Ganesha: Replacing ignorance by wisdom and unconciousness by awareness

Ganesha:

Replacing ignorance by wisdom

and unconsciousness by awareness


Ganesha Rishikesh

 

The symbolism behind Ganesha got me interested while walking past this statue today. I wondered why  it has the head of an elephant. Apparently Ganesha’s dad, Shiva, shopped his previous head off, because he was in the way but he did not realize it was his son. So when he realized he found the body of his sun a new head and so Ganesha was born.

Often these Indian legends have a big meaning behind them so I started to read into this one. Apparently one of the meanings/ symbolisms of this story is that ignorance has to be overcome by knowledge. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. On Wikipedia the word ignorant is described as an adjective that describes a person in the state of being unaware, and can describe individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts, or individuals who are unaware of important information or facts. Aren’t we all like this in some aspect of our life? For example towards how we treat the environment, towards our feelings, towards what we eat, towards relationships? Often we judge ourselves or others because we do not understand or don’t have the information to understand. We go back to concepts (ideas in our head) of what is going on based on what happened in the past, instead of directing our attention to the full scope of the here and now. 

Especially when something is difficult we prefer to go into a state of not allowing, self protection, in the form of a coping strategy that makes us able to stay comfortable on the short term at least.

In addition to this there is the tendency for a self confirming bias, in other words we select information, memories, interpretations and pay attention to things that confirm our previous views and experiences. This can turn into a cause for regret.

For change to happen and to have compassion for ourselves and others we need to get in touch with new and wider perspectives and educate ourselves with study, introspection and becoming aware of and questioning our own behaviours and truths. At the same time investing in a deep understanding of those around us.

In other words we need to learn to pay attention to and open up to the here and now fully. That means to be fully aware of our body’s, feelings, thoughts and what is happening around us, even if this is sometimes uncomfortable or painful.

To become wiser we must listen more and talk less. Accept more (on an experiential level) and resist less. In this way we can become more conscious so that we can make better choices.

No mud no lotus 💐

 

Be the chessboard!

Be the chessboard

Inside your head there is this eternal chess game, that you could play until you get wrinkles and become old. It 35078300_10156212378470944_6110640642797338624_omight be more useful to realize that you are not your feelings and thoughts. When we identify less with the mind we can start living the life we want no matter what thoughts and feelings come up on the way. You don’t need to feel different before you can start walking the path of your heart…

Stop playing the white versus black game in your head and start to walk in the direction of your long term values. Because white will never win, maybe for an instant or so. If we can do what we want and not care so much about who wins, we kind of become like the chessboard.

There is so much more possible then. Avoidance of negative feelings and thoughts on the short term can get us of the path of what we really value on the long term..in other words: feel the fear and do it anyway <3

 

Surrendering to who you are

Surrendering to the “I am”

Aren’t you like the water in the river?

Holding onto water doesn’t make sense

and pushing water away neither

All that can be done is to surrender to this river called life

All the coming and goings..

…embrace them with awareness… this is you

I wrote this poem a year ago in Rishikesh while watching the river Ganges and while attending Mooji’s satsangs.

With this poso-who-are-youem I’m trying to say that the “selfs” that we often identify with for example the body, the mind etc. are fluid, it does not make sense to hold on to any versions of it. It also raises the question who is suppose to be holding on to it as the something that is nature fluid can’t hold on to something else that is fluid. At the same time to hold on to pleasant experiences and push unpleasant ones away,  is an illusion and discouraging peace.

I think we do not control this river called life, I suspect this movie might be predetermined, so there is not much to do, but a lot to “BE”. This is pointing to a spiritual practice of not identifying oneself with the body nor mind and not to be affected by the nature of it’s experiences. In other words the invitation is: See what happens.

In addition to this, experiential avoidance of “what is” can create more suffering than is already inherent to this experience called life. Our inner and outer reality is constantly changing, comings and goings. We can live with more peace if we realize who we really are: awareness of awareness. Surrendering to the fact that change is inherent to reality.

But is this “surrendering” something that can be done? Or is it something that is? Or does this just happen as well and if so, can it be observed? Because who or what is it, that is surrendering? I start to come to an little understanding of this, but to Talk the talk, is different from walking the walk, but let’s see what happens ;-). I assume that the path and the one walking it are not separate and in that case there is nowhere to go and no one to be, but here and now.

Inspired by Mooji, Sri Ramana and a friend.

