When It Can Be Worth It to Fall off the Horse

Day 14

Kandamodara, Sri Lanka

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
― Gautama Buddha

For the past 3-4 weeks I have been living a bit of a “double-life” I suppose, not being perfectly truthful, but also not necessarily lying either. I’ll tell you what I mean. When walking the spiritual path, one of the most important things is to not be discouraged if one falls down or “falls off the horse” as I like to say. It is a perfectly natural part of the process and if the meditation is going the way it is supposed to then it can happen easily. Why is this? Two things.

The purpose of meditation is to remove all craving and desire within the mind. Even staying on the “path” itself is a desire that can be removed through meditation. I believe this is where so many “spiritual” people have “gone wrong” in the past (not necessarily wrong per se) in that they reach a level where even their desire to “go beyond” is removed and they take this as the realization that they were seeking. They arrive at the realization to “just be” and they are happy with this. The desire to maintain a strict discipline is removed and slowly but surely, unless one knows what I am explaining above, they will fall back down into the trap of constant craving and desire, whether in this life or the next.

Many times over the past two and half years this has happened to me. It has never been a straight shot up. Coming from a highly-addicted background, it is easy for me to “fall back” into old habits; drinking, smoking, etc. It is more like a roller coaster going up and down until hopefully it continues up and breaks through the invisible stratosphere. I have not used any money from the expense account for my “fall back”. Furthermore, something inside of me has wanted to use the rest of the trivial personal money that I have left and only use “sadhu” money from now on. This would inherently make it impossible (as I refuse to use donated money for any form of intoxicant) to fall off the path again.

If something like this occurs to people attempting to walk the spiritual path it may be highly discouraging thinking that somehow they did something wrong or that their meditation was going incorrectly and this can bring them further down. This is not necessarily the case. How do we overcome this?  How do we move further when even the desires to “stay on the path” and maintain strict discipline are removed in meditation?

One, which is very important, don’t become discouraged. The second, keep your mind on the prize. Set your sight and aspiration on the true goal and no matter what you will always be pulled back onto the right course. Both the Buddha and Jesus (the two spiritual masters that I tend to believe in and listen to the most) mention many times that when coming to the end of the path, it helps to be alone and without the possibility of distraction. Although I am not in complete solitude, I am the most alone that I have been on an extended period since I began my spiritual journey. My mind is at ease, I am already back “on track”, and my meditation is extremely strong.

“Congratulations to those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again.” – Gospel of Thomas 49

The way I like to describe it is like this. Say I want to cross from Europe to the USA via sailboat over the ocean. Is all I can really do is set my sail and boat in the direction of the U.S., I can’t ask the wind to take me there faster. As long as I keep my aspiration set in the right direction nothing can stop me. A sailboat naturally must zig and zag to its destination and this is what has been occurring. My mind has not changed. I don’t want to go anywhere else besides to America. This determination of setting a goal of something “beyond” further strengthens my resolve and so much more so because I have had a little taste of what I am seeking.  The taste will forever linger until it is appeased and fully fulfilled again.

This can be seen as an advantage and disadvantage. Yes perhaps sometime I have craved the taste in the past, but I got over this hurdle quite a while back. Now it is more like a treasure map to where I want to go and it strengthens my resolve tremendously. Without it, the experience that I went through, I may have given up this journey along time ago. With it, I can never stop until I reach the shore. Only then can I paint the map for others. Until then it is like the blind leading the blind.

Now that that is out of the way, I would just like to say I am clean again for now, I’m in a spiritual paradise made for development and I plan on doing all that I can to cross the ocean of delusion. I would like to clarify my major spiritual goal though. If my goal was to only enlighten myself than that would be one thing, but this is not my aspiration. It is much more difficult to do what I’m trying to do, which is to discover what has been lost. What has been lost is what I call the perfect meditation; a meditation that can bring anyone across the ocean within a matter of days. I believe it exist and this is what I’m looking for. How? Through fully trusting my own abilities and intuition in meditation. How could it be found otherwise?

This is the reason that sadhus have existed for thousands of years. To find out what I’m seeking. This is why there have been millions upon millions of spiritual seekers that were taken care of by society throughout India and the surrounding countries since history has been recorded. The people knew such a “goal” existed, but they didn’t want to spend their whole lives looking for it, so they funded spiritual seekers to look for it for them. To this date, few have been successful and those that were did not accomplish the ultimate goal of humanity of universal enlightenment. I’m trying to find the Holy Grail. The lost knowledge. And when I find it I will share it openly and with everyone that would like to know. This is what you all, as readers and donors, are helping me to achieve. In essence we are doing it together, as we always have been.

Going back to the beginning of the post, “falling off the horse” has it’s advantages. One, certain realizations come when going up the ladder, and some come when falling down. Two, necessity is the mother of invention. When I start feeling like shit again, something I’m not used to when going up, my mediation tends to change more rapidly as I am trying to remove the impediments of what is causing me to fill like crap. I’m willing to try new things that I didn’t think of before or forgot about in the past. So, even though I was “falling down” the past few weeks, my meditation was proceeding in a very positive way. Now that I am sobering up, I can utilize what I learned or remembered during this time period. It is a very slippery slope that I tread on, but I have learned to walk the razor’s edge the past two and a half years. I am a master of coming up and down the slope.

