“You pass through life like early morning…”


Sakura Blossom

Dreaming, not waking 

Early morning breezes tickle,

Dandelions dance.


       Amidst many changes in my life I am called to write. There is a certain kind of feeling experienced when you leave everything behind for a completely new path. It’s a feeling like floating on a wave – not quite awake, not quite asleep, dreaming, not waking. Every moment is full of endless potential. But, then again, isn’t it anyway? It is in these times of transition that we find ourselves – our real, true, unbiased, no-illusions, self. We tend to find that the Self is completely unlimited. That, in fact, there isn’t a Self, definable as such, but a series of comings-and-goings. A kind of desperate plea for uncertainty. At first, it feels liberating. You have no responsibilities, nothing in your name, no job to get to, no school, or family, or friends calling for your attention. Everything is just space. Everything is limitless. Driving over the mountains, clearly endless blue skies above us, we felt as though we were on top of the world. We had 14 hours of homelessness, in one of the most beautiful parts of this country. The air is so much fresher all these miles above the busy cities and refineries. It’s almost too easy to forget all of this modern world.

       Forgetting is what our minds want to do. It is the easy way out of responsibility. Caring is difficult. Caring takes time and attention and energy, none of which are easily replenished as every action takes time to see the result. Caring can be overwhelming. Up here, on top of the world, there is nothing to care about. It is here where I experience true release, true happiness. You see children smiling for no reason at all, smiling at the smell of the flowers and the songs of the birds and the feel of the air against their skin. It is up here that I can truly say I understand what they are smiling for. The sun feels so close and so warm, and time slows down.

       It has been one full week since we experienced that. It didn’t take long for the 14 hours to pass and for us to take the seemingly short descent into the valley that we now call home. You see the city before you see the ocean, all lights and busy people. It is like waking from an existential dream of non-duality. The experience is much like taking that first step out of a retreat hall and onto a busy street. It’s a bit overwhelming, but you’re lucky, because you have all this stored up happy energy from the experience of release. This stored-up energy allows you to see the new landscape with fresh eyes, non-judging and compassionate. You make it through the busy city, as your new home lies on the far side, only blocks away from the vast, free ocean. You get here unscathed, still holding that happy, light energy close to your heart. This energy had permeated your whole body, and it lifted you to a lightness that was like you had become a cloud. The flowing and pulsing dance of wind and life-energy still coursed through you, with you, as you.

       As you enter your new home and proceed with all the formalities, you take a deep breath, and feel suddenly dizzy with realization. The search you have been on for your whole life, this search to be happy and free like you feel on top of the mountains, you feel it now too. It hasn’t left. The only thing that changed is your perception. Rather than seeing it for what it is, always present, you see it as something only attainable in certain environments. You close your eyes, letting your other senses experience the moment, and you feel this dreamlike happiness. Opening your eyes, it’s still there. You take a step, and still, it’s with you. A smile spreads on your soft lips and your eyes brim with tears. Regardless of what life calls on you for, you are there, completely present, and it is okay. Everything is okay. Everything is okay because inherently, you are free. You are expansive and huge, infinite. You are potential. Everything is potential.

       Cherry blossoms line the streets, mingling with flowers you don’t recognize. You can pick up probably a dozen different bird songs. You tell yourself that the steady thrum and vibration is the sound of the nearby ocean, though you’re probably kidding yourself. The tides pull at you as the pulse closer and further, grasping and releasing. Even the concrete buildings squished into city-blocks pulse and vibrate with life. Everything exists in meditation. Everything meditates.

       Abandoning your few possessions, the first stop is the bay, the soft sand squishing between your toes, the smell of salt-water and fish a welcome reminder that you are home, and you are safe.

Photo Copyright (c) April 2014, Chraeloos

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A Bit On Buddhism and Karma and Rebirth.


I posted this on a Google+ community today, and I thought it was worth sharing here. Original post can be found here.

