„Only when you dare not to look away, can you reach the essence of things.“
An elderly Moroccan gentleman sitting on a bench at one of the best squares in town – Place F. Coq. He is soaking the spring afternoon sun, dressed in traditional clothes, which is something white, loose, and embroidered with golden threads. We talk while I am waiting for my people.
“I knew I would travel to Europe one day. My gut knew when I saw the ships in the port. Then, one day, mum told me with tears in her eyes that we were leaving. My father was already in Belgium, constructing metro in the capital of this funny-tiny country.”
King Baudouin signed treaties with governments to bring workers to help rebuilding the country after the war. Italians and Spanish into mines, Moroccans into construction. How did they settle? As well as they could.
It is Ramadan right now, but „Ramadan is for the young ones to observe, and to experience thirst and hunger to develop compassion“, the gentleman told me. I got an invitation to his painting exhibition starting in June in Schaerbeek. The gentleman is an artist.
Outside Mechelen, in the area of rivers and swamps, I stumbled upon a mirror cabin installed and entered. It is a meditative place with a panorama window into the open country. You may listened to a composition while spending a moment wrapped in wood-scented solitude. A few messages are discreetly carved into the planks. To discover the essence, we need to be willing to forget ourselves. Silencing the rumbling mind and then surprised by the quality of nothingness.
Many tricks and tools humans have developed to secure raising into one´s potential, to tie together fragments, to find freedom, to heal, to conquer pulsations. More, and often less, successful. Religion practices, yoga, mindfulness, diets, energy work, you name it. Wonderful to be able to choose, I am grateful every day that I can chose. All may lead to liberation, and all may turn into traps. It is fascinating to observe, and it is great to laugh and not take it so seriously. Arriving at the point of lightness and spontaneous laughter with oneself, we are home. Finding a meaning? There is no meaning apart the one we are willing to induce into any given moment. Overcoming anxieties? Getting passed cultural conditioning? None of that can be imposed, it all comes as a miracle, as a gift. Lost, and found again. And again, and again.
What causes emotional pain? Resistance to the pain.
Where does it all get confused? In the thinking mind.
Who longs to be healed? The inner child.
What is love? Acceptance of all that the present moment involves.
How to understand another? Embrace own shadow.
How to connect?
How to be happy?
How to own the own shadow?
How do I know I own it?
Questions are better than answers. Just ask and see what happens.
The man told me Ramadan loses its sense if people hunt for food all day and stuff themselves to the point of being sick. I know the yoga pitfalls: with a stronger and grounded body it is still possible to avoid, to apply strategies, to bypass pain. What I know for sure, enough is to show up on the mat. Yoga gets you to the right place when you make space for it. Having more fun all along? Oh yes, and the best when shared. Like a meal, like a glass of wine, like a dance, like a walk.
It starts in the best company: meet thyself. All parts that present themselves at any given moment.
Beware of rituals getting stale and repetitive and obligatory.
Thoughts brought up in a brief encounter with a man who once landed in an unknown country he now calls his home. We are travellers.
Installation in the Mechelen reviergebied: https://cultuurcentrum.mechelen.be/sjel
All north lovers, listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwvuCNqMADM&list=RDEMaHrMWV9fNxFALRSS0cAY0Q&start_radio=1