I have always been a believer in open communication. I believe in tolerance and freedom of speech. It may sound esoteric to you but I believe in love. Oh yes, that is a part which has stuck with me from my ‘more spiritual times’, if you want to call it like this.
I am seriously of the opinion that an open talk can help us understand each other. Whenever there is a conflict, there is usually the problem that someone doesn’t want to listen or refuses, due to his or her ego, to understand what the other one is saying.
There is a very logical approach to any kind of conversation. If you follow that, not involving your feelings and just listening attentively, storing information and bringing out your information in turn, you can actually reach somewhere. You may not be convinced of the other person’s point of view. Maybe you won’t even agree. But maybe, to some extent, you can understand why he thinks the way he does!
This is what is most important: if you start understanding the other one, you will also be able to react calmly to whatever he says, even if he doesn’t agree. You can make your own consequences for yourself but you don’t have to shout at each other or even get into a fight.
Obviously, you cannot leave out emotions completely. This means that you may get angry and you may also be sad. There can be disappointment and many more feelings, too. If you manage however to communicate openly and keep your emotions aside at least while talking, you can analyze them afterwards and see things more calmly – and with love!
Yes, because you will be able to afterwards contemplate about the whole situation from a point of love, thinking in a positive way about the things that were said and done. At that point you can then actually make a difference – because your decisions will be taken after understanding the complete situation and with a positive feeling behind them.
I am always ready for open communication – and I know it helps!
Ich habe schon immer an offene Kommunikation geglaubt. Ich glaube an Toleranz und Meinungsfreiheit. Das mag sich für euch esoterisch anhören, aber ich glaube an die Liebe. Oh ja, das ist ein Teil, der noch von meinen ‚spirituellen Zeiten‘ in mir steckt, wenn man das so nennen möchte.
Ich bin ernsthaft der Meinung, dass uns ein offenes Gespräch helfen kann, einander zu verstehen. Immer, wenn es einen Konflikt gibt, gibt es normalerweise ein Problem, das jemand nicht hören will oder, aufgrund seines Egos, zu verstehen verweigert.
Es gibt einen ganz logischen Ansatz zu jeder Art von Unterhaltung. Wenn du diesem folgst und nicht deine Gefühle mit hineinziehst, wenn du einfach aufmerksam zuhörst, Informationen abspeicherst und in der Folge Informationen von deiner Seite aus herausgibst, kannst du in der Tat etwas erreichen. Du magst dich nicht vom Standpunkt des anderen überzeugen lassen. Vielleicht stimmst du dem nicht einmal zu. Aber vielleicht kannst du zu einem gewissen Grad verstehen, warum er so denkt!
Das ist das Wichtigste: wenn du beginnst, den anderen zu verstehen, bist du auch dazu in der Lage, ruhig auf das zu reagieren, was er sagt, selbst wenn ihr nicht einer Meinung seid. Du kannst für dich deine eigenen Konsequenzen ziehen, doch ihr müsst einander nicht anschreien oder gar in Streit geraten.
Natürlich kannst du deine Emotionen nicht völlig rauslassen. Das bedeutet, dass du vielleicht wütend wirst und vielleicht auch traurig. Es kann Enttäuschungen geben und auch noch viele andere Gefühl. Wenn du es jedoch schaffst, offen zu kommunizieren und deine Emotionen zumindest beim Reden beiseite zu stellen, kannst du sie hinterher analysieren und die Dinge ruhiger betrachten – mit Liebe!
Ja, denn du bist hinterher in der Lage, von einem Standpunkt der Liebe über die ganze Situation nachzudenken, auf positive Weise über die Dinge nachzudenken, die gesagt und getan wurden. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt kannst du wirklich etwas verändern – denn deine Entscheidungen fällst du dann mit Kenntnis zur ganzen Situation und einem positiven Gefühl dahinter.
Ich bin immer bereit für offene Kommunikation – und ich weiß, dass das hilft!
Today I want to write to you about recent events in Europe. In my second home, to be exact: in Germany. I am sure you have heard about the terroristic attack in Munich – and you can imagine that we all are touched by this topic as well. However disturbed however you are, I would say one thing: don’t let this fear get you down. Because that is exactly what terrorists want.
Yes, it is true: what is the aim of terrorists? Spreading terror and fear. Disturbing your normal life in a way that makes it impossible for you not to think of them. Terrorists want you to act out of fear and that’s exactly what we should not do if we don’t want them to win!
Acting out of fear does not only mean that you don’t go out anymore or that you avoid concerts, festivals and big crowds in general. No, it is also about your actions towards people who are different. It comes to your thoughts, attitude and behavior as well! Do you start avoiding those who look different? Do you suddenly change the side of the road if you see a man in different clothing or hairstyle? Does your mindset start moving towards an attitude that would forbid foreigners, even refugees, to come to your country?
