P N C O

Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation

So Easy

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Once you have that first realization, the rest is fairly simple. But I’ve noticed for some time now that it’s actually very hard to have that realization in the first place. The truth is plain and simple, the way to it however can be long, winding and physically and mentally demanding.

And yet I see myself hiding away from the truth in front of me and clinging onto something of which I know does not suit my best interests. That strange behavior I as a human show most of the time, is somewhat comparable to an addiction. With an addiction comes the false feeling of self-control. And I know every addict knows this. Then the question remains: why so many people suffer on a daily basis from their addictions?

It’s in the letting go. So easy to do, so easy not to do. We all have the power to decide for ourselves if we want to be in control or let something outside of us seize that control. Never has my lack of control really make me feel happy, yet in a twisting of the mind I always found myself convinced I was. Ain’t this story tragic and beautiful? Clinging on to the false hopes, dreams and illusions picked up in previous life stages, too stubborn to admit you lack every bit of control in your life.

I have had an intense feeling telling me where I’m standing at this point. It explained to me nothing is wasted, either in the present or in the past. Yes, I’ve done stupid things, even terrible things. But I try to learn something from them and whenever possible reverse the harm I’ve caused or am causing. So I can now finally stop the blaming game and look to myself in the mirror and say ‘I’m really actually trying to be a good person’. From that sense confidence can be developed.

It’s that one simple notion, that thought in the back of my mind, which brought me to the simple and for me stunning realization: I don’t need it. I’ve already got everything I need, so why would I go and search for pleasure and pain in all kinds of extremities?

I’m here and I’m living my life. What more could I want?

(repost from 2013)

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Fearing Love

Fearing Love

Once upon a time there was a prince who was destined to marry a beautiful princess. But the prince had never seen his princess. And he only heard of stories. And those stories were telling him that she was oh so beautiful. So pretty, so nice, so kind. And yet this girl has always felt alone.

So when the prince first saw his princess, he was so afraid. He was afraid to make a wrong move. To to say something wrong. Or to ruin the moment. Because the moment he saw her, he knew she was his princess. And so the prince started to fear his love of the princess. And the princess felt this. She looked him straight into the eyes as if she wanted to tell him “don’t be afraid. It’s okay. I know the feeling too. I’ve been there all my life. But I was always waiting for you”.

And so the prince now confused inside his mind, realized he had to find a way out of this. And so he approached the noble wisdom keeper of the court. He was the adviser of his father. He was a wise and old man, skilled in the teachings of life. Also in death, but that’s another story. So he approached the wisdom keeper and he asked “oh wisdom keeper. I’m so afraid to love. What should I do? This princess is so beautiful. And she told me she waited all her life for me and now I’m afraid. I’m afraid to lose her. To do anything wrong.”

And the wisdom keeper looked straight into the prince’s eyes and said “Prince… you’ve been training all your life for this one moment. You’ve been training to fear this moment. Cause you knew from the start this moment would come. And that’s exactly what fear is. Fear is having expectations and knowing these expectations can never be met. So when the princess looked you into the eyes, she had no fear because she never expected anything from you. She only expected you to love her. But because you didn’t see that, you only saw the fear in your own heart. The fear to just let go and to be.

But once you realize that the love inside is what lies underneath your fear, you will see that there is indeed nothing to fear but fear itself. Because love is something which doesn’t belong to you or the princess or to me or to anybody. It’s the essence of life itself. We call it love, but it has many names. It has many qualities. It is our natural state. But if you try to describe for yourself, or to think ahead of yourself, you will start fearing. Cause fear is all about expectations, about the present, the past and the future. Expecting the present to be different. Expecting the future to be either better than the present or worse than the present.

And the past, oh we fear the past. Cause the past is our storehouse of mistakes. But don’t you think that love cannot make mistakes? Isn’t that a hard thing to say to the essence of life? To say that life cannot make mistakes? And yet, in my heart I know that life does not make mistakes. Just because of the fact that life does make mistakes. But that, my little prince, is for some time later. Now for you it is important to realize that you can let go of yourself. That you can let go of your fear of love. Cause your fear of love is the last thing which keeps you from loving. Cause it will show you that the love for the princess is no other than the love for you, for yourself.”

So the prince thanked the wisdom keeper and pondered about it. He was sitting next to the big lake with the beautiful lotus flowers. And he was wondering. “What did the wisdom keeper mean? Why was he saying that fear is nothing but fear and that love lies below?” And then he saw a fish swimming in the lake. The fish was unaware of the eagle flying. The fish was swimming and grasps for a breath, came to the surface and at that same moment the eagle already diving, put out his claws and caught the fish. The prince saw it. And he saw the fish never feared for one moment, because the fish was unaware of what was going on. “The same thing applies to myself”, the prince thought. “I fear because I don’t know what claws will catch me. But it’s strange. Cause why am I comparing myself to a fish”, he thought. Then he reminded himself that he was not only the fish, but also the eagle and the lake and the prince watching. He realized that love is bigger than just him, or the princess and him. He realized that love is life itself. And how can life fear what it’s doing? Cause life cannot hurt itself. And the prince realized that what he had done this day, was perfect. He knew that he did the right thing. Because he knew that he had to learn the lesson before he could truly love his destined princess.