In no way am I learned in Buddhism, but I happen to have a community about karma and creativity. Here is a bit of my beliefs: Many people think of karma as fate, or determinism. But, really, karma is creative. It is unbounded. The common interpretation is when someone has something bad happen to them, we call it “bad karma.” But this common interpretation of karma is misunderstood. We typically see karma as an uncontrollable factor in our lives, based on past lives. But, the literal translation of karma is “action” – human action. It does not control us. In fact, we control it. When we utilize action (even non-action is a form of action), we are influencing karma. The reason to be compassionate should not be in anticipation of receiving it in return, or being reborn in a better life, but because it’s the right thing to do. Invite into your life what you want to share with others; we are all connected. If any one of us suffers, all the rest of us suffer. Everything you create in your life, every intention, thought, and action, will shape the rest of your creations. In every moment there is rebirth, in every moment there is death. We are always changing. But we are in control of that change. We can be whatever it is we want to be. Be creative with the way you live your life. Be aware of every moment, every thought. Be the witness, but also be the creator.

Rebirth, to me, does not only mean rebirth into a new life after death of this body. Rebirth happens in every moment, every breath, every blink of your eye, and every passing thought. I think on this scale, the Buddha was referring to karma as intention and consequences of action in this lifetime, in this moment and the next. Why put off to the next lifetime what you can do in this one? Karma is creative action/intent/thoughts. Karma is effective now, tomorrow, next week, and next lifetime. Perhaps there is no scientific proof for an afterlife, but there is very logical proof that there is death and birth within yourself and all around you in every moment.

Whether or not you believe in an afterlife, or rebirth, the teaching of karma can be utilized here and now. Why would you not want to give and take good things in your life? The consequences of these actions/intentions/thoughts start now, and will continue forever, whether forever is until this body dies or until the soul reaches nirvana, or whatever else may be out there.

Be the witness to your thoughts, and you will see this cycle of birth/death/rebirth. Be the witness to your breath and feel it all arise, and fall away. A great friend and mentor often says, “Give what you don’t need to the Earth, and let her recycle it for you.” Maybe all the answers aren’t clear now, maybe they never will be, but your intentions and thoughts and actions undoubtedly influence your future, so be conscious of them.

A close friend once told me, “Your thoughts are not your own.” and, “The truth is in mirrors.” We are all reflections of the world around us, and every thought has been thought before. Our thoughts, emotions, sensations, are not our own. We are the witness to the events and phenomena that go on in this world, in this body. There is no “I”, simply because nothing is the same. “I” am not the same person “I” was this morning, yesterday, or last year. Physically, your entire body replaces itself every ~7 years. Your cells are constantly dying and regrowing, your liver cells live for around 150 days, your skin replaces itself every 2-4 weeks, hair replaces itself every 2-6 years, etc. All the organs in your body, all the bones and muscles, are constantly replacing the dead cells with new ones. And with that, your personality, your thoughts, all change in moments, not even considering days or years. There is no “I”, no “self”, because nothing is permanent. (For more neat statistics, refer here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1219995/Believe-lungs-weeks-old–taste-buds-just-days-So-old-rest-body.html)

To me, rebirth doesn’t resonate as a new body and a new life necessarily, but a cycle in this body, in this life. Perhaps the same way that karma sticks with all this change in this body (which is only really this body for a few more minutes), works the same with another body, in another lifetime.

Safe journey to you, my friend, and enjoy the path that you’re on, as it is forever changing!

