field
Oct 042017
 

Maybe it has been there for many months. Possibly years even. The dark night of the soul, in whatever form it may be, whether chronic illness, loss, pain, suffering, continuous failures on too many fronts, depression that knows no end – whatever it may be.

Maybe we have accepted it. After all, we have the power to try and alleviate our situation and condition. We do whatever we can, whatever we can think of, whatever we can afford. But for how long? How long does it take before we feel defeated… when we give up… when we break down?

And even when we do give up – it’s not as if anything has changed. The suffering continues, each moment feels like eternity, and the hope… where is the hope? We cannot even remember when exactly we lost it. It was that long ago! Somewhere along the path of struggling and trying and failing and coming up with new tactics; somewhere in that battlefield hope was lost and gone.

And yet hope, couldn’t care less that we’ve forgotten all about it, that we lost it. It’s not offended. Suddenly, out of nowhere, it’s here. Like the very first rays of dawn after a night that has gotten darker by the minute. We did not expect it. We were not prepared for this. We may even be afraid. Afraid that this hope is just a teaser – being lifted upwards for the sole purpose of being slammed down with even greater force.
But here too, hope doesn’t care. Like a child smiling at us when all around us there’s devastation from an earthquake or a hurricane. That smile is untouched by the outside ruins. That smile exists on a realm of its own. We may dismiss it for as much as we want, but we cannot ignore the very fact that it touches us in a way undeniable. It’s there – or rather – right here. And when it is, we see all the ruin very very differently. Just like putting on a pair of tinted glasses. Nothing looks the same as before. The suffering was so real a moment ago, hope was nowhere to be found or remembered a moment ago. But that moment ago now feels just like eternity ago. This is more than magic – it’s almost diabolic.

We have an inherent need to understand. We have a need to have an idea in our mind about how things work, how the world works, how life works. Perhaps we do this so that we know what to expect, perhaps as a way to protect ourselves from unpleasant surprises. Or perhaps we have this need so to allow us to feel belong and connected, rather than alien to this world and this life. This need that we have, may be something that we are consciously aware of, but may also be something that’s controlling us, pulling our strings and pushing our buttons without our awareness, knowledge or consent. Regardless, we constantly try to understand how things really work and how we ought to interact with this reality.

Too often, when reality unfolds in accordance with this understanding of ours, we become more convinced that “we got it”. We may actually believe that we know what to expect. That we cannot be too surprised by anything. This is not entirely unlike arrogance – but it’s a protection mechanism. How else could we possibly take a step if we think that the floor is not solid? This may be a necessary protection mechanism for us to use. If we have been suffering for a very long time, having hope could just hurt us even more.

And yet suddenly… it is now here: Hope!

 

May 052017
 

How easy it is to think in simplistic terms of gain and loss. We are primed to do so through the very fabric of our society with its power driven mentality.
How easy it is to think that what I have is the result of a combination of recognizing my talents, applying my will and willing to work hard.

When we do think this way, we completely forget something: it’s possible to have talent and not being able to recognize it, and it is possible to understand that we need to apply will to achieve things, yet be unable to do so.

Anyone who has ever experienced being depressed (whether it has been noted down on a piece of paper as a diagnosis or not), knows what the previous paragraph viscerally feels like. And it doesn’t even have to be depression, it can be so many other things.

I believe that the point that many of us fail to grasp is this: We have a job because we are allowed to. We have a family because we are allowed to. We are happy because we are allowed to. We have good health because we are allowed to.
Some call it Luck, some call it God, some call it nothing at all. It makes no difference. What we call it, is unimportant and even misleading, confusing and complicating.

These are times of upheaval and turmoil. The earth is shaking underneath our feet, without regard to whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old, men or women, educated or uneducated. Fear is palpable and much of it is centered around the fear of loss. Loss of money, loss of power, loss of control, loss of hope. Suddenly, recognizing our talents, applying our will and willing to work hard, doesn’t seem to have much significance at a time when there seem to be much disregard to all of that. What for the longest time seemed to have been a straight forward logic, backed by positive experience, is losing its truthfulness. And many of us still don’t realize that in reality, it was never true in the first place.

