Een zekere onrust

Er is een zekere onrust in mij voelbaar. Na drie maanden geen alcohol en de toenemend warme dagen komt de gedachte aan een glas wijn vaker de kop opsteken. Ik had dit eerder niet dan heel af en toe en dan nog zeer kortstondig. Maar nu ik weer vaker in korte broek rond ga refereert een zwoel zonnetje wat frequenter aan vroeger dagen van wijngebruik in de lentezon. Als alternatief is er sinds enkele dagen wiet in huis. Dan denk je aan een leuk verzetje, maar ik ervaar meer ongemak dan vertier ervan. Karin zei: kan gunstig zijn; wat kan het je te vertellen hebben? Mijn idee was eerder: als ik geen wiet rook heb ik dit ongemak niet. Maar Karin´s opmerking impliceert een mogelijkheid: dat niet de wiet de onrust maakt, maar de onrust die al in me was versterkt. Dus ik dacht: goed om bij stil te staan en mijn bevindingen rustig uit te schrijven. De onrust bezweren door deze naar buiten te brengen.

Ik was afgelopen dinsdag niet in goede doen. Voelde me niet energiek en raar in de kop. Was niet adequaat in mijn handelingen. Vroeg me af wat het was. Dacht aan de vorige dag toen Karin en ik een ochtend duik in zee namen. Ik had een dreun tegen mijn voet gevoeld. Een vis? Ik had niets gezien. Besteedde er verder geen aandacht aan. Maar bij het verlaten van de zee voelde ik de voet weer en bleken er schrammen op te zitten. Was er wellicht wat gif in mij geïnjecteerd? De zuidkust van Ierland herbergt kandidaten die dader kunnen zijn. Maar van wat ik op internet vond leek niets me waarschijnlijk omdat bij de symptomen steeds pijn of jeuk werden vermeld, en deze hebben mij niet getroffen. Maar wel een wolk in het hoofd en weinig doelmatig handelen en denken. Dit heeft ruim twee dagen geduurd en het unheimisch gevoel dat ermee gepaard ging vertrok die derde dag, donderdag, om vrijdag, na het eerste wiet sigaretje, weer terug te keren.

Ik heb dat altijd al gehad met wiet: het benadrukt schizoïde neigingen in de geest. Er treden totaal ondoelmatige identificaties op, ik krijg invallen die niets met het heden uitstaande lijken te hebben en contact maken met mensen wordt lastiger. Heeft het werkelijk zin die chaos aan een serieus onderwerp te onderwerpen? Nee, dat lijkt me niet. Maar tis wel zo integer te onderkennen dat al die projecties in mij mogelijk zijn en blijkbaar genoeg kracht aan mijn identificatie ontlenen om het me ongemakkelijk te maken, of er nou wiet in het spel is of niet.

Wiet verder buiten beschouwing gelaten ervaar in de onrust het sterkst met betrekking tot spiritualiteit, een onderwerp dat mij decennia lang intens bezighield. En dat nu dreigt te vallen, omdat spiritualiteit op mind niveau me hevig irriteert, en het wezenlijke ervan altijd al het geval is, geen mind bewijs daarvoor nodig heeft. Ik blijk nog altijd een zoeker te zijn als ik mijn denken zo inzet, en het brengt me geen enkele rust. Dacht dat het zoeken wel gevallen was, maar die notie lijkt wat voorbarig geweest te zijn. Mijn hang naar het beluisteren van non-duale sprekers staat op de tocht, dit hangen aan de visie van anderen is een zichzelf bevestigende onzekerheid óf, wat ik liever voorsta, iets dat achter gelaten mag worden. Een verdeeldheid die niet meer hoeft.

Eergisteren aan het water, -Karin en ik hadden beiden een weinig wiet gebruikt-, zag ik heel duidelijk hoe het wonder steeds onherkenbaar wordt gemaakt door de drang met de geest een duiding aan het geheel te geven. Ik en de beleving. Het denken dat verdeelt. Daar is vandaag een gedicht uit ontstaan, ook te lezen op Het stille oog. Ik besluit ermee.

