P N C O

Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation

Self-Improvement

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Self Improvement

Like so many of us, at one time I became somewhat obsessed with the idea that I could improve myself all the way up to enlightenment. I was convinced that I was here to make that realization and the best way to do it seemed to be improving myself on all levels. So I started reading a lot of philosophical and spiritual books. Also I started having some mysterious and unexplainable experiences which seemed to come from a different world. I was intrigued by my own success and it never came up to me that these things could just happen by themselves.

Alan Watts explained my situation to me in a video on self improvement. As a start, he pointed out that our whole educational system – and after that the business world – is only occupied with the idea of improving and growing. In school we get grades and degrees to show that we have learned something. But instead of seeing the learning as the real goal, the degree has become the goal in our society. So the curiosity of a child who just wants to learn about the world is seen as bad and is replaced by the insatiable mantra “improve yourself and you’ll become the best”.

The same goes for work. When we work because we like what we do, we tend not to focus on the money we earn with it. The money is not a goal in itself, but is a necessary good since you need money to survive and eat in this world. So far there is no problem with money. The problem arises when the money becomes the goal. The reason why you started working in the first place (e.g. because you like making good clothes) is pushed to the background and is replaced by the need to earn as much money as you can. Success is no longer measured by your ability to do what you really like doing, but instead is measured by the amount of money you can accumulate. More money means more improvement.

But it’s just an idea in our head. What if there is nothing to improve?  What if the world happens to be just as it is right here, right now? We’re in constant conflict with this idea. Because we feel the need to improve ourselves, we’re unconsciously telling ourselves that we’re not good enough. We think we need to overcome all our flaws in order to be a good person. But what if it is actually perfectly fine to have flaws? I’m not saying we should stick with old and toxic behavior; we should try to let go of the idea of improving ourselves.

Just look at growing up as a child. As a child, you’re not busy improving yourself and yet you grow. It’s a basic characteristic of human existence: you are born as a child and inevitably you will start to grow and learn. It’s part of being human. And it explains why we are so curious by our nature. If we can see that there is nothing to be improved, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with us at this moment, we can start to relax and breathe. We can start to observe the world in a new way. There is no need to look for something to be improved. Why make the world a better place, if it is ok right now?

To me this is a powerful mirror. If I look at my own situation; I think I want to help other people. What does this actually mean in the light of self improvement? It still reflects that I want to improve myself, helping other people being the disguise.  So I still believe at some level I need to improve myself in order to be whole. But where is me? If I look I can’t find it anywhere. The world seems to be rolling by itself just fine!

*The quote used in the image comes from the website https://www.tinybuddha.com

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11: Being one with nature

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Last weekend i did a course called Deep Ecology which is inspired by the work of Joanna Macy and Arne Naess. The following poem is all about my experiences of last weekend

Being one with nature

We come together
To share our concerns

Overwhelmed by our common fear
At first it is painful to admit
Will there be a future?

Speaking out our truth and worries is liberating
I am concerned about what we do to our planet
Why do we chose to remain ignorant
When profit comes before people and planet?

It is difficult to listen to what everybody has got to say
Despair, courageous words, anger and deafening silence
We ask for guidance and wisdom – what is happening right now
Is impossible to ignore at the same time too big to comprehend

Allowing all of this to be with us in the present
Opening to the totality of experience is a gift in disguise
Through pain and suffering comes space for joy and peace

I feel a strong connection with nature and the planet
Spending time contemplating in solitude
Realizing there is no true separation

Letting the heart of nature speak
I feel grateful to just be here

Being one with nature

 

 

 

Darth Vader

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darth-vader-klein

Spotted in Sydney 🙂
Nah.. just played a bit with photos from the Opera House in Sydney.. but the result does remind me of Vader..

And let’s be a little more true to the movie:
darth-vader-darker-klein

My first exposition!

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IMG_0226-2

Since last week 20 of my images are in an exposition at the office i work in Deventer. Very cool to see all these images come alive. As i could do the selection, i choose a variety of work. Some edited with photoshop and others from the time i first started to really do photographing. Wanted to show you ladies and gentlemen the photographs. The above image is the actual setting. Below is a gallery with all 20 photographs. You may recognize some of them, as i’ve posted them before.

Let me know what you think of the collection 🙂

 

City of Deventer

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This is part of the skyline of the city of Deventer in the east of the Netherlands. I’ll be working here starting next wednesday. Lovely city and a nice skyline. I’ll surely photograph this skyline more often in the coming months 🙂