Not much to say about this one… except maybe that finding this particular fractal struck me somewhat. It has something to say, I feel.
There are things hidden so deep within us that we don’t even know them to be there. It’s unsettling, to say the least, when they suddenly start showing themselves. But knowing oneself is a first step. Not towards leaving the past behind, but towards integrating it into one’s being.
For me, art has always been the vessel that takes me both towards the divine and towards the depths within myself. Even if the journey can be painful at times, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
A spider glides down from the ceiling and lands on my desk.
I’m afraid, I want to kill this little creature; she dares to suggest the possibility of being able to hurt me. What if she bites me? While I am sitting and writing, lying and sleeping; I won’t share my home with a poisonous animal.
Fear is the strangest thing. It makes us ruin our life and that of others, desperately trying to avoid precisely such ruin. But it’s not the only option.
Without hesitation, she makes her way towards my keyboard, walks straight over it, and hangs herself from the border of the desk, where she remains suspended in the air.
I’m taken aback, I gaze at this little creature; she dares to suggest the possibility of beauty, wonder and compassion. While I am sitting and writing, lying and sleeping, I share my home with an angel.
She poses herself on the ground. A sound outside distracts me. When I look again, she’s gone.
Power doesn’t have to be violent; it can be soft and gentle. It doesn’t have to be about domination; it can be about respect – for yourself and others. Tap into that source of inner power. Stripped of false associations, it is a beautiful thing to behold.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted non-fractal stuff on this blog, but I feel that I need to make myself publicly accountable for this.
In the month of september, I will eat a 100% vegan diet.
There. I’ve been considering to change my diet for quite a while, but there was always something “more important” I chose to focus my energy on. One of the biggest obstacles of eating a non-standard diet is that the entire social structure is constantly pressing against your decision. A couple of years ago, I tried going vegetarian, but found it hard to keep up mostly because I had a normal job back then, which added even further to that pressure with lots of lunches, meetings, and events.
Early this year, when I finally gave up my job to become a freelancer, I meant to give it another try, but somehow always kept pushing it off. The excuse was that I wanted to get used to my new working environment first, and the inertia generated by that decision carried the habit forward another 6 months unquestioned.
I’m putting an end to that right now. It took a not-so-gentle reminder popping up in my feed reader, even if I already knew all the arguments for making a switch. My reasons for this decisions are three-fold:
1) Nutritional: Some people say that humans are made to eat meat; others say that we are vegans by nature. I’ve eaten meat my entire life, so it’s only fair to see how it’s like to be on the other side of the debate.
2) Environmental: Do you seriously think that deforestation happens because you printed one too many pages of paper? That’s absurd. The paper industry plants trees just as fast as they raze them. Forests recede when cows take their place. Eating fruits and vegetables is orders of magnitude more efficient than eating meat, simply because a very low percentage of the energy animals consume is actually converted to meat, the rest being lost to side effects such as growing bones, keeping their body temperature and emitting greenhouse gases.
3) Ethical: It’s nice to pretend you’re not responsible for the things you are (directly or indirectly) paying other people to do for you, but that just isn’t true, and I’m not willing to ignore it any longer. I’m not against eating meat per se, but rather against the horrible practices of the industries involved (see video in the link above). If my personal ethics prevent me from mercilessly torturing and killing animals, they must also prevent me from allowing others to do it on my behalf.
I don’t know whether this experiment will turn into a permanent change. I’m giving myself permission to return to my old habits after september is over.
This post is part of Blog Action Day, and it’s already the second time I’m participating. This year’s topic is poverty. If you have any thoughts of your own you wish to add, I encourage you to participate on your own blog while there’s still time.
Poverty is nothing more than a state of lack in relation to your frame of reference. Defining oneself in relation to the possessions one doesn’t have is a self-perpetuating cycle through which one can never be whole.
The problem is that most people don’t have any idea of what they actually want.
This lack of wholeness leads to much frustration, which is then fed back into the cycle, continuing forever in this futility. Most of the time, what a particular person is looking for is something much subtler and harder to define than money. Money only serves as a bad substitute, something which socially conditioned values put front and center for no other reason than the utter inability of coming up with a more creative alternative.
