Posts Tagged ‘Adyashanti’

Befriending a tumour

Day -29 Report by the Red Cap

So, here we are, me and my “dummkopf” companion, trying to come to grips with the doctor’s diagnosis and verdict: “You cannot escape this one. You can postpone it for a short while, but we have to remove the tumour or else you will end up in a wheelchair.”

Like a pregnant teenage girl, you cannot run away from this one. So, what do we do? We can rage, we can cry, we can pray, we can go and sit in a corner and feel sorry for ourselves, but we know none of this will make the evil thing sitting pretty in the 8th Thoracic vertebra (or T – 8) go away.

The only alternative is to accept it, to accept “what is”, to accept life in both its good times and its inevitable bad times. Nobody ever promised you only good times in your life. If that is what you hope for you are a fool. Pain is inevitable, (psychological) suffering as a result of physical pain is optional. (“There is no birth of consciousness without pain” said  Carl Gustav Jung).

We decided on the alternative; to accept the diagnosis and acknowledge the blighter causing the problem. We will befriend it/him/her. We will talk to it/him/her. We will be mindful of its presence day and night, and we will talk to it, calm it down and try to decipher the message it is trying to convey to us … if there be such a veiled message in this messy and painful affair.

And that is indeed what we are doing. What started out as a very painful, at times even unbearable suffering about three years ago, has turned into a new way of being, a new way of doing life. The way it used to work was; Little Tommy Tumour would wake us up at three in the morning with a pain so severe that it left my poor moron friend nauseous and on the verge of screaming in torturous frustration. The ritual then was to grumble and moan and turn from side to side and hope that the pain will miraculously go away. After about ten minutes of this the help of painkillers (even morphine) was called on. The only thing to do after the painkillers were taken was to wait for the numbing effect to kick in, and then followed a restless sleep till morning.

But after the last visit to the good doctor we decided on the new strategy, we started to befriend little Tommy Tumour. We started to talk to him and started to feel grateful for waking us up at three or four in the morning. Every morning now we say good morning Tommy, thanks for waking us up. We see that you are not feeling too well again this morning. You are kicking and screaming down there, begging for your meds but we must take care that you do not get hooked on the stuff. Hang in there, we will get to that in good time.

Then we quietly get up and go to the spare bedroom so we will not disturb the other people in the house. Here we will walk up and down, five paces North and the five paces South up and down, all the time talking to the our little obstinate friend until the pain subsides enough for step two in the ritual which is to sit down on a low folding chair with a cushion on it and start to meditate for the next fifteen or twenty, or even sixty minutes.

And that is why we are so grateful towards Tommy. He is indeed affording us a time to be still, a time to contemplate and to meditate, a way to live more consciously during each day. This must be the brutal kind of grace that Adyashanti is talking about all the time. Or maybe the Gnostic Jung’s Abraxis in action. We are going with the flow, not resisting “that which is”.

We talk to him all day. We told him that we are impressed by his cleverness to divert the pain away from himself by kicking the old man in the right side just below the liver, causing pain in the whole area and implicating respectively the liver, then the pancreas and then the colon as the bad guys in the story and in this way fooling the doctors who scanned, x-rayed, poked and even peeked with a camera inside the colon and stomach  for two years before they could find the real culprit sitting high up in the spinal column while causing havoc way down below its nesting place.

We told him that he has been caught in the act, accused and tried justly and the unanimous verdict of the jury of a specialist panel of doctors was death by surgical removal for causing harm to, and attempted murder of his host. We assured him that we do not hold any grudges against him, in fact we will try to make the rest of his stay as comfortable as possible by supplying enough drugs to keep him happy.

This weekend we are taking him/it on vacation. We are going to an old haunt of the family. They used to go there over the Christmas holidays about 50 years back!! Bokkraal is the name of the resort/hide-out. The is a small waterfall, deep valleys, huge rock formations and deep natural pools to swim in.

I will keep you updated on the progress of my companion and his new friend Tommy Tumour.


