20 Nov What is Freedom
I arranged to meet with Eduardo who is a couch surfer. We met at the nearby station. Then we walked around and found a cafe to have some lunch and chat. Eduardo was just sacked from his job as the project was cancelled. He decided to travel with his payout. We talked about travelling and I spoke to him about my work in peace or indeed my fun in peace. I told him my journey was about working on inner peace. I told him my story and life as a clown. He is learning english so there was only so much we could talk about. We sat there enjoying the conversation. A little boy turned up with a drum on his back and spinning around like a whirling dervish. I saw an older bloke doing it at the station and wondered if they were related. He then goes around and collects money. I saw him make a bee line for me as the westerner, and I did keep walking. I give on some occasions and not on others. Otherwise I am giving all the time, which is definitely my preference. I still have some fear of not enough money so I do hold on to it. My hope is in the future I lose all fear.
We went for a walk in the park and sat down to watch the people passing by. We saw all the runners passing, they are competing in a Nike event. Nike´s slogan is We run Santiago, I found that very interesting as a power statement. They gave out free t-shirts.
We had a discussion about the world and the environment. I told him that recycling is nice but I realised when in Southern France WOOFing (willing workers on organic farms) where I stayed at a organic farm that practiced permaculture and next door was a mono culture harvesting wheat or something similar. I really felt the difference. One technique had birds and butterflies and took only what was needed and was in harmony with nature, the other was economic with the goal of economies of scale, large scale cultivation and harvesting for profit. There were no birds, bees or butterflies in the next paddock. I also experienced a lifestyle of drinking water and eating fresh produce. I felt myself getting more healthy and having more energy. I had an interesting experience where I was asked to pull out tap roots from the pond. I had to do this with a knife. I felt strange stabbing at the earth trying to pull out a tap root. It was deep in the earth. Then to my amazement later that day I started to get severe pain in my stomach. It was actually my ovary. I had an ovarian cyst and I was really clear of the connection with stabbing the earth and the stabbing pain I felt. I made the metaphoric connection of what I do to the earth I do to myself.
So Edwardo and I talked about the reality of the capitalist system and how from an economic perspective the modelling has infinite inputs and infinite outputs. It does not factor in natural limits to growth. The ecological system is making its limits known around the world. The melting of the ice caps is a serious development and in the past has stopped the Gulf Stream which is a conveyor like movement of hot and cold water around the world. It keeps the oceans in motion and alive. If it stops they stagnate immediately. This creates havoc with the weather as the temperature of the water affects the climate. It is likely we will experience an ice age. No matter the arguments from climate skeptics about whether the humans have caused it or not, the reality is nature is reacting. We have to solve the problem not from interest groups that stifle debate or debunk solutions, we need to focus on saving the next generation. It is clear we live beyond our means and we over consume. We are not consuming to live we are living to consume and this consumption is not just meeting basic needs it meets perceived social needs and status needs. The social and status needs is where the problem is, we consume too much and our real needs can be met in a better designed society that places the child at the centre and we nurture functional people who have a clear understanding of values, peaceful behaviours, who are able to cooperate to live to our full potential. A society that allows full potential to rise with the objective of expressing happiness not greed. The current economic system rewards greed through viewing success as profit making. This manifests as a nice house, car and reflecting an abundant life. We organise in offices and corporations that are not democratic but autocratic lines of control forming a hierarchy. It is not about freedom, it is driven by insecurity and false needs caught up in distractions and forgetting the reasons for why we are here, not answering the questions of ´what is my purpose´ or philosophising about the reality of life and what we truly want. In my experience in 400 companies working as a contractor I saw unhappiness on a large scale and saw this was not bringing to people what made them happy. Much of the unhappiness was generated by doing what you feel you have to do not what you want to do. People feel trapped by mortgages and children and many now are making enough money to live but not to save. So it will be feeling like a treadmill and much of the latent talent never rises to the surface as society is structured into work tasks not as a means of realising our true talents and purpose.
He didn´t agree with me which was fine. I am not seeking to convince him either, I am simply speaking what I feel is true. I am open to other opinions, if I am wrong that is good also. I am also aware that life on a spiritual level, is meant to be this way, otherwise it would be different. We are creating what we choose, otherwise we would choose differently. This is why peace is an inside job, you have to look deeply at your own thought structures, particularly the negative thoughts to determine what you are choosing. Is fear running your life? or are you choosing from a higher perspective based on values and an inner impulse? The latter connects into the flow of life which moves you to speak up, to face fear, to face your own truth, to be real with people. This is where the feeling of freedom begins to emerge.ç
After my time with Eduardo, I went home for a rest, as I am still not well, a very determined cold. I am trying to embrace it as part of life, not fight it too much. I did buy some herbs earlier with Jorge, so am hoping they will work and clear it. Four weeks of coughing is hard yakka as we say in Australia. Anyway, later in the evening Faith the American here, invited me for dinner here with her friend. I enjoyed the fact that we all shared. We talked about world affairs, Faith is a peace person and I challenged a few sacred cows. They took it well and entertained the notion that we as citizens need to exercise democracy in reality. We are all born equal I believe the US Constitution asserts this, it is true, in more ways then people truly understand.
