P N C O

Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation

6: Winter, Spring and everything in between

2 Comments

In the Netherlands the climate is moderate. The winters are not too harsh and the summers are not too hot. Because of this, i’m not always aware of the changing of the season. There is just a constant flow of the seasons coming and passing. Right now it’s summer and in a few months autumn will be here again. The cyclic nature of the seasons has always been there, but the way i see this cycle has changed a lot since i was young. When i was young, there was the expectation of hot summers at the beach and snow at Christmastime. It was all about enjoying the possibilities each season held.

Now i observe the seasons from a different perspective. Spring means i can start going out again with the camera more easily, do some work in the garden or just sit and relax outside. Winter triggers me to go inside. Both on an external and internal level. Like the bears who go into hibernation, i tend to become a little more seclusive and contemplative during wintertime. And springtime brings the much needed sunshine. After all the long dark nights, it takes some time to recharge the batteries and start enjoying the arrival of spring.

The most important thing i’ve learned to observe is that everything is impermanent. Although things may seem solid and build to last hundreds or thousands of years, in the end everything which is made will eventually break down again. Glasses and cups fall to the ground and break, flowers grow until they fade away, and grandparents are there until they pass away.
At first i was quite intimidated by impermanence. With my youthful enthusiasm i thought that life would last forever and that i would always be healthy and sporty no matter what. But when a good friend and also former roommate suddenly passed away at the age of 28, i realized after going through a lot of denial, pain and frustration, that i am going to die one day too.

And that’s why it has become important for me to recognize and acknowledge impermanence. Not to be nihilistic, but more in a sense that i become more sensitive to the changing which is happening all the time. Every moment is impermanent. Everything changes, although we might not recognize this. Some things we can easily learn to deal with, as they are mostly on a mental level. Take for instance cold and hot. We suffer a lot because of these two. In the office, a colleague might think it’s too hot and open the window. Then another colleague will start complaining that it’s cold. So why would i bother with this? If it’s warm, then it’s ok. If it’s cold, that’s also ok. I can dress accordingly. Accepting the inevitable change of the weather makes life so much easier. It helped me to actually enjoy the rain instead of feeling sorry for myself for becoming wet. By seeing the larger picture, i can now see the benefit the rain brings to farmers and the land.

To come back to the image. This young fern was at the start of its life and now a few months later i’m sure it has grown a lot bigger. And at the end of the year all of it will be gone again, after the seeds have been spread onto the earth. In the end it doesn’t really matter that the fern grows or dies. What matters is its relationship with everything else. Without the earth, without the rain, without the shade of the trees, without the sunshine, there would be no ground for the fern to grow. And the same goes for us. We tend to cling so much to what we want and who we are, but we tend to forget that we can only be in relationship to everything. Not to mention that there is just one me and 7 billion other humans. Pretty presumptuous to say to myself that i’m the most important one huh?

For me the journey is now about honoring the relationship, the interdependence of things. It’s about the act, the doing. Not the subject or object, but the verb. Cause everything changes, everything flows. We are all part of this flow, we can not be separated from this flow even if we think we can. And even if we separate ourselves by living our illusory dreams and thoughts in our minds, we’re still one with the flow. So i’ve decided that i will just let go. As said in the movie Waking Life: “Go with the flow. The sea refuses no river”

New Project

Leave a comment

 

 

hello ladies and gentlemen,

it’s quite incredible to see so many people coming to this blog again and again.Β  Could not have imagined that 4 years ago when i started blogging πŸ™‚
But i also remember that there is this other hobby of mine, which i have not given too much attention lately: writing

As somebody said me a few days ago: just start with it, otherwise it won’t happen. And i know he’s right. So i like to give a bit of an outline of this new project for you guys but also for myself.

Long have i felt that words and images go perfectly together. Whether it’s a poem or a few lines of text, it really can create a connection with what meets the eye. So i want to engage in exactly this. It will be challenging for me, cause i know that i only write when i am truly inspired. But I’m sure that once i’ve started, everything will work out just fine.

I haven’t decided yet whether it will be a weekly or a daily thing, but i’m just going to start anyway πŸ™‚

Please feel free to leave any comment, thoughts, critics, feedback. And please enjoy πŸ™‚

Warm regards,
Pieter

ps. Day 1 is coming up!

Enjoy the moment

10 Comments

Had a marvelous week in France.. also enjoyed a few beautiful sunsets..
Being there helped me to really be present and to enjoy the moment.
Let the mind talk, there’s no need to follow all those thoughts
As i relaxed into this mood of being, thoughts vanished by themselves


5 Comments

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. 


