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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 35: The Power of Change.

Changes. Life is made up of changes, yet it is a movie that plays on a screen, a screen which stands still like the ones at the movie theater do. All action takes place in peace, as peace is the underlying state of mind of humanity. We’ve created such a thing as anxiety, and we’ve come up with so many possible methods of attempting to get rid of perceived problems, many of them real threats, that we’re all tangled up, we don’t know what we’re really doing so we create even more problems, maybe two or three more as we struggle to solve one. Problems seem to multiply. The main problem is that we do too many things without any true reflection on the decisions we make before we act on them. Whenever we say or do something, we have no way of being sure what the exact consequences will be. Words and deeds can be perceived in various ways by all kinds of people, they can be interpreted differently and taken to mean the exact opposite of what they actually mean. We can take an educated guess of what will happen if we do certain things in life, but ultimately, things happen unexpectedly, and the most life-changing situations of connections happen at seemingly random times very often, in the least probable of all places. One thing we can be sure of though, is that whenever we say or do anything, we are causing things to change. The thoughts of a teacher will be absorbed into the minds of each student who is paying attention, yet the data which is being stored will connect differently with the data which is already present in the mind of each individual student, and each can react very differently to any new piece of information which is recently learned. Much of what shapes our decisions in life actually comes from our subconscious, and often it’s as if it knew what we needed and it found a way to provide it for us. So, everything we say is being registered, consciously or unconsciously, by those around us, and it is bound to change their thinking in some way, even if only for the next few seconds. A split second is all that is needed to radically alter a lifetime. Every thought we think is preventing other thoughts from coming to our attention, and so every thought, every perception, is causing a change in our life and mind forever. We must think about the consequences of our actions before we do anything, since change is sure to follow any action. Thoughts lead to actions, and actions, if repeated, lead to habits. We take everything for granted nowadays, and so it’s no wonder that we’ve forgotten about these truths. We’ve forgotten about our power to make positive change happen. We are so caught up in our own ideas and our own survival that we are unbelievably blind to our own inner power. If we only knew how much power we hold in our voice, just to what extent we can use our words to create reality, if we were only ready to take full responsibility for each thought and action, if we were prepared to come to grips with what we truly are, children of God, carrying the divine light everywhere we go, submitting to the divine will and allowing it to work through us as vessels of the One Spirit. We need to stop taking ourselves so seriously, in order that we shall once again be able to make clear-headed decisions, without the weight of either depression or doubt or anxiety holding us down. Yes, everything we do affects everything else. Everything you do affects everything else, and everything everyone does affects our lives and those of everybody else. We are all interconnected, all causing change to happen. If we treat others like trash, then we shouldn’t be surprised when the years go by and we start to really feel like trash ourselves. What goes around comes around, and everything that goes up must come down. Everything is repaid, there is no need for us to seek any sort of vengeance against another being. Vengeance is God’s, and justice, whatever it means. This doesn’t mean we should be happy because our enemy will eventually suffer either. Forgive as you have been forgiven. We have all been forgiven, for none of us are perfect. We forgive ourselves every time we promise that we will try again, that we will try harder, that it’ll be for real this time, without a doubt. We forgive ourselves as we rise every day, we accept the decisions we’ve made once their consequences become apparent in life’s continuous changes. One thing leads to another, or to many other things. Change is only a mental understanding of the concept of time, which is really only on our earthly plane. In truth, there is no change. Life is constantly recreating itself, yet it is always life, becoming manifest in everything that is good and pure. We do good and we do much evil, we change the course of destiny and we change millions of people’s hearts for generations to come, we change the way the people of the future will feel when they read of the past. In truth though, everything is what we choose to make it, and while we live on this planet we cannot ignore the fact that we must make changes in the world we’ve come to inhabit. So while we’re at it, we better make the right changes. We can achieve this only with true self-analysis, true reflection, in all honesty, hiding nothing from the true Self, the Spirit which dwells in the body as well as outside it, that knows all and can never be deceived or completely destroyed, without which there is no life. Understand that change is real to us in this dimension, yet all change is nothing but the now if it is understood as part of the process of enlightenment, necessary for us to properly follow our path.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 36.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 34: Why Do You Write?

How can we speak our minds about the most important subjects affecting our world today? People seem to get offended by everything, everyone’s statements need to be politically correct. If you don’t agree with the majority then there’s something wrong with you, or you’re branded an enemy of society, of freedom, of equality. Sometimes we’re afraid to really get down to business, so we write about trivial things that barely matter in real life. We all look for distractions to help us escape the harsh reality of life on this planet, but should writers write in order to provide that distraction, or rather to wake their readers up and alert them that they better leave the distractions alone and see what’s really going on before it’s too late? Is it a writer’s responsibility to bring awareness to the issues that are affecting his world? I don’t necessarily think so. Everyone is free to choose what they really want from their life or career, and if people want to get lost in a book about distractions then there should be writers to provide them. Distractions will always be a necessity for people, to avoid facing the truth about certain issues, both in our personal lives and in our world as a whole. Writing, being a creative activity, can be used for many different things. A writer isn’t obligated to write about current events and problems, or about what we can do, or should do, to solve them, but even if we aren’t obligated to write about these things, we would really be elevating our art if we choose to do so. We shouldn’t do it in a cynical manner, or in a negative or offensive way, we should simply state the facts and offer a solution when one seems possible. Bringing awareness to only problems is doing nothing but making people angry, creating distrust among all people, tension and more disagreement. If we can offer a solution however, then we are really in a position to make big changes happen in society, if not now then maybe in the long run, at some point in the future. We can all do great things during our lifetime, yet we don’t all make the right decisions in order to make wonderful changes happen. Something we are all able to do though, at any point, is to write down our noblest thoughts and to share them with others. Ideas that are truly godly have a way of enduring, their very truth ensures that they will be passed on from generation to generation, and that they may even inspire entire movements of people to create organizations and institutions. Even if we don’t see things change much during our own lifetimes, the words we write down are able to transcend time and to create a real revolution in the future. We don’t need to be masters of the English language in order to get some ideas down on paper, or on a computer, or even on a cell phone. I bet that so many authors from the past had no clue that their work would still be studied today by thousands of people, even thousands of years after they wrote them. Marcus Aurelius’s ‘Meditations’, for example, was simply a collection of personal notes he had written to himself. These words were then found and published, and we have access to various different translations of them today. I myself have been inspired by so many ancient texts, and it’s incredible to think that there is real understanding between myself and someone who lived thousands of years before me, in a different culture at a different time in history, under much different conditions than my own. This shows me that truth and reason will never die, that the same truths that the ancients were well aware of are perceptible to us even today, and that it can and should be transmitted to the people of tomorrow, so that they may recognize truth as well when they read it, thereby becoming inspired to find the truth within themselves. The sayings of Buddha are so similar to those of Jesus, who lived about six hundred years earlier, and many of the great Greek philosophers wrote great passages which help us comprehend much of the philosophy we know today. Wisdom from the past has been essential to keeping truth alive in the hearts of many people, even in our modern day society which makes it so hard to connect with truth. We as writers have the power to inspire generations even thousands of years after we die. If we get no recognition for our great work during our earthly life then so be it, at least we will create a better world for the people of the future. We should let go of our attachment to the fruits of labor anyway and practice Karma Yoga, consecrating all our work, our writing, to God, to the greatest power in the universe, the source of it all. We can never go wrong when we do this, and understanding that we are working for the Supreme Being, we automatically feel the responsibility to convey truth in our work in any way we can. We know that words truly can create life or death, and we understand that the decision is ours. We have to remain rooted in that power which we write for, we need to disconnect from the fears and doubts of our petty personality, and we need to write what needs to be written, we need to speak what needs to be spoken. Truth is essential to life, for life without truth cannot truly be called life, it is the worse kind of death there can be, spiritual death. So I urge all of you writers, write about what you find interesting, about what you love, but always be on the look-out for ways in which you can incorporate truth into your material. Think of the thoughts that your words may conjure up in people’s minds, are they thoughts of life, or of death, of love or of hate, will they help to rebuild our planet, or are they words of destruction? The ability to write and effectively convey ideas is a divine gift, don’t waste it, use it to your maximum potential.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 34.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 33: Still Sick and Wondering Why.

Still feeling sick. I think I really gotta get to the hospital soon to be honest, since every day I seem to feel the same thing. The strange thing is that, all day today I felt no symptoms. I felt great a lot of the time, I was finally able to help customers out with a good attitude over the phone. The past few days I’d had to disconnect myself since I felt no drive to speak with the customers, and also the air conditioner was way too cold for me to endure. I just went and sat outside and listened to a few songs before a mild headache started. Today everything was fine during the morning, and even while I was at work. When I got home everything was alright also, then I started feeling a bit cold, even though only the fan is on. I undoubtedly have a fever now, although it isn’t as severe as other days. This weak feeling makes my eyes burn every once in a while, and I really thought that today would be the day when I’d fail my goal of writing a thousand words a day. I dropped down on my bed for a while with Maria by my side, both comfortable and happy to be home from work. As we talked about a lot of things, that’s when my fever began to start. We ate, and read a Bible chapter of Ezra, the book we’re currently on. The only goals left to do are my writing and my twenty-minute meditation. I usually meditate in the mornings since Maria goes in to work before me, although we come home at the same time. Today I didn’t meditate at that time since i was completely absorbed by my reading of Huxley’s ‘The Perennial Philosophy.’ I also read today’s sutra on mindfulness of breathing. So most of my morning consisted of reading. I took out the trash as well, since the garbage truck comes by the house today. It comes by three days of the week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so we gotta remember to take out the trash on each of those days so it doesn’t accumulate. I ate some oatmeal in the morning also, which I prepared with honey, cold water and a bit of cinnamon. I’ve been trying to eat healthier to see if I can catch up on some of the nutrients and vitamins I may be missing, maybe that’s the reason for this illness I’ve been experiencing. What really motivated me to write right now, to not lose the goal no matter how I may be feeling, was something which I mentioned during the conversation I just had in bed with Maria. I mentioned that, if I continue writing every single day, when I’m older, even elderly, I will be able to look back on my thoughts during different stages of my development, and I will be able to learn from my past ideas and thoughts, to change what is necessary, and to remind myself of the useful things I’ve jotted down throughout the years. So, instead of allowing my fever to hold me back from continuing my goal which I’ve worked so diligently on for thirty plus days now, I decided to just write about it. The reason I wasn’t feeling like writing is because, with this illness and this feeling of weakness, I thought I couldn’t use my brain to come up with anything worth writing. I didn’t let resistance beat me though, and I’m proud of myself for it, as well as of my beautiful wife who motivated me with her understanding and caring conversation. If nothing deep comes from tonight’s piece then I apologize, since all you’ll get to read is some of my confusion about this sickness which has taken over me recently, which I have no clue what it is. I haven’t gone to the doctor since I’m scared of some bad news, although I don’t have much reason to believe that anything is seriously wrong with me. It’s mostly just fear with no reality behind it, and so Maria has been urging me to go to the doctor so I can at least find out the cause of my almost daily fevers. I think the time is coming, I’ll have to put my fear aside in order to face the truth of the matter. Since I thought it might be due to the fact that I’ve been eating less than I used to over the last year or so, I thought I could get better by simply eating more and healthier, but in all honesty it’s better to be sure of the problem. I’m feeling better now that I’m writing, and also I feel I’m more at peace with the fact that my writing won’t always be super profound and inspirational. I feel like I can finally accept that sometimes we just write for the sake of writing, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. To anyone who’s feeling any symptoms of illness, please do not ignore them! Go seek a professional who knows what’s going on. It might be too late later if you don’t realize it now. Hopefully this isn’t my case, I pray to God that I’m able to remain healthy and continue to enjoy life with my amazing wife. Also, I’ve been trying to remain grounded as much as possible in God, in the holiness within me, which is within us all, the Spirit which is beyond all duality, beyond all pleasure and pain, and which cannot be broken by any illness. To remain connected with this power is easier said than done, yet it is within our grasp, all of us humans can find this within us, if we are serious about it and are willing to put our attachments and aversions aside, and to be thankful and trust the process of life. Everything is part of life, including suffering and death, and if we can’t cultivate the right attitude regarding these facts of life, we are bound to always suffer much, much more than we need to. So I’m hoping for the best, but I’m also working on my mentality and strength of spirit so I can be ready for whatever news I receive.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 34.

~ Rebel Spirit 

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 31: Writing Meditation Attempt.

I sit at home tonight, trying to get a thousand words together for my blog. Maria’s talking on the phone with her friend, I’m still a bit sick, but she’s been taking care of me. Today was her day off from work, so at least we had all morning together before I had to leave to the call center in the afternoon. She got a lot of clothes washed while I was at work, and when I got back from work I let her know how much I appreciate everything she does for us, since everything is done with love. On the 15th of July we’ll be celebrating two years of marriage together. We moved into this little place right when we got married, a small, separate house on my grandparents’ property. We have some photos of our wedding on the tables, some 3D stickers both us have collected are on the walls, and in the room mainly we have some inspirational quotes, spiritual and philosophical, from Jung to Jesus to Buddh, from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita and James Allen’s ‘As A Man Thinketh.’ Motivation is something I can’t be without, and these quotes provide just that for me. I just look at a random one and read it sometimes when I’m in our room. I’m sitting on my bed right now, the table is right by the bed. This table was previously used as a counter at my grandparent’s pharmacy which they owned many years ago, I believe, so it has some pharmaceutical stickers still on it. I got the tray with my own medicine on top of the counter, or table I’m breaking down some bud and I’m at peace while I chill in my room. Maria talks, I write. I appreciate the silence, and I speak with myself in a way, just as everyone speaks to themselves all the time. What’s the difference between a writer and an ordinary person though? They are both ordinary human beings, but why does one decide to write? Is it because one has something to say? Often we don’t even know what to say, yet we know there is something we want to say. Are we just egocentric, that we wish to communicate, as if we had something to say, when there’s actually nothing worth speaking? I don’t think this last option is the right one, I believe we all have something important to say to everyone we meet. These interactions don’t happen sometimes, these possibly healing experiences, these connections between people, because we are closed off from people, by our judgments and insecurities. Anyway, I’m just drifting off on a thought train again. What I was previously trying to do was just describe the moment I’m in, this writing experience. Stoned, comfortable, finally feeling alright since I took an acetaminophen pill and took some bong hits about an hour ago. Speaking of connections that simply happen, and of things that just need to be said, I’m glad for the connection that led to our marriage. Maria and I were watching the Morgan Freeman documentary on Netflix a few hours ago, ‘The Story of God’. He doesn’t go too deep into most religions, at least so far into the show, two episodes in. However, he does a great job of showing the basics of most religions and shows us some spectacular scenery from sacred sites around the world. If he did get into too much detail with each belief system there just might not have been much of an audience, I guess. It’s interesting though, and I think that anything that provides us with further understanding of other cultures and their practices is a great tool, a tool to fight the ignorance and fear that arises when we don’t respect, or when we fear and hate, other people’s customs and beliefs. Nothing is all black or white in this dual existence, everything has a lot of dimensions to it. Most of us are ignorant of our own culture, so what about those of other people around the world? We’ve got to escape our personal bubbles of arrogance, of attachment to our own ideas and aversion towards those of others. We lose nothing if it turns out we were wrong, we only grow in understanding. There is nothing to fear from learning about the ways other people do things. We shouldn’t pretend to be sure about things we don’t know, only to close ourselves off from all ways of ever finding an answer. We believe we know, yet we know nothing for certain. Society’s backwards, our bodies are all out of shape, infested with disease. No ease can be found in the way we do things, we do all things the hard way, including learning. We are never at ease, so our faces grow wrinkled, a face of anger permanently portrayed on us. We think this is all there is, suffering and then death. We can’t see the big picture, we think we are strong, we think we run the world, we think we’re reaching the top of the pyramid. In reality we’re weak, we’re afraid of sacrifice and afraid of pain, we’re afraid of facing our demons, so we’d rather unleash them on those around us. We don’t want to change, we want to allow our lower nature to drag us right down to hell. We’ve got to get out of our heads, we’ve got to say what needs to be said, we need to make the correct connections, guided by our intuition. You know what I’m talking about, you know what the right thing is. Stop fucking around and do it, stop making excuses and do it! I don’t know if there’s an overall point to tonight’s piece, since I tried to make it a meditation by describing the things that surround me, the set of what’s going on, yet I always drifted away into thoughts and ideas. I’m at the end so I hope I knew what to say, and I hope it perhaps can inspire someone, as so many great passages have inspired, and continue to inspire, me. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 32.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 30: Hope It’ll All Be Fine.

I’m a bit sick with some kind of mild fever and a jittery feeling of every movement being extra sharp when I turn to a different direction. I had it for a whole week already, about two weeks ago. I don’t know what it could be but I’m thinking I might go see a doctor. At least I’m home and I have my beautiful wife with me. Tomorrow’s her day off, thank God. I also got the last of some real good chronic in a tray, so I’m relaxed, I’m not stressing the sickness for now. I’ve been drinking these pills for it anyway, they really help, but I ran out. Maybe I’ll grab a few packs tomorrow if I still feel shitty. Maria’s cooking up something delicious as always; I don’t know what it is but I know it’ll be good. I need to start eating a lot more because I’ve gotten so skinny that I can’t lift the weights I used to anymore. I guess that week-long fever and excessive sweating had something to do with it. I was waking up in puddles of the stuff. I’m blessed to be feeling much better now to be honest. Health is something one should cherish. I take a hit of the bong, I was reading ‘The Perennial Philosophy’ by Aldous Huxley just now, before I decided to start with my daily writing. I gotta read 17 pages a day at least, of a total of 365, in order to complete the book in three weeks. I’m only up to 150 now, but I’m not far behind. Interesting and inspirational read so far, about halfway through. This morning was great. I had time to pray in the morning, to do my twenty-minute meditation, focusing on breathing or simply being, then I had a good meal with some rice and meat. Sometimes I don’t get so hungry, even with the bud, but I’m gonna start eating more without a doubt, since I definitely need to exercise, and I need to eat good if I want to get fit. I mean, I eat three meals a day, but I guess I walk too much under the sun, as I walk daily to work for about an hour. Maybe my fever issues are related to this. Wondering what to write, I look around and take a huge sip of the big red water bottle beside me, then I close the lid. Water is refreshing, especially when cold. I look the other way, pictures of Maria and I on our wedding day. I think we really lucked out and found the right partner for each other, a great blessing came both our ways for some strange reason, and I had to come back to Honduras to receive it. I look at the time, 10:57 p.m. I should try to live life without looking at the time so much, unattached to schedules and time, yet I have just an hour left to write my daily words, eat, and read a Bible chapter with Maria. I hate to be rigid sometimes, but I really have to work on my self-control. No eating after midnight for me, and I have to do the goals today, not past midnight, entering into the next. Right at the end of the sentence Maria called out to me. In a flash I got to rearranging everything on the table and went to the kitchen to help her bring the plates. We ate a delicious pasta  with chicken and ham in it as well as various vegetables. She made quite a lot of food for both of us, since I’ve mentioned my intentions to eat more and regain my strength to her. I was not so skinny when we met, yet I’ve never been chubby or big. I just gotta get back to base, I guess. I’m really feeling like the time is coming up for me to make music again, to create an album like I used to before. I remember how cool it felt, thinking of the album name and cover, how it would all match with the feel and lyrical content of each of the songs, how they would all flow together. This made me feel alive before, but now it seems harder to write music. I’ve been slowly breaking that barrier down though, in part by taking on this thousand-words-a-day goal. Sometimes I feel a great motivation but then I come down, but I hope this isn’t the case this time. I feel like now is the time to really get back on track. I texted my mom today, who is in Canada, and she told me she would be leaving for the vet shortly, as our pet bird Chico, back at their home, is breathing heavily and not really chirping at all anymore, as if he was depressed. I really hope everything will be alright. There’s another bird who’s in a second cage right beside Chico. Her name is Yellow, and originally we received her, from previous owners, along with Blue. Blue got sick and died a few years after. My mom has a big heart, and it would really hurt if something would happen to Chico. I was fond of those cheerful little birds as well, and of their singing, while I was back at my parents’ home. I hope everything will be alright and that the little bird can heal. I wonder what it could be like if we could speak with the birds, with the animals, if we could understand them and communicate them, would we find ways to enslave them in our wicked system, just as we have done to ourselves, or would we find ways to learn from different species, to co-exist in peace and harmony? Just a thought that crossed my mind, we might be able to ask Chico what exactly he feels, so that we may know if his issue is truly a medical one, or if it is instead a psychological one. What goes on in a bird’s mind, if anything at all?

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 31.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 29: Health and Choosing Wisely.

Cherish your health, as it is the blessing through which we enjoy all earthly blessings. In life, we must not become attached to any external thing, this is true. This includes the body. We must not become attached to our body, or become vain about our image or strength, or despise it by becoming totally obsessed with transcending it. We are all One spiritual being, constantly creating life, and so life is renewed at each moment, both around us as well as within us. This being which gives us life is our collective Spirit, the image of God, of the source of wisdom and love and all godly qualities. The Spirit dwells in the human body, within and yet without, everywhere at once, omnipotent, omnipresent. Life radiates from the Spirit, and our precious consciousness is an emanation of his wisdom. Consciousness does not arise in the mind. It is instead the mind’s master, the one in charge of the mind and the body. Taking care of our own bodies and being aware of the state of our health are the greatest tests of discipline we could ever face. We are all blessed with bodies, yet we choose to neglect the possibilities of using them in the right way, understanding the body, connecting with it, feeling its reactions to certain foods and drinks. We also don’t value it that much at times, only until it’s too late and we start wishing it would be what it used to be. We all run from physical pain like the plague, but what if the pain will kill us? What if it is so strong that we can no longer enjoy a meal? We never think of these things, since they only happen to others. The fact is though, that pain haunts us all, it brings out raw emotion from within, in the form of screams and cries. Even with minimal pain, we all love to complain, we love to whine and moan. Why do we do this? Are we seeking attention, why do we feel the need to express our pain? We’re not used to pain, we want to root it out of our lives and out of our world for good. I can’t deny that such a utopia would indeed be wonderful, if it could be true for human beings, in the highest possible sense. The problem is that this isn’t the world we all face every single day. Corruption and climate change, recession, rape, evil and its consequences can be perceived everywhere in the world, and we know these are all evil deeds. At this point one can develop a chronic fear of the world, and of all the possibilities for chaos. Needless to say, this is bound to lead to escapism. For a common person though, most of these traumatic experiences have never been experienced as realities, and for that they are thankful. We can all be thankful for such protection, but in some regions of the earth people are beyond thankful every single day because their family members are alive to see another day and haven’t encountered a gruesome death. Everything in life passes, but some things are forever with us, and they only pass when we pass from this life. Emotions are extremely hard to heal, so be careful what you say and do. Be extremely mindful of what you do, what you eat, how often and how much of what. Make arrangements for healthier living as well as healthier lifestyle plans, don’t stress or worry, and always count your blessings before you complain. This is far from ignorance, this is acknowledgement of each possible obstacle to the reality of divine peace of mind and body, in which one can remain calm and face each problem with courage and respect. We all need to be as mindful as possible of what we do in order not to feel suffering later on, yet, once we already make a mistake, we must accept the consequences of it. There’s no need to complain, or to look back at the past. The problem will never be solved, as it’s gone into the past. It has no existence. Life provides millions of opportunities to learn, but we’re really the ones who choose. We need to understand what stands against us, what can break us and take us away from reality, from the higher reality we’ve come to understand but are yet to know fully. We need to be alert of what triggers us to forget our honor, to break our promises, to act impulsively. Intuition and instinct are not the same, and one is easily mistaken for another. It’s become so extremely necessary, in such a confused world, to use wise judgement. This doesn’t mean that we must publicly judge and harass people in any way, only that we must understand the ways in which our interactions with different people in our lives affect us and shape our fate. We need to know right from wrong, as we don’t live in a heavenly realm here, yet God can be found in every victory and in each defeat, at the highest achievement of one’s career, and at the worst experience of rock bottom, the unconscious and unwilling loss of everything one previously identified with. Within the Spirit we are always above all trials and tribulations, yet we must not, simply cannot, escape from said tribulations. It is necessary that we face them and live through them, that we understand the ups and downs of our lives at the same time as we remain connected with the higher reality where we primarily reside. We must shine our light on the world by simply being, not by imposing, but by radiating a presence of love, by showing the world that we walk the talk. Even if they don’t claim to agree, their higher mind knows what is true, and the subconscious mind stores deeper thoughts of truth as well, even if the self-perceived identity thinks it doesn’t agree or understand. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 30.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 28: What Is Living In The Moment?

Regardless of all the talk about being in the moment and fully living that way, it’s essential to understand that this does not give us permission to live with no planning whatsoever. One can and should plan for the future, seeing as we all have free will in this world as well as the power to profoundly influence our own lives, and also those of many others. We simply can’t allow such a power to go to waste. This power, free will, is a right which comes with great responsibility, as we live in a world where cause and effect are basic principles of how things play out, and to ignore this truth is detrimental to life. We have been gifted with a wonderful mind which we can use to our advantage as long as we keep it under control of our higher nature. It sounds like a great idea, but we often find that in our modern society it is extremely difficult to put into practice, our minds seem to have a will of their own, which slowly becomes ours as we identify more and more with it. We are always being bombarded with certain ideas, most of them quite destructive to our mental sanity, negatively affecting our mental functions. It is right to have faith, to trust God or the universe in all circumstances, but this does not mean that we cannot create our circumstances. In fact, there is no one else who can do this for us, we must take control and do what needs to be done to create the life we wish to live. A problem often arises however, that what we believe to be the right actions in the now lead us very far away from the lives we thought we wanted. Sometimes the opposite might happen, we may indeed get whatever we wanted, only to find out that it isn’t right for us, it isn’t what we need. This can be the realization of a heavy drug addict coming face to face with their terrible affliction and its need to end, or of someone who has realized that any specific habit just isn’t serving them any longer, and that it needs to stop in order for him or her to move forward in life, on to better days. Just because the habit itself isn’t right for us though, and we realize that now, in a higher level it was right for us at the moment when we indulged in it. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t quit it, of course. What it does mean is that, no matter how much pain we may have caused for ourselves and others, there’s no going back, only the facts of the matter are left now, in memories of the past. In the present though, we have a different mentality, a more mature one, so we can choose to learn from the disaster we created, and the lesson we learn if we are honest with ourselves could just be the exact one which is needed to free us from further problems in our lives, since various problems in a person’s life often stem from the same source, from the same pain or anger or fear. This acceptance of our life, of our own responsibility for our life, is truly living in the moment, accepting it, and thereby accepting the past that brought us to such a present. Knowing we are fully responsible for every area of our lives makes us feel accountable for our destiny, and it makes it easier for us to make the right decisions. Living in the moment and letting go of all worry seem like wonderful ways to finally live freely, unburdened by stress and confusion. However, we all must do something in this life. We cannot simply watch the time go by as we do nothing at all, wasting the days away. We must reflect, and we must understand ourselves. In truly understanding ourselves we are getting to know God, as God is manifested in and through us. We can recognize the struggle between good and evil within us, between our higher and lower nature, between the will of God, and our own selfish will. Reflection is essential for a life lived correctly. So what about meditation? Meditation is considered the perfect example of simply being in the now, being comfortable with the present moment. Thoughts and emotions disappear as we drift into a pure state, beyond thought, time and space. One could ask if this is not the exact opposite of reflection? In a way, the answer is yes. This is not a loss to us though, since there is wisdom beyond thoughts and emotions, true wisdom which is not learned with words. This is the wisdom of peace, of reconnecting with our true essence. The meditative experience is a great tool which I’ve used for a few years now to develop more mindfulness, but even meditation is temporary, just as everything else in life is. A person who cannot appreciate every moment of life as it is will soon find that their life has passed them by, as they have always wished to live the next moment, the next best thing. Meditation is merely a doorway to a state of mind which is infinite, but it is still only a doorway. What is happening during true meditation is that we are becoming comfortable with who we are in essence, we are putting away all the baggage we carry on a daily basis, all the thoughts and emotions and opinions which we consider to be ourselves. This is what leads to blissful or even mystical experiences during meditation, but ultimately this wisdom needs to be applied to every second of our lives. In other words, our whole life must become a meditation in motion. We must find the inaction within action, and we must be at peace even as we navigate through the turbulent waters of life in this world. How can we be at peace in this way, at every moment of our lives? First of all, we need to come to an understanding that, although we are involved in life, and although it feels like we are our personalities, there is a deeper dimension to us, a Spirit without which life would not flow through our bodies. This spirit is our consciousness, the aforementioned higher nature which is in all of us, which we need to make our lower nature subservient to. Once we know that life is filled with meaning, and that destiny and free will are really two interrelated and interacting forces, we understand that our mind is simply the instrument with which the real Self, the Spirit, can live in this world of limited perceptions. We now feel as if every action of ours is of great significance, and the same goes for all other human beings. The difference is that now we are aware of this, and since we are now aware, we need to practice maintaining this awareness. It is easy to understand this intellectually, but as soon as we feel a strong emotion, all of our understanding goes out the door and we succumb to our lower nature in a flash, we let ourselves be used by our mental patterns, and we often end up acting in ways which we later terribly regret. Regret comes from making decisions which are not in alignment with our higher nature. It is useless to feel regret though, as it is only a cause for negative emotion and pointless suffering. What is needed is that we analyze, in the now, our past decisions and decide to do what’s right right now. We cannot fall victim to our emotions and allow them to drag us through the mud. We must be stronger than regret, we must be rooted in the spirit, in order to make better decisions in the present, or in the future. We need to feel, to really feel and witness, the connection between God and the Spirit within us to the point where we will no longer be able to live ignorant lives, because the knowledge of what’s right will punish us, it will not leave our conscience. At such a point, one can really begin to live in the moment, surrendering all to God. The problem is that too many people attempt to live in this way, to live “in the moment”, without ever growing in any other way, either mentally or spiritually, and usually without understanding even the basics of any of these concepts. The result is that people think “I only get one life, and I might as well live it to the fullest. I’m going to have as much fun as possible and live with no regrets, without listening to the opinions of others, I’m just going to do my own thing from now on, and whatever happens happens!” Since the people who have such ideas are usually not aware of their higher nature, and since they have not developed the least bit of self-control, they usually engage in destructive and reckless behavior, which leads to much suffering later on. They believe they are living in the moment, by simply acting without giving any thought at all to anything they do, each allowing himself to be used by his mind, much of which is hidden even to himsf, in the subconscious. Maybe such people are simply meant to learn to live life the hard way, but in the end, when the suffering comes, they will probably choose to dwell on their past mistakes, and on the negative emotions of regret or disillusionment which will accompany them, as well as many other negative emotions they might face due to the results of all their reckless decisions over the years. What we all need to do is to understand, to let go of emotion and blame, or regret and hate, or disappointment with life, and to understand that life is unpredictable but it is ultimately under our control if we can connect with the source of it. Living in the now doesn’t mean doing things without thinking or planning, it means being mindful of our thoughts and emotions, yet knowing a deeper reality within us at all times, all-knowing and without the ability to lie to itself, and following the wisdom it conveys to us, without exception, since the more we ignore this wisdom the further we stray from it, and the more we become entangled with the confused thoughts of our own minds, which have become so corrupted by society, and ultimately by ourselves, since we have allowed this to happen.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 29.