Another pitfall to many of us is that we truly believe that gaining and succeeding is good, while losing is bad. And we fail once again to recognize something: We are being allowed to lose. You may think I’m crazy, but here’s how I see it:
Looking at life and the world in terms of good and bad, gain and loss and ultimately black and white, causes us to live life that’s never balanced or in resonance with reality. That’s because we keep seeking the good and avoiding the bad. As if the bad (or at least that’s how we chose to name it) is not a part of the world, or of life. But our life is the result of allowing. We are being allowed to win and we are being allowed to lose. Winning is not good and losing is not bad. We can actually win and suffer or lose and be at piece. Our concepts of good and bad hurt us. They have always hurt us, but perhaps it takes times such as these to begin to recognize it.
We are allowed to lose so that we can learn, just like we are allowed to win so that we can learn. The lessons that we gain from winning cannot teach us other lessons, which are just as important and powerful, and which could be learned from losing. Lessons that can be gained by being sick or disabled, cannot be gained by being in perfect health. Lessons that can be learned through fear, cannot be learned from complacency. And in case you missed the point; When we see life and when we see the world in terms of allowing – then suddenly the duality disappears and there’s unity. No more good and bad, no more right and wrong, no more happy and sad, no more black and white. There’s only IS-NESS. No longer do we need to be afraid of the bad. No longer do we need to live in apprehension, avoiding the bad. We discover an inner stillness, that is in peace with reality. The same reality that we thought we had always known, just to be allowed to learn a new lesson:
we were wrong.

Jan 252016
 

I have very clear recollections of my earliest experiences with music. Listening to music as a one, two and three year old baby, music was pure magic. It was an actual mystical experience, with no notes, voices, instruments etc’, unmatched by anything else that this baby knew. It wasn’t just about sounds. It transported me beyond and out of the physical dimension of our reality.

In fact, I can vividly remember myself siting in my parents’ living room, on the carpet, in front of the speaker, listening to music. At some later point in time, I suddenly saw the speaker in front me. In between the first and second time of my noticing the speaker, I wasn’t there. I have no idea where I’ve been. But I do remember that I was fascinated and not at all asleep.

At the age of five, I picked up my first musical instrument. In the years that followed I practiced almost every day, learned music theory, listened to an increasingly larger and more diverse body of music, composed music, got an undergraduate degree in music and worked as a professional musician for many years.
In all these years and with all this hard work, I tried to become better as a musician. With every bit of progress that I’ve made, I was unknowingly losing something. I was coming closer to one thing, at the expense of getting farther away from something else.

What I was losing was the magic. The mystery and the mystical experience were no longer there. By the time I realized this, they were not there for already a very long time. The word remained the same – that is: Music – but it was transformed from a non-physical experience that cannot be grasped, into a bunch of data that was easily understood and devoid of anything magical: names of notes, rhythms, instruments, styles, tempos, keys etc’.

I had to undergo an extreme personal crisis which involved the collapsing of much more than just music, and later on completely lose any interest in music for several years. It was only after years of being indifferent to music – not making and not even listening to music – before I began noticing something special: a spark – something magical.
I had to let go of control (being a musician means to be in control), in order to rediscover – at least partially – the mystical experience that I once knew through music.

But what I have discovered this time around – now as an adult – is far more amazing;
I’ve discovered that the magic and the mystical experience that I have found through music as a baby, does not exclusively belong in the realm of music. The magic and the mystical experience are an inseparable part of the present moment. When I allow everything to stop – the doing, the thinking, the feeling, the talking – in the silence and stillness which then unfolds, the magic and mystical reveals itself in a way that cannot be denied. It’s real and palpable – perhaps even more real than what we call ‘Reality’.

Why am I sharing all this with you?

We all belong in a society that from day one teaches us things. The first thing that it teaches us, is to trust it and its teachings, as being something of value and importance which in time, will serve us as a necessary tool. We believe the messages that we receive and after a while they become subconscious; we no longer see a separation between what has been within us from the beginning, and that which has been imposed on us later.
I studied music because society’s idea was that gaining control over music (which in all truth, is impossible to begin with), will benefit me. I believed in that and I followed this idea every day for thirty five years. Only when reality hit me in the face hard enough to wake me up, was I suddenly aware of how wrong was the teaching that I’ve embraced, and how far I have gone from the truth and from reality.