I for one am not at all surprised or displeased at the recent turn the economy has taken. This “crisis” just exposes the fact that a large percentage of people are still stuck going round and round, trying to apply the same solutions to their intangible problems over and over again. An evidently unsustainable model which was bound to come crashing down eventually.
Only through awareness can this larger problem of humanity be overcome. This century puts the tools of communication at our disposal in a way which greatly helps this process. As more and more people start finding alternate ways of living, the entire social model of what wealth means is starting to change.
The solution doesn’t lie in donating to poor kids in Africa once in a while and then looking the other way; it lies in fundamentally changing the way society as a whole perceives money. As soon as the people who are not in direct need start to care more about sharing than having, about giving than receiving, the rest will take care of itself.
And in the process, it’s getting easier for those who wish to lend a helping hand to people who are really in need, right now, to do so.
So, even if things are looking bad on the surface, now is a better time than ever for us as a whole to overcome poverty once and for all. I won’t ask you to run off and donate some cash; just take some time tonight and think deeply about the role money plays in your life, and how your attitude is affecting the collective consciousness of humanity. That is what will ultimately bring about change for all of us.
I have always known – at a mental level – that there are divine aspects present in our lives, no matter how I specifically choose to perceive and name them. One or several forces, entities, things I can hardly describe in words that make sense, surround me at all times. Most of the time, however, I somehow manage to ignore this fact, living my life as if there was absolutely nothing special happening.
That changed somehow after watching one of Stephens latest video post about Ho’oponopono, which made me (re-)discover this fascinating concept (I don’t know how to pronounce it either!). It really hit me on a gut level that our own connection to divinity is not something we vaguely know to exist, but something that can be lived with every cell of our bodies, every moment. This connection is one of the most amazing gifts of this life – the ability to just let go of our pains and be filled with love and inspiration by just asking for it.
In my case, this connection to the divine manifests itself in the form of digital art, words, ideas; but it’s something different for every person. So what about you? Do you nurture this connection to the divine in your life? How does it express itself physically? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
Slade has done it again. He took a simple concept and put it into words in a way that has deep implications. His latest post, Spinning your Story, talks about how we can transform the stories of our own life simply through a new perspective. The Stories that No Longer Serve You, the original piece that inspired his follow-up, is also purely magical. These two posts were the firestarters of what I’m writing about here, the changes I’ve been going through recently.
Our continual experience of this life is nothing more but a single moment traveling along the axis of time, changing at every interval. That is our prime human quality, our ability to evolve, to move away from the things we no longer wish for, to align our lives with our self declared purpose. In short, spinning our stories.
I used to be – still am, to some extent – a violent person. My emotions have carried me away more times than I can count, bringing me right to the edge, thankfully allowing me to stop right before irreversibly crossing the line. But after much searching within me for the cause of this seemingly unwanted behaviour, I came to a baffling conclusion: the energy behind these impulses I have felt isn’t something bad; it’s actually the source of my passion, my inspiration. The violent states I have found my mind in are too often just a way for my spirit to express a primal, creative urge that I haven’t really given an opportunity to come forward through other means.
I realize that I am able to transform the violence I feel into something different. Chaos can be destruction, but also creation – ultimately, both of these opposites join in a single circle of endless transformation. Physical matter continually changes form; oceans to clouds to rain to rivers, and so on. The same also applies to the matter of the mind, the heart and the spirit.
Now I finally have an explanation for those spontaneous bursts of passion overcoming me from time to time, those rare but overwhelmingly strong urges to create art, causing actual, physical pain to me if I don’t drop everything to follow them to the artistic extremes they will inevitably lead me.
That is what happened to me that other day when I made a fractal that expressed pure violence, an energy that burst out of me right onto the digital canvas, interrupting the midst of a regular, dull day at my job. It urged me to say what I couldn’t find words for at the time, releasing a vital passion from deep within me, making me feel like my spiritual lifeblood was being splattered across the screen.
It’s hard to explain if you haven’t lived it. My spirit was screaming, forcing me sit up and take notice; Social inhibitions and self-imposed responsibilities faded away, leaving room only for pure creative instinct. A long confined energy was liberated in the midst of a whirlpool of conflicting feelings. It was simultaneously maddening and exhiliarating.