~ Rebel Spirit

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‘AFRICAN HERBSMAN’ by Bob Marley and The Wailers.

african herbsman

AFRICAN HERBSMAN, by Bob Marley and The Wailers

Released in 1973, ‘African Herbsman’ is a must-listen for anyone looking to take a moment to relax with some great music, and although this is a compilation album it never loses the warm feeling it carries throughout. The reason why the songs flow so well together could also be since the compilation is made up mostly of songs from ‘Soul Revolution’, an earlier Jamaican release from two years earlier. The album also includes a few singles, like the opening classic ‘Lively Up Yourself’ and the beautifully melodic track ‘Small Axe.’ From an upbeat beginning the album mellows out more and more with each track, yet never loses its energy, you can hear it in Bob’s voice. The songs which I personally love the most on this album are ‘African Herbsman’ and ‘Keep On Moving’, the latter being such and inspirational song, yet keeping chill as if to say everything will be alright in the end. Bob Marley really knew how to get his message across through his music, as well as the mood he transmits through it even after his passing. The rough vocals on ‘African Herbsman’, the title track, really add to the rawness of the singing and the pure talent, the beauty of the song. Although it can be appreciated by anyone and everyone under any conditions, I just gotta say that if you enjoy the ganja as much as I do, you then you have to hear this if you haven’t yet. From the title track, to the weed song ‘Kaya’, to the super relaxing and uplifting ‘Sun Is Shining.’ Other Bob Marley albums have beautiful songs, don’t get me wrong, but this one really carries a completely chill vibe throughout. I have so many great memories blazing to most of these songs, so this album is one of my favorites, without a doubt. A message to all, check it out if you haven’t!

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 26: The Universal Will.

The Universal Will is beyond pain and pleasure, and it is beyond any one human life. We are all instruments bringing reality together, essential parts of the time in history which we were born in, and each death is just as important and significant as each life. When we realize that death is such a great motivator for keeping us on track we can no longer despise it. When we no longer despise death we come to realize that death is precious. If we had no death we might fall into such deep meaninglessness that we can no longer summon the energy to do anything at all. This is not to meant we no longer suffer during death, this suffering is natural. But we must understand that beyond our sense of loss, our pain due to that part of our heart which is now missing, there is a greater plan, and that death is not annihilation, since there is an eternal godly spark within us that can never die. Humanity continues to search for cures for all kinds of diseases in order to prolong life, but it only really matters to us when it becomes a reality for us or those we love. As long as tragedy doesn’t affect us, we go on living as if it doesn’t exist at all anywhere else in the world. We complain that we are bored, that we have to spend time at school or at work, that we have to accompany our mother to the grocery store, that we have to help our younger siblings with their homework. Everything is a reason for complaint. Since we have nothing worthwhile to do with our time we simply spend it complaining, stressing ourselves out. Stress is a slow killer but a killer nonetheless. Complaining might seem like a form of venting and letting our frustration out, but it actually drags us further into misery and affects those who surround us as well. When death or disease strike we are all of a sudden so compelled to do whatever it takes to prolong the same existence we were just complaining about a moment ago. We have become ungrateful. What we need is to strengthen our core as human beings, by understanding that our mind and body are simply vehicles for a much higher power, an indestructible power. We cannot strengthen our willpower. Willpower comes from Spirit and it is always as strong as it can be. When I speak of willpower I speak of the Divine will which is inherent in man. Any desire which does not arise from this will does not arise from willpower at all, but from the animal instincts which man carries within himself, from the raw emotion and thought that binds us to a merely physical experience of pain and petty pleasures. We can chase pleasure to the farthest extremes of this earth and we will end up disappointed and disillusioned no matter how high we climb. Confusion will strike like that inflicted upon the builders of Babel as we are humbled for having attempted to reach God status by elevating ourselves and putting others down, by letting our worldly desires drag us through the mud, all the while in a state of pure ecstasy. After all, ignorance is bliss. Ignorance of our truly divine nature is the cause of all needless human suffering, so there’s no wonder there’s so much of both nowadays. We spend too much time in our comfort zones, chasing pleasure or avoiding all pain. We become attached to our own perceptions of who we are, which are also affected by others’ perceptions with who we are. After so many days of the same routine, the same things bothering us, the same things making us feel a bit satisfied with life, we think we know ourselves. We think we know what we really think about certain topics, we think we mean things which we don’t mean, we think we are a thousand things, when in reality, at the highest level, we are all one in being, all of us being, one being. This is why we know what is right and what is wrong, yet we try to remain in ignorance, because it feels great. We lie to ourselves, as if we could, and indeed we can. We can lie to our perceived self, our self-imposed identity of ourselves, but we can never, under any circumstances, succeed in lying to our higher Self, to God within us. The source of all love and wisdom knows nothing else, and when we act out of accordance with these attributes we face unnecessary suffering, self-inflicted suffering. This is because the real Self always knows where we are screwing up. It knows when we are not aligned with our true nature. That’s why so many of us chase the drink I think, because it allows us to be who we think we want to be without that voice of reason dragging us down. We want to experience all the things we know we shouldn’t, we just need to lower our sense of judgement in order to enjoy them for a sweet second, in order to avoid any reflection whatsoever about what we have in our our own minds, about how we can enrich them and use life as a blessing, to bless ourselves and many others. We all feel inspired by such an idea, and even great criminals have helped the needy. It’s obvious that, as the phrase goes, sharing is caring. This is part of the love and wisdom of God, yet some of us choose to ignore this, and instead we choose to nurture the rotten ideas of selfishness which we’ve slowly began developing in our brains. Explain it in whatever way, but selfishness needs to be forgotten if we are to follow a spiritual life. Jesus advised against considering any earthly thing as treasure, and recommended to focus on the treasures of the spirit instead, while the Buddha taught complete non-attachment to all worldly things, rooted in the reality beyond all suffering. He also preached balance, the middle way, something else which could be thought of as a divine attribute of the One Being.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 27.

~ Rebel Spirit 

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 25: “Do Not Recollect the Past, Nor Desire the Future.”

Learn to feel the blessing of being able to inhale and exhale. Don’t take a second for granted, instead take advantage of the health you have and the time that you have to experience life. It may be another hundred years, or it could be over in the next second. Civilization’s attempt to create a completely convenient society where nothing is out of our reach has turned us into entitled consuming machines who believe that, in order to stay relevant in today’s world, we need to be the first to buy the newest products which are released. We simply cannot let life pass us by, we cannot become outdated, our identity cannot become obsolete. In our minds, we must do everything within our power to be successful. Why is it that so many of us chase a success which leaves us utterly dissatisfied with our lives in the very end? It’s because we believe in society’s shallow definition of success. We believe that more is always better, so we go through life always looking for more. By becoming completely caught up in our desperate, never-ending quest for more we unconsciously decide to ignore the little things, all the special moments and connections which make up the magic of human life. I am forever thankful that I was blessed enough to be born to parents who value wisdom. My parents have always been representatives of righteousness to my brothers and myself. They never wasted time with useless things, and they always tried to convey a positive message in every sentence, sharing their years of wisdom. For a long time I didn’t want to be like them, seemingly simple people. However, now I understand that indeed I do need to simplify my life. So many of the things some of us spend a lifetime chasing may not even be what’s right for us, but yet we think we know. It isn’t until much later that we realize we’ve wasted years on something of little or no value, all the while neglecting the blessings all around us. Life has truly passed us by now, all because we didn’t want it to pass us by. I recently reading Aldous Huxley’s novel “Island.” Huxley’s always been one of my favorite authors, but the more I read the more I recognize his pure literary genius. He really has a way to make you feel the philosophical and spiritual concepts he is trying to touch upon within the lives and dialogues of a different characters. In ‘Island’, we find that the story’s main character is filled with a deep sense of regret since he feels he killed his wife. On the night he told her he no longer wanted her, that he wanted nothing more to do with her, she walked out the door with a final goodbye. And little did he know it was about to be final, since she was about to die in a crash in the heavy rain outside. Did he drive her to her premature? He rejected his wife since he was interested in someone else, someone sexier, someone much wilder. She was quick to do away with him after the wife’s death though. It’s not clear if Will would have chose to remain with Molly if he had the chance to do it all over again, but in the end he does learn that his attitude had been wrong all along, and that he had neglected the blessings of his past, he had preferred to remain somewhat detached, cynical, never surrendering to the beauty of life. Such is our condition way too often, and we don’t realize it until it’s too late. On a personal note on this, these past few days I’ve been really feeling some of the bliss of being in the moment, not complaining, which is my new goal, and simply allowing things to be, accepting, really being thankful for each small blessing. Today however, for some strange reason, I started having thoughts about my music, about why I don’t make as much music nowadays, why I barely ever write lyrics anymore. The spiritual outlook I’ve developed during the past few years have really took away some of my motivation to rap, for a lot of complicated reasons. The point is that today I was contemplating the past, wondering why my attitude changed towards my music, why I can barely get inspired nowadays. I know some of it has to do with not wanting to say too many stupid things anymore, limiting my music only to things I know will lift people up, rather than pushing them further down into a materialistic mindset , or worse, into totally destructive habits. Rappers nowadays think they made it out of the system, and they flaunt their cash in their music videos. They don’t realize that they’re simply promoting the same system that made them suffer as they grew up, a system which is willing to torture, to sacrifice its own people, for the sake of money, of power and status. This is what dealers of dangerous drugs are doing, both legal and illegal. Crack dealers, pharmaceutical companies, heroin smugglers. When we are willing to contribute to people being trapped in such detrimental slavery as drug addiction in order to get our pay, we are surely degenerating. Yet this is promoted and celebrated in hip-hop, anything to get your money, to survive, to not be another victim of the struggle. Animosity and paranoia is the fruit of holding such a view. The point is that, due to this and some other things, I no longer feel the same drive to rap, as I clearly see that bullshit sells. Artists are rewarded for promoting consumer culture and even evil. I was thinking of the past today, of how I used to have the same mentality of ‘money by any means.’ I was bound for success, there was no question about it. Now I feel a lack of certainty, like I won’t be able to make it if I never sell out, which I’m not willing to do. After worrying for a while though, I read my daily sutra, and I was reminded not to worry about it any longer, as I encountered this passage, which I believe I was meant to read exactly today, the only day of the week when worry about the past arose in me:

“Do not recollect the past, nor desire the future, The past is over, the future has not come.
These things of the present, see them with insight as they arise. Not faltering and not moved, think about them. Today itself-the dispelling should be done. Tomorrow death might come” ~ Ánandabhaddekarattasuttam Sutta

A clear reminder to leave the past in the past, and to work diligently towards the future, but without worry, and unattached to the possible fruits of my labor.

~ To be continued tomorrow, on Day 26.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 24: The Truth In Front Of Your Eyes!

Times are hard but don’t allow the anxiety to take control. We have to stand firm and face the reality we find ourselves in. Suffering seems neaningless, existence a cruel cosmic joke. Wishing the existential enemy would vanish like clouds of smoke. Puff, puff, death slowly enters our system. A slow suicide to show those who don’t care to listen. Revenge on society, harming none other than ourselves. Why worry about death, we feel we’re already in hell. Don’t we see that we’ve created this mess. We live the consequences of our collective actions yet we think we’re trapped in a torturous test. We fail to see the blessing, the option to learn a lesson from everything you experience. Everything is void, empty of meaning and that’s why you must give it meaning. The ultimate meaning of life? Don’t waste the days away wondering about absolute truth, the truth is in every task you haven’t completed, every rhyme you haven’t laid down in the booth. Do what needs to be done, and stop wishing for another task. If you want a better future, you should have lived a different past. But alas, nothing lasts. Is that too painful to bear? The eventual end of existence of all we know we care for? Or is this the greatest, most liberating truth that we could ever share? That we’re not permanently stuck here, that soon we’ll all be who knows where? Everything is nothing, nothing is all. Goodness is all that exists, the image of God is the human blueprint. We need not cry to the skies for an answer, we need not look externally. God dwells in the holy temple, all we need to do is enter the holy vessel we’ve been blessed with from birth. We shouldn’t ignore it, or neglect it, we should value it for what it’ worth. Look at the truth in front of your eyes! Love your wife, hug your mother, bless your brother, be there for one another, respect and learn from your father. Even if they’re not the best of parents, we all can learn a lesson from the family we enter the world into. A lot of us are born into first hand experience of why we shouldn’t do some of the horrible things we humans simply shouldn’t do. But why do you suffer and not I? Why do I suffer and not you now? It is irrelevant, since we are all bound to suffer during this human lifetime. As you suffer, I unconsciously suffer, and vice versa. We are all one, we are all laughing in the now, just as we are all crying in agony. Everything present, we are being born and dying. Nothing lasts forever, except the One Spirit which returns to the source. Call it what you like, but its attributes are love and wisdom, the common goodness which we all share yet often choose to ignore. Seek affinity with this higher power and you cannot be led astray. Do what you know to be right, and cherish every single day., not tomorrow but today. Because nothing lasts forever, seasons change with the weather. Life stages go by, a quick flip through our lifetime’s pages. We grow old and get sick and wonder what age is. But don’t be dragged down with your body, remain grounded, couragoues character is contagious. Face the pain, face the tragedy with all the strenght within you, and be an example for others to do the same. Trust in the highest power within you, and the pain will pass. Pleasure passes, pain passes, time never stands still for us terrestrial citizens. It is a gift and a curse, but ultimately nothing can curse the immprtal soul which gives us life, which navigates through the busy streets by means of a body, a body which will soon go back to the earth. Contributions in life, and in death. We keep on moving, all we ever have is the now. We can only change now, we can only truly live now, we can only be now, and never again. Don’t let regrets get the best of you, and try to give thanks even when it seems unthinkable. Live beyond the personal illusion, remain in the Self, allow no devilish intrusion. Temptation is everywhere, but don’t blame a soul, instead take a moment to breathe deep and keep control. You are not your brain or your bodily strenth, you are the spirit within, divine energy. So stop making excuses for why you can’t, for why maybe you shouldn’t do what you fear most. Where there’s fear there’s resistance, so there’s gotta be a great calling. Reconnecting with the true Self beyond all identity allows us to see that there is no me. If I harm another I suffer in the end, even if doesn’t seem so in the moment. Life is never guaranteed, so every day is a new blessing. We find that so often our lives change with our attitudes. Less complaining and more being grateful is what we have to do, we need to stop whining and accept that if we are to accept life, even if maybe we didn’t choose to live in the first place, then we have to accept it with all the suffering it includes. In this world of desire we all feel empty and disconnected from the source. But this emptiness is the source, this emptiness shows us that nothing else will ever compare to what we are truly missing and desperately attempting to reconnect with. Accept this life for what it is, no one’s life is more special than anyone elses, and in fact we are all one life, all one being. We can fail without all the pressure being on us, we can learn from failure, and we can ultimately succeed without feeling the need to act superiror, understanding that every achievement we make is an achievement for the whole of mankind, and every evil deed we commit is a seed of destruction for all, including those we love as well as ourselves, and each time we ignore our higher calling we become more and more disconnected, not necessarily from the way things should be, but from the way things could be.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 25.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 22: The Buddha’s First Noble Truth.

Courtesy is the key to compassion, to common understanding that we are all one, that we are all together in this life. I can’t stress enough how important it is that we each do the best we can at keeping calm even as we navigate through whatever storm we may be currently facing in the deep and devastating sea of sorrow which is reality. This is not pessimistic though, such was the Buddha’s teaching. One must fully acknowledge and accept life’s inherent yet impermanent suffering in order to stop creating more suffering during this life. We cannot lash out on others in order to feel better about our current situations, we cannot use aggression to vent our frustration. Yet so many of us react in such a way because we have been conditioned to never ask for help. In this cold and competitive world which we live in it is a crime to show vulnerability, to spill out your soul to somebody else, to fully trust someone and accept the suffering that might come as a side effect. Such behavior can ruin us, it can open a door for the wicked people to haunt us. At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe. And in a way it’s true. But hiding away from all possible suffering shuts us down, and ultimately prevents us from living our lives freely. Consumer culture is surely succeeding at creating a materialistic society in which petty products are the ultimate symbols of status and success. Money and fame are flaunted in our faces to tempt us, to make us believe that we need to slave away to acquire these things, to be more popular, to be cooler, to be richer, to be more successful, to be who we always wanted to be, never having a moment of true peace to be happy with ourselves and the lives we’ve been so blessed with. All the rich and famous suicide victims could tell us that money doesn’t bring happiness. No one seemed to expect it, they were completely normal on the outside. Of course, we can’t actually ask them now whether they would back this claim up, but I have a feeling that if so much money could give a real sense of meaning to a person’s life, a sense of hope, they might still be alive today. The same script plays out over and over again, yet we still refuse to learn the obvious lessons which can be extracted from these people’s lives. Life is suffering, and suffering is life. All good contains some bad, all bad contains some good. The poor man complains because he lives in misery. The rich man lives in misery, in crippling fear of poverty. The man who is neither rich nor poor agonizes over the fact that his neighbor has a newer and nicer car than him. Such is the way of attachment, such is the product of the materialistic mentality we have developed. Attachment to wealth is the greatest delusion since it makes human hearts grow cold, leading us to refuse help and shelter to one another, to value a symbol of wealth rather than real wealth. When we place greater value on worthless pieces of paper than we do on other people’s lives then we are on the fast track to complete corruption, first of the individual and soon in a global scale. We will soon be able to commit any evil deed in order to get ahead. And this is the goal of the system. The goal is to separate us, the goal is to turn us all against one another, the goal is to make us covet our neighbor’s blessings, everything everyone else has, to desire more and more until the point where we feel so empty that there is only death left to desire – annihilation of such a seemingly meaningless and vain existence. Such is the way of the man who has corrupted his mind with materialistic desires, lust, greed, arrogance, hate, with paralyzing fear and doubt. We all love to complain about the corruption in the world, but we ignore it when we are the ones who act in a corrupt manner. Perhaps we are living in such ignorance that we fail to even notice our own corruption, but the real Self can never be fooled. We love to blame others for the state of the world, all the while ignoring what we could be doing to create a better world. We need to begin with the environment around us. As a matter of fact, we first need to understand that the essence of this world is duality. In this life there is pain and pleasure, and both are inevitable. Even worldly pleasure is not true pleasure, as it is a part of duality. We love and cherish our families and all the great memories we have of them, but the greater amount of memories we store of them in our minds the more we are likely to miss them when they depart – the more we will suffer, from the memories of wonderful days. The point is that, no matter how much we try to improve this planet, no matter how many pure people dedicate their lifetimes to the enlightenment of this world, suffering will always arise, it being an inevitable an essential part of life. This was Buddha’s first Noble Truth: Life is suffering. The suffering that we can avoid is the suffering that we ourselves create by reacting in the way we do to any given situation that life presents us with, to any obstacle it may throw our way. We need to connect with the Divine within us, with the stillness of the universal Spirit, an essence of godliness which can never be corrupted, and which is free to keep calm in any and every situation, as it exists in a dimension above duality. I refer to the oneness behind all life, behind the spinning energies of the yin and yang, the reason why all contradictions bring us to the same truth. It is the reason why death always follows life, and life begins after death, why we continue existing eternally.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 23.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 21: Family Fun, Living in the Moment, Huxley’s “Island.”

I’m at Maria’s family’s house for the day. Her brother Luis picked us up at home last night and brought us here. Whenever we come we bring some pizza and everyone has a great pizza dinner, everyone talking in a lively manner, some on the computer, some on their phones, but everyone interacting. Although my own immediate family (parents and brothers) are back in Canada, it’s great to have a second family here in Honduras, apart from my grandparents and uncles, etc. Everyone’s been very welcoming during this past year and a half that I’ve been married to Maria, and from what they say as well as how they behave towards me, I can tell they consider me part of their family. Maria’s little brother Kevin is about to complete the sixth grade, and his last week of school is coming up, final exams and everything. Here in Honduras, seventh grade is the first year of high school, so finishing the sixth is a big deal. We watched the second Iron Man movie in the morning, Maria, Kevin and I, and now we’re just taking a break from having studied the past few hours. So far we’ve reviewed some math and some grammar. It’s great to help this little guy learn, and I hope I can be as positive an influence as possible during the time we spend together. I feel like I have a new younger brother, and he seems at least a bit more excited to study with me than with anyone else. We don’t study every weekend, but on most weekends, usually on Sundays when we come to visit, we do some studying. It feels good to let go of my own schedule for a while and become absorbed in helping someone else, especially a growing child about to reach adolescence in a few years. As I believe in the inherent goodness within all humans, I know that this is why it feels so good to help. Our study sessions also help me with my spiritual practice in various ways. As I mentioned, they provide a way for me to take the focus off myself, my own plans and preoccupations, and to focus completely on giving my best in every aspect to another being who is at a critical stage of life and growth. Apart from this, it helps with my patience. Kevin’s a lively kid, upbeat and full of life. This is great, although it often means that he can’t sit still for too long and is always trying to distract me from my teaching. He tries to grab his phone and show me YouTube videos, and sometimes he even asks questions or mentions an idea he’s had recently about some topic he finds interesting. I don’t shut him down, instead I usually interact with him and allow him to show me what he wants to show me. It’s true that we often take even double the time we might actually need if we focused completely on studying with no time for pause, but I feel that the only reason why he even quiets down to study for some moments is because of the connection we are building as we talk, as I allow him to express himself without stopping him mid-sentence and yelling to get back to work or to pay attention. Kids are full of energy, energy we lack too often as adults, and instead of showing them that this energy is evil, and forcing them simply to sit and follow rules, we should encourage this energy, and once they’ve shown us what they want to show us, then we can remind them that we have to have a balance and that we should do some more studying. I don’t know if this is the most efficient way to learn, but I guess it’s been working for him for the past few months. Maria usually does most of the math studying with him, and I do most of the reading or grammar studying, so it’s great to have grown up in an English-speaking country, since it allows me to help him to learn everything correctly and to hear a fluent pronunciation. Anyway, now that we’ve done some studying, I decided to do some writing, so that I have time to work on my other goals later when I get back home. I wasn’t sure what I should write about. This being my twenty-first day straight of writing a thousand words a day, I feel I might be running out of things to write. Actually, what’s happening is that the simplest topics, or the ones I understand more fully, have all been notated up to this point. The topics I have yet to write about are all deeper, spiritual concepts, and I feel I need to take some serious time to not only write these ideas down, but then to organize them in order to publish them in a fashion that makes sense, that isn’t all over the place. That isn’t the point of this experiment though, of writing a thousand words a day. This is supposed to be more freestyle. So as I wondered for a moment what I should write about, it dawned on me. I’ve been having a great time all morning, absorbed in the task of studying, or of helping Kevin study, and so I decided to just write about the simply beauty of that moment. Just last night actually I finished reading Aldous Huxley’s “Island”, and it really impressed me in the way in which it is able to convey such deep topics in the context of people’s personal lives. It delivers certain spiritual ideas in such a powerful way, more powerful than any philosophical treatise in a way. One of the most important topics in the book is that of simply being in the moment, in the here and now, of simply being completely aware of each moment, accepting all that comes, understanding we are essentially divine, meaning that the real part of us cannot be harmed by pain, or by pleasure. It is always there, undisturbed, and it is essential that we learn to reconnect with our pure state of consciousness, with being in the now. Still meditating on the depth and meaning of this great novel, I decided I’d simply write about the great experience I just had before I started writing, the experience of being in the moment , forgetting myself as I shared what I could, selflessly, with another human being. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 22.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 20: Do What Needs to be Done NOW!

As a new month begins, as we gather our energies to begin a new, maybe there’s goals we wish to achieve, changes we’ve been looking to make in our lives. We’re determined that this will be the month of our success, this will be the time to start finally feeling free of compulsion, to start living the way we were meant to, the way we know we are meant to live. Although this excitement is often the result of great motivation, and often motivates us even more, we shouldn’t become too attached to the idea of a new month of change. A month consists normally of thirty days, and each one of those days is made up of 24 hours, each hour 60 minutes, each minute made up of seconds, small lapses of time which fade away as we start to speak about them. What is a second? It is the closest we ever get to the now, and every second we are alive we can make a difference, both in our lives and in the world as a whole. Whenever we make a positive change in our lives we are positively affecting the planet we all share, even if indirectly we are making things better for everyone else. Along with this excitement to change often comes a disappointment in ourselves for not having changed sooner. We reach a point of desperation for not having been able to achieve our daily goals, for not being able yet to cut out that toxic and destructive habit from our lives. All negatives have a positive side, being that they provide us with experiences we can learn from. It is good that past failures motivate us for future success. But it’s even better when past failures motivate us for present success. As we begin to plan a whole month of being aware, of being more conscious, we might become sure that this time we will not fail. We might feel a rush of euphoria as we are now embarking on this journey from which there is no backing down. The problem is that, in a few days, once the initial excitement passes, we might feel disappointed in ourselves for not keeping the momentum going, we might feel that we are losing that motivation. The problem is that we were focusing on the feeling of success since the beginning, we were focusing on how good it would feel to succeed, to take on a whole month of refusing temptation, of remaining calm and collected in every situation, of breaking old habits and finally being able to feel proud of ourselves. Although it serves to motivate us initially, this focusing on the outcome and on the positive feeling it will fill us with does not provide lasting motivation, because it still focuses on future satisfaction. What is needed is not a future goal in order to be able to feel accomplished at the end of a certain period. What we need to do is to remain completely focused at every moment. We need to plan a daily review of our goals and habits, we need to keep track at every moment, we need to remain grounded in the fact that this is a new person, this person here, now, living life differently. I won’t be a new person once I complete a certain goal for a specific amount of days. No, I’m already a new person, and if I intend to live life according to my values, if I know what those values are, then at any moment I can review these ideals, and I can get straight to work. Once you know that something is good for your life, that it will help to build your life up into something richer, there is no need to look for outside validation, or even to look for validation from ourselves. Our own mind might trick us a few days later, throwing temptation in our face, hoping that we break our goals, that we indulge in that harmful habit, that we fail and feel miserable again. We need to remember that we have already made the decision to go through with this, and that decision is true of right now, we absolutely must put it into practice Now. You see, there is nothing other than the now. Focus on the now, learn the teachings of Karma Yoga in order to understand this concept in a deeper way if you must. Don’t feel entitled to feeling good, don’t feel entitled to the fruits of your labor. Don’t worry about what others think, don’t worry if it doesn’t seem like the goal is bringing you to where you wanted. Give it some time, stick to the plan, to the decision which you had in that one moment of clarity, and apply it to the now. Let go of any doubt that arises from past conditioning, let go of paralyzing fear of the future. There is no past, there is no future. There is only now, this moment, this consciousness which allows us to experience the moment, and the all-pervading Spirit which provides us with our ability to do the right thing here and now. So, if you’re trying to break a habit that has you in its grip, don’t start thinking about all the times you’ve failed, don’t start by thinking about how horrible it will feel to be deprived of such pleasure for a whole week, or a whole month, or a year. Simply know in this moment that you are free, that you don’t need anything external, whatever it may be, and be at peace in this moment. Close your eyes and sit and do nothing if necessary, but just be in the moment until temptation passes. If you are trying to pick up a new habit, don’t think about all the extra work you need to put in now. Don’t stress about people liking what you write, about people buying your music, about people criticizing your art, about people looking at you weird for refusing to complain, or for changing your life, for giving up reckless partying and drug use for spirituality, for connecting with the Higher Self within us all, or for following the passion you know you were born to pursue. Pay no mind to these things, know there is an amazing force which is on your side at all times. You cannot fail now, you can only succeed at doing what needs to be done, or at not doing what doesn’t need to be done. Stop complicating yourself and your life, stop looking for gratification in time, stop looking for the feeling of being a better person, a more responsible or successful person, and accept yourself as you are now, be at peace with yourself and with God, and get down to business. You know what needs to be done, so do it NOW! You will never get another chance to do what you need to do now. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 21.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 19: Setting Daily Goals to Create Habits.

