Monday, September 29, 2008

Epilogue?

Life of a Traveller

He leaves and leaves behind or leaves to leave behind...

He enters a different world, a world he might not understand...

He has to practice patience, openness, trustfulnes and flexibility...

He has ideas and concepts on his mind but doesn't plan...

He has ideas and concepts on his mind but doesn't expect...

He is open and joyfully accepts whatever might unfold... he goes with the flow... confident that life will offer the best...

Desire gives way to acceptance... accepting whatever unfolds, accepting whatever is offered...

He lives right here, right now, an unattached and light way to experience life...

As he is free, a traveller, free in the physical and free in the mental world...


vox

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Going Back

Doha, Qatar


Nine months ago I left Iran... yet my heart never did!

Five hours from now I will be in Iran again... re-uniting with my heart...

This will be it... this will be my final trip...


vox

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Nothing Special

Vienna, Austria


Nothing special is happening...

Nothing?

Well, just... daily life...

That's what many people respond when they start comparing my traveler's life with theirs. Hmm...

So I'm in Vienna for a few weeks now and I am also living a daily life rhythm like most people around me.

Two nights ago I was hanging out with three of my best friends. It was not a very special night but it was very special...

You know what I mean?

It was very special, just hanging out with three of my best friends...

Or yesterday night I was invited at a dinner. I didn't know anyone other than the hosts and the friend I accompanied. We had some good food, good wine and good company. At around two we left. I was tired but we decided to have another drink...

Nice bar, good conversation... good being alive...

Going home an Arab was my taxi driver... I was experiencing a different world for a ten minute ride...

Business as usual, nothing special going on... but special...

Good night!


vox

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Into My Arms

Vienna, Austria


My last three weeks in the New World I spend visiting a dear friend in Montreal. It's nice to be able to experience the daily life of people who I know from a different type of context.

We had a good time sharing his daily life, some good food and wine, our reflections on the past, the present and whatever might unfold along our paths.

And I was spoiled with piano concertos with his very personal touch almost every night!

Sometimes I feel like there is a reason why I happen to end up at a certain place at a certain time. This time it was an good chapter in our friendship.

I came as a friend and I left a brother.


vox

Friday, November 30, 2007

Airports

Hamburg, Germany


Some might wonder why I am in Hamburg. In a way I am not. I am only at the airport waiting for my connection flight to Vienna. And like usual I write an entry while waiting...

Airports are a great place to reflect. You let something behind and something new is ahead ;)

Still, I have mixed feelings about airports. In a way they are the ports for my surreal life I am living at the moment. If it wasn't for airports I wouldn't have done what I did since I started this trip. Perhaps I would neither have gone to Iran nor to North America.

But at the other hand, it's a pain, being racially profiled all the time (not only in the US), having special security checks, special registry, having my begs being opened every single time, getting interrogated, being told that this has to be done because in my country funny things are going on...

Hold on! I am Austrian!

And still, I might be denied admission to the US in future because an immigration officer had made a mistake when I entered the US last month. Since I couldn't prove it seems to be mine. "You violated the regulations upon which I entered the country..." (as a special registrant... people "like me" don't get normal tourist visas) "We could arrest you for that now!"

Aha...

Well, shit happens... at least I am in Hamburg now and not in Guantanamo...


vox

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Myself

Montreal, Canada


This blog is not dead... not yet...

Sometimes I simply don't know what to share!

Sometimes it is at times when not much happens!

Sometimes it is at times when too much happens!

Sometimes it is at times when... anyway...

Five weeks ago I came to the US to participate in a breathing/meditation workshop. This is my first trip to North America as a grown-up. In a way my experience here is not much different than expected:

So far I met some of the most interesting and special people I have ever met in my life. That might be something that does not confirm the non-American Western prejudice and stereotype of "the Americans". For some it might be unbelievable but still it is true:

Some of the coolest people I know (and encountered these weeks) are American!

Especially in Portland. It is a unique place!

Anyway, apart from Portland and Montreal I stayed in New York, Washington and Chicago so far to do a workshop, visit family and friends. Everywhere I've been to I had some special and intense moments. And as everywhere I experience a lot.

Sometimes it's things I do enjoy. At other times it might be things I might not enjoy too much...

Well, that's life!

Everything is good!

Everything can teach me... if I am ready to be taught!

Everything is good 'cause life is a trip...

And i enjoy mine ;)

(although I haven't managed to feel like on a vacation yet)

Everything is good... we just need to bare with the consequences...



vox

Thursday, October 11, 2007

One Year...

Hamburg, Germany


Yesterday I talked to a friend. She said she feels like she's always on vacation.

I told her I hardly every do...

She is working and I am traveling!

Hmm, I think I'm doing something wrong...

One year and trippin...

People often think that they have to travel to be on a trip. Yet anything you do can be a trip...

My friends MC and Fanatique are doing music to be on a trip, my sister is writing to be on a trip and some people eat some strange mushrooms to be trippin...

I believe trippin essentially is only a thing in your head!

One year and trippin...

Life as a traveler:

You don't want anything anymore... you start to accept what life has to offer!

It has a lot to offer if you can trust it to offer you good... and if you are open to recognize what it has to offer...

You love life, you trust life, you are open for life...

You embrace life!

One year and trippin...

Trust...

It's like being in the car of a mad driver with 160 km/h on road that is not made for more than 90...

You trust life?!? Well, you sit back, relax and enjoy the rush...

One year and trippin...

Openness...

It's like having the choice to spend a weekend with people you don't know, you are not too interested to get to know, in a place you don't want to go to and won't be able to leave once you decide to go. Instead you could just do what you always do or you do what you planned to do...

Though, if you go, you might get to know the love of your life ;)

One year and trippin...

Love...

It's like the tears that drop from your eyes 'cause you are so joyful you have to cry...

One year and trippin...

One year ON A TRIP...

Still mis-taken, mis-understood, mis-perceived?!?

Still a little neurotic soul...

Still trippin!


vox

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Last Night in India (Part II)

Mumbai (Bombay), India


This is the third time in three months that I'm leaving India. This time it is for good (I guess)!

This time there is no McDonald's story or action-movie-dancing-star...

52 hours ago, I left Kathmandu in a bus and arrived in Mumbai this evening. I had a lot of time to reflect on the past few months...

Do I hate or love this place?

I think I really don't like it too much. But then again, some things are really good and, moreover, there are some really special people here. Apart from that what type of stupid question is "do I hate or love this place?" I mean, one billion people live in this vast country. so one 'place' isn't like another...

Still, I'm happy to leave India and I am happy not to return too soon. I think I really don't like this place too much... or maybe it showed me some aspects of my character I really didn't want to see?

India is a very special country! You get confronted with yourself, learn a lot about yourself and about life. So definitely it is a great place (to visit)... in a way...

But in my particular case I visited India just two months after I left Iran. And, well, I guess everything sucks compared to the country of your roots... especially if you loved it...

So perhaps this won't be the very last night in India... but for now at least (thank god...


whichever)...



vox

Friday, September 14, 2007

What has Happened?

Kathmandu, Nepal


Reading the news-headlines these days I get the impression Europe is in a state of war!

Police forces in Denmark and Germany claim to have prevented terrorist attacks and even in my home-city Vienna potential young Muslim terrorists were arrested! At the same time new videos of Osama bin Laden hit the Internet...

