“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:2-4
What characterizes America? Competition. We love it and can’t get enough of it. In all walks of life. Politics, sports, education, jobs, wars. It’s all about competing for competition’s sake. One day I was finally fed up and just gave up competing, always trying to win an invisible race that could never be won. When I gave up my desire for competition I was no longer able to survive in the US as competition is always expected in life and in the marketplace.
America is slowly crippling itself from within by it’s constant desire to compete in all aspects of life. We compete in politics; even if one candidate is better suited for a job, one will compete for his or her candidate to win. We compete in law; even if a suspect is known to be guilty, someone competes to “win” his innocence. Wall Street competes to see who can “steal” the most wealth from the people, while Washington complies. Competition in creating the best product is natural, competiton for who can hoard the most wealth, individually or by corporations, is unnatural and poisoning.
The United States is in constant competition against other countries. State versus state. City versus city. Corporation versus corporation. Religion versus religion. Church versus church. Race versus race. Class versus class. Family versus family. Friend versus friend. Father versus son. Brother versus brother. Neighbor versus neighbor. Christianity within the United States is more like a business than a religion, or “clubs” where members pay their dues and their “status” is assured.
When will we learn to stop competing and start working together again? This inability to connect with others because of the underlying competition always involved makes it difficult to live in the U.S.A. In all aspects of life, America is in constant competition with itself and it’s slowly dying from within.
The very idea of a common America is incomprehensible at the moment. The question always asked is which party are you apart of or which team do you support. Or what is your job which means how much do you make. If I answer I am not a member of any party, of any religion, I don’t have a favorite sports team, nor do I have a job, most Americans would think I was crazy, at least ten years ago.
Perhaps, things are slowly changing. Competition is a hallmark of the ego’s desire to distinguish itself from the external world. Furthermore, if the United States is the most competitive society ever created, it is also the most ego-driven society ever created. The ego sustains itself by constantly comparing oneself to others and labeling them to be either inferior or superior. Gotama the Buddha compared the untamed ego to a “wild elephant”.
What happens when we stop competing with others? We stop competing with ourselves, with our minds, and finally with the law, with God, and surrender… and ahhhh… what a moment. It was not until I started to travel that I realized how the rest of the world was not the same as the U.S. There are similarities, but the extreme that the US has gone is unprecedented.
I am very lucky to have began my travels nearly six years ago in Nepal. Once again I am about to leave Nepal for India and am looking for an adventure.
Unless we learn to work together again and drop the mindless over-competition from ruining the country and the world, the “wild elephant” within the U.S. will continue to unleash it’s havoc to other countries.
A major focus of this blog will be to find out how we can tame this wild elephant before it crashes the “China shop” and brings down the house. Once we learn to tame our own ego, we can begin to work on it collectively. Inner peace will bring outer peace. Until this begins to happen, I don’t see why I would stay in the U.S. if other areas throughout the world do share my same values. I am confident one day though that the US will start to work together again.
Removing Obstacles from our path.
When walking the spiritual path, we must be willing to realize and remove all obstacles that are holding us back from absolute freedom and liberation, whether externally or internally. By slowly detaching ourselves from those that are holding us back and cleansing the mind of the impurities of reaction and ego, we come to a time where the deepest operations can occur and the pristine state can be reached. If we can’t remove obstacles from our current path, then occasionally we must remove ourself from the obstacle. This made it nearly impossible for me to stay in the U.S. throughout the past six years.
Although it is possible to walk this path around others, it is more conducive when walked alone and/or strictly celibate. That is until the “destination” is reached. That is why the Saints and sages of the past have emphasized not being attached to our friends and family. Gotama left his wife and child without even saying goodbye. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.” I feel this also to be true and I’m sorry to those that have felt hurt because of this tough choice. It’s a continuously hard decision but I hope you all see what I am trying to do and forgive me.
This is why I had to leave the U.S., I had to see the world. Since I have been traveling I have noticed that the rest of the world shows glimpses of “working together” that I have not seen within the U.S. Year by year the values of the United States, for better or worst, have been transferring to other countries around the world. If the U.S. can set the proper example, the world will hopefully return to a time of “working together” to achieve our common interests. But, at the moment, most would consider this to be a stretch.
The featured picture above is a painting I did in March of 2014. It sort of represents my journey of breaking free of the web of the U.S. As you can see, there are many more birds wanting and waiting to break free. Hopefully this blog can help lead the way for others.
Nepal has been a wonderful shelter for me throughout the past six years. I have met some amazing people in all my travels, but Nepal is a place where you can meet them everywhere you go, every single day. Whether in Pokhara or the Annapurnas, or Kathmandu, or Lumbini, or Solukhumbu, wherever I go I have made some of the closest friends that I know. Even though I am constantly coming and going, I know that my friendships here will always last and that is a “comfort” for me to remember. I am sure that I will be back soon.
In the past three months, I have gone from Kyoto, Japan to Kathmandu where I spent my first week in Bauddhanath near the stupa. Afterwards, I spent one month in Lumbini sitting a course at Dhama Janani and afterwards 16 days at the Korean monastery helping light candles for the Chinese New Year. After this I spent around 17 days in Pokhara, doing yoga and meditation at my good friends Asanga and Durga’s Sadhana Yoga. Lastly, I sat one satipattana course in Kathmandu and have been waiting the past week for my Indian visa. The past eight days I have spent at the Razzmatazz guesthouse near Durbar Square in Kathmandu. I have stayed all over this city, and this has been one of the best places so far with an extremely welcoming staff. I highly suggest anyone coming here to try it out.
I collected the visa today and so will be heading off this morning on a bus to Sunauli where I will then take another bus across the border to Gorakpur. And lastly, I will be taking the night train to Varanasi. It will probably be a warm welcome to the wild land of India. Two years ago, when I was in India, it was hot as hot can be. But somehow my body adjusted and eventually I began to like the heat. I hope this will be the same pattern as last time, but who knows. Bring it on.
I’m not for sure when I will get to post again. Probably 24-48 hours from now. From then on I will begin making additions and deductions from the Dana bank. I am pretty sure the initial Bitcoin donation link is now up. Here is a link that should work. I’ll write a long post soon about the implications of accepting bitcoins on a blog such as this. This is the first time that I am dealing with them so I’ll slowly be learning.
Bitcoin Dana “Donation” link: https://coinkite.com/u/ThisAmericanSadhu/
I humbly ask God and Dharma to put me in touch with the holy people of India, whether high or low caste, so that I may experience a truly epic and spiritual journey through this magnificent and historical country.
I will participate in the game. It is a wonderful, wonderful opera – except that it hurts. – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Om Gan Ganapataya Namah: http://chirb.it/6Gh0bF