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2017; Ons Annus Horibilis

Eintlik was elke een van hulle sedert omtrent 1995, in die beroemde woorde van Liesbet die koningin van daardie klein, miserabel, nat ou eilandjie, ʼn annus horibilis vir ons persoonlik … en dan praat ek nie eers oor die politiek nie, dit is ʼn heel ander storie, ʼn nagmerrie wat die Koningin se woorde nie naastenby kan beskryf nie.

Van tyd tot tyd het alles inmekaar gedon….., ek bedoel geval. Hierdie jaar 2017 van onse Liewen Heer was nie anders nie, en hier kan ons in-zoom op Julie maand, ons eie persoonlike Lulli horibilis. Dit het wel `n aanloop gehad, dalk `n soort van waarskuwing dat stormweer op pad was. Eers is dit Ma se skoothond Mia, die baba in die huis wie se lewensdraad geknip word om haar uit haar pyn en lyding te verlos. Net daarna was dit Bonnie, ons Scotty wat dood is, en toe kom die episode in die hospitaal waar `n relatief eenvoudige prosedure lelik skeef loop en hierdie ouman amper die lepel in die dak steek.

Daarna is dit ons Ouboet wat skielik die tydelike met die ewige verwissel. Ek wou nog, sodra hy weer by die huis was van die hospitaal af, met hom gaan gesels het oor von Daniken en Desmond Morris, skrywers en idees wat hy oor my pad gebring het en wat `n groot invloed op my lewe en denke uit geoefen het. Toe gaan hy nooit weer huis toe nie. (meer…)

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Luister na die musiek terwyl jy Adyashanti se woorde oordink


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The last leg of the journey. A desperate race against time.

As usual, TZ is up early. Early means 4.30 in the morning. Normally he spends an hour in meditation before going for a brisk walk which is yet another exercise in mindfulness. But this morning there is an unusual urgency about him. Unlike his usual calm demeanour, he seems to be in a hurry to get going.

He hurriedly goes off to wake the moron up but finds the bed empty. He searches the rest of the apartment but there is no sign of the-seeker-after-eternal-truth. Going outside he finds us in the garden. The moron is sitting in the full lotus position under a tree with his backpack at his side … he is stark naked. Except for me, the famous Red Cap sitting on his balding scalp, he has no clothes on at all, not even shoes.

“What in the world is going on here?” asks TZ perplexed. “Why are you sitting here completely naked?”

I am so ashamed of this foolish companion of mine that I turn crimson red under the bright full moon.

“Did you not say yourself sir,” he retorts, “that if we want to go to God we must go completely naked or not go at all?”

“O Lord,” TZ moans softly. “Figuratively, I meant it figuratively as in empty, as in without any preconceived ideas, as in like an innocent child. Not without clothes! Please go and get dressed, and make sure you put on your hiking boots or else you will not make it even half way up the mountain. Hurry up, I’ll wait for you.” And as a sort of afterthought he adds, “and keep that Red Cap on your head, I think it stirs something good in you, something sensible.” (meer…)

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 In the shade of the mighty Mountain

“And the fire and the rose are one”

T.S. Eliot

Swellendam was founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1747 and named after the governor Hendrik Swellengrebel and his wife Helena Ten Damme. The townspeople were not happy with the way they were governed and soon they rebelled against the Dutch oppressors and declared themselves a Republic, indeed the smallest republic in the world at the time. But alas, they soon lost their brief independence when the English conquered the Cape and sent the Dutch packing. And naturally, being from rebellious Dutch and French stock (and being human, all too bloody human, obstinate and quarrelsome), they eventually rebelled against the English too.

We book into a guest house for the night to rest up before our final assault on the summit of our own Mount Sinai.

In this beautiful town the dear wife of our seeker after eternal truth joins us briefly. Mrs M is a level headed, strong woman who calls a spade a spade, and some ghosts by their first name.