I thought I’d just take a moment to reflect today on all the goals I’m currently working on achieving, and since I’ve yet to write today’s thousand words anyway, I thought writing about my goals would be a great way to reflect on them a for good while. I’m not talking about extremely ambitious, long-term goals here. I’m talking about the small goals which I make a point of keeping daily track of in my notes notebook. One of the goals which has helped me the most so far, which has given me great peace of mind in the past few months is my goal of not drinking. I can’t drink a single drop of alcohol – no liquor, beer, wine, whatever it is. Growing up, drinking was some of the greatest fun my friends and I could have. It was what allowed us to get into the crazy fun situations we always got into. Over the years though, as I started maturing, I realized I couldn’t enjoy drinking anymore, at least not the full experience of it, including the side effects. My hangovers were straight from hell, filled with a general anxiety and fear about life, with a sort of hatred and intense hostility against life, cussing at the heat, brushing off the sweat from my face, everything hurting, not wanting to talk to anyone. I don’t know remember a lot of my drunk times from way back in the day, so I don’t know if things were always so tragic, or if I was just becoming more aware of the horrible state drinking puts a person in. Either way, I soon realized I had to stop. Drinking was draining me of energy, it was making me lose and break things and money was always scarce. I was doing much harm to myself during my drinking days, and not only to myself but to my family for a long time, and now it was happening with my wife. I couldn’t keep it up. I started with a simple 5 day goal, and I kept adding 5 days every time, with some drinking in between goals. With each goal that passed I felt less and less desire to drink, yet when the goal finished I’d always be tempted to start again. I did a hundred days and drank again, only to feel sick of it a few days later. I was also able to drink in a more controlled manner. I was excited for the next goal though, and after a powerful acid experience I decided I had to double the days. I’m currently about sixty days into my two hundred days of no drinking, and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll even feel the need to drink again once this goal is over. My attitude towards alcohol and its role in my life has completely changed. The next goal I’ve worked on over  the past few years is to stop watching porn and masturbating. This is obviously something more or less normal for all boys growing up, yet we don’t realize we are draining ourselves of essential physical and mental energy whenever we ejaculate. We also don’t understand that we are becoming addicted, slaves to pleasure and lust. As I progress in my spiritual and intellectual journey, it has become clear that both of these habits have to go. It feels good that after many months of working on this, I can now say I am free from both of these things. I have a beautiful wife now anyway, and I don’t need to fantasize about anything else or look for girls on social media. Temptation is always there, as well as in real life, but it is easier to succumb to something seemingly harmless like porn, whereas I took a decision before I married, that I would remain loyal to my wife no matter what, so I’m not too worried about temptation in real life. Now that I don’t drink I have self-control at all times and can make sure I don’t do anything stupid in the heat of the moment. Perfect, both goals go hand in hand. Another goal I’m working on is to exercise every day. I’ve been at it for the past few weeks now, non-stop, and it feels great to have so much extra energy. I take a moment every day to either run ten laps around the baseball field, do some yoga, or some push-ups, or lift some weights. Exercise is essential to keeping our bodies strong and effective, just like one’s diet. Regarding diet, my only goals for now are to make sure to eat breakfast every day, and to never eat any later than midnight. I’ve been pretty consistent with this goal so far. As I’ve mentioned in some earlier posts, I have a goal of reading a book a week. Sometimes I take two or three weeks depending on the size of the book. Apart from this, I have a goal of reading at least one chapter of the Bible daily. Although I can’t really say that I’m either a Christian or a Jew, I was raised with the Bible, and I highly doubt that this book is one to be easily discarded and set aside. Due to my interest in religion, in spirituality, in literature, in philosophy and in psychology and society, the Bible is a must read for me. Since it’s very long I read just a chapter or two every day with Maria, we are currently about halfway. After the Bible I plan to read the Quran, or the Zohar, as the next books to be read on a daily basis. I want to understand the essential ideas of these texts, and to know as much as possible about their connections, and about the mental and spiritual states of those who wrote them. Although it’s not yet an official goal, I usually read a Buddhist Sutra on most days, since they usually really short, but have great meaning to them. I’ve been learning about Buddhism for quite a while now, so I think I just might start an actual goal of reading at least one Sutra every day. The messages I am reminded of as I read them usually put me in a great state for my daily meditation. My goal is to meditate at least twenty minutes straight every day, and I’ve kept this up for maybe a year now, yet I still keep track every day. I don’t meditate to fulfill the goal though, but to just meditate, to simply be. I find that this is the best approach to meditation, but I’m no expert. I encourage you all to try this daily meditation, just sitting for twenty minutes. If anything, it will create a peaceful moment for you to appreciate your life, and to appreciate being with yourself, away from all the craziness of life.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 20.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 18: Hatred and Hip-Hop, Lessons Learned from Party Days.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been more or less aware of the unnatural state of the life we live, of the wicked way the world works, of the way the whole system runs. I was afflicted by the hatred and violence I would see on the news that my dad would watch every day, by the corruption and poverty, the incessant and unnecessary pain and suffering of so many, by the hypocrisy of the world. I would hear horrible stories of gruesome deaths taking place in my home country, gang members dismembering business owners for not being able to pay a monthly sum. I couldn’t imagine people living in such conditions of fear in the country I had been born in. Except it wasn’t only in Central America that this was going on. I often watched videos of another powerful, international gang, the police, attack people on video as well, tackling and killing unarmed civilians, and I was absorbing all this hatred and internalizing it subconsciously. I would show these videos to my mother, who always advised me not to let hatred affect me, that nothing good comes from witnessing injustice. I just kept making offensive remarks about the police officers, about how they should be severely punished, and that there should be no police at all, since all the officers are just as corrupt as any of us regular people without a badge. I was filled with a stupid, self-righteous hatred at all the injustice, I was becoming an extremist, not acknowledging that there are good and bad people in every profession. I knew that hip-hop was the perfect venue to express my hatred, hip-hop having been long associated with protesting and fighting the system, and also the police and the government, for a cause. Meanwhile as my hatred grew, I also absorbed lyrics which casually discussed guns and drugs on a daily basis, thinking I could just vibe along to the rhythm and the rhymes scheme, not internalizing what was being said. I was naïve and didn’t know at that age that our soul is always listening, paying attention behind the scenes. I hadn’t yet learned about the unconscious mind and how it registers everything and applies it in our daily life. Not surprisingly to my current self, I normalized these behaviors and overall lifestyle in my mind, and I started doing the same things that I listened to, since they naturally arose anyway when I entered high school. I’m not saying that I did anything I did directly influenced by music, but once certain ideas about life are normalized in a young person’s mind, it’s more likely that they will succumb to such behavior, especially when it presents itself as a great temptation. My group of friends consisted of a gang of crazy kids who were involved in fights, drugs and problems with police. Many came from broken homes and have parents who are in and out of jail, or came from families with serious financial problems, or substance abuse problems. I was raised in a different way than them, at least at home. My parents always taught me morals, which endure to this day, and those morals have kept me from going over the limit many times if I’m honest with myself and with you all. Maybe my friends’ decisions to live these kinds of lives were not influenced so much by music or the media, but by the people in their own lives who they saw as role models, as well as their peers, and who resembled those characters in their favorite songs. In my case, my parents could never have imagined that I would do some of the things I did, especially at such a young age, so they trusted I wasn’t doing anything wrong. They had done everything they could to prevent my brothers and I from being in the company of anyone they believed was living life wrong, who would influence us down the wrong path. Kids in Honduras don’t start getting fucked up with their friends at 13 or 14, leaving home, getting in street fights and getting arrested, unless they are already entering into the gang life, one which they will never escape from. My parents were used to a very conservative culture where children grow with their parents and family is always close together. This prevents any unprecedented danger since the family moves as a pack, and values are mutually agreed upon and enforced. My eyes were open to a whole new life, to what I thought was unlimited freedom. I spent the summer after the eighth grade getting extremely intoxicated on various substances and partying in many different places, with many different people, while my parents thought I was at the mall all day, or swimming, or at the beach. Not to say I wasn’t doing those things, or that I wasn’t at those places a lot of the times, but definitely not under the conditions they imagined, that’s for sure. Life was just too exciting to pass up, a daily adventure; drugs, booze, girls, friends. This brought along everything that usually comes with excessive drinking and too much partying with too many people; fights, lost items, broken items, police problems, and all kinds of other problems. Except to me they weren’t problems, because I simply didn’t care. I lived my life as a young adolescent based solely on pleasure, chasing thrills on the daily. My parents were the ones who suffered in the background, and this I couldn’t see, as I was clearly blinded by the thick veil of ignorance I had decided to cover my eyes with. What was my parents’ suffering at home, in such a distant place, when I was here now, in the moment, drugged up, tripping, feeling like I was part of a crew, part of the fun we were having, part of an unstoppable force, the unfiltered energy of youth? I realized that my music was shifting, it was no longer so much about solutions, the lyrics I was writing had ceased to be about finding a solution to the world’s problems. My rebel energy was being incorrectly applied, it was becoming confused and intertwined with this reckless and restless energy which surrounded me. I thought that we were going against the system, and my music was defiant, as if this was the life that truly free individuals were meant to live. I was so, so blind. I couldn’t see that my friends and I were simply victims of the system, rebellious kids full of anger and rage and the desire to let it out, full of dissatisfaction, drowning in alcohol and drugs, avoiding any real self-reflection. I felt like I was on top of the world, and it was only much later when I realized I had been living in a very low state for much too long.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 19.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 17: Why Hip-Hop? (Part 1)

I was born in the beautiful, extremely hot and tropical country of Honduras. Honduras is a small third world country in Central America, and apart from being an amazing country in many aspects, rich in natural resources, it unfortunately also suffers greatly from ongoing gang activity and violence, as well as shameless government corruption. For various reasons my parents emigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 2004, at the time when I was around ten years old. That changed my life in various ways, both good and bad (although I see now that nothing is really bad in the end), as I grew up getting myself into tons of trouble due to my rebellion and stupidity. Years and years seemingly were wasted on pointless pleasure and pain, pleasure and pain over and over again. However, what I’ve come to realize over the years is that eventually, all of life’s victories and failures, all the mistakes we make, everything realigns into perfect harmony, and everything balances out. We need to make mistakes in order to learn, and if we never acted stupidly, we could never analyze our past behavior with much depth, since there wouldn’t be much need, and we might never feel deeply motivated to change at all. I see this clearly in my own life. I still have a lot of changes to make, but I’ve changed a lot in the past few years. Most people who I meet nowadays would never guess that I used to live the way that I did before. This shows me that we all have the power to change, even in a small period of time, through small efforts, through daily goals which increase our willpower, and in turn our overall well-being. It’s an exciting idea to discover, and I thank God for being blessed with the power to make it real in my life. The supposed ‘misfortunes’ that life has presented me with have actually provided me with an insane number of examples of my own previous stupidity. I keep these safely stored in my memory, as it is clear to me that if I never lived through some of the things I have, I probably would have never felt the need to change my self-destructive behavior. Many people who have never lived through such negative experiences, or who have but haven’t applied the necessary importance and significance to them, still continue pursuing nothing but pleasure, awaiting the day when they will have to pay for all that pleasure with much pain. Others who were close to me have let their life of pleasure take them out of this world much too soon, whereas I have at least begun to try to change. I am far from perfect, but now at least I have a goal to achieve in life, which is constant self-improvement, and improvement of the world around me. Changing the world is something we all do at every second, at every single moment and with every interaction. If you or I had not been born on this planet during this exact lifetime and period in history, billions of lives would be completely different right now and forever. Just contemplate the depth of that truth for a moment. The only way we can change the world day by day, action by action, is to work on ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis, on letting our inner light shine. This light is something spiritual, the very essence of being, and the inspiration for what I do. But I’ll stop getting ahead of myself now and get back to my story, to a time when I had no concept of these ideas. Growing up in Vancouver I became fascinated with hip hop from a young age. I just remember becoming obsessed with music in general, ever since the good old days when getting stoned was a novelty which felt almost like tripping, and music sounded so mind-blowingly great that I could pick up every note as I listened for hours in utter amazement. To this day, my love for all genres of music has grown and continues growing daily, but I mostly dig decades into the past as opposed to following the new music trends that come out nowadays. It seems we are slowly transitioning into an age in which music is not so much a tool for expression as much as a tool for financial gain and propaganda, but we’ll get to that sad subject again at another time. Although no music is as relaxed and uplifting as Bob Marley’s, or as psychedelic and epic as Pink Floyd’s music, there is nothing that can compare with hip-hip in a few specific ways, in certain aspects. Hip-hop has always blown me away since it makes you just get up and move, voluntarily or involuntarily, you begin to move. Your head, your feet, whatever it is. The rhythm of hip-hop has the power to move one’s soul. Rhythm is so important to rap, that the word “rap” in itself is actually an acronym for “rhythm and poetry”, or at least it is to me, and that’s what I titled the first mixtape I ever released. The other amazing thing about hip-hop is how much content can fit into a verse, more than double the content of what could be sung by an R&B singer on the same track. There are many examples of this in collaborations between rappers and singers. A forty-second verse of a track can be used to make a bold statement, if every syllable is packed in with a meaningful word, instead of resorting to blurting out curse words every five seconds in order to complete a rhyme. I often feel sorry for listeners of modern day rap, who have to bear the dumbed down raps of the so-called “entertainers” that are praised today and promoted by mainstream hip-hop culture. I try not to judge, as it’s part of my self rehabilitation and spiritual work, but the truth can’t be denied, and it must be expressed. It’s sad to see that music has been reduced to meaningless noise, to another petty product, packaged and promoted for maximum profit. I’m not saying that hip hop was all good in its ‘golden days’ either. It seems amazing to me now how I grew up on hip hop and knew all there was to know about it; rapping became my life, and ‘rapper’ became my early identity, something I identified as, but I couldn’t see the problem that was slowly building up within me. It turned out that along with my love for rapping as a form of expressing ideas and thoughts, feelings and concepts, I grew accustomed to a lot of negative aspects of hip hop culture, a truth which I finally came to accept after a great deal of introspection, much, much later in life.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 18.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 16: Notes From Past Months.

I wonder why God wanted Adam and Eve to live in ignorance. It seems that once the snake showed up it opened their eyes to the fact that God lied. He had told them that if they ate from the fruit of the forbidden tree they would surely die. As we know though, they didn’t die. Instead they gained insight into the nature of good and evil, they awoke from a dream of ignorance. So does God want us to be ignorant? It is a funny concept to imagine. We think of this as unfair, that God would hold back the truth from us in order to protect us. We feel that, although the truth may be uncomfortable, although it might destroy us, we want to know it. We do not want to be deprived of the truth, and we see it as a basic right. Why, then, do we hide the truth of the nature of things from our children until we deem them old enough to understand fully? Why do we consider our behavior just but God’s unjust? This could be one justification for God’s apparent lie, that we would die if we attempted to eat from the tree. Is it a good enough excuse though? And why should truth be hidden from us if it is good? If it is good and we were made in God’s image, in the image of all that is good, then why should we be sheltered from good? Is there some bad within good that we are not yet ready to understand? This could be the case. After all, the tree which imparted knowledge onto Adam and Eve was the tree of knowledge of good and evil, not of the knowledge of good. It seems that knowledge in itself cannot be only of good or of evil, but that knowledge itself must include both. Since this “knowledge” is dual in its very essence, we can assume that this knowledge is part of the dual creation. I think this is precisely where we can draw the line between knowledge and wisdom. Perhaps knowledge seems good to our limited perception, but it is actually knowledge of an imperfect world, therefore it is imperfect knowledge. In this dual universe, everything is both good and bad, positive and negative, yin and yang. All good encompasses bad within it, and all bad encompasses good within it. All includes all else, and for this reason this knowledge was dangerous. It all depends on the specific situation.

Don’t allow the idea of healthy living to become a completely unhealthy obsession caused by a chronic phobia of disease. When we obsess over fear we develop many irrational fears and we become paranoid. When we worry non-stop about what we need to do next, about how we will survive the next day, when we allow these things to stress us out, what we are doing is unconsciously affirming that we are at the mercy of this body and its ailments, that we are victims of our karma. Similarly, when waste our thoughts on dreadful thoughts of disease our minds become diseased. We are refusing divine protection by worrying about things which are out of our control. People love to bash faith nowadays as it is seen as unscientific. But faith is necessary, and the mystic knows this. Faith is what keeps on going when nothing seems to be going our way. Faith is what keeps devotees on their divine search, even while facing ridicule and sometimes violent persecution for being comfortable with questioning everything and stepping outside of the box. Don’t save up so much money that you can’t ever enjoy since you can’t stop working, you must pay your debts. Don’t let societal norms dictate the way you should conduct yourself. Don’t let other people manipulate you into doing things to serve their selfish purposes by making you feel guilty or responsible for their troubles. Don’t allow guilt or regret to help you back. Remember that, although the present is a representation of your past and future – your memories and dreams as well as future aspirations-

Don’t feel like you can’t tell people how you feel about a certain issue because you will be seen as a hypocrite. Sometimes we feel like, because we’ve acted in a certain way in the past, we’re not able to express any different sentiments or ideas because we are simply preaching what we don’t practice. This is not the case. Life’s obstacles and problems, even those created directly by us, all come our way so that we may learn a lesson. If we fail to learn the lesson then the problem will keep on showing up in different ways. Once we learn the lesson, yes, the point is to live it. But with all goals, sometimes we fail, and someone who is on a righteous path might make a mistake once in a while. Does this make this person more impure than those who make mistakes all the time without feeling any regret for it at all? Of course not. We should not live with a feeling that we cannot be honest about the values we hold just because we are doomed to be labeled as different than that. A murderer might repent after many years of introspection. Taking someone’s life might have seemed to be justified at the time when the crime was committed, but he might have come upon some common sense, perhaps during his time being locked up. Isn’t that supposed to be the whole point of locking people up?

Sometimes I feel that God isn’t real and neither is religion. I feel like God might be just an idea that people have created in order to feel better, and that the system has decided to promote in order to keep people enslaved. As someone who values freedom, it’s hard for me to accept God as a tyrant, as a person who dictates what we must and must not do, down to what we wear and how we cut our hair. Looking around though I have a strong feeling that there is a higher power than us. But could this feeling arise in so many of us because of a mass dissatisfaction with the current state of the world as it is? How do we find out whether the old religious stories told us by our parents and grandparents, be they from the Bible or any other ancient book, have any basis in fact? Is history true in the way we know it or could its teaching have been manipulated from centuries ago in order to favor the side telling it? I feel like God and religion would be the perfect tool for mass control. It prescribes ways to live and not to live, and it insists that if one does not follow certain laws then one is subject to eternal misery and pain. This alone is enough to fill a person with overwhelming fear.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 17.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 15: What’s the Point of It All?

Sometimes we wonder why we should even try, we awake with this doubt, with its accompanying thoughts and feelings, they hold us down to our comfortable beds, comfortably numb but held down by our own weight. The room’s a mess, the whole house even, for days and weeks on end, for months, time flies and nothing gets done, yet everything happens, every day and night — we just don’t seem to be in control of what happens. It reminds us of our own dissatisfaction with ourselves, with the daily routine, of the resistance within us, that seductive, deceiving demon who thrives off of shaming and ridiculing us for even dreaming of dreaming our dreams at all, not to mention really dreaming them, or drastically turning them into reality. Even if we can beat this devil and stroll triumphantly out of hell, succeeding in our primordial task of completely demolishing resistance and getting started with our sacred journey, even after this moment divine ecstasy of finally beginning, too often we come to find, after a rather short interval of time usually, that results rarely turn out the way we initially planned them, or worse, that things always go wrong! This could go for your day or for any long-term project. It can be applied to life in general, its unexpected and unprecedented. We complain, but that’s how we’ve come to like it, how things ought to be even. But forget it, things always seem to go wrong exclusively for us! We make a fuss, we kick and cuss at the sky, we ask why and we cry like cosmic babies to Father God, or to mother helplessness, but in a frenzy of agony and anger mixed together nonetheless, no matter who we’re kicking and yelling at. We’re really yelling at ourselves though. We recognize our enemy as ourselves, deep down inside all of us do, and this frustrates us more than anything because we’re in denial, we don’t want to get out of our comfort zone and start being who we are meant to be, whether this means a dramatic transformation, or just being in the now, enjoying the day without wishing we were elsewhere, or nowhere. Let’s take a moment to think back. Did we go all the way with it, really go all the way, or did we do things without applying the correct dose of concentration, or without adopting the correct attitude towards the matter? Ideas may float through our mental horizons ceaselessly, but they may not even turn out in any way at all in real life, seeing as how they never get started. Sometimes people are about to make great success in internally defeating resistance, yet outer circumstances may prevent them from making this final ascension. The tragedy of the human condition keeps us cynically inspired with lethargy, with hate and with an attitude of not being able to care less, but which really masks a deep care for the world and its inhabitants, along with a fear for yourself and for anyone you love, fear that they could ever experience such horrors. People are dying all around us, everyone pretending they can hold it together, everyone keeping busy, in a rush, chasing the next thrill, everyone addicted to a chemical, a pill. No one can stop for the moment and be free, without fidgeting with their phone or shaking their leg. Some part of us must remain busy, we must hold an appearance and we must never be vulnerable. We are trying to cover up the truth with massive amounts of lies, and it shows. But who cares if others can tell? Who really cares? They can’t even tell, they themselves being too busy digging into, or covering up, their own problematic psyches just like you are. Is there a meaning to life beyond a high, beyond a trip, beyond a mystical moment of oneness? Is there more to God than a vision of Jesus, or of Buddha, or of a prophet from ancient times? Is there more to life than a vision, more than the petty lies we tell ourselves and each other? Or are these produced in the mind? Could the people who hear voices telling them to kill their families be hearing the same voices that the ancients heard when they passed their sons through fire to please the gods? Could it even be the same voice that commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Or could these be devils, while this was in fact, the divine voice of God? I don’t lean to either opinion, since I can’t speculate on the matter, but it is definitely strange and disturbing to think about.  We wonder what all this evil means, we might even accept that it’s all the suffering of the world comes down to our evil doing, our evil being which is inherent within us all, but we simply can’t accept all the seemingly meaningless cruelty of it all, we can’t come to grips with the bare facts of life. These thoughts can cripple us and resistance comes back in a big way, along with its brother fear and many more cousins who aren’t playing around with your sanity. These little troublemakers might have you questioning things like ‘what’s the use of enjoying our own lives as millions of others suffer?’ As we live, others die, often from unjust causes, from political corruption and murder, but more so from corruptions of the human mind, from a loss of control over one’s own genocidal emotions. One man without the proper restraint on his own destructive emotions is a potential danger to everyone around him and even for many generations to follow him. How are we not guaranteed not to go astray if we are influence by hatred and distrust for life? Self-control is key, both to fighting resistance, and to controlling what we create once we beat it. A word, a deed, a piece of art, or of literature — these are all realities which we bring to life from the creative and collective unconscious. We are all projecting our realities onto any and every external object we come into contact with, we see things and smell things and feel things according to our own specific reality throughout our lifespan on this earth, during this incarnation. We think we all share the same senses, and indeed we do, but truly there are never-ending sets of variations of these senses. But is there more to these senses that we believe we know and trust? I for one think we should all try to answer this question truthfully to ourselves, before we ever decide that life is completely senseless.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 16.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 14: Get Right with Life, You Are Not Your Problems.

Times are hard and times are great. We all have learned a lesson following from a mistake. One man’s trash is the next man’s treasure. One man’s pain could be another’s biggest pleasure. We all have invisible powers that motivate us, forces that rejuvenate us and power us through life, and forces that drain us and leave us shattered. We all have incredible strength which is still only in potential form, we all have genius ideas that stray from the norm. We all have a fight to face, a cross to carry, we’ve fallen from grace. Yet we are divine, our dual nature keeps us in constant motion like two electrical poles, properly aligned. We all affect everybody we meet, even if we don’t bother to stop and speak. We are all intertwined. We provoke. We all know we don’t know, yet sometimes we all take way too seriously this cosmic joke. Don’t get me wrong, every second is the greatest blessing, plus responsibility, we must take care of ourselves, of our lives, of the consciousness we’ve been gifted with. None of us are an island, we are all connected and our lives are not our own, yet we are each responsible for us. None of our lives matter more than any other life, yet we all matter equally just the same. Though we may store different mental programs in our brains, the Spirit at our core is forever the same. We all think that we’re losing at some point when we’ve gained something priceless and sacred beyond just a name. We all cling to the past, we don’t lead the dead rest. The dead days of killing time, reminisce on yesterday. Why not try to live in the now? Let me remind you like the mynah birds on Huxley’s ‘Island.’ Be in the now, we can do the right thing now. Because remember, times are good and bad together, life and death are taking places simultaneously at every instant. As one celebrates, another mourns. Can this be reality? Can instability be truth? The truth is beyond this. The truth is elevated so high that it is beyond any separation. How can one laugh and one cry beside him? How can a man be free at the expense of slaves? The truth is a state where there is no pain, there is neither any pleasure in the sense that we know it. Truth is beyond the sensual, so it is forgotten. Reconnect to the source and see. Learn to let go into it and listen. The quieter you become the more you can hear. Hear the sound of the birds singing, of the laugh of a loved one, see the smile on the faces of your children as you come home. Appreciate these things, be thankful for life and all that it brings. Realize there is nothing more than this. Be conscious of the now, because everything passes as a fleeting glimpse, of love and hate and dissatisfaction, way too often. Don’t attempt to find meaning to your life, instead realize that your life is its own meaning. Your life is your own in order so that you could live it, so that you could love living it and love the game of life, or at least to accept it along with all its suffering, understanding there is always a greater power within you and without you. Remain at peace as life goes on, always in the now. Everything has multiple dimensions, we often can’t see the reasons for the things that happen in our lives, we can’t see why such a tragedy had to happen to us? But really, why should it happen to anyone else? We are all one human species and things happen for reasons that are beyond our control. We have free will, at least it seems we do, and the way in which we all choose to exercise it is the only cause of evil on this planet. We are stuck in wordy dissatisfaction, unable to confront our lower natures, unable to bring our noblest ideas to reality in our own lives. What can we do to solve all of this? All long-term, organized attempt is always bound to become corrupted and fail. What is needed is that we all help wake each other up, one by one, to the fact that we can no longer go on ignoring what we know to be the right thing. We need to do the right thing now, wherever we are but now. Doing what’s right and necessary is the one thing we simply cannot afford to leave for later, even for one moment longer. Just as I finish writing this and am ready to post it up I realize the internet is not working. It’s about to be midnight here so technically I failed today (or yesterday) since I didn’t post before the next day. Things happen though, so although I wish I would have wrote and posted today’s piece earlier, I gotta calm my frustration and come to terms with the fact that it happened for a reason. I won’t count it as a failure for now, and I’ll take note to try to do my writing earlier. That’s something I’ve been working on for a while now, and still I got a lot of progress to make. On controlling my emotions, especially anger and frustration. We take so many things for granted, just like electronics, electricity, internet, cable. When these things stop working we get irritated, we even get aggressive, some of us act like the world is over. Even these small things we can use as reminders of how we have to work on our attention, on staying alert in our consciousness, on not only doing what’s right, in the moment, but rather being right with life at all times, holding no grudges, being thankful for the way things have played out. There’s a lot of injustice in life, but we can’t grow bitter as we ignore our own blessings and lessons.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 15.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 13: Immigrating to Canada, Pressure from Parents.

I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I lived in Honduras, both in Tegucigalpa, the capital, as well as San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital, for ten years before my family immigrated to Canada. My father studied economy and received his Master’s Degree. He is a very intellectually driven man who takes pride in his understanding of the world, of business and of money. He left a job with the United Nations, working on humanitarian projects throughout my birth country of Honduras, and moved to Canada where he struggled to find work. With help from a job agency he was able to get odd jobs here and there, finally settling at a fireplace factory. Apart from having to wake up in the early cold which we wasn’t used to for a job which he was ridiculously overqualified for, my dad was also not used to carrying heavy machinery and equipment at work. A year or so after he began working there he found out he had a hernia and had to have surgery for it. Thankfully he was fine, and nowadays he has a much better job at a bank, which suits him a bit better for sure. Despite his temper, my father is really someone I greatly admire due to his determination to make ethical decisions in life. My father believes in doing everything right, in the way it needs to be done. Growing up I always wondered why I was so different from my father, but lately I’ve been having epiphanies which clearly show me just how similar we both are. We both have crazy ideas of unique projects. We both enjoy speaking to people and can talk non-stop when it comes to a topic we are passionate about. My dad is sort of extreme in a way, something I never wanted to admit for myself but which I need to come to terms with now. He tells me not to wear a beard when I fly so I don’t get seen as a threat, yet he wore a long beard when he was younger too. He tells me to play it safe and to study hard to have a promising career, to dedicate myself to it in order to get a head start while I’m still young, yet he left his home country in order to find his own way when he was young as well. That’s what led him up to his meeting with my mother, in the country of Honduras where my two brothers and I were all born. My mother’s family moved here from Nicaragua due to the Sandinista revolution which took place decades ago. My mother is a saint. She is a devoted follower of Christ and the Bible and she sacrificed much time apart from her work to make sure that we learn Biblical morals as well as practiced what we needed to know for school and did our homework. She always told me (and still does) that I have great potential which I waste by deciding to do things in a mediocre way. I never argued because I couldn’t deny it. I was never a big fan of school. As I started hanging out with my friends I started ignoring all the great times I had with my parents growing up and all they sacrificed for my brothers and I. My father always spoke to me in his native Portuguese so I was able to gain a fairly fluent understanding of it growing up. When I traveled to Brazil on my own for the larger part of a year I finally got some street practice, and I really felt free speaking Portuguese, I was feeling the Brazilian vibes. While in Rio, I was amazed at how hot it was, even hotter than San Pedro Sula in Honduras. While in Brazil, I first stayed in Sao Paulo at the home of a good family friend who I had never met, an old friend of my father who is a Baptist church pastor. He’s a sympathetic guy and he gave me some good life advice and treated me as his son while I was there. I’ve noticed that throughout life I’ve received such respectful treatment from many individuals as a result of their deep admiration for my father. For this reason I sometimes feel ashamed with my own performance in life thus far. I feel the pressure of great expectations which my parents have for me. If they were careless or irresponsible parents I never would have felt so guilty for going astray from their teachings. One of the saddest feelings of my life has been that of not being able to properly connect with my parents. Their religious beliefs make them very close minded when it comes to anything spiritual. It was only in recent years, once my dad started attending a Kabbalah class at the synagogue he is attending, that he began investigating deeper into mysticism and the idea that maybe things are a lot deeper than he had thought they were. For many years now he has considered himself a Jew, and has wanted to influence my brothers and I into undergoing complete conversion to Judaism, which he believes to be the true path to God. My mother is quite convinced with Jesus Christ’s promise of salvation for those who believe and pray in His name. She doesn’t feel the need for us to further investigate into the nature of God or the universe, and her closed mindset to these sorts of concepts bother my father and lead to great discord. But if their belief in God leads to discord whenever expressed between the two, then is it really serving its purpose at all? Spirituality is not something exclusive which can be taken up and dropped as a habit or custom can. Spirituality is everything, it is the essence of who we are. It is not a philosophical label or a religious sect, it is the realization that we are spiritual beings and that there is a spiritual purpose and significance to everything that happens, to every physical phenomenon. Spirituality means having a deeper connection to the true causes of things, to the nature of the effects and which causes they come from. Spirituality means balancing what needs to be done on this Earth with the time we need to spend contemplating heavenly concepts. Spirituality is balance in all aspects of life. A spiritual life is one which is well balanced and allowed to flourish, a life which is not lived for the sake of fulfilling vain worldly desires, but one which is lived for the purpose of doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. At least I find satisfaction in knowing that both my parents are people who are committed to living righteously; hopefully this can overcome any unreasonable habits that might come along with absolute belief in a single religion.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 14.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 12: Impermanence of Life, Strength of Spirit.

Life flows from one moment to the next, from pleasure to pain, non-stop. We wonder what it all means, what is the right way to live, or the wrong way. We wonder if the things that happen are meant to be, if the lives we live mean anything at all or if everything is random. Are we living out our best potential? Is there even such a thing, or were we destined from the very beginning to be none other than who we are? We ask ourselves these questions, sometimes voluntarily, other times we are forced to meditate on these things. We search for answers with a reckless sense of excitement, or we drown ourselves in massive amounts of anything that kills the pressure of not knowing, the pounding, beating presence of uncertainty, of the anxiety that comes with the human condition, calling out from within us, demanding to be at least acknowledged, if not respected. Pain is nothing to run from, and neither is confusion. Few of us choose to analyze our confusion, but when we do, we see connections in the most bizarre circumstances, we see how events from the past have taught us valuable lessons for the now. We see that confusion is unnecessary. If we are to be like children, like God’s children, if we are to be pure like children, unprejudiced and ready to open our hearts to life just like children are, then we must have a sense of wonder like that which children possess. We wonder why good and bad have to exist, but it makes sense in any movie we watch. Life is a movie too, changing pictures on the screen of awareness, the spirit that animates, that emanates its living light into everything that is. We all know this, but we take it for granted. We understand the concept, but we don’t think it realer than the situations of our daily social lives. This spirit is not afraid, it has never become corrupted by anything that has happened in anyone’s life. A divine spark cannot be damaged, it can only be forgotten by the very being which it gives life to. Where does our life come from, or the energy which keeps our hearts beating, or the planets rotating around the sun, or our lungs breathing air? It is all a mystery, something which we humans have not manufactured. How many of us can honestly say we are dedicated to studying this mystery of life to the best of our abilities? I am not talking about an obsession with everything that comes along in our lives, I mean a committed mentality of making the best of every situation we face, analyzing everything completely honestly, and learning life’s lessons as sincerely as possible as we go along, making the necessary changes at every stage of life depending on the lessons we learn? We’re all capable of this, but we don’t give this innate ability of ours the respect it deserves, nor the proper use. How deep do we want to dive into our insecurities, into our inferiority or superiority complexes, into our toxic traits and the vicious habits which keep us trapped with no conceivable way of breaking free? Are we willing to radically alter our lives whenever we know it’s needed, or will we keep on living life as if we will live forever, as if there is no possible way in which we could live life other than the way we are living it now? Overworking, not sleeping enough, not eating right, neglecting health for the chase of money and status, rejecting even the possibility of love for cheap thrills all while avoiding any real commitment in life? Are we afraid to utterly fuck up if we commit to a relationship with that decent girl who cares for us, or to that plan of quitting that harmful habit we engage in, or to that vision of chasing our dreams and making them come true no matter what? Are we too afraid to live life? Again, things come and go, we are born and then we die, we win some, we lose some. Everything is yin and yang, black and white, but the more we connect with our Spirit, that part of us which is godly and beyond all knowledge of duality, the more we can be free of attachment and aversion, and the easier it will become to endure life’s blows and tragedies, as well as its senseless pleasures and temptations into evil. I’ve been meditating for a while now, and I think that, if mediation is getting in touch with the silence and peace that come with our inner Spirit, our innermost, realest Self, then prayer could be something which might be very beneficial to engage in before meditation. Prayer is sort of speaking to God or the universe, while meditation is listening. So maybe an answer can come somehow. I don’t know for sure who or what God is, if he is a personal being we can relate to, or if he is an energy which pervades everything there is, or maybe somehow both in one. But that shouldn’t stop me from praying to God, at least to be thankful for every blessing in my life, to acknowledge that I have a lot to learn and much to change in myself, and committing myself to the highest power in the universe, most likely the creator of all we know, and even that we have no explanation for, to do my best and to do what I know is right. I think a spiritual connection to life is needed in order to survive the hardships of life with a sane mind, or if not spiritual, at least a sense of a higher meaning or purpose to life, which I don’t as something which could be viewed other than spiritually, but then again we are all different and have all kinds of ideas. I’ll just keep on working on connecting more with that innermost part of myself, that part which always knows what is right, and I know that life, although it may not be easy, will always be more and more meaningful to me.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 13.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 11: Productive Weed Highs.