I bring up music because it is my own personal example. But every person has their own unique path. So many of us live severed from reality – unknowingly. Just as I believed that my ideas, thoughts and actions were good and right and were serving me in the best possible way, so do many of us. So many of us live rather automatically from one day to the next, with this nagging recognition somewhere in the background, that there’s something much better, much deeper. We know this intuitively and recognize its truth. Some of us actually venture out to actively seek it by a variety of means, while some of us dismiss their inner truth as daydreaming and nothing more than mare imagination.

This might leave us with some questions:

  • Am I one of those people? Do I intuitively know that there’s something much vaster available to me than my day-to-day living?
  • What’s my path and where is it taking me?
  • In hindsight, do I see myself getting continuously closer to something, or continuously farther away?

And perhaps the ultimate question:
Am I even interested in asking myself any of these questions?

Jan 292015
 

Whenever it comes to spirituality, it almost seems as though Money is a bad word. It is presented as if it is on the opposite end from spirituality. There are many possible reasons for this. Perhaps one them is that money is considered as belonging to the materialistic/physical world, used for purposes of materialistic attainment, while spirituality is used to attain something which is non-materialistic.

Whatever the reasons are, everything has a spiritual aspect to it – everything – money included. But perhaps some of us have developed certain complexes when it comes to money, as well as the fear underlying the wanting for money. And this may be another reason why money and spirituality seem to be on opposite ends.

Fear hardly ever exists as fear, in plain sight. Most often it disguises itself in a host of various forms: practicality, responsibility, maturity, being a part of society, care for others, need, reality and the like. But those who are not afraid to give themselves a close hard look, will sooner or later discover within themselves some kind of fear, hidden quietly, hoping not to attract any attention, since that would be the beginning of its demise.

The fear could be that of lack, of loss, of abuse, of need, of pain, of loss of control, and so many other kinds. Fear is what the oppressor uses against the oppressed to get what they want. At the same time, it is amusing that it is fear, which causes the oppressor to behave that way in the first place.
(I have dedicated a separate post to this dualism, called “The dualism of oppressor and oppressed“).

There used to be life before money. It was based on bartering; I help you with my talents, you help me with your talents. This is the core of what society is all about. The nice thing about bartering is that it doesn’t allow the control of a large group of people by a small group, something which money allows.
Money creates distance between people; no more do I know what other people do, because I don’t need to know. Everything now is done using money. The slow and painful collapse of our economy, for those who are not in complete denial, is a clear sign that this system cannot maintain itself indefinitely.

But we don’t need to dream of a utopian, money-free world to discover the spiritual aspects of money. As soon as we can discover (or rather, uncover) some of the fears that drive our lives, we can begin to realize our own inhibitions as well as some old complexes and let go of our – sometimes unrealistic and incorrect – understanding of money.

Where there is no fear, there is always enough money. That’s because one form of fear, is the fear of being unable to continue our current standards of living, which many find paralyzingly frightening. Change is around every corner and it often gives no early warnings when it comes. Those who fear change may have a constant need for money, when in fact their true need is for a sense of security. (You may refer to an earlier post of mine: Seeing through the illusion of Stability and Security).

When we begin to ask “How much is enough?” or “What are my true needs?”, or “What can I give up, give away, do without?”, we begin to see our own fears: what they are and perhaps what’s behind them.

The above questions are just a small sample. There are many questions that we can ask, that have the potential to bring us closer to an understanding. There is a lot that we take for granted as “real” and “reality” which we never question. We then become slaves of such distorted understandings of reality, one which we may have never truly examined. We may have adopted other people’s ideas and assumed those to be true for us as well. It may not necessarily be the case though.
The only way to become free of such hidden subconscious fears is to begin asking questions, which some people may consider redundant, childish and even downright idiotic. And it is again fear which stands between where we’re at right now, and asking the first question, and then the second question etc’.

Money has, just like anything else, its own spiritual dimension. We can discover it once we begin to shed the many layers that have kept us separate from that. When there’s no longer subconscious fear hidden somewhere in our psyche, money loses much of its mystical power, and becomes nothing more than a tool. Sometimes there’s more money and sometimes there’s less, yet fear is no longer a part of this simple reality. We see through our own behavior, how far we were willing to go in order to have money, including losing our happiness, giving up values that are important to us, willing to become slaves for others and more. At that moment we become free.

Peace within.