It is still early in the day, so we set off to explore the historical sights of the town. We have lunch in a restaurant which used to be the Old Post Office, which was also the house of the postmaster, who was also the gaoler in yonder times. Next we visit the museum where you can see a lot of old tools used by the craftsmen of old, but TZ declines the invitation to join us on our little historical excursion. “There is no time,” he says. “Even history is an illusion,” and he wonders off to a secluded spot in the lush garden to sit in the shade of a majestic old oak tree to meditate.

“There is time, lots of it,” queries my deluded master. “We have all day to do whatever we please.”

TZ just shakes his head and smiles benevolently at his reluctant student and then wanders off.

Across the road is the old Drostdy, home of the first magistrate of the Swellendam district. This is an impressive building in the old Cape Dutch style, now also a museum open to the public. The receptionist/tour guide is a stern lady bent on the detailed transmission of historical facts to the unsuspecting tourist. “Interesting but too much information,” says Mrs M ever so sternly. “There is someone in the kitchen, it’s a man, do you know that?” Our talking bundle of historic information is taken aback and the incessant flow of information stutters to a halt.

“I … I, what … I mean who … yes I know. How do you know?” she asks incredulously. Suddenly she is a transformed woman. No more the formal by-the-book tour guide on auto-pilot, but a human being curiously interacting with another human being.

“I can see him, that’s how,” Mrs M replies dryly. “I don’t think he is very friendly, in fact he seems to be rather hostile?”

“Yes, you are right, there is something in the kitchen and it is not friendly, I am scared of it, but fortunately he never comes to this reception area and I do not go into the kitchen. I cannot see what it is, but I know it is there,” says our miraculously transmuted tour guide still in shock after the revelation that someone else could also see what she sees, or think she sees, or see what she suspects she sees. “But I don’t talk to other people about it, they will think I am mad and I will lose my job. I don’t want that,” she adds meekly, wringing her handkerchief and nervously wipe perspiration from her forehead.

“There is a picture of an old man against the wall opposite the kitchen. That is a picture of the man in the kitchen,” says Mrs M.

“Oh dear, oh dear,” says our psychic tour guide. “That is a picture of a former owner of the house long after it was used as a Drostdy, but long before it was turned into a museum.”

“Interesting,” murmurs Mrs M to herself. “I wonder why he is still hanging around. But tell me; while we were walking towards the Drostdy just now, you came down the steps from the buildings in the back. There was a boy with you, a boy with a hat. Who was it?”

“Oh boy,” our tour guide almost shrieks. “That one I can see. He is always in that building, it used to be a workshop in the time of the magistrate, the one the Drostdy was built for. The boy comes to me and walks with me when I am there, but he never comes with me to this building. He is rather carefree and seems to be busy all the time. What do you make of him?”

“He is about ten years old I’d say. He is dressed in Khaki shirt and short pants,” Mrs M replies. “I get the name Willem, yes it is definitely Willem, but nothing else. Curious, why would he hang around for more than two hundred years? They always amaze me, and sometimes even scare me.”

Me, the world famous Red Cap, is always amazed by these strange human beings. They are forever saying things that either don’t mean a damn thing, or that does not mean what you think they are saying, and then they habitually and vehemently deny that the things they said, that did not mean what they said, was what they meant in the first place. And THAT is scary! (meer…)

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The Red Cap and the Seeker After Eternal Truth Descends into the Low Country

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We leave the wilderness behind and travel west down the coast towards the Cape of Storms, not our final destination, but perhaps an apt description of things to come in our quest after truth.

We travel fast on the highway winding downwards towards a place called Little Brakriver, a lesser destination on our arduous, questing way to transcendence. It seems that we must first descend into the low country of sensual existence, before we can move into the high country, there perhaps first to meet Jung’s “burning one and growing one” before entering the void.

“Most of spirituality is a construction project. But enlightenment,” says Adyashanti, “is a demolition project.” This deconstruction project is nothing like Dirida’s deconstruction philosophy where he took things apart piece by piece to examine them and then tried to put them together again (He did it with Philosophy and couldn’t put it together again. He did it with religion and the church embraced him with vigour, and now, after the devastation, they are still trying to put it all together again). No, Adyashanti’s demolition is a deliberate breaking down of structures of knowledge and thinking, to rebuild it from scratch into something completely new, something that has always been there, even before time began.

