Saturday, 20 August 2011

Rain in August

Rain in August is a very strange phenomena in Monchique.
The temperature is over 30ยบ and the humidity is suddenly high. Our pool is the best place to be untill the lighting strikes and thunder is rolling through the air. The rain starts to fall in big, warm drops washing anyway the dust and leaving the plants and he forest with a bright green. The air is full of smells.

Half an hour later the clouds break open and the sun is back as if it has never been away.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A strange day to crawl out of the garbage can.

Today was hot and made for visiting the beach in the Algarve.
Coming back, lazy and a little bit sunburnt we decided to do some shopping. I parked the car and saw two girls near the garbage container, the one with a stainless steel chimney. They were about 13 years old and they were talking into the stainless steel chimney. Suddenly a hand rose out of the tube, it carried tomatoes and bell-peppers. Then a small boy climbed out of the dumpster. To me it seemed as if he rose up from the underworld but it was only a garbage can where the shop dumped the groceries that were out of date. When I came back from the shopping the children were sitting on the shady sidewalk and eating vegetables and small yoghurts.
They were looking at me as if they were ashamed but who really should be ashamed are all of us adults. Portugal is sliding down into poverty and children start to eat from garbage cans and I never see this of the news. The news is full of the IMF loan of billions of euros but I never see anything about where the real crisis is at this moment. Money is an illusion but crawling out of a garbage can to get some food is a reality --- that is crisis.
Every day that a child has to crawl into a garbage can to get an, out of date, meal is a very strange day.
We feel obliged to protect the mechanism of economy at any cost while children's rights are violated with tremendous ease.
These rights are basically:
  • Provision: Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care, education and services, and to play and recreation. These include a balanced diet, a warm bed to sleep in, and access to schooling.
  • Protection: Children have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. This includes the right to safe places for children to play; constructive child rearing behavior, and acknowledgment of the evolving capacities of children.
  • Participation: Children have the right to participate in communities and have programs and services for themselves. This includes children's involvement in libraries and community programs, youth voice activities, and involving children as decision-makers
Rights were copied from Wikipedia.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Ego versus non-Ego (part 3)

So, if a lack of Ego is a disastrous situation and an excess of Ego is a big pain in the butt, is there something like a healthy Ego?
If we look at Freud’s definition of Ego than we see that it is the capability to defend yourself from situation that cause a real threat. It is like the roar of the Lion in the jungle to warn.
It is the capability to interact with others without disappearing in these relations, almost like the hierarchy in a pack of wolves.
It is the capability to love and dance freely with the beauty of the Paradise Bird.
This is healthy Ego, it is dynamic and has no problem in changing and connecting to the personal Essence, it is a mechanism between the Essence and the outer world.
Since the Essence is vulnerable, the Ego decide when to protect it and when to be open, this is a healthy movement. When somebody tries to assault you, your reaction will be either to fight or to run away. You won’t stay with a big smile on your face and say, “You want to rob me, go ahead, I am all yours.”

The problems arise when the Super-Ego is becoming  too strong. The Super-Ego is what we absorp from the outer world, the voices of our parents, society, telling us that we are no good.
A healthy Ego would maybe laugh and do what it thinks right but when the pressure is too much it will develop a defense mechanism by either giving up it’s healthy Ego or building a strong fortress where noone can come in. (and they throw away the key).

This is where Ego becomes a huge problem, this is where Kings go to war and politicians cheat.
This where people get lost in drugs, alcohol and violence.
This is where people get killed in car accidents.
This is where people start to eat junk food.
This is where parents send their childern to schools that teach them nothing good.
This is where the world got lost!

Yes, we should work towards dissolving that kind of Ego but we should not throw away the baby with the bathing water.
Looking for a healthy Ego is the best present that you can give to the world.

Do not start saying that we should all love eachother when you can hardly love yourself, be real! Pretending is part of unhealthy Ego.
Do not run away from Ego just because it frightens you. Face it, breath in it, look in the mirror, accept what you see and step by step look beyond.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ego versus non-Ego (part 2)

Excess of Ego is not only a disaster for the person but also for those directly connected to the person. Where the first, lack of Ego, had no limits and no protection, this excess of Ego is overprotected, only gives limits to others and is itself very limited although they have the idea that they are a great example for the world to look up to. Where the first had no possibility to reflect on themselves simply because they have no clear image about who they are, this person in excess has such a rigid image that reflection is also impossible.
Where the first has a desires to develop Ego, just to survive, the second has so much Ego that there is a colossal fear of losing it. They would feel completely undressed in front of a big crowd with no place to hide. Therefore, instead of just losing it, they should start to explore their Ego, what are the functions and what is it protecting? Where one has to climb up the ladder, the other has to go down, step by step. Somewhere in the middle they should shake hands and join forces because there the first will be able to have this social encounter without disappearing in utter fear while the other will be able to really see the first for who he or she is without judging and looking down on that creature.
The road to non-Ego can only be achieved by going thru Ego.

The result will be Essential Being.
CLICK on the image to see

Ego versus non-Ego (part 1)

We often encounter confusion in people when we talk about the need for some to construct Ego. Most people are convinced that ego is something to get rid of, based on teachings from the oriental traditions. The path towards illumination is the path towards an egoless state of Being, this is true and sounds beautiful but a lot of people look only at the destination of this journey and they forget to look at the first few steps that they will have to take. They read a book on the subject and think that their journey has begun. The journey has begun long before you started to read the book, I do not know when the journey really started, probably it has been forever. It may be part of the Soul that incarnated the fetus in the whom but it does not matter when it started, more interesting is looking at where you are now!

Who are you now?
There are persons with an excess of Ego and there are persons with a complete lack of Ego, the latter we call the Unborn Self, the others are tough guys or girls. To enter the journey of loosing Ego, you will have to be aware of the ego that you have. Awareness is the first step and you cannot lose something that you do not have and I can tell you that those with no or little Ego are no illuminated persons. Therefore the lack of Ego does not define the egoless state of Being that the Orientals talk about. It takes Awareness, a lot of awareness that you have harvested through all of life’s difficulties. You do not gain that awareness by sitting on a Zen pillow and starring at the wall, it may be a help to develop focus. Awareness becomes possible in the contact with other human beings. We all know the stories of monks or even Buddha, they had to leave their safe monasteries and wander into the world to become aware and through this enlightened. Even Jesus had to leave his parents house and step into the world to find his most difficult tasks in life to finally die and alone then be prepared for resurrection. It is a metaphorical story but the symbolism in there is so true and applies for all of us.

The lack of Ego is a disaster for the person. They normally have little limits and surely do not know how to put limits on others. The result is that they are usually easily invaded and have no protection. Emotions hit them like tidal waves and the abuse of alcohol or drugs is a common way of escaping from reality. You cannot call them Saints and I would not call them sinners either, they are victimized, drifting without any direction, feeling miserable.

It takes some ego to be able to deal with all the challenges of life. It will give you security and self-esteem but most of all it will provide a structure that you need to start contacting others in a way that facilitates awareness. When you do need feel lost in the social context you can start reflecting on your relations, your contribution and your needs. This will bring you in contact with your essential Being, once you are in contact with this Essence it will take over the structure that Ego brought and losing Ego is a logical desire there. It is just, the next step! Constructing Ego is an important step to start losing it afterwards.