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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 51: Working Back Home and Abroad.

I’m at work at the moment. Normally we don’t have internet connection here to access sites not related to the job itself, but I just randomly tried to get on WordPress today and it worked, and there’s a lot of free time in between calls, so it’s a perfect moment for me to get started with today’s writing goal. I got Maria (my wife) sitting right beside me, and in between getting these words down I’m also just joking and playing around with her. It’s great to be able to look at her throughout the day, as she expresses actual concern about whatever customer’s issue she’s dealing with at the moment, I can see it in her facial expressions and hand movements. She has a sweater on with the hoodie on her head, since it always gets a bit cold at the end of the day, when most people have gone home and the air conditioner is still cooling the place up. We assist commercial customers with their DirecTV accounts, so if you live in the States and you ever call DTV customer service for some billing or technical issues at your place of work, you might get me on the line, or my wife. We probably won’t be at this job for much longer though, maybe another few months, since Maria and I are waiting for her Canadian PR to be approved soon, so that we can travel back together. It’s a cool job for now, easy and relaxed. On my breaks I can usually go out for a joint, I just have to stay alert for the cops, because here they can take me to jail, not like in Canada. Weed wasn’t legal in Canada when I was growing up though, so I’m used to staying alert and watching my surroundings. It’s funny, I do my calls so well that the customers I attend probably have no clue that I’m in Central America, or that I’m faded as fuck. I like helping them out, though sometimes work is a bore and I wish I was doing something more interesting. No sense in wishing though, I have to remain in the now, and stay focused and working towards a better situation. It’s great that I have this available time now and that I can do my writing, since we’re planning on visiting my grandparents today when we get home. It’s been a while since we’ve went up to visit them, and they always feel real happy when we do. Maria and my grandma get along real well. So, doing my writing now will clear up some time at night, the time we need to visit them and to do other goals. It’s cool that people here in Honduras have an opportunity to practice their English by having real conversations with real people who are calling from the States. The conversations obviously center mostly around TV, around technical things, and around numbers when it comes to billing problems. It’s great that these call centers exist also because they provide jobs for many people here. The US companies hire the call centers since they obviously have to pay someone working in a call center in the States a lot more than they pay us over here. I don’t live for money though, otherwise I’d be back in Canada making much more right now. I couldn’t bear the thought of staying separated from Maria though, and throughout the whole time we’ve been waiting on her PR, I’ve been here in Honduras ever since I came back to get married with her. Our two year anniversary is coming up, in fact, on the fifteenth of this month. I’m super excited to celebrate that special day with my beautiful wife of two years, especially since it’s been a while since we hit the beach, and also since this will be the first celebration or beach day since I started my abstinence goal from alcohol. That means I’ll act like less of a fool, I’ll enjoy more, and I’ll be able to remember more of those wonderful moments. I’m excited to go back to Canada, but just as you make more money there from work, living is also much more expensive. Over here it almost feels like I’m on vacation, work is not much of a necessity, and life is a lot more relaxed. When I go back, I feel like it’s gonna be hard not to slip back into a meaningless routine, into a soul-sucking job which I will actually need in order to pay the rent, or mortgage, in order to buy food and groceries. I need to do all that here, but we always have enough, and the job is simple and relaxed. I’m not eager to take up some random job though, after the many I’ve already had already back, and to start waking up early and coming home late every day, working my ass off just to pay bills, with no time to spend with my wife or family. I’m excited because, in Canada, there’s a lot more opportunities for musicians and artists, for writers as well. But what good does it do me if I will have no time? I absolutely need to find a way to break free from the system, to be my own boss and to live more freely. That’s also kind of the point for taking this time off and staying here in Honduras. It’s great to see life from a totally different perspective, and to sometimes have a bit of an escape into a different culture, into something that sucks you out of your own life and environment and mindset back home. I’ve been thinking, brainstorming, planning as to what I will do in order to make things work when we go back to Vancouver, and I have a few ideas, one of the main ones being hard work and dedication to what I do. So, tomorrow the call center awaits again, and while it’s not so bad, and I’m thankful to God for having such a chill job at the moment, I truly wonder if the day will arrive when I’ll find myself waking up to do something much more meaningful than helping people watch TV. I’m sure many of us feel the say way.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 52.

~ 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 8: Your Mind is Programmable.

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 9.

~ Rebel Spirit

NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS

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Unfortunately, too many people become accustomed to making decisions purely based on financial gain, failing to realize that what matters most when they pass away won’t be how much money they left in the bank, but the legacy they left, the way they influenced those around them as well as their environment, family and friends. Definitely keep on getting paid, but put some thought into the deeper things in life. After all, it is man who has the power to make money.. but money can never make you a man. Money can never make you a satisfied woman either, so don’t fall for society’s trap of marginalizing women and forcing them to feel dependent on men for financial stability and a comfortable life. Each individual has inside the divine spark of infinite spirit, and this spirit suffers when we reduce our life purpose to a competition, a misguided ambition to accumulate wealth and possessions.