Because this is what is happening in many parts of the world right now and this plays directly into the hands of terrorists. What could fuel insecurity, negative feelings and finally hate towards others more than a big politician or leader telling foreigners to stay out of the country? And those leaders are supported by people who act out of fear. Who were affected by the attacks and decided to think against others instead of thinking how we, as society and mankind, can help each other in love instead of fear.
That’s how we get people like Donald Trump as presidential candidates! That’s how we get people like Narender Modi as prime minister.
And that’s how they get the power to fuel this hate even more.
So in the end, in all our democratic countries, it is up to us to decide: do we want to be in fear and give power to those who cash in on fear? Or would we rather despise the acts of terrorists, refuse to let them influence out minds and actions and spread kindness and love?
I request you to do the latter – for the sake of mankind and peace in this world!
Today I would like to write about a topic that I don’t usually write a lot about: politics. Well, the point is that politics actually affects us all and finally, if we don’t get involved in politics at all, if we stay at home and don’t vote, we allow politicians to run the country without our voice. And that is something we should not do, as it is up to us to prevent madmen from reaching positions of power!
I am actually confident that we have enough sensible people in democratic countries that we could avoid having hateful people in top positions. Those kind of people who stir fire for conflicts, who give strength to ideas of racist, sexist and homophobic nature. Who give others the false moral excuse for violence. I believe we could stop them from reaching power.
If we take a look around the world however, we see that exactly such people are slowly advancing!
In India, we have current Prime Minister Modi with the background of a nationalist party, promoting Hinduism and with that fueling conflicts in between Hindus and Moslems, creating fear in non-Hindu minorities.
In France their old right-wing party, the ‘Front National’ with Marine Le Pen at its head, could celebrate huge success in the recent past. A party favouring the white population of France, opposing immigrants from Africa and previous French colonies, disregarding the fact that some of the ‘dark-skinned’ population of France has already been living there for generations!
In Germany, a relatively new right-wing party has been established, called the AfD, ‘Alternative for Germany’, actively supporting ideals which one can remember from history lessons about World War II and the Nazi time in Germany! Their party’s head even mentioned that policemen have the right to shoot refugees at the border if they try to cross illegally – and they should use it as well!
Finally, in the US we are today looking on the first votes on whether Donald Trump will run for president or not. If Modi made it here, why would it be impossible for this man to win, even though you sometimes feel he looks like a comic figure. With his hate against Mexicans, Moslems and basically immigrants, you feel it is ridiculous to even try in a country which is based on immigration, whose population has all roots in countries across the world! But no, he has come this far and is leading in most surveys for becoming the candidate for the Republican Party!
Here is however what I believe we can do: there are enough of us to find these people crazy, scary and dangerous. Who don’t want them to reach the power they are aiming for or already got. We do have a voice and we have to use it! With the internet, we have media to express ourselves and to show that we don’t support such people.
Modi is already losing supporters here in India. A lot of people are protesting against his government and even those who were convinced that he would bring a change start seeing things differently. In France, voters realized that they could not stay at home and let the Front National get so many votes – and they could strengthen other parties!
This shows that we all have to get up and take our right in our hand to vote, to raise our voices, to speak our mind and show that we are here to live together, not against each other. To find solutions for conflicts which will further humanity, not selected individuals. To spread peace, however cheesy that may sound!
In 2007, I again travelled for a few weeks through Australia. When I had been there the year before, I had been with a couple who had been fighting constantly. I was amazed at how they could still be together! While they were both happy that I was there, I connected more with the man and had some talk with him about his relationship as well. He was determined not to break up and explained me some strong reasons. When I returned in 2007, I found that he had given up.
I was actually really quite surprised about the reasons my friend told me for not breaking up. He had been with this woman for five years. After a year of their relationship, she moved in with him. It was his house and he owned a good piece of property around it as well. I had seen several such places in Australia, with fields and meadows around the house. A lot of space, too much for one person. That’s how he had initially been happy that his girlfriend had moved in.
After about two years however, problems started. They had discussions about little things. They stretched to fights about bigger things as well. When I came, in 2005, they had been living together for four years and were fighting every day about small things, adding up to big questions and remarks that referenced previous fights, increasing tension even more. I actually had the feeling that they were very bitter with each other, too bitter to have space for love.
When I carefully voiced this in front of my friend, I had the impression that he knew this very well. He didn’t keep back and so I asked him straight-out: ‘So why don’t you two break up?’