Coming out of it, I am feeling more and more assured that everything is as it should be, perfectly crescendoing into something special. All the hallmarks are there. I built this blog as a way to share this journey, past, present, and future, with no secrets, and to build a foundation for if and when spiritual heights are obtained again. Surely, I feel, this has been done thus far and the blog is at perfect “readiness” status to do what it was made for, to teach what I learn along the way.

The Dogs

Sara and Pikolina playing.
Sara and Pikolina playing.

The dogs are absolutely spectacular. I seemed to have forgotten just how special a relationship we can have with dogs since I last was with them everyday back in the states. They are just so full of love, just wanting a little love in return. They constantly want to play and kiss me. There are so many sometimes I just have to lie on the ground and let them cover me trusting them to “play nice.”

Tina is quite rambunctious.
Tina is quite rambunctious.

Our walks on the beach and to the lagoon have been very special. The group of 11 that I am usually with are very well-behaved and they move about in totally silence unless they feel threatened. Since we are usually alone on the beach, they have no reason to bark. It feels like a I am becoming a member of their pack and that we are hunting for something but no one should make a sound to disturb what we are hunting for. Even the dogs don’t know, but it’s in their blood to act this way and I like being a part of it.

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Above: Suerta (White), but I nicknamed him Bandit or White Bandit because of his eyes. And in the top picture is Blackie the magnificent.

I look forward to whatever is in store for me the next few months and continuing to share the journey with you all as readers. The karmic loop is in place; giving the dogs love in return for their own. This is surely the true way of karma, giving love without expectation which can perhaps be more easily accomplished with animals.

Sorry I don’t have more pictures to post at the moment as my Airdrop was not working.

What do I care if the water wets my clothes?

What do I care if the water wets my clothes?

It will only stay wet for a short time at most.

The waves vibrate with a ravenous jingle,

Pushed by the moon,

With the earth it does mingle.

Gravity pushes and pulls,

Up and down,

It holds the nose,

Upon the clown.

The waves pass under the sunset,

Everyday without reason or cause,

We walk down the beach,

Leaving only footprints and paws.

The trees grow where they may,

Without my command,

For nature is perfect in its ways,

No greed like in man.

If a meal is missed,

It will be found down the road.

Whoever heard of a starving fish?

Or a starving toad?

The birds find their food easily,

And the crows will even steal,

How can we judge a smart bird?

If this is how it finds a meal?

How I would love to be a bird,

Or a lion millennia ago.

Or a T-Rex.

No need for the nasty ego.

No conception of right or wrong.

Always perfectly in tune,

But they can’t conceive beyond,

Can’t see a blue moon.

What they see in front of their faces,

Is all that matters to them.

All of a sudden something happened,

And then came a wild spin.

A serious evolution occurred,

When our ancestors ate special food,

Mushrooms, fungus, and cacti.

Put them in a special mood.

Made em think maybe there is another way,

Another world.

And the aspiration set in.

Ding.

Straight from dew.

With the sacred brew,

And the plant stew,

The brain grew.

And now we are here.

Expenses and Donations between July 25th and 29th:

I received two heavenly donations of $54.54 and $40 from two wonderful people to go towards the path. They have eased my mind a bit going from nigh nothing to something. And the first person who has donated twice! A new record! Haha thanks so much guys!

Expenses:

Food: $1

$1 + 187.67 = 188.67 divided by 14 days = $13.48 per day

$12.36 – $1 + $47.07 = $58.43 left

$58.43 / $13.48 = 4 days left

Donations:

1150.80 divided by 100 days = $11.51 per day

$13.38 + $47.07 = $60.45

left  $60.45 / 11.51 = 5 days left

Blessed

Taking Care of Dogs, Walking Along the Beach, and Loving Life in Sri Lanka

Journey to Ixtlan

Day 10

Kandamodara, Sri Lanka

A half-complete castle-church I live in.
A half-complete castle-church I live in.
I am sitting here in a balcony overlooking the most enchanting ocean, beach, and palm trees I have ever seen, with only $12.36 in the expense account thinking that I am perfectly happy with the way things have turned out thus far in the sadhu journey. I have made it to the destination that I have been “aspiring” towards for sometime now, not knowing it’s full potential until now. It was hard work, but I have somehow made it here. An aspiration such as this is a combination of little aspirations all rolled into one, and to me it is better than I could have planned. Furthermore, I now get to show you an example of how to continuing traveling and “living” on truly no money. The accounts are so low there would not be much I can do with them at the time. How does one live on such little? The key is to find your sanctuary. I believe I have found my own, for the time being.

Overlooking the balcony.
Overlooking the balcony.
I have found a place where I will not need to worry what I plan on doing next week, or next month which is a huge relief over what I have been doing the past 3 months and even past 16 months of traveling. When we can find these sanctuaries, and so much more if our room and board will be taken care of, it can be seen as a relative “goal” to shoot for when traveling; perhaps a result that could only be when combined with a spiritual journey. Especially ones in such pristine conditions as this. Things may be a little rough around the edges, but when have I ever shied away from this in the past? More or less, the pros of this place far outweigh whatever little cons I can find. The method of my living the past three months has made it to where even in slightly uncomfortable rooms or situation, I can find my solace and do what I need to do.