... and he appeared in 'a new look' with his beard trimmed and dyed black, a clear call for war... some experts say at least...

The German government wants to start observing Germans who have converted to Islam and demonstrators hit the streets in a district of Vienna to show their discontent about the planned expansion of a Muslim center.

What is happening? Is everybody going nuts?

That is 'Muslims' and 'Christians' at the same pace!

I remember ten years ago I lived in a relatively peaceful and tolerant city in a relatively peaceful and tolerant European Union! Or was I only a little naive kid who didn't want to face reality?

I feel like things have changed slowly but drastically!

For example, ten years ago it was unusual and, therefore, irritating (for me at least) when I saw young Muslim girls and women with a headscarf on the streets of Vienna. Ten years later it not that unusual anymore and, therefore, even more irritating (for me at least) to see young Muslim girls and women with a headscarf!

What has happened?

I don't know! I guess the way people treat each other has changed.

I guess people of different religions and societies treat each other with less respect and perceive each other shaded much more by prejudice than before.

Before I left Vienna for this trip a year ago I clearly felt a difference in the way people treated and perceived me. And even a few people who know me for a long time started treating me strangely.

It seems to me that at the latest since September 11th, a common subconscious Western perspective of the world-religions and their followers has evolved. There are those that are more or less good and then there is the evil and aggressive one.

Islam = Islamic fundamentalism = terrorism?!?

I personally I don't think this is a matter of religion. I believe it is a matter of the way governments and society face and treat each other in every aspect of life...

People in the West are more and more in fear of Islam. I believe that fear is something that grows only when it is fed. So is it with terrorism! There is a reason why people are in fear and there is also a reason why people turn to terrorism!

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the religion I was born with is inherently evil and aggressive and I simply don't see it...

So this is how I perceive it and the way I start to feel like is that back at home in Vienna (the West), in the perception of those who don't know me personally, I pose a potential threat!

Sounds like a very nice way to be perceived...



vox

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Reality Check III

VIE - long day, long night... I finally arrive at Vienna airport!

Vienna is hot... it's hotter than hot... it's hotter than India!

Arriving in Vienna... it really feels good this time... I stay quiet for three days... on the fourth I meet the usual suspects at a graduation party!

Welcome back to Vienna!

How long will I stay?

I really enjoy Vienna this time... well, it's summertime!

And then... a nine day "retreat"...

ReAliTy CHecK!!!

I'm like a fat, lazy politician with a pumped up ego who's clowning himself!

I get disillusioned by the one who called himself my master!

It's true... I'm fat and lazy and I truly have a pumped-up ego...

That's something to work with... here and now... not looking for something to come up in the future!

HERE AND NOW!!!

I leave in respect!

NAMASKAR

One last week in Vienna... short but intense!

I can't get no sleep...

I feel like in a dream!

Twenty eight years have passed... my father meets his best friend again...

A family reunites!

And then... an unexpected job offer!

So at last... might I really become a big, fat, lazy politician with a pumped-up ego?

Well, for now I'm back to India...


vox

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Last Night In India

Mumbai (Bombay), India

The last two weeks were quite intense. Perhaps I spend more time on buses and trains than in places. Along the way I visited India's three biggest ashrams (although the one in Pune I don't really consider to be an ashram). So in the last two weeks I saw 'all' of south India ;)

Yesterday I started feeling a bit tired and weak. And although I had just arrived at the 'ashram' I was really looking forward to see and experience (where meditation includes funny things like jumping, yelling, dancing, hyperventilation, etc.) I decided to return to Vienna a few days earlier than 'scheduled'. So I booked a ticket today (Sai Baba bless the Internet) and took the next train to Mumbai.

At the railway station in Mumbai a homeless guy came up to me and asked for some food. At first I tried to get rid of him but the moment he said he was a traveller like me I stoped for a moment and had a look at him...

This guy was different!

First of all he spoke fluent English without ANY accent and apart of that there was something different in his eyes...

A homeless (Indian) who speaks English without an accent?

I started to get interested in this guy's life...

So as I had no plans other than going to the airport anyway, I decided to 'hire' him as my 'city guide' for the night!

I asked him to show me some places and told him that it was up to him what we'll do (as I was more interested in his psyche rather than the city). So he showed me some things around the central railway station and then headed towards McDonald's 'It's the best food in India! It is American quality!'

Hmm... well I guess he's sick of cheap Indian food...

"They have the best service as well!"

McDonald's? Service?!?

So we entered McDonald's, sat down and my guide tells an employees "Hey, get us some water and the menu!" The guy came up to us and replied that it was a self-service restaurant. My guide exchanged a few words in Hindi with him and after a few moments the employee came back with two glasses of water and the manager. My guide also exchanged a few words with him...

We ended up being served food at the most famous self-service restaurant in the world... hmm...

While eating my guide suggested to watch 'India's best action movie ever!'

Again, I was not really convinced so I said, I wouldn't understand anything as the movie was in Hindi.

"Come on, it's an action movie! You'll easily understand it! It's all about guns, blood and dancing!"

Dancing? A bloody action movie with dancing scenes? Hmm...

So I had a look at the poster:

'Shootout - Based on True Rumours!'

Based on True Rumours?!?

The movie started and after seeing a rough'n though murderer shouting people in five minutes of bloody scenes the killer starts dancing and singing in the next! Image Bruce Willis dancing in the middle of Die Hard ;)

Nice experience...

After the movie ended we headed towards the airport. In the end I didn't really find out too much about my guide's bio other than about an eventually 'traumatic experience' he seemed to have had 15 years ago in Texas where a lesbian denied to sleep with him. He told me that story about five times in the few hours we spend...

Still, paying that guy was much worth its money... being served at McDonald's and watching a bloody 'action-musical'! Especially that situation at McDonald's tought me a lot about life and mind-borders!

So now I'm at the airport... at the end of 'Part III' of my trip... and I'm really looking forward to this upcoming reality-check!

Summertime in Vienna is really cool!



vox

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Monkey Mind

Kottayam, India


Ten days of a silent meditation retreat was an interesting and intense experience...

Hmm, at least in my head it didn't seem to be too silent. Actually I didn't realize until the final day that I wasn't talking for ten days as my head was "a little bit" noisy most of the time.

Just try it for yourself... just for a minute:

Sit down, start to focus on your breath and think about nothing else (i.e. the past or future)... NOTHING!


Did it work?

Well, if it didn't... isn't it pathetic that we cannot even control our mind for a minute?

Come on, it's just a minute!

Ok, well, don't feel like a looser... almost nobody can do it!

But just imagine how much your life would change if you actually had your mind under control! Just imagine how much your life could change if you were no longer a slave to your mind!

Well, i personally cannot tell you how it is because the technique I applied during these ten days didn't work very well for me... in a way at least ;)

One thing I know now is:

I really would like to take over control, rather than being controlled...

So, well, I guess it is up to me now!


vox

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Curry for Breakfast

Kochi, India


I spend one month in Sri Lanka. Some people wondered why I wasn't writing anything about the country...


Well, I didn't see too much of the country as I was working and studying in an acupuncture clinic... except for my last week. Apart from that I consider this whole trip and my weblog as an experience and description of my inner travel...