.

Aan het meer

Vanaf het bankje aan het water
zagen we de sierlijke zwaan
haar baan op niets af gaan.

We spraken over het bestaan,
hoe denken, ―o zo traag―,
het leven niet bij kan benen.

We zagen weerkaatst:
lucht, bomen en kerk in
wiebelende spiegelvlakken
welke telkens anders toonden,
één en ook gebroken.

Het fonkelend water deinend
componeerde met spiegelingen
magnifieke mozaïeken,
bij constatering alweer gewist.

Ons vermeende weten,
we zagen het breken en versmelten
in het vloeiend constateren:
we weten niks, wijs is dit meer.

.

Advertenties
Geplaatst in Geen categorie | Tags: , , , | Een reactie plaatsen

Some notes on ´enlightenment´

Through the years I used to write regularly about the spiritual search for enlightenment, but this happened less and less. I wondered why. Had I found? No. Was everything said about the subject? No, here I am again. The reason the subject left me was a certain fatigue with the jargon I came across, the endless spiritual quotes on Facebook, deprived of their context, often misplaced and not seldom cause for quarrels of know-it-alls and smart asses in the reaction thread. Like to dust of my mind on this topic, for the things I have to say kept me busy a few days now and it´s time to get rid of this. I won´t work systematically, just sum up the points I want to make. So lets talk about the sense and nonsense of enlightenment.

1. A lot of teachers I´ve studied through the years stated that one who says he or she is enlightened, is definitely not enlightened. I always found this kinda strange. First of all: when one has awoken to his or her true nature, one shouldn´t admit this? Because there is no ´I´ anymore? I considered this a weak objection; the use of the pronoun first person singular is of practical use and I found it quite stupid to renounce it because of philosophical reasons. The problem I felt in this: the ones who stated this inherently suggested with their proclamation that they themselves knew what they were talking about. Funny contradiction.

2. When one is in search of something one should know what it is so one knows what to look for. But ask a seeker what he seeks and he will say ´enlightenment´ without being able to say what enlightenment is; he only mentions things from hearsay or witnessing other so-called ´awakened ones´. Clichés will be uttered like ´peace´, ´quiet mind´ of ´filled with love´. Why not call it those things then, why presuming enlightenment that is truly unknown? The problem here is that if one doesn´t know what one seeks the ´knowledge´ about this has to come from another source, the teacher, swami abc or bhagavan xyz. Credulity is asked for and seeing for oneself is no longer the original first option. Hierarchy is created, dualistic living a fact.

3. Enlightenment, according to the seeker, is something that will occur in the future. This notion doesn´t survive once one considers that the truth, to deserve this term, has to be true at all times and in all places. This notion of future awakening is handicapped beforehand because it suggests that truth can only be found after long severe practice and with the grace of some outside source. But how can one practice (or reach) that which is aways and everywhere already the case? The presumption of the seeker says that the condition he is in must be unenlightened, thus making pure seeing of what is already the case impossible.

4. Component of this false notion is the idea that enlightenment is about realizing consciousness without form. I find a problem here. Who is to realize this? When I was three weeks old my parents found that I was conscious because I seemed to react adequate to impulses. But I didn´t experience consciousness, because I, as a self-reflective construct, wasn´t there yet. This only became possible when the ego-I was born, about three years after my body came into this world. This fact tells me that consciousness (or awareness) without form has no meaning, cannot be the case for a person. And if it is presumed possible without the construct of a person, because this construct is ´seen through´, then there is nobody left to claim such enlightenment without form, because that would include form and duality.

