Aligning with life, Tirta Empul part II


This is the domain of the heart, the soul and the divine. This experience is what is meant with basic goodness. It is in all of us but we cannot posess it, we can experience it but we cannot grasp it. This is why I feel that it is of absolute importance to do this stuff even when the rational mind cannot grasp it (or especially when the rational mind cannot grasp it): it is an opportunity to reconnect with our innate basic goodness. Experiencing that goodness feels so good and so true that it doesn’t matter what the judgments of the ego are about the weirdness of the things we need to to do to find that place. Breathe, pray, stretch yourself like a dog (downward), or submerse yourself in holy water, it’s ok. It is more than ok, it is fundamentally good. For you, for me, for others, for the planet. Because it aligns us with life.

The miracle of Tirta Empul

Michael Henskens en Atalwin na het ritueel

Today was again special day. We got up early to go to a sacred place and meditate there. The name of the temple was Tirta Empul and it was about 30 minutes driving with the motorbikes. The idea was to get there before the many tourist filled busses would arrive. But even though we were later than expected we were also a bit too early. We wandered around the complex, feeling a bit lost because there was nothing (no signs, no brochures, no guides) to give us some explanation or direction. So we decided to leave and go find the waterfalls that were mentioned in the Lonely Planet to take a swim.


Surrender to Thy Will

Just a couple of moments ago she walked up my balcony and give me a long and warm hug. She shared with me tht she went to a spa this morning where she had a massage. During this massage she had started crying. She hadn’t cried in over a year. Now she came over to thank me. She also told me she that it felt scary and dislodging but also real and right. Her eys were softer and her breathing relaxed and deep. She felt that this was only the beginning. But she told me she knew what to do: to surrender.

She just made my day. I love these little miracles. Thank you.

Pulp fiction, on special request

Pulp Fiction

These are the first words that I type but you will probably not find them in the beginning of this post. I’m trying to fulfill the special request of my best buddy B. to not start with the introduction of – what he calls – a ‘problem’, followed by some sort of resolution and ends with a conclusion. It was the word ‘problem’ that triggered me to write this post. There is some judgment there, and dividing the world in right and wrong, good and bad, positive and negative is exactly how we create and maintain the illusion we are living in.

Just get out of the way

Woman meditating on Bali beach

We find our truth in our hearts. In the beginning it’s a bit hard to find because thoughts are distracting us. But if you sit upright and concentrate on your breathing for a couple of moments and just observe the breath flowing in and out you will probably find a sense of ok-ness, of acceptance, of relaxation. What you are experiencing is not the effect of a technique, there is nothing artificial about it. What you are experiencing is the real you, you are experiencing yourself as a source of acceptance and relaxation. You are the source! The mind clutter is the fabrication, and obeying the mind clutter is what makes you artificial. How about that for a paradigm shift? Do you now see why every wisdom tradition encourages some sort of meditation? Otherwise we stay stuck in the realm of thoughts and thinking. We need to go beyond.

The beauty of weakness


I’m intrigued by the words ‘”how to make impermanence your friend”. I am offered an opportunity ‘’to free myself from false notions of security’. That sounds good. It also means there is nothing to count on. I can’t count on my body, health or strenght (not even Mike, who now lies passed out beside me), I can’t count on relationships to last forever nor on my ‘’true love’ to wait for me. The only thing I can do is surrender to this very moment and appreciate what it has to offer me. Right now I’m learning what it feels like to be weak. It’s quite beautiful actually. It feels tender and vulnerable.

A Sincere Voice

Des Hommes et des Dieux

It is nice to find awareness in unexpected places. In a newspaper, for example. In today’s Volkskrant I found a background story behind a new movie “Des Dieux Et Des Hommes”. It depicts the true story of seven Trappist monks who choose not to flee from their remote Algerian monastery when the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) Muslim order the exile of all foreigners in 1996. The brave monks do not want leave the Algerian villagers behind, with whom they have been living for decades and for who the monastery serves as a hospital. The expected consequence is that they will be killed. And that’s what happened.

In the newspaper article the 73 year old Brother Armand Veilleux is interviewed. This Belgian monk was the last one who saw his fellow monks alive. Now what I would like to share today is not about the movie (although I believe we all should see it) but the words of this monk. He tells the journalist that he was very much against the idea of making a movie about this terrible incident but feels that “the result is excellent”. “It is a very correct vision on what happened there. I think it is wise that the director doesn’t make implications about who killed the brothers. Indirectly, the movie will contribute to finding the one’s who are guilty”.

The wounded healer

Bruce Lee

Every now and then you meet somebody extraordinary. I met him in a park in Paris. I was in Paris for a week of zen training at l’Association Dana, the official name of the zen center of my teacher Genno roshi (which is actually just her house that she makes available for students and practice). After the sesshin of last week had finished, I had some time for myself to walk around the city. We met each other in Buttes Chaumont. After coming home in Amsterdam yesterday I decided to write about the fascinating story of my fellow follower of the Way M.