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Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation


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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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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. 


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Boeddha Shakyamuni klein

I realize that it’s quite a while since i last blogged about anything different from photography. But lately i feel inspired to also give some attention to writing, as i was reminded of the fun of writing. Just got back from 2 weeks of working for the tour of my Buddhist teacher. At the end of it was a 5 day silent retreat. Really interesting how 2 weeks not doing the regular job can shift things. Before the tour i was wondering what it would be like, whether things would go as planned and how the retreat would be. Now it’s all retrospect. And yet it’s all still so fresh.

I’ve noticed that the balance inside has shifted. Perhaps more than once. It’s very interesting to watch the movement of the mind. A few years ago i would be left perplexed by the process, but as i get to know the process better i now know what is the most important. And it’s surprisingly simple. Rest the mind. The rest will follow naturally. And perhaps you’re now thinking ‘easier said than done’. And it is, exactly because of our mind. So used to habitual behavior of chatting, thinking, judging and liking and disliking, the mind becomes uncomfortable once you enter the silent space within.

It has been a week since the retreat ended and my mind seems to be quite happy to be out of the silent zone. It got me engaged in some pretty rusty habits again and it’s trying its best to convince me that these habits are good for me and enjoyable. But as my mood gets worse, i know that these habits are actually not good for me. This was what helped me to give up on drinking. I noticed that each time i drank, the next few days i was more edgy, less patient, less friendly, less happy, less relaxed, less rested. I’ve once heard that nothing can stand scrutinizing observing. Perhaps that did the trick for me. Cause i tried to force myself out of using alcohol, but the same force came back to me with a big smile (and an even bigger hangover of course 😉 ).

So now that i understand my inner workings better, i can see that i’ve made quite a few improvements in my life the last few years. In a way i’ve found more balance. But the mind is still resisting the new lifestyle which includes yoga and meditation. It’s not yet comfortable with being silently present all the time. The chatter still springs up from time to time. My guess is that it has to do with deeper layers of inner work which needs to be done. There are quite some themes which deserve attention. To name a few: working with fear, insecurity, uncertainty. Buddhist practice has helped me to see beyond all these layers, it’s now up to me to clean everything which blocks me from seeing unobstructed. The true nature of the mind is clear, the thoughts and habits are like the clouds blocking the sun. And so looking back to the last few weeks, i can see that i’ve removed a few blockages, then stood on a box before falling down again and stumbling over the debree.

The good thing is that there is no need to improve anything. Again, just resting the mind is enough. It can be achieved by resting the body. I just know that my mind can’t understand that there is nothing to improve, that everything is perfect. All its life it was taught that to be someone, it had to work hard, strive to be someone, to become the best it needed to improve all day every day. And now there is this teacher in my life who paints a different picture. A clear picture, one in which everything is perfect just as it is. I really need to learn to balance between the old and the new. Cause being switched from one to the other is yet more suffering. So it’s great to see that there is so much to learn still. With trust in my teacher, i know that i’ll overcome all obstacles, one by one. Even if it takes a lifetime. Cause with his example and the support of the teachings and the students, the sky is no longer the limit. For the clear sky is already here, shining from within.

Deep in yourself, deep within all the turmoil of daily life, way below the waves of aggression, jealousy, desire, hope, fear and doubt, there is a calm ocean. Abide in there and you will calm down too.
* quote inspired by my yoga teacher

Silhouette

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Silhouet of a cat

Silhouette of a cat

Black against white, contrasting with the light
You sit there waiting as you blend in dark as night
A body shape is all that is left as I try to focus
Failing to do so, another form of beauty presents itself
Contours outline what is essentially missing
Or perhaps show that there is no light without dark
Long after you walked passed me with a meow
All that remains now is the silhouette of a cat

 

 

Ghost

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Ghosts klein

Wandering in the forest I meet the ghost
He captures my imagination as he swirls around me
Filling my body with feelings of excitement
As it creates its magic out of thin air

Impressed by the appearances I forget where I am
And soon I find myself lost in the forest with nowhere to go
Yet the ghost keeps on animating me with its stories
Soothing and comforting words and images appear

As I start to worry the ghost suddenly screams out loud
WE’RE LOST AND THERE IS NO WAY OUT OF HERE!”
All I can think about right now is
I want to get out of here and just disappear

The ghost starts to become unbearable to be with
It wont shut up and is totally out of control
No matter how hard I try to escape it
It finds me quicker than I can find my own shadow

So now stuck in this dark forest of illusion
Looking for a way out even though I’m afraid
Lying on the ground I begin to lose hope
While the ghost seems to be laughing at me

Full of desperation I wonder to myself
Why did I ever started this endeavor?
To travel alone into the dark woods
Trying to find the source of life

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Loss

What is loss other than the loss of essence?

The loss of something always comes with emptiness

Emptiness which is seen outside but felt inside

We try to cover it up with our make-believe

But inside we feel the emptiness

Stop fleeing and face the loss

Only then are we able to break free of our emotions

In emptiness we can recover our essence

The loss can be understood

It can show you hidden truths

If only you let the loss in

Freedom lies ahead