Loving yourself at the start of the Route de Santiago de Compostella (the way of the stars)

A young man covered in glitters after the Bilbao fiestas on one side and a girl who seems to be concerned with her profile pictures on facebook and whatsapp on the other side. Sitting on this bus from Bilbao towards Pamplona ,where I transfer to the starting point of the French way of the camino, tears spontanuasly start running down my cheeks. In this moment I sence a tremendous amount of gratitude to all the circumstances and people who brought me here, to be where and who I want to be. 

Thank you to my friends and family who supported me in more ways than they might realize but also a thank you to the ones who challenged me… 

Especially I want to say thank you to you Lukas Figge, as you are a good friend as well as my Camino coach. Last week you made sure I didn’t drop out at the last moment. As I was offered an immediate job in South-Africa last week, but to do it, I would have to call the camino off. He also inspired me to ask myself deep spiritual questions during this walk. 

The Camino de Santiago Compostella is also referred to as the way of the stars.

You can use your time here it to look literally at the stars. But what attracts me more about this pilgrimage is that you can develop and appreciate  the stars within you, by learning to listen, look and be present again.

I was thinking that I would have loved to do this guided by my dog , Nelson, who now lives with his new family. The truth is if he was still with me there was no way we would have been able to travel like this… India, Indonesia, Nepal would have not happened. This was why we had to go different paths. A goodbye, does not mean disappearing from my heart. So many to love and so little time to share. The people who take care of Nelson are very happy with and good to him and so I feel a lot of connection and gratefulness. 

ANYWAY… I would love to take many of you along on my way. This camino can be nurturing in many ways, from a physical to a mental perspective. This is my motivation to go and I wish that to anyone…the time and conditions to connect to yourself.

I also know that I am just as you a dependent part of the universe as I am influenced and only exist by the interactions and relationships to everything else and everyone, even the ones that seem little. There is no independent me. You do not need to use psychedelic drugs to figure that out. STOP BREATHING or drinking and voila.. 

I am all those little pieces and conditions together. So I can only interbe. You influenced me by relating and by doing so you became  a part of the ever changing interbeing person I am right now.

To summarize: I am the universe, from my thoughts, emotions, my body and everything else there is to experience, nothing is really independent. They refer to this as emptiness in Buddhism. 

My mind does like to fantasize about and identify with an independent actor, called Susan. This is where our bullshit of arrogance or so called low-self-esteem comes from. Yeah really great if things go well we say that is me! And we feel really bad if things go wrong often explained as: that is me, my fault. WISER would be to say there is no independent me, so why identify, the only thing to really identify with is the whole universe. Suffering partly comes from that wrong concept of self.

I think it is a very confusing concept though, is there a free will or something like your own responsibility if everything in a way is under control of a bigger whole? 

Then the only right thing to do in a way is to be present and experience this movie that is not under our control. Our actions, thoughts etc are just kind of happening, although we have the illusion  to choose them. 

Lately I started to really realize thay if one way or door is closed for me right now then the universe is guiding me somewhere else. It doesnt mean I am not capable or worthy, it means that way is right now not my way. This is true for me when it comes to jobs as to relationships. I can only show up for what I desire but then surrender for what is. My mind likes to come up with some story’s and explanations about the things that are kind of happening right now. So it spends a lot of time in the past and the future, but how can that be the point.

No matter what path you are on right now the biggest challenge for most of us is to love and trust ourself unconditionally and not making happiness dependent on our conditions. In a way this is loving and trusting the universe. 

To love is to be present with what is and therefore with all that is. If you can be present with all you are including all your feelings and thoughts, than it is also easier to be present with all other stuff. In the end all that is is represented in thought and direct sense experiences  anyway. Central to it all or the whole is you as consciousness. 

Not that I have answers to all this. What is it to love yourself? How is it done? How to trust yourself and so also the universe despite our previous conditioning and habit patterns? Questions to ask myself during my walk.

What comes up in my mind right now is simple: food: love yourself by eating right. Starting with awareness of what you eat as you really become what you eat. Considering the consequences of consuming excessive sugar or alcohol and the wisdom of yoga philosohy I would say: What you eat is reflected in your minds status! Your food is not independent of you and you are not independent of your food. You are connected to your food’s production proces, and by eating you relate to the whole, not just to yourself, so be mindful of what you eat. Stuffing yourself with processed garbage or eating things that hurt the environment is like hurting yourself. 

Loving yourself is maybe also taking care of your body by exercising, taking sufficient rest and to not push it over its limitations.Nobody else can do that for you, you have to connect to what your body says it needs.