So yesterday I wrote a bit about how, not wanting to quit smoking weed, I decided a few years back to try to spend most of my stoned time doing something creative, something productive. The reason I ended up writing about that yesterday was because I started by writing about the fact that, at least for me, weed shares one quality with psychedelics in that, in a very subtle way, it lets you be more in tune with what you know is the right thing. Things that I would ignore about my life would often become perfectly clear to me. One thing that became very clear was that I was spending too much of my stoned time just sitting back and listening to music. Now, don’t get me wrong, listening to music is quite possibly my favorite thing ever to do while I get stoned. But, you see, that’s exactly why I chose to cut down on that. I’m not suggesting that anyone should the the same, since there is nothing wrong with simply sitting back to relax to some trippy chill music when you’re taking flight! The thing about me is that, I really want to make certain things happen. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, and in fact I have a lot of albums recorded, some of which you can hear on this site by the way, but during that time I was no longer doing music. I was trying to find another outlet to express certain ideas about life and the world, since I was now expanding my horizons and beginning to learn a lot about spirituality, as well as living life in a much different way. I didn’t have many friends in Vancouver at this point, having been gone for so long, but I was enjoying this newfound peace of solitude. During the evenings and during my lunch breaks from work I would video chat with Maria who had stayed back in Honduras. We spoke pretty much every day, a few times a day. We couldn’t wait to be together again, and I was motivated to save money instead of blowing it all on drinking and all the bad decisions that come from that, so I was beginning to experiment with some solitude. The people in my life were my four co-workers at the immigration consulting firm, my parents back home, and my wife Maria on video chat (she was my fiance back then). I felt like I had a mission, I was a lot more mature now. So during those days of smoking at the New Amsterdam lounge, when instrumental tracks came on, by Ravi Shankar mostly, or some binaural beats which are said to be set at certain frequencies to relax the brain waves, I would think deeply, and it was during those moments that I began to notate my ideas on my cell phone notepad. I grew tired of this notepad since I had to press these small buttons and I couldn’t get my ideas down quick enough, and I also got tired of writing only when instrumental tracks came on during the general song library shuffle. So I started carrying my notebook with me to work and keeping it in my bad while I worked, and in the afternoon as I sat there, usually by the window, in peace, surrounded by other stoners, I began to write many thoughts down. Usually I would listen to “The Spirit of India”, the full album by Ravi Shankar, instrumental music, peaceful and serene. It got me in a relaxed mood every time, and I wrote all kinds of thoughts during those days. I wrote about my personal life and mind, I wrote thoughts on the world and life as a whole, thoughts on everything that came to mind, that captured my attention at that moment. I became fond of writing during those days, and I began writing a daily journal with diligence. I was determined to use my high times productively, to make the most of the creativity that the cannabis brought up from within me. It relaxed me and allowed me to write freely, about anything, whatever, just to write. It felt like the beginning of a new era for me, like something brand new, something fresh was beginning to blossom. Needless to say I’ve been writing in some way or another to this day. I simply can’t forget those days when I began this venture, the sitar sound in my ears, devoid of any words, the majestic melodies contained within Shankar’s masterpiece brought me to ecstasy as I inhaled huge puffs of chronic smoke, held them in for a few seconds, and then exhaled. I would feel my eyes close on themselves while I was only about halfway through the joint as I stared at it contemplating, asking myself “Damn, can even I finish this?” I finished every time, of course, but I can’t say it wasn’t always a challenge. In the end I always had a few pages written, and some ashes I’d have to brush off what I just wrote. The point had been to roll a joint that would be hard to finish, and that I had definitely done. This definitely allowed me to settle my thoughts and write with enough time not to feel rushed at all, the joint had to be just the perfect size, King Size, RAW. At a certain point the high and the music and my writing became completely merged and intertwined with each other, I felt the melody getting me higher and I couldn’t put the pen down! These kinds of experiences always put me in such an amazing mood. On sunny days I would look out the window at the park on Victory Square, at how the grass and the leaves shone brightly as yellow beams of light sparkling as if moved by the wind. On rainy days I would just watch the rain fall over the gray streets and that was satisfaction in itself. What I feel is good about such experiences is that they remind us of the beauty of life which is everywhere, in the seemingly simple things, the trees, the sun, the clouds, the rain. These beautiful things, God’s creation, constantly inspired me to write. It was like poetry was imparted to me by nature, in order to have it written in my journal. Maybe if I read back on that journal entry now I’d find myself in that timeless moment once again.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 12.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 10: Cannabis, Self-Reflection and Writing.

The culture here in Honduras is very different from the one I experienced and became a part of in Canada. Most of the experiences which have truly shaped my personality the most up to this point are those that I had in Canada after my parents decided to move there when I was ten, at least until recently when I returned here to be married to my beautiful wife Maria. I grew up in Vancouver, BC, more specifically in the Surrey area. Many things that I grew up seeing as totally normal were things that completely shocked and terrified my folks, such as my appreciation for cannabis which started at the young age of thirteen. My parents went through a lot of suffering due to my love for that sweet BC bud. I always had to, and did, keep in mind that my parents come from Latin American countries where illegal “drugs” are associated with tremendous levels of organized crime and violence; it is a business which is fully controlled by gangs. In Canada, on the other hand, everyone and their mom smokes bud, or even sells it. Seeing my mom suffer like she did when I was finally caught selling at school made me never sell weed again, at least as a job, even though I think the laws which make it illegal in the first place are completely bogus. I couldn’t be happier about the fact that cannabis is now legal in Canada, nationwide, since October 17th, 2018. This is necessary in order to break the stigma, in order to open the world’s eyes to the fact that cannabis is not a dangerous drug, but rather a powerful and potent plant in many respects. Just like everything in this planet, it can definitely be abused, so it must be used with moderation. Balance is something which needs to be applied to every area of our lives if we want peace of mind. My belief is that no substance in the world is completely bad or good. Some cause more suffering than the experience is worth, and some ease the suffering of many people as long as they’re used properly and treated with respect. It is all about the way anything is used, just like the internet, or the TV, or social media. Just because so many people feel empty and alone or misunderstood in this dull world so devoid of life to the point where they begin desperately abusing weed, or alcohol, or pharmaceuticals, or any other substance for that matter, is not a valid reason to label the substance itself as evil. And if this was the actual reason why a substance like weed was ever illegal then all pharmaceuticals would have been completely forgotten as soon as the dreaded opioid epidemic reached massive proportions. I’m sure glad the fight is over in Canada, but I’m also speaking for and to the rest of the world where people who just want to chill a bit, as well as people who really need their weed have their basic rights denied and as branded as criminals. In reality, most problems related to pot use are due to its illegal status, including my own problem with my school and even with my parents’ view of it. Apart from that some people say that weed makes you lazy. I’ve thought about this in depth and to explain I must tell a bit of my own story. Cannabis has been a trusted friend to me for a very long time. The effect one feels after consuming this plant can obviously vary immensely from person to person depending on mental state and many other factors, but its general effect is usually one of slight sedation as well as of comfort or relaxation. At times I’ve felt as if I were becoming completely immersed in a bunch of blankets, as if I were sinking into my warm bed or something as soft as clouds, as if I were fading away into a dream as I lie in under the stars, my eyelids slowly closing over my vision. Most of my most wonderful weed memories are from my earliest days with it.. One cool thing I notice is that although cannabis makes one feel so wonderfully comfortable, it does not blind one to the facts of life, and in a way it shares an important quality with all psychedelics: the ability to bring you into deeper contemplation of your own thoughts. Interesting ideas seem to envelop my attention to the exclusion of everything else around me. I started to figure this out for the most part after having the realization that I didn’t want to live a life of time-wasting any more. This realization hit me the most while high one day, when I realized that I was losing motivation to work towards my goals, and I couldn’t lie to myself about it. This thought made me evaluate my daily activities and be honest with myself about when I was wasting time. Then I would do something more productive during that time in order to improve at being productive. I realized that all the time I was spending on weed after work might be holding me back and preventing me from doing more important things ,along with time wasted scrolling on Facebook or partying with friends. After work I would walk two blocks from Homer Street over to West Hastings on the corner of Victory Square in Downtown Vancouver. After purchasing the product at the corner dispensary I would merely cross the street to the New Amsterdam Café, a lounge where anyone can come in, and for a five dollar fee, smoke freely in a comfortable and secure area with some trippy paintings on the walls. Music is always playing, munchies are for sale, and any smoking or vaping equipment is provided if needed. There are large spots with conjoined couches for big groups, and there are also individual couches for the more introspective stoners. I usually went alone since I went right after work, and plus I preferred to blaze alone in those days anyway my main reason for being back in Vancouver being to save up for my then upcoming wedding. I would walk in like I was home and remove my tedious tie and jacket with a sigh of sweet relief as I proceeded to plop down on one of the free couches. Then I would continue to unpack everything I needed: the weed came out of my pocket, the grinder and papers were in my bag along with the lighter, and I was already deciding what music I would listen to for the next little while om my 160GB iPod Classic. After deciding on an album or a playlist I would commence the rolling of the humongous joint which was about to be blazed up. Since I had been waiting all day to smoke (the job I was currently working allowed me no opportunity to wake ‘n bake), this session was always meant to take me all the way. I would properly pack up a full KingSize RAW paper and roll a fat joint longer than my index finger, ending it with a nice filter which I took my time to make with perfect precision. It was almost as if I were trying to last as long as possible without sparking the joint, as if the satisfaction were such that I just had to hold it off in order to feel it even more the second I lit it. It was during these relaxing times of stoned self-reflection that the idea of writing really began to take shape in my mind. More on this tomorrow though.

To be continue tomorrow, on Day 11.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 9: Reading is a Great Hobby.

For the last year and a half I’ve kept up a goal of reading a book every week, or every two weeks, or occasionally a month, depending on how many pages the book has, but usually it takes me a week to read a book of around 150-200 pages. I can honestly say that this long-term goal has greatly impacted me, even in such a short time. Reading is really an amazing thing. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I understand that I barely know anything at all. Before I started this goal, I thought reading was not that useful, that it was better just to live in the moment all the time and learn from experience. Although this is true to a certain extent, everything in life requires balance, and too many people live their lives completely ignorant of many important things that could greatly enrich their life experience. The more books I read, the more topics I want to research, the more books are added on to my list of books yet to read. So far most of my reading has been restricted to the areas of philosophy and spirituality. I do plan to read on many different topics, more secular topics, eventually, but I started out just reading what interests me the most, which is understanding the spiritual nature of the universe, of the world, of life. I haven’t read the Bhagavad Gita, yet a few years ago before I even began this reading goal I did listen to an audio version of ‘The Bhagavad Gita: As It Is.’ The profound wisdom I was able to recognize in it really inspired me to investigate more into Eastern beliefs. I have studied quite a bit about Hinduism and Buddhism, more specifically Advaita Vedanta, and am currently on page 656 of the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda as a result of my initial encounter with The Gita. The works of Swami Vivekananda are a continuous reading for me, along with the Bible and all the Buddhist sutras as well. Vedanta philosophy details very clearly our intimate connection with God and with the whole world, it reminds us that God is the very life within us. I’m not anywhere near ready to settle into any religion or tradition however, and am more interested in investigating the different ways in which the true mystics of all religions really stressed the same message of harmony. Some great books I’ve read regarding this are Nisargadatta Maharaj’s ‘I Am That’, and Rupert Spira’s ‘Being Aware of Being Awareg Aware of Being Aware’. Some other very insightful texts I’ve read are The Dhammapada, a collection of sayings of The Buddha, and the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu’s classic work on Taoism. This is another interesting area of study, and some interesting books on Taoism are Richard Wilhelm’s translation of The Secret of The Golden Flower, with commentary by Jung, and also Mantak Chia’s “Cultivating Male Sexual Energy.” There is another book by Chia which deals specifically with cultivating female sexual energy. I haven’t read it yet but will do so for sure, since the male book definitely opened my mind to a brand new concept. The book talks about how the male sperm, holding life within it in some sense, contains so many things which are beneficial to our physical and mental health, and it also has a spiritual dimension. The energy from the sperm, according to Chia, can be transmuted and guided upwards through the different energy centers of the body. He mentions that this can lead to mystical experiences of unity, as well as intense pleasure for both parties involved, after a prolonged period of love-making without ejaculation. This book has definitely added some extra motivation for me to completely quit watching porn and masturbating. It’s been quite a while since I engaged in either, and I’m super happy to say that, since now sex is something which focuses solely and completely on my wife. Now, speaking of Jung, I haven’t read much of his work, although I do want to get into it. The only book I read from him was ‘Man and His Symbols’, a look at the symbols and the archetypal patterns which rule our subconscious mind, and which are manifested within dreams, and beneath the surface of our everyday lives, in our decisions, in our preferences. This learning definitely put into perspective for me just how much of what we think, say, or do, could be unconscious. We don’t even know the next thought we will think. I feel like psychedelics are a great tool to connect with one’s subconscious, and some great books I’d recommend anyone to read before embarking on their first psychedelic voyage are James Fadiman’s ‘The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide’, Albert Hofmann’s ‘LSD: My Problem Child’, Aldous Huxley’s ‘The Doors of Perception’, and Ram Dass’ ‘Be Here Now.’ The first three books I mentioned are exclusively on psychedelics, but ‘Be Here Now’ is one man’s journey from Harvard psychologist Richard Alpert, to psychedelic pioneer, to spiritual guru who would go on to give thousands of lectures around the work as well as to write many more books. ‘Be Here Now’ is a gem, an honest look into one person’s life, and into questions which we all ask ourselves. A recommended read for anyone, in my opinion. Apart from this, one audio book which I really enjoy by Ram Dass, recorded in his own calm and soothing voice, is ‘The Journey of Awakening.’ Every once in a while I listen to this audio, especially when I’m tripping. It does a great job of guiding one to a state of pure awareness, seeing all of one’s thoughts and emotions as separate, as if they will not break us, because they cannot shake what we truly are. There are too many great books I’ve read recently to mention all of them on this one post, but I just thought I’d mention a few here in case anyone is interested in reading some new books. Currently I’m reading Aldous Huxley’s ‘Island’. I’m only about 30 pages in but I’m enjoying it so far for sure, just as I enjoyed ‘Brave New World.’ I haven’t read any other books by Huxley, apart from the aforementioned ‘The Doors of Perception’, but I do plan to continue reading his books since his literary genius has become obvious to me even from the few books I’ve read by him. Soon I’ll be putting up reviews, or just summaries, or personal thoughts on a lot of the books I’ve been reading, for those who are interested. Until then, stay positive, friends! Find something to read, learn something new or just get lost in an exciting and thought-provoking story in a distant universe! There’s a lot to gain and nothing to lose from it.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 9.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 8: Your Mind is Programmable.

Your mind is programmable, and if you are not the one programming it then best believe someone else will do it for you. As I was growing up I felt so free while I chased a reckless sense of pleasure which I hoped would never end. I chased one thrill after another until I grew weary of thrill-seeking. Even though I often felt much freedom, I realize now that I was deluding myself. I was being programmed by the thoughts and ideas of those I looked up to, and I didn’t even know why I looked up to them. I wanted to fit in, to belong. I thought I didn’t but I see that I did. I didn’t choose not to fit in, at least in my younger days. I just didn’t fit in. I felt that I was cursed, like I could never truly connect with anyone on an intimate level. I felt like there was something wrong with me, like I was just inherently worse than everyone else, different, an alien creature to be tolerated. I don’t remember when I first had this idea, but it has always been with me to some degree. I watched rappers in music videos playing around with huge stacks of money, surrounded by supermodels and shiny new sports cars, not to mention all the jewelry and expensive attire. I believed that the system was holding me back from reaching that goal which I desired so much, to be a famous writer and rapper, and to travel the world basking in the glory of my international fame. Foolish dreams, I see now. Fame is a monster which can consume one and trouble one to the core. I think I can do without fame. As for money? It is natural to live and breathe for money, to chase and to cherish it when one has no interests beyond the worldly, beyond the temporary, beyond the transient. As I’ve gradually awoken from the illusion, I find myself losing interest in money. I no longer care about it, and the thought of it incites boredom and monotony. There is no substance, no meaning, to money, yet we are constantly programmed to chase it and value it above all. The media fills us with images of what we supposedly need to look like if we are to be popular, of the things we need to have if we are to call ourselves ‘successful’. These are all lies, and no matter how well we may understand this, our mind picks up these lies and stores them in our subconscious. If a lie is listened to enough times it begins to be believed by the listener. The masters of mass advertising study the many subtle methods which can be used in order to manipulate the minds of the masses, to subconsciously suggest a product or an idea, to create the feeling for a need which was never even considered before. The media plays on our insecurities, it tells us that we need this to be cool, that we need this to be healthier, that we need this to be skinnier, that we need such a thing to be more muscular. There are masters in the field of advertising nowadays who are professionals at exploiting our desires, even the pettiest ones, and creating a market from this newly created need. What to many of us is life, what we obsess over and cry and struggle for, what we work and save up for, all that we spend the majority of our lives chasing. All of these things are just numbers, are just dollars, are simple figures to those who manufacture them. There is no difference in the way they see those who create the products, the workers, and those who consume and use the products, the general population. The corrupt system which we live in has reduced us all to figures, to numbers, to indispensable zombies to conduct their experiments on. Because we are comfortable, and because we do not want to have a nervous breakdown, we ignore this wicked state of things. We are okay with it because we do not know exactly what we are missing out on. We don’t see that the system uses its many tools to keep us confused and complacent, to keep us taking one step forward and two steps back. It does this through mental manipulation, through advertising, through product placing in TV and movies, through music and music videos, through social norms, and even through foods and products which cause lethargy and even serious health conditions. We all claim to distrust each other, and we see the rest of humanity as competitors in the game of life, we believe that we need to outsmart them in order to move forward, in order to see any progress in our lives. We are so blind that we can’t see that this is exactly the aim of those in control, of those who we really should distrust yet we blindly trust. We trust what the government approves, we trust what the doctor tell us, we trust what we see on the news, but why? Why, if we are so quick to distrust those we encounter throughout our days, are we so quick to trust those who we do not know? Why don’t we begin paying closer attention to what we are watching, to what we are listening to, to what we allow to be on around us? We must do this if we wish to be free, since no matter how sincere our intentions may be, we can never change if we continue filling our minds with garbage. The spirit is superior to the mind, but once it has a good understanding of what is beneficial and what is detrimental for the mind, it must begin the process of holding the mind subject to the necessary changes. The mind will struggle to change, and it will follow its oldest and most undesirable habits, especially if they help us cope with pain and stress. Often these habits are the very ones we wish to change in ourselves, yet the need to change stresses us our to the point that we can not control ourselves from following these destructive habits. We need to be painfully aware of the divine Spirit which we are, and the more we practice doing this the more we will be able to program our minds with positive ideas, even when surrounded by people who speak pure stupidity and ignorance. We must make our highest ideals habits within our minds, we must create healthy habits that will allow us a better quality of life in the future. When one is not sure what one stands for, one is easy to manipulate. It is then extremely easy to fall prey to whatever propaganda is stuffed into our brain, since we do not know who we are or what we are here for. The end result is that we do whatever it takes to maximize pleasure and to minimize pain, and this becomes the most dangerous habit of all. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 9.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 7: Visionary Revelations of the Now.

Images flooding my mind, some familiar, some seemingly random. I close my eyes and patterns begin to form, geometric, kaleidoscopic, a tingling sensation running through my whole body, up my spine, into my cranium and brain. I recognize the truth of living in this moment, I feel it stronger than ever, the obvious truth. Different hues, beautiful details become apparent whereas before there was only one color on the wall, one that I easily overlooked. Trails follow my hands as I wave them before myself in awe, I begin to stretch out a bit on my thin red yoga mat, just like the big smile that begins to stretch across my face. It’s a mischievous grin, the grin of having “gotten it” once again. I’ve felt this feeling before. Ah, that feels nice. I sit down with my headphones on and get some relaxing music playing. Eyes closed, I begin to drift away into a dream, into a visionary land, yet as real as the waking world. These ideas that flood my brain, they come from within me. They jump up at me from the deepest parts of my subconscious. I don’t feel threatened or scared, just intrigued. I explore these feelings, these thoughts, I observe. I drink a whole lot of some deliciously refreshing water I had made sure to store in the fridge in advance a few hours ago. I feel it enter my throat and flow down into my stomach like a cool spring of pure life, I feel it cool up my body and soul, feeling like I just found water after many days wandering in the desert. I drink like I never want to let go of that bottle, and eventually I gotta take a leak so I walk to the washroom, and I seriously stare at myself in the mirror. I can’t keep a serious face! I smile, I laugh, giggle, I see every aspect or dimension of myself staring back at me, deforming and reforming time and time again, aging, stretching, shining, breathing. I see that it’s all just a game, that life is meant to be lived in the now, not taken too seriously but yet given its proper respect during each individual moment. I see how the person I’ve been I no longer am. I see how who I am will probably never be the same again after this exact second, after this trip, after this or that experience, yet I will always remain the same. I understand that we live in a dimension of time, but in the timeless dimension which I’m currently living in, in this moment which all the great mystics have mentioned, which is familiar to all artists and musicians capture in their legendary works of art, everyone I’ve ever been, even in this one lifetime, contributes to who I am as a complete person in the now. Even with this, who I AM will never change. I get it. This spirit within me is aware of being aware, it recognizes the truth within. I try to write it down, to get it down on paper, but the words just can’t do it justice. The truth must be experienced, it must be lived in the now. I laugh and yet I cry tears of joy from this simple wisdom, it all makes sense! The music hits my eardrums and every note of every melody is melting down inside my mind. As the notes get higher or lower, I ascend or descend with them also. I am one with the music, I see how music is an avenue into the divine. I see that music is an expression of the soul, and that to treat it as anything else is an injustice. I don’t take it too seriously though, I simply vibe to the rhythm and my mind creates the motion picture to accompany it. I see it all in my mind’s eye, everything coated in deep symbolism, everything emerging from under the chaotic waters of my mind, of our mind, of the collective unconscious. The chaos is the order though, and I know that everything has its lesson to teach, just like a trip, just like a high, or just like an all-time low, like a tragedy. In the timeless life of the Spirit it’s all happening now, there is no better moment to stop putting off life, to do what you know you were meant to do. I speak to myself, the higher nature within me, this blessing of God, tells me what I must do. I know this is happening, but how I don’t know. I mean I know the cause of the experience, but I don’t know why it’s laid out so clearly, and why I haven’t seen it before, why a substance is often needed to remind us of where we’ve been missing the mark, that it can reassure us of the right decision which we’ve been battling internally to make during a long mental conflict. It’s all been right in front of my eyes! I mean, I know it’s not the substance itself. Everything affects everyone differently depending on how any tool is used. Life is right in front of our eyes, in this moment, in the timeless now. I see that time is a reminder that this life is but a dream, an experience within the timeless now, but not all that there is. Time and death teach us to appreciate this life before we go on to the next, or before we disappear forever as the personalities we now are, know and cherish. All this wisdom hits my mind, and it’s not like I never knew it, but the important distinction is that it’s on thing to know it, and it’s another to feel it so intensely. There are many roads that can lead us to such a realization, but the simplest one to follow is the one of simply being in the now. Apart from these sorts of experiences which really show you the truth in an overwhelming manner, I know that the lifestyle changes I’ve made over the past few years and my decision to be more in the now at every single moment has definitely played a huge part in getting my life back in the right direction. Give living in the now a try sometime. If I didn’t feel like everything happens for a reason I would sure wish I gave it a try quite a while back.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 8.

~ Rebel Spirit 

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 6: Being Aware of Being Aware.

I had a really powerful experience a few months ago on an acid trip on one mere blotter tab. I’ve had higher dose trips, but the point was not to get insanely psychedelic that night, but to examine a bit of what is lurking just beneath my mind’s surface as I enter this technically new stage of life which I am just settling into. I couldn’t trip too hard in order to keep things as smooth as possible with my wife, who wasn’t tripping that night and never had before actually. We were alone and comfortable in our room and the outcome was a great trip in the end. I felt such a uniquely euphoric energy flowing all throughout my body and I couldn’t help but smile uncontrollably and laugh in a state of truly perfect bliss, that bliss which arises from first-hand experience of the fact that all is actually one – I just knew it right then and there. Then, since I’m currently making a lot of goals for myself to write and to even film my experiences in order to document my life for both personal as well as creative purposes, I began to write what I was feeling, about the immense joy and comfort in knowing that everything is one, and that no matter what we may see as good or bad, whatever pain and pleasure we may face as individuals, as races, as nations, or as an entire human species or planet, everything is happening in order to serve an ultimate purpose, a divine purpose in which nothing is ever a mistake, because every mistake is corrected as the polar and essential energies of life complement each other in what mystics call the cosmic dance. Duality can’t be ignored or demonized if one is to achieve the goal of Oneness. Oneness is the inclusion of both opposites, it is the realization that neither the feminine or the masculine can be disposed of if life on the planet is to survive. That is merely the physical manifestation of the Hermetic Principle of Gender, which is a universal principle known to be present throughout all that exists. Nothing can exist without its opposite, and we all must endure our share of pain without extended sorrow or complaint. We believe we know what is good for ourselves and for our families and for our countries and for the whole world, yet we struggle and eventually fail when faced with difficult and crucial decisions which can and will radically alter the course of our lives. Of course, it cannot be altered. We are all free to choose our actions, but the effects of our actions – of the causes we create – are all then used as the blessed ingredients of what will be the formula for our own empowerment. We can extract a valuable lesson from every single hardship, and often times all it takes is that we stop looking at the situation through the eyes of a victim, through the eyes of someone who feels entitled to have everything go their way every moment of every single day. Such selfish sentiments are predominant in our society today because we are all so caught up in ourselves. We are so caught up in what people will think of us that we begin to feel inferior. Because of this we often spend entire lifetimes unconsciously trying to feel superior, both to ourselves and to others. Such an attitude corrupts the whole of society as every interaction we take part in becomes poisoned with a tinge of distrust. Too many people feel offended about way too many petty things, and what they see as harmless remarks are statements filled with cynicism and self-loathing reflected outwards. These little remarks here and there are sure to turn into a vicious habit of cynicism. I set a goal for myself about a year ago to read at least one book every week. This week I finished reading Rupert Spira’s “Being Aware of Being Aware”, and it’s honestly a wonderful description of the non-dual Advaita Vedanta system of mysticism, explained in practical terms. I’ve been studying Vedanta philosophy in depth for the past few months but this book really delivers the message in a very efficient manner. What it all comes down to is being in the moment, in the awareness which is common to all of us, in the consciousness in which all experience takes place. There is nothing extraordinary about this. In fact, this dimension is what makes everyday ordinary experience possible. Consciousness is compared to a screen at a movie theater. While we all go through life as actors playing certain roles on the screen of consciousness, we forget that we are, in fact, just acting. That our personalities cannot affect the screen behind life’s movie, and that whatever happens in life, the screen behind our lives can never be affected. We often get so caught up in this terrestrial life of ours, in its trials and tribulations, and we become stressed, we cannot find a way out. We forget that there is an immortal, timeless awareness behind our everyday lives, the spirit that makes life possible and from which all life emanates. This spirit cannot be broken by the most devastating problems that life can throw our way, and it is our refuge when life seems overwhelming. It is a part of God within us, and so it cannot be affected by the duality of life, it is above the duality. It is our intuition. This concept is not exclusive to Vedanta. Although Abrahamic religions see God up in heaven, or far away from us, far removed from us, there is also the concept that the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart, and that the golden rule is the most important doctrine to follow. Why should this be so? It has to be because we are all equally divine. Once we can  learn to connect with this oneness, to be here now, to stop stressing about the future and start doing our best and giving our all in the Now, we are filled with peace. It is a heavenly peace that comes from the awareness that our nature, our true essence, is inseparable from God, and in fact is one with it. 

“There was never a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor any of these kings. Nor is there any future in which we shall cease to be.” ~ Bhagavad Gita

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: forthe morrow shall take thought for the things ofitself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” ~ Jesus, Matthew 6:34 (KJV)

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” ~ Mesiter Eckhart

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 7.

~ Rebel Spirit.

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 5: Personality, Truth & Love.

It is interesting to think about which traits of a person might be a part of his or her personality, and which might be part of something innate and belonging to the very soul of the individual. Love is unconditional because it is created in those moments in which we are truly ourselves, in those moments when we dare to be vulnerable in front of those who love us and who we also need and love and cherish. Life is about communication and honesty, and we owe our loved ones the right to know the truth about who we are and what drives us in this life. We were all born into this life with an inherent purpose, an ultimate goal we must reach, a mission we must fulfill. We are all meant to play our role in the unfolding of consciousness, in the transforming and transmuting process of all that is, otherwise we would not be alive to experience this moment. There is not a single one of us who is indispensable. Truly understanding this, a wise friend or lover strives to support the soul of the beloved, that part within the other person who is actually the lover, the part within both of them which is the same, the part which unites them beyond logic and reason, beyond body and mind, ultimately beyond all duality. As this is the basis of all love, this is the basis of the soul, or the spirit. And as the spirit is based on, and a direct reflection and image of God, then we can conclude that the spirit is love itself. When we decide to love and support another person, we accept them with their flaws and we do our best to facilitate the processes that drive their lives forward. We can no longer hate them or devalue them, or see them as inferior to us, because we are completely aware, beyond a shadow of doubt, that all these people are an extension of us. That you are extension of me and I am an extension of you. I cannot harm myself without harming you if you truly love me, and vice-versa. We are tied together by love, a bond that cannot be broken once it is divinely blessed. When we are able to put our own selfish desires aside for love, when we are fully ready to sacrifice ourselves for another, this is when we transcend the petty complex of the ego which has kept us confined for so long. This is when we connect with the collective soul within us all, with the spirit which is love itself. Once we have known someone, once we have loved and appreciated them and supported them through their struggles, we cannot turn our back on them when they need us most. We all make mistakes, but we are also all capable of forgiveness, and we should forgive by any means as long as we have the power and self-control to do so. We all do, of course, but it lies hidden under piles of garbage for most people, garbage which has piled up since decades ago, from all sorts of rotten sources. It is never impossible for someone who understands this great truth of the collective spirit to make another understand it as well. The connection between souls is millions of times stronger than any form of energy known to man. When we are prepared to unconditionally love someone, it is because we are allowing our soul to shine through and to manifest. We should spread this love whenever possible, as it is the main healing force of this world. After all, a soul without love would rather not be, and in fact cannot be. Just the same, love without soul can be nothing more then a cheap imitation. Soul love is forever, it is true and it is loyal, it is ready to give up pleasure for the beloved, it can be seen in families, such as the love of a mother or a father towards their children, and occasionally children towards their parents. Life is about learning to fall into the flow of the universe, about falling in love with the little things, about cherishing the subtle sensations of peace that come from the simple pleasures. Words are used to convey abstract meanings, and over time we come to believe we know what the words mean. Another way to look it at is to see that the words of the language we speak really create the ideas we choose to communicate, and even those we keep private. Babies know no words. I wonder what would happen if a baby grew up with no communication or language learning whatsoever. How would this situation affect their development as adolescents, and how would this in turn create the men or women they would grow to be? Would they act more like animals than like people, would they be less civilized? Don’t a lot of people act a lot like animals nowadays anyway, even fully “civilized” people? Do babies act like animals? Babies are one group in society from which we can learn a lot of things actually. Babies do not act like animals, for the most part. They cry and yell simply because they have no method of expression which they can use to convey their meanings, such as language. My belief is that babies definitely do not act like animals, and in fact they might be some of the most “civilized” among us. It is only when babies grow up that they develop the capacity to act like animals towards their fellow human beings. So, would a group of people who never learn to communicate then act like animals if they grew in such a way? The reason I ask myself this question is because it is only when we think we know something that we reject everything seemingly contrary to what we believe to be the truth. Can there be more than one truth to anything? There is only One Absolute Truth, and it is when it is expressed, or attempted to be expressed by words that it becomes a cause of suffering, or rather a cause for much suffering to believers and non-believers alike. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 6.