My body travels and my mind is on a trip!


Anyway, Sri Lanka is a fascinating country. Not only that it's nature is bright and colorful but so are it's people!

With the civil war going on one might get the impression that there is a religious or ethnic conflict. To me it seems to be a conflict over power rather than something religious or ethnic. At least in Colombo and Kandy all communities of different religious and ethnic background seem to live in relative peace and tolerance. Everybody I talked to condemned the civil war and feels betrayed by the government.

So someone seems to make some good money with that war going on ;)

At the clinic I worked at I learned a lot! Not necessarily about acupuncture but, well, about certain patterns of life and people. And of course about myself...


One thing I talked about already is that stereotype thing. People like to think in boxes it seems... I guess it makes life 'easier'! That is nothing unique to Sri Lanka... at least not the way I experience other places...

The other thing is money and wealth. Many people seem to believe that if they had more money everything would be better. And then, of course, there is the 'rich Western kid' thing. From the Asian perspective all Western people are rich (what did I say about stereotypes?). For some funny reason, those who think all Westerners are rich have either 400 Dollar mobile phones or golden watches... so it's not surprising to me they usually have little money ; )

One thing I learned about myself is that I cannot work for people I do not believe in or respect. That was perhaps the reason why, for example, almost all of my school teachers didn't like me (apart from being a spoiled kid). I do not respect people simply on the basis of a titel, their family background, age or whatever. Respect is something you have to earn!

If you didn't earn it *@&# off! At least I won't bend over... maybe those who believe that golden mobile phones create happiness will...


Another thing I learned is that there is no point in continue writing this weblog for my friends back home to keep up to date. Some of them seem to be offended by the things I say about Vienna, being rich, about fear, love etc. Apart from that it seems to me that some people don't really (want to?) understand what I am writing about anyway. Even some of my closest friends seem to be quite ignorant about me and my struggles in life. So for example some of them seriously believe that I am/was not confronted with racism and discrimination back 'home' on a regular basis. Others think I am on an extended vacation... aha... I mean are these people seriously reading my weblog or just pretending?!?

But most likely I am equally ignorant about their lives too... so what am I complaining about?

Anyway, Sri Lanka was a very good experience. In a way it was a period of transition after having left Iran. Since Iran I feel like I'm not searching anymore, which essentially changes the way I'm trippin!

So yesterday night I arrived in Kochi. Tomorrow I'm heading towards a meditation center to do my first ten-day Vipassana retreat (if it works out this time).

I'm really curious what India, by many considered to be the 'Holy Land', has to offer...

This morning it was a vegetable curry for breakfast...

I really liked it!


vox

Monday, May 28, 2007

Being a Rich Kid (Part II)

Colombo, Sri Lanka


Being rich...

I'm a rich kid! At least in my perception!

I'm rich because I live, love and feel alive!

Because I'm healthy and can go to whereever I like, work whereever I like, live whereever I like.

I'm rich because I have my family and friends loving and supporting me.

Because whereever I go I encounter very special people and things.

I'm rich because I believe that all the barriers and borders I face are only in my head.

I'm rich because no material thing is really important to me and therefore I'm happy and wealthy!

That's why I consider myself to be a rich kid...

... or maybe I'm just a hippie ; )



vox

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Being a Rich Kid

Colombo, Sri Lanka


Being rich...

I am a rich kid! At least in some people's perception!

I consider myself as being rich! Though perhaps in a very different way than many of those who consider me to be.

Some people think I'm rich because my parents are financially wealthy. Well, my parents are, I am not...

I grew up as a spoiled kid... that was as a kid!

When I left Vienna for the first time with 19 I realized how spoiled I was! By the age of 23 I managed to abolish this lovely aspect of my character almost completely. Well, I'm coined... so some of it will have remained perhaps!

I was always confronted with jealousy. I even heard some funny rumors like I'm waiting for my father to die to get all of his money ;)

Sounds like a very sophisticated life-plan to me... waiting for some decades for that little bit of money...

Anyway, one thing is true: My parents always supported me and I would never be where I am today if it wasn't for them!

But yeah, all that jealousy got me thinking, was it right to take all these things they offered me? Shouldn't I have worked harder? Shouldn't I have worked more?

No!

Why should I have?

I mean, I was born into this family. It might have been luck, God's will, Karma or whatever! I've always been working ever since I was 18. So why should I have worked more instead of accepting their support while studying?

It's like: just because there are people starving around the world, people in West should not eat healthy food.

Yeah right!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you shouldn't work if you are wealthy! And I have the utmost respect for those who were always self-sufficient, worked hard, fighted and made it! Perhaps I wouldn't have!

A few days ago a 'rich kid' friend of mine wrote me about her inner dilemas at the moment. For some reason most 'rich kid' friends I have, feel like they shouldn't get financial support... all of them being students or working for some good cause.

Why? To prove one can be self-sufficient? Almost anyone (non-psychotic) in the West can be!

Independent of wealth, social standing, personal characteristics or... well, anything, I truly believe in one thing:

Life is not about what you have but if you can value and be aware of it! I truly believe that in life it isn't so important what you were given but what you make out of whatever it is you were given... inside and outside!

... but yeah, maybe I'm ignorant and just don't understand 'cause I'm a spoiled rich kid...



vox

PS: Yet not to forget, form the Asian perspective we all are rich kids ;)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Being Clear and Precise

Colombo, Sri Lanka


My first week in Sri Lanka was... interesting?

So... I experience the usual stuff you do when you are trippin...

For instance, for some reason local people everywhere (I've been to so far) seem to ask the same questions in more or less the same order to get an image of you in a minute or less:

What is your name?
hmm...

Where are you from?
hmm...

How old are you?
hmm...

Are you married?
hmm...

Are you Muslim?
hmm...

What is your job back home?
hmm...

In Iran the only difference was they didn't ask me if I was Muslim but rather if I came to Iran to find a woman to marry...
hmm...

I'm really amused :D

People ask me clear questions and they want clear, precise and short answers.
I cannot give them these the way they want... and they usually get very annoyed!

"What's my first name?"
Hmm, which one shall choose? The Greek one? The Persian one?

"Where am I from?"
So, originally... but... - I could start to explain! ("But you are not Greek! So why do you have a Greek name then?"

"When's my birthday?"
My god, in my case even that one isn't so straightforward!

"If I'm married?"
Yeah, perhaps I should be... at my age...

"If I'm Muslim?"
Ahh!

"What my job is back home?"
Which one?
And which home anyway?

"Come on... it's easy! You must have one first name, one place you are from, one home, one date of birth and usually one job and one religion... and at least you must be able to state clearly if you are married or not!"

Hmm... in my case nothing is so clear-cut!

So maybe that's the reason why I am a little neurotic soul ;)

But more importantly: for real, what would all the answers tell people about me? So why is it so important to people to have all theses questions answered (clearly)?!?



vox

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Seven Months and Trippin

Colombo, Sri Lanka

So for those of you who thought - reading my last two posts - that I finally found the true meaning of my life by becoming a suicide bomber... I have to disappoint you... well I am in Colombo now but I have nothing to do with the bomb attacks yesterday night!

No no, my last message was not my final prayer and the one before was no hidden hint indicating a final mortal action (so even if I [...] die, I die happy)!

