Sitting on the balcony of a dear friend in Cologne, I feel at ease, rested and peaceful. Shariah has decorated and filled the balcony with the most beautiful flowers and pots, pillows and artworks. It overlooks an inner yard where high beech trees now show their green summer glory and in those trees the blackbirds and finches sing their songs that echo across the yard.. between these high buildings. There’s a fountain in the pond that adds the sound of flowing water to the serene picture. There are three tortoises that live in the pond.
Surrounded by such peace apparently I also feel at peace. I feel good, great and alive. We came here to Germany and elsewhere in Europe to meet family and friends, to spend time in the summer nature and to do some busking. We started playing yesterday, in Cologne city centre, and are happy about the experience, though it felt so hectic in the big town, all the people..
Apart from what is “happening”, just this moment feels at ease. Yet I also know that the next moment something may arise that disturbs it somehow.
Quite a lot in the past few days have we been pondering on the problems people have. Most everyone I’ve met in the last weeks, before departing South Africa and after arriving here, have had their share. Problems, troubles, dilemmas.. self doubt, shame or guilt. Questioning the whole meaning of life and sorrow over the futility of current actions. There is feeling trapped, or unable to control something that is happening, or worry, and worry over worry..
We listen to each other and offer a listening ear or supporting hug. Some people dwell alone in their own dilemmas. Yet for everyone there are at least little moments when the dilemma doesn’t seem so big or overwhelming. Moments or long times of laughter, lightness, and full love. Even moments when you ask, how could I ever feel otherwise?
Surrounded by these high buildings or walking in the streets of Cologne, I look at people’s faces, see their way of moving or listen to their words… there’s happiness, and then sometimes trouble or doubt.
These we all have. I may feel at ease now but yet here I go, worrying over worries and pondering on problems. 🙂 A little bit useless, but, if there’s something there to learn..
We realized just the other day now that humans are like pigs. It was Mekhala who offered this after a friend mentioned how she thinks he is the seemingly most content, peaceful person she has met. And there have been more to think similarly, me included. It is like being pigs he suggested; now, we all have our mud around us. There’s always mud and grass, wet or dry mud. We may try and avoid the mud, run away from it, or ignore it.. pretend it’s not there. Or, we may roll in it and take something of the experience. Maybe it helps to shed off something old and create space for new. You don’t exactly have to enjoy rolling in the mud, but you might as well accept it.
In some of the Eastern religious traditions it has been believed the way to “happiness or peace” is through full acceptance of what is, and also, through full entering into the very depths of human being.. facing all that there is and leaving nothing into hiding. There is this thing called a charnel ground where a body is left after a person dies. Some people would meditate in these very places, in order to face fully all the aspects of life. Death, living, sorrow and laughter.. they would be reminded of their “inner monsters” and find a way to deal with all of it. This very theme inspired Shariah to write a song, about the monsters inside that we might wish to face in our lives should we wish to find some peace. So these themes have been on many of our minds’ a lot lately.
So, it has been suggested by many that a happy life is a continous journey of climbing to the highest peaks and needing to go down as well. Or needing to roll in the mud every now and then. Each situation can be seen as an enemy or as an ally, and something to grow from. And this is up to oneself.
So easily said, and we wonder what the key is. Some say the key lies in the here and now. So it is a solution of a little moment. This moment is the only moment we ever have, some say. No matter how we are able to think of the past that is gone or keen to think of the future that may never come, we can only choose every single moment our way of being or feeling the world if that is the only moment we ever have. Without ever forgetting the past or the future.
This can be such a relieve if one embraces it. I can be happy, free and well right now. No matter what is going on in my life I am actually standing here, breathing. What do I wish to concentrate on at this very moment; perhaps the only moment of my life?
Yet the solution is also not a quick fix. Even with the above in mind, the troubles may creep back. And desperation, sometimes; what do I do wrong? Many would give up; but what is there in life that we get good at that doesn’t take practice? Breathing, maybe someone would say, but if we believe certain teachings, we may come to think that even breathing can be done with greater presences, fullness and ease which can enhance the whole quality of life. So, even if a great key to dealing with dilemmas is to accept them and roll in them and decide to view it all in the here and now, peacefully, it is a solution that need to be chosen all over and over again.
Even when greatly practiced, the lows will come, and the great highs.
Yet with the practice of how to be with it, it doesn’t have to be an enemy, but it is merely another face of life. This life, these lives, that are all equally wonderful and magnificent, no matter what happens in them or how long they last. We do all belong on this Earth and this world after all, if nothing else.
The nice thing about this practice is that one can do it anywhere and anytime. There is no place in this world where one doesn’t access oneself.. one could always choose how to look, see or hear; or how to sit, stand, walk or even talk. And furthermore one could consider how to feel inside about something that is taking place; acknowledging what is, but realizing that what we make of it, then, is somehow a product of our minds. Living this way, one doesn’t have to be a victim of the world, but you have great responsibility, and thus also great, great possibility.
This is my view influenced by persons, views and stories from along the way, of how we might deal with things of our lives. There is no better or worse, as far as I know.
And so here I sit, releasing the tension of pondering on problems, and feeling so utterly problemless that it is like there never can be problems again. But that is an illusion, and I am happy with that, ready to practice, and grateful for what is right now.
Wondering about if I will get to take some photos to share through this blog at some point again! Perhaps. For now, for that who may read these words, you will have to rely on your own special imagination to picture a summer-like Cologne, with us playing music and admiring the wonderful life in it!