I got to know then, that there was a law in Australia, according to which a couple didn’t have to be married for having rights on each other’s property. My friend told me that even though the place was his, a part of it would now belong to her, because she had lived with him as his partner for more than two years. So even if they separated and she moved out, she would own a part of his property.
Upon my question whether it was worth living in constant fight and thus sacrificing your peace just for a property and, ultimately, money, he sat silent for a few moments. Decidedly, he finally answered however: No, it is not only for money – maybe it is a phase and we will find back together again!
As I said, when I arrived at his home in 2007, he had given up. They had broken up, she had moved out, he had sold a part of his property and had paid her money. Money for his inner peace – and he was really a happier man after it!
It confirmed my conviction that nothing, not even money, should stand in the way when you are trying to make changes to find happiness.
One of the participants of our Ayurveda Yoga Holiday described her experience here in India to Ramona and when I heard about the way how she described the people here and her own attitude towards them, I thought it quite interesting and wanted to write some lines about it.
When you walk through the streets of in India as a westerner, you will see a lot of people and you might think that they are poor. You see that they wear old clothes, some of them only wrapping a towel around their hips. There are hand pumps by the side of the roads where people wash their clothes, drink and fetch water to take it home. You see houses that only have brick walls, no plaster and sometimes not even bricks, only straw and some metal sheets or plastic. The life of those who live there is out on the road. That is where they cook, eat, sit to talk and also work. You see how workers pave the street with simple tools. Also in the markets you won’t find electric scales for weighing the food customers buy – shopkeepers manually balance the scale pans with weights, determining the prize. Everything is simple, people are poor.
It seems so clear to you, coming from the clean, tarred roads of your country that those whom you see in India are mostly poor. You see the dirt everywhere and you think ‘We could teach them ways to handle waste and show them how to do recycling!’ You watch how children and adults alike sit at the side of the road or in the fields to empty their bowels and you are prepared for the bad smell when you turn the corners of the town, thinking ‘We have so good sewage systems, we should bring them here!’
Our guest, having described this all, said something that I appreciate very much and that has caused a big flow of thoughts: ‘I realized that this all are very arrogant thoughts! I cannot really call these people poor! After all, I came here, to their country, because I am searching for something they have! They don’t want anything from me, I want something from them!’
It is so true! Thousands, no, millions of tourists visit India every year. Most of them are not only here to lie on the beach or to visit the Taj Mahal. They are here because they are on a search, they have an inner longing, a void that they believe can be filled in India. It is spiritual, religious, a search for peace and balance, for a calm mind and quiet emotions. For happiness. For love.
They often go on a longer journey without any concrete destination, just wanting to get to know country and people, convinced that they will find what they are looking for. They go in Ashrams, take retreats, do yoga and meditation. And they leave India, feeling richer, relaxed, taking something home with them from this country in which they first walked and thought people to be ‘poor’.
Maybe the people in India really have something to give you, why else would you be here? They can show you how to make the best of what you have. To be satisfied. To be happy. Not to compare yourself with everyone else and feel bad about it. To realize how rich you really are, not only materially but emotionally, in your heart. You learn to value the small things again and you find back to an inner happiness that cannot be shaken easily anymore.
India may seem poor to you but you came because you want to take part in their emotional wealth.
When talking about corporal punishment, as I did in my entry yesterday, the thought of domestic violence is never really far. Why? As I mentioned yesterday already, it is not only a common opinion of many teachers that a good beating is good for manners, discipline and general betterment of a child but also the point of view of many parents, at least here in India. And when you talk of parents hitting their children the thought of husbands hitting their wives is not far. Domestic violence is still a very big problem in many countries around the world and also in India.
I don’t know if you can call this terrible practice culture or tradition but if any of those words is defined by its regular appearance, then this might be just right. There are men for whom it seems to have become a habit to beat their family. Sometimes the children did something naughty, sometimes the husband thinks, from his perception, that his wife did a mistake, which could as well be wrong and often it is just out of the blue, because of his bad mood or for some small reason that was absolutely unimportant.
There are many people who see nothing wrong in this, even when they are openly confronted with the topic. A lot of those people say that it is even their duty! They honestly believe that this is their role and they have to beat their family. Who would be so stupid to tell them this? Unfortunately it is written in the most holy of books! These people can give proof in religious scriptures that order them to beat their wives and children in order to discipline them and make them obey. Again the same argument, it is done for bettering them.
Obviously it is always the one who is weaker who gets beaten. You won’t normally see a woman beating up her husband. Husbands won’t be those who pretend to have fallen down stairs or who say they got hurt while doing work in the house. It is the wives. And fathers are not the ones who have pain in sitting because their bottoms are sore from a spanking of the day before. That is the children.