Seven months ago I started this trip searching for something and in a way it feels like I have found this thing... though I cannot put it in words...

So in a way this trip is over and if I believe those strange dervishes I should stop writing! They say someone is going to kill me for saying (writing) these things I see. That is perhaps the reason why (I guess) Socrates should have become a poet like those dervishes.

Or maybe I just didn't get the meaning of their poems...

Anyway... I'm not Socrates and I'm no poet (in a way this blog gets repetitive... or I have a deja vu).

So I could also listen to that Viennese crackhead's advice called Falco who said in one of his songs:

"Lass diese Reise niemals enden, das Tun kommt aus dem Sein allein"

Yeah, I'm not gonna stop trippin... and I'll write some thing ;)



vox

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In Fear (of War)

Tehran, Iran


Thirteen days left to leave the country if I don’t want to serve the Iranian military for two years…

I’ve been here for two and a half months now. I’ve seen a lot. I feel like this is the most important experience of my life!

These days some people are urging me to leave Iran as soon as possible. There is talk of the US striking soon...

I’m not too sure about that!

So what do I do?

Thirteen days left and I have one more trip planned, checking out the Persian Gulf. I feel like this final trip is really important for me. Not because I want to see the Persian Gulf but I feel like there is still something I need to experience here in Iran.

Otherwise I would simply leave…

So do I give my family and friends a hard time for these two weeks to come or do I betray my own beliefs?

I don’t believe in acting by fear!

Not that I don’t and I haven’t done so in the past but I try not to base my decisions on fear.

If I had done so in the past I still would have had a job that I didn’t really like and have some future perspective that was perhaps no real perspective.

If I had done so in the past I wouldn’t be “On a Trip”, I wouldn’t be in Iran right now and I wouldn’t have a future perspective I really love.

It’s not that I am especially courageous… no, no, I am scared… but simply I feel like not acting by fear! I feel like if I live my life by fear I don’t really live! I feel like I have to stay! I have to go on this final trip!

So maybe I am just stupid and someone should punch me in my head and put me on a plane.

But one thing I learned on this trip is to live every single moment of life the very moment… and trust life!

I try to do so and for the last six months it worked out quite fine...

So even if I should be forced to serve Iran’s military or even die, I die happy ;)


vox

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Month Two and Noruz

Tehran, Iran


So it's been two months now that I am in Iran. My last month was much more quite than the first. In a way I'm starting to live a life here:

I have a bedroom including my personal bath at the apartment of a patron, a mobile phone, a bank account, a relationship, a few good friends and at times I even work... a bit!

I do get a feeling of how a life in Tehran could be like... if I wanted to have a life around here. Well, and life here is not too bad... for me at least.

Anyway, a friend back from Vienna told me he is more interested in current events going on in Iran rather than in some stuff that had happened 2500 years ago. I guess I didn't quite make my point in my entry on "Persian Identity". This is what I perceive when I talk to Iranian people. This is what I can talk about...

What I cannot talk about is what is "really" going on in Iran today. I try to talk with as many people as possible and I hear so many different things that I cannot "really" tell you what's going on in Iran.

For example, a lot of people here are moaning about the government and the bad quality of life. But what does it really mean?

If you ask people in Vienna the same questions you get similar answers. So (again) Vienna is the city with the fourth highest quality of life in the world but when you talk to people you feel like committing suicide ; )

Aha...

One of the things I perceive being here is that people in Iran are being brainwashed!

One of the things I perceive being here is that people in the West are being brainwashed!

Ergo... I'm really brainwashed...

Apart from that there is nothing specific on my mind... this very moment... maybe another day...

By the way, tonight is the beginning of spring which is "New Year" in Iran (Noruz). So I'm happy to finally experience Iranian New Year in Iran. So I'm lucky... my last month in Iran is kicked off with the "New Years Eve".

And tomorrow I go an a trip "back to my roots" to visit the cities of some of my ancestors: Gorgan and Gonbad-e-Kavus : )



vox

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Staying in Touch with Friends

Tehran, Iran


It's interesting to me:

Some people complain about me not staying in touch. And I know that some people don't complain but are a bit sad about it or feel offended.

So what is it that makes someone feel sad or offended?

What does it really mean if I (and perhaps people in general) "don't stay in touch"?

So I have those friends who I don't mail or talk to simply because our bond is not strong enough.

Then there are those friends who I mail or talk to simply because they somehow "force me" to stay in touch (or I am too Iranian to be impolite).

The majority are good friends that I don't mail or talk to regularly... only when there is really something going on... not the common superficial chat... but if we ever do I'm really happy about it...

Then there is very few of my very closest friends that I stay in touch with... a bit...

Finally, there is quite some very very close friends or people I highly respect or have experienced something special with, whom I hardly ever mail or talk to. To some of them I haven't talked to in years and to some of them I might never talk to again!

What does it say about our friendship?

Nothing!




Or maybe: "We share that special thing we do so there is no need to prove it!"


vox

Monday, February 26, 2007

Persian Identity

"[...]Now that I put the crown of kingdom of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions on the head with the help of Ahura Mazda, I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire and never let any of my governors and subordinates look down on or insult them until I am alive. From now on, till Ahura Mazda grants me the kingdom favor, I will impose my monarchy on no nation. Each is free to accept it, and if any one of them rejects it, I never resolve on war to reign. Until I am the king of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions, I never let anyone oppress any others, and if it occurs, I will take his or her right back and penalize the oppressor.

And until I am the monarch, I will never let anyone take possession of movable and landed properties of the others by force or without compensation. Until I am alive, I prevent unpaid, forced labor. Today, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People are free to live in all regions and take up a job provided that they never violate other's rights.

No one could be penalized for his or her relatives' faults. I prevent slavery and my governors and subordinates are obliged to prohibit exchanging men and women as slaves within their own ruling domains. Such a traditions should be exterminated the world over.

I implore to Ahura Mazda to make me succeed in fulfilling my obligations to the nations of Iran, Babylon, and the ones of the four directions."




People often get confused when I refer to myself as being Persian. It is true: to the West a country by the name of Persia officially doesn’t exist since 1935 anymore. In fact it never existed as it was only a term falsely used by the ancient Greeks and Romans - there was a Persian empire (founded by an ethnic Persian) but never a country called Persia. “Persians” always referred to their country as Iran and Reza Shah Pahlavi “changed” this country’s name to the correct term of Iran as Persians only represent a mere 50% ethnic majority of all Iranian people.

Looking at my family history I’m not quite sure if my ethnic origin is Persian!

So what is it that makes me call myself Persian rather than Iranian?

In general, people, including myself, have many prejudice and stereotypes. When people ask me “So where are you REALLY from?” they deny my Austrian identity and usually want to get an idea about what type of person I am. So depending on what I would reply, usually a stereotype kicks in to tell them: “(Most likely) this is a civilized/good person!” or :”(Most likely) this is a uncivilized/bad person!”

For many years now the term Iran symbolizes associated prejudice and stereotypes like terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and close-mindedness. More recently great associations like anti-Semitism and “The Axis of Evil” where added.

Personally I don’t really identify with that!

