The Headless Buddha or “Meeting Myself With Compassion”

For about two weeks I’ve been trying to make sense of it: The Headless Buddha.

…It was one of those moments when I was caught up in a spiral of self-doubt and self-flaggelation, when I re-discovered my heart. 

In despair I was challenging the youtube-oracle. 

I discovered a talk on “The trance of unworthiness” by Tara Brach, a teacher I really value for her compassionate pursuit:

“We can only meet ourselves with compassion,” she concludes the human striving for liberation. 

Finally, I’m swallowing the medicine.

Suddenly I’m placing one hand on my heart and one on my belly.

I’m holding myself. 

This is when I understand: 

My mind deteriorates my self-esteem.

My mind strangles myself with reproaches.

Meeting myself with compassion – that’s the least I can do!

It is that simple.

And so I am lying there on the couch. One hand on my heart and one on my belly. My eyes filled with tears of relief.

I breathe and I cry.

That’s all it takes.

I remember the teachings of yoga I had received.

I let my body do the work. 

A couple of moments later: All anxiety vanished.

I find myself going for a short walk.

What happened next still blows my mind:

I’m walking slowly towards the nearby park, contemplating the Buddhist teachings of impermanence –  “anicca, anicca, anicca…,” echoing in my head…

When I gaze towards the bushes, suddenly, I see a headless Buddha standing there right at the framing of the sidewalk!

It is one of those decorative candle bearers a lot of people have standing in their bathroom or on the wardrobe.

Its head is accurately positioned where the candle is supposed to shine. 

Immediately the omnipresent quote: “If you meet the Buddha, kill him!,” comes to my mind.

What does this quote, apparently firstly stated by Linji Yixuan, signifies?

“Killing the buddha” asserts ‘to quiet all concepts’ – about Buddhism, spirituality and ‘the path’ in general.

It’s about finding the teacher within.

It implies the actualization of emptiness by self-observation and unbiased contemplation. 

The next thing I read is the word Kenshō, which is widely translated as “seeing one’s true nature”. Accordingly to Wikipedia it is often used interchangeably with the word satori, which signifies ‘comprehension’ or ‘understanding’.

It is often being mistaken for ‘enlightenment’, but this is not what it is. It is one step on the path, one realization of the non-personal nature of our lives….

I remember the moment on the couch earlier. The moment of surrender that lifted a weight off my shoulder and my chest. 

It was the moment when I finally understood that this body is solely a vessel. It’s a precious vessel, because it maneuvers me through my physical experience here on earth.

My mind keeps me in chains, while my body sets me free.

There is so much more to say about that! There are so many terminologies and symbolism to study, but for now that’s all I’m able to share here – my personal encounter with the headless Buddha.

 

Your Story

Do you live your life? Or do you focus on the outcome?

The story of your life is not achievement.
It is not only adventure.
Your story is failure. It is pain. It is taking the wrong path. It is detours. It is twists and turns.
Companionship in one chapter.
Loneliness in the other.
Your story is bravery. It is torture. It is joy.

It is every choice you make.

Your story is unfolding every step of the way.

Only in the aftermath you do understand a part of its meaning.

If you focus on the goal. If you are only attached to the outcome, you will miss the whole point.

Life is in the moments….. The heavy and the light.

Life’s unfolding in ALL moments; in the dark AND in the bright….

All of it makes your story.

And this story is of significance.

You are not here to tell or to judge.

Your story is life itself. It’s us.

Do you take pride in your unworthiness? What would happen if you’d give it up? What would happen to your life if you’d take pride in your story?

 

Reversed Resolutions

I’m standing on Donnersbergerbrücke.

It’s the evening haze of a regular weekday in Munich and it dawns on me that I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be.

I am not rushing to catch the bus I’m supposed to take.

The sun is painting its last colors on the sky.

I don’t remember the last time I was standing on this bridge.

But what I know is: It is not the same person standing here.

I have changed.
Something inside of me has changed fundamentally.

I felt strangely at home.

At this moment I realize that my shadow is comforting me.

It is my home.

“Just come as you are,” they say.

