This website and my works central theme is warriorship and human bravery. “The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything” said Chögyam Trungpa, the great Tibetan spiritual teacher that I like to study and often use as a source of inspiration. When I looked through the pics below I was reminded to his words. There is so much beauty and sadness in the pictures and at the same time so much love and bravery that it reminds us of our humanity, our diversity and our obligation to ourselves and others to not give up on opening our hearts and taking care of each other.
Many people think that meditation is just a bunch of relaxation techniques. You might even look forward to a course where you can chill out on a black cushion on Sunday mornings, surrounded by nice and calm people. After your session you walk out and enjoy the autumn sun. But it gets a bit more difficult when you realize that you need to apply the principles of spiritual practice unconditionally. And when you turn the light inwards you might see that you are not living the harmonious life you thought you were living.
That afternoon the clouds returned, but this time she did not want to possess any of them. She could see the beauty of each cloud, and she was able to welcome all of them. When a cloud came by, she would greet him or her with loving kindness. When that cloud wanted to go away, she would wave to him or her happily and with loving kindness. She realized that all clouds are her.
Eran Efrati, 28, was born and raised in Jerusalem. After graduating high school he enlisted in the IDF, where he served as a combat soldier and company sergeant in Battalion 50 of the Nachal Division. He spent most of his service in Hebron and throughout the West Bank. In 2009, he was discharged and joined Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers working to raise awareness about the daily reality in the Occupied Territories.
The world is on fire. Three days ago a plane filled with primarily Dutch tourists was shot out of the sky by pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine, a week or so ago Hamas and the IDF went to mini-war against each other and ISIS is doing their best to cause death and destruction in Syria and Iraq. Due to the new function on Facebook to play videos without clicking on them in combination with the many contacts I have in the Arab world and their habit to show death from close up I can now see beheadings and executions first thing in the morning, today combined with dead Palestinian children and the bodies and body parts of my countrymen in a desolate field somewhere in the Ukraine.
Yesterday I saw a documentary “In de rij voor Anne Frank” (Cueing For Anne Frank). I live close to the house where Anne Frank and her family spend 2 years in hiding during WWII and I see the long line of visitors almost every day. A documentary maker interviewed people in the cue, asking people what Anne Frank meant to them. The result was moving, fascinating, inspiring and impressive. 70 years after her unjust death in a concentration camp the hope filled diary of a 14 year old Jewish girl in a hopeless situation still has a powerful impact on thousands of people.
I am back. I decided to be back. The last couple of weeks I was avoiding writing somewhat. I felt bored with writing about myself, the struggles and the little insights that may or not come. I had to deal with a major disappointment and as we all know entering an introspective process when feeling all screwed up and betrayed are very favorable conditions for insights to be dug up. This time I dealt with it old-school: I told nobody and just hid inside my bedroom for a day, watching Breaking Bad as therapy.
I must admit: it was insightful.
Being on a zen retreat is weird. It is not that it feels like you become unstable but it feels like being stirred up. That is how I feel. Did I feel so quiet last night and bloodthirstily angry yesterday afternoon, this morning I feel a lump of sadness that I cannot really explain. Or better: that I can’t explain at all.
I woke up this morning from something very close to a nightmare. I was in a situation were I felt very betrayed and disheartened by somebody dear to me and the people who seemed to be kind to me and wanted to help me ‘get over it’ were people who betrayed me in the past. To be sad in the proximity of people who hurt me before felt unsafe and to find out that they tried to help me was confusing. I wanted to believe they had good intentions but I knew I should be careful.
Now I want you to watch this video. Dustin Hoffman shares an insight he got from making the 1982 movie “Tootsie”.
In preparation of the movie wherein he plays a man who poses as a woman he explores with makeup artists the possibility of turning him into a believable woman. The makeup artists turn him into a woman but not a woman that he as a man would find attractive. He does not meet his physical expectations and standards and he realizes he would never approach himself on a party. He says: “there are too many interesting women I did not have the experience to know in this life because I have been brain washed”.
The video is beautiful and touching. And it hit home. I realized that I probably would have never noticed the girl I am seeing tonight if she wasn’t attractive.