2500 years ago a warrior came along who conquered more than half of the then known world to become an emperor over all Iranian ethnic groups and some non-Iranian kingdoms. This man called himself the Shah-in-Shah (king of kings)… a god-like figure. This man truly was a great emperor and a king of kings!

So what is it that made this man so great? What is it that makes me think (apart from being Iranian) that this man was a king of kings?

To my behalf it is not the fact that he conquered half of the then known world. History has shown again and again that barbarians and even people with tiny intelligence have conquered half of the world or become the most powerful political leader.

It was openness that made this emperor great! It was tolerance that made this emperor great! It was a sense of social fairness that made this emperor great!

This man was Kurosh-e Bozorg (Cyrus the Great). The text above has been taken from the Cyrus Cylinder declared by Kurosh. It was buried under the foundations of Babylon to symbolise his empire was built on these foundations. It is interesting: there is a copy of the Cyrus Cylinder at the UN- headquarters in New York and Kurosh perhaps wanted to built some type of United Nations 2500 years ago.

Kurosh was Persian (an ethnic Persian). He was the first of many Iranian emperors to follow a tradition of openness and tolerance throughout Iranian history.

2500 years ago this man declared human rights. 2500 years ago he abolished slave labor (including freeing the Jews from their “Babylonian captivity” - kicking off traditionally good relations with the Jewish people). 2500 years ago this man believed in religious tolerance. 2500 years ago he conquered half of the known world just to let the conquered kings stay in power and their people untouched in their religious beliefs and traditions… only demanding to serve him: the King of Kings!

It is this and many more things that made this emperor great!

So I wonder: when did the Western civilized world first declare and execute human rights? I wonder when did the Western civilized world first abolish slave labor? I wonder when did the Western civilized world first live religious tolerance?

But this text is not at all about who was first or who is better or about the “greatness of the Iranian culture”… I just want to draw the picture of an Iranian perspective. It might not conform to some Western prejudice and stereotypes. In fact, the Western view of Persia and Iran has always been from the “enemy's perspective” i.e. then the ancient Greeks and Romans and today from the West… a bit biased I would say… and usually the enemy must be bad, philistine and uncivilized… how else should war-propaganda be effective? I believe that the Iranian people and culture have always been wrongly projected to the Western world throughout history.

Anyway, it was not only Kurosh who lived this ideology. Many great emperors, kings, generals and heros like Daryoush (Darius), Khashayar (Xerxes), Ardeshir, Shapur, Anushirvan (Khosrau), Abbas and to some extent even Reza Pahlevi followed. Perhaps the most popular example to the West is Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi (Saladin). It is arguable if he was Iranian as he was a Kurd. But he was born and raised in an area of Persian cultural influence... as many others who where not from the core-land of today's Iran!

These where emperors and kings who build great universities and libraries with scientific, religious and philosophical texts and scholars from the entire world... trying to unite knowledge. These were emperors who supported intellectual exchange independent of religious, cultural and ethnic background. These were emperors who supported and embraced art and culture from the whole world. These were emperors who imposed human rights, civil laws and some type of a social welfare system (like disability benefits). These were emperors who had a higher goal in mind: Uniting the people of the world in tolerance for peace!

So when we talk about Iran of today in the West we usually don’t associate any of that. When we talk about Iran today many people think of backwarded people and/or the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is true, when we consider only the last 28 years we can make the case that perhaps nothing has remained of the Persian culture of openness and tolerance.

But maybe the government, this regime doesn’t really represent its people. Maybe the Iranian president doesn’t really represent the Iranian people. In fact, the Mullah-regime repeatedly tries to deny the importance of the “Persian” heritage on Iran… well, it works against their power-structure!

And perhaps it takes more than 28 or 66 years to abandon a cultural heritage that has existed for 2500 years. I don’t see it abandoned when I communicate with Iranians today. And I personally don’t believe that a well-established cultural influence can be abandoned within one generation.

I believe that the majority of Westerners don’t see and know any of this and look down on Iranian people (as on the people of many other ancient high-culture).

I am Iranian but I consider myself to be Persian… personally I do so not because I think or want to feel like I am better or greater than whoever... I am not! Rather, I, like many Iranians (and non-Iranians) in and outside of Iran today try to be open, live tolerance, embrace cultures and religions and believe in social fairness!

As for the Persian ethnicity: Persians are Iranians like the Azeris, Turks, Balutishis, Gilakis, Kurds, Mazandaris, Turkmens and many more! Furthermore, Iranians have a mix of Greek, Arab, Mongol and Turkish blood as they where conquered by these empires! Therefore, ethnically speaking, there are perhaps no “true Persians” left.

So, for me, to call myself "Persian" is not the reference to an ethnic group. For me, to call myself "Persian" is a reference to a consciousness and a symbol!

Openness and tolerance, liberalism and socialism, cultural and religious diversity!

I was born in Tehran and I lived most of my life in Vienna! I am Iranian and Viennese! I am Asian and European! My "ideology" is Persian!

But most of all, I am a human being of this planet Earth!



vox

Saturday, February 24, 2007

It surprises me every day again and again how badly people in the West are being fooled about Iran and its people!



vox

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Month One

Tehran, Iran


A month ago I’ve arrived in Iran. Things are quite different than I had expected. At the one hand I perceive this country quite differently to what Western media wants to make us believe this country is like. At the other I didn’t plan to stay in Tehran for so long!



After having meet family members including close ones like the daughter of my grandfather’s nice’s nice (I guess that makes me her 2nd or 3rd grade uncle) and my great-grandfather’s nephew I thank god that the majority of my family lives abroad…

So most of these people I met the first two weeks. I’m almost through with my obligatory invitations and visits. Here in Iran the system of these visits/invitations is ritualized and it is an obligation to meet all these people… making some of these events a bit stiff and boring.

But I don’t complain. It was good that I was forced to stay in Tehran for some time. In the meantime I learned to enjoy the city so much that I don’t really want to leave too soon.

I’ve encountered some real good people here (including family members) I can connect to really well.

And I was lucky with my timing to arrive. I experienced Ashura, the 28. Birthday of the Islamic Revolution (these being two of four major yearly events in Iran with the next one coming up in a month) and moreover my best friend had two weeks off just after I finished my first round of obligatory invitations… so we went on a trip.

I love this experience!

At the moment I experience three different worlds. One is my grandmother’s and the world of those who have lost a lot during the revolution… most of all their social status. It is interesting to see how different people around her coped with what had happened then. For her and her friends the revolution was a true trauma, as they had never expected a revolution to the “god-like” king.

Another world I experience is that of Iranian artists. This world is also really interesting as, of course, in a dictatorship artist usually live a life between conforming and rebelling.

And finally, I experience the world of two 20 year old students. This life is real fun. Well, college is supposed to be the best time of your life and these to guys really push it ;)

So over the last four weeks I had a lot of impressions. There are so many that I don’t find time to reflect.

My reflections are mostly on truth and perception, identity, social and cultural influences, socioeconomic and political developments, propaganda and manipulation here as well as in the West, religion, spirituality, human relationships and, of course, love.


So I hope to manage to find the opportunity to share at least a bit of that…



vox

Monday, February 12, 2007

3000 km in a Week

Tehran, Iran

Saturday a week ago I went on a trip with two friends. We hit the road at 4.30 a.m. heading south towards Esfahan. At first we just planned to travel for two days but we enjoyed travelling so much that we extended our trip to a week.
As we had our own car we had the freedom to move on whenever and wherever to. So sometimes we got up early in the morning before sunrise to hit the road and sometimes we decided to move on the very next moment.