It is just wrong. If you like to hit someone, try hitting someone of your size! If you can’t, find a solution for your problem in another way. It doesn’t matter what your wife or child did, violence is never the right response!
If you really believe that the one you are beating could improve in any way through this act of violence, you should actually follow the same rule. If you, an adult, do any mistake, you should go to someone who is stronger than you and ask him to beat you a bit so that you can better yourself. Because this seems to be your solution for bettering anybody!
If this was true however, one could just beat up all criminals and thus solve any problem of crime because they would improve their morals in this way!
In our culture you may have seen one more thing: those who don’t hit and beat at least threaten their children with beating them. They make a sign with the hand, showing them their palm as if they would soon hit. So you see, even those who refrain from violence believe it is necessary to use it at least as a threat. Can we not fully leave the violence behind?
I know it is a process of change that people have to go through in order to reach to non-violence but I hope that more and more people realize that this is the only way for the future. Wherever on this world a father or husband still beats a wife or his children, do your best to make him understand that it is wrong. We have to be able to live in peace, most importantly in our own homes.
When people get to know that I have spent three years and 108 days in a cave, not in touch with anybody and fully away from the normal world, they are often astonished about the long time. They ask me how it was to be with myself for such a long and sometimes also if it was really necessary to go for that long. Hearing these questions I often have to smile and think that people nowadays don’t have patience. They want everything instantly, right now. But most things need time!
It is not really very surprising that people have such questions and thoughts. Look at today’s society, especially here in the West. Do people really have time for anything? They are in stress, they have thousands of things on their mind which they try to do at the same time or as quickly as possible and they rarely take time even for eating in peace or being with their family. There is a scheduled time which they spend on their body, maybe a few hours in the gym every week. Why would anybody really spend a longer time period doing something for their mind and soul?
You can read this accuse for today’s society everywhere: it is a fast food culture. Whatever it is you have to give, give it to me quickly. I don’t have time, my time is precious, just hand it over, now! This is not how spirituality, inner peace and a balance in body, mind and soul works. It cannot. People want everything instant. Instant relaxation, instant enlightenment, instant Samadhi. What they don’t realize is that everything takes time. Real inner peace is a process and does not come to you by pressing one button, like switching on the light or by taking a pill, like a pain killer. It is a process and you have to spend some time for it.
When I went into the cave, it took me three or four months to get used to being in the cave, to get tuned with the atmosphere, with the new rhythm of my life. The feeling of time and the memories of the time outside slowly faded and vanished with time while I repeated my mantras. The same process had to take place when I came out of the cave. Another change, again slowly and in a process that took months until my whole being was out of the cave again. I had spent a lot of time with myself and my God and of course I had gained a lot but now I had to put this into real life, adjust my life again to match what was going on outside.
It took me several months to make this big change into complete solitude without anything that distracted me. What you want is to make a change in the middle of distraction. You want to come into peace while the world around you is stressing you as always. You have pressure and want to come out of it with as little change as possible. Let me tell you, you will need to make a change and it will take time. Inner changes usually don’t happen overnight. If you consciously want to make a change, you need to actively work on it. It doesn’t work instantly. There is no button, no pill, no magic spell. If you want to bring more love into your life, you need to remind yourself in each conversation that you have and with each thought or feeling that you have to fill it with love. If you want to have less stress in your life, you need to teach your body and mind to calm down and take things easy. Relaxing has to be learned, too!
Whatever you do, take your time to do it properly. It doesn’t matter if you feel at first as though you did not succeed. You did not fail and progress will show if you keep on working on it. Think positively and realize that you have enough time for anything you wish to do. Do it in peace and with patience.
Once I was talking with a friend about the image that Westerners have in India. With India still being conservative and traditional in many ways, some people have the idea that sex in the west is something that everybody has with everyone.
Of course we laughed about this idea but then we also thought about where this comes from. It is known that the west is more free about sex but who really brings this idea to India is of course the tourists. My friend called it ‘spiritual sex tourism’. There are many people who come to India and travel there on their own to find their peace of mind, to find guidance in their lives or searching for the meaning of life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately however they combine this search for peace with the search for sexual experiences.
For many this is the perfect place, far away from their usual surroundings, to do something they would never do at home. For some of them this means sleeping with many different people on one journey and for others it even means cheating on their partner. Many include drugs in this experience, too. So do you wonder that the general image of a western tourist is not a very good one?
Everyone knows that people go to Thailand for having cheap sex. We were joking and said that it looks like those with spiritual interests come to India. Because sex is the most spiritual thing! But seriously, think about it: it is really sad that this image is created. And again I want to say that your spiritual acts should not hurt anybody.