Okay, here I am.

All of a sudden it is there.
I under-stand.
I take pride in my path.
I own my story.

A rush of gratitude fills my eyes….

I grew from the inside and for the first time I really feel that.

I evolved – FROM the inside.

I have done the work. And now I am standing here.

“What’s next?,” my busy mind wants to ask.

Again, I gaze towards the setting sun….

“What if instead of moving forward, i’d move backwards?,” my busy mind itself countered with an open question.

I can’t sow endless seeds.

Now is the moment that I finally understand that rest is AS important as progress.

Digesting what is instead of preparing a new meal.
Clearing the debris instead of building anew.
Integrating what happened instead of initiating something else.

I can’t sow endless seeds, no, but I can praise the garden that is growing inside of me, in front of me, around me…

I don’t know how I could not get it earlier, but it does not matter.

On a random day, in stillness, I recovered the beauty of my life.

For too long I witnessed it within myself and in others…

We are pushing so hard to move forward. We are aiming for one dimensional progress. The thing is that progress is not one dimensional.

It’s expansive.
It’s round and whole.
It’s the yin and the yang. The animation and the integration are both equally important.

Growth is the integration of what is.
Growth is not only about harvesting the fruits, it’s about ploughing the land, fertilizing the dirt, and preparing for the upcoming season…

Personal growth is the care-taking of our internal motherland….

In some years maybe the harvest is not what we expected it to be. It is not as lush, as fruitful, or as delicious.

Some years we can only use it for compost. To fertilize the new ground in front of us.

Here we go 2023.

It’s the reversed resolutions…

 

Hello, Darkness

Yes, I do struggle.
Yes, I don’t know.

And yes, here it is again: “Hello darkness my old friend”* – and the blank page, my salvation… 

I recently finished a ten-day Vipassana course and I have to say that it shattered something inside of me to an immeasurable degree. It shook me and my, still so precious, existence. It shifted my perspective on basically everything I have ever done in a subtle and at the same time fundamental way I had never experienced before. 

Don’t get me wrong: I know that everything I have ever done is perfect. My past is perfect. My future is perfect. And the presence is what I still long for. And probably this is what made me sign up for the Vipassana course.

In a brief conversation I had today, this person said: “We always have expectations. Otherwise we wouldn’t do a thing.” This was very interesting for me to hear. And it reminded me of how I am creating black and white stories around what “proper” detachment should look like….

It’s OKAY to have expecations. All is okay…. Anyway, later on you will eventually get the point (maybe, maybe not;).

Sooo. What did change through Vipassana? I realized how much I was (and still am!) searching for ‘something’ outside of myself. Yes, I investigate, I reflect.

Life forced me inward several times in my life. To be much more accurate MY PAIN forced me inward, because when the pain became unbearable I had to find resources inside – just to find out that THEY ARE THERE! There ARE resources!!

I internalized, but most of the time I analyzed:

And that is the point. At the end of the day I was always looking for an abstract answer. I was, unwillingly, looking for “an easy to digest” answer – an answer that is still, more or less, acceptable by my upbringing or by my conditioning, my inner voices and internal judges…

It sounds kinda cool to move through the dark night of the soul. It sounds impressive to move kundalini energy. It sounds amazing to “walk the camino”. Nothing more and nothing less. 

I confess: I like “the sounds of it”… Transformation. Healing. Yoga and so on.

So. What Vipassana did was that it stripped allll these cozy wordings, definitions, explanations, RITUALS and STORIES off me…. 

I could finally breathe again. 

Vipassana does not serve the answer on a golden platter. It does not give constructive feedback or valuable advice. 

‘Gotama showed the path…,’ they say. Yes. Figuratively. “The path” is nothing conceptual. It is nothing logical. It is nothing to map out or to comprehend. It is nothing to understand or to study. It can only – and ONLY be walked. One-step-at-a-time. One sensation after another after another after another….

To be fair: There is no freakin’ path (no offence). There is only life itself. And when I say life I don’t mean “this one life”…. Not at all. There is life vibrating through our cells. There is life sprouting from our veins.