We saw a lot but we didn’t particularly travel to see… so most of the time we spent in the car moving on to whereever… enjoying the beauty of nature and life… listening to Hafez, reading Hafez, singing Hafez







vox

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Experiencing Ashura

Tehran, Iran


I arrived in Iran on the first of Muharram (the first month in the Islamic calendar). At first I didn’t know what that meant.

The moment to come to Iran was perfect. The first 10 days of Muharram Shia Muslims mourn for Imam Hussain – one of Mohammend's grandchildren – who was killed by his political and religious rival Yesid near Kerbala.

This incident eventually lead to the split of Islam into Shia and Sunni sects and seems to have an impact not only on the region, but from today’s perspective, on the entire world.

For now there are two important aspects that I can identify.

Firstly, there is the rivalry between the sects which at times is quite bloody, as, for example, we can see in Iraq today.

But more importantly: A cult developed around this incident: For almost 1400 years every year the Shia Muslims mourn for ten days (those ten days Hussain was trapped in the desert before being killed) and castigate themselves because supposedly they have betrayed the Prophets grandson. This castigation starts with hitting yourself and even goes on to "suicide"… to die a martyr like Hussain… going straight to paradise!

So what’s the impact of that: Religious leaders abuse that cult! Ayatollah Khomeini definitely has taken advantage of this cult for his sake, like the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which has a much bigger impact on international relations and world politics than most Westerners today realize. And more importantly, this cult can be exploited to excess, potentially having an even bigger impact on world politics.

So much for the politics…


This whole cult has also a strong influence on Iranian culture. Iranians like to "sacrifice" themselves in daily life. It manifests in simple things. For example if you accidentally hit someone and say "sorry" the answer is "please" whereas in English you would say "no problem" or whatever. "Please hit me!" This is something very Iranian and perhaps even one of the most essential aspects of Iranian culture, and therefore their whole life. It starts with simple things like language and ends with things like children walking through minefields sacrificing their lives like Hussain.

One lesson learned is: Iranian psyche is very masochistic!

So for ten days people spend on the streets following the processions or taking part, hitting themselves on their chests with their fists or with chains on their back, mourning for Hussain and that their failure to help him. Some people hit their heads with knifes (in closed rooms as it is legally forbidden nowadays). And you have people in public rooms having some type of ritual dances, reminding you rather of a discotheque than a religious ritual. In fact the “Hussain”-chanting sounds a bit like Ragga Dancehall at times.

Well, this is perhaps a major aspect of this whole cult today. Of course there are many that are really into this ritual. But most people seem to take advantage of the fact that they can go on the streets, meeting people and partying, let's say, "the Iranian way"!
This is as good as it gets, partying publicly in a country where dancing and music are forbidden in public.

And the same seems to be true for demonstrations... more people here seem to go to demonstrations because they like to gather with people in public rather than supporting anything of what that guy with his beard is yelling into the microphone.

Some seem to be really into it with their heart (much less than it might seem when watching Western TV). Most seem to enjoy the party ;)

So I have to stop here... this is it for today... of course I'd like to write more as there is so much more going on inside and outside of me... but I have to leave for now...



vox

Saturday, January 27, 2007

From Istanbul to Tehran

Tehran, Iran


I liked Istanbul. I took it really easy checking out two Turkish baths, the bazaar, the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sofya in two and a half days.



It was interesting how Turkish people perceive Iranians. Almost all of them think Iranians are Arabs... personally I don't care too much but for most Iranians that's a bold insult! Well, Iranians are not Arabs as most Westerners don’t know either – but their ignorance may be forgiven… they also think Alexander the Great was the first "civilized" emperor of the world.

Anyway, at least the Turkish should know what their neighbor’s ethnicity is. Then again, many Turks don’t even know that Kurds are not solely some rebelling mountain-Turks but an ethnic minority. So their ignorance may also be forgiven.

The other stereotype some Turkish seem to have about Iranians is: “Oh it’s the country of Kalle-Pache”… whatever that is supposed to mean ;)

So after two days in Istanbul I took the Trans Asian Express from Istanbul to Tehran.


I liked it! It was my first time on a train for three full days.

I shared my cabin with two Tehranis. One was a young rebel who entertained the whole wagon by expressing all of his frustration with the current situation in Iran. The other one was gay but tried to deny it, which was funny since it was so obvious that he was gay. It was a bit unfortunate for me that he wasn't open about it as it would have been interesting to get an insight into the life of homosexuals in that regime and into the Tehrani gay-scene.

At the border the trip became even more interesting!

On the Turkish side I had no problems at all and everything was easy.

When we arrived on the Iranian side I soon realized that I was not in a free country anymore!

The whole train was locked down with soldiers guarding the train outside. A border officer came into our cabine and checked our passports. He didn't exactly have a very friendly nature!

When he saw my passport at first he seemed to be confused. Then he mumbled something about "You have only two days left!" and finally left with my passport saying he would be back in a second.

The second turned out to be an hour...

In a way I expected something like that to happen. Let's say, my family history doesn't potentially make me a friend of this regime. So with the current political situation and the US trying to infiltrate the country with young exile-Iranians like me, I could potentially be an American sleeper.

After an hour another guy came back telling me to go to the dining car.

From that moment onwards I felt a bit like in a movie scene:

When I entered the dining car I could clearly feel a strange atmosphere. I sat down in a chair. To my right were two uniformed immigration officers. In front of me sat two plainclothes officers... I figured they were from the secret police. To my left sat a train attendant.

At first they all starred at me. I was a bit irritated. Then, finally, one of the immigration officers wanted to confirm my name. As I confirmed it the officer slowly repeated my name looking onto his lap-top's screen. I don't have a Muslim name, which could be, I thought, irritating. Non-Muslim names are less common for my generation... and even worse, I have a king's name, which can be considered to be political confession.

After the officer had repeated my name it was silent for a few minutes. Everybody in the room looked at me. One of the secret police officers had a very negative aura around him. And of course it had to be him who would stare at me not looking away for a single moment. I could feel how he observed every single move I made. I figured they tried to provoke some type of nervous reaction off me.

But I remained calm!

For a strange reason I felt really relaxed. And when I realized that the weird guy starred at me thoroughly I relaxed even more. I almost had to laugh out loudly as I found that situation too unreal.

After a while another Iranian traveler entered the dining car. He sat down next to me. He was a about 60 and lived in Canada. The officers asked him some questions. He had to fill out a form and was allowed to go back to his cabin.

After a while, one of the secret police officers told me to follow him. We left the train to enter the border station. Two soldiers guarded outside with four more standing around inside. We entered a filthy room with a table, a laptop and two chairs. I was told to sit down while he would check out something with his computer.

I was a bit confused about the special treatment!

After I was waiting for a while he started asking me some questions. Since my Persian is not fluent he got a bit irritated.

He would ask me the same questions over and over again, trying to figure out if I had something to hide. Again I found this whole scene a bit funny as I was in a similar type of situation once before, trying to enter the US as a teen - having a "special security check" there too after the immigration officer was convinced I didn't speak German. Then, I also had to go to a special room to be questioned.

