this or that and you want to leave it that way, then I have some advice for you: don’t go traveling with somebody who is a professional personal trainer who takes his job very serious. Yes, even when on holidays. “But where does this advice come from?” you ask. Well, as a matter of fact I’m making this mistake as we speak. Ok, I learn a lot. But that is about the only upside there is. Let me give you few examples about the hardships I go through.