What you open your mind to when it comes to media and the people you choose to spend time with might as well be related to loving yourself in a certain way. What media and people help you to accept yourself and to be present with all that you are?  With awareness even the challenging people can help you to love yourself.

Loving yourself is also listening to yourself by spending enough time to become present of what is in you. Meditation, yoga practice, paint, travel, dance, walk whatever works…

What are you doing with your time? Does this reflect loving yourself?

LOVING YOURSELF IS LIVING FROM YOUR PASSIONS! Especially important is to become aware of the heart connection as to me this is the place where the universe speaks to me about it’s plan with me. The things I have done of which my mind expressed it’s doubts while my heart loved it, brought me to the most wonderful experiences. AND ISNT THIS THE POINT OF EVERYTHING: EXPERIENCING JOY!

If we are all waves in an ocean of conciousness, this universe, than maybe the heart is the way to the WiFi connection, giving us the information we need to choose our path. 

But what if bad habits come up and you do not manage all that? What if you do not manage to eat well, listen to your heart, take care of your body, stop overusing facebook? I asked myself these questions, otherwise I would not be writing all this.

First realize it was never you who came up with those habits, it is the universe, as you are interbeing, your thoughts and actions are of the universe. Do not identify when conditions are good. But also do not identify when conditions are bad.it is not you so when you set an intention and it is time, when the circumstances and conditions are right to change your habits it will come, step by step.

Your body, thoughts, feelings or actions are waves that come and go. You are only a wave of consciousness of circumstances and conditions coming together in this moment. Realizing this even in the worst moments of our lives when we for example experience intense grief, knowing this will also pass and also this is not you, might not stop your suffering but it will meet less resistance and by this there is more conciousness and momentum in the wave so it might be more intense but it will pass sooner. 

So walk, move, dance, let the universe live through you and love yourself by being present within the movement! This is the way of the stars.

It is harder to practice all this than to talk about it, I am writing this while I am trying to change habits again and again, there is no endpoint to loving yourself. 

In the mean time, this is written with my phone (sorry for the spelling) and it automatically keeps changing loving yourself into living yourself maybe that is right…

TODAY’S MAIN MESSAGE TO MYSELF AND SO TO THE UNIVERSE: Do not take yourself too seriously but see yourself as a fictiocharacter in this movie, riding this wave doing what you can…

So now I shut up and go walk. I will be walking around 35 days so until the beginning of October! See the map below.

The reversed warrior of happiness

Inspired by yoga philosophy I realized again that being present here and now is the point of everything.

I wrote something about this from the viewpoint of a yoga pose called reversed warrior:

The reversed warrior of happiness:

He is the one who realizes again and again that life is not about
the waves of happiness or suffering, that is what comes and goes.
Instead of looking for happiness in the ocean of conditions he realizes
happiness is found in the water that never changes, that has no conditions
there is a stillness, peace and bliss to be found in that water,
called equanimity, the only unchanging phenomena
of consciousness and presence
SAMATVAM
I am that
Aham brahma asmi
© Susan Schmeetz

the reversed warrior of happinesss

It is up to you, do you want to live as No-mad or a Yes-mad?

People who travel “outside”  can call themselves nomads. As a psychologist I see some subcategories, there is the inner nomad and the outer nomad. Somebody who accepts themselves fully including all kind of experiences within and without themselves I would call an inner nomad. My supervisor, a psychotherapist called Joep, joked about the name of my website. He said nomad psychologist is not the correct name. It should be Yes-MAD psychologist. Then we formed a new word: Yesmad… what the hell is that?

A nomad gone mad is one that lives in one place. That one place can be:

  • the outside condition: a geographical environment,
  • or the inside condition: living from one perspective or from one side of a polarity of feelings. In other words to avoid the rest of them. Or to be indifferent to other perspectives. The nomad has gone internally mad. He let’s himself be ruled by old programs of thoughts and emotions, a state of reactiveness instead of creation. In a way we are all partly in this state as we are in general not conscious of all our subconscious programs. If we would be, that would be enlightenment or a Buddha state of being…

Let’s call the nomad gone mad a “Yesmad”.

How to live life as a Yesmad:

Life lived within the containment of a box. The box is safe and secure, but it is closed. We feel as comfortable as in the first experiences of our lives, as Marc Steinberg would call it: the nice warm womb of the mother, where security is a premise, where food, shelter and everything is taken care of, no worries. The comfortzone!

It is kind of sweet but maybe there is not so much room for growth, dreams, for feeling alive, deep connections or adventure.