Pathway to Freedom
Pathway to Freedom
Through the spiritual path, occasionally times like this occur on a basis of manifesting the desire that is wanted for spiritual development. This places seems to be a direct manifestation of all the things I would want in a sanctuary and where spiritual development can occur in solitude. This is huge. I feel something inside me, either consciously or unconsciously, wanted it for myself to proceed forwards and so I am ready to take that step. My meditation is perfectly on track and beyond what I could imagine it to be at this point. The absolute silence except for waves is extremely beneficial for the path to continue.

Wide open beaches into solitude.
Wide open beaches into solitude.
I have never seen such a beautiful and secluded beach in all of my life. It is really unreal to me and feels like I am dreaming, walking, sitting, laying on the beach in either the day or the night. I walk with the dogs down the beach and come back hours later and still the only foot prints left are mine and the dogs. The waves are absolutely extraordinary and ravishing, perhaps 5-7 meters high at times. The red flags are constantly out and so I have only taken a few dips thus far.

Magnicent gardens surround the whole property.
Magnicent gardens surround the whole property.
The dogs. The dogs, how can I explain about these magnificent dogs? A story will be told over the coming months. I imagine that they will be the main characters in the unfolding story as most of my attention will be with them. When I was offered the job, the woman who explained things to me said is all you have to do is love my dogs and I thought to myself, ok I can do that. The catch being is that there are 17 dogs here and 3 monkeys. They are not all on good terms so there are sort of gangs of dogs.

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Here are the breakups:

There is sort of a group of “good” dogs and “bad” dogs and the monkeys live in the middle, constantly provoking or aggrandizing the dogs to fight. There is furthermore another group of six rogue dogs who live on the beach, but are very defensive. This makes 23 dogs total. Out of the “good” dogs they are lead by a wonderful female golden labrador retriever named Sara who is around 10 years old. She is getting older, but still in good shape and just loves life.

Ole Sara the sweety.
Ole Sara the sweety.
Her “companion” is a miniature or crippled German Shepherd named, get this, Rex, the name of my 100 year old grandpa. So cool. Surrounding these two dogs is a gang of around 8 good dogs. Slowly I hope to show them all and explain who they are and their strengths and weaknesses.

Rex the champ.
Rex the champ.
On the “bad” side, there are about 6-7 dogs mostly of black and white color who live sort of behind the monkey cage in a big open field that opens up for the dogs to run around in. I have not got to know their names or backgrounds yet, but there is a pretty aggressive one who likes to jump on me and bite at my arms gently. There is a single fence that separates the two gangs, but there are also plenty of openings in the fence so things sometimes get a bit out of hand, but they are just having fun it looks like so far.

The monkeys live in the middle. One is a bit atrocious and likes to antagonize the dogs.

Shookee... he is mean looking.
Shookee… he is mean looking.
One of the cool things about where I am is that the dogs have absolute freedom to do whatever they please. It is literally a huge area surrounded purely by nature that they can run around in. Since they are nearly always in a pack or with a friend, they have nothing to worry about. It is an absolute paradise for them. A human paradise automatically leads itself to a dog’s paradise, especially if the dogs are treated so well as they are here. It is going to be an amazing time. I have came up with a little corresponding theory that has to do with this job and will be interesting to see in progression.

Animal Karma Theory

A question has been roaming around in my mind for some time and I think I am starting to get an image of an answer. It seems like a good time to expunge it a bit as it has to do with the next leg of the journey I am embarking on now. The question is how do animals gain karma to eventually be reborn into the human existence when they live purely by instinct, by reaction, and the programming that is within their own DNA? My theory is that animals have received karma throughout history based upon the “interference” of man, either consciously or unconsciously. In essence, we can change the fate or karma of animals by utilizing them for multiple purposes.

Either through food, or production, or protection, or by receiving love from them which can be tangentially felt from animal to human. A karmic cycle or loop can start where a human receives karma for providing the opportunity for animals to earn karma on an extended “drawn out” basis. Just from “mingling” with animals, we give them the chance to “love” and even “change” into a loving animal from an angry or frightened one.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26

I think this scripture is stating the same as this theory, but it is not explaining it in depth or properly. Many people throughout history might have thought this meant that man has the ability to do whatever it wants to animals as they are “higher” on a spiritual level or imaginary “food chain”, but in actuality it just means that we are in charge of giving animals the opportunity to earn karma as they have no ability to unless human interaction takes place. This could have unconsciously being taken place since the inception of human-animal interaction. A deeper question is who are the one’s that gave pre-humans their karma to become human through evolution? Something to speculate upon.

This theory corresponds to what I am about to start doing. I will give them the opportunity to love and protect me just with long walks on the beach and I will love them in return, a la the karmic loop will be implemented. I don’t see them really as “animals”, but beings just like you or me just in an animal body at the time. Any of them could have been my family, friends, or teachers from past lives. 