5. Is the whole spiritual scene useless then, based on illusion only? No, I don´t think so. But the presumption of ´enlightenment´ always is, because in every case it is an uncertain projection and not a fact. But let us consider the story of the Buddha: he felt the suffering of life and the urge to find the cause of it, whatever it would be, and didn´t have the bias that it had to end in enlightenment. Buddha´s open mindedness made him an observer without prejudice, thus available for all experiences possible. To end ones suffering, that´s the original reason for the seeker to proceed, and I find it a blunder that this original drive is replaced with quarrels about what enlightenment should be, who is the best teacher, what is the best theory. Ending suffering is not about theory, someone else´s skills or a definition of human nature; it is about this very moment to see where suffering, when the case, originates. This seeing is a solitary option only, no one else can do it for you or replace this option with his or her vision. It´s you who has to be awake to see this. Enlightenment is presumed to be the state in which awakeness can no longer be veiled or interrupted, but claiming such a state has been done by many teachers who proved the opposite later on. Therefore, whatever ones spiritual interest may be, one proceeds in a save way only by renouncing every claim on having ´arrived´ and stay open for the possibility of suffering and egoic tendencies to surface. Thus there is no need for striving to´enlightenment´, and awakeness, that is always already the case, gets its proper appreciation in its unwavering ability to show, not objectively but intuitively, what has never been lost.

.

Geplaatst in Geen categorie | Tags: , , , | Een reactie plaatsen

Foxes, fights & photographs

1

It was the fourth time a few nights back: around two o´clock a fox came through our street. This time a small one. I was working at my desk in the living room when I noticed the little animal in the streaming rain. I grabbed my camera and walked to the other window with better view in all directions. The wonderful creature noticed me, stood still and looked at me. I didn´t mind the settings on my camera, had to act quickly before he went. The result was three photos.

My last blogpost is concerned with Muhammad Ali and I thought that reading a book about him would result in a second part, but no. The writer discouraged me by focusing on his own biography too much. Too bad that the author was bullied in his youth and wonderful that his hero Ali, as an example, made him stronger to deal with life, but those facts could have been described in much less words to serve its purpose as intro. I gave up reading about the writer, prefer to see Ali dancing and fight now and then via You Tube. I love his moves, the elegance of his style. Which reminds me of my lady, Karin, who has an impressive style too when she attacks me. Which she likes to do as the photos here prove.

In her younger years, long before I was privileged to meet her and become her man, she once was Dutch champion in the martial art called Pencak Silat. When we had our first romance I was not aware of this fact but in time I got familiar with the skills she derived from years of training. She had to stop with this sport because of knee problems but every now and then she likes to attack and scare the shit out of me. Of course I couldn´t let her do this to me again and again so I had to find her weak spots and, I am happy to say, I did. I don´t need no training, this knowledge asks a minimum of energy for an optimal result to calm down her aggressive intentions and make her tame, loyal as a puppy, gentle as a pussycat, totally harmless. That´s how I acquired her permission to publish the following collage.

7

In the Netherlands I used to write a blogpost almost daily (in Dutch, my native language), nowadays I don´t write a lot. I am busy with photography and much time goes to manipulating the results with the free software Gimp. Gimp is OK but my cheap computer asks a great deal of my patience to process certain adjustments. On top of that I am not very familiar with the extensive possibilities of the program so there is a lot of trial and error going on. But most important: I enjoy it very much. Finally some examples of my last photos; more can be found on the site behind the link under my recently created logo.

8

Joost Lips – Photography

 

Geplaatst in Geen categorie | Tags: , , | Een reactie plaatsen

Muhammad Ali, pugilist and inspirer

Since I started living in Ireland, —the emigration out of Holland took place on the 3th of November 2015—, I decided to read more English books to better my skills with the language. Already I read a lot of English manuscripts concerning the non-dualistic viewpoint on life, so my spiritual jargon was quite alright at the time, but as soon as I got different literature in my hands my idiom fell short. So I decided to buy (most off the time for only one euro a piece) second hand books that might interest me in the local charity-shop. Bought also dictionaries, big ones for at my workplaces, little ones for next to the bed, the living room and the kitchen, which could also easily be taken to the beach or into the garden. The smallest one deserved a place in the dashboard of our car.