It is kind of experiencing the world from our memories as everything becomes routine, even the unexpected becomes expected. In fact there is not much room for new possibility’s and perspectives etc.

When we live the Yesmad life, we live from our conditioning and ideas about our earlier experiences: when we grow up we learn things about ourselves, about our environment, relationships, society, our feelings etc. It is like we have create outside the linesdownloaded software from the matrix, that keeps us in the box. Or referring back to the movie “The matrix”: the belief or programmed software in gravity makes us unable to fly.

The story’s or the interpretations of our past experiences determine how we react to the current situation, we build in safety programs or coping strategies to defend ourselves. These interpretations and behaviours become unconscious programs, which don’t get updated within the comfort zone, instead we experience the same thing over and over again, because we don’t allow the possibility for something new to happen. In our reality, we attract what we expect.

Not that you can or should blame yourself for this, it just happens, you haven’t had the awareness or the possibility to choose something else.

We make choices, decisions based on security and on how we feel and think. For example the situation is: I don’t get any job satisfaction in my current job, I think I am not good enough to get a new job, I feel unsatisfied and react from those programs or coping strategies for example by instead of applying for a new job, going home after work every night numbing myself with alcohol, food, gaming, or even drugs, as a consequence I feel even more useless and unsatisfied with myself.

The problem is also when you numb yourself, you do that to numb the “shitty” feelings, but you can’t be selective about what you are blocking out so you will also numb the “magic”.

The Yesmad life is a bit as if you choose to be death, to let your programs unconsciously run you and at the same time you numb yourself, in order not to feel.

Going for security to be able to survive, but in the end your will die anyway without having really lived.

The Yesmad life is ruled by avoidance of unpleasant feelings like fear, sadness etc. and holding an attachment to pleasant feelings.

One can only become really a yesmad or have a mental disorder if one doesn’t allow oneself to be present with what is and limits oneself to not experience anything outside the box.12573148_10207765920602176_186274734626841443_n-2

What is referred to as mental disorders in our society, are in my opinion symptoms of avoiding a certain experience and the identification with thoughts and emotions. This view is shared by Mark Williams, Steven Hayes, among other psychological researchers. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_avoidance)

We use ineffective strategies to not feel sad, angry or scared, while actually these emotions are a part of the normal spectrum of emotionality of our humanity. If we can experience these feelings consciously, so with awareness, then we are holding them in a space where we have the freedom not to act from an old program, but to update that.

 

To live this path you kind of choose to die as you have pushed the repeat button in your unconsciousness. I don’t refer to travelling or not travelling… but in general the life in which we choose not to challenge ourselves anymore as it feels comfortable…

 

How to live as a Nomad

gypsywoman

 

This is what my blog is about, how to live as a Nomad? On the other side of the polarity of a yesmad is the nomad. One without a home who moves around or travels freely without ties holding them back. Again you can be an internal or/and an external nomad:

  • External: not binded by a location.
  • Internal: living from many different perspectives and accepting the polarity of feelings. In other words to see your thoughts and feelings as experiences that come and go, that have no home or identity to land on, that doesn’t need to be controlled, identified with or resisted. As the feelings and thoughts (programs) don’t control who you can be right now. They don’t control your actions! Be free from your programs, instead of reacting start creating! In matrix terms, instead of believing in gravity, start flying!

 Life starts at the end of your comfort zone…The internal nomad is the one who doesn’t let himself be controlled by his old programs, but the one who wants to learn new things and ways of being, gain new experiences and perspectives on yourself and life. Although the software update will be painful. When we start moving outside our comfort zone into the panic zone, where the magic happens, then difficult feelings and thoughts will surely come up. In fact you might loose track of who you are, as if you are not your thoughts and feelings then who are you?

My advice to someone who wants to live more according to a nomad lifestyle verse a yesmad lifestyle is to be scared, cry, be angry, think those old thoughts that kept you in the cage for so long. And start walking anyway. Don’t try to push them away, but try to carry those feelings very close to you while you start making decisions from your heart, from your light. Avoidance of difficult feelings and thoughts on the short-term will keep you away from what you really want in the long-term. Embrace them even if they are difficult and see that you are bigger than your pain. Letting go doesn’t mean not feeling them, it means you are having your feelings and thoughts instead of them having you. Osho says it in this way: watch, let the mind run, let the mind be filled with thoughts; you simply become the observer. One day by watching, the observer will disappear. Add mindfulness to this proces and your life will for sure be more colorful! 

That’s what I call a NOMAD!

colorfulmind