25 May 2012

"Doing Double Good"

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After having such an enormous adventure through the mainland, I felt keen on finding a place to stay-put for my month in Bali.  Lovina is the name of the place I chose and it is a quite town with black sand beaches, rice fields, and jungles in the mountains above.  The beach is sprinkled with fishing boats and locals doing their daily activities, while only a few tourists pass through day-to-day.  In the afternoon when it is quite people sleep through the heat, while at night the local reggae bar plays live music to stir up the energy.  The sounds are made up of a mixture of waves, birds, farm animals, scooters, laughter, and chanting from the nearby temples.

One goal I had set for my trip is to do something called a Fast.  Its purpose is to detox and there are many different versions you can choose.  It's recommended that everyone should practice Fasting at least once a year to promote good health.  The Fast I chose is coconut water, and you need to drink at least 5 young coconuts a day.  This makes me look like the local crazy coconut lady because now my porch is sprinkled with empties.

The other goal I set was to learn about myself.  Turns out I was missing the point.

I know my past and I often think about my future.  I know my habits, wishes, insecurities, dilemmas, fears, talents, hobbies, all the things that make me who I am.  I've discovered all I can know, and trying to look deeper was like playing a record on repeat.

Turns out the belief in self is all an illusion, that the only thing you are is within the present moment.  I laughed at the irony of my search, and realized I was looking in all the wrong places.

The book that helped me come to this realization is written by a man who lives in Vancouver B.C. named Eckhart Tolle.  The book is called the Power of Now and  I'm sure you've herd the names uttered in conversation here or there.  If you currently live in Vancouver I recommend you pick up a free monthly magazine called Common Ground which Tolle writes for, along with other great minds such as David Suzuki.

After having read the other two books by Don Miguel Ruiz, this became the cherry on top.  It covers a lot of details, and I deeply recommend anyone dealing with internal insanity (which is all of us) should pick up the book if ever you see it.  The format of the writing is like that of Plato's dialogs, as it is a question and answer discussion.  I will give this one excerpt so you can have a little taste:

"What is the power of now?"
"None other then the power of your presence, your consciousness liberated from thought forms."

Because that's all life is, a present moment.  You can physically do things here and now, all thoughts are just illusions created by the mind about the past or future.  That doesn't discredit that the mind is a wonderful tool, but the ego has gained control over it.  Take back control and enjoy your life, there is no need to create needless suffering through the idea's in your head.  The Buddha's definition of enlightenment is "the end of suffering." Find the off switch for your thoughts, become present, and feel the love that exists inside yourself, that is enlightenment.

I always told people I was crazy.  Turns out everybody is crazy, but most people don't know it.

Go out and discover it for yourself.  Be an observer of your mind, just for one day.  Don't be your mind, or your thoughts, just listen to them, be aware.  Maybe you will see how much it controls you.

No one is perfect, our outer existence is a reflection of our inner self.  Collectively as a species if you look at what we have done to the world we must all be mad.  If we can cure ourselves of this madness, we can start enjoying what we are and what we have.  The more you work on it, the better you will become. "Be the change you want to see." -Gandhi.

I understand now why Asian grammer is the way it is.  In Thailand there is no past of future tense, if you want to speak about tomorrow or yesterday you must add the word to the beginning of the sentence.  Then all the other words you use are the same as if they are present.  This often comes across in the way they speak English.  Maybe that's the key to their happiness?  Or maybe it's that they live in the tropics.  Either way, they'll always tell you they are "doing double good."

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