~ Rebel Spirit.

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 4: Morality, the Origins of Good and Evil.

Yesterday I brought up a conversation which I had with my grandparents the other day, which got me thinking about the nature of God and life, as well as death, and faith. They have faith in Jesus, they are devout Christians. I have faith in God, but I’m not sure who or what God is, and I have a great willingness to learn, and to go wherever the truth leads me. I think that, no matter what else we might believe about God, the one thing we can be sure about is that God represents good. The good that we feel within us is proof to me that there is a greater good which has created us, which dwells within us. Evil is simply the ignorance of this good within us, of our intuition. So where does the feeling of morality come from? We might steal every day, we might kill a a million men, but we will never escape from the knowledge that we are in the wrong, that we are not acting out of love but out of ruthless selfishness, and that therefore we are not living life right. We can indeed ignore this inner voice and convince ourselves that what we’re doing isn’t wrong, but it can never go away completely. The real Self within us knows the truth; it is that part of us which comes from, or is a part of, God. When we get really good at following our every desire on our search for pleasure, we might become confused and think that the voice of intuition has gone away, that we have escaped it, but we have just gotten better at drowning it out in all the accumulated noise in our heads, all the random garbage we’ve accumulated over time. Our conscience will haunt us non-stop if we choose to lead lives that go against it. I believe our intuition is divine. Again, I’m not exactly sure of who or what God is, but I believe that God exists, since I can feel love within me, and goodness. I have seen that love is what is needed in order for two people to connect in a relationship and then to procreate and raise their children in a proper manner. It is obvious that love leads to life, and that the act of sex, or making love, and of bearing children is a physical as well as spiritual representation of this. A physical body is produced and grows within the mother, and a soul inhabits it as it comes to life. The whole thing is too perfect to be a coincidence, in my honest opinion, too beautiful and too advanced to be a product of random mutations over millions of years. Good comes from God, life comes from the unity created by love, life therefore comes from God. It is almost completely clear for me. But what about evil? This has always bothered me. The duality of this life is the obvious answer to this. But why this dual nature in the first place? Is it as the Kabbalah teaches, that we were separated from God and this world was created out of that endless desire to reconnect with the Godhead? Is it the devil that’s at work in our planet? Is this a world of pain, is it a life of suffering as the Buddha taught? I would say that it is. It is obvious that, although there is abundant love in the world, there is also a tremendous amount of evil and suffering. I think it has something to do with the story of Adam and Eve, when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. It might mean they were not human, and that the fall represents a lowering of consciousness, the creation of this world, working the land, producing children in pain. I think that, although this duality is a part of life, good is ultimately higher than the good and bad of duality. The good of duality is not complete good, since there is always a little circle of evil within it. The same goes for evil, we often have sincere and honest reasons for doing evil, whether it is stealing so that our children can eat, or lying in order not to offend someone or break their heart. This is a world of duality, the Principle of Polarity is in effect, and everything is connected to its opposite, it is different only in degree. Above this, however, there is a greater good, a good untouched by ignorance and therefore uncontaminated by evil. I think this is the good that we connect with when we realize we are spiritual beings on this planet, that we have a higher nature, a divine nature that comes directly from God, an intuition which can lead the way through life. I think that Jesus’ death on the cross, assuming he is not God, is an amazing example for us all of how to live as human beings. It might have been that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, chosen by God for the specific mission of showing us in such an astonishing manner that we have to embrace all the suffering and the injustice of this life, including the inevitable fact of death, and that we have to transmute it into goodness. We have to accept the suffering that comes with doing the right thing, with fulfilling our mission on this planet. So many of us go through life ignoring our intuition, doing whatever pleases us the most at any given moment, never doing the right thing since it might affect our comfortable lifestyle. It may be true that what I’m saying is just another belief system, although most of the greatest mystical orders believe this as well, but even if it is just a belief system, it matters more than “knowing” who the absolute God is and attempting to impart that belief onto others. So many people are at war nowadays because of their belief in a specific religion, a specific God which they believe to be better than the rest. So many people have superiority complexes and look down upon everyone else, since they are not yet “saved” and are unaware that they will spend eternity in hell. So many people are so obsessed with a specific God and religion that they have no idea of the intuition which is within them. Is it more important to worship Jesus, or Buddha, or to follow in their examples, extending good to our fellow human beings wherever we may go, and sharing all the love and compassion available within us? I think the latter is something which cannot be ignored while we are on a search for life’s bigger meanings. Don’t get lost in a religion, or in an ideology, to the point where you feel higher than everyone else, where you only help because you feel pity for other people.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 5.

~ Rebel Spirit.

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 3: The Mystery of God.

As I wrote in my previous post, I recently had a conversation with my grandparents, while my wife Maria and I we were visiting them for Mothers’ Day. Somehow we got to talking about God, about Christianity and Judaism, and about Jesus, and I brought up some concepts from some other religions which I’ve learned about. My grandparents are evangelical Christians, and we were debating on a lot of topics regarding religion and spirituality. Although it was a conversation I enjoyed, as I always love talking about these things with people, usually with family, we simply could not come to any kind of agreement. Normally, this would not upset me, but what got to me is that they made it seem as if I just don’t have enough faith if I don’t believe exclusively in Jesus as God, like I just don’t get it. My grandma also said that there is no need to learn or do research about any other religion, since one has to be sure that the Bible is exclusively God’s word and Jesus God incarnate, no questions asked. Some other religious beliefs were labeled as absurd or weird, and that was that. Then they lent me a few books to read in order to strengthen my faith. I don’t mind at all, of course, and I do intend to read them among the other books on my list of planned reading. It wasn’t like I got mad at them at all, I love my grandparents, but I just left there feeling like either I just don’t get something so obvious, something my grandma claims to understand and believe wholeheartedly, or she is just not debating in a logical manner, since there is really no way that we can ever know the truth about God simply by believing in a religion. I didn’t put down any specific belief system during our conversation, I just asked: if one hasn’t learned at least the basics of any of the other religions that exist, then how can one be sure that one’s own is the one and only true religion? My grandpa did admit that the majority of people simply believe what they were brought up to believe, depending on where they were born and raised, and he even questioned whether this could be his case. Although I didn’t get mad, I was bothered by the fact that, although people might love each other, there is always some disagreement between every person and everyone else. Of course I know this is what makes us unique, and that it’s an essential part of life. But why can’t we all know the truth when it comes to death and God and the meaning of life, and whatever follows it? Why do we have to guess, and why do we have to believe differently from one another and even fight about and kill and die for these beliefs? Why can’t it be all so simple? I don’t identify with any specific religion because I believe they can all teach very valuable lessons for humanity, but also because I cannot claim to know beyond any shred of doubt that any one religion is exclusively true. I don’t think anyone really can know either. In other words, we are all living in a reality which we are conscious of, yet none of us, absolutely none of us, know why we are here and who put us here, if anyone at all. No one knows for certain, and this is the only certainty of life. Many people have come to believe that they know for certain, and perhaps they are convinced in faith or blind belief that they do, but perhaps they really don’t. Yet we all defend our beliefs with a clenched fist! I wonder why we were placed on this earth without at least knowing the reason for our existence. Is it so that we may spend our days in search of God? The Bible does say to seek God first, and all else will be added. Yes, right now we could be living our fiftieth reincarnation, unaware of all our previous lives, but it could also be true that we have never lived at all, and that there are actually millions of people living up in heaven now or below us in the fiery depths of hell, that Jesus and the Father God of the Bible are watching over us from up there, knowing our every thought and action. It could very well be that the Bible is, in fact, the word of God, uttered through his prophets in ancient days, but it could also be true that what many believe to be divine is really just a collection of texts written from the minds of many men who believed sometimes contradictory things, or it could even be an ancient work of fiction. I am not promoting any of these views, I am simply making you aware of the fact that all these possibilities are valid ones, seeing as how none of us know for sure what there is in this universe, and what the structure behind its design even is, apart from what we experience in our daily lives or the little that we know of this planet which we inhabit. What lies beyond this? It could also be that there is nothing beyond this, and that all the people who have passed have simply ceased to exist forever, gone into nothing, blank. Could life be a meaningless and random nothing? Could our lives be God’s dreams? The Kybalion states that “The Universe is mental. Held in the Mind of the All.” There have been and there will continue to be many theories, man will always be on the search for meaning, yet the only undeniable fact is that we still don’t know any more than we ever did. We all need to humble ourselves and to search sincerely. We all try to conceive of a God, of a religion to identify with, a God to worship. Yet we ignore those things which are cherished by all, which are essential to human life and which should never be ignored, no matter what. We ignore the very essence of God within us, all the good in our hearts, all the love we have available to give. If God is real, I believe that God is love, and pure goodness. We can all recognize within ourselves an understanding, a gut feeling, that good is better than bad, that love is the strongest force there is.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 4.

~ Rebel Spirit.

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 2

Now, as we discuss time as well as the timeless Now, let’s take a moment to discuss death. A conversation that I had with my grandparents yesterday brings death to my attention. Death hits us like a train when it comes, it crushes us when one of our loved ones disappears from our lives forever. What are we to do in the face of such horror? And the worst part of it is that, apart from never being able to see that person again, we don’t even know where they have gone. We all have our religious beliefs, and we might believe in heaven and hell or reincarnation or who knows what else, or we might simply believe that when life is over it’s just over for good. The undeniable fact is that none of us know for certain. Some claim they know, yet so many people claim so many things. We can’t ever trust them one hundred percent though. Why this depressing talk about death and the uncertainty of things anyway, do I really have to touch upon this? Well, why not? Death and life are inseparable. Life is impermanent. It is what we all choose to ignore. We would rather ignore that which makes us uncomfortable. And maybe I’m the wrong person to write this because most of my loved ones are still alive. Both parents, all three brothers, and my beautiful wife, as well as three grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles. I’m blessed since I’m not too familiar with death, I’ve only had a few friends that have passed away. What I have been familiar with for a long time is wasting time. Wasting time talking shit, wasting time getting wasted, getting high, wasting time chasing girls, wasting time partying, and wasting time unconsciously trying to kill my pain. Killing pain by killing time. What a stupid thing to do, to kill time. Who will want to kill time in their last moments? Although I’m only in my mid-twenties, I have wasted enough time wasting time to eventually begin to ponder the very nature of time. Time is something which is unique to this physical dimension. The spiritual plane is not bound by time and space, but the physical plane is. Therefore there must be a function to time while we are alive here. I think the role that time plays in our lives is that of a warning. Time is a constant warning that we need to seize the day; our bodies becoming wrinkled and our muscles feeling pain as we grow older are all warning signs that death is fast approaching, and that we need to live now, to be here now as Ram Dass put it, and to treat every moment of our lives as sacred, as a manifestation of the divine. What time is there to waste in a lifetime which is already too short as it is? At least it feels like it is. We only have so much time in this life, and we better make it count, because what we do is not meaningless. We only have the present moment. Every thought and every deed creates countless effects, only some of which we are aware, and everything is connected to everything else in the universe. What we do echoes in eternity, without a doubt. The Principle of Cause and Effect is one of the 7 Hermetic Principles and is also an important concept within the Kabbalah. It is also common sense, it is science. We cannot take a single breath without affecting our surroundings, both material and spiritual. We live in a world of duality, of cause and effect. We live in the yin and yang, we must connect with another human being of the opposite sex in order for a new life to come to this planet. Now that I found the wife that I love and that I’ve dedicated my life to I’ve come to personally experience the power of sex when intertwined with true love between two people, even without resulting in procreation. Before this, when I partied all the time and hooked up with any cute girl I could get into bed with me, all I ever knew was a reckless and meaningless search for pleasure on both parts, two people using each other to pass the time and escape the sadness, the loneliness, the dissatisfaction. Sex is used nowadays in much the same way as drugs, as alcohol, as partying too much, as causing trouble for no reason. Everyone knows this, and everyone feels the emptiness that stems from such a lifestyle, yet when there is minimal time for reflection between thrills, one can easily delude oneself often enough to keep the time going, to keep ignoring that inner intuition for just a little longer so that the party can continue. I’ve wasted enough time, and now I’m going to make every minute count. That’s exactly why I’m writing now. In this timeless inspiration which I feel to relate to you all the deepest thoughts that have been running ceaselessly through my mind for the last few days, months and even years, thoughts on life and death and God, I can’t be bothered by the past or the future. The now is all there is. The now is gone yet it instantly comes again. The now is here, endlessly living and dying and regenerating before it’s even done dying. After all, life and death are just two sides of the same coin. Life is no more than a moment, no more than now. The moment we are born is the second we begin the dying process. Later that night I had a life-changing trip which brought on a very mystical kind of awareness in which I could clearly see how I need to stop searching for some higher ideal which isn’t there for me to discover, and that instead I need to embrace and appreciate the inherent beauty which is to be found in my own life. We all have our own specific blessings, and they are given to us right at the perfect moment in our lives. We need to know when this happens so that we don’t rejects such gifts of Divine grace.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 3.

~ Rebel Spirit.

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 1.

May 13, 2019, 1:48 am. Sitting in my dimly lit room, finally starting to get some words down after just staring at my laptop for quite a while. I feel a sudden urge, an overwhelming inspiration to write. But to write about what? The issue isn’t really what to write about, but rather how to begin, or where to begin writing about it. How can I begin at any specific point in time when the message I try to convey is timeless, bubbling up from within me as an extremely powerful force which consists of all the wonders of the past and all the greatness that will ever come of the future? It is not only mine however; this force is impersonal, and it is within us all. It is the source of all creativity and progress. If I can’t accurately write about this timeless spiritual dimension which lies beyond and yet within all of us then what else is there to write about? Nothing else compares, so this is what I must write about first of all. Now, if the topic is so wonderful then why haven’t I seriously sat down to write about it before today? Why haven’t I used all this overwhelming inspiration to write every single day? Why did I stop writing only 8 days into my initial goal of writing a thousand words every day? The answer is resistance. There are various reasons really, but they all amount up to resistance. Joseph Campbell stated that “the psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.” I really feel I need to start being more of the latter than the former, as I often feel I’m going crazy from seeing so much confusion, if not in my own life and mind then in those of others. Due to all this confusion I’ve been letting resistance get the best of me for far too long. That’s no excuse, just the unfortunate truth of the matter. Humanity as a whole needs to be actively working to transmute all of life’s chaos into art, into creativity, but by doing nothing instead, or by panicking in the face of pressure and running away into the arms of comfortable pleasures that later turn into vices, we become paralyzed. Resistance becomes the ruler of our lives. I’ve begun to drown in the waters of life, questioning everything and reaching no absolute conclusions, becoming completely paralyzed by uncertainty. But the truth is no one needs an absolute conclusion, an absolute knowledge of life, in order to get started on any creative venture. I just finished reading Steven Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’ last week, and it honestly couldn’t have found me at a better time in my life. Pressfield says in the book that from the age of 25 to 32 resistance kicked his ass all up and down the block and yet he did not realize it until after all those years had passed. Resistance is tricky as hell, and subtle too. I’m about to be 25 on November 25th of this year, and I seriously have been feeling like I need to get started, like I really can’t afford to stall this any longer. I’ve known that resistance is fucking me up and that I simply have to beat it since before I even read Pressfield’s book and could clearly recognize my problem as resistance. It was just an unnamed, negative force before then, yet I knew it was there. I need to move forward now and make a change. I don’t feel any regrets when it comes to my past, as everything is a lesson to learn from, yet I do have greater expectations for the future, and I need to change a lot of my old habits as well as develop a lot of new ones if I’m serious about creating such a reality. I shouldn’t mention the future though, since the future never really exists. I feel like the present is constantly being ripped away from us by the pressure of remaining alive and significant in a future fantasy in our minds. Even though I am aware of this, I’ve often felt like I can’t escape it no matter how hard I try. It is in our genes to try to survive, and to feel as if our survival is more important that of others. The truth is it isn’t. We aren’t in any way more special than anyone else, and people are born and die every day. Do we cry, do we mourn for all these people? We all understand that we are all equal in God’s eyes, yet we would die only protecting our own lives and the lives of our immediate families, but never for the lives of strangers. We clearly favor ourselves, and maybe there’s nothing wrong with this. But sometimes we need to sacrifice ourselves for the greater good of all, for our own greater good even, as we are not separate from all our earthly brothers and sisters, though it might seem that we are. I have always understood this, seeing a clear example of this in Jesus, who I was taught about very early on life, yet I have never actually put it into practice. What I’ve been doing for so long is simply surviving, wasting the days away in fear that things could go wrong if I try, doubting myself until the last bit of motivation is murdered within me, or even in fear that I might succeed, and that my life might be completely changed to the point where I can no longer handle it. Instead of living serenely in the present and trusting in life or God to take its due course, I’ve been living in a world of future possibilities, in a fantasy world. I’ve taken the comfortable route and decided to work 9-to-5 jobs one after another without putting any actual effort into my real calling, my writing, my music, my creativity in general. I’ve been focusing only on what works best for me at any given moment, passing time and ignoring what is meant to be my true contribution to humanity, the passion I hold within me and the talent that I’ve been blessed with. I haven’t been willing to sacrifice the petty pleasures and habits that hold me back. None of us have anything to offer the world other than ourselves, who we truly are. I haven’t always been true to my authentic self, but as of today, that fake me is dead, and the true me begins to rise from the ashes like the legendary phoenix. I see now that there is no time to waste, and that I need to put in some serious work in order to achieve my dreams. Time is ticking.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 2.

~ Rebel Spirit.

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DAY 8: 1,000 WORDS: ON ALCOHOLISM, ON HABITS, ON TRAVEL, ON LOVE.

Eighth day of my project of writing and posting 1000 words. It hasn’t been that long and I can’t even believe I’ve gotten this far. All that time of working on my self-control seems to be slowly but surely paying off. Aside from this writing/blogging goal, I’m also 31 days into my meditation goal at the moment, which consists of dedicating 20 to 30 minutes a day to silent meditation, without even the noise of the fan blowing in the hot Honduras weather, in peace in our fully darkened room. I’m also currently 76 days into my no drinking goal! This last one is a goal I’m especially proud of. It’s not the first goal I set for myself to limit my drinking, but it is the longest one so far though, since I used to drink quite a lot at certain periods of my life growing up, and I came to a point when I just needed to cut back without a doubt. Since 13 or 14 basically, life was mostly about partying and trying to get as fucked up as possible, to be frank about it. This mentality kept me going for the better part of the following decade, until I realized it was totally stupid. Now at 24, I find that that mentality is gone, I’ve moved past it, yet the habits remain, since habits are strong forces, and once developed it’s extremely difficult to fully let them go. This is especially true of very pleasurable habits, vices, addictions which can develop before you know it, like alcoholism. I don’t think that my goal is to stop drinking altogether, forever, yet I don’t want alcohol to be something that’s constantly in my life any longer. 76 days in, I can honestly say that life is way, way clearer, my mind is way clearer, my mood is way better with less ups and downs, now that I don’t get drunk every weekend and feel a horrible hangover the next morning. Not to mention I get to keep more of the money I work for. I’ll go more into detail in later posts into my full motivations and expectations for this goal, and also into further detail of earlier no-drinking goals I’ve set for myself, and of my complicated history with alcohol. Although drinking can have its place in life during certain occasions, if you feel like you are having problems in your life due to it then it’s always best to completely stop for a set period of time, in order to analyze your life situation from a sober standpoint, and at that point you can make a truly wise decision if you just sit back and contemplate for a moment. So, drinking had a lot to do with the reasons why I decided to travel back to Honduras for what I call my first trip back (on my own, that is), as it led, or contributed to, most of the problems I got involved in in Vancouver. As a teenager, I was drunk a lot, and although I never committed any extreme crimes, my parents couldn’t handle what was going on, as I was getting in endless problems and fights while wasted. My father had brought my brothers and I to a new and better nation so that we could succeed, so that we could prosper, and there was no way he would just stand by and watch me fuck it all up now. He was living in stress every day, the atmosphere was tense at home and it was all my fault. I didn’t hate my family or my home, yet I needed to get out as quick as I could in order to diffuse the tension within me and within my family. As I didn’t have enough money to rent a place in Vancouver, which is in the top ten most expensive cities on the planet, I traveled to Honduras where the few thousand bucks I’d saved up would be worth gold. My objective? Continue my party lifestyle in the perpetually sunny summer of Honduras. Who would have known I would return to Canada in order to save money to return to Honduras yet again, but that the money I’d be saving this second time around would be for my wedding? Again, life works in mysterious ways. That first trip to Honduras was the ticket to a profound transformation which began taking place within me. So, I returned to Canada and got to working as the administrator of an immigration consulting office. I improved my people skills, my time management skills, and my fluency of my native Spanish, as well as my Portuguese. During my time in Canada I got to attend a Kabbalah class mostly every weekend, where I was introduced to a lot of basic mystical concepts, and also got to practice some meditation there. I was feeling great at this point in life, really serene, like I had a clear objective to work towards, like things were truly meant to be. I saved up the money that Maria and I needed in order to marry. Maria saved some of it up back in Honduras, of course, and since her visitor’s visa to Canada, where we originally planned to marry, was denied, I traveled back to Honduras after a year and a half of working. The job had been great, although often stressful and extremely busy, but it was time to go. The time had finally come to be reunited with my love. We were indeed reunited in June of 2017, in San Pedro Sula, and we married a month later on the 15th of July in this same city. We were now together for life, and we were both excited about it, since we’ve both always known each other to be loyal lovers, who are ready to work through problems and make opportunities out of them. Maria brought out the best in me, and it turns out I already had it in me. I had learned much of love simply from my mother’s example. Both my wife and my mother have such big hearts, and I don’t only say this because they are the 2 most special ladies in my own life. I mention this to stress the fact that, when one meets a person who reminds one of the good one has learned or experienced in another special person at some point before, this meeting ignites that flame of goodness that resides within, which has been transmitted at some previous point in time, and which is currently dormant within the individual’s soul potential. Our love was bliss, and after our marriage we had our honeymoon at La Ensenada Beach Resort, here in Honduras. No need to travel anywhere for beautiful beaches and weather (at least for relaxing at the beach). Everything had gone as planned and even a thousand times better. At our wedding, I rapped a song to Maria that I had written to her. The final recorded version is on my 2017 mixtape “Musical Alchemy” (which you can download freely on this website). It was a success, and my family and extended family was there as well as Maria’s. We had some wonderful times during the ceremony, and at night we blazed a nice doobie on the hotel rooftop, watching the smoke fade up to the stars while enjoying each other’s amazing company once more, yet now as a newly married couple, just before heading down to our room. That was July 2017, and since then a long and arduous process of gathering a bunch of paperwork followed, until we were finally able to submit our spousal sponsorship application to the Canadian government, very recently in fact, last month, just finishing up 2018. The application takes about a year to be processed, and there is no reason why it should be denied, so God willing we will be together in Canada soon, and we can have some great times with my family and friends up there once again. For now it’s just another blessed day here in Honduras, writing to you all, to the world, working on my goals and taking it one day at a time. One love y’all!

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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DAY 7: 1,000 WORDS: LOVE, WORK, AND MYSTICISM.

Seventh day of writing and publishing 1000 words. So I started this challenge a week ago now, with a brief explanation about what mainly motivates me to write. On Day 2, finishing up on Day 3, I detailed some of the facts of the country of Honduras, my mother land as well as where I’m currently writing this series of posts from. I began by explaining the circumstances that brought me back to this beautiful country of my birth in the first place, after having lived in Canada for about 12 years, since the age of 10. Up in Vancouver, let’s say I didn’t make the best decisions, and so shortly after completing high school I chose to come back to Honduras to avoid the chaotic atmosphere that surrounded me for a while, having always been an adventurous spirit with a deeper view of life and the world, which I unfortunately just didn’t know how to express my whole life. To me, life always seemed to be about constant change, about continuously new and exciting experiences, along with new environments and circumstances. This is one of the main reasons for my profound respect for psychedelic substances as well, a topic I will go more in-depth into in later posts. I came to Honduras and I started working at a call center, where I met the beautiful, loving woman who became my wife a few years later. She brought a new freshness to my life, she always displayed such kindness, such a simply satisfied demeanor, without demanding much from life, a humble person in every respect, respectful towards the world and all its inhabitants. Maria influenced me in unimaginable ways, especially since all my previous relationships had been filled with problems and had left me with trust issues, no doubt. Our meeting each other is one of the main things in my own life that have played an important role in truly convincing me of the fact that everything happens for a reason. All of the bullshit I went through back in Van, most of it self-inflicted to be honest, was necessary for me to even decide to leave in the first place, to explore my roots further and to immerse myself in Honduran culture once again. This was needed for me to meet the love of my life, something I’m forever grateful to God for. The universe unfolds in mysterious ways, and there is a positive to find in every negative we encounter, even if it’s just a new life lesson learned. The seasons changed, and we fell more in love with the passing of each day, planning to continue our life in Canada, since we had bigger plans for the future which are easier to realize in a more developed country. We decided to marry as soon as we could, and I returned to Canada to save up some quicker cash than we could both even make here combined. Yesterday I described the job which I took on in more detail, upon my return to Canada towards the end of 2015. I worked for a year and a half for a successful immigration consultant who owns his own business in Downtown Vancouver for almost 2 decades now, the same one who previously worked on my own family’s application and residency eleven years earlier. Although extremely demanding, I enjoyed the job he offered me, since not only did I learn a lot, even about discipline in general and using time wisely, but it allowed me to keep my mind off of distractions from my main goal, which was the money I needed to save. The days were so packed that they went by so damn quick, it was amazing. There was no time for thinking of being home, or elsewhere, except on my break conversations with Maria, of course. Partying and other pastimes would only work against my objective, so I wasn’t doing much of that at all. Another important aspect of my life that began to take shape back in Canada was quite an important one, it was the mystical side of things as I see them now. I mentioned in an earlier post that I grew up in a home of believers. Since a child I learned a lot about the Bible from my parents, and our family always attended Christian congregations, sometimes Messianic Christian churches as my dad has always had a deep interest in Judaism. Over the years my father began to find the Christian message shallow, and the followers of Christianity a bit hypocritical. I myself don’t agree with any wide generalization of people of any denomination or religious belief, yet I understand where his ideas come from. Finally he stopped attending church altogether and started going to synagogues instead, and attempting to learn Hebrew online with some success in fact. He went to many synagogues, just as we had gone to many different churches over the years, never really belonging as members to any specific one. One he eventually settled at to some point was a conservative Jewish synagogue, Beth Tikvah. He went there every Saturday morning for Sabbath service while my mother continued attending the Christian Baptist church on Sundays, maintaining her strong faith in Christianity. Often we would read the Bible together as a family, especially during my younger days, and there was a sense of harmony. As it seemed that my father, always being very spiritual in his outlook of life, had now lost faith in Christianity’s simple message of what many see as blind belief, and was starting to explore deeper into the nature of spirituality, the differences in religious beliefs were causing a lot of arguments between my parents in those days. I felt like some of that previous harmony was lost, so I sometimes attended the service with each of them at their respective places of worship, when I was home on either Saturday or Sunday. While attending Beth Tikvah, my father got involved in a Kabbalah class. It consisted of a small group of congregants who would meet in the small library room of the synagogue every Saturday afternoon after the main morning service, and would discuss the mysteries of the Kabbalah. I attended some of these classes with him, initially in the few times I joined him, and what I heard actually had me wanting to come back for more next week, which I started doing often. The class, or discussion, was led by a Kabbalistic Rabbi, not the official Rabbi of the synagogue, an avid reader, researcher and writer, Rabbi Joseph Saltoun, and his profound descriptions of psychic and mystical concepts, along with the texts he chose to put forth to us, sparked in me a flame has kept burning in me up to this day. At first I learned mainly about the Kabbalah, but it didn’t take too long until I expanded my knowledge, and I started learning of new, amazing things I previously knew nothing about. At that point I realized that most mystical systems have mainly the same messages for humanity, and that we are all able to follow their examples in order to live a better life. I found that this has been explained throughout history by so many teachers, and that it is an undoubtedly true message of hope for humanity. I attended just a few classes before my first flight back to Honduras, before I met my wife, and then I attended pretty much every week during the whole year I was back in Canada saving up for my wedding. I learned quite a lot, and it was the beginning of what today I would say is my mission. My mysterious meeting with Maria also seemed to go hand in hand with the mystical teachings that stress that everything in life is how it is meant to be, and that we must accept things and act accordingly at all times, being fully grounded in the now. Tomorrow we’ll get back on topic and move on with the story though, I promise! 

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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DAY 6: 1,000 WORDS: A YEAR AND A HALF WORKING IN CANADA, BEFORE MY WEDDING.

Sixth day of writing and publishing a thousand words. This is the first weekend since I started this challenge for myself, and I had some plans set for today already, so I’m glad I was able to set aside some time in order to write this today, even though weekends are usually real busy for me. Maria and I woke up today really early in the morning and caught a quick bus (called “rapidito” here in Honduras, translated to “very fast”) to the Guamilito market, one of the most popular markets here in San Pedro, where one can find many beautiful hand-made crafts, all shining with lively, vibrant colors along the walls, among many other cool things. A few weeks ago we bought some stuff there actually, including a really nice wooden pipe with some Mayan kind of design, which I personally enjoyed testing out quite a bit with some good chronic. I feel it even added to the taste, but it could just be all in my head too. Today we made sure to buy some veggies, broccoli and peppers for our next few days’ meals, and also some tortillas so Maria can make some delicious tacos she’s been wanting to make for a while now. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try ’em out, since her meals are always delicious. We had a great time, it was a beautiful sunny morning, and we ate some ‘yuca con chicharron”, yucca with pork rinds, at the market just before heading back home, where we relaxed to watch a show. Maria had to go after that since she’s scheduled to work 4 hours today. I wish she could stay home with me, but it is what it is. At least I have some time to work on my writing. I also got to finish reading Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” today. Very strange story for sure. Although very simple and the plot uneventful, I enjoyed it a lot to be completely honest. It’s the first Kafka book I’ve read but my guess is that the point of the story might be to transmit a feeling of hopelessness to the reader, as the protagonist of the story finds himself suddenly turned into a giant bug overnight, and can hear his family talking about him and his situation from then on, yet cannot communicate with them in any way. It’s part of a series of books I’ve been reading since November 2018, since I set a goal for myself of reading at least a book a week. This week I finished two short books, the aforementioned “The Metamorphosis”, and Evelyn Underhill’s “Practical Mysticism”, as I often read non-fiction, sometimes even more than fiction, in fact. Now that I finished reading that story though, and commenting a bit on it, let’s keep going for now with my own story. Yesterday I left off at the part of my life when I traveled back to Canada, at the end of 2015, in order to save up for my wedding with Maria. This objective motivated me so much that for the very first time in my life I actually put my all into the job I got hired for, I really put it an effort, no doubt about it. I made sure to put in extra hours whenever necessary, to learn as quick as possible how to do everything correctly so as not to jeopardize my job. I had returned to Canada with a very clear and defined goal, to save up the money for all that Maria and I would need in order to make our dream wedding come true as soon as possible. We had a hope that we could get married in Canada, so Maria applied for a visitor’s visa, but it was unfortunately denied for very vague reasons. It seemed we just had to face the fact that we would be apart from other for the time being, there was no way around it. We still kept in touch every day on WhatsApp chat and video. Even though I returned to live at my parents’ home, they found comfort in the fact that I now had a serious objective, that I was committed to the job I had, and that I was no longer partying or hanging out with friends for no reason anymore, making reckless decisions and staying out most nights. The situation had significantly changed since those crazy childhood days, and I was enjoying a new peace of mind I had never felt before while living at my parent’s home (ever since my teenage years started, at least). Being far away from them for so long had allowed all of us to analyze our relationship, as parents and son, from a different perspective, it seemed like it had done us some good as it had renewed a fresh new appreciation for family. My newfound love had allowed me to put to the side, somewhat, my restlessness and need for constant excitement. My life became work and home, since I would have to catch the SkyTrain every morning, on weekdays, from Surrey Central station, and ride all the way Downtown to the Megrez office, and would take the same trip back home in the evenings, after getting off work and blazing up at the New Amsterdam Cafe that is, Vancouver’s most famous weed lounge which was just two blocks away from my workplace. That became my daily routine, and work was exhausting since there was never a second of the day when I was truly free of some task. This job was demanding in every sense, and especially it demanded a certain degree of seriousness and careful attention which I had never applied to any previous job I’d had in the past. I had to make sure the office ran smoothly in all its aspects. I also had to make sure I did everything as I was supposed to, since my boss, the owner of the company, hired me mostly due to his respect for my parents, who he himself helped immigrate to Canada in 2004. Although, in a way, I was more fit for the job than most of those who had held it in the past or who were aspiring for the position, speaking fluent English and Spanish as well as very good Portuguese, in some aspects I was completely unprepared, as I had never had any kind of experience with executive work, and I was only used to jobs where I was just another employee, where my work wasn’t essential at all (at least in my eyes). At Megrez, everything passed by me, and it was my task to refer each document, each case, each call, each client, to who it corresponded to, and also to scan and save and file everything in its place. There was only about 3 other employees at the company, apart from myself and the boss. The days flew by like airplanes in the sky, faster than race cars as I longed for the big day when I would return to Honduras and be reunited with my love. We’ll continue this tale tomorrow though.

