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Blog: Disillusionment or How things really are

In Buddhism we talk about the "The true nature of the mind" or the way things really are. I am not a buddhist teacher, but I have a buddhist practice in the tibetan Karma Kagyue lineage for more than 18 years now*. More and more I recognize how improvisation, like a fellow practitioner once said, is a "premeditative practice". Meditations can have different purposes or foci depending on what lineage, what religion, what personal spiritual path you follow. Meditation has been widely talked about and in some ways also been misused for "wellness" purposes, or to oversimplify it into a self help method. I would say that Authentic Movement is also a meditative movement practice that invites and hones an organic spiritual awareness, but it is not intended as a main practice for enlightenment like in the tibetan or yogic tradition.

Regardless of how deep you are into the practice of meditation or not, one thing that most practices aim at is the calming of the mind. Now what does that actually mean? Is calming the mind simply having no thoughts, or less thoughts? Does calming the mind mean less worry, less chatter, less neurotic monkey mind? Can it mean connecting to an embodied sense of self, connecting to BodyMind? Can it also mean opening ourselves to a deeper reality, an intuitive sense, a clear view of how things really are?

I am currently traveling in the US with my family (from Brooklyn, NYC, through Pennsylvania to Ohio to CI50 in Oberlin which starts on Thursday). The last time I was here in the US was in 2000 (I lived in the States from 1989 to 1998) . Lots has changed both inside of me and within the country. Of course I am seeing only a very small slice of the picture, but from what I can sense is this: consumerism equals religion equals happiness is failing. Miserably. I feel that in Europe we are just getting that, in the US you can see it everywhere: in the small towns, in the passing by conversations in the cafe, in Soho in Manhattan...commercialism everywhere, partisanship everywhere, tensions everywhere.

I recognize that like so many of us in the western world, how much I have been influenced by the ideals of captitalism (I'm not necessarily an anticapitalist, but maybe just for a lack of a better option...). In a way I don't feel it so much when I am home in Austria, where the cultural aspects balance it out. What I am sensing inside of myself here traveling through this beautiful country with these amazing ideals and with so many creative people is the descent. The descent of a culture, the disillusionment of what we thought would be a great life, great success, great stardom, great whatever. It is so clear it is not working anymore. It is sad, it is worrying, but it is also healing, because it is simply time to recognize that overconsumption is not the way to go. .

For me personally, it means readjusting my personal image of a country which in the 90's was a great place to study, to become a professional artist, to collaborate with amazing colleagues, to explore myself. Of course, I am in a different life phase now, I'm not in my twenties anymore, my needs are different and my expectations are also higher. Of course, it wasn't all well back then either. And yet I find it important to recognize what's resonating here inside of me at this moment. Disappointment is an internal bubble bursting, can you hear the blob?

And here we go with the meditation. When we allow ourselves to see the things how they really are, allow ourselves to feel how it feels, including the aches and the pains and the worries, we become more whole. I sense my Self relieved when I accept this. Dancing, moving and expressing are often ways to get to a place of sensing how things really are. Sitting in silence or sitting with a mantra also gives us this possibility. For some of us it's easier through moving, for some through meditation. As you know I am a dancer, so when I dance at the beach here at Lake Erie in Ohio I connect to a deeper sense of truth, not necessarily light and happy, but closer to myself again.

*I have received transmissions from the 17th Karmapa and other Lamas of the lineage and have been to quite a few meditation retreats in these years...

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