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

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 30.

~ Rebel Spirit

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 21: Family Fun, Living in the Moment, Huxley’s “Island.”

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 22.

~ Rebel Spirit

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

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 21.

~ Rebel Spirit

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

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 13.

~ Rebel Spirit

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

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 9.

~ Rebel Spirit

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

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 8.

~ Rebel Spirit 

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 7.

~ Rebel Spirit.

The Inspiration that You Seek is Already Within.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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Life and Death are Two Sides of the Same Coin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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