So for the Iranians I could potentially be a American sleeper and for the Americans I could potentially be a Iranian terrorist ;)

Anyway, the officer was a bit confused as I couldn't specify my grandmother's address (where I would stay in Tehran) and furthermore didn't know her last name by heart (in Iran women keep their maiden name after marriage)... well, I just call her grandma!

When he asked me how I would get to her place, I just replied that I would call her on arrival, which again is a bit strange as it is quite unusual for Iranians not to be welcomed by the whole family at the train-station/airport.

Finally, after more than 30 minutes of questioning he asked me eventually the most important question:

What is your religion?

Unfortunately I don't know the Persian term for "religion" so I couldn't answer at first!

It was the last question as perhaps it made two things very clear:

Quite likely I am a god-damn pagan!

But more importantly, I'm not very likely to be a sleeper if I don't even know the Persian term for religion!

He gave me my papers, told me that I could stay for three months - no day longer - and asked a soldier to escort me back to the train.

Back in the train my cabin members enjoyed the story...

The next evening we arrived in Tehran and fared-well.

So this is it… I’m finally in Iran.

I'll have almost three months to find (out) something... whatever it might be...

Perhaps I'm here to see what my original culture is like.

And of course I also want to know what this talk about the axis of evil, terrorism, anti-Semitism and evil evil Islam is all about.


I'm here to see how evil my roots really are ;-)



vox

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Vienna Experience

Istanbul, Turkey


It’s a bit strange: Now that I am in Istanbul I write about the "Vienna experience". I should get in sync again...

Vienna was an interesting experience!

It's funny: Many people consider me to be on a holiday... me travelling to Asia, not to Vienna. I myself considered Vienna to be some kind of holiday compared to the rest of my trip...

Though that’s not exactly true either... only relatively seen. In reality I was not too exited to go back to Vienna as I wasn't sure what I would have to face there.

So what does that mean?

Coming back to Vienna was a real challenge! Coming back means facing myself, especially those aspects of my character and life I preferred not to face in the past. Therefore, coming back means facing the past... facing my life there... my reality there!

So coming back to Vienna is part of that whole trip... although the stopover was not planned...

One thing about this city is: supposedly it is my home! I grew up there, yet, I never felt at home there!

Arriving in Vienna was much easier than I had expected... apart form the temperature! But I won't complain... my maple-leaf friend had a 70 degree Celsius drop… anyway...

I had a warm welcome from one of my closest friends and I felt at home in the city I never did.

My first night in Vienna was a very special one!



But in the end I had a tough time in Vienna. It was very cold! And I don't only talk about temperature. There was a reason why I wasn't exactly exited about coming back.

I see it positively! Vienna is like a "reality-check" for me. So what's my reality back home?

There was something with Plato and a cave… but maybe I can recall that another time... anyway...

Blood is thicker than water!

I have a few good friends there!

Conflicts don’t solve if you don’t go right at their roots but only their manifestations!

It is easy to dislike this city when you are in it for too long and it is easy to become nostalgic about it when you are out of it for some time!

People in Vienna drink a lot of alcohol!

Vienna is "Valium-City"!

Vienna is like Babylon!

I hate that city!

I love that city!

I seem to be confused, no?!?

Perhaps I have to come back for some more reality-checks...

But maybe the following explains something:

Vienna is the city with the fourth highest quality of life in the world.

Vienna is the city with the second highest suicide rate in the world!

?!?

Perhaps people there are a bit confused, no?!?

So maybe people there drink a lot of alcohol so they have less suicide thoughts?

Alcohol seems to be a true bliss ;-)

Cheers!


vox

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas

Vienna, Austria


About 2010 years ago a man was born who inspired some people to found a religion. I guess this man must have been quite powerful and charismatic!

So more than two thousand years later millions of people around the world, Christians as well as non-Christians, celebrate this man’s birthday.

And some Christians wonder why some non-Christians do.

That’s a good question!

Why do millions of people celebrate the birthday of a man who is the founder of a religion that is responsible for some of the biggest crimes in human history like the Inquisitions?

Why do some Muslims celebrate the birthday of a man who kicked-off a religion that would fight them in the Crusades?

I cannot answer this question!

I can only tell you what I feel about Christmas and Jesus of Nazareth.

Every year, again and again people are surprised that me and my family celebrate Christmas… being Muslims.

My perception of Jesus of Nazareth is a man who proclaimed unconditional love for all beings! No Inquisitions, no Crusades!

Unconditional love for all beings!

This is, I believe, independent of any religion!

Love is independent of religion!

And looking at the time of the year it is celebrated we see that his birthday "coincides" with the winter-solstice… when darkness is overpowered by light… when light finally succeeds over darkness…

And I personally prefer light over darkness…

For me, Christmas is a celebration of unconditional love and light… and this is why I celebrate Christmas!

So with this message I want to send all beings around the world, independent of religion, race and entity…

...universal love, light and peace...


vox

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reflections on Love

Vienna, Austria


Yesterday I had an inspiring conversation about love and what it could be. It made me reflect on my past relationships and, of course, what I believe love to be.

I had a few relationships and I always believed my feelings to be love.

Looking back being honest with myself my feelings were always influenced by need and desire.

Some I loved, I needed, not to feel alone.

Others as I had lacked affection in a while.

Some I loved to overcome a previous relationship.

Others as they gave me a future perspective.

Some I loved simply because I got used to them.

Others because I was in fear… in fear to be alone (again) or not to find anyone "better" or not to be loved by someone else as much.

Some I loved as I learned a lot from them.

Others because I wanted to teach or inspire them.

Most of them because I needed them for something!

So I wonder if I ever truly loved one of them!

Don’t misunderstand me: I respect all of my former girlfriends and I highly value all of my previous relationships.

Yet, being honest, at last all these relationships broke up when either I didn’t need them anymore or they didn’t need me no more.

Each and every single relationship would break up the moment the conditions why we loved each other changed or fulfilled.

So I wonder if that truly is love!

Does love depend on these typ of conditions?

“I love you 'cause I need you!”

“I love you 'cause I’m (my happiness) is dependent on you!”

“I love you 'cause I learn a lot from you!”

“I love you 'cause I fear being alone without you!”

“I love you 'cause I fear nobody else will “love” me like you!”

And there are many more sentences like that…

So what happens if I don’t need that person anymore? If I’m not dependent anymore? If I don’t learn from that person anymore? If I don’t fear being alone without that person anymore?

Do I still love that person without these conditions?

I guess it really depends!

If I really love that person I will still do so… So these conditions must have supported a deeper love! But if these conditions “create” love…

Well… I’m not too sure!

It feels like ill-motivated love to me!

I’m not sure if I truly love someone if it is only based on these type of conditions.

So I come to conclude that I only truly love if that love is not based on some ill-motivated conditions! If it is not dependent on various factors but rather if it is detached… detached from ill-motivated desires and needs.

I believe that I can only truly love if I love myself and am happy with myself… if I don’t need my partner to do so.

Of course that doesn’t imply that I may not need my partner at times, may not learn from my partner, may not be more happy being with my partner, may not…

It just means that I’m not dependent on my partner to live my life, to feel good, to be happy!