Later that night I felt like watching a DVD. There was only one. It was called ‘In the Wild’. It profoundly affected me and was in alignment with my discussion on freedom. Essentially it is a true story of a young man around 21 who grew up in the States and experienced his parents fighting and domestic abuse. The father worked for NASA on satillete radar systems and he and his wife started a consulting firm. They were millionaires, the children observed that the money and status emboldened their blindness. They talked to the children about their divorce and asked the kids to choose which parent to stay with, they cried their eyes out they said. The divorce never happened and the kids shut off from the parents. The father was described as quite arrogant. The son whoes name was Chris did the dutiful son thing by graduating from college. He had real issues about the materialism and what he felt distracted him and cut him off from the truth of his existence. Chris studied Peace studies and was aware of the political conflicts, famine´s and problems haunting the world. He, even as a young child was a wanderer and explorer and when he came out of graduation he took off to find himself. He hitch hiked with his backpack into wilderness areas and dove into his experience of life. He took up simple jobs to gain money for his dream of living in the wilderness in Alaska. He made friends along the way and exchanged wisdom with people. He called himself a Supertramp. He burned his money as he decided he didn´t need money as it makes people cautious he said. People inquired about his parents and he said they are just living their lives somewhere. Rather than love, money, faith, fame and fairness give me truth he told them. That touched a chord in me, as I am interested in the reality of the life. The story depicted his childhood of abuse and drama, the children felt it was like a stage where they were witnesses and judges. The home was like a war zone and there was no happiness there. This is what motivated Chris to detach from the modern life and find the truth of his existence.
The story is very deep and I recall at one part where he is drinking with his boss and talking about parents and society. He said there was a sickness in society. He also said at another part that people think they don´t deserve love, this of course is the crux of conflict, people project their unhappiness or twisted beliefs onto others and define an ugly world, but in truth it is their own perception of themselves as that ugliness that is really projected. In truth all people are beautiful and sacred, but they believe over the course of their lives that they are small and less than perfect. Yet the lives we get are designed to teach us about ourselves and truth. You pick up the wisdom when you choose to look. Chris quoted from a wise philosopher saying it was important to feel strong. This is what gives you the power to try new things and explore passed the confort zone. This is what opens the mind to new realities and expands your own universe. Those who are too afraid to venture out, cling to outdated beliefs to justify staying still, they find ways to feel better but ultimately never feel complete or happy. They then blame society.
So after two years on the road he finds himself in Alaska, walking into the wilderness with no experience of surviving in the wild. He finds a bus which he calls the magic bus. It certainly is that, as there is nothing else for thousands of miles all around. This is where an awareness of a higher power emerges. Is it a question of chance he finds the bus? or is it part of the journey that this is gifted to him to live in? He fixes it up and makes it liveable. He has a fireplace. He has a gun with him for shooting animals for food. He reads his philosophical books to help him to connect to his own power to find the courage to stay alone in the wilderness. He writes a journal recording his experience and lives constantly in the unknown. He states the happiest times in his life was when he was penniless. Yet most people feel this is a fate worse than death. That may be the case in the city. When in the city he lined up in food queues and saw the hopelessness. He chose to leave the cities, the sky scrapers, the illusion of abundance and scruffy looking he headed out to nature for his truth. He reflects in the magic bus on his life and seeks to find what is real as he lives from hand to mouth in nature. He loses much weight as the animals come and go. He is in a wintery environment and keeps himself mentally strong, he says you can do anything, you can go anywhere, power is an illusion, it is up here (in the mind) you can be here. He connects spiritually to god as he learns to survive. Faced only with himself and his own thoughts.
His parents in the meantime are going through their own transformation as anxiety turns to real pain at the loss of Chris and his disappearance, they are filled with fear and guilt. The father and mother both soften over time as their pain humbles them to the reality that only their love for Chris is real. They focus more and more on this young philosopher’s reasons and life perspective to understand why he disappeared.
At the end of the story Chris accidently eats poisonous berries. He realises his mistake as he looks up his plant book. He realises that he will become paralysed and eventually starve to death. He is in a remote area, there is no help nearby. So he cries and realises and accepts that he will die here. He looks incredibly thin and he is standing alone as a bear sniffs him over, then leaves thankfully disinterested. He wraps himself up in his sleeping bag and he watches the clouds and he sees the sun poke through and he starts to smile. His last words that he wrote was the realisation that happiness is sharing. He carves his wisdom on the wood panel in the bus and in his journal. His last message is that he is happy and he says god blesses all of you. He sees god in everything and he feels love is everywhere, he realised the simple beauty of nature and his own true nature. He is smiling as he passes away.
What is really beautiful is that his message continues to be sent out through this movie and my couch surfing mate Jorge says it influenced him to travel the world. It inspired me to understand the environment and learn how to live in harmony with the planet, that is my final work in peace. I feel going home is truth and I feel that is all our purpose here on earth. To open up the pathway that takes you there you have to question your own thoughts, where you are negative you need to look into the reality of it. Love is the way forward, every positive thought brings us closer to seeing the beauty, allowing for others to make mistakes and the highest love is forgiveness. I am learning this and will keep practicing. Truth and love is a work or indeed fun, that is the real progress.
I will join my friends now. Be happy and find your own truth. It is the truth that sets you free. For life is more than we think, it is actually created in what we truly feel.