Since that day, I have been consciously spinning my story, transforming a life of frustration, stress and repressed creativity into that of an artist on the path to self-discovery. Choosing to gain my bread elsewhere allows me to fully delve into my work without tainting it by thoughts of profit and marketability. I am starting to develop a sense of compassion, total acceptance of all the elements present in my life. I finally feel that I am beginning to know what I stand for. I am decyphering the message, and if there was only one thing I could pass on to others in my lifetime, it would be this:
All human beings are capable of creative expression. Rather than having you admire my art, I’d rather inspire you to make your own, whatever form it takes. Not all works of art are free, but Art, the right to create it, to feel it, to express it, is. Art is larger than any category we could slap on it. It’s so much more than just painting, sculpting, writing or making movies. It is a way of life, a way to express our divine spark in every action we take.
This has always been the underlying current of my blog, but now I have finally found the clarity to put it into words. This is a rather long post by my standards, and to wrap it up, I’d like to share with you a new spin I’ve put on a fractal you’re already familiar with, mixing up the same ingredients into something totally different, yet strangely familiar. I am calling it peace.
Today, I am participating in a group writing project brought to us by three awesome monks:
To participate, just follow any of the links. Sticking around their sites and reading the other entries is also definitely worthwhile.
So, what is compassion anyway? The main problem with some definitions I have read is that they are always linking compassion to certain feeling of love towards others, as if it was something reserved only for those high up in the clouds on their spiritual paths, devoting their lives exclusively to the wellbeing of humanity. None of the above monks is actually guilty of that, it’s just a general impression I have, certain connotations that always seem to be floating around the word’s meaning.
So how do I define it? Compassion, for me, is about one simple thing: allowing, instead of trying. It is accepting situations as they are, and just letting things flow naturally. Yes, in such a state a deep empathy for all living beings arises within, but that is just a byproduct of allowing oneself to see the world from a natural and accepting viewpoint. Compassion is also about embracing creativity, expressing the self naturally without any restraints.
But it seems I’m losing myself in the clouds (again). Time to get a little bit more grounded, and tell you something that happened to me recently that made me think a lot about the true meaning behind compassion.
A couple of days ago, I found a couple of old photos in my wallet, which I took a little over a year ago to renew my passport. The photo in and of itself had nothing in particular: just a shot of my head on the mandatory gray background.
When I really started looking at the photo, though, I noticed something that really surprised me. I was seeing a serious and boring face as I expected, but the eyes staring back at me looked incredibly hollow and pale.
I had already been starting to forget where I was in my life just one year ago and how much I’ve seen, learned and done since then, so it was really scary to see my own face with that look of quiet rage and despair I have become so used to seeing in others whenever I take the public transport, but which has not been present on my face for what seems like forever. I was totally baffled and didn’t know how to react to all the memories that suddenly filled my head and vividly reminded me of my life just one incredibly short year ago.
“If you knew what I know now” I told this past self I was staring at, “You wouldn’t have that look on your face.” Really, it’s true. The tiny spark of light that was hidden deep inside back then would have been just a tad more visible, playing around in my head merrily even as I watched my life crumbling to pieces around me.
“It doesn’t really matter, though,” I went on saying, “because things shouldn’t have happened any other way. Right now, I’m exactly where I want to be.”
And with those final words of acceptance, the last bit of resistance I was still carrying around from that time just started melting away, giving way to a feeling of awe, to the pure wonder of even being alive. Letting go of the part of me that wished things had been different, embracing all that happened without bitterness, allowing myself to just stand there, photo still clutched in my trembling hands, a feeling of pure love and gratitude surging from within me, now that is something I can truly call compassion. It is something that naturally flows outwards to everyone I have (and haven’t) met on this journey which continues to amaze me every day.
If all of us could feel what I felt there for just an instant, the world would indeed be a very different place. If you are finding yourself in a tough situation right now, just look forward and ask your future self: “Why the hell is this happening to me?” Just be patient. In that future, I’m sure you will have your answer.