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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

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 66: Life Is A Learning Process.

Life is a constant learning process. The ups and downs, trials and tribulations, the highs and lows that make up our lives, they can all be looked at and appreciated, if we can achieve such a state of mind, as the necessary pieces of the puzzle which makes us who we are. Life is about putting all the pieces together, about connecting all the dots in the right order, in order to see the bigger picture eventually. Life is really about trial and error, although we can learn beforehand about the things we consciously choose to become involved in. Some things just happen though, or at least we have no clue why they’re happening. Sometimes we have no way to prepare for such a situation, and in these cases learning happens on the spot. We have no choice but to learn. In reality, we learn from everything we experience, consciously and subconsciously, we are always learning, always changing into something new. We are never the same person, every passing second changes us in a profound way, even if we don’t experience the change in progress. Small changes that take a second give way to big changes that happen throughout a lifetime. Pain comes and passes, we curse and we cry, joy comes and we rejoice, but we cry when it leaves. We are relieved when the pain passes, and we appreciate life a little more, but for how long? Is it only a temporary feeling? Too often this is the case. We often overlook all the blessings in our lives by being too caught up in complaining. By focusing on the negative aspect of everything, we fail to be thankful for, or to even acknowledge, all the wonderful things in our lives, and we also fail to see how any positive result could come from the things that seem like total tragedies to us. The biggest problems in our lives are the ones that we could learn the most from, but too many of us are too afraid to do this, and we are also too afraid to even acknowledge our own cowardice. If we could dive deep into our despair, if we could stare sorrow in the face and smile at it, if we could master our emotions and all the thoughts that run daily through our minds, we could probably do a lot more learning, and a lot less complaining than we currently do. We could dig for gold in our problems if only we changed our attitude. We could trace the cause of every problem we face, and we would see that it starts with us, and that a change must therefore start with us as well, with nobody else. If we refuse to learn, if we run from distraction to distraction, hoping to avoid looking at the truth of our lives, we still will not be able to avoid learning completely. We can choose not to learn now, by discernment, but we will surely learn our lesson later, only we will have to learn it the hard way, probably not under very pleasurable circumstances. Life has a way of catching up to us, and there’s no escape from fate. We have free will to create our lives, but if we act out of ignorance, if we don’t know what knowledge even means, then are we really making conscious decisions, are we really free men and women? We talk way too much, and we all think we have the answer, we are all self-righteous in some way, and I’m not excluding myself. We all have to fight a constant battle, one that’s even more important, more intense, than any battle against external forces. We are all facing an inner battle against demonic forces, evils such as lust, greed, hate, jealousy, ambition beyond any reason. These are all things that are bound to lead to catastrophe if they are not placed under the power of the Spirit, or at least under the power of reason or common sense, which might not be enough. If we are not aware of this, then how can we even think of starting to learn about how to be free? How can we try to learn to live life if we think it is meaningless, if we think that nothing really matters and that life is just a constant quest for the most pleasurable feeling, for the highest high or the craziest thrill? We must do away with these ignorant notions. Life is meaningful beyond human comprehension, and we can learn something from everything. We can learn from good and from evil, we can learn from the kind and we can learn from the wicked, we can learn what is right and what is not right, we can learn from our parents, we can learn from priests or from politicians, we can learn from books or from crooks. Who we learn from often plays a big role in who we become in life, but the wisest teacher of them all is life itself. No matter who we choose to learn from in life, be it professionally or just in general, about life, no one can teach us like life can. Life is the master of life, it knows all there is to know about it, because it is life itself. The more we understand the deep significance of life, the more we try to connect with it, to really live and to feel it, to feel fully alive, the easier it becomes to understand life, to understand how to incorporate everything, the good and the bad, into our lives, how to keep calm and continue to move forward, how to trust in God, in life, and how to leave worry behind. We were not meant to live in fear or worry, so we must focus on living our lives as best as possible and on learning the most we can from every day we are blessed to live through. The first step is to humble ourselves and to accept that we don’t know much at all, that we are the humble students of life from now on.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 67.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 55: The Lessons You’ve Taught Me.