Chickens can give eggs, food, fertilizer, and perhaps love. Cows give plenty of milk, fertilizer or an energy source as they burn manure to cook food in many countries, food, and love. Dogs can go one step further and provide protection and lots of love which can be more tangentially felt. I feel very fortunate to have grown up around dogs nearly all of my life and would go far as to say that perhaps I may not even be alive if it were not for the unconditional love that animals and dogs specifically provide. They heal through love. They give you an opportunity to earn karma in return for giving them the opportunity to earn karma. That is the basis of this theory and something I plan on watching take place over the next few months.

I hope I can tell the story for all to read, understand, and love for it should be a fun one to take part in and watch. My internet capabilities are currently adapting and I should be able to get a constant source of internet soon which should allow the content to proceed punctually and rapidly. But perhaps not…

——-

The only groups of people I have met thus far on the beach are staying West about 200 meters at a posh 4 star hotel. Mostly British, German, and Russian tourists they explained to me. They invited me in and showed me all around. Crazy pool, bars, restaurants, etc. The guys on the beach know the woman I am working for. They are nice and I will look forward to talking to them occasionally throughout the time.

East of us is a group of fisherman who have their boats tied there constantly. I was told to be careful of them and so I am. Nonetheless, I met a few of them and they seemed to be nice at first meeting. He showed me a boat full of 8-9 craps and smiled. I usually walk by them at least once a day when walking the dogs.

I am now staying in the tower of this house with another older Sri Lankan man who occasionally stays there and other times in Tangelle. He explained he had been coming there for a long time and his children were married there. The other younger boy who lives on the property is Kasun. He came and picked me up from the Tangelle bus station on my first day and is sort of the do-it-all guy at the moment. We have so far developed a very good relationship. Lastly there are a few Tuk-tuk drivers who work here a little and drive Kasun around if he needs to pick up any supplies because it is quite a long tuk-tuk ride to where one wants to buy something. Going to the market yesterday was quite interesting, but successful.

The tower of power.
The tower of power.
So that is all that I will write about the situation thus far. More or less, I have no more expense or personal money to use and will be happy writing, meditating, walking on the beach with wonderful dogs for the upcoming future. Perhaps even just giving love and compassion to animals or dogs can give the little extra push we need to go spiritually; we may need to fill up the jars just a little fuller to get to where we want to go. I hope you will enjoy the ride!

List of daily expenses and donations between July 16th and July 24th 2015:

New for Sri Lanka:
Flight from India: $48.91
Visa: $30
Travel (bus): $5.70
Food: $48.25
Room: $27.65
Random: $8.46
SIM Card: $18.69
Total: $187.67

Total: $187.67 divided by 9 days = $20.85 per day

Donation to random stranger= $.90

Total = $1149.90 – .90 divided by 95 days = $12.11 per day

Expense account = $200.03 – $187.67 (Avg. $20.85 per day will last 1 more day)
Donations account = $14.68 – .90 = $13.38 (Avg $12.11 per day will last 1 more day)

Blessed.

Don’t They Know The War is Over?

Day 90

Negombo Beach, Sri Lanka

Don’t they know?

Don’t they know the war is over?
That we all have won and no one has lost?
Don’t they know there is enough for us all to be happy?
That there always will be?
That the idea that what we need is running out is the grand illusion of capitalism?
Don’t they know that a good idea that can and will help everyone can never be stopped?
Don’t they know this is what they actually want?
Don’t they know that they are not to blame?
Don’t they know that they have a right to change?
Don’t they know that freedom is around the corner?
Not the superficial freedom that we have learned to accept, but true freedom as in “doing anything one can possibly imagine?”
Don’t they know that this freedom comes with a price?
That the price is their unhappiness and suffering?
Don’t they know that sacrifices are only skin-deep?
Don’t they know they will always be ok?
That nothing in the universe can hurt them or anyone for that matter?
Don’t they know they are already forgiven?
Don’t they know that even they can give and receive love?
Don’t they know what is actually inside of us is all the same?
That nothing external can ever replace what is internal?
Or are they just waiting until they are told?
Well, let’s tell ’em.

Even Death Must Play By the Rules

Day 88,

Negombo Beach, Sri Lanka

The first step in becoming who we already are is to learn the rules,

How can we play any game without knowing the rules?

It may seem like chaos, but many gems have been dug up and passed down.

Gems as in rules. We know them now. We can experience them.

We can experience what happens when we follow the rules and break the rules.

Only I know what I will become,

For what I will become is constantly changing in my mind.

And yet the idea is not concrete.

Not even I know the combination of what I want,

And what It wants.

Is what I want what It wants or is what It wants what I want?

My eventual actuality may be perhaps radical, divergent,

From the plan that It may have.

But I assure you because of the present moment,

This has never been done before,

Not such a controversial statement,

Because our current possibilities have never been possible until now.

New possibilities, once unforeseen, are always unfolding.

My intent is to live the best possibility that I can see,

And I do so with humanity in mind.

The good thing is,

At the moment,

What is inside of me would give all that I have,

For others to be happier than I currently am,

Which I may perceive to be high,

But which I can only comprehend by comparing to the state of others,

Not knowing what ultimate happiness actually is.

However, there is not a bone in my body,

Or cell in my structure that would harm a fly.

I may do something that will shock you,

I may be original,

In my contagiousness of optimism.

For harmony to prevail it is perhaps a must.

We have come so far from where we began,

To this exact point,

And is all we need now is a leader.