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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DAY 5: 1,000 WORDS: RETURN TO VANCOUVER & LONG-DISTANCE LOVE.

Fifth day straight of getting a thousand words down and publishing them! When I started this challenge I was afraid that I would lose motivation after the second or third day, a thousand words seemed like a lot to tackle every single day. I see now that by taking this challenge I’ve proved those expectations I had for myself totally wrong, at least so far. Fifth day going and I feel I have more to write about than ever before. Sometimes the desire to write vanishes for a few days for no apparent reason, as if new inspiration needs to be build up, to accumulate in order for writing to happen. These past 5 days though I’ve been filled with ideas of things I’d like to mention in these posts. I think it might have something to do with the style of writing I’m using at the moment. I’m simply putting 1000 words together on the spot, about whatever comes to my mind at the moment, but also trying to stay on topic and on sequence as much as possible! Before, I almost always had a topic in mind that I wanted to write about, and I spent endless minutes and hours editing, re-reading, deleting, adding different words and phrases. I felt confined by the organization process and the having to divide everything up into little paragraphs and such things. I know organization is surely important, but I’m just saying I feel freer when writing this way. Every writing style has its time. Alright, so let’s continue with the story that has brought me up to this point then. Yesterday we left off a few years ago when I came back to my birth country of Honduras, started working at a call center as a collections agent, and had my first interaction with my future wife, which was an unexpected hug! So, after we bumped into each other, hugged, and smiled at each other for just a second, we started talking more and more often on the “floor”, where the work gets done, where all the little box cubicles are at. I asked what she liked to do on the weekends and she simply replied “sleep”. Sleep? I thought she was kidding for sure. I was used to looking forward to Friday every week in order to get as crazy as possible all weekend long! We didn’t make any plans just yet, but one day, just casually talking about what we each were going to eat later, we ended up planning to go to Wendy’s later on, during our break, since it was the closest place to eat, right outside the call center. In fact, we got a special discount there for being employees at the call center. So, evening came, and just as it was getting dark we went out to eat on our last break of the day. We ordered some burgers and fries and some iced tea, which I noticed she loved just as much as me, and we had a great conversation. She mentioned a situation in which it seemed like things had worked out in her favor, in which she had gotten rid of a problem that had been bothering her, almost miraculously and out of the blue, and she thanked God for it. I mentioned that everything happens for a reason. Although I was still ignorant to much of spirituality at that time, and wasn’t really thinking much in spiritual terms at all, I always had a vague belief that everything does happen for a reason. Our conversation was so great that we were really late back to work, but the job was chill so it wasn’t really a problem. A few weeks after that we had a movie date, and that’s where we kissed for the first time. I can’t recall the movie we watched anymore, to be honest. After this, our friendship grew as well as our love for each other. During this time I was no longer living with my grandparents, I had gotten a place with a good friend, Randy, who I met at the call center as well. He had lived in the States, in Miami, most of his life and is kind of like my crazy friends from back in Canada, so we had a lot of good times. It was during those crazy days that I asked Maria to be my girlfriend, on January 17th, 2015, almost exactly four years ago. We spent that whole year together. Since we worked at the same place, we were together throughout the day, through our short breaks and lunch hours, during times of low call volume. Her English is not bad at all, having taught elementary school kids here in Honduras before going to work at Collective Solution, the call center where we both worked. She accepted, of course, to be my girlfriend, and by the end of the year, we were so crazy about, and committed to, each other, that we decided to get married so that Maria could go to back to Canada with me, eventually. The idea was that I would travel back to Canada alone in order to save up some money for our wedding and honeymoon, for everything we needed, and also since I hadn’t seen my parents and brothers in over two years, other than on Skype. Maria could continue working at Collective for the time being. I flew back to Vancouver in December of 2015, and it was great to see my family again, yet I really missed Maria. I got a job working at Megrez Consultants, an immigration consulting firm. This job was quite different from any other job I had been hired for before, as I was to be the executive assistant to the owner of the firm, as well as the administrator and receptionist for the whole office. I wast to be the first one there and the last one out, and I would have to work extra hours sometimes. The name of the owner of Megrez is Jose Godoy, and he’s ran his immigration consulting business in Downtown Vancouver for almost 20 years, helping people from all backgrounds get all kinds of processes and applications done in order to come to, or stay in, Canada. Since he is of Chilean background and Spanish is his native language, as well as speaking fluent English, his clients are mostly Latinos. I would have to speak English as well as a lot of Spanish, which was good for my practice in order to keep it fluent and fresh (and I even learned some new Spanish at that job), and I would sometimes have to speak Portuguese as well, which I know from my father’s side, as he is from Brazil. In the meantime, I would Whatsapp Video chat with Maria every day, always during breaks and my lunch hour, during which I usually ate at the Pho place right below my workplace (Pho is delicious Vietnamese soup, for those who don’t know), and as soon as I got back home. She became so special to me over time, and we couldn’t wait to be married, and for her to be there with me. More on how everything unfolded next week though, since I gotta get to work now. Take care and God bless!

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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DAY 4: 1,000 WORDS: WORKING IN HONDURAS, AND MEETING MY WIFE.

Fourth day of writing and publishing 1000 words. Thankfully I woke up today feeling really motivated to finish my writing before I left for work. I realized I can reach more people during the day, probably since most English readers are awake at around the same hours as I am. I also realized that putting 1000 words together isn’t so difficult after all, which in turn made me realize something much deeper. This realization, which has come to me 4 days into this writing goal I’ve set for myself, has revealed to me the fact that, if I wasn’t writing already before and publishing something on my blog every day, it was simply because I didn’t really want to. I always said I wanted to, yet I wasn’t putting the work in as I should have, I was still second-guessing, doubting whether things can work out, making excuses and writing only for myself, or some days not even writing at all since I was even second-guessing my thoughts before I had a chance to jot them down. I was in love with the outcome, with the mental image of success that I had visualized so often, yet in my obsession I had forgotten to really feel and be at one with the present moment when my writing was taking place, when my art was being created. I feel that I’ve begun to regain that now, and needless to say I’m real glad about it. As I write simply just to write, I notice I enter a state of flow, of clear-headed continuity, much the same as the feeling I get when I create and record my raps. It’s made me see that we all have things we could naturally excel at if we weren’t so afraid. Too many of us are still living in fear, or wondering what the point is of even trying, or thinking there are a million others just like us, so what difference could we possibly make? To be blunt, this kind of thinking reveals a completely backward mindset. Our ideas of what living life really means need to drastically change. At the end of the day, all each and every one of us can ever offer the world is what we really are, and nothing else. We must be ourselves to the fullest, and not give in to fear, or to pressure, or to temptation, or to laziness or pessimism. It is enough to simply BE ourselves, to just BE HERE NOW, and the right situations are bound to come to us. But alright, now that I got that thought down as a sort of intro for today’s piece, let’s continue with the story of how I ended up back here in Honduras, writing to the world about life. To sum up Day 2 and 3 of this writing experiment of mine, I’ve been detailing how I grew up as a teenager in Vancouver, BC, in Canada, and since I got involved in a lot of problems by following the crowd and doing dumb things, and since I just couldn’t reconcile my lifestyle with living at my parents’ home, I decided to travel back to Honduras, to live with my grandparents and work at a call center for a collections agency. At that job, about a month into being employed there, I met a beautiful girl, the one who is now my amazing wife! Although I was captured by her voice, as I sat a few feet away from her, I didn’t say anything on that day. I wondered about her though. She seemed so mysterious, so quiet and simple, so relaxed, so kind. A few weeks after that experience I arrived at work and found a letter at my cubicle desk. It had a cute cat face drawing, and it said my name and some other things. A secret admirer letter? Wow, that’s weird for sure. Not many people actually do that kind of thing, especially girls, I thought. It had some initials but no name, and it never could have occurred to me that it could be from my future wife, from that mysterious girl who sat at the corner. Up to this point, I had never even thought seriously of the possibility of getting married at such a young age. I had no need to, and it seemed like an unnecessary bond, a trap that would prevent me from having endless fun with any girl I wanted. Let’s remember that up to this point in life I had always been primarily focused on fun, on what I thought and always said was “living life to the fullest”, which was basically just a delusional hedonism now that I look back at it. I never thought that things such as true love and romantic companion were possible, having only met and interacted with girls who were always getting drunk and partying and acting even crazier than me half the time! I had dated girls who cheated on me, and I saw how my friends all broke up and got back together a million times, cheated and were cheated on. All I knew was fake, everyone around me pretending to be friends, but only hanging out since we all were attempting to mask our own sorrows in drugs and partying, loyal to no one but ourselves. I understand all of this now, for sure, but at that time I didn’t have these ideas. I was ready to let the party continue here in Honduras as well. As soon as I started working at the call center I met a lot of guys like me, who all smoked weed of course, but also drank, did other drugs like coke, and partied and fucked all the time, living life day by day yet for no deeper purpose other than mainly chasing thrills. I’m not trying to judge anyone, I was living in the same way, and it’s been hard to get out of it as habits definitely do stick around for a while. I also know why it can be tempting to live in this way, since it allows for non-stop fun with minimal time for reflection, which would reveal to us our feelings of sadness, of not being truly satisfied with life. The point is that the show went on, and I was nowhere near ready for a serious relationship at that time. The first time Maria and I actually spoke was by pure coincidence. I was walking into the call center really fast from my break, and as I opened the door to go in she was about to open it from the other side. Since I was going at a considerable speed we sort of crashed, not too hard though, it was more of a hug, so we just hugged anyway and she smiled. “Sorry!” I said smiling, for having bumped into her, but I knew she enjoyed our hug just as much as I did! “No problem!” was her reply. Since we sat real close to each other, we got to talking in our free moments between calls, and shortly I figured out the letter on my desk had been from her. From there everything just kept going uphill, but I have enough words for today, so the story will have to continue tomorrow! Adios for today, amigos!

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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DAY 3: 1,000 WORDS: WHERE I’M WRITING FROM (part 2)

Third day of writing and publishing 1000 words. For the sake of honesty I have to say, my energy and enthusiasm today are not as high as they were during my first two days of this challenge, and for that reason I wasn’t able to post this in the morning as usual. I won’t let this sudden mood change kill my determination though, so I have to get 1000 words together no matter what, and I will post them before midnight for sure. One of the main reasons for this goal, apart from exercising my writing ability, is to work on my self-control and determination. I haven’t set a date for how long I’ll write 1000 words for, I’m just going to keep writing indefinitely, hopefully until the end of my days. Anyway, just to quickly recap on where we’re at so far on this literary journey, yesterday I was explaining a bit about the circumstances which brought me from Vancouver, BC back to my birth country of Honduras, where I’m currently writing from. I didn’t have space to finish my story yesterday, so let me get back to it. Growing up in Vancouver, where my parents moved in 2004, I started hanging out with a lot of crazy kids. Many aspects of Canadian culture were very different from what we were accustomed to as a Latino family. Adapting to this new experience and all it entailed was hard on my parents, especially during the first few years, but to me everything seemed wonderful as I lived in a childish state of pure ignorance towards my family’s situation. After arriving in Vancouver at the age of 10 and starting to attend elementary school (grade 4) I started making friends quick, having already learned a significant amount of English at a bilingual elementary school in Honduras. I was a naïve kid, excited about my freedom and independence, about being a teenager in a new country, a safer country with more opportunities for fun and adventure. My parents, having always been very overprotective, now began to loosen up a bit, feeling like Canadian culture was somewhat more sane than that of Honduras. Having always taught my brothers and I about God and morality, and having been great examples of ideal people themselves, my folks never imagined that their firstborn son would end up caught up in some of the things I ended up getting involved in. Today I would feel a deep regret about all of the suffering I caused them, except that I know now that everything is meant to be (although things are only meant to be so that I can learn something from them in order to positively impact the present, and by extension the future). At the age of 13, around 2007/08 was really when it all started. I was always a friendly kid, and was open to friendships with anyone. I met Mike in grade 8, he was my best friend all throughout that year and throughout the summer that followed it. Grade 8 in BC is the start of high school, so that year I got to know more kids than ever before, due to the fact that all grade sevens from all elementary schools in the area were now in classes together, all at the same school. I’ve always been kind of a weirdo, and the kids I started hanging out with the most were the craziest ones, a lot of them being introduced to me by Mike, who was a really troubled child. We started problems everywhere we went. Alcohol and other drugs made it all real fun and allowed me to ignore the reality of what I was turning my life into, as it was all a fun and crazy mess with no time left for reflection. I was living on auto-pilot. I’ll touch more upon this period of my life in later posts, but for now we can skip the details of some of the craziest things that happened during those years. Let’s just say for now that many dark years of of lying went by, me lying, mom crying, dad yelling, school and police accusing, me denying. Fights, school suspensions and eventual expulsion, shoplifting, and many more constant problems I was always involved in. After about 9 years of this my parents were getting extremely tired of it, and since I was now about 19 years old I was getting tired of the constant conflict as well. It had always annoyed me, and I had wanted to move out of my parents house for as long as I could remember but I never had enough money to do so since I always spent it all. Now that I was almost 20 I knew it was time, I had to move away no matter what. By this point, I had already calmed down a bit since the days when I was hanging out with Mike, and really the only drug I was still using constantly was weed, as I still am up till today (more on why in future posts). My parents could never accept this though, and I could never come home and simply be at peace since I would always have to hear a lecture about a habit which I was not going to stop after having already blazed for about 7 years straight at that point, and which I had already decided was an essential part of my lifestyle. I flew to Honduras as soon as I could, and came to live at my grandparents’ home, in a spare room they had. Since 15 years old I had always worked, since I liked having my own money so that I could buy exactly what I wanted whenever I needed it, and the same was going to be true in Honduras. I  was really into working out in those days, so I signed up for a monthly gym membership. The gym mentor was an old crazy Honduran who had lived in the US a while back and told me stories about having fought in some old war, I can’t remember which. Anyway, after a few conversations he told me that here in San Pedro Sula, most English speakers work in call centers, as they pay workers good money for simply talking on the phone, doing customer service, sales, or collections work. There was a popular call center, Collective Solution, right across the street from the gym. I told him I would apply, and I did and was hired that same day, as good English is really the most basic requirement they look for. About a month after starting to work there, I think in August of 2014, I met the beautiful lady who became my wife a few years later. The call center is divided into different “campaigns”. Basically, each campaign is a third party representing a specific client, some American company that has agents working overseas (in order to pay them less). I was hired for a collections campaign, to collect on past due accounts for the Fresno Credit Bureau. A few steps from me was a campaign for H20 Wireless, a cell phone company, and in one of the spare moments of boredom in between calls my attention was caught by a soft, emphatic voice, saying to the customer on the other end of the line, “Hello, my name is Marie, how can I help you today?” I turned around to notice a mysterious girl with a hoodie on her head sitting in the corner…

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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DAY 2: 1,000 WORDS: WHERE I’M WRITING FROM (part 1)

Second day of writing 1000 words and publishing them. Yesterday I mainly touched upon on what inspires me to write, trying to simplify as much as possible even though I have various complex reasons for writing and for undertaking this challenge (of writing and publishing 1000 words a day, every day). Today I’d like to focus actually on where I’m writing from at the moment, and why. I am currently living in Central America, writing to you all from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, the same one which thousands of people including women with babies to their breasts recently just began marching from, less than a week ago, forming part of a huge caravan which moves along in hopes of soon arriving at the United States, ready to live the American dream upon entering the country as illegal immigrants. To be honest I think it’s really irresponsible to attempt such a challenging and dangerous journey with small children, but the more time I’ve spent here the more I realize I’m not in the same situation as these people, so I can’t accurately judge their actions. I just think it’s irresponsible due to the fact that Trump has vowed not to even let any of them in, of course. Why would people want to go somewhere where they are not welcome? Where they would be deported as soon as found? People must have some real good reasons to leave. I was personally born here in Honduras, back in 1994, in its capital city of Tegucigalpa, and lived ten years here before my parents decided to move to Canada. I’m forever grateful to my folks and thankful to God for providing my brothers and I with the opportunity of growing up and going to school in a first world country, in a safe and developed nation, one of the safest in the world in fact, and I surely wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for their decision to leave their old lives behind so that my brothers and I could live better ones in a new country. We were never rich, but we were never poor either. My father has been a scholar all his life and has a Master’s Degree in economy, yet even he chose to leave a good career behind to go and work random odd jobs in the Canadian cold, just so that his three children could have greater opportunities than we would have ever had here in Honduras. I owe so much to my parents who took me from here to Vancouver at the age of ten, and apart from that, it is obvious that so many people who live here are so sick and tired of doing so that they are taking desperate action in order to escape. So what the hell am I even doing back here for such a prolonged period anyway? That’s definitely a question I’m often asked nowadays, both by people who have lived in the States before and have been deported back here only to forever miss the lifestyle they used to live, as well as by those who have never even lived outside of Honduras but would jump at the opportunity of leaving for good. A few travelers have even died on their journey up North during the first couple caravans which took place, and the fact is that people here just don’t feel safe, they don’t feel they can trust their government or the police, and they live in constant fear of the ruthless gangs and corrupt politicians who control every aspect of society and business here. So many people feel the journey is definitely worth the risk, even with all the dangers involved. A lot of the people I’ve met here so far in my time being back simply cannot understand why I would want to be here, being able to travel back to Canada at any moment as a citizen. As a kid I  flew back here to visit once or twice, along with my family, for a few weeks or a month. Honduras being as dangerous as it is, my siblings and I spent most of our time with family, with my cousins, uncles and aunts and grandparents. We always returned to Canada, and as I grew into my teenage years growing up in Vancouver, I got mixed up with some bad crowds, and the stressful situation at home and with my family relationships simply were too much for me to deal with any longer. When my parents moved to Canada they never imagined that the greater liberty which the youth has there, living in a safe country, creates an atmosphere where kids as young as 12 or 13 are often free to be partying and consuming drugs, whereas in Honduras most kids at that age spend most of their time with parents. I was living a lifestyle of partying, constant drinking and consuming other substances to excess, staying out all night and ignoring my parents’ phone calls for quite a few years, since around the age of 13. I got in trouble with police, with school staff, got kicked out of school, and eventually ended up finishing my high school education online. The worst thing, the thing that really killed me though, was the constant guilt I felt for putting my parents through such stress. They thought they were losing a child to the negative forces of the world. But I didn’t want to change my lifestyle. In those days I had ideas much different from those I have today, and rather than changing for the better and attempting to mend the broken relationships I had with my parents, I thought it best to just leave. I thought they would be better off without me, and I would have more peace farther away from them. Ignorance is bliss was really my philosophy. I’ve always had crazy fantasies of travel, a wanderlust that impacts my whole being and prevents me from standing still. I still wish to travel the world as much as I possibly can even today. So, faced with a depressing and seemingly inescapable situation back home as I could never did save up enough money to get my own place, I decided to travel back to my original home, back to my roots and my culture, unaccompanied this time. I flew to Honduras in 2013 and unpacked all my stuff in one of my grandparents’ spare rooms, knowing they knew nothing of my craziness and would not bother me or prevent me from doing what I wanted. Well, I have enough words to post for today, so I’ll have to keep the story going from 2013 up to now in tomorrow’s 1000-word post.

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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DAY 1: 1,000 WORDS: INTRODUCTION TO EXPERIMENT.

First day of writing down 1000 words and publishing them. What’s the point of this long term goal I’ve set for myself? The main goal is simply to use my talent to the best of my abilities, to practice, to share what I can with the world, and to learn more about myself, and the universe in general, in the process. I have been writing, in fact, for about eleven years now, but in the form of rap lyrics. You can check out my songs and albums in the “Music” section of my site. I’m a musician and I try to be as conscious as possible with the lyrics I write (although that wasn’t always the case), since I now understand the great impact all our words have on the world and on the collective consciousness. For as long as I can remember I’ve been wanting to really write though, to get my ideas across in a clearer, more concise fashion, even if just to a few people. Sometimes, being so focused on fame and wealth, we become discouraged by having only minor success, or only a few followers or readers. Unfortunately I’ve been guilty of this myself. In such cases, we fail to see how much of an impact we might be having on these few people who interact with us or with our art, who in turn will impact the lives of many others down the line. We forget to acknowledge the fact that each powerful impact you make on a single person is a miracle, it is a great blessing and a privilege to be able to make a contribution to the total power of goodness in the universe. I believe we all have this potential goodness within us, it being the essence of who we truly are at the deepest level of what being even means, “the image of God” within us. It is a simple message I want to bring forth through my work, whether working on music or literature. I claim to follow no religion, but in reality you could say I follow every religion. I read and learn as much as I can from the ancient and newer texts of all the great religions and mystical orders, and I’ve realized up to this point that they all point towards the same main ideals, ones we can all feel within us through our power of intuition. All the mystics of all the religions throughout the ages have emphasized the power of peace and of respect for all people, and of acknowledgement of all worldly citizens as our brothers and sisters, as equal to us. I practice meditation daily and follow a lot of what Buddhism and Hinduism teach, since I believe much wisdom can come from quiet contemplation and serene concentration of consciousness, as well as focusing on spiritual matters instead of sense enjoyment all the time. Apart from that though, I was raised in a mainly Christian home, although my father later preferred Judaism and started attending a synagogue. Although a lot of the Biblical concepts, especially those of the Old Testament, have become strange to me in my recent years of studying Eastern spirituality, I still read a chapter of the Bible on most days, together with my wife, as I do believe there is much to be learned from it if one seeks to humbly understand instead of judge or condemn. We just finished reading First Kings last night in Spanish. I’m familiar with the teachings of Jesus and with most of the rest of the Bible as well, having been taught about it extensively growing up, and none of it conflicts, but rather goes hand in hand, with the teachings of mystical ideas such as those of the Vedanta or the Tao. My message is not merely religious however, it is a simple yet essential message which we all need to hear, whether from within ourselves or from others who have heard it from within themselves, in order to live life correctly, and to stop causing more problems and confusion on top of that which exists all around us already in this crazy world. We need to stop separating the spiritual from the physical, and we need to see the oneness beyond all apparent duality. We need to stop second-guessing ourselves so much, wanting to be the greatest, wanting to be known, afraid of being rejected, afraid of everyone else as if they were different from us. We need to simply be, and to understand that being is One in all of us, and that we are all sharing a common experience since we are all being together, one Being, basically one Spirit keeping us all alive. The more I’ve been realizing this, the more I’ve felt there is no sense in holding back my writing any longer. Those who are meant to read this will read it, and those who aren’t won’t. Some will understand and others won’t just yet, but maybe later. We all find inspiration in so many different things, and this is what keeps life going. This is the start of me doing what I love to do with the purpose of affecting the world in a positive way, regardless of what anyone might think, regardless of money or what the journey of life might bring. If you’re someone trying to promote positivity and you think you have something to offer which can impact the world in a good way, don’t let doubt or insecurity hold you back. Let your light shine with no shame or fear, and doors will open up. For too long I lived with no purpose, I wrote music with no deeper meaning, I hung around with old friends cracking jokes and beer bottles, partying, getting into fights and problems, just completely acting a fool. Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is the book that made me finally understand that life without meaning is empty and that one must find meaning in life in order to truly be alive. I now have enough words to publish the first day of this experiment. Let’s see where this goes from here.

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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The Inspiration that You Seek is Already Within.

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The inspiration that you have so desperately sought for so long could be found within you all along. Upon realizing this, I urge you not to waste another minute on mere wishing, on hopeless daydreaming, or on blaming others because things aren’t as good as you wish they were. Don’t waste a single second on complaining about the circumstances that currently seem to confine you. The real you cannot be confined. If you only realized how free you really are you would not allow the temporary pleasures and pains of the world to torment you to such an extent. If you had an accurate understanding of your own freedom you would realize how free you already are to control your mental state and to balance your emotions and thoughts, to ultimately bring about the exact conditions you long for. It’s unfortunate that we often waste so much precious time knocking on so many doors on our quest for that missing thing, that magical thing that could fill the emptiness within us, that long missing which is still missing even after we’ve given ourselves to every worthless vice on the planet. Could you believe it if I told you there was never anything missing in the first place? The blind man cannot see the world before his eyes, yet the world is there nonetheless. He would be reasonable to believe that the world is not there, if he were never told that the world is there. Another example is Plato’s classic cave parable. There is so much more to us than can be perceived by the ordinary senses, and this in itself inspires me greatly.

The desire for extra-sensory perception can be a danger for sure though as it can lead to dissatisfaction with daily life in someone who has not realized their inner inspiration. Such people are easily attracted and lured in by the first fleeting feeling of potential escape from the life they loathe. If we add to this the fact that many of us spend our days slaving away at jobs which we don’t enjoy and can find no true sense of purpose in, it is only natural that so many people seem to feel uninspired. So many of us feel like there is no value to anything we do, simply because often times we are not doing exactly what we would like to, or life isn’t looking the way we expected it to. We fail to realize that there is intrinsic value to every life experience we go through, whether it is one which is typically labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. All human experience can be used as practice in the development of our spiritual powers, in our ability to tune in to our divine inspiration which is intuition.

Few people fully comprehend this essential nature of adversity. As a result of hardship, financial or otherwise, many of us fall into depression after countless years of feeling sorry for ourselves, of pitying ourselves and of harboring a secret hatred within, a gradually developing rage against the world because it fails to provide the magic we so desire, the substance, the grand significance and meaning we live and breathe for. We think we are all meant to be celebrities, singers or actors, or famous revolutionaries or politicians or leaders. Many of us become severely disappointed because of these false idea of grandeur, of seeing “success” as a necessity. It is imperative to our species that we understand something: success is not measured by material goals or status or personal power. Success depends on how we react to daily obstacles, how we treat those who wish us harm, whether we curse or bless those who mock or talk down on us. Come to think of it, success really is based on power. But not personal power. The power by which success can be measured is that immense and holy power which resides within every human being, the power of decency, of integrity, of selflessness, of intuition. Ultimately, we may call it the power of divine inspiration, and there is no power that can compare to, or that even comes remotely close to, this infinite power. How could it be possible if all powers can only exist through this one infinite power?

As we waste away praying to find our purpose or our passion, we become blind to the blessings which make up our life situation, even things we take for granted like our health or our friends and family, or electricity or running water. We have absolutely no trust in God’s plan, in the divine order of things, so we stress and ruin our health over what our passion is and how we can find it, how we will survive and make ends meet and follow our passion all at once. With so much stress on our mind, we cannot take a moment to relax and tune into our inspiration. When we look at the situation this way, we can clearly see that the problem is not that life does not provide inspiration, but rather that, in our ignorance and in our greed, in our restless need for more, we ignore all the simple blessings which are meant to inspire us, blessings which should leave us in a state of awe, such as our breath perhaps, without which none of us could even live on this planet. We cannot see that life in itself is the biggest blessing of all, it is inspiration itself, with all its highs and lows. Life is just as much a part of this Great Spirit as we are, and it has many lessons to teach us if we are willing to pay attention.

As living beings, therefore, and as beings which are inseparable from nature, as God’s children, we all contain this inspiration within us at every moment. We can access this divine inspiration whenever we wish, and the only thing separating us from it is our ingrained belief that there exists no such thing. But inspiration is real, and as long as we remain alert and have our inner eye open to see beyond ignorance, as long as we choose to respect the undeniably inspiring feeling of intuition which we feel within us, then doing so will become our most powerful habit. Divine inspiration turns blind faith into true faith, it turns dreams into reality, and it is the magical force behind all miracles. As long as we spend our time complaining about how pointless life is, about how annoying everything is, I can assure you we will not be able to perceive the blessings which are taking place all around us as well as in our own lives, both in our day to day as well as in the bigger picture of our lives and of collective humanity and life in general.

We all have access to incredible wisdom directly from the source, and with this wisdom we can develop an inner strength, a stubborn and persistent kind of courage that keeps us motivated through the even harshest of tragedies. Inspiration comes from fearlessness. As the Spirit of God is manifesting itself through all our lives, we are all naturally divinely inspired. The more we ignore this the harder it becomes for us to grasp and understand this inspiration within us. This inspiration would transform our lives, it would allow it to positively transform the lives of those we love and even millions more. This inner inspiration would be the solution to every problem, it would enable us to move mountains even. The problem is that we live in fear, and fear does not allow us to proceed, it stifles our progress. Fear is a low emotion which we feel during this earthly existence because we identify solely with our body and with who we are, our personality in this particular incarnation. Fear comes from identification with the individual body, from misunderstanding, from wrong view. Ultimately, fear arises only when we see others as separate from ourselves. Unable to perceive the oneness which is everything, unable to perceive that all that happens is part of God, unable to perceive that there is no need for fear and that all divine inspiration should be acted upon, we struggle to even survive because we become paralyzed, mentally and eventually physically. We may go from here to there but we never make a move, we never pursue our dreams, we never try to give life to the plans we have, and we never even take a moment to sit back, relax, and accept our life as the blessing that it is. We must learn to do this.

After all, life is in a constant state of flux, of continuous change, and even though things may not be going so good for us today, we can always feel happiness as we rejoice at the joy of our friends and family, or of those who we do not know. After all, we are all one, and accepting this is the end of all fear, the beginning of inspiration. Accepting this amazing truth also suggests acceptance of the Great Spirit which resides within us all and in which we all reside. The grace of God is the reason why we are even alive to ponder these ideas. When we realize that we are all alive due to God’s divine mercy, due to the oneness behind all duality, at that point what could possibly incite fear in us? At that point we will find that when we lose our unfounded fear, which is indeed all fear, only then will we find our unconditional inner inspiration. This truth has been known for thousands of years, as we find in the Isha Upanishad: “Who sees all beings in his own self and his own self in all beings, loses all fear.”

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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In Order to Give Light, One Must First Burn.

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In order to give light, one must first burn. Wise advice from Rumi, one of history’s greatest Sufi mystics. Although great ideas like this are often explained with the noblest intentions, we never really know how they can be interpreted by those who try to comprehend its meaning. Many people, belonging to various religious and non-religious groups, who strongly identify with certain ideologies, seem to think, for example, that being a light unto the world requires that not only they themselves burn, but that they also burn others down with them in the process of spreading their message. People such as terrorists, etc. Yet many of us engage in the same kind of behavior in our daily lives. In our self-righteous attempts to shine a light unto the world, we end up creating problems, because what we believe is the truth, what we believe is the way in which others should live, is not necessarily the way in which they themselves believe they should live. Often we are the ones who are wrong, yet we go around our whole lives spewing nonsense and corrupting the minds of those who are unfortunate enough to hear us.

Too often we think that shining a light requires us to be heroes, to start great political or religious movements, to reform some kind of movement or to help thousands of people in need. All of these can be truly noble pursuits, but we don’t need to achieve some great, outstanding achievement in this life in order to be a light. In fact, the constant feeling of needing to be someone, to be important, has taken hold of many of us who now live based on our ego, telling ourselves that what we need to achieve is for the people, for our families, or for our friends, when it is really for ourselves. Many of us let this idea get in the way of relationships, as we may believe ourselves to be superior to everyone else, and we may try to control the way in which others behave, or shame others for the way they live or think.  We need to restrict the number of proclamations we make based on little or no evidence, for they are far too many nowadays. Many of us in today’s world, wish to shed light on topics we feel strongly for or against. Although there are certainly things which should be, and are for the most part, frowned upon by society as a whole, such as any action that harms innocent people, there are other things which are not so clear. Sometimes in an attempt to shed light on something we believe we have the authority to speak on, we end up judging people based on nothing but our own preconceived notions, or on ideas we’ve adopted from our society over time. Both are quite the same really.

When we condemn someone else for something, we often fail to see that we are condemning ourselves. As the expression goes, when you point at someone you’re pointing three fingers back at yourself. There are no good and bad people. We have all been good and bad at some point, and the good we might have done might have simply happened without our good intention even. So was it really a good deed? The fact is that everything which is good is in some way bad, and everything which is bad is in some way good, in the grand scheme of things. There is nothing in this physical plane which escapes the law of duality, of cause and effect, or that is beyond the illusion of separation, of maya. We can only come to an understanding of the oneness beyond the illusion of separation if we accept that all difference is due to illusion, and that all is really the same. 

We must realize that, although some crimes might be more severe than others, we are all essentially committing the same sin, to put it in an understandable way. What sin is this? The sin of allowing our lower instincts to take control of us, and to make us act against our better judgement, against our inherent wisdom, against our inner light. We have allowed ignorance to consume us, we have embraced suffering and become it, devoid of divine perception. This transgression leads to every single evil present in our world, it all comes from this same source. So instead of blaming others, blaming the system, the elite, or the bankers and the politicians, or blaming gangs and organized crime, or blaming religion or the media, rather than spending our time assigning blame, we need to humble ourselves and to come to the realization that we are no better than anyone else.

We are all equal in spirit, but not in mind. And speaking of mind, keep in mind that mind is not eternal. Mind, or brain, will come to and end. The person and the body you identified with so closely, which you nurtured so dearly for so many years, will die, will cease to exist in the blink of an eye. Where will you go? Where will you be? We have many religions and philosophies which attempt to provide insight into where we will be after death, but apart from that, there is another way in which we will continue to be: in the hearts and minds we have touched while on this planet, during this incarnation. The legacy we leave behind can either be one of light or one of darkness. And you might ask, well, isn’t everything both light and dark in the end?

The answer is that it is, but only in illusion, only in the limited way in which we  perceive the world. No matter how many choices we make, reality on this plane will keep on manifesting itself and generating experiences based on perfect dual balance, or so it will seem to the untrained eye. Behind the scenes of all the suffering and pain, of all the glory and triumph, of all the love and the hate, all our thoughts and actions are bringing about equal opportunities for wrongs to be set right, for past mistakes to be corrected to create a better future. The only wisdom we can leave behind as a legacy to this forever-divided world is that of the oneness behind the illusion, so that the message may reach those who are blessed to receive it, so that they may see past the illusion and may live to teach others about the oneness of it all. 

When we live with this perception of everything as one, compassion becomes more natural to us, we become less anxious for situations to go our way, we become less stressed and worried about the future, we become less controlling of those around us and instead we open our minds and get in touch with our intuition in order to honestly evaluate every area of our lives. When we live with this perception of oneness, it becomes harder to judge others, since we see that their mistakes arise from the same state of ignorance which our own mistakes arise from. We begin to see the need to lead by example, as opposed to merely teaching and preaching everywhere we go.

Teaching is good, but more important is walking the talk, living a life of integrity which others can learn from. At times, this may seem impossible in a world filled with so much ignorance. But this helpless feeling can be alleviated by seeing the ignorance itself as an illusion. All ignorance is there so that we may see past it, as a motivational boost for us to keep rising, improving, moving beyond our limited state of perception. Living life in such a truthful and honestly mystical way will no doubt come with its challenges, often great ones at that. But to one who has felt the deep oneness which underlies and pervades all existence, and who feels the necessity to make this known, the task seems more  important than even his own personal identity. Such selflessly enlightened souls are definitely ready to burn in order to provide a dazzling light, a bright candle which will shine forever, opening the doors of perception for those brave ones looking to venture past what they think they already know.

Plato said that “those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses. Martin Luther King Jr., Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, all imprisoned for the noble cause of uniting divided peoples, of rebelling against division and separation and hate. Gandhi was also assassinated for peace by a man who was strongly driven by extreme nationalism. Among artists, John Lennon was assassinated among many other activists for peace throughout the ages. And let’s not forget Jesus whose very message of peace led to his violent death by crucifixion. Sometimes one feels the need to heal this world no matter the consequences. Most of us ignore this sentiment, preferring to go about our daily lives without a care. Those who are brave enough to accept such an uncomfortable challenge are truly heroes, God’s shining lights illuminating the Earth at various point throughout the ages.

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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Life and Death are Two Sides of the Same Coin.

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“Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. Yes, it is an end of something that is already dead. It is also a crescendo of what we call life, although very few know what life is. They live, but they live in such ignorance that they never encounter their own life. ~ Osho (1931-1990)

What is death? What is life? Cannot these two questions be asked in the same sentence, side by side? Shouldn’t they? Are they not one in the same after all? Life and death are simply two sides of the same coin, and in their seemingly separate form they are another example of the illusion of duality which we project onto the reality we live in. In truth, there is no separation, yet we choose to see the whole of life and nature as separate from us, from our individual being. We go through life passionately protecting this individual being from death, from the grim reaper which will eventually come to harm us and drag our souls to hell, to burn in our deepest fears, or perhaps off to heaven to enjoy all our unfulfilled fantasies. Even the greatest believer in heaven is not willing to take his own life in order to reach its gates as soon as possible, no matter how hard he may be currently struggling on this earthly plane while he still has breath. No matter what we may believe we will encounter after death, we fear the unknown and hold on to the familiar, to the only life we currently know.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves, of our health and our bodies, of our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, but many of us become completely obsessed with our small individual self, to the point that we come to believe that the universe revolves around us; we would do anything to protect our self, no matter how immoral or harmful we might have to behave towards other beings. We have become desensitized and we now kill for sport or for food when it is honestly unnecessary. My purpose is not to judge either, as I myself still haven’t completely given up the habit of consuming meat, although I would like to and am gradually taking on the task. There is an ancient idea, recognized by the sages of various religions. This idea, which the Vedanta teaches so eloquently, of the oneness behind the duality, this is the idea that permeates throughout all religion and ethics, the reason for morality, for love and unconditional friendship. We are all one people, children of the Great Spirit of which nothing can be said by us, since nothing regarding its infinite properties can even begin to be grasped by the finite mind.

This oneness is itself a contradiction to our warped view of things, to our view of the world in which everything is of dual nature, in which everyone is an enemy and is out to get us, in which life itself is a competition, one which we absolutely must win, we simply must come out on top by any means. We are so caught up in illusion that we have no way of perceiving the infinite oneness beyond it all, that Spirit by which the eye can see, that by which the ear can hear, Brahman as explained in the Upanishads. We choose to use separation as our base point, the reference point from which we see and interact with the world. We fail to realize that even death cannot separate us from those around us, so how can life do so? We are always connected as one because the Spirit which gives me life gives you life, the Spirit which is in you is the Spirit within me. What we perceive as separation due to ignorance is in fact all together, all hearts are beating because of this one rhythm, and all our lungs are breathing in life because life is flowing all around us, within us as well as without us.

Death can never erase us, as everything that is simply keeps on being, if not here then somewhere else, if not today then tomorrow or yesterday. Time and space are nothing to the Spirit. We perceive all as separate but our life is simply a flash, just as all other lives are, before we continue on to new adventures. The law of cause and effect makes the cycle continue, and from death we must keep on working out our karma, doing our duty, our dharma no matter where our consciousness may find itself. It is definitely an interesting concept which makes much sense, and as I have always believed, the Spirit of God dwells within us all and is the reason why we have what we call conscience or intuition, why we are able to love and to sacrifice ourselves for others, why many of us devote our lives to serving others, whether our wives or husbands, brothers or sisters, mothers or even distant relatives, be they the poor or the sick, or the orphan and the widow as suggested in the Bible, we all have the ability to love and to care for all others because we are all one, we are not only similar, but we are the same as long as we look beyond our own individual illusions regarding reality.

Compassion, therefore, is a perfectly natural virtue, which many have unfortunately attempted to kill off throughout the centuries because it does not fit their political purpose, or whatever other purpose may drive them. Hate is a very strong force, yet the force of love and of all that is good can never be eradicated off the face of the earth. Even what we see as evil, what is indeed evil, what our fellow human beings do, or what even we ourselves do, while under the influence of ignorance, is indeed evil if that is the word we are to use, yet every action we take is powerless against the infinite love of God which keeps this world and everyone in it alive. We can never disrupt creation, and everything we do is balanced out in order to deliver what is deserved to each person based on their actions in the present, in the past or in the distant past. The law of cause and effect is duality itself, is one of the laws which govern the illusion of maya which we are immersed in. This is one of the seven ancient Hermetic Principles and is a key concept in the Kabbalah as well. Everything brings about its effect, yet there is a oneness above even the laws themselves, including that of cause and effect, and everything falls into place according to the supreme law, according to Divine Will.

Nothing ever dies, everything simply transforms and continues living, just as the universe is in constant motion (Another Hermetic Principle, that of vibration). God is energy, and the laws that are in place in our dimension and all those that may exist are employed under this divine energy’s commands so that everything works perfectly. The vast majority of humanity will fail to comprehend this Divine Will for a long time because everything appears as a contradiction to us. Life and death seem to disagree, as one brings about so much joy, and the other so much pain. But our vision is sadly incomplete, and that is the real problem here. Life not only brings about much joy, it also brings tremendous pain along with it, starting from the very moment of childbirth. The mother experiences excruciating pain to bring into this world a child who is one hundred percent sure to experience his or her fair share of suffering throughout their life experience as well. Why would she bring this baby to life, being aware of this? Because pain is inevitable for as long as we live, and it is contained within life just as much as joy is. And how do we not know that death does not bring joy to those departed? How do we know that there is not a very special reason why they had to leave us? One thing is for sure, at least: Being part of the eternal Spirit of God, as nothing can be without the Spirit, we can never truly die. We are immortal, and there is no reason to grieve for anyone. We must all move along with life.

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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The Root of our Problems: Humanity Disconnected from its True Purpose.

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“The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance. Like music also, it is fulfilled in each moment of its course. You do not play a sonata in order to reach the final chord, and if the meaning of things were simply in ends, composers would write nothing but finales.”

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

~ Alan Watts (1915-1973)

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Two days ago, I posted about the harshness of truth, and how we should follow it regardless. Well, with something as true and as important as today’s subject I feel it’s best to get right to the point. Unfortunately, due to many complicated circumstances, many of them of our own creation, we have become a society devoid of meaning and significance, robbed of our true purpose. The extremely high levels of mental afflictions such as debilitating depression and anxiety which we see today are related to the lack of purpose we all feel inside, some of us more than others. We have become a society of people who only do things if there is a secondary purpose to doing them. Disconnected from our higher purpose, many lacking even a notion of such a thing, nothing that we do feels valuable or meaningful, and the days go by like autumn leaves down a river stream. By now it has become quite clear that the dehumanizing, robotic aspects of the kind of society the majority of us live in has completely stripped most of us of our passion to do anything, and sadly many people are just going along, struggling through life and hating every second of it, having nothing meaningful to pursue or to cherish. This is, of course, an illusion. If one can connect with one’s inner being one can always persevere, no matter the situation. But then again, the system which we live in makes even bare survival a tremendous struggle for a lot of people, and we all help it achieve its oppressive goals when we bury ourselves in debt because we cannot control our desires. They promote the products and we run to the store to buy them. We have become accomplices in their own scheme, and we are on the losing end of it. We have played ourselves and now we are paying the price. The point is that, for one reason or another, so many of us are now struggling to even find a purpose to live for. Truthfully, I wish we could all find something which we genuinely love to do and that we could do it for as long as we live with no financial worries. Work becomes play when you do what you love.

Me, I love to make music, among many other things, and when I get in the zone and I start recording my music, editing and replaying it again and again in order to perfect it, I become entranced. Time flies by and I don’t even feel it. I become completely immersed in the music and I become one with the process. I’m chilling in my own musical world, so to speak. No distractions come into my mind throughout the session and I am in an energetic state of flow. A lot of spiritual rituals involve music and dance, and I think the reason why is kind of obvious. I believe these activities are reminders to us that, in life, we do not always need to have such a specific purpose for doing some things. When we obsess over the destination we end up losing the joy which was meant to be part of our journey. We need to see that there is always a purpose behind the scenes, but we don’t need to always stress about it. I think of the concept of faith as being prepared for any opportunity, at the same time as trusting that there is a higher purpose for our lives, which we can connect with at all times. When we spend every second of our lives planning out a future achievement, we often ignore the best of God’s blessings which are right in front of us. Take the workaholic as an example, the one who is convinced that his rushed and busy lifestyle will secure financial stability for his family and take care of education fees down the road. He never considers that his child will also suffer greatly from his absence down the road, maybe even more than he most likely is already. Perhaps this father has vaguely thought through the consequences of his present actions, but yet he deems it definitely more important to secure his child’s financial future. Some people like these might not even be physically absent all the time, yet even when they are around their children, their mind is distant, far, far away, drifting from one work problem to the next, mentally shuffling through clients and contracts and such trivial nonsense.

In order to realize that we have become a society which has lost its sense of purpose, we need only notice how the most important thing on the planet is money. Literally speaking, money itself is simply a symbol for other things which we use, things which we believe have actual purpose. But money itself has no purpose or value at all, it is just a means to and end. Despite this, money has become our god, the highest achievable human goal, the thing that the majority of killers probably kill for, the thing that drives all corruption and injustice when it leads to greed. So, whether we want to accept it or not, the fact is that, these days, money really does make the world go around. We need to take a moment to stop and think about what this means and whether we want this to become our main purpose as well, or whether we want to follow another purpose, a higher purpose. What other purpose could there be to life? I’ll leave that up to you. Learning to accept life and its constant changes is no easy task. Some think that accepting means giving up and never trying to improve your situation in any way. This is not the case at all. In fact, accepting any problem is the first step to solving it, a necessary step no matter what the nature of your problem might be. Accepting means that you are not in denial of your situation, that you have decided to stop living in fear of your demons and devising escape tactics in order to avoid what you know is killing you from within. True acceptance means that you are now ready to do what is needed to change the problem.

An alcoholic who never accepts that he is an alcoholic might come to realize it many decades later once he has lost his family and his health, along with probably much, much more along the way. An alcoholic who accepts that he is alcoholic, however, can then take the necessary steps to free his or herself of such an afflictive addiction. Life is full of changes. Some we will like for sure, some not so much. We have to understand, however, that all change is necessary, and that what is bad to us might be the best news someone else has gotten in a while. There is no such thing as a good day or a bad day, because on the day that you celebrate the birth of your firstborn, another family has just realized that their own is no longer living among them. Can we say that this is really a good day overall? Both events took place within the same day. Can we call it a bad day? Of course, it is a good day. This good is above the duality of what we perceive as bad and good, though. Everything is the way it is meant to be, and when we face an obstacle which we think is too big for us, we need to think again (or stop thinking), and we need to remember (realize) that whatever obstacle we are facing is the exact obstacle we need to face at this moment in time, because we are who we are and we are living the life we are living. Life is alive everywhere, and everything affects everything. Regardless of how individual and separated from other people we may feel, the truth is that everything we do affects the lives of countless others, and everything everyone else does affects us in some way as well. We even affect ourselves in unknown and unexpected ways, both directly and indirectly, without ever having a clue. Nikola Tesla said “Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.”

We need to stop complaining and acting like victims. It is true that there are many people who are doing evil deeds daily, all throughout the world, and in no way am I defending some of the unspeakable practices some people engage in, nor am I say that what they do is correct or moral. What I am saying is that, although we have free will, everything eventually is arranged into what it needs to be, everything flows where it must no matter how many times we mess up. We cannot ruin God’s creation or throw it off balance, as it is perfect. Every evil and every kindness are surely to be repaid at some point. It might not be immediate but it will happen eventually. The world only seems imperfect to us due to our imperfect and partial view of it. Maya is illusion, it is not real, so it is not even evil as many portray it. We need to break through. Not through some kind of magic but through real life experiences, through ideas and thoughts that are manifested into the collective consciousness, through TV, radio, internet, through books. Books written thousands of years ago are still among the most influential ones today. Did the authors ever imagine they would influence such distant people, both in time and space? Time and space are non-existent, after all, in spirituality, in truth.

There are many avenues through which both good and evil can be repaid, such as some of those mentioned a moment ago. What we call “God’s mysterious ways” is karma, mysterious to us since it is unknown, containing the intersecting and invisible paths that lead to never-ending creation and manifestation. When we stop complaining and we start accepting life as it is and that we as a whole, we as humanity, have caused the problems which we are facing now, even our individual ones, we cannot be angry at God or the universe. We will realize that every experience is meant to help us progress in some way. Even our individual problems are created by our specific attitudes and worldviews, which have been affected by the environment we live in, which will depend not only on the family we are born into and the people who they grew to be through years of living their own lives, but also by the society we live in, which has also been influenced by countless teachers from the past, all of whom had their own teachers and so on. Life is a continuous cycle, and every change that takes place is a change we need to embrace. We need to jump into the dance of life, we need to forget about always having an alternative purpose for living. We need to remember that life is no more than the present moment, and we need to fill the present moment with things that truly matter to us, with thoughts and actions that are conscious and purposeful. We need to start living just to live.

~ Rebel Spirit ~

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There is No Religion Higher Than Truth.

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Every day that passes, hundreds of thousands of babies are born all around the world. It is estimated that about three hundred thousand babies, to be more exact, are born worldwide every single day, into different families, cultures, religions and environments, each under its own unique set of circumstances. In most cases, these circumstances play a big part in producing personality. It’s hard, if not impossible, to fully understand just how much of what we believe and feel as adults, how much of what we think, however confident we may feel about our beliefs and ideas, comes from these elements which we are born into, seemingly by no decision of our own, which surround us as we grow up, things including but not limited to family life and social position. Or how much of who we grow to be is already embedded in our own DNA when we arrive on this planet, just like the essence of a tree is embedded in the smallest seed, and how much of us is perhaps actually something carried over by the spirit from a previous incarnation? Most importantly, from all these possibilities and theories of reality, how can we be so sure of the absolute truth of either one? Are we born with a distinct personality which is further shaped by our life experiences, or is each of us born as a blank slate, another blank page yet to be written in the book of history? If we believe the latter possibility, then who is the author of such a book anyway? Who or what designed this world full of beauty and inspiration, but also overcome by brutality and ignorance? Is this all part of a grand design which we simply cannot comprehend at our level of consciousness? A divine plan perhaps? Or are we all accidents, existing merely by chance – a chaotic concoction of coincidences?

Many religions and philosophies attempt to provide us with answers to these timeless questions, which personally fascinate me almost to the point of obsession, a feeling which manifests in my life as a driving desire to discover the truth hidden deep within the soul of the world and its inhabitants throughout the ages, the perpetual truth masked behind all the advertising, the corruption, the labels, the denominations and the propaganda – the perennial philosophy, as Aldous Huxley would refer to this truth I seek. See, I grew up in a Christian home. My mother, a true follower of Christ, is devout, caring, and kind to all people – the purest person I’ve ever had the privilege to know. She, along with my father, raised me to live with integrity, with respect for everyone and everything. They recited Bible passages to me from a very young age and taught me about God – Jehovah, Jesus, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. As a young child, I believed what I was told without applying any critical thinking. I found out that when I grew up a bit and started learning more on my own, reading more, wondering more, thinking outside the box, the absolute certainty of many of some of my beliefs didn’t seem so certain at all anymore. I realized that we all have the capacity – no, the duty – to wonder, to inquire into the deepest parts of our spirit. My mother wholeheartedly believes that one must accept Jesus as one’s sole savior and God incarnate in order to reach heaven eternally after death – if not then the alternative is hellfire and suffering, also eternal. I’m not saying that any of this is something I believe or I don’t believe necessarily, but what I am saying is that one must make the effort to investigate and learn from religions and philosophies other than one’s own, in order to compare – not to create division, but to connect the similarities, to dive into the differences, to enrich one’s life experience. An early unease with this situation about hell, and the injustice and cruelty I feel about the idea of it, as well as the possibility that it could be a total invention, a tool for mass mental control, and an unease with not knowing how people can be so convinced of their beliefs beyond doubt, have been like fuel for me, they have ignited the fire of inspiration in my soul to always learn and to grow more, to leave aside all vanity and to follow what is true and good, to always dig deeper and to doubt everything – to believe all but to believe nothing all the same. To believe in one religion exclusively is to shut oneself out of the richness of other cultures, of deeper understanding among brothers and sisters who are also God’s children.

Closing ourselves off from religious and philosophical teachings from many of the world’s great people throughout history and today because they did not or do not share the same label as us is closed-mindedness, it is willful ignorance, and it only results in a loss for ourselves, at least in the immediate sense. Way too much suffering has been caused and is still being caused by people with the idea that they must spread their perceived truth to humanity by any means necessary, disregarding all values in the process. How can we be completely certain of any specific religion or belief unless we consciously expand our horizons and study other people’s beliefs? After all, a child born to a Christian family in America, especially Central or South America where the culture is centred around family values more than in North America, has a high chance of growing up with Christian beliefs and forming a Christian family, while a child born in India might grow up as a Hindu, also respecting and caring for the planet and for humanity, trusting in God, except that he may call God by a different name, or by various names which could even represent the different energies of God at work in the universe – such as the Atman which represents our Spirit, the Divine reflection of God’s essence, referred to as Brahman. In the Middle East, many Muslims bow down daily in reverence to Allah, devout and pious people who have no appetite for destruction and death. They worship the same God of Abraham who founded the Jewish faith and also inspired the faith of the Christian religion and all its subsequent denominations. After all, Allah is just the Arabic word for God. Jews and Arabs are basically cousins, and yet the ceaseless fighting and war is devastating families and communities, all because we can’t put our pride aside, put our differences aside, and coexist as a peaceful people, as vessels of the divine Spirit, without labels and hence without prejudice. It is essential that we all open our minds and hearts to the wisdom of others.

                With so many religions, philosophies and ideologies, one at times might wonder how any critically-thinking person can follow one specific religion or belief system and feel completely confident in it. How can one be certain that one’s belief is in fact the ultimate truth of the universe, without ever even considering any of the other “ultimate truths” our fellow humans believe? We have friends who we have known for years, and yet we never ask them about their beliefs because we are so sure about our own. We all walk around in multicultural communities, everyone interacting with each other in a friendly manner, working, playing, socializing, everyone making their earthly existence work out as best as they can by means of constant collaboration. We call ourselves brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, co-workers, friends, relatives, partners, and yet we all might call ourselves by different religious labels. One of us might believe that you and I will reincarnate here on this planet or on some other one, as people or animals or anything, or you might believe we will either go to heaven or hell. If my friend stopped for a moment to think about what his religion teaches him to believe about someone who does not share his same religious belief, he just might conclude that such a person will burn in hell upon death, as if he could accurately judge said person’s purity of character. But just as a reminder to those who see others in this way: Jesus himself warned against attempting to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye as you blindly ignore the log in yours, and he also dared any man without sin to be the first to cast a stone at the woman who was about to be killed for having been caught in the act of adultery. Do not judge others because there is plenty to judge in yourself, not so that you can put yourself own, but so that you can correct any continuous mistakes and destructive habits.

Just as one person might believe his friend will go to hell, another might believe that he will simply drop dead one day and that will be it – the movie’s over and everyone exits the theater. So many beliefs to critically consider, at least if you’re on a mission for the real Truth, not just the convenient one. All of us ordinary citizens pretend that we are so sure of our beliefs, but if each and every one of us would take a moment to try to understand each other’s views on deep, important subjects, we could hardly handle such a conversation for more than a few minutes without our egos getting in the way, starting trouble and leading to fights breaking out. Why is this? Because we have turned personal beliefs, spirituality, religion, and many subjects on humanity and life into delicate, offensive triggers for those who can’t wait for the next opportunity to express anger or feel offended and hurt once again. On our quest to become completely politically correct, we’ve come to live in fear of each other instead of respect. We can’t handle even friendly opposition to our opinions.

This is an issue which has been bothering me quite a bit lately, due to my specific set of circumstances. You see, I was born to two very loving, compassionate and authentic parents, and I already mentioned my mom for a moment. My father is also very religious, or spiritual, depending on your definition of those two words. My dad has described to me how he would wrap a pair of headphones around my mother’s pregnant belly, so that I was being influenced by the words of the Bible before I was ever born. My mother read Bible stories to me since a very young age, and I grew up going to church. I also have some very hazy childhood memories of attending synagogue services, as it can be said that my father has always felt a strong connection with the Jewish faith and people. To be honest, it’s difficult to pin him down to a specific religion, but one thing was always clear with my parents—The Bible is God’s book, and His Holy word. Interpret it as you wish, but it is the only book to interpret. According to some sources, there are approximately thirty thousand denominations within the Christian faith alone, not to mention many other religions and belief systems regarding the universe, ranging from Judaism to Islam, from Buddhism to Hinduism, from atheism to Satanism, from the beliefs of the Native American Navajos, to New Age spirituality. Who is right, if anyone at all? For someone who was born to atheist parents, or into a household in which religion or spirituality do not have much influence, and who came to the point of embracing a specific God or religion later on in life, the answer might be easy. If such a person has gotten to that point in life, then they believe they have found their truth, by walking their own path. No one has imposed their beliefs on this person. They searched and they found, they have experienced something. But is that the case for someone like me, who grew up on Bible stories? Can I truly believe what I believe just like that, without fear of being ignorant?

All the death, the horror, the injustice and the ugliness that dwells inside us as well as all around us is ignored. This enables us to go along our day, minding our own business, pretending everything is fine in the world. After all, we all have enough of our own problems to deal with. How could we possibly make time to listen to other people’s issues, and to care for them? How can we possibly take time to listen to, or read about, other people’s beliefs, and to ponder them, to consider them at the very least? It seems that a lot of religious folks are unfortunately too busy to do these things, although they sure are quick to cast judgement upon others who do not share the same label to define themselves. In fact, however, someone who truly follows the teachings of Christ, and loves his neighbors as himself, who judges none, who teaches love and compassion; someone who walks with the needy like Jesus or Buddha, someone who lends a helping hand to his brethren, that person is walking in the teachings of all enlightened beings since the beginning of time, regardless of his religion or denomination. Such a person simply has no religion because he has no need to impose any belief on anyone else. This person is full of love for himself and for the planet, as he sees the world as family to himself, as identical in nature.

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Living by the Light of Truth.

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All of us know what truth is, but do we really? The truth is often hard to accept, there’s no question about it. This is true because of another phrase which is also true: ignorance is bliss. This phrase itself is very superficial in its explanation however, and if we go just a bit deeper we will realize that the bliss referred to is not actual bliss but merely a fake and fabricated illusion of it. It is the illusory sense of euphoria felt by someone imagining big dreams blossoming in their own near future, completely unaware of an illness which will claim their life very soon and which is already growing inside their body, destined to eventually put an end to such dreams. The great feeling of attempting to live in a false future as we ignore the blessings which surround us in our current situation is definitely a curse as it hinders our progress and fills our time with idle daydreaming. Let’s not forget that any and every conception of the future is pure fantasy since it is only real in the thought realm within our own minds. Ignorance cannot be real bliss because, by definition, it includes not knowing. And we all know that we love to know things more than anything else. There is nothing that can be done without knowledge. After all, knowledge is power, right? So, can we be blissful without knowledge? Can we say that we are truly happy if our happiness is a product of not being fully aware of the full picture, of the true scope of what’s going on, of the true state of our lives? If knowledge is power, can we be blissful without any power at all? Without control of our minds and lives? 

Many people would respond affirmatively, but in reality, they would be completely crushed by a loss of even a minute amount of whatever power they currently hold over their own life and their perception of it. When one begins losing control over one’s thoughts and emotions to the point where one can no longer discern between reality and fantasy, one is diagnosed as a psychotic and possibly treated as a schizophrenic. Others, upon reaching old age, are afflicted by that horribly debilitating disease of Alzheimer’s. Not knowing is a curse. Ignorance is terrifying. Yet this sort of ignorant and completely carefree attitude towards life is promoted every day, all day, to everyone everywhere, as we are encouraged by others and by ourselves to lie to ourselves, to seek so-called happiness (which is most of the time just cheap pleasure, in the minds of the masses) over meaning, over a life purpose or a legacy to leave behind. The system which society is based upon is set up in such a way that it exploits the human need for meaning and purpose, our very will, the essential engine of the human spirit, reducing it to a tool within the physical body, redirected towards mere survival by a system of debt slavery, and although there are people behind this, we are the only ones to blame. “There is a path of joy and there is the path of pleasure. Pondering on them, the wise one chooses the path of joy; the fool takes the path of pleasure.” ~ Katha Upanishad 1:2:2

The more we choose to value petty pleasures over noble pursuits, the more ignorant we become to what is going on in our world and in our own lives, souls and minds as well as those of our fellow human beings. We are very quickly becoming detached and disconnected. The more we choose to live in blissful ignorance, without facing the terrible truths that keep us shackled, without searching for the deeper meaning which we know this life definitely has, without attempting to free ourselves of cultural and social conditioning, without coming to the realization that the truth is an imperative part of ourselves which cannot be neglected or ignored for long, the further away we will stray from truth, and we will surely become confused and corrupt. God is truth, everything that is true comes from God, and it has to be faced no matter what it may be. God dwells within us, so truth is what gives us life, it is our very spirit. We cannot exist without truth, and that is why we are on a never-ending quest for wisdom, because we feel a spark of this divine truth within us, we know that life is permeated by this truth, this magic, and we want to find out more about what it means. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”, said Jesus. Truth and life were synonymous to Jesus, and it is obvious that we cannot have life in the Father, in God the creator of the universe, the Almighty Power which maintains all else alive, which allows everything else to be for eternity, as long as we keep focusing our lives around illusions and ignoring reality.

Truth cannot be escaped. It must be embraced and used as the main tool in our quest to uncover deeper truth. The ocean of truth is vast, beyond our wildest dreams and imagination, it is unfathomable by the human mind and unseen to the naked eye. It cannot be described or perceived by the senses. Truth is intuition, and it is the entire basis for faith. There can be no faith without it. There can be no real progress without it. If intuition is not followed it will not dim its voice, but your mind will gradually become damaged, like a defective receiver which cannot pick up a signal for which there is no external interference – the problem is actually internal. There is no problem with the heavenly signal, yet the mind can be degraded in a number of ways, many of which we as a species practice religiously in modern times.