You make me see that things are not always as they seem, you make me appreciate the power of love, something I never believe in before. You taught me compassion, communion, you helped me to see that so much of my confusion was only a choice. You made me realize that I had a choice, to be free or to keep on struggling in my mental prison, to let go and to allow myself to be loved, to let go of the past that was keeping me down, or to keep on holding on to an illusion of myself. I knew when I met you, that life was providing me with an opportunity which I couldn’t refuse, that God was granting me with a precious gift, one that I couldn’t completely understand at the time, but which I knew, without a doubt, came as a form of divine grace. Such love doesn’t just come unexpected, to someone who doesn’t even believe in the very idea of it. Perhaps deep within I always believed and wanted it, perhaps it was something which was attracted by an intense yet hidden desire. I always wanted a true companion, a woman to share my thoughts with, my ideas on life, to reflect and to build together, to help each other move along through the struggles of life, to listen to her and do support her. I do remember wanting that long ago, my parents were always an amazing example of this for me. As I began to grow, to date, I forgot about this idea, about love and romance, and I saw that people just wanted to party, both guys and girls wanted sex with no commitment. Unconsciously I developed a cynical view of life, since everything seemed so superficial, interactions between people I knew seemed so meaningless, so I decided to join the fun, to allow myself to become caught up in the drama, in the highs and lows of sensual living, I forgot all about ever finding a true life partner, since such an idea simply wasn’t cool. As I began to identify with certain ideas, different from my initial thoughts of love and companion, I began to believe I was an identity, I was a cool dude, I was not about to be chasing any girls down and I was not going to give in to them, I was going to keep it cool and fuck them and leave them, I thought I knew the game. There was no way I was allowing myself to be tied down, how could I if there were so many girls yet to meet, there was so much fun to have still? I never wanted to marry, I also began to take pride in having meaningless sex with as many attractive girls as I could, even when I knew, deep inside, that there was no merit in anything I was doing, that there was really nothing at all to be proud of. All along I craved that deeper connection, and then you came along into my life, completely out of the blue you appeared and stole my heart with your sweet voice. I see now that I was wrong about many things, your simple attitude towards life has convinced me that, even when everything is going wrong, even when everyone around us decides to do only what’s best for them, even then, we should mind our business, we should do our work, we should be ourselves, and we should always be happy about it, we should always do the best we can with the most positive attitude we can bring to the table. You’ve inspired me to become a fighter, before I didn’t see much of a purpose to fight for. I did see many things that were wrong with the world, but a part of me thought they were impossible to change, that life was meaningless because I couldn’t change all the things that were wrong with it. You’ve shown me greater depth than I could previously even imagine, and I thank you and I thank God for it every day, since I know there’s a profound reason for our coming together. I can’t wait to show you new places, which are old to me, and I’ve had a great time during these two years while meeting your family, immediate and extended. Life is great when we are together, you woke me up to the fact that even the most seemingly insignificant details are rich with meaning, that life is no further than here and now, and that we must never let anything get in the way of us being here for those we love and who love us, for being here and now, fully present for them whenever they may need us. You’ve taught me, and you continue teaching me, a lifelong lesson in sacrifice, in putting others before oneself, in working as a team, in making things work together, through proper and honest communication, through restraint on anger and on jumping to conclusions, through sincerity in all situations. You make me smile every day, it’s great to have a person I know I can trust, an embodiment of all that is good and true. You made me see that, before our time together, I had been chasing worthless thrills, I had been living life all wrong. You made me see that there is so much more good within us than we often want to accept, that we often can do much more for others than we wish to acknowledge, lest we feel obligated to do so. You don’t seem to realize it, but your personality has had such an impact on me, your kindness, your radiance and your happiness, they’ve really brightened up my life, I’m so happy to be with you and I can’t wait to see how these virtues continue to grow in you in the future. I wish you the best always, and I pray God blesses you forever, and that we may spend a long, long time together on Earth, and if possible then beyond as well.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 56.

~ Rebel Spirit

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

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

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

Learning From the Past: Mistakes are Meant to be Made.

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Take a moment to think back to the past – how incredible it is: the subtlety with which time passes. Take any given memory, any scenario, and follow its consequences as far as you can into the present. Think of any direct consequences as well as indirect, abstract ones. The law of cause and effect is active in our world, and all actions have an infinite amount of effects which we cannot perceive or even begin to imagine. Vibrations are emitted and received by us all, even at the subconscious level. New ideas which we hear and see are constantly merging within our minds, forming pathways to endless possibilities, slowly taking shape, to be manifested at some point, somehow, somewhere. As a person, you can think back on major events in your life as well as small ones, and you can follow their effects to see where they have brought you. Like Bob Marley inquired of us through his powerful music, let us ask ourselves if we love the life we live, let’s really begin to sincerely question our life satisfaction. If we are not where we would like to be and we cannot figure out why, then the answer lies in our past. The answer lies in the habits and behaviors we’ve allowed to be built into us by the past we have lived. If we examine the past and everything that brought us to this point, we can learn from our mistakes and our achievements, and as this becomes a habit we can begin to create change in ways we never imagined we could before – or perhaps we imagined but we dared not believe. Once we have mastered this practice of self-evaluation, we can do the same with major events which have taken place in the world.