Who will lead? For I will surely follow.

But I see no leaders, at least those that seem worthy within my own definition.

Why pass the buck when we can be what is needed?

Is it for our own selfish desires?

Our desire for solitude?

Desire for privacy? Desire for comfortability? Desire to be individually free?

What if these desires perished?

What could be created?

What if absolute power did not corrupt absolutely?

Would it then be given?

Would you trust those who had been given this gift?

Would you trust those who would not judge nor tell your secrets?

How can one without desire direct progress? By merely mentioning the right idea?

We are all standing around waiting for someone to show us the way.

We are all standing around hoping someone takes a stand.

As I cross the street and I smile at you, I hope you will smile back,

But if not, I will keep on smiling. Even if I stand alone.

I know the rules.

As long as I play with them in mind, I cannot be touched.

For every being is subject to the rules, whether they believe so or not.

This is the hidden truth. All play by the same rules.

As long as I don’t fight against those who I once deemed wrong,

They will be unable to do wrong to me.

Evil must be fed by evil to proceed with evil.

Take away its source and it is complacent in its own demise.

Love evil and it cannot stand.

Clench the fist, turn the cheek, wait for the blow, and watch it not come.

Here we are now, at this moment, in this beautiful world, waiting for the clock to strike.

Who has the gong? Who can flick the switch?

Only those with the spark can light the fuse, unless they refuse.

I will not refuse.

My ambition has no limits, because I don’t limit it within myself.

We were all given the ability to lead, to create, and to show the way forward.

Bout time to use it.

Why must it come about now?

Because I don’t want to wait any longer,

And I am ready.

Some may ask why?

And yet I have always asked why not?

And if my dreams and wishes fade away like so many before me,

Then so be it,

I will just be another “could-have-been”.

The key is to not worry about being a “could-have-been” and except it if it comes,

Relatively better than a “never-had-a-shot” which perhaps I have been before.

One thing is safe to say,

I won’t stop until death takes me,

This is what death knows, and is therefore giving up it’s fight,

For death is just another door for me to take until I begin again.

Even death must play by the rules.

India Journey Accomplished: Spending $5.40 a day, with $1150 Donated over Three Months

Day 87

Negombo Beach, Sri Lanka

My trip through India and the first leg of this journey has come to an end. What a wonderful trip it has been. I met so many amazing people and new friends, especially in the last month. It is amazing to me how lifelong friends can be made in such a short time period, completely randomly, and I can’t imagine not knowing these new people. Perhaps any longer and I would have been too attached to leave. I look forward to seeing them all again one day and I know our friendships have just begun.

When I started this journey I set a goal of only spending $10 a day or less for my expenses and I am happy to say that it was nearly half that at $5.40 a day. I was attempting to show how cheap it can be to travel in India and furthermore throughout the world. Anyone who can save $5.40 a day can also travel the same way that I have, at least in India, for I have attempted to show the path. Furthermore, we were able to donate a total of $1149.90 over the course of the trip or $13.37 per day, which is great in itself. It is impossible to know the exact repercussions of these donations, but it is possible to say that they all went to someone who was in need at the time.

Overview of My Trip Through India

My journey began in one of my favorite cities, Varanasi, where I swam in the Ganges and had a spectacular time at the Kumiko guesthouse, making friends with many wonderful souls.

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From there I proceeded to Vrindaven, which was a special place even though it was rough physically and spiritually. I salute Mathura and Mangala for taking care of me during this time.

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After this I found my way to the place of the Buddha’s supreme enlightenment at Bodh Gaya where I volunteered at a vipassana course for 14 days. It was hot as hades and challenging, but it was also a very special part of the trip.

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Heading out, we went through Raj Gir and then to Kolkata. Kolkata was unexpectedly a highlight of the trip and I enjoyed this week tremendously working with the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity at the Kalighat hospice.

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Lastly, I came down to Pondicherry and Auroville after debating going into the monsoon (which never came) without any definite plans and it all worked out ten times better than I could have imagined. It was just a blessed experience all around. It was for sure one of those experiences that I feel that I somehow designed for myself in a separate existence or a past or future life. I have a new-found love for South India and will surely spend more time there in the future.

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My last two weeks I spent with a few wonderful people at the Magic House, a den of fellow wanderers working on building a sustainable permaculture village. Shoutouts to the Georgian Brian Newhouse of Permaville fame and Rwandan Mr. Sammy. What a fun time we had in such a short time frame! Below is the Magic House kitchen; the whole place felt like the setting of the movie “The Beach”, an all-time favorite of mine.

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Volunteering at Chola Gardens

When I came to Chola Gardens I had no idea what to expect. I was sort of just leaving it in God’s hands to send me to the place that I was supposed to be at. Surely that is what happened and it was a remarkable one month experience. I feel that I made a new family and will always feel connected to these wonderful people. We worked very hard on building them a new home for whatever reason that they choose to use it for in the future. Although it was not completed, a lot of the grunt work of building the foundation has been accomplished.

The stone for the foundation is nearly used up and they will soon have to move forward with the cob and adobe work. However long it takes, these first steps were very crucial to getting the ball rolling and the fire lit. It really began to feel like a sculptural artwork that we all were contributing to, as I hope the pictures will show.

