Like a navel cord

Once I had a very best friend.
We turned away from the world and its demands before the world could turn against us. In clouds of smoke we listened to electric guitars en classic pianos, we put on mascara on each others eye lashes and danced to inaudible classical music on summer evenings next to a high way.

An invisible and strong string connected us, like a navel cord. It was so easy to inhale beauty together and exhale it on all the dark obscurity of our teen years. We fed ourselves with Aristotle and colorful dresses fresh from the store. We discussed poems with the same ease as the latest gossip.

We wrote long letters almost every day, created different layers in our communication. God it was rich… Such a strong feeling. Of course we had read somewhere that impermanence is inevitable, but we never felt that– we were too young. Moreover, if you don’t feel it, it’s not real – yet. We had plans. Full of promises they were slumbering under the surface. Great formless ideas, that were supported by a striking innocence. Shining through in all our actions.

Still, everything turned out differently. The words of wisdom were right and we know now that all things of value are infact defenseless and naked.

Tonight Youtube suggested me to listen to a song. Suddenly I was back in time and I heard a faraway voice plead for me to stay.

I still went…

Sometimes I think, did I actually ever leave? Oh the inner world… Physically I left, mentally I left. But what remained was still beautiful. That beauty is everywhere inside of me.

I believe we don’t have to talk in real life to have a deep spiritual connection. It’s just there, forever and ever. Defenseless and naked.

Thank you.

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Pre-Existence

I can be deeply moved by poetry. Words that beautify my mind, they just fly in and silence the constant chatter of my mind for a while.

This is a poem that has touched me deeply. I just connect with it so easily, brings me back to deserted beaches I visited when I felt lost, looking for answers. The first time I read it, a voice in my head whispered the words before my eyes had actually read them. I have read this poem over and over.

Pre-Existence

I laid me down upon the shore
And dreamed a little space;
I heard the great waves break and roar;
The sun was on my face.

My idle hands and fingers brown
Played with the pebbles grey;
The waves came up, the waves went down,
Most thundering and gay.

The pebbles, they were smooth and round
And warm upon my hands,
Like little people I had found
Sitting among the sands.

The grains of sands so shining-small
Soft through my fingers ran;
The sun shone down upon it all,
And so my dream began:

How all of this had been before;
How ages far away
I lay on some forgotten shore
As here I lie to-day.

The waves came shining up the sands,
As here to-day they shine;
And in my pre-pelasgian hands
The sand was warm and fine.

I have forgotten whence I came,
Or what my home might be,
Or by what strange and savage name
I called that thundering sea.

I only know the sun shone down
As still it shines to-day,
And in my fingers long and brown
The little pebbles lay.

By Frances Darwin Cornford

Night train to Lisbon

Such a beautiful book by Pascal Mercier. Wonder why it has been on my nightstand for so long without me touching it. Sometimes a book calls you when it’s time. Glad it was time for this one.

The book starts with a quote from Michel de Montaigne. The actual meaning of it became clearer to me after meditation. When I had indeed experienced once again the many bits and pieces that I call ‘myself’. Started again questioning with every sensation, thought or emotion: is this I?

In the piece about silent nobility he perfectly describes the major changes that happen inside as a result of long meditation, without having a dramatic outward expression. The biggest alterations to a life pattern take place silently, slowly.

“We are entirely made up of bits and pieces, woven together so diversely and so shapelessly that each one of them pulls its own way at every moment. And there is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and other people.”

Michel de Montaigne, Essays

“NOBREZA SILENCIOSA. SILENT NOBILITY. It is a mistake to believe that the crucial moments of a life when its habitual direction changes forever must be loud and shrill dramatics, washed away by fierce internal surges. This is a kitschy fairy tale started by boozing journalists, flashbulb-seeking filmmakers and authors whose minds look like tabloids. In truth, the dramatics of a life-determining experience are often unbelievably soft. It has so little akin to the bang, the flash, of the volcanic eruption that, at the moment it is made, the experience is often not even noticed. When it deploys its revolutionary effect and plunges a life into a brand-new light giving it a brand-new melody, it does that silently and in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.”

Pascal Mercier

The tree of Townsville

I’m walking along the coast of Townsville, in Australia. It smells like vacation; de light scent of sun cream, mixed with a hint of barbecue and baked fish. People on the terraces eat, drink or digest. The warm summer air strokes my skin tenderly, while I’m observing the boulevard. My thoughts go out to a long time ago, about three hundred years back, how it would’ve looked then. No buildings, no cars, no plastic chairs and tables. Only nature. I’m craving history, something ancient, older than a few hundred years. Maybe I’m a spoiled European in this respect.

Then I’m walking past a lawn. About ten young people are sitting there in a circle. They sing of love and surrender, two of them are strumming their guitars. A bit further away a bright light is shining on a small, artificial city beach. In the wavy water they placed a net, made visible with a white, plastic demarcation. It is to prevent the stingers and other dangerous sea riffraff from entering the swimming area, meant for humans. The sea itself is old, I think to myself. But that feels too easy, I have to look for something else.

When I walk back the same way I came, a gigantic tree in the middle of a terrace catches my attention. Surprised that I haven’t seen the tree in the first instance, I approach him and stop about one meter from his trunk. I stand there for a while, watching the impressive roots that disappear in the earth. When I look up I see his expanding branches, his fanning leaves. With my hand on his trunk I talk to the tree. ‘Thank you for still being here, tree. What can you tell me about before?’ The tree stays imperturbable, like the people that surround us. I’m contented and a bit emotional.