10 Comments

Job interview

Today I had a job interview. The days counting towards the interview were mentally a bit exhausting and thrilling. And now afterwards I’m wondering whether I said the right things. And now I realize waiting is even more exciting. So a good moment to pause and see what’s going on inside.

Very intriguing how the mind works. This whole process has created lots of body specific  sensations which it then deems tension and thus stressful. But in reality these are just sensations. Neither good nor bad. I’ll just have to breath into them and be mindful.

In the end I’ll just have to wait a few days for an answer. In the meantime thinking or stressing about the situation won’t be of any help πŸ™‚ Patience is my friend here..


2 Comments

Thank you, Mark Cavendish

Thank you, Mark Cavendish

Yesterday just before going to bed i read an article about a crash which had just happened during the Olympic omnium (a discipline within track cycling) involving multiple Tour-de-France stages winner Mark Cavendish. After reading some comments on Twitter i found a video of the said crash and i was surprised there were no consequences connected to this crash.

I felt it was injustice and went to bed. But then i started reflecting on what was happening inside. I realized that i was judging a situation on which i had absolutely no influence. And in my mind i was already condemning Cavendish. By contemplating on this feeling, it made me realize that no matter what the reason for his move were, it wasn’t up to me to judge.

So instead, i started shifting towards feeling compassion for Mark Cavendish instead. Whatever caused him to make his move, he wants to be happy just as i want to. Perhaps he thought he could win gold through this unorthodox move? As i concentrated on letting go of all this second-guessing, i realized that i just didn’t like the move. I thought the move was irresponsible, dangerous. But this move doesn’t make him a bad person. It began to feel more and more as an act out of ignorance. And i realized that i’ve made quite a few of those moves in the past myself. I was able to separate the act from the one who committed the act and realize that there is a difference between the two.

In the heat of the moment we’ve all made mistakes. Would i want to be condemned for mistakes i’ve made in the past? Or would i rather be forgiven and shown compassion and understanding, so that i can learn from my mistakes?

So in retrospect i realize that i have to thank Mark Cavendish for this opportunity to accept what i dislike and actually have compassion for just that.

Silhouette

2 Comments

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

 

 


Leave a comment

Out of the closet

Today I found out what an interesting thing the mind is. And for your information, this blog won’t be about my sexual preference πŸ˜‰
As I was sitting in the train I wanted to do a bit of mantra recitation using a rosary. I did it the last few days, though I always tried to keep the rosary out of sight. Today while traveling it was way more crowded and so it felt inconvenient to do the mantras.
When I made my transfer it was more quiet and the next station was forty minutes travel, so I started there.

While doing the practice I noticed an ever increasing feeling of uneasiness and tightening in my stomach area. Even while I write this hours later, I can still feel the knot. This brings me back to the mind. I know that this has to do with I, the word and the thoughts, ideas and feelings which make up this concept. As a student of Buddhism I’ve been introduced to the idea that there is no separate entity called Pieter which lives independently from the world in which I live.
This idea really helps me to understand what is going on under the surface. Somehow I fear that people might see me doing practice. I meditated once at a pretty open and busy spot in the woods and while I sat there someone passed me and looked at me for quite some time. At that time there was also the tight knot in my stomach. Somehow I feel exposed.

This brings me to the title of this blog. It’s almost like I have the idea that I need to separate between my normal self and my spiritual self. Like there’s any difference.. the mind wants to control how I appear to the outside, so anything threatening this control will result in a response from both body and mind.
Today I was very keen on not being seen while reciting mantras. This eagerness to secrecy created the tension. As I noticed the rising of this sensation in the days before this, I know that the difference lies in my response to the sensations. Today I gave in to the fear of being seen as weird etc. And because of that I started experience more fear as a result.

This whole process is so interesting to watch unfolding as it is happening. Yes, there is discomfort. But I don’t have to fight it. The real nasty feeling is all due to the labeling of the mind. The knot in itself is neither good nor bad. My resistance to it is what keeps it in place.

So I’ve come to the conclusion yet again that much if not everything I hold for my ‘I’ is actually made up out of resistance (to what was and to what is). The past can only live on in the present, so a lot of what has happened in the past survives because of my resistance to it – whether on a conscious or sub/unconscious level.

As I remember hearing Adyashanti say, there will be resistance in the progress. But don’t resist the resistance.

So I let go of my efforts to ease the discomfort and instead shed a bit of light in the darkness. I have to come out of hiding.
Yes, I am a person engaged in spirituality.
Yes, I practice Buddhism.
And as a note to myself: and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!