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Outside shots of the foundation.

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Selvi and her wonderful mother posing at work.

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Trip to Madurai

I only spent one day in Madurai and did not get to see too much, but what I saw was worth it. The Meenakshi Temple is a sprawling complex in the center of Madurai and supposedly the largest temple in India. I could not take pictures inside and there were a few inner chambers where I could not go because I was white or not officially Hindu, but it was very mysterious (although once I flashed my Ganesh tattoo and a guy let me through. I thought this was pretty cool).

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It really felt like an Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider movie, with some of the most amazing stone carvings I have ever seen. The ceilings were at least 10 meters high being supported by huge carved pillars of the Gods and deities. There was a meditation hall that was gated off, but I snuck in and had a wonderful meditation there, even if the security guards interrupted me half way through, which I had to talk my way out of.

The next morning I took the bus from Madurai to the airport and hopped on a plane to good ole Sri Lanka! The plane ticket cost me 3,100 rupees or around $50 and the corresponding one month visa cost $30. I am in super wandering mode at the moment and am just buying some time until I figure exactly where to go again. I think I know, but am not 100%. The expense account is dipping into the double-digits soon so this is no time to mess around.

I am very much looking forward to Sri Lanka, even if I will not be able to spend as extravagantly as I did in India, which may sound like a joke but it isn’t. There is just enough money in the expense account to buy my plane ticket, visa, and a few days of lodging before I find out my next destination. I plan on finding another volunteer job to conserve what is left in the expense account so the show can go on. This is perhaps the only way for the project to continue to function properly. I believe is what I need at this moment is a place of solitude, away from distractions and potential sidetracks, where I can write but also perform volunteer work. I think I have found the perfect place and will know for sure in the coming days.

While I wait, I seemed to have walked into a bit of a tourist trap in Negombo Beach as can happen when wandering is taking place, but I found a quaint little place for a little over $5 a day and am buying cheap bread and fruit in the marketplace until I can find another job. There is fast free wifi though, which I am not used to, so I plan on putting it to good use while I am here. There are not many people in the resorts, but it is a quite built up area. I wonder if the lack of tourists is because of the season or because of the remnants of the war that ended semi-recently.

The waves were huge yesterday and I was hesitant to go swimming, but I did it anyway. The water was warm and there was a bit of trash floating ashore, but any beach is beautiful to me.  I am confident where I am heading next will not be this way, but will be crystal clear water, which is what I am seeking, inside and out.

All in all, I am happy to have absolute freedom again, without having to check up with anyone and can come and go as I please. Once again nobody knows my name and I am a man without a history… just the way I like it.

India was an absolute blast and totally different than my first trip there two years ago, which I expected it would be. Coming to Sri Lanka, I have zero expectations though and am looking forward to all it has to offer. The truck is moving forward and the train is heading to its destination of destinationlessness soon enough. Thanks to you all for sticking with me, following the journey, and supporting me through your reading, commenting, and donating! I surely could not do it without all of you!

The air was cool and crisp as he stepped off the plane. What did this newfound country have to offer? Much like the explorers before, who blazed the path for such a journey to take place, he was unaware of the treasures and hazards that lay ahead. But who cares? Freedom is what is at stake. The freedom to find the truly unexpected.

As he walked out of the airport, past the touts and tuktuks, he could notice the change in the air from India. What was it? The climate? The people? The feeling? Perhaps a little bit of each. Something was different, but exactly what remains to be seen.

With absolutely no idea where to go, he hopped on a bus heading for a place called Negombo Beach. “Beach” is the only word that mattered here and he knew that would offer a place of shelter until the light shined upon the new path to be taken.

Seeing guesthouses or “lodges” as they call them here and restaurants, he decided this was as good a place as any. Without the bus even coming to a complete stop he jumped onto the curbside, without too much trouble.

“Be careful!”, a nearby tuktuk driver shouted. “You are going to break a leg doing that!”, laughing with his friend.

“It’s all good brother! Don’t worry,” responded the man. With little luggage, jumping off moving transit was doable although perhaps not necessary. “Where can I find a cheap place to stay?”, he asked the two men.

“Check down this way, maybe you can find a place for around 1000 rupees a night,” responded the driver. “Ah, but that is a little high. Anywhere cheaper?” said the man. “Perhaps, but you will need some luck!” Smilingly, the man said “Luck? That is about all I have these days!”

And off he went into the wild blue yonder.

List of daily expenses and donations between July 11th and 16th 2015:

1st donation added in two months! $30 from a wonderful friend! $15 into each account.

Total spent on food: $6.67
Room: $5.52
Random: $.66
Travel $9.27
Total: $22.28

Total: $441.97 + 22.28 = $464.25 divided by 86 days = $5.40 per day

Donation to random stranger= $.32

Total = $1149.58 + .32 = $1149.90 divided by 86 days = $13.37 per day

Expense account = $207.31 + $15 – 22.28 = $200.03 (Avg. $5.40 per day will last 37 more days)
Donations account = 0 + $15 – .32 = $14.68 (Avg $13.37 per day will last 1 more days)

Blessed.