Now, although the outcome of this practice is all for the good, we cannot underestimate the power of inquiring into the worst moments of our past, both individually and collectively. We can study many inspiring moments – independence days, liberation days, revolutions, but we can also study and reflect on many unfortunate events which have taken place in our planet, such as catastrophes, war, massacres, inquisitions, holocausts, genocide, natural disasters. We can and must – all of us – learn from the past, not only our own, but the collective past that makes up what is known as human history, of every culture and civilization – how it rose and how it fell. The goal is to examine the past from a present point of view, from your current, more evolved standpoint, after having fully recognized and understood the position of the people of the past, of course. If what we are examining is a past evil, then it must be a perfect example to us of how not to behave in the present and future. We cannot however, under any circumstances, allow past memories to drag us through the feelings we felt during those times in our own lives, during times when we felt insecurity and fear, or shame or guilt, or anger or hate, or unbearable attachment to someone or something. And we certainly cannot carry around resentment for something terrible that was done to our ancestors, whether it happened hundreds or thousands of years ago. We simply cannot get emotionally involved with the past if we wish to sincerely examine it and learn for our own benefit and improvement as well as that of the world and the universe as a whole.

We need to look at our past selves as the ego’s identity at that moment, and we cannot begin to beat ourselves up for what we have done. We have to examine without emotion, frozen cold, as if we were observing someone else’s life – it is always easier to see what others are doing wrong than what we ourselves are doing wrong, quite simply because we are attached to our “life”, meaning our past. We fail to realize that the past is not alive, it is not real. All we have now are memories, stored in our brains – imperfect, fleeting memories. These memories allow us to evolve, to renew ourselves, to never make the same mistake again. We need not look too far into history to see how the various situations of the past, both good and bad, can be applied to the present in some form. Any culture’s history teaches us a lesson we can apply in our own lives, every philosophical and spiritual text is a glimpse into the wisdom of past cultures and civilizations, of devoted and inspired men and women. Like them, if we look carefully and calmly into the past we will probably find that there has been a lot pain. Pain is necessary to toughen us up, and pleasure is necessary so we can appreciate life. Too much of either will end in evil, and this is something we can all find if we look at our past or the past of the human species. The endless desire, the passion and the hunger for more – more land, more wealth, more people to control – is what has caused such calamities as those that still go on today – the conquest of land at the expense and death of innocent women and children, the killing of millions of people because of a disagreement in ideas and ideals, the manipulation of the mind for monetary gain. It all connects us back to now.

Take a look at society and see how the system still embraces evil at its core. In Venezuela the people currently starve and there are simply no basic supplies such as toilet paper. People are leaving and abandoning their children. Protesters have been killed in peaceful marches against armed government forces. People recently stopped rioting in my home country of Honduras, when the protesting created no change at all, except for destruction of public property, businesses and banks. The corrupt government in Nicaragua, Honduras’ neighbor, which has basically been in power for over thirty years is on the brink of being overthrown. Lula, the former president of Brazil has been sentenced to prison for twelve years for money laundering and corruption. Once they had pleasure, fancy cars and clothes, money stacked to the ceiling. Now they sit in jail. Big drug lords and their families are murdered every day. Yet the musicians promote drug dealing and consuming. The pharmaceutical industry promotes the use of antidepressants and pain pills, sleeping pills. While they get rich, we now have more school shootings than ever before, as well as opiate addiction and overdose. Many people get drunk to the point of having no control over themselves and end up killing innocent people when they get behind the wheel. Actions have reactions, consequences. Pleasure leads to pain quite often, and not all pleasure is the same. Neither is all pain equal. Some is inevitable such as the death of a parent, but some we create for ourselves since we refuse to let go of our attachments to things or people. Study the links, the connections, the works that have brought you to your now, the ideas which you have embraced and have led you to this moment, examine the ideas that contributed to the concertizing of those bigger ideas. Examine what you felt or thought about a certain situation or person at any given moment, but do not allow yourself to fall in the feeling again.

Simply examine and see if you were not acting based on your ego, if you were not doing or saying something in order to promote yourself or to brag, or to drag someone else down, or to feel better about yourself, or to belittle someone else for who they are. All of that is ego action, the fake self at work. The ego is the idea that we are alone in a hostile world, and we must compete to survive. It makes us attack, enslave and torture people who don’t believe what we believe. It makes us look down and laugh at those who have less material wealth than us. Only if we remove ourselves from our ego, as well as any bias that might make us agree with any evil committed in the past, or any internal pain that might make us extremely angry or frustrated with the past, can we study the individual and collective past with the Spirit, and recognize exactly how we can apply it to the now.

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Inspired people, the people who have in turn inspired nations, were fueled by the powerful ideas put forth to them by their predecessors, ideas of the past. They mixed them with their own ideas. One example of a notable work of literature which has inspired me personally to pursue my idea of the Rebel Movement is Henry David Thoreau’s classic essay “Civil Disobedience.” This short book has inspired many more people apart from myself, one of the most well-known being Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi, who read “Civil Disobedience” and through it gained a deep confidence and inspiration which compelled him to continue his own movement, his campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in India, decades later after Thoreau’s work was published. India’s independence probably would have come about just the same if “Civil Disobedience” had never been written, but one can never underestimate the power of a noble idea, especially if it is backed by a deep conviction that can be proved. Such was definitely the case with Thoreau. He was a strong-willed individual who chose to sit in jail for tax evasion, on the grounds that it was immoral to pay taxes in support of a government which was involved and funding the Mexican War which was going on at the time. A martyr, he preferred to sacrifice his own freedom than to support an ideal he did not believe in. He was eventually freed when, much to his dismay, a relative who had had just about enough of his nonsense paid the taxes he had refused to pay. What a great example of determination – a past act, a simple yet defiant, a ridiculous and brave act, which can inspire generations forever.

Choose any past event, be it a personal memory or a fact that you know happened. Take any given memory, any scenario, and follow its consequences as far as you can into the present. Think of any direct consequences as well as indirect, abstract ones. The law of cause and effect is active in our world, and all actions have an infinite amount of effects which we cannot perceive or even begin to imagine. If you can’t get too far with the memory or event you have chosen, choose a different one and follow its consequences up until you can’t follow them any longer or until you reach the present moment, whichever comes first. This will depend on the amount of time that has passed since the memory you chose to investigate. Try to connect the dots, so to speak, in order to form the bigger picture of your life. It’s there, just waiting for you to complete it, to find the way. It’s simpler than we often think.
We just need to be ourselves. Think about it. All we know is that we were born on this planet, and for the most part, most of us have no idea why or from where we came to be here. However, the fact is, or seems to be, that we were born on this planet, Planet Earth. We feel a certain way about certain things, and we are bound to act upon those thoughts if we follow through with them from the realm of thought into the realm of action. Many of us, however, confuse thoughts of desire and lust for our true desires, our true goals, those which we were born to achieve. We were all created in a special way, in God’s divine image.
As long as we are truly ourselves, and we follow the highest ideals within us, the thoughts and actions that deep within we know to be correct, then nothing can take us away from our true path of ascension. Learning happens from mistakes, so mistakes are a great help on your life journey, as they provide plenty of insight, if you take a moment to contemplate and discover it. We must learn to learn from the past and yet not to dwell on it emotionally or critically as we do so.

In conclusion, if we make a mistake which at the moment we did not know was a mistake, and we had no ill intention, then there is no real harm done. Yes, we will still have to face consequences of our mistake on the physical plane, but as the true seeker knows, these consequences form part of our learning, and are not to be resented or avoided. If we had no ill will when we committed a mistake, and we learn our lesson and incorporate our new knowledge or wisdom into our lives, then we will not make the same mistake. Our original mistake has therefore turned into a valuable experience to us, as it has provided the fuel needed in order to create change, which arises from true learning, hands-on learning, making mistakes. If you find yourself feeling down at the moment, feeling defeated by life and its stresses, just know that it all passes, and life provides its fair share of pleasure and pain, and all are meant to teach us lessons we must learn. But we must make the conscious choice of constantly analyzing and learning and applying to life. Take a second to breathe, and realize that, if you have learned from your mistake, then you are always right where you need to be, perhaps at a fresh opportunity to try again, and to defeat the devil that has haunted you and kept you chained.
~ REBEL SPIRIT