There is no such thing as “the core of our being”. There is only being. 

It’s the conceptualization, the intellectualization that is keeping me trapped within my own mind. 

Vipassana forced me to open the gate. Or did it rip apart the fence? I don’t know and it honestly does not matter.

Vipassana let life within me run free. And this left traces in my consciousness.

There is some novelty, a new realization awakening within myself…

The purges have been purged. And now life is urging to move me the way I’m supposed to move…. And now writing this down here I can feel the ‘intellect’ creeping in asking: “What are you talking about?” 

To use the words of Satya Narayan Goenka, one of the leading teachers of the method of Vipassana: “There is only flux and flow.” 

Nothing to suppose. Only to surrender.

And today I do surrender to darkness, because darkness knows more than me. It grounds me. It helps me grow if I let it….

* Simon & Garfunkel, 1964 😉

 

Grinding Through Transformation

What the hell. THAT’S the time we have been anticipating. Change is here. Right at our fingertips.

It is UP TO US to make the most of it. 

Since the beginning of the year there is a post on “reversed resolutions” that I am wanting to share, but I am never quite there. Haha. It’s coming! I promise. 

SO. What IS happening right now? 

Honestly, these times are such an up and down!  I feel like I am swirling through the energies.

One moment I am boldly visualizing the future of humanity. The next moment I am cocooned in my old belief patterns – desperately trying to get rid of them…

This morning I understood something. And this is what makes me ‘hammer’ the keyboard now and again…

‘Do the things you want to do. You will automatically GET BETTER at whatever you are doing.’

And there is more to that: We learn from everything. Every experience. Every “mis-aligned” choice. Every shitty job. Every “bad boss” or bossy girlfriend (I have no idea who needs to hear this, but who am I to decide;)

We learn. We progress – from one point to another. (I am consciously choosing this definition of progress. Progress is NOT A STRAIGHT LINE. And I believe that this is even more crucial to understand than ever before – at least since I was born).

We always progress. We always transfrom. 

What makes this so significant? Sometimes I become soooooo impatient – with myself, my writing, the world – even with my friends.

There. Must. Be. Something. Moving. OMG. Hahahaha. I was soooo obsessed with continuous progress that I forgot to ARRIVE….

The difference from five years ago is: By now I know what to do when I am in a state of black and white thinking or plain ‘denial’…. I go for a walk, I dance or I roll out the yoga matt and MOVE – as simple as that….

Yesterday was one of those moments.

Self-doubt caused a nagging pain in my abdominals.

My thoughts were literally choking me. 

I WALKED. I walked fast across the park nearby. 

All of a sudden there was this tiny voice or should I say sensation in my chest area.

It said: “You are not alone.” (‘aaahaa….’ I sighed.) 

Silently I shouted to the sky: “LORD GIVE ME A SIGN”

When I turned my gaze I saw two rabbits about three meters away from me jumping happily into the sunset…. 

In awe and completely motionless I could feel my heart filling up with gratitude.

There was lightness – a deep knowing that the path is always there. I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS. 

What do I want to say with this post? KEEP trusting. Keep grinding through transformation. We are in this together and there is always light to be discovered.

 

How to Humble Yourself

Life is full of paradox. In order to “master” our experience here on earth we get to embrace the paradox. We get to understand that we are a part of the whole – THE ALL – nothing more and nothing less.

I wrote about it many times: The role of appreciation and gratitude. The ACCEPTANCE of the “3D”.

Nevertheless there is some universal truth being revealed to me every single day I walk on this earth. I’m doing my best to let it run free…

By now I finally understand why I did not “get” it earlier?! Because I CAN’T GET it. I am not the all. I am a part of it and every single day I experience its manifestations. I am a witness, to (modestly) say the least.

And more and more I can see the beauty in this experience….

Every single day there is some new aspect unfolding in front of my eyes like a delicate leaflet of an unseen flower I have known for an eternity.

And more than ever I am understanding how I have created this experience with intention – intention that I have set in the darkest moments of my life.

How? Yeah, tell me how?