A Bit On ADD/ADHD/OCD


I attended a yoga workshop this weekend that dealt a bit with energy, input and ADD/ADHD. We as society are trying to sculpt each other to act and think in certain ways. We expect people to ignore all the input their senses pick up on, in order to “fit in”. In my experience, yoga and meditation both work for the opposite – to settle into your mind and truly feel reality. Don’t ask anything of it, don’t expect anything from it, but just sense it. There is so much going on in this world, so much energy flowing through and around us and so much other life. How can we expect people, especially children who are completely open and sensitive to all this, to stop noticing it? Many of us adults have built up walls and barriers to it all, stuck ourselves in a kind of cell where nothing can get in so we can stand up to societies expectations – go to school, get good grades, be a good athlete, get a job, contribute to society, have a family, etc. When really all we need to do sometimes is sit and breathe. Let our senses notice; become one with the earth. Perhaps people diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are simply more attuned to the reality around us, and less blocked up with walls shoving it all out. I know people with OCD and ADD/ADHD will find a way to let out all this energy that they are receiving from the world around them. Some tap, some draw, some organize, some make noises, whatever it is, it is just a way to release the energy that you are attuned to. Perhaps these diagnosed people aren’t in a bad place, aren’t different than us, but are just more open and receiving the energies around them, which is what we as yogis, Buddhists, meditators, etc. are all looking for. Sure, it can be frustrating and make you anxious, but is that because we as society tell you it’s wrong? When working with yoga and meditation, you learn ways to let it pass through you and back into the earth without letting it fill you up. In other words, you may always have an empty cup. Inner peace. I hope you may find a path to help you along your journey. Just remember to breathe. Don’t let your thoughts become you. Notice, but don’t hold on. Namaste, my friend.

Originally posted as a reply to a question on Google+: https://plus.google.com/116772688653951753345/posts/8cZhzLSj72E

A Shift in Gender Stereotypes


I had a thought today. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Today, it did. Anyway, this thought occurred to me as I was watching Sanctuary. I’ve been watching SG1 (am on season three), and had very much found myself enthralled with Daniel Jackson. Upon watching Sanctuary for the first time, I saw this character who is very, very similar to Daniel Jackson, so much so that I’m not sure I could tell them apart if someone gave me two short biographies. Even their glasses are the same. I noticed that there was this commonality between them that is rare amongst men in pop-culture – the sense of intelligence and solidarity. Generally men are seen as protective, strong, rowdy, obnoxious, sexual, and silly. They are shown in popular culture as the goofs that sit on the couch watching football and drinking beer – not people who get things done or are overall intelligent. Now, I’m going to state that this isn’t necessarily what I believe men are like. I’m big against stereotypes. So, I’m speaking very generally. But, ’tis the season for football and hockey, and all the commercials are coming out, and they all say the same thing. If you aren’t an active, nature loving man than you are a lazy couch slum who does nothing but drink beer and be waited on by your wife. Daniel Jackson and Will Zimmerman are two characters that have a fairly feminine sense about them (speaking stereotypically). I find it interesting that I like their characters more than the strong, brutish others. They are people I would want to have coffee with, or become friends with.

The point I’m trying to make is this kind of male character is new. Women have always been viewed as the quiet, meek, solitary types. Men haven’t. In reading Lisa Appignanesi’s, “Sad, Mad and Bad” I learned a lot about the suppression of women that wasn’t really clear before. In school we’re taught that women got the majority of their rights in the past 50 years. Before that, women were succumbed to asylums, torture, force-feeding, etc. for reasons that were not thought about. ‘Psychiatrists’ (I use that term loosely) in the late 19th century and early 20th century were only just realizing that there was more to hysteria than a uterus and ovaries. It occurred in men as well. After that realization, brought about slowly by Otto Weininger, Otto Gross, C.G. Jung, Sigmund Freud, Ivan Bloch, among others, the tables started to turn in favour of women and rehabilitation. But, right up through my childhood women were seen as house-wives who could work and learn, but were expected to stay at home, cook, clean, and look after the kids. “Men now account for 12 per cent of stay-at-home parents, compared with only 4 per cent in 1986.” –Globe and Mail (2011)

According to media-awareness.ca, there are six common pop-culture stereotypes for men: the Joker, the Jock, the Strong Silent Type, the Big Shot and the Action Hero. None of these are educated, and all are built muscularly. Coles Notes recognizes the two stereotypes as: “[t]raditionally, the female stereotypic role is to marry and have children. She is also to put her family’s welfare before her own; be loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, and sympathetic; and find time to be sexy and feel beautiful. The male stereotypic role is to be the financial provider. He is also to be assertive, competitive, independent, courageous, and career-focused; hold his emotions in check; and always initiate sex.”