I love the story of the Buddha, the prince who, without hesitating, left his palace and all the benefits the royal life included, in order to travel the land, to be amongst the people, to share in their lives in an attempt to understand and alleviate their suffering, all human suffering. Such a decision could only be driven by the purest sense of compassion, which we are all able to achieve. Although I’m not suggesting we go to such an extreme as to leave our home and all our material possessions behind, the fact is that currently most of the population of planet Earth is living on the opposite pole, on the other extreme. We pass by homeless people in the streets, in developed nations such as Canada and the United States, and we don’t dare to look in their eyes. The shame would consume us, we would have to bear another person’s pain for one mere moment, and that in itself would be so undesirable to us that we glance away, or walk with our look fixed straight ahead, or we look at the floor.

We know there is much to change in this world, but we don’t know how it can change. We expect others to change it, and decide to ignore the uncomfortable truths of life, until we become desensitized to them. Many people have been emotionally hurt, and being unable to forgive, they decide, consciously or unconsciously, to shut themselves down emotionally, at least to other people. They don’t want to be taken advantage of ever again, so they don’t show any emotion, in order not to seem vulnerable, like easy prey. If forgiveness and love cannot be applied to such a situation, a very hostile and negative attitude will eventually develop towards other people. Once this attitude becomes habit, the affected person will be willing to do anything harmful to another being, if it leads to his or her own gain and satisfaction. As they affect others who feel betrayed and unfairly treated by life, many of their victims choose to take the same path of selfishness and emotional non-availability. The cycle continues forever, creating a worldwide web of insensitivity, violence and chaos. It is evident to us that things should not be this way at all.

Caring about others’ emotions and suffering is a natural part of the divine spark of God’s light which shines with integrity from us when we choose to follow it. However, when we choose to ignore our better judgement, declining life’s invitations to partake in charity, or in a simple act of kindness because it slightly intervenes with out planned routine or with our financial gain, we slowly lose our ability to hear the pure voice of intuition within us. This also happens whenever we choose material gain over acting with integrity, committing actions which will devastate others such as financial fraud or robbery, or murder in the hitman’s case. This voice is dumbed down by greedy and hostile thoughts of power, power which is needed due to a lack of life purpose, and perhaps low self-esteem. How can this power be achieved? The natural inclination of the human being is to turn to money in an attempt to reach the much desired power.

Sometimes wealth is gained honestly but in an unbalanced fashion. In such a case, the individual commits all his time, perhaps all his mental energy and life focus, and projects it onto his work, in order to make as much money as possible, to earn the highest commission, to rejoice at the next promotion, to shine bright above all his coworkers. This will eventually lead to a more luxurious, expensive lifestyle which will, in the person’s mind, grant them the happiness and joy they so hopelessly long for for so long. Others resort to illegal and immortal activities to achieve their goal of generating mass amounts of wealth. Hitmen happily accept high amounts of money for their service, which is actually a form of playing God and deciding they have the right to take another human life, since money is involved, and that is more important. Thieves steal from empty homes, or mug solitary people on the street, sometimes shooting or stabbing them for the sake of taking their wallet or phone. Politicians launder insane amounts of money to ensure they remain in power, to watch out for their interests, easily ignoring the crying and shouting voices of the dissatisfied, disappointed, angry and often times hungry nation which has been placed under their control.

This issue sadly affects much of the third world, having been a problem various times in my native country of Honduras, and currently devastating Venezuela. We scream and shout and rage and protest, but yet we choose these politicians to rule over us. We fight amongst ourselves and nurture vicious hatred in our hearts, for others who share different opinions than us or support different political parties. We act as if God has come to reign, and we must support him, we absolutely need our preferred candidate to come into power since they will work their magic and fix all the problems of an impoverished country, or further advance a developed nation generating more jobs and money for its citizens. If this is not accomplished during the duration of their term, we protest because nothing has changed. The problem is us, and we must realize it. We must initiate change in the way we act, instead of waiting for other to do so. We are basically funding the campaigns of these people who don’t give a damn about anything but their own financial and political affairs. We are promised tax cuts, benefits, higher wages, and time and time again we believe one fool after another, as if some magical man will step onto the scene and have all the solutions to our problems. We hold on to hope only to find we have been deceived once again.

That being said, we simply cannot blame politicians for their corruption, we must look at ourselves. If you would find a wallet on the street with an ID or a phone number to call, and you decide to keep it rather than return it because there is money inside, perhaps a quite enticing amount of money, then you must face the fact that you are just as corrupt as any politician you hate, since you decided to make the wrong decision at the expense of someone else’s well-being in a moment when you were not being watched. If we act in such a way, how can we blame politicians from stealing much greater amounts of money from us after we deliberately put them in a position in which they can easily steal and scam without being supervised and investigated.

We must stop putting people in power to rule over us, or allowing money to rule over us; we must realize that God is the sole authority of the universe, and God’s goodness, his greatness, is written in our spirit, a direct emanation of God’s divinity. All we need to do is listen to the voice of the spirit within us, to pray, to meditate, to feel what we know is right, and to act in a right manner. We can only eliminate poverty and corruption in this world when all of us decide to practice righteous living, in every aspect of life, including financially, since all our acts of corruption, however small, amount up and eventually corrupt the collective consciousness of our planet, something which obviously affects all of its inhabitants in a very negative way.
~ REBEL SPIRIT

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

~ Matthew 6:24

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