I TRANSMUTED energies…. Nothing more and nothing less. To say it with the hermetic teachings:

“Mastery consists not in abnormal dreams, visions and fantastic imaginings or living, but in using the higher forces against the lower – escaping the lower planes by vibrating on the higher. Transmutation, not presumptuous denial, is the weapon of the Master.”

The Kybalion

What does that mean? We don’t create a new reality by mere imagination.

I can literally feel the resistance towards this truth in my every day encounters and even in the “spiritual community” (If there is such thing. I honestly don’t know…).

I can feel it within myself too! My body forcefully separates me from my imaginations… The further I proceed the more I am forced to let go of the idea that I had about enlightenment or the state of being awake….

So. I decided to give this little piece of advice a go in order to conserve my insights. This is what I recently understood about “the way back” to union.

Don’t take things personal.

This morning on the train I had the urge to start writing this down. “This is not about you. You are a vessel of energy. Nothing more and nothing less. Nothing that ever happens to you has anything to do with you. ”

Our train was delayed and it was unclear if I was able to catch my connecting train – and so did the other passengers. I had a choice: Do I get angry or do I use my time to nap or write or read? The delay of the train was a gift for me. It was definitely not the “evil Deutsche Bahn” or stuff like that. The thing that happened to you or to me. The whaterverness – it is nothing personal. It blows my mind how simple this is….

Give what you have.

So, when nothing ever is something personal why would we obsess about belongings, thoughts or ideas? Let go of greed. Greed only cultivates dark matter. It literally rivets us to the lower planes of reality! I don’t say that you have to give everything away. I don’t. I don’t say to give up all your belongings. But don’t cling to it. Don’t consider it as your security.

Give up the control. You can’t hold on to anything anyways, so why not give what you are capable of giving? I will never forget the moment when I decided to GIVE. Looking back, I think it was the moment when my life started to shift. It was when I was living in a WG and I stopped counting who bought the last toilet paper or filled the salt shaker. It was when I was asked for clothing by a homeless on the street and when I handed a warm puffy jacket to him. It was when I decided to “pay my dues”. What do I mean by that? I received this life. Now, I understood, it was time to give.

Practice GRATITUDE.

This leads me to the next point: It sounds platitudious, I know. However it is crucial. I only understand the meaning of Gratitude NOW. When I learnt to GIVE I simultaneously learnt to receive…

The more I value my experience here on earth the more I value myself – and I mean “the good and the ugly”.

The more I accept that everything is a part of me, the more I am learning to accept myself with all my gifts and my shortcomings (also materialistic ones).

This is something I had to understand – tediously. The word gratitude sounds exploited by our cultural narration. I saw people getting very aggressive when they where invited to be grateful. I want to invite those even more to appreciate what is. Appreciate even your resistance and you will witness how (and what) transforms in front of your eyes!

Take yourself seriously.

This might sound a bit contradictory to the first point I mentioned. What I mean by that is: Take your ABILITIES serious, because they are your GIFTS. This is very connected to the practice of gratitude.

Do what needs to be done. Learn what needs to be learnt. NURTURE your challenges instead of condemning them.

You ARE here for a reason! And you have homework to do. You know exactly what to do. So, go ahead and do it. Appreciate it – seriously!

Follow the signs….

You are always guided. You are never alone. Never. There are the subtleties that show you the way. Sometimes your authentic YES is a hell NO in your mind. So, how do you differentiate? That’s a tricky one. And it is very individual. I think this is about patience. Practice to sit with yourself. Practice to live through your emotions in order to understand their language. Life is constantly talking to you. It is up to you to listen….

That’s it for now.

Enjoy the ride and speak soon <3

 

Self-Honourship 2023

Recently I understood how “optimizing” my life had become an obsession.

“I have to work through this.” “I got to master that.” “I got to become stronger, more confident, a better communicator and so on…”

I did become more confident. I did grow. For sure I made progress.

But at what cost?

I just came back from a short but intense retreat with my community of Becoach Academy.

“This time we want to invite you to a more holistic approach,” Isil, one of our coaching trainers, welcomed us.

