15 May 2012

Same Same, But Different.

This statement applies to everything.

I started out seeing it printed on tee-shirts and tank-tops throughout the markets in Cambodia, everywhere in Southeast Asia you'll find recurring themes.  Kids at the Temples selling bracelets and postcards.  Vendors selling clothes and souvenirs at the night markets.  If you don't buy anything and simply reply 'no thank you' when approached by swarms of people, you miss out on their response of "Same same, but Different!"

When I arrived in Laos it was everywhere and the saying started to be pulled to my attention.  On the bus rides I started contemplating the statement on many different levels and degrees of complexity.  It even started popping up in conversation when explaining something to other travelers.  Even though it had become an idea I attached to, I still hadn't realized its full potential.

In order to do that we have to shift our thinking.  I've read two books so far on this trip.  Both are written by Don Miguel Ruiz and are called The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love.  Before entering this trip there were many internal struggles I was trying to overcome.  I knew the roots of the issues, but getting the mind to let them go was the hard part.  These books pin point exactly what is happening in the mind and explains why we as people have created the habits that make us suffer, then explains how to change these ways.

In an email to a friend, I wrote this introduction about The Four Agreements :

What happens to us when we are born is we are domesticated by our parents, our society, our culture and our school.  This domestication tells us what to believe and how to act.  When we do something wrong we are punished, and when we do something right we are rewarded.  So we are constantly chasing the reward, and continually punishing ourselves when we don't do good enough.  Attention is what we use to discriminate and focus only on that which we want to perceive.  Our brain can process millions of pieces of information all at once, but we use our attention only to focus on a sliver of that information.  This is done through repetition.  So it is us that have created a single dream that we choose to live by based on what we focus our attention too and how we have been domesticated.

What this domestication ultimately does is create a Judge and Victim mentality that you use to reward or punish yourself using the agreements you have chosen to believe.  The victim comes up with why your not good enough for something and the judge reinforces the idea by being the punisher.  I used to come up with excuses for why I couldn't do something.  On this trip I've decided to stop telling myself what I can or can't do and just enjoy the time I have now.  I will not let myself feel guilty or unworthy of what I treat myself to and enjoy it for what it is, an amazing experience.  Why not, if this is my dream then I am going to make it a good one.

The Mastery of Love explains how we are living our own dream, and the relationships in our life are the dreams we share with others. The main focus in this book explains that you should never rely on people in your life for the love that you seek because happiness exists from within yourself, only you control that.  If you are happy and love yourself then others can easily join in.  Now I see the true meaning of child-like innocence is having the ability to laugh, play and love unconditionally.

What I've learned from these two books is that growing up isn't about following the ideals that society has set aside for us, its about gaining a bigger playground.

So here I am on the playground that is the planet, melding my dream in and out with others.  Every person on this planet is the same, but different.  When you share your time with someone the experience is the same, but different.  Every place you go may seem the same from a distance, but up close its different.  Even the thing that is our fundamental drive in life, emotion, is same same, but different.  In this life we are all searching for the exact same thing, but how we get there is going to be different.

Life itself is,  "Same Same, But Different."

I had no idea what I was looking for before starting this trip, but I knew there would be a personal revelation.  How can you not when your burst your own gigantic bubble.  This first 33 day trip will be named Tour-de-Same-Same.  I even choose to finish it by staying at a place in Chiang Mai called Same Same Guesthouse.

Tour-de-Same-Same was full of extremes.  Not only was it an emotional roller coaster but a physical one as well.  At times I couldn't understand why I was here or would even consider putting myself in these situations.  While other times I would be so overwhelmed with joy that I didn't want to leave.  I went into the trip with anxiety, doubt, and confusion while restricting myself to stay within parameters so as not to break a budget.  It didn't take long to start ignoring the budget and to just go ahead and do the tours, go out with people, enjoy the sites and splurge on a single room from time to time without feeling guilty, ever.  What can I say, after staying in a room with mice and bugs I can counter-balance it with a place that has a marble bathroom.  Near the end I could act like a experienced traveller being able to hop on any transit or be dropped off in any city with confidence to know what to do.  All the initial fears have vanished and I have completely rewired my way of thinking.

Having the first 33 days as the extravagant tour doing a loop around Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, the next 30 days I have in Bali are going to be the other extreme.  It is clear that a month of solitude in one place will be a great way to counter balance the first part of Southeast Asia's trip.  The hope is that it will carry it's own set of life lessons that I don't yet know what it will be.

"Living Dreams of Love"
One night I had an experience that was so strong I didn't realize I had been dreaming until I woke up.  It was my last night in Siem Reap and I was hanging out on a patio area overlooking the water and some mountains.  The sun was about to go down and people were standing around waiting to get the best photo.  While approaching an old man with white hair tells me that if I take a video I could then choose from the best frame.  Thinking this was a great idea I hold my camera up ready to film, but suddenly the sunset its no longer what it had been.  A dodecahedron was slowly spinning in the center of the sky pulsating shapes of circles and hearts made of light that encompassed each other.  An even greater light was breathing over top that lit up the whole sky.  As I was standing their baffled at the fact I was witnessing this, suddenly a loud noise penetrated the air blasting through every ones bodies.  It was a low humming bass that was a solid note like a didgeridoo without the waver in frequency.  It was so strong I nearly collapsed from the noise, at this point I didn't think it was the sun anymore, but some greater energy.  When it all stopped I tried to get to my computer and to save the video, but it was defective.  It could not contain the complexity of the event and I could only load it as Html code.  I was so upset that I couldn't share this with the world, and sat back trying to accept this sad fate.

Then I woke up.  It had been so vivid I could still hear the sound, I still remember the noise, and the light, and the feeling I received.  This description is a meager detail of the event, but encompasses much of what I was about to discover.

Some notes I discovered on trying to figure out what the meaning is behind this Dodecahedron:

Background: It has twelve five-sided faces and is the fifth of the five platonic solids.  The ancient Greeks saw the symbol as a representation of the universe, and Plato noted  that the earth appeared from above as a "twelve-sided leather ball."  Russian Scientists have more recently discovered the earths crust is indeed a dodecahedron patter.  More spiritual beliefs claim it compels our eyes and hearts to observe more deeply, and others believe it idealizes the form of divine thought, will, or idea.  It is the representation of life energy and goes beyond its own parameters of this dimension.  It is the heart chakra, and its sense is hearing.

I didn't know it at the time, but what a great way to be greeted into my trip.  I was just about to go into the thick of it and needed all the help I received.  Sometimes its hard to see the lesson your learning until after you've come out the other side.  Being that I had gone into no-mans-land without idea of how to handle it and learning to give in before being able to enjoy its pleasures was a valuable lesson.  Cut yourself off from the world, learn to accept what the moment brings, and appreciate the love you can give even to the worst of places.  Because in the end its all beautiful, and to not feel the love would be to rob yourself of an amazing experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment