Featured

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 76: Mistakes Are For Us to Learn From.

Life is the opposite of death, yet it includes it. The nighttime forms part of the day’s 24 hours, yet is the opposite of daytime. The best feeling of satisfaction contains the experience of all the suffering which preceded it, of all the past longing for it, without which it wouldn’t be half as profound or fulfilling. Every wonderful transformation would be impossible if the person who decided to change had never realized they had to, if they had never hit rock bottom before. Perhaps they finally arrived at that realization after enduring much trouble, after walking a very problematic road for a very long time. Every lesson ever learned was learned from a mistake, whether our own or another’s. We must look at our mistakes and understand their seriousness, yet we must not become disheartened, and discouraged from moving on. We must never beat ourselves up or become desperate for change. Complete change cannot happen just now, but it will surely happen at the right time, if we start to live differently now. If we are desperate, if we are feeling down about ourselves because we haven’t been able to change, then it will be more likely that we will slip into old patterns of behavior, into vices and addictions, or that we will search for constant distractions from our lack of self-esteem, from our regret for what we’ve done. There is no need for desperation for someone who understands that there is a reason for everything, and that everything passes, that everything can change for the better or for the worse, depending on how we live. We must keep calm, even when the times are tough, especially when times are tough, and we must understand, without a doubt, that the hardships of life are necessary so that we may change. We all make mistakes, not excluding a single person, and the mistakes we make affect not only us, but others as well. We think this is unfair, since the only way it would be fair is if we were all one person, paying for our own mistakes. What we don’t realize is that this is actually the case, that we are all one being, in essence. We should never feel like we are paying for other’s mistakes, or that life is ultimately unfair just because the evil actions of others have caused us harm. What is the use of spirituality, of a belief in a spiritual reality that transcends this physical one, of God within, if we become desperately preoccupied and anxious when things don’t go as we planned them, or if we are willing to hurt others in order to preserve our own well-being during desperate times of chaos? Don’t stress or worry, because everything comes at its time, to help us learn what we need to learn in this exact moment, and so the truth is that nothing can really harm us in the grand scheme of things. If we are suffering now then it is because we must suffer at this time. Is this unfair? Doesn’t everyone suffer or experience loss at some point during their lifetime? Don’t be angry at the transgressor, at the one who has wronged you, since he is God’s messenger to you. Thank him, be thankful for your problems, forgive him. Look within yourself, and ask yourself what you can learn from this new situation you find yourself in now. We may not like the learning process, but it is indeed necessary. Some would say that this philosophy is evil, that it places the blame on people who are born poor or disadvantaged, or sick, but is it better to assume that they were born into such a life simply for no reason at all, just because life is indifferent to them, or because some evil creator decided they should be born into pain? This is hardly a better view of life. None of us know why life exists, and we don’t know why we have free will, but the best attitude we can have is one of humility, one of being students, constantly learning from life, observing and seeking to understand without judgment, without thinking that life in itself is wrong. Is it likely that life was created by a sadistic spirit for the sole purpose of watching us suffer and kill each other just for fun? If our lives are nothing more than a cruel joke, entertainment for some cosmic terrorist somewhere out there, then what would be the point of even going on living? If life was completely random and evil, then how can there be such things as true, unconditional love? How can there be the love of a mother for her child, the willingness to sacrifice oneself for another? How can there be so much laughter and pleasure in this world if it is all evil? It cannot be evil, it simply cannot be all for nothing. Life is a constant war between good and evil, the world itself is flawed, but for some reason fate has dictated that we must live in this planet, at this time during which we are alive. Fate? Didn’t I say we have free will? Our free will is God’s command, it is intertwined with destiny and fate. This is why it is so important that we live righteous lives, because we will all suffer from our ignorant and evil actions. We cannot judge something we cannot understand, such as the universe, or God. I heard a Nina Simone song today, it came on while I listened to my Spotify library on shuffle, and it reminded me that there’s a time for everything under the sun. There’s a time to laugh and a time to mourn. Just because we don’t understand, because we don’t see the purpose in something, maybe in something like suffering, doesn’t mean there is none. Such a thing as a meaningless moment or an insignificant second is impossible. Everything is meant to be, there’s nothing that comes about as a mistake. We wish things were not as they are, we hope and we pray, but things are as they are. It is in the nature of everything to be as it is, and the more we wish things weren’t what they are, the more separated we become from them. If instead we practice gratitude, if we can remain calm in the face of adversity, this is a sign of true faith, this is sure to set us free from bondage, by showing us the true union which connects us to all that exists. What is there to fear if we see everything as part of God’s plan? Nowadays this is not a popular idea. How can evil be God’s plan? We all have free will, so let’s stop blaming God. Let’s assume responsibility for the life we have been given, and positive change is sure to come, both in our individual lives and in the world as a whole. 

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 77.

~ Rebel Spirit

Featured

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 74: “The Trouble Is You Think You Have Time.”

Jack Kornfield said that “the trouble is you think you have time.” We all think we have enough time. We know that there are important things which have never been said up to this point, things which probably should have been done a long time ago. We know that we have to set things straight when it comes to a certain person or situation, that we have to confess the truth to them, but we are sure that doing so will result in a loss of pleasure to us, so we choose to hold on to a comfortable lie instead. Often times when we hurt others, we immediately realize, we come to know that we are in the wrong, yet we create the dumbest excuse to go on feeling offended and entitled, instead of owning up to our mistakes and apologizing. We are too scared to be vulnerable, too afraid of our own feelings to ever be able to analyze them properly, let alone those of others. We cannot apologize sincerely since we see it as a sign of weakness, of admitting that we are wrong, and therefore inferior somehow to the other person. Too many of us have killed our own inner child. We are afraid to live because we are scared to death of being less, being seen as less, of being seen as weak in this hostile world, of opening up to others and forming true connections. We have become so immersed in one thing or one kind of lifestyle, on our numerous distractions from our problems, that we fail to see the blessings all around us, and we fail to take action when it comes to things we know we should do or not do, things which we ignore for a while hoping they will go away. Soon enough we realize this approach just doesn’t work. Nothing ever goes away, we simply cannot run from ourselves, from the things that still haunt us, from the inner issues we need to resolve, as well as all the external ones. Owning up to his or her own mistakes is really a nightmare to someone who has adopted a victim mentality towards life and who has created the habit of complaining about the smallest misfortune, but to one who is connected to the deeper truths of life and what it means to be alive, this shouldn’t be a problem. When we are honest with ourselves and others, but especially with ourselves, about where we are going wrong, where we are doing the right thing and where we’re not, then we are truly starting our journey into self-developing. Nevertheless, it is only the start. Sometimes we can be brutally honest with ourselves about our shortcomings and errors, but due to our negative perspective which is so attached to physical reality we cannot make the necessary changes in order to truly resolve these issues. We let them linger on in our lives, affecting every new relationship or project, affecting all the thoughts that run through our minds every single day. We do not know how to tackle them, but since we think we have time, we do not even try, we just look the other way, we look for all kinds of distractions, hoping that we will eventually forget about the deepest truths of our lives. We cannot live in this way, fueled by ignorance and fear. We must understand and live by the fact that everything is cyclical and recurring, that there are patterns woven throughout the webs of history which connect the dots of human interaction in the most magical ways, completely unknown to our limited perceptions, and that the time to act is now, that we were born where and when we born to do things, to make our lives worth living and to fill them with meaning. We understand that all pain and pleasure will pass, and this is a constant reminder to us not to fall into desperation. Better days are ahead, but for now, there is simply no time to waste when it comes to the truly important things. Tell your mom and dad you love them today, make plans to spend more time with your siblings or with your friends you haven’t seen in a while. Get outside and meet new people, experience new cultures, don’t just spend the day looking at the same old screen inside the same stuffy room. Live! Get up and live! Lively yourself up, or “lively up yourself!” As the man Bob Marley would say. The world is devoid of honesty nowadays. We have all become addicted to our way of living and are afraid to give it up. We have adopted mainstream society’s shallow values, and if we haven’t, then at least we have learned how to pretend that we have. We have hardened our hearts and become cold to the love which is present within us all and which connects us on a spiritual level, on the deepest level of connection, if we would only choose to stop for a moment and pay attention to the now. Stop seeing others as separate from yourself and simply say what needs to be said. Stop seeing the future as a separate reality in which you will play a part. Your life could end at any second. Understand that the time to do what must be done is now. Do what you must do, and you will feel much better after! You will feel more confident for having spoken your mind, you will feel like a more open person, you will receive more respect and will be able to communicate clearly with the world. You will feel accomplished, and will be ready to take on an even more challenging task. You will be building your stamina and strength, your self-control and willpower. Don’t waste time. Don’t think that you will be able to do something only after you have done something else or become someone better. The time to take action is now. There will never be another time, since every moment is really Now. Tomorrow might never come and we might not wake from our dreams tonight. Life is uncertain, and things seem to happen randomly, but everything has deep significance. Have you thought about where you stand in this wonderful world, in the grand scheme of things, about who you are in this life? If not, then the time to start pondering these questions is now!

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 75.

~ Rebel Spirit

Featured

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 71: Humility and Balance in Life and Spirituality.

What is addiction and what is recreation? Where is the line between harmless fun and reckless behavior? Are some addictions worse than others, and if one doesn’t mind being addicted, then is it a problem? Life is about balance, as I’m sure we’ve all heard or perhaps realized for ourselves, and Buddha suggested we follow the Middle Way. But what is too much of a good thing? Is there such a thing? What is not enough evil? Wouldn’t we all be free to finally feel at peace if all evil were eradicated? Would we though? Is duality necessary? If it is, why should it be so? Unfortunately I don’t have all the answers, but I am willing to ask them, and I’m sure some good has to come of it. Some say we must have faith, and I agree, but faith in who or what? If evil is a part of life then, is this God’s perfect plan? Is there something wrong with it, or is it just that we are not at a level from which we can see what it all means, why it’s all necessary? Is life all a game, or is it extremely serious? At times we feel one way, at times we feel another. How can we find a balance between the two, and should we even attempt it? Some might blame God for having created such an evil world, but they don’t realize that their own use of their ability to express themselves is only possible because of their existence in the world. Evil is within us, just as it is outside of us, and we all have the potential to treat others in horrible ways in which we would never want to be treated ourselves. Should we despise our own existence and kill ourselves because we were born imperfect? Doesn’t it make more sense to try to understand why we were born this way? There must be some reason for it. Isn’t there any inspiration to be found in our lifelong struggle against our own evil, in persevering towards achieving a goal, towards setting our life straight, or a certain area of our life, and coming out successful in the end? What if there is a much deeper meaning to life than just seeking pleasure? Could this be the reason why some of the most damaging things in life, for human beings, are also the most pleasurable? Maybe the bitter aftertaste that follows certain forms of pleasure is there to help us, to guide us so that we may search for the truth, so that we don’t spend a lifetime chasing after alcohol, or drugs, or sex, or money. Some things are not evil in themselves. Sex is holy if it is treated with respect and used in its proper context, but it has been degraded to such an extent, that it is now one of the easiest ways to get lost in the petty search for pleasure. What turns good into evil, holy into blasphemous? A lack of balance does. Now, regarding the doubt as to whether this is God’s plan, whether he meant, if he did create the universe, to have evil be a part of life, I can’t say that I know, or that I’ve looked deeply into the subject. However, in the Bible, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden fruit before the snake had even appeared to them. If the forbidden fruit was what made them be aware of good and evil, being the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then how could they have committed evil deeds, such as disobeying God, before having eaten from the tree? Eating from the tree was an act of disobedience, but if they were created perfect, then why did they fall for the snake’s dirty trick? And where did the evil snake even come from anyway? If God made everything good, then how could an evil snake, a lying snake, come to speak to Adam and Eve, to tempt them into doing something wrong? Perhaps God meant for there to be temptation in this physical world, maybe so that we might learn to overcome it. Would there be any meaning in an action movie without a bad guy for the hero to take on? If there isn’t a bad guy then there’s some sort of conflict to resolve. I’m not saying that life is a Hollywood film, but life is sort of like a movie except that there is no guaranteed happy ending. Life depends on our choices, and even if some think that our fate is sealed, that history is already written and set in stone, it sure doesn’t feel that way. If we can’t feel like it is that way, then at least we should try to make our lives meaningful, even if it’s just for us. Take a second to sit back, relax, meditate, leave the stress behind just for a moment. Analyze every aspect of your life, and you are sure to find much meaning. Some you have always been aware of, some you have neglected for a long time and left to the side, and some might come in the form of a sudden, new realization, a surprising epiphany. Once you think about what is important in your life, about what is meaningful, you will see that, in order to progress in each and every one of these things, you will need to work at being much more balanced, and at having more self-control in general. This practice of cultivating self-control is actually the first step into a spiritual way of living. Self-control means that the real Self, the only Self, is controlling the illusory self, the physical and mental self, the physical and mental projections which are perceived by my mind in order to create an identity of who I am, along with the name given to me by my parents at birth. The more self-control we practice, the more we will live a balanced and healthy life, and the clearer we will think. We can’t have all the answers in life, but we shouldn’t become cynical because of the world’s apparently hostile nature. We should be humble, and we should seek to understand, for we are very small beings in a much, much greater universe, more meaningful than any of us could ever imagine.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 72.

~ Rebel Spirit

Featured

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 61: Let Go of What You’re Attached To.

Today’s my second day in a row without bud. In case you didn’t know, I’m a daily toker, I have been for many years now. In the past few years I’ve started experimenting with setting goals for myself, daily goals as well as long-term goals. One example is my goal with alcohol. Back in the days I used to drink way too much, and it was causing problems in my life, so I finally decided that something needed to be done. I didn’t want to stop, and every day it was so easy to just walk on over to the corner store and grab a six pack, especially in the infernal Honduras heat as we getting home from work, no longer in the comfort of the air conditioning. In the midst of a painful hangover, since they got worse and worse over the years, I’d always swear I’d never drink again. I had no need for it, I would say, I felt guilty or ashamed about possibly, very likely, having acted like an idiot the night before, and I didn’t want the situation to repeat itself. No more drinking, I’ll be a new man. These were my thoughts, but once the hangover went away, the cravings always came back. The problem is drinking to excess, but why not just have a beer or two? That refreshing cold taste, that initial euphoria and overall relaxed feeling, they were too nice to pass up, especially since everyone I know from work loves to drink. I don’t know many other people here, but wherever we find ourselves these days, usually most people love to drink anyway. It’s a socially acceptable destructive habit. I didn’t pay much attention to all my promises to stop drinking, but over time I did a lot of reflection, along with some powerful psychedelic trips which really showed me the desperate situation I was in, and so I built up the courage to get started on an abstinence goal. I started out with just five days, and I promised my wife Maria that I would stick to the five days no matter how I felt. She’s not a drinker at all, so she’s always been such great support and motivation for me on this particular goal, although she always supports me with all of the goals I set for myself. Sure enough, when I talked about forgetting the goal and having a beer she was there to remind me that I was the one who set the goal in the first place because I really thought I needed it, that I had been the one who asked her to support me with it even if I tried to back down, and that it would only be five days anyway, that I was strong enough to succeed. I did succeed, I didn’t drink for five days. Then I drank again, but this time I was ready, after a week or two of drinking, to do a ten day goal. I did it, and although I always did drink after the goal was over, I felt like each time I completed a goal, each time I stuck to the plan and practiced self-control instead of just giving in to temptation, I was getting a bit closer to freedom, I was leaving the need for alcohol behind. I no longer partied at this point, so I would just drink at home, waking up to a complete mess the next day. This went away, and the longer my no-drinking goal was, the longer I was able to spend uninterrupted peace of mind. My mind was much clearer, I didn’t have such negative thoughts floating around in my head, I felt less pains all throughout my body, less stomach problems, and I got to save up not only the money I used to spend on beers, but also the money I’d spend on all the dumb shit I’d buy after drinking beers. Fast forward to today, I’m three days away from reaching a hundred days, although the goal is two hundred. I previously completed a goal of a hundred days without drinking, it was my last goal. I drink when it ended, yes, but this time much more moderately than I used to. Now, halfway through my two hundred day goal, I honestly have days when I really feel like I could go on for the rest of my life without drinking, like I really don’t need to drink ever again, it just adds nothing to my life anymore. I really hope this mentality persists when I finish this goal, but I’ll probably do a bit of drinking before I start with the next goal. The good thing is that at least my attitude towards alcohol has drastically changed due to these experiments. As for the bud, which is what I started out by talking about, it’s a bit of a different story. Although smoking anything is harmful to the lungs in one way or another, weed is not really much of a problem, as far as cancer and things like that go. Either way though, I recently started using a vaporizer, but the real reason for me setting a goal of abstinence from cannabis for a while is due to my attitude towards it. Unlike alcohol, weed isn’t really a substance which I’m really looking to eventually remove from my life for good. On the contrary, I love bud and will probably use it until I grow old. The problem is not the weed, the problem is my attachment. It’s hard to admit at times, since we want to continue using or doing whatever we are attached to, but any kind of attachment is not healthy for us, and that truth cannot be escaped. Whether it’s weed, or money, or food, or whatever it is, if we are constantly in need of it and we don’t feel okay without it then we are attached. My goal with the bud is to cut down quite drastically for now, from blazing every day, to blazing only 15 days of each month, so basically half the month. This is the first month that I’m doing this experiment, and I blazed up until the tenth day of the month. I stopped on the eleventh and today, but when it gets to 12am I’ll blaze, and I can’t wait, only about fourteen minutes more until the new day. This weekend is directly leading up to my anniversary with Maria, our two year marriage anniversary, so we have to blaze this weekend for sure, and on Monday, which is the actual day. This will mean I’ll have gotten stoned for thirteen days of the month, leaving only two days for me to blaze, and about 15 days left of the month. I’m not looking forward to those five-day intervals without blazing, but the time has come to begin with this goal which I’ve been thinking of starting for quite a while. I already promised Maria anyway, and I can’t break that promise I made to her, so it helps to keep me accountable.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 62.

~ Rebel Spirit

Featured

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

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

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

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

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

Life and Death are Two Sides of the Same Coin.

23519318_1940766506164652_2233896215828303941_n

“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 ~

****