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India Trip Coming to a Close, Sri Lanka Up Next, and a little Poetry

July 11th, 2015

Kuilapalayam, India

This past week has been pretty easy-going. I am never that great at a strong finish; I’m much more of a strong or even head start type of volunteer/worker. We have got some good work done though, but it has been hot with little rain. I have made a lot of very nice friends and acquaintances recently who I’ve been spending some time with when I am free. Friendship on the road can be a blessing if good friends come along. When it happens, and you are aware of it, sometimes it can be worth it to just go with their flow.

On the adobe house, we have built up the stone foundation and turned it into the lower walls. This was quite difficult with the angles that we were working with as you can see below. Nonetheless they are coming out nicely and will work well when the earth is added above. It has been a truly wonderful time working and living here at Chola Gardens and I’m 100% sure that I will be coming back again. Before I came on this trip through India I prayed that God would put me into contact with only good people and this has surely been the case the last few months. Below are a few pictures from the build site.

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View from inside the entrance.

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The curved wall sloping down and around. The next step will be to cob the walls to a flat level for adobe to be placed.

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Selvi and Kamelraj working on building the wall with smiles!

In the featured image; Having a snack with friends from the Magic House.

Look at what is behind what’s in front of you.

One day I was sitting at home playing a videogame,
I thought to myself, what are you doing, this is a crying shame.
It’s beautiful outside, go and take a look,
Maybe toss the pigskin around or even read a book?

A book about what you say?
How about Nietzche or Dostoevsky?
Or Orwell or Huxley, there’s a couple of chaps,
Pick whatever I can find and that will be thats.

Yes the sun you see,
Is good making the mind empty.
To calm down the thoughts,
And clean out the ghats,
Sit in the sun and sip from the UV pots.

They say that when the stillness speaks,
It speaks in tones and creaks.
It says clear off this dust,
And learn to fully utilize me,
That will be good for everything.

Think to myself,
What do I got?
Don’t got much,
To keep me in a spot.

Why not move around a little?
See some new sites?
Try and see the world,
One place at a time.

Don’t have no family,
No job and no car.
No house and no payments.
No money or bar.

All I carry is little,
Fits in a bag,
No I don’t need much,
You’d probably laugh.

Going from a world where you can order anything,
To a world where you can order nothing.
Is not such an easy thing you see,
It can change a man,
And make him learn to live thrifty.

But sometimes the splurge must occur,
For to hold back would be against the nature.
A pizza here, a pasta there,
Iced tea and a fair dessert share.

Sometimes I fall off my horse,
But I always get back on again.
Sometimes I fall off my boat,
And then I learn to swim again.

I’m fixin to move on,
Pack up my things,
Only take me a minute,
And I’m ready to leave.

It’s been a good show,
Ending with the best.
Thank you Tamil Nadu,
And all of the rest.

Much much respect to all of the wonderful people I have met at Chola Gardens, Geoff, Selvi, Kamelraj, Ahalia, Bala, Kalki, Harry, Ama V, and everyone else, as well as everyone at Magic House and the surrounding hangouts. Too many to mention.

In the next few days I will leave this place for Madurai for one day and then hop on a plane to Columbo, Sri Lanka. Where I go after that is a little vague, but I will tempt you with this. A beautiful home on crystal clear waters of South Sri Lanka awaits, but with a pretty big twist. Dogs and lots of them. For an indefinite amount of time and semi-solitude. Hopefully it all works out but we shall surely see!

And this may be important for us to remember one day!

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How to use a compost toilet, Fertile, Auroville.

List of daily expenses and donations between July 4th and 10th 2015:

Total spent on food: $16.70
Room: $2.37
Random: $.66
Total: $19.73

Total: $422.24 + 19.73 divided by 80 days = $5.52 per day

Donation to random stranger= $.46

Total = $1149.97 + .46 divided by 80 days = $14.32 per day

Expense account = $227.04 – 19.73 = 207.31 (Avg. $5.52 per day will last 38 more days)
Donations account = $.46 – .46 = 0 (Avg $14.32 per day will last 0 more days)

Blessed.

Conversations with Geoff: Perhaps Presumptious Assumptions about Atheism

Day 74
Kuilapalayam, India
Perhaps is it necessary to say that I see neither the atheist or non-atheist way of life or perspective as right or wrong. I don’t judge anyone’s beliefs or “what makes sense” to them to be better or worse than what I believe. These are just a few observations that I wanted to share and remember for a future point. The exciting and new addition to the blog will be that our competent resident friend who just so happens to be atheist will begin answering questions and sharing his side of this topic.

I believe the world needs dissent to move on, to progress. Since the beginning of time, or relative time of our existence, we have needed some form of dissent or obstacle to help us either work together or “chisel our own stones” as I like to say, that is to say we actually want something to work hard for and towards. Both religion and atheism have fulfilled this prerequisite over time.

If the entire world were to have “spiritually awakened” say 2,000 years ago then we would not have developed many of the things that we have now. It is as if the “spirituality” took a break and let “materialism” do what it wanted for the last four or five hundred years (or longer) in order to get us two things: completely interconnected humanly wise, in person and/or internet, and to build a system where we can create nearly anything that we can imagine, which is where we are technologically at. Perhaps the world had to be a greedy and ruthless place for this process to occur as quickly as it has, any other way would not have been as effective. Now when “spirituality” comes back into the equation, we enter a new possibility of happiness, which is only achievable if this temporary “relax” by spirituality is given for man to materially build himself to the level we are now at. 