The next day the prince asked his father if he could meet the princess in private. And the father agreed. So when the prince came in, the princess was waiting. The prince brought in a beautiful bouquet of flowers and the princess started laughing. “I see you’ve learned the lesson of love, my dear prince. Yesterday when I looked you into the eyes, I saw fear. You were afraid.  Of me. Of our future together. But most of all, afraid of yourself. But now I see you’ve recognized yourself. Now I will marry you”.


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A simple thing

This morning the train was having a bit of delay. So wasn’t exactly the way i was planning to start my week. Shows that things not always (almost never lol) go my way.
And i guess that’s good. Cause i had a beautiful meeting in the next train. As i was letting other people pass, i moved a little bit backwards in the train compartment.
Standing on this new spot, at first i didn’t see the guide dog. But when i looked down i saw his two front legs and in my thoughts i said hello to the dog.
And before i knew it, she laid her face onto my shoe. Such a simple gesture but it gave me fuel for the rest of the day.
As i had to move on, i gently moved my feet and gave her a little rub on the back of her head before i moved out of the train.

The simple things in life can mean a lot 🙂

I found you when I lost you

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We met in the dark
Your eyes shone as you approached
Keeping the distance you made your moves
Weeks had passed since I last saw you

I had to let you go
You didn’t want to be with me
The choice you made was hard to swallow
I fought it off initially
Seeing it as a phase which would pass

But you were determined
The nights without you continued
When I brought you back in
Within minutes you vanished again

Back to the open door
WIth the food waiting for you
You no longer wanted to be with me
As painful as any loss can be

So to my surprise this night
The pain had subsided
Making room for somehing bigger
A feeling of love and compassion

As you carefully approached me
Never close enough to touch
But my heart was moved deeply
You were at home now

And yet you didn’t forget about me
As you turned around
And walked back to the door
Your meow resounded in my heart

I may have lost you to the neighbour
For the first I know
I truely found you
Thank you White Spot

Breaking Free

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The illusory play of mind
Makes me believe what I see
Let’s me hear what is not there
Thoughts pop up ceaselessly
Like effortlessly playing a game
The mind tries to hold me hostage

I want to break free!

Daring to cross the threshold
Confronting the familiar patterns
Overcoming addictive habits
Questioning the rigidity of this body
Investigating the very nature of I
Where is this mind I hold so dear?

Who wants to break free?

Mortality

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Reading Buddhist literature makes me question mortality and impermanence. Or not so much question, it makes me think of it.
In fact, it’s such an obvious fact that we’re all going to die that it’s almost weird that we tend to look the other way. We picture it a great drama or keep it far from our every day life. But death does not seem normal in the west. We tend not to talk about it.

I think i’d rather follow the Buddhist advice, which is to think of impermanence and death all the time.
It may sound depressing, but I know from my own experience it’s not. It actually helps to deal with difficult situations more easily.

Why quarrel and fight if you could die tomorrow?

And yet all these things – or distractions – lure our minds into busily debating sports, politics and the latest technical gadgets. Short term happiness is what we strife for.

But in the end we’re going to die. Even if we amass great quantities of wealth, we can’t take any riches with us. Why not give up attachment right now? Why not stop fighting over unimportant matters? Would it not be wise to consider death some more?

Lesson learned?

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I forgot that I knew

I now know that I forgot

Cause once more I remembered

What I knew but had forgotten

 

It took an old familiar pain

To point out the obvious truth

The reason why I left you

You only cause me harm

 

Now or in the near future

You may tempt me again

Lure me into your deadly trap

Full of your poisonous lies

 

I may even fall for you again

I know my flesh is weak

And so is the craving mind

Which blindly follows

 

But it no longer matters

So easily the winds blew away

Your so called stronghold

Tumbling house of cards

 

I can now see that in the end

I’ll know and I’ll remember

Trust

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When I first met you I was still young.

You played along with my childhood games as we both shared the fun.

Unaware of the challenges of life I gave in to you without a doubt.

The fullness of life was so overwhelming I did not have to choose.

Later when doubt had entered the arena, you slowly disappeared to the background

Life became complicated with rules, relationships, expectations, punishment and reward.

The simpleness was replaced by intricate thought mechanisms which locked me into place.

Each day my life became more and more an experience of dull and boring rationality.

Playfulness was thrown out of the window in order to make sure I would fit in with everybody else.

But the more I fit in, the less free I felt.

Trapped by tempting promises and nightmares of hope and fear, the web of illusion closed in on me.