And of course I’m far away from that state and I need to work a lot to grow personally and reach that state. And of course it doesn’t mean that I won’t have relationships until I have reached that state. Quite the opposite is the case: every single relationship will help me to get even closer.

But at least I want to try to be honest with myself…

…not to fool myself…

…not to clown myself…

and look at what it really is that makes me feel affection for a person!

By doing that I do grow, being honest not only with myself but also with my partner and giving every partner I feel affection for the chance to love that person truly and not ill-motivated!

So this is my personal perception, my personal truth, my personal reality about love... today...

So let's see what I will have to say in two decades from now about this entry ;)


vox

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back to the Roots?!?

Bangkok, Thailand


So maybe it wasn't supposed to be the first time...

And this time it was a good experience! Real good! I couldn't do a silent retreat as it wasn't possible at the moment at the temple I stayed and yet I learned a lot. A lot about myself, a lot about Thai culture and something about Buddhism and Thai temples.



So now it is really time to move on!

Where should I head next?

If I follow my heart I have to go back to my roots... finally...

Sri Lanka was supposed to be next... but i have no roots to find there! At least not that I knew...

Well, going to Iran is not that easy a task though. I cannot just go there. In my case the only other places harder to enter are perhaps Bhutan and the States... at least with that picture in my passport ;)

So the first thing I would need to do is to get my father's blessing.

Maybe that's the thing to do next...


vox

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A God's Birthday

Bangkok, Thailand


Yesterday was the Thai King's 79th birthday and Thailand was all in yellow (the king's colour). People here love their king. He seems to be very wise and caring. So it was nice to experience this day with the Thais in Bangkok.

So now I will move on to a monastery nearby to do a short retreat. If they let me in this time ;)

There is a lot on my mind these days. I reflect upon my friends and friendships in general. Sometimes I wonder how many true friends I have. Perhaps it depends simply on my definition of a friendship.

I believe a true friendship to hold even if I share an unpleasant perception. By this definition I do not even have a handful of true friends!

Most people cannot take my perception...

... but than again maybe I cannot take most people ;)


vox

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bangkok Again

Bangkok, Thailand


So it was not supposed to be!

The trip from Surat Thani to Chaiya usually takes an hour. It took me four and when I arrived the retreat was full... for the first time ever!

I went to the temple nearby to sleep there for the night. It was nice and simple! And I figure I will be sleeping at temples more often in future.

On Friday I took the train to Bangkok. It was a slow train but I was accompanied by a very remakable young Dutch woman and we had a good chat.


So now I'm back to Bangkok and I enjoy the city. Many travelers hate it but I think it's a lively and vivrant metropolis! Although it smells ; )

I'm not quite sure what I'll do next. Perhaps I'll head north to Chiang Mai and Pai or maybe I'll go to Sri Lanka a bit earlier than expected... who knows...

I'll go with the flow!

So for tonight I plan to stay in Bangkok...


vox

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Leaving Koh Phangan

Surat Thani, Thailand


Today I left Koh Phangan.

For the last two months I've lived on this island. I encountered a few good people, had many good experiences and mentally I've finally arrived in Asia.

So this is the end of the beginning of my trip!

I benefited a lot from the yoga course although I considered it to be only warming-up for deeper spiritual experiences and practice to come. In the beginning I really liked my school. There were some good people and I liked the teachers a lot, both being new to teaching. Apart from that I had many good experiences giving my fellow students treatments.

When I left the yoga school I was disillusioned as one of the school's most advanced teachers arrived to take over classes.

I came to conclude that I ended up in a "spiritual" gang-bang club. I am not sure they know what tantra(-yoga) is really about... but maybe I just don't know ;)

Maybe I'm doing them unjust... who knows...

So last week I returned to Cat Island. I felt different. I had finally arrived! I wasn't phobic anymore. I wasn't so heady anymore... I was... relaxed?

This time I did really enjoy everything... it was beautiful... it was real good!


And now the warming-up is over... two months is quite enough!

I'm heading towards Chaiya where I will do a ten day Buddhist retreat. No talking, no reading, no writing... meditation for ten days.

It is my first time so I'm really looking forward to this... especially since it's been a long time since I wanted to do it!

More than four years ago I was searching for a retreat on the Internet after my relationship then broke up. I never ended up doing the retreat but I read about shiatsu for the first time which eventually lead me onto my new path and this trip...

So this is it... finally!

SILENCE


vox

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cat Island, Independent Island


Yesterday my friend Moses and I were on a trip in the rocky part of Cat Island.

We left as men and returned as tree-hugging hippies...

Non of us had ever climbed before so we looked up to these grand rocks respectfully.

Slowly we overcame our fears as we treated these rocks with great respect... treating nature with great respect...


Soon we climbed around barefooted feeling everything... feeling alive...

We explored life around us and within... gazing at the horizon...

...embracing nature, inhaling life...



Only a poet could truly describe what I have felt like and experienced...

And I'm no poet!

Though one thing I can say is:

Life is beautiful!




vox

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Koh Phangan, Thailand


On this day one year ago I had my first exam of six to come in the following nine weeks...

It was like hell!

A few white hairs remind me of these nine weeks and everything that happened during that time…

In a way it is funny… looking back today I become nostalgic. My mind is sick!

Today it was a friend of mine who reminded me of these weeks by talking about all the stress she has at the moment… and she really does… but perhaps in a year she’ll also be nostalgic about it…

So maybe it is not only my mind that is so sick…




vox

Monday, November 13, 2006

First stop: Khao San Road… backpacker’s gateway to Asia!

Lots of people, sounds, visual impressions, odours… spices, garbage, air pollution…


FAST FORWARD


Four days later: Koh Phangan, the Full-moon- Party!

Ten thousand people drunk, stoned, trippin, in ecstasy… sounds good!

Good?!?

No, no… people are so fucked up! Passing out, fights, accidents, rapes… and every time someone gets killed… welcome to the biggest beach party in the world! It’s almost anarchy… almost!

But apart from that it's real fun ;)



Chill out… finally!

Cat Island: good people, good vibes… peace… backpacker's paradise!

Suddenly, space and time obey different rules!

No stress, no worries… everything’s fine!

I take a hit…

… everything’s fine?!?

Am I happy? Am I really happy with my life?

I should be! Chilling out on a tropical island after two years of pure stress… just at the beginning of possibly the best trip of my life and everything is possible… everything!

Everything?!?

Maybe but maybe I’m simply a slave to my mind! A slave to my fears? My subconsciousness? My biography?

A slave to society’s expectations? My family’s expectations? My own expectations?

A slave to my cultures? My belief? My morals? My ideology? My ethnicity?

A slave to my addictions? To consumption? The retirement fund system? To Hollywood?

No, no… I’m not a slave! I just want to be!

It’s a good excuse!

Take another hit...

Going back to my bungalow… what will I find this time… a spider, a scorpion, a snake…

I’m a slave to my phobias!



Two weeks of paradise and then… Tantra-Yoga… four weeks to come… yoga meditation within the tantra system.

Some good people there, some strange people there…

I still cannot get in sync! Strange feelings and thoughts… I still haven’t arrived in Thailand yet…

A week passes by! A powerful healer arrives. One of the most powerful type! A healer who’s mere presence has healing effects…

RESET





vox