Not change but transformation

Foto dario Lopez-MillsAP

The photo that accompanies this post is shot in Libya. It’s a picture of a gazelle, taken in a bombed part of Tripoli. When I started writing this post I thought the gazelle must be feeling afraid since she finds herself outside her comfort zone. Maybe the gazelle was feeling like me, uneasy with her new surroundings. But when I look closely the gazelle shows no fear, just alertness. She doesn’t seem to have a preference for the bushes or the destructed concrete.

The happiness that I experienced when my perspective on my new house shifted from ‘small apartment in a crappy neighbourhood’ to ‘exclusive pad in renovated monumental building with a long waiting list’ has nothing to do with true freedom. It is just a way of temporarily escaping feelings of inferiority. I find the freedom in the Libyan gazelle, who shows me what is important. She lives her life, abides in the present moment, is aware and alert, embraces her surroundings without judgment.

Letter from a survivor

Ivar Benjamin Østebø

Dear Anders Behring Breivik,

A lot of the friends I met at Utoya are dead and you are the perpetrator. You are the man who, by coincidence, didn’t kill me. I was lucky.

You might think that you have won. You might think that you have ruined something for the Labour Party and for people around the world who stand for a multicultural society by killing my friends and fellow party members.

Know that you have failed.

You haven’t only made the world stand together, you have set our souls on fire and should know we’ve never stood together as we do now. You talk about yourself as a hero, a knight. You are no hero. But you have created heroes. On Utoya that warm day in July, you created some of the greatest heroes the world has seen, you unified people from all over the world. Black and white, man and woman, red and blue, Christians and Muslims.

Yes, we can!

Pilgrimage to Lhasa

The last 13 days I have been fasting and meditating. In between I go running or work out. Some of my fellow retreat participants (who don’t fast or excersize) were impressed by this. My reaction is to say something that I slightly devaluating. “Oh well, it’s just something I like to do”. I wasn’t receiving them. Until yesterday when I suddenly realized “Hey, wait a minute! It is actually amazing how easy I just flick the switch to an extreme regime! And you know what, I can do that at will! I can will anything I want! I do have tremendous willpower!”. With that insight a huge amount of stories I have about myself can go overboard. Beliefs I hold on to like that I’m not good enough, that stuff just won’t work out for me: it’s just not true. I’m showing it to myself and I wasn’t even noticing. I can achieve anything I set my mind to. And all of a sudden I realize that I already came a long way.

When disaster strikes

Midwest Severe Weather

What I feel now when I look at the picture is a beautiful illustration of how the mind works, or my mind at least. We tend to not really want to look at our stuff. We rather deny or avoid the confrontation with what we don’t want to see. Everything in our Universe is always in flux, always changing. On the one hand we know that, on the other we fear that. We want things to stay the same. That gives us a sense of security.

But we have no guarantees. Even our brick houses can collapse under the force of a hurricane. Disaster can strike any moment. Our sense of security can vanish in a second.

The black wolf and the white wolf

White wolf and black wolf fighting

One of the children pops the question that puzzles him. “Grandfather, why do people fight?”. “Well” the old man replies “we all have two wolves inside us, you see. They are in our chest. And these wolves are contantly fighting each other”. The eyes of the children have grown big by now. “In our chests too, grandfather?” asks another child. “And in your chest too?” asks a third one. He nods, “yes, in my chest too”. He surely has their attention now. Grandfather continues. “There is a white wolf and a black wolf. The black wolf is filled with fear, anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and arrogance. The white wolf is filled with peace, love, hope, courage, humility, compassion, and faith. They battle constantly”. Then he stops. It’s the child that asked the initial question that can’t handle the tension anymore. “But grandfather, which wolf wins?”. The old Cherokee simply replies, “the one that we feed”.

Surrendering to the vine of the soul

ayahuasca

I get tired of being heart broken (what is still what I feel like these days). I don’t mean that metaphorically, I mean that literally. I costs me a lot of energy to feel pain, sadness and remorse over and over again. I often wonder if I’m exaggerating or that I’m abnormally sensitive or dramatic. Last week I spent another two full days struggling with facts that my ego finds painful or unacceptable. When I find myself in the middle of the storm it seems impossible to help myself. While my whole body aches, especially my heart (again: literally) the wise words I speak to myself don’t touch base at all. Then at some point, seemingly out of nowhere it flips and I feel space and love coming up.

What I am starting to learn that my experience of life when I’m in a state of surrender is radically different from when I’m in a state of resistance. Unfortunately for me it seems I cannot gently will myself into surrender, I only submit after serious battle. But what I find striking is that the experience I described in the previous paragraph was very similar to the experience I had in the ceremony.

Planet Earth will not stop turning when you give up deceiving yourself

Osho Zen Tarot - Fighting

Day in day out we are protecting ourselves. We are protecting ourselves from disappointment, judgment, pain, fear, failure and embarrassment. Keeping on a distance all the feelings and experiences we don’t want is a busy job. Of course our desire for protection influences our behavior. We bend, duck, dive and hide, it’s all justified in our quest for safety. Since we are already busy protecting ourselves from all these negative influences we might as well start shielding ourselves from love, success, intimacy and harmony. Just thinking of the pain we will experience when these states of mind will leave us again is unbearable. Better not loved at all then loved and lost.

11 reasons why you should unravel the secrets of your life

Mudra

Would you like to know what the secret is of living mindfully? Or don’t you even know what that means but you are curious? Do you want to find the doorway to inner peace and feel a Universal connectedness? Let me take you by the hand.

Take an upright position and straighten your back. It can be on your bed, in your chair on the couch or on the floor, wherever you are sitting right now with your laptop, smart phone or iPad. Now relax into this uplifted position, enjoy the goodness of sitting upright and having a straight spine for a couple of moments. This is you being you, feel the simplicity and the dignity of that.

Surrender

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.

6 things you always wanted to know about spiritual awakening

Holy Fire - Alex Grey 1987

This blog has been online now for about a week and I received from different people similar questions The questions were something along the lines of: “What is life like after an experience of transformation?”. I can tell you how it was for me. After the introduction I will try to answer a couple of those questions.

The spiritual language doesn’t really make sense until you have had some sort of mystical experience yourself. And before I had mine I felt huge resistance against people who spoke about “becoming whole”, “coming home”, “dropping the self” or “a deep letting go”. But after the experience I realized that these terms actually make a lot of sense…