Little Brakriver is not much of a town, but it is quiet and right next to the sea with a beautiful, unspoiled beach and not many people around. Being a town consisting mainly of holiday homes of rich upper-middleclass people, most of the houses stand empty for most of the year, which is of course a terrible waste, but regarded as normal in our abnormal society. The result is you have to drive to the next town (Great Brakriver) to get supplies, which is a bit of a bother. Our accommodation is a small flat called “The Beach Cottage”, which is quite a misnomer; it should have been called “The Cottage far from the beach”, because it is situated next to the railway line more than halve a mile from the beach. But we are not complaining, it is nice and clean and the owner is a friendly, helpful old lady, quiet and graceful in a country sort of way.

We unpack and then we walk down to the beach for a refreshing swim (says my moron); for our seeker after wisdom’s first serious session of meditation while the sun is setting in the west (says TZ).

We get to the beach and sit down on the sand, catching our breath after the brisk walk. After a moment my moron jumps up excitedly, pointing to a young girl coming out of the sea. “Just look at that,” he says. “Have you ever seen such beauty, such gracefulness in a girl in such a small bikini in your whole life? I think I will walk down there and talk to her, maybe I’ll get lucky,” he says smiling from ear to ear and start walking in her direction. “You stay here, I’ll be back shortly,” he says to me and chucks me down in the sand with his other belongings. Me, the famous Red Cap in the sand, on the beach! What utter disgrace!

“Don’t be stupid,” I shout after him. “She is young, she could have been your daughter. Come back here you moron and start acting your age!” I shout furiously after him, but he walks on, ignoring me. The desires of the flesh are a burning fire, and it drives the fool to his final humiliation, and onwards toward the inevitable dark night of his soul.

The fool struts down to the beach, tucking in his protruding middle age belly in a futile effort to look young again. He walks up to the young lady and start talking to her, no doubt flattering her and making a fool of himself. She smiles shyly, laugh at his stupid witticisms and then they start walking off down the beach and disappear behind some big rocks, still chatting and laughing. (meer…)

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One famous Red Cap and one Moron. Seekers after eternal truth.

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Our bags are packed. At the airport the green bird of Kulula is waiting to take us to the Fairest Cape, while I will be taking my moron deeper into the illusion that is life, and the sod is so happy he can wet his pants like an exited child. He does not know where he is going. He never does.

We started our little journey with Kierkegaad’s: “I stick my finger into existence – it smells of nothing. Where am I? Who am I? How did I come to be here? What is this thing called the world? What does the world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the thing, and now leaves me here?” and we intend to keep on poking at life and demand answers, (or demand to see the Director, like my obstinate, overly excitable moron usually does.)

On this journey we will have as trusted companion Roshi TZ, an honourable Zen master and expert on the writings of Adyashanti and his enlightened and enlightening wisdom. We are going to listen to “Emptiness Dancing”. Together with TZ we are going to try to wake the moron up. “Awakening,” says Adyashanti, “is the end of seeking, the end of the seeker, but it is the beginning of a life from your true nature. That’s a whole other discovery.”

But we have a problem, me and my wise companion. Our problem is that the moron, like all his fellow morons, do not know that they are asleep. They are under the illusion that they are wide awake, and the worst part is, they know it all, they know everything there is to know, or they will … one day. Sagacious as they are, the Universe can keep no secret from them, ever.

TZ pokes me in the ribs and says; “tell him”.

“Tell him what,” I ask.

“Tell him that my speaking to him on this trip is to shake him awake, not to tell him how to dream better. He knows how to dream better”.

“But I am awake,” says my moron agitated and promptly falls asleep, and stays asleep for the rest of the flight.

“How do we,” says TZ gravely, looking at my snoring companion “convince him that he is a living Buddha, the divine emptiness, the infinite nothing, in fact the human expression of oneness?” (meer…)

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