At first I found some easy to read books, mainly little booklets with a lot of jokes about the Irish way of life that provoked me belly laughters here and there. One very short and strong example comes to mind this very moment. A guy, living in the USA, phoned his brother in Ireland and asked him; ¨How was last summer over there?¨ Answer: ¨We had a barbecue that day.¨

After easy reading it was time for some stronger stuff. I found, again in the charity shop, The World of Sophie written by the Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder. A teenage girl is introduced to philosophical thinking by an older man, a theme that made me grab the dictionary many times a page. After this some poetry, quotations and art books came around, often I had to look up the same words again and again, but slowly I learned. I don´t read fast, I take my time to get things. A few weeks ago I was happy to find a book (good guess: in the charity shop) about a guy that interested me since I was young: Frank Zappa. I didn´t buy his music but heard some from the album Hot Rats that my oldest brother used to play. When Zappa was in the news he always grabbed my attention because of his unorthodox views on things. And now I found The Real Frank Zappa Book, compiled by Peter Occhiogrosso, who used recorded conversation with Zappa for it. Later on Zappa edited the transcriptions. Unorthodox indeed, funny, interesting and a lot of times very difficult to follow, especially when political issues concerning the music industry, censure and other fraud sensible cases were discussed. But I went through it, helped by the dictionary again, and finished the book a few days ago. What next?

I already knew. There was a book waiting for me, for months staring to me from a shelf. Every time I saw the cover a smile grew on my snout. It was a biography, again. About a man that also was known to me in my youth: Muhammad Ali, in earlier days known as Cassius Clay. Davis Miller wrote the book and on the cover shines the mild laughing face of The Greatest. Title: The Tao of Muhammad Ali. Yesterday I started reading, as always, slowly. It felt good, very good.

01

Memories were brought back to me. As a young teenager my father and brothers were excited about a fight that was coming, a confrontation between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Frazier had won the first fight in 1971, Ali got back at him in 1974, and in 1975 they met again in a fight that is considered the greatest boxing fight of all times by many. I can´t recall if we were going to see the second or the third fight, but I do remember that we were thrilled. We had put our alarm clocks right to see around 03.00 o clock at night Dutch time the live report of this dual between giants on the black and white screen. Would it come down to a knock-out? O no, Joe Frazier was tough, very tough. He held his upper body low, had a good defense like that. The two guys had to give all they got to come through all the rounds. And Ali won. It had cost him all the energy he was able to give as one can see and hear in the following video registration of Thrilla in Manila at the 10th of Januari 1975.

It was said that Ali had a big mouth. I am not fond of people with too much self-esteem but with Ali it was a different case. It was a pose. He played with it. His sayings were wonderful and right at the spot to me, like: ¨I´m young and handsome and fast and pretty and can´t possibly be beat.¨ He had a style and the guts to say things that still had to be proved; this courage of his did make him predict in which round he would defeat his opponent with a KO, like shown in the next photo concerning his bout against Archie Moore. And Moore did go to the canvas in the fourth.

02

Handsome, and pretty, impossible to beat him. Off course not all his predictions came true and yes, he did loose fights in his career, but never stopped being the showman that he was. Was it all for his ego? I never felt this was so. When he had changed his name Cassius Clay (which he considered his ´slave name´) for Muhammad Ali after his conversion to Islam I felt, as often before, that all he did had a sincere meaning behind it, no matter how he seemed to show off. I remember a great example of his wonderful humor when I, as a teenager, saw him on television during a visit he brought to Holland. I remember that he said to his interviewer Ruud ter Weijden, his face in front of the camera during a trip in a tour boat, that he doesn´t want the world to know about his giving money to charity. I have found the piece of film again; if you are interested see and listen here.