What we can see through these examples is that, in reality, this has sort of flipped. Nowadays, as seen in SG1 and Sanctuary, the women are educated, money-makers, assertive, independent, and courageous, whereas the men are becoming more compassionate, emotional, caring, and sympathetic (they haven’t lost the built bods, though). What I wonder is why this change is happening. Is it because we are realizing that women and men aren’t actually so different? That we both feel emotions, we both want sturdy careers, we both want to learn? That, juxtaposed by the fact that we both want to be lazy, snore, drink beer, relax, and be independent? I think so. I think I grew up in a good time to see the paradigm shift. I was a child through the ’90s, and I remember watching Full House, where the mothers worked, but on the schedules of their children, whereas the father’s took off early in the morning and got home to supper being made. That was also the first show I remember that had men staying at home to look after the children. I think that was a major turning point in our understanding of ourselves, and humanity in general.

It seems as though the world is viewing men as more lazy and meek, still dependent on women, but in all ways, not just basic care. Women are making money, preparing meals, cleaning, raising kids, and the more I look around, men aren’t. Don’t fight this natural shift, men. You still have the same status you did before. We aren’t trying to take that from you. If you don’t want to be the main income bringer, let the women do it. If you enjoy cooking and cleaning, do so. If you want to take a long weekend off work to spend with the kids, don’t be afraid to ask your boss. To accept that we aren’t all that different from each other, and to abolish these stereotypes that are more often wrong than right, we need to step back and look at each other. Nothing can be expected of each other, in relationships of any kind or between complete strangers. The world is changing in many ways, not the least of which between sexes. Women are capable, sometimes more so than men. We’ve accepted your superiority in the past, so now it’s your turn, men, to step up and accept that women aren’t meek and dumb. Let us fully become all our potential has to offer. Let us be equals, all the way.

So, who wants to run for president?

How Much The World Has Changed Since Grade-School


The world is a funny place. It’s interesting how fast change comes about. I remember in grade-school my teacher told me that by the time I was in high school all students would have their own computers (laptops) and would use them for the entirety of their education. There would be no more writing. He was half right.

People also said, often, that China would take-over and become the world superpower, America having fallen. Now we can see that change happening. I was taught practically nothing about world economics, Asian influences, what Asia has to offer politically, economically, socially. Other than: “communism is bad”. Looking back on the education I got, it really did me no good now that I’m out in the world. I’m sure many other people are feeling the same way. We are taught about what is, not what could or will be. Now that I have some life experience, I’d have to say communism is all that bad. Sure, dictators suck, but as a political structure communism often does better for it’s people than capitalism. Who wouldn’t want free healthcare, education, daycare, etc.?

I also remember how ridiculous the idea of having a female president was. No one ever considered it. I remember, while watching TV with my parents one day, turning and saying “has a woman ever been president?” and they furrowed their brows and looked at me funny, wondering what the heck I was talking about. Now, Mauritius has a “…[n]ew gender law [that] specifies that at least one-third of candidates in local elections must be women.” (Not counting the accident that tried to run with Obama, women are capable)

We see all these changes happening, at an increasing rate due to technology and interconnectedness. Yet, we still teach our children little about what they should expect, about different types of political and economic systems and their potential benefits, NOT their downsides and how they’ve destroyed entire countries. We are all* brought up to believe that capitalism and a mixed-economy is the way to go. I truly hope that this isn’t the case in the future, that we can escape biases in teaching and just present the facts.

It seems as though all I was taught is no longer in effect, and if it is it’s quickly declining. By the way, I graduated high-school in 2010.

*”All” being Americans and Canadians.