A rabbit as my teacher

I’m in the 10-day meditation retreat. It’s day 6. There is noble silence, so talking is only allowed in emergencies. The emotional monsters and physical pains are coming and going, while I’m bravely training my mind. A few hours of sadness, a leg that goes numb, a few hours of anger, a cramp in my toe, a few minutes of peace. I just keep observing it. My thoughts are calming down, they’re no more than a radio in the background now.

After one hour of meditation I hear the sign for the break. As I go outside I decide to go for a little walk. I breathe in and smell the fresh morning summer air of trees and hay. My eyes are downcast to keep the concentration of my mind. Stones, sticks and leaves on the footpath.

Then my eye-consciousness comes in contact with a being a few meters ahead on the path. He’s lying there, chewing on a blade of grass. His gray fur shining in the morning sun. Carefully, as to not to drive him away, I take one more step forward. The rabbit is not moving an inch. His ears are going back and forth. Step by step I come closer, until I’m so close I could touch him if I wanted. The rabbit looks at me. Suddenly I know; he’s wounded! That’s why he can’t walk away! And he’s moving with his ears because he’s so scared! Meanwhile some co-meditators have also noticed the rabbit and are standing around it. Seized by an urge to help this rabbit I turn around and march back to the meditation hall to tell a volunteer that there’s a wounded rabbit on the footpath.

A few moments later I walk back to the same spot with backup. ‘Are you sure?’ she whispers. Fully convinced I nod. We’re approaching and… suprised I have to conclude that the rabbit is not lying there anymore. Some meters further he’s hopping around happily. The woman laughs. ‘Is that him?’ A bit embarassed I nod.

Why do I have to save someone or something, why can’t I just wait to see what happens next without me interfering. I wonder…

When I walk back to my room, the rabbit hops besides me. A bit moody I look at him. He looks back at me with his cheeky beady eyes. For a moment I think he’s winking at me. I rub my eyes, shake me head and walk on. Eyes downcast, doing nothing but observing.

Magic Park

If you ever find yourself in Arambol with a stomach that’s asking for some light, healthy, delicious food, go to Magic Park. Easy to reach from the beach as well as from the main road via picturesque narrow walking paths. You can’t miss it, but if you do, ask around. All locals know about Magic Park.

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Under high palm trees and other beautiful green plants are cozy nests created with bamboo sticks and orange pillows. If you want you can also sit on a proper table in a proper chair. 🙂
The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed. Yet it does not feel lazy or dopey like some places in Goa do. It’s clear and fresh.
There is no wifi (with reason) and you as a guest are considered responsible for the atmosphere of the place. Which makes a lot of sense, as we are all entities with a lot of power over our surroundings.
All food is vegan and prepared with a lot of care. You can order juices with funny spiritual names such as  ‘Holy Spirit’ or ‘No Mind’.
They use tofu, sprouts, nuts, dates and more.
Apparantly they offer yoga as well as many other things.
Very recommended!

Visit their website

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I Love Goa Dogs

Yesterday a friend of mine invited me to a dog (and cat) shelter called ‘I love Goa dogs’. She did voluntary work there and wanted to show me this ‘magical’ place as she calls it. Magical it is indeed.

It’s hard not to see the suffering, walking around in India. So in Goa as well. Besides the human suffering, there is also a lot of animal suffering. limping dogs with scars on their fur, being chased away with sticks and shouts. They’re trying to survive here on the beach, close to the beach shacks hoping to get some leftovers. You also see them searching for food in the piles of waste, chewing on a carton that once contained food. Here in India the well being of animals is not very high on the priority list; most people are struggling to feed themselves.

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Fortunately there are some people like the founder of ‘I love Goa dogs’. She does not want to be mentioned by name; it’s about the animals. After a shocking experience in her life she got ‘activated’ to do something selfless. It started with one dog that became her friend and followed her everywhere. It was hard to say goodbye to the dog when she had to leave. When she came back the next season and saw the state the dog was in, her heart broke and she promised to take care of her friend. Now, fourteen years later, she and her Gondwanaland, as the sign at the entrance of the camp says, are known in Arambol as well as around Goa. People come to bring homeless and abandoned puppies and dogs. Of course that’s better than leaving them on the streets, but people also don’t realize that Gondwanaland is not a profitable organization. The dogs get fully vaccinated and sterilized when they get under the care of Gondwanaland, which is expensive. Then the search for a home starts. Many dogs get a nice home, thanks to all the energy that the organization invests, but there are always dogs that still need one.

So it is very much recommended that the people who find dogs, take care of them themselves if they can. The dog camp does not have any governmental or other support money wise, so every donation is very welcome as well as volunteers to help with the care for the animals such as de-worming the dogs, taking care of their wounds and giving them love and attention. image

I have been to a dog shelter before in Goa, but I got a bit sad when I saw the countless cages. Some dogs I saw there had no light in their eyes anymore. That was sad and when I came back I didn’t know what to feel and think. That’s why I was so happy to see that there are no cages on Gondwanaland. The dogs and cats are walking around freely, playing with each other, it’s wonderful.

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So, if you are around Goa some time for a longer period of time, and you feel it’s time for you to get activated, be more than welcome to send Gondwanaland a message through their facebook page

If you’re not around anytime soon, but still want to support this amazing organization send a message so you can donate some money. I can tell you it’s highly appreciated!

mimi

Mimi she is about 7 months old, fully vaccinated and sterilized, rescued from the side of the road when she was a baby, with her 3 sisters, all homed now, but Mimi is still waiting, please help her find her furever home

(from facebook page)

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