Time for some pics of the handsome hero in modeling poses. The first photo shows Ali around the age of twelve. The second take was made for the glossy Esquire and shot by photographer Carl Fischer; the modeling was an imitation of San Sebastian, the Christian saint that is known depicted in this way as a martyr. Photographer Flip Schulke is responsible for one of the most well-known photos of Muhammad Ali in fighting position underwater.

I have five photos left in a folder that I like to show here. Ali in action is a feast to see, his famous footwork, his body postures, his avoidance of punches just by moving without any other defense, I could bring up much more pictures that show Ali in great beauty and shape, but it´s good to limit the amount here. For me Ali was not only a great boxer, but an artist as a human being who used his skills for the benefit of his sport, human rights and his fellow human beings.

Because it is so tempting to show more photographs of the Greatest, let´s finally smuggle in two more photos with Ali and two quotes of this gifted speaker.

best-muhammad-ali-quotes-10-587e2c5324587__700

best-muhammad-ali-quotes-boxing-legends-most-memorable-funniest-and-inspiring-one-liners

Geplaatst in Geen categorie | Tags: , , , | Een reactie plaatsen

High

No no, this is not a report about a trip induced by the consumption of chemicals of any sort. The title is chosen because of the majority of the photos I share here, with objects that aren´t exactly positioned low. And also because of the beauty of the full moon, that seems to pull at my brains, giving me a high feeling. It has happened more often that I found myself writing with such a flow that I started to presume that the moon was full again. I used to check this then and often this was the case indeed. But I am not searching for a ´high´. Third reason for the title was a short talk with Karin during a walk we made tonight. Karin made a remark about the enormous beauty of the world, adding the wonderment that we human beings are able to make a mess out of this paradise. Then she went into self reflection:
¨I can do it also. For instance on rainy days, when I complain that it is grey outside. It´s total nonsense off course¨
¨Yeah, but it is possible that we don´t enjoy such weather, even then there still ain´t a problem as long as we don´t judge the lack of excitement; thus peace is unharmed.¨
¨Exactly, peace in all places.¨
¨People think that they can know what makes peace, but all they know about is division and war.¨
¨Ha ha, yes, and seeking a high also only divides and harms the peace.¨

DSCN6951

This is the gardener of the place where we live. Every now and then he comes with his equipment to mow the lawn next to our house, and do some other stuff. I´ve spoken with the man once in a pub. It´s an amiable old man. Everybody in town knows him. He likes to smoke a pipe. He is the kind of guy I think about when it is said that the Buddha can be totally anonymous and live, without you knowing, in your street. Last week he came again with his car, trailer and equipment. He started mowing. I went out the house to talk with him, because last year he saw the four beautiful ferns, that I had extracted from a forest and planted next to our house to see them grow well, and decided to cut them off. Ferns are everywhere, he must have considered them weeds. Now I asked him friendly, with a hand on his shoulder, to leave the ferns where they are, ¨because we like them very much.¨ Immediately he showed willing to fulfill my request, asked if it was OK to take the weeds from the other side of the street and my heart melted. He easily provoked a big smile on my face.

About two weeks ago a circular was put in our mailbox. It was concerned with the fact that out air space, that is usually free of human made flying objects, will show differently in the month May. In this month little aircrafts may be spotted and heard. I didn´t bother to read the reason why and laid the leaflet on the kitchen table to never look at it again, and also Karin had no interest in the story that ended up in the bin. Two days ago, far away, I have seen a little airplane that I could hardly hear. And then yesterday there was a big roar in the sky. I took my camera from my writing desk and ran into the garden to see a helicopter, I think about 70 meters high, and have just enough time to make two shots before the aircraft disappeared behind the hills opposite our house.

Like to say, lastly, that my native language is Dutch and writing English is a training for me, and not flawless. I invite anyone who feels like to respond and give gestures, when there is reason for it, to better my expression, grammar (esp. sound sequences) and spelling.

.