In my opinion, the religions have purposefully and perfectly deceived people, whether consciously or unconsciously, individually or collectively, since the beginning of their existences. The religions were never made to fully lead its adherents to the final goal. We would never have wanted it that easy. Religion have been a two-bladed sword throughout history slightly guiding, but also deceiving the world until now, and they have done it perfectly and handled brilliantly, even though it is hard for most of us to believe. We should clap for what they have done, the good and the bad, for it has led us to this exact moment.

Certainly, religion is flawed today and it has lost some essential characteristics of why it came about in the first place. My teacher used to make a great metaphor about religion: religion is like a clay pot and the nectar (spirituality) has seeped through the cracks. It’s now a hollow shell of what it once was and why they were established. This does not mean the nectar cannot be re-added. I believe it will. It is easy to see why atheist are so adamantly anti-religious when we see the problems associated with the various religions today.  

If one believe they are unhelpable or unchangeable then perhaps yes it would be better to do away with them all together. But if they are adaptable or moldable then they will always have a very important role to play, one way or the other. There is little to no room for adaptability in atheism. It is an absolute belief. Either “with us or against us” is a precursor for current atheism. It is at the furthest point of the spectrum, and any movement would invalidate what it proposes and tries to do.

A few assumptions that a non-atheist and atheist might believe:

A belief in God (non-atheist)

1.) A belief of something beyond what we can materially see and/or potentially comprehend.

2.) A reason for us to be here, rather than no reason for our existence. 

3.) Universal rules that govern our world and keep things in check. 

A true blue atheist might perhaps say:

1.) There is nothing beyond what we can see or comprehend.

2.) There is no reason for us to be here.

3.) There are no universal rules or repercussions for my actions beyond this life.

I contend that there is something inherent within us that naturally believes there are repercussions for our actions, whereas the opposite is more of a manufactured belief or theory that must be engrained upon someone externally, and usually at a young age.

Furthermore, the proof of the existence of something beyond our immediate comprehension is greater than the proof of the opposite, and if we talk purely in scientific terms, the theories would perhaps be equally unprovable. Proof for an alternate existence or reality can only be obtained from the collection of individual “spiritual” experiences, synchronizing, displayed in word, thought, action, and belief. It should be noted that these similar experiences are from across the world, throughout history and even without immediate contact. 

These similar life-changing experiences came to people across the earth over thousands of years and regardless of proximity. This is a recognizable regularity that can be verified whereas the belief or theory of atheism has no real such history, except the sheer theorized belief that there is no God.

Atheism is much more of a “belief” because there is no possibility for individual experience of “godlessness”. It is much more speculative and even “science-driven”, but there can be no direct evidence or proof accepted by atheists, because if there were, it would cause them to be no longer atheist and so invalid to what they expound. It is a contrived and speculative belief with bouts of fervor throughout history, but perhaps unsustainable once certain knowledge is released or certain events happen.. On the other hand, It is a good contender and dissenter for the “show” to progress and move forward.

What would a full atheist world look and feel like? Would it even be feasible that this could exist? I feel that there is a long term goal or plan of some that complete godlessness will lead us somehow to a happier or better time than a world with spirituality and a belief of God. The idea that religion will be completely gone in sometime in the future is also a little far-fetched, just as much as the idea that atheism will be gone anytime soon in the future. I contend that the belief in God or the beyond have been around for much longer then atheism, which is just as contrived as a religion or belief in God, whereas many atheists might suggest atheism is the default of our belief system. Atheists tend to believe that atheism is the default belief that we started off with at the beginning of mans evolution. This is speculative and would be impossible for us to perfectly prove. The debate could go many ways on what came first, a belief in God or a belief in no God.

I believe religion has always been adaptable so why would it be any different now? The past 2,000 years could easily be made a case as the millenniums of religion, sprouting so many wonderful sets of beliefs, some similar, some unique. Although there are many problems, the world altogether is not such a bad place to live. It can and will be better, but a purely atheist world would perhaps not even have made it this far. 

Overall, I tend to believe that if everyone lived with the idea there were no repercussions for any actions, in this world or the next, in whatever faith, the world would be in Chaos. I believe there are inherent beliefs that there are repercussions for our actions either in this life or the next, but that the opposite belief was contrived and spread. No matter how hard I try to think that there is no reason for us to be here, I can’t. One day, perhaps soon, we will live in a world where there is no longer a worry about repercussions, but until then it is an important aspect of our history. If this was the norm, perhaps we would have not made it to this point in history.

List of daily expenses and donations between June 20th and June 26th 2015:

Total spent on food: $10.08

Room: $2.37

Random: $1.50

Total: $13.95
Total: $408.29 + 13.95 = 422.24 divided by 73 days = $5.78 per day
Donation to Eco-Village building project = $3.15
Total = $3.15 + $1145.97 = 1149.97 divided by 73 days = $15 per day
Expense account = $240.99 – 13.95 = 227.04 (Avg. $5.78 per day will last 39 more days)

Donations account = $3.61 – 3.15 = .46 (Avg $15.74 per day will last 0 more days)
Blessed.