In the age of information, we have more access to truth than ever before, but we also have more access to lies. And because we have been conditioned to ignore the truth and to chase only pleasure, most people love to focus on lies which seem exciting and interesting, instead of on truth which compels them to make a change in their own lives or in the world as a whole, or both. We are afraid of change, just like we are afraid of the unknown. This fear is irrational and it needs to go. We need to use our resources now more than ever before, in order to uncover the divine truth hidden within all that exists. An unconditional and passionate love of truth is the key to unifying all people and evolving as a whole collective consciousness as we move into future times.“The Infinite is the source of joy. There is no joy in the finite. Ask to know the Infinite.” ~ Chandogya Upanishad 7.23

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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Analyze Your Actions.

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Analyze your actions. If you do what you do in order to impress others, then you are doing it based on an inferiority complex. As Eckhart Tolle stated in The Power of Now, once we realize who we really are we come to see that we are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. The Spirit which dwells within us is the same, so in essence we are all the same, no matter how different we might appear. If you have a craft which you are dedicated to, you might notice that ideas are often blocked by wondering too much about what people will think about what you create, whether people will like it, or whether it’s not as good as some other similar works which have been released by others. Comparing ourselves to others is like comparing the fish to the monkey and saying it is stupid because it cannot climb a tree. Not only does this prevent production of whatever it is we want to work on, but it also further intensifies the inferiority complex we are already suffering from. Many of us want to impress others because we want to fit in, we want to be part of a group. We are not satisfied with who we are, we do not love ourselves, and for this reason we look for satisfaction in other people.

A lot of people are horrified by the prospect of ever being alone, not realizing that solitude can be one of the biggest blessings we can receive, as long as we can see it in such a way. We are all born alone and we will die alone. We cannot take anyone with us when we die. So why do we waste what little time we have on this planet attempting to fit in and to impress others? Have you ever thought that maybe you have something completely unique which only you can share with the world? How can you let this inner light shine if you are always afraid to be your true self and stand out? An inferiority complex is something that can greatly impact a person’s entire life and render them unable to do anything they wish to do. People spend decades stuck in shame because they fail to live up to the expectations of their peers or parents. And most recently, in the new technological world of social media, everyone is trying to impress everyone else. The problem is that we now have a platform where people can shock others and be seen without possessing any real talent whatsoever. There’s even been several incidents of people broadcasting violence and death on Facebook Live. We have become so deranged that people are willing to completely throw away their integrity and dignity in order to get their fifteen minutes of internet fame. Also, why is it that people love to stand out by doing things that are wrong? Why don’t we see more news about good deeds being done, why are we not so impressed by someone giving food to a homeless person? We want to stand out but only at certain things which society makes it cool to stand out at. When it comes to integrity, to truth, to true friendship, to saying what needs to be said even though it might offend others, none of us want to stand out. We are afraid of being ridiculed and even persecuted, and this fear is somewhat based on reality.

The people who have tried to preach truth to the masses never got the respect and attention they deserved during their time on Earth. Still, they understood that the truth is more important than any individual life, including their own, and they were prepared to put themselves aside and to immerse themselves in this truth and its meaning. The truth became a part of them until the point when they could no longer help but to live and teach the truth. People are often bothered by truth since it goes against their vices, against their various ways of cheating and scamming, against their vulgar forms of entertainment, of to themselves, of keeping themselves distracted. What is essential is that if someone attempts to teach the truth, he or she should not only speak it, but should live it as well. They must lead by example so that they will not be labelled as hypocrites. Such a person has a greater chance of influencing others than someone who talks and talks but shows no positive results, no positive changes. Always be humble, and don’t exclude yourself from your teachings. Don’t pretend to be superior to anyone because you are now living in a healthier or more spiritual way. This only shows that you have yet to transcend your ego. Listen attentively to everyone you meet, don’t discard anyone as inferior. Everyone has something to teach us, and even an immature statement might make us reflect on why such a person thinks the way they do and might help us to understand and relate to them better.

We can learn from all situations in life, and we must strive to do so. We must have an open mind and heart and be willing to humble ourselves. We must be bold and exercise our willpower as we put our actions in God’s hands. We need to be courageous and speak the truth no matter what the consequences might be. We need to trust that whatever the outcome is, it will be for the better. We need not worry about whether people will like what we do, or whether they will accept us. If we do what we do with the right intention and we trust in the outcome, then whatever happens will be meant to happen. If we lose friends because of staying true then so be it. Remember Buddha’s words, “It is better to be alone that with those who hinder your progress.” Focus on progress, true progress, not materialistic and selfish progress which gives a false illusion of being better off than others, a false illusion of security. Instead, seek to progress in the way you interact with your family and friends, seek to progress in how honest and true you are to yourself, seek to progress in any art or passion you might have, pursue progress in attaining control over your mind and your emotions, progress in becoming happier and more fulfilled, in realizing that you are a manifestation of the Divine Spirit, and that you are not inferior to anyone, no matter what you may have done in the past or what situation you may find yourself in now. All that happens on Earth is a learning lesson which is meant to guide us closer to the truth. In this way, nothing is truly good or bad, and everything is necessary.

Our paths can be straightened out no matter how far along in our journey we are. God creates order out of chaos and opens doors where there were none before. All we need to do is analyze our actions, make the necessary changes, and then trust. Then we can be ourselves without fear, then we can serve the purpose we were meant to, to be a light and a reminder of our true spiritual heritage to all people we may encounter in our lives, whether by speech or by silent example. We are influencing people at all times, even in memory, even by actions which we performed many years ago. Don’t put yourself down because of past mistakes, this will only drain your energy, your will, the power which you absolutely need in order to make the necessary changes now. Instead of beating yourself up, accept that what is done is done, and the only thing left to focus on now is the present, living righteously in the present moment, during every present moment of our lives. If we remain conscious and aware at all times of the spirit we are, we will always realize how silly and pointless it is to try to impress others. We will lose the fear of speaking out, and we will become sincerely inspired speakers spreading God’s words and the divine way to the world. Amen.

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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Beyond the Veil of Maya: Reuniting with the Source.

awakening

Life will never cease to present us with experiences which challenge our entire conception of being, with tests which we must accomplish, with goals which are to be achieved, and with challenges to overcome. Such is the nature of life, and the person who cannot accept this and make the best of it is doomed to a life of misery. I thank God I no longer feel the resentment I felt when I believed that all was mine, when I boasted and bragged in a vain attempt to uplift my own broken ego. I am thankful that now I feel somewhat at peace without believing that everything is all sunshine and roses, so to speak. The dual nature of the very dimension in which we live in is the cause of life’s misfortunes, as well as the cause of life’s greatest blessings. Nowadays, many modern-day spiritual seekers equate maya, or illusion, one of the main concepts in the Hindu philosophical system, with negativity and all that is evil and deceitful. This is not the case however. Even the good which comes about is simply the effect of another cause, the effect of our karma. The law of cause and effect is in itself dual in nature, and our very nature as humans, not to mention that of everything else on the planet we are all so familiar with, is also dual.

We need only study the basic qualities of the atom, the very essence of everything physical. Maya is the illusion of duality, the illusion of good and evil. It is interesting to ponder whether the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that got Adam and Eve expelled from Eden might really be a representation of the knowledge, or consciousness rather, of duality which we now experience. Perhaps, prior to consuming the fruit of the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve were not ashamed of their naked genitals because physical sex as we now know it was not needed. When God kicked both Adam and Eve out of Paradise he cursed woman with the prophecy that she would bear children in extreme pain for eternity, which could mean that the need for survival, or the animal instinct of attraction and sex, began at that point. This might then also signify the beginning of the birth/death cycle as we know it. Perhaps Adam and Eve were not incarnated human beings like you and I, but rather the complete state of the primeval soul, with both its masculine and feminine qualities connected a whole, in oneness. More on this can be studied in Hermeticism, as one of the seven Hermetic principle is one of gender. Physically, we are either born male or female, and when these dual forces are connected in intercourse a new soul, a new field of spiritual consciousness, is summoned into a new human life, to balance and unite never-ending dual forces which strike a blow at every corer and which must be endured and overcome for a lifetime.

 We are filled with joy when a new life is received by its loving and excited family, and yet we mourn when our loved ones die and return to that place of infinite life, to the life source from which they originally came. We surely know that death must come, and that it is as natural as life. This life, along with the death that comes to us all at the end of it, is an illusion. It is an illusion in the sense that we are not confined to this physical reality, and in fact physical reality is subject to change with enough spiritual power which is derived from continuous contemplation and mindful meditation on the oneness of all things. None of this is intended to give one an impression that this life should be discarded and treated as a mere game, as a distraction before the real reality which is yet to come. This is not what is meant. On the contrary, this life was given to us so that we may reconnect with the Divine consciousness which was inherent to us before the curse of Eden. When we practice living in oneness with ourselves and the world around us, the positive side of life will begin to stand out to us because we will have begun developing a true sense of joy, of a joy that transcends both pleasure and pain.

This joy is omnipresent and is not confined to the laws of time and space since it is the joy of connection with the Divine Spirit, the source from which all laws come into existence. This joy, like nothing else, allows one to live happily in this life without anxious or desperate expectation of the next life or dimension he might reach, or of the next moment or day, month or year. During this life, we must not dismay at the troubles which confront us. It is essential to our will that we actually practice putting into practice what we know to be the right thing. How can we know what is the right thing? We all have been blessed with intuition, just as we all have instincts, animalistic instincts to be more specific. We all are born under the veil of illusion. If we allow life’s circumstances, whatever they may be, to make us forget our Divine spiritual nature then we will base our lives on ideas of separation. We will see the world as a battlefield and we will feel the need to strategize at all times, to formulate schemes to get ahead of the rest of them, of the apparent competition. We might be highly motivated and might be achieving things and acquiring tons of possessions, and we could be doing it in an honest way. Even then, the root of this desire to achieve and to accumulate might be the cause of a deeper desire to become better than the neighbors and just about everyone else in the world for that matter. When we have billions of people in the world who are approaching their every situation with this kind of mentality, then we only need a system which pushes further (organized) division upon the masses in order to ignite the flame of hatred and violence which is much needed in the plans of the orchestrators of such disasters as the biggest and bloodiest wars of human history. Unfortunately, we do have such a system in place, globally.

I hope we can all take a moment to realize that separation and division leads to conflict and bloodshed, to hatred which spans out over continents and centuries. This is why it is imperative that we all unite, regardless of differences. Although this world is dual in its nature, it was given to us so that we may exercise our perception of the oneness within ourselves as well as everything which surrounds us. When we practice this on a regular basis we become more peaceful, we become less concerned with proving to everyone that we are right, we become less attached to possessions and to positions, to titles and to monetary gain. When we see that even nature and the animals are all part of this oneness, we understand that there is a much deeper purpose and meaning to just about everything. When we start to appreciate the connections and the synchronicity which weaves everything together in the wonderful web of life we begin to see magical things happening, even if they are simple things. Perhaps these things have been happening all along and yet we have failed to notice, since we have been so caught up in the duality of things, in enjoying physical pleasure and avoiding all pain. We are unconsciously attached to both. They make up our daily preoccupations. Christ has advised us to worry about the present moment only.

Pain is often needed in order for purpose to flourish. Too many us of today are afraid of positive pain, and for this reason we give up on having a purpose. We find it much more comfortable to conform and to settle for things and situations that we know we are meant to rise above. Little do we know that by robbing ourselves of our purpose we rob ourselves of our joy, that unconditional joy which is an essential part of who we really are. When we ignore this joy, everything becomes monotonous, and not seeing the deeper purpose, the joy of the oneness behind all forms, we turn to petty physical pleasures for satisfaction, yet we never do find it. Similarly, every little thing which we do not like becomes a tragedy which we cannot bear.

There is no greater evidence for the oneness of everything than can be found in spiritual religion. People who claim a religious label yet do not follow their own faith in reality, and yet judge others who identify as followers of a different faith, claiming to know the ultimate truth. The esoteric wisdom of every religion points to the same thing, and ignorant fools are the ones who fight and kill in God’s name, no matter how they may call God or what religion they may claim. In truth, we are all partly fools and partly geniuses. We all possess God’s divine wisdom, but we are all susceptible to the bonds of material servitude, which will take hold of us if we are attracted to the illusions of pleasure, or if we run with passion from the jaws of pain. We must stand strong and endure whatever may come, and we must acknowledge that in this world, just as no man is purely good or purely bad, the same is true of every situation. The worst possible tragedy can not be seen as bad or unfortunate in the sense that one can always learn a lesson. When one learns a powerful lesson and it is internalized it has the power to transform one’s life forever. Such is the nature of life. Everything, pleasure and pain, comes and goes in cycles, and it is all meant to teach us something if we only open up to the teaching and we stop becoming attached to our emotions or our sense of entitlement. Jesus taught us not to make treasures on this earth, Buddha taught non-attachment to anything and that life is suffering, yet one must rise above it. The Tao is the Way past the duality represented in the yin and yang symbol, which also has a dot of the opposite color in both the black and white side, representing the good and bad which is apparently inherent in everything. The Vedanta teaches us that everything is duality, yet the Atman or the spirit, the spark of God within us is the oneness which encompasses the whole of life, the bright light that can help us break the perception of illusion which surrounds us. The Kabbalah teaches that God became divided from this world through an ignorance of His power, and that our physical plane is a manifestation of infinite desire. All useless and torturous desire can cease if we can only find our connection to our true desire, to the only true desire of all creation: to reunite with the Divine Source, the become one and to break free of the chains of duality which seem so real. After all, the very word ‘religion’ comes from the Latin ‘re-ligare’, to reunite.

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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Man’s Search for Meaning: The Space Between Stimulus and Response.

VIKTOR FRANKL (1905-1997)

One of the greatest victories we can achieve in life is the mental, emotional and spiritual victory over inevitable circumstances and the struggles they create. If someone like ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ author Viktor Frankl, who endured and overcame extreme tragedy and horror in his life, having lost most of his family in various concentration camps during World War II, can see the opportunity for growth that is dormant within pain and adversity, then none of us can really believe that we have any excuse to simply give up and allow life’s circumstances to get the best of us and bring us down. What I can understand to be the meaning of Frankl’s wonderful quote is that, between any given situation we face and our reaction to it, there is what he calls a ‘space’, a moment of introspection. When we enter this sacred space, it may feel as if time has stopped, as if we are suddenly struck by pure timeless realization. We are saved by a mere moment of contemplation, of profound meditation. Many of us have no idea what this space really means, but when one’s life is turned upside down and one is suddenly in a life or death situation from which there is no escape, cultivating this sacred space becomes essential, not only for survival, but for sanity’s sake as well. What this space signifies is nothing but the magical science of intuition. Through the wisdom of a second of silence we find that we are freed from unconscious bondage; we are no longer compelled to react based on raw animal instinct or habitual behavior patterns we have developed over time. Emotion is no longer our master, and we are now free to examine a situation with the light of pure consciousness, with the infallible wisdom of the spirit.

What we find is that this serene space, this intuition that we speak of, allows us to analyze any situation objectively from within the deepest and wisest part of our spirit, that part which is beyond all duality and contradiction and which is connected with God, with the oneness of it all, putting aside even the strongest of emotions and the subtlest yet most sinister sense of entitlement in order to perceive something as it truly is, to perceive it in all honesty and with painfully perfect purity. Purity is painful to those accustomed to the pursuit of pleasure, and at times our intuition will go against what our illusory self wants. It is imperative that we follow our deepest and noblest realizations, which will allow us to remain unshaken through the storms of life. Only then will we be prepared to react appropriately to any unpleasant situation which may arise, or to any confrontation against righteousness. We are not speaking of any superhuman ability,  but rather of the deepest part of our being as human beings. We can all learn to carefully control our reactions to external events, and in fact, our overall life satisfaction throughout our journey’s different stages and in general will depend a great deal upon this sole factor. Whether we are able to react calmly and sincerely to the obstacles of life, or whether we will be overcome and mercilessly consumed alive by emotions as destructive as lust and greed, being dragged around by our necks from here to there as unconscious slaves of our own uncontrolled passions.

We have all been guilty of trying to use our circumstances as excuses for why we have not gotten ahead in life and why we never will. We attempt to justify and normalize why we should and always will conform with living mediocre lives far from the true and meaningful works of art we know we were meant to mold our lives into. So many of us want to improve ourselves and the world as a whole, but a profound inability to take control of our own thoughts and actions unfortunately means that we probably will never give life to the creative projects floating around in our unique brains. The pressures of society make us feel that it we fail we will not only be forever labeled and rejected as failures, but that we will never be able to reintegrate into a mediocre life if we ever choose to return to it, having failed in the pursuit of the extraordinary life we always dreamed of. Mediocrity becomes  so comfortable because it allows us to go on reacting to things as we please, as we always have, without analyzing and correcting our own behavior, without taking responsibility for improving our lives. The real reason why we fail to get ahead, however, is because we are afraid of pain, we are terrified of struggle, and we lack purpose. The main point in Viktor Frankl’s life-changing book is this: We all need a purpose in order to move forward. Purpose can inspire one to persevere through pain of the worst kind, and even through persecution. 

Fear destroys ideas before they are even manifested outside of the thought realm. Too many people see adversity as something to be avoided at all costs, and they fear situations which will remind them of their weakness. They want to stay in mediocre situations that will not demand change of them. We all want to be heroes, but we often fail to see that usually the very same people who have been through and have eventually overcome nightmarish situations are the very same people who have also become some of the most successful and admirable people we know of, people who have made history and who have inspired millions simply by example. Viktor Frankl is someone who I personally admire very much and who I believe we can all learn much from. Again, Frankl lost pretty much his whole family who were executed in concentration camps by the Nazis. Viktor explains in his masterpiece book how he would often notice that whether or not a prisoner had hope of surviving the war or not greatly influenced how long they were able to endure cruel treatment and even live through disease.

We all need motivation in order to survive. We all have goals we want to achieve, projects we want to undertake. After some time living life it becomes clear that we will never be able to achieve these goals if we cannot stand adversity, if we break down in the face of the most insignificant inconvenience. In order to succeed we need to have a purpose. Once we have a purpose of which we are certain then it becomes much easier to avoid the distractions and to get right down to business. Acknowledging our obstacles, we accept what is. Only then can we plan out how we will overcome the obstacles. This gives us purpose, meaning. We can only find purpose if we stop following our own habitual ideas and take a moment to analyze each and every one of them, from the perspective of the spirit, from the serene space we are talking about.

None of us are perfect, and all of us know it. Yet, so many of us want to pretend that we are, even knowing that everyone else also knows we’re not. We want to keep up appearances so we never let anyone know about our creative projects, about the innovative experiences we are looking to have and create in this world. We have all become so consumed by the wanting to belong to the crowd that we ignore original ideas too often simply because they fall outside the box of social norms. Many of us know there are problems in our lives. Sometimes these problems might be dangerous and life-threatening, and imposed upon us by external forces such as in the case of Viktor Frankl and all people who were persecuted, imprisoned and murdered by Nazis and many other oppressive and corrupt groups of people throughout history. Other times our problems are not so life-threatening. In fact, since we lack wisdom due to never getting into that space of wisdom and intuition, we probably cannot even perceive that there is a problem at all, or we might know that there is a problem, but being so advanced in ignorance at this point, we succeed in completely banishing the troubling thought from our minds – for a while. Because of this reason, because the problems maybe appear minor, we choose to ignore them completely, since it is often much more comfortable to simply ignore problems than to work on them. After all, we have never had a glimpse of what our life could be like if we resolved our problems. 

We know that if we were to fix this specific problem our life would be better in this specific way. Yet we are comfortable with our dysfunction now that it has become a mental habit. We accept that we are mediocre, that life just sucks and there is not much magic to it, so we sit around and do nothing productive day in and day out, slowly adopting a cynical attitude towards life and the world, complaining that everything is a problem and nothing goes our way. Well, guess what? Your problems are the way you can get things to go your way if you simply choose to stop ignoring them. How do we learn math or science or any other subject in school? We are presented with problems which we must solve day after day until we become accustomed to solving such problems. We come to know that if we want to find the answer, a problem must first be solved. In life however, we refuse to see problems as growth opportunities, as obstacles we must rise above in order to strengthen our character – we fail to see that problem-solving gives life its meaning.

What we all need to do is to realize that we have within ourselves immense power, such as the power to survive a holocaust, to keep on living with purpose even after facing the death of all those we love, to forgive the killer of our child, like the video I saw the other day where a grieving mother hugs and forgives her child’s murderer in court. I personally don’t know if I would be able to do either of these things I have mentioned were I to act in the manner I have in the past, or were I to give in to my own habits and tendencies. The problem is not that human beings cannot do these things, they clearly can. The problem is that too many of us believe we can’t, and so we never try to become such people. As a limited human brain, I cannot do these things, but if I practice tuning into that space of intuition, then every step will become clear and I will overcome in the end. You see, these people like Viktor Frankl, or like the mother who forgave her son’s killer, have made an inner decision. Their determination didn’t overcome adversity and hatred because they were born different from us ordinary people, or because they have a purer spirit than ours. We are all children of God, whose infinite power dwells within us all as one pure and universal spirit. Our spirit cannot become more pure or impure. All that can change is the amount of negative and positive habits in our brains, which are the physical instruments which allow us to perceive reality, both physical and spiritual. 

This invincible and godly spirit is capable of rising above emotion, above thought, above comprehensible human logic, and it can make miracles happen. When we become painfully aware of this to the point that we cannot help but live in the holy manner the spirit requires of us, then we will be able to live not only with purpose, but with The Purpose. The highest and only Purpose, after all, is the divine will. Man makes his decisions freely, but all is directed to balance out in the end, all flows and transforms and God’s will is always achieved. Obstacles are God’s will and mercy. They are the consequences of our own evil actions, not as individuals but as humanity, for we are all surely one spirit, and God has embedded into these obstacles the opportunity for us to learn and thrive from them, to derive purpose in correcting these mistakes and finding unity behind duality, finding peace beyond the never-ending conflict on earth which we are all susceptible to, finding the space in which we can be with our spirit amidst all the trials and tribulations. 

Create a space. Meditate. Analyze your actions, evaluate your values. Correct your ways and see if your friends follow. If they don’t follow your path, then at least make sure they don’t try to lead you astray from it and if they do then stand firm in the spirit. Our culture has become one of mindless, unproductive desires being acted out in every selfish way imaginable with no regard for anyone else or for the environment which is being affected. We need to realize the importance of living with purpose again, of doing things with meaning. We need to take a moment to reflect on our thoughts and our emotions and to make sure we do not react by escaping from those we find unpleasant, but by facing them, by identifying the problem and by creating a solution. While creating said solution, we must stay present in the moment, and we must not make the process of creating a solution a burden. We must come to love the struggle, the urge to keep on improving; we must finally realize that life’s obstacles are its biggest blessings, since duality is only an illusion, and in the end, all is one, both the good and the bad. Once we realize this it will mean we have finally come to value purpose and meaning in the way we always should have.

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 32: Your Body Is Your Portable Home!

Since ancient times we’ve been attempting to answer the mysteries of existence, the reason for it all and what everything means. We’ve observed and taken notes, we’ve wrote our hypotheses down for our descendants, we’ve put all our accumulated information, our knowledge, into books. Some of the information simply can’t be passed down in books, although most of it has. Many ideas are passed down, generation after generation, through the people who embody them, rather than on any piece of text. Most of us have many theories of reality, yet we’re all part of reality, we’re interwoven with it. Inseparable as we are from nature, from reality as we know it, we can’t examine it fully. We are what we eat, who we spend our time with, what we watch and hear and read, we are all of this. Beyond this we are something simple and infinite, but for the purposes of living here on this planet, during this incarnation, we basically are whatever we choose to absorb. We are the product of what we’ve chosen to consume, physically and mentally. We don’t know the details of what we eat, of what we drink. We know alcohol and cigarettes are slowly killing us, and that death might come severely and painfully, through disease. When I think back to the times when I still consumed both of these drugs, I know that I definitely didn’t have the same appreciation for life as I do now. I was an angry, rebellious teenager finding my way in the world. My reputation was important to me, and I had built it around being daring and down to do whatever, crazy. I was not truly thinking about myself, or about the people who love me, about what was best for me and the ways in which things like smoking could affect me and cause a lot of suffering to the most important people in my life down the road. My thinking was about the label that defined me, about who I thought I was, an aspiring rapper, cooler and crazier than any other. The arrogance which developed within me as I believed myself to be this character led to some really unfortunate situations. Thankfully I changed my ways before it had to come to something fatal, and I feel much more peaceful now that I’ve left that image and that whole lifestyle behind. We gain nothing from acting tough, we only close ourselves off from others, we reflect the hate and the indifference of the world, everything which is corrupting civilization. Since we can’t connect with ourselves or with others, we smoke our lives away, and we pick up a drink for the same reason, to socialize better, to lower our inhibitions. Why are we so afraid to speak our minds in the first place? Why do we need a stimulant every time we want to have a get-together with friends? Could it be that we can’t face them while sober, or that we can’t stand ourselves around them, or that we can’t stand the mere fact of being alive in this world and sharing an experience with a few other billion people? Things are too crazy to contemplate, so we smoke on, as we talk about the weather and complain about the calls during our 15-minute break? Are we all so unsatisfied that it’s too depressing to talk about what’s really on our minds? Is that why we’d rather chill with a cigarette instead, completely conscious of its contribution to our possible early death? Now that I understand how important life is, I understand that I need to take better care of my body. One’s body should never be neglected. If a so-called spiritual person neglects his body and calls it right then he is not honoring the fact, he is not appreciative of the fact, that he has a body, in order to live in this world. A home we can take with us wherever we go. If we can’t accept the now, this simple moment of just being alive, in this body, in this planet, if we can’t appreciate this and are trying to kill ourselves off in order to reach heaven or nirvana, then we have failed on our journey in the first place. We have disrespected a wonderful tool which we possess, yet without knowing who has given it to us, our body. I wonder if my lungs will have enough time to heal through the years, especially if I continue blazing, or has my previous cigarette addiction caused permanent damage? Only God knows, all I can do is hope. Time and time again, we are reminded of our inferiority, our seemingly hopeless state, lost with no clue where to go. Life feels like that sometimes, we all go through it. What happens is that we take our blessings for granted. We want things to be different in such and such way, we want to get this, or we want to avoid that. We want to control life, yet we put in no work in order to be able to do so, and even if we did it would not guarantee us that things would go according to our plans. Life is unpredictable, and it is this uncertainty which keeps us moving forward. We need to work on our attitudes in order to be ready to whether whatever storm comes our way, yet this doesn’t mean we should stop reflecting on our lives and making right decisions. We are responsible for clearing all the garbage we’ve already stored within, out of our minds. No one else will do it for us, and as long as we have so much trash in our minds, controlling us subconsciously, it will be extremely difficult for us to find the wisdom and mental clarity which are essential to living life right. None of us know anything, and life is better when we live it this way. We all specialize in one subject and we walk around as if we were the most intellectual people on the planet, we want to spread the message, to speak about what we are, the label we now identify with. What we need to do is to learn now about different ideas, to compare them to what we have learned on our own journey, to search for deeper understanding, both of similarities as well as differences. When we ignore one side of life, out of fear or aversion, we are living in ignorance. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 33.

~ Rebel Spirit

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 27: Great Albums, Full Albums vs. Single Songs.

I posted a summary, not really a review, more of just a personal opinion, today about Bob Marley and The Wailers’ album ‘African Herbsman.’ A classic that isn’t very well-known yet definitely deserves greater recognition. ‘m gonna start posting more music that I really enjoy on here, since I find that often the people I meet aren’t familiar with some of the greatest music in an artist’s catalogue. Most only know the popular tracks, but that’s only a few tracks, selected from various albums. The popular songs only reflect the catchiest or most radio-friendly songs on any album, but that isn’t always what makes a song great. Apart from that, I’ve noticed that most times listening to an album in its entirety provides an optimal musical experience, every song further shaping the direction in which the album is going. It becomes a journey in a way, since music allows you to simply let go and let the vibes take you away, no matter where you’re at at the moment. There have been a few albums that have become personal classics for me over the years, some being classics in general, such as ‘Sgt. Pepper’s.’ My list extends throughout most genres, and I love to let my library just play on shuffle sometimes as well, delivering whatever I’m meant to hear, becoming absorbed in the different moods each song invokes. My favorite bands overall are Pink Floyd, then The Beatles, followed by Led Zepplin, and I also have to include Bob Marley and The Wailers here. When it comes to rap 2Pac has always been the most inspiring to me, and Eminem and Nas are some of the best after Pac. Classic rock is amazing to me, hence my three top bands. As far as guitar solos go, I have to say that ‘Stairway to Heaven’ takes the top spot for me, closely followed, or maybe even tied to, Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb.’ The way each song slowly leads up to its respectivs electric guitar solo is absolutely perfect in both instances, producing goosebumps whenever I close my eyes and just vibe. Apart from crazy intense electric guitar, I find acoustic music to be extremely melodic and relaxing. Some of Led Zep’s songs, such as ‘Going to California’ and ‘The Rain Song’ portray this beautifully, or The Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown). When it comes to Pink Floyd, just like Zeppelin, they have amazing songs on most of their albums, and although ‘Comfortably Numb’ is my favorite Floyd song, the album that I consider the best, the one that flows so effortlessly from start to finish, never losing the feeling, laced with various electric guitar riffs from the master, David Gilmour, is ‘The Division Bell’ which Pink Floyd released in 1994, the same year I was born. Pink Floyd’s music is generally very spaced out, and my interest in that kind of music orignally developed a long time ago when I first began tripping, and I’ grategul for that, since now I listen to classic rock whether I’m sober, stoned or tripping, and it always does the trick. The main reason why I had such a great interest in listening to music while I was tripping was that I had previously had such ecstatic and even somewhat psychedelic experiences with weed when I first started smoking, a more than mellow mood vibrating in my ears from the soft reggae melodies if The Wailers. My all time favorite song by them has always been ‘Is This Love’, and now that I dedicated it to my wife it just means that much more to me. That Bob was always at the peak of the greatest relaxation is something that really shows in his music, it transmits that divine peace and harmony which he always preached whenever possible. On the rap side, I honestly have to say I’ve been listening less now that I’ve started analyzing and attempting to simplify my life, and to minimize some of the negative influences to my life. However, hip-hop has played, and always will play I believe, an important role in my life, being a rapper myself. Some records truly are classics, and it can’t be denied. Usually these classics come from earlier times when rappers sometimes attempted to really include knowledge, or sometimes even wisdom, in their lyrics. Some don’t have much of either, yet are classics regarless due to the amazing flow or lyrical skill of the artist. Such is the case with Eminem’s music for me, my favorite album of his being ‘The Marshall Mathers LP.’ Eminem packs a punch with every rhymescheme, consistently rhyming multiple syllables in a clever word salad that no rapper could top. Unfortunately he doesn’t use his talent to promote much positivity, although we know Marshall Mathers is a pretty troubled dude. Another thing that makes his music great is that Slim Shady doesn’t shy away from expressing his troubles in his music, often probably exaggerating them, but he puts them there regardless, and the raw energy is evident apart from the savage lyricism. A different rap style which is equally great can be heard in Nas’ early breakthrough ‘Illmatic.’ Not much about emotions like the mentioned Eminem album, but a perfect story-telling flow over boom bap rap beats with great samples to complete the jam. ‘Illmatic’ has become a classic within hip-hop, and with good reason. Another amazing and refreshing album by nas is actually not one of his earliest ones, but a rather recent one, ‘Life is Good’. Nas has a lot of timeless albums though, such as ‘God’s Son’ and his collaboration album with Damian Marley, ‘Distant Relatives’, in which hip-hop and reggae are ingeniously blended to render a masterpiece. I haven’t mentioned many female musicians, I might have to write about them at another time. My favorites though are Lana Del Rey, Norah Jones and Sade. Norah- album ‘Come Away With Me’ has always been one of my favorite album, every song is beautifully written and recorded, and the total outcome is nothing short of a classic. Some of the most relaxing music I’ve ever heard for sure.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 28.

~ Rebel Spirit