Geplaatst in Geen categorie | Tags: , , | Een reactie plaatsen

Mount St. Michael Musical 2018

Take A Chance On Me! This was the title with which students of Mount Saint Michael performed in a wonderful musical on the 25th, 26th and 27th of April. The movie-story was edited and now full of local jokes, skillfully brought to stage with music from ABBA very well sung by different performers. Karin and I were present the last evening and enjoyed it very much. I made a lot of photos from the place where we sat. When the colors were very bad I made black and white pictures out of the results. Those one can find in the second galery that follows after the first one with the colored photos. Nice to make this available in return to the performers that did entertain us greatly that night.

Geplaatst in Geen categorie | Tags: , , , | Een reactie plaatsen

The Ten Thousand Things – Robert Saltzman (part IV)

¨What the hell was that all about?¨ During the day this question came to visit me at moments, and I wondered what it did refer to. I had hunches, but not a clear idea about it. A few minutes ago, an hour after midnight, the question came again. ¨OK, let´s write it down¨ I decided while I filled an insulation cup with coffee.

It is as if time has been hit on the head, so hard that it can´t remember what the hell was what about. But this feels like only a conjecture, as if I cannot find rational means to find out what happened. The knowledge with which I used to approach cases of confusion has no avail here. And actually: there is no confusion; the knowledge for that is lacking. It seems to me that the knowledge itself got lost, or seen through. Can you imagine: all your life busy finding out the truth and then finding that the tools with which the search was done aren´t trustworthy. The goal of the story I was in was amputated, it´s meaning undone.

The story of the seeker is progressive and full of hope. The hope gets frustrated a lot of times, but new answers refresh the belief that future can bring relief. It´s all within the story of time. The time that got severely hit on the head. And here I stand, naked and unarmed, looking at all the idle tendencies that always lived for “the next moment.”

Within the story of me, time seemed very real, like a banister to help me climb higher up. The Catholic boy wanted to know “truth,” exchanged belief for inquiry, and found beautiful insights that, in the end, seemed idle and had to be abandoned. No stone to rest my head. Time, once a loyal friend, became frail, crumbled. Identity could no longer be derived from it. Evidently time was only in the story of me, and without that story, absent. The now is a pen tip; everything it writes is fleeting. Nothing to hold on to. The story of searching, all those years long, seem now not more than a flash without a calendar. ¨What the hell was that all about?¨

Where is the causality in all of this? Is there cause and effect in this? I cannot say that seeking led to finding. In the story, my search went through all kinds of notions, but none of them could stay. Those notions don´t say a thing about me or this life. Ideas are not truth or reality. I didn´t find, and saw the search fail. My last philosophical port of refuge was advaita vedanta, but it became clear to me that the seeker of truth was precisely the obstacle to finding life as it always already is. The person who wanted truth was the factor that prevented seeing truth. A completely hopeless situation. A blast for all the promises of the time oriented mind. Advaita was also a story, a notion that had to fall.

This reminds me of the famous saying of Seigen Ishin: Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.

What the hell was that all about? I almost hear Seigen Ishin shouting this question now. It is off course, my projection. Why do I quote this story? Well, the Catholic boy was his body, then advaita made “awareness” out of him, and, since I´ve met Robert Saltzman, that boy is his body again. I started as The Ten Thousand Things, then I became special, now I´m in the freefall of The Ten Thousand Things again.

I do not see cause and effect but my experience and the spoken words of Robert do go remarkably well together. They resonate in me as I lose gained vanity again. How proud was I that my writings were applauded in the fellowship. Let me be silent for a while and not make the fellowship into another port of refuge. Thanks Robert, I love it to be an ordinary fool again in the land where pain is exactly pain, joy exactly joy, and honesty the relief of no pretending or holding on to anything.

The Ten Thousand Things – Robert Saltzman (part I)

The Ten Thousand Things – Robert Saltzman (part II)

The Ten Thousand Things – Robert Saltzman (part III)

.

Geplaatst in Geen categorie | Tags: , , , , | 3 reacties