In all the shamanic traditions in America, from Canada to Argentina, people call themselves warriors, because they are in a war against the parasite in the mind. That is the real meaning of a warrior. The warrior is one who rebels against the invasion of the parasite. The warrior rebels and declares a war. But to be a warrior doesn’t mean we always win the war; we may win or we may lose, but we always do our best and at least we have a chance to be free again.
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.
Some weeks ago fellow blogger and fellow contributor at Elephant Journal and The Good Men Project Kate Bartolotta rocked the internet with a post called “How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps”, harvesting some 96k or so shares on Facebook. And guess what? Her post doesn’t even tell you how to get flat abs! So forget about amazing sex and ruling the world. So I wondered what my newly restored flat abs could teach me. Let me share with you what Kate didn’t: the road to flat abs and inspiring the world with help of Nelson Mandela’s teachings.
As I just typed the title above this post I remember that I have written something about ‘the truth’ a little while ago. It is funny because I can’t remember what I wrote and am kind of tempted to look what I said. But I am also curious what will come out of me this time if I allow myself to be spontaneous. Immediately I feel 2 fears coming up: the fear to repeat myself and the fear to contradict myself. If I repeat myself I am boring and if I contradict myself I am unreliable. That is what I fear you will think of me. And to make it worse: I think you will read this and after having a negative experience you will go out and talk about it to other people. “Have you read what Atalwin said today? Jeez, isn’t that guy totally boring? No wonder he has no girlfriend”.
But being on the road is amazing. I never was into camping so I am completely unexperienced. Yesterday I drove from Sydney to Port Macquarie, some 400 km, of course assisted by the GPS. When I was in Port Macquairie I stopped for food. And I realized I should get ready for sleep. Now what? I certainly did not want to go to a camp ground. Everything is so expensive here and I wasn’t prepared to pay for just parking my van between other vans. So I opened Google Maps on my iPhone and dropped a pin at a little peninsula; the place where the lighthouse turned out to be located.
After ‘waking up’ in 2004 the whole chain of cause and effect that lead to the creation of my particular ego and finally the deconstruction of it became instantly clear to me. One way to describe that event was that my ego structure was put under an extreme amount of stress and finally received a final blow that made the structure collapse. It had to endure a mixture of extreme anger, humiliation and rejection that lead to ultimate despair and finally a surrender. Seconds after my ego collapsed I realized it was the greatest blessing a human being can receive. An enormous truth that was hidden in my subconscious was revealed to me. It made me realize that all the blows I had received in my life were necessary to bring me to the breaking point.
Then I realized: it really is more about the journey than the destination. The fun and the excitement were in the finding of the way, driving on a fast scooter on the wrong side of the road (Thai drive left, like the British), feeling the freedom and a bit of adrenaline and experiencing the people. Just like taking the wrong route in the Himalayas was a great experience, even though I never reached the destination I had in mind. I feel the same way about my attempt to meet Khru Phra Ba: the experience had a different outcome then expected but everything until now has been a journey, from the moment I decided to visit him until now, in the bus to Bangkok from where I will fly to Koh Samui (and take a fast catamaran to Koh Pangan).
What I am finding is that leaving my comfort zone and going out, exploring the unknown broadens my horizons. There is always something new to discover. From going rock climbing to trying mysterious street food (I accidently chose something with chicken livers and kidneys and it actually tasted nice) to renting a scooter or visiting the temple of a remarkable monk: it all opens up new possibilities and annihilates preconceived ideas. And it is the losing of the preconceived ideas that bring the freedom.
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.
Istanbul is a beautiful city. First of all it is enormous, and it is diverse, eclectic, busy, green, old and very Islamic. Turkey is supposed to be a secular country but it doesn’t feel like that. Like in all the other Islamic countries visited you will hear a call to prayer coming from the mosques five times a day. Speakers in the top of the minarets amplify the sound so the sound carries a long way. In Istanbul the call to prayer is louder here than in any other Islamic country I visited. It is the only country I have been where you can’t continue your conversation.
That is paradoxical because I don’t see the mosques being flooded with devotees here. I mean, in Egypt you see virtually all the men rushing to the mosques. And if they can’t make it, you will see them pray in the back of their shops or on the street. It feels like there is a completion going on: many loudly ignore the loud call.