The one thing I had lost I had no idea I was missing.

Only when I found you back I knew I had been wandering in a cold and barren desert forever trying to clench my thirst.

The walls build around the inner temple squeezed the life out of me.

I tried to forget, suppressing everything I did not want to hear – I did not want to know.

Cause forgetfulness was better than to be reminded of not having you near.

Oh trust, life saviour, love giver.

On your shoulders I long to build my life.

Better than the sweetest dream, you wake me to a reality which is profound in its evidentness.

You are the atoms which hold the universe together.

Universaly revered because you are so humble.

I can now see myself again when I trust.

Naked with arms wide open, laying myself to rest in the heart of the world.

To trust is to know.

The wise among us know how to trust.

Trust. Let go. Fly.

Inner riches

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Once you start to notice, it’s intriguing to see everything which goes on inside our body and mind system. Various parts call out for our attention, while other parts try to take the house down and yet other parts try to be the ruler of the inner universe.

Yet all of this happens within one system. Parts may not like the feelings which accompany other parts, or choose to ignore, but there’s always an overview available. The sum is greater than all of its parts. This field of awareness is the ground for all of the parts to play their games.

If one can learn to stay in contact with the field of awareness, integration becomes a possibility. Mindfulness, simply being with all the various parts, not being overwhelmed by the accompanying and often conflicting emotions. This helps to create a compassionate attitude to whatever arises from within.

All the inner riches await us. They may be covered in dark layers of soil, but they’re there. As so often in life, to reach these places within requires hard work, effort and resilience. One needs to learn to deal with conflicting emotions instead of fighting them. Being with emotions, allowing them to show what they’re hiding from us, is a process which can be aided by it curiosity. Curiosity is the key to unlock the treasures within.

If one can befriend one’s inner demons, the inner riches can be uncovered. All the beautiful traits of our childhood can be integrated. Not in one attempt, but as one progresses, each time it becomes increasingly easy to deal with everything which arises within.

All the inner riches are waiting to be explored!


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Re-minding

The mind is such a weird creature. It could have its own episode at ‘weird wonders of nature’. Its capability to create everything ranging from beautiful to grotesque, its illusive nature.. only when it is looked into by scrutinizing analysis, can we learn to see some of its workings. If we leave the mind without looking into its nature and essence, the mind will not be seen for what it is. The trickery of the mind is grand, so our investigation should be thorough.

A good first step into our research is to calm the mind. Mindfulness can create a spaciousness which makes it possible to see how the mind operates. To just be aware of what is going in the mind, gives one the opportunity to recognize and break free from the habitual patterns which normally dominate our experience. To see through our feelings, thoughts and inner demons is a task which demands determination and diligence. At first one may run away, but with time it becomes increasingly better to stay focused and aware.

Another great way of working with the mind is focusing on loving kindness and compassion. To open oneself to the reality that all beings want to be free from suffering and want to be happy, helps to break out of the confinement of self grasping. We are all interconnected.  Once this truth is realized, the circle of compassion can be widened from our loved ones and friends to strangers, animals and our enemies. Mindful giving of love and compassion combined with taking in all the suffering from others is a powerful tool to transform ourselves. At first it may seem odd to take in the suffering of others, while giving away your best, but as time progresses it becomes natural to wish for the best for others. It actually is a great recepy for happiness and joyfullness. 

As one becomes familiar with the workings of the mind, the path to wisdom and clarity lies in resting the mind. This was written as a friendly reminder to myself. May it be of benefit. 

Would you judge a tree?

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trees

Ram Dass on self judgment:

I think that part of it is observing oneself more impersonally. I often use this image, which I think I have used already, but let me say it again.  That when you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.[..]

Source of the quote – read more at: Ram Dass on Self Judgement

I’ve read about this idea in the past and today i was reminded of the story of the trees. Such a wonderful analogy Ram Dass makes here. What if we would be able to just see each other without all these labels and judgements in our minds? Next time you’re ready to judge a person, try remembering him/her as a tree. Perhaps it can help to stop judging and be more open to who’s there in front of you. I’m gonna try this 🙂


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The lessons in life
Inspire to struggle and learn
Challenging everything familiar
To go and look beyond what I know

Pushing me to let go more and more
Of what once was considered important
Opening up new possibilities
To help others without a regret

As life becomes transparent and simple
The need to cling and grasp subsides
Life points the way
Gratitude is my companion
Compassion is her shield

Being fully open to the present
Is all that life requires

Embrace

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hortensia

The warmth is soothing today
Your soft fragrance fills the garden
Inviting me to come closer to you
Carefully I push away your leaves
This time you allow me to remove
Your veil of secrecy and protection
As I watch you naked in the eyes
Your floral hands suddenly grab me
Embracing me with your lightning beauty
I never could have dreamed that
You would ask me to join for a dance

And yet, here we are dancing the tango