What that meant was that we collectively worked through our topics of 2022. We contemplated what came to fruition and what we let go of.

We visualized what we want to take with us into 2023.

We let intuition and body intelligence guide us through dance and the elements…

The result was a very emotional, honest – I want to say “raw” – exchange. It was heart-opening for all of us.

It was beautiful. During the whole process I understood that I don’t have to have New Year’s Resolutions in order to have an “intentional” 2023.

Layer after layer I could feel pressure dropping off my shoulders.

“You are an inspiration,” some of my fellow retreaters proclaimed.

I did not feel like it. I felt raw and vulnerable.

Yes, I was authentic.

More than ever before I came to the realization that I don’t have to become someone. All I need is to be MYSELF in order to inspire others.

All of the years I tried to prove myself. Mostly, myself was my harshest critic: “You got to be more professional.” “You are too emotional.” “You should be somewhere else in your life.”

During my coach training the feedback was relentless.

Relentless in the sense of facing myself in a SAVE environment over and over and over again.

And what I received was not harsh feedback, it was confirmation. The confirmation that I am OKAY. The confirmation that it is all a process. The confirmation that it is totally fine to NOT be okay.

In our society (or let’s narrow it down to the “self-optimization”- bubble) we are obsessed with improvement….

This brought me literally to my knees.

How? I forgot to walk. I was projecting a version of myself to the future that I could not possibly meet in a lifetime. Why? Because I AM HERE.

My path is right in front of me….. I just have to make one step after another. And I have absolutely NO CLUE where it is going to lead me.

And that’s the beauty of it. That’s the uniqueness. This is how I bring novelty to this world. By being me – walking on my own path.

This morning I did not follow a routine. I did some stretching. Made a cup of tea. Watched the squirrels playing around the oak tree in front of the kitchen window.

I am not where I thought I would be at the beginning of 2023.

I told my boyfriend: “You know, I had so many resolutions about my morning routine”.

With a warm smile he responded: “What about listening to what you need this morning?”

I went for a 45 minute walk in the morning sun.

Since years I have been trying to develop a morning routine. It never really crossed my mind that it is supposed to serve ME and not the image that I have of me.

I believe the “best” routine in the world can be detrimental if it undermines our needs in this very moment.

Here we go 2023 – more flexible than ever with a warm smile of compassion towards myself AND my inner critic.

Everything is okay.

 

The Subtle Surrender

The power of deconditioning lies in my physical body.
My fabric releases the blockages that are separating my being from aliveness.

All of sudden it is there – without me doing anything about it.

My body is the vehicle for my self-actualization.
It inherits all the knowledge and all the power to transform.
I am able to transform physical matter and this way I am also transforming my mind.

There is the subtle surrender.
The magic’s unfolding.
The clarification takes place.

It all is the divine – the light and the dark.
Everything else is separation.
There is no good and no bad.
All is love.

There is liberation to be found in the tiniest moments as soon as we accept what there is.
If we receive with no expectation, then is the moment we expand our consciousness and we heal the whole earth.

This is an appeal: Can we love and unite without prejudice?

Can we replace judgment with love?

When will we understand that love is not a feeling?
It is an eternal force that is part of our DNA.
It is a prerequisite for evolution.
The opening of our hearts is our chance for union. If we drop our armour, peace takes place.

What’s necessary?
It will be necessary to grief – in communion.
It will be necessary to feel it all to the end.

We can’t deny what belongs to us anyways!
We can’t deny what we have done to ourselves and to our earth and that’s okay.
That’s the plan – our destiny.

Ease into your pain.
Hold yourself tightly.
Be okay with not being okay.
This too shall pass.
You are the divine incarnated with all there is.

I love you.

Random human being

 

Receive Resilience

I recently came across the term ‘collective resourcing’ in regards to collective ancestral trauma healing and this gave me a great feeling of relief.

I am sensing that I am not ‘doing the work’ for me . I’ve mentioned this repetitively.

What I find within is not ‘my answer’ it is ‘the response to life’ itself.

Every journey of self-discovery I indulge in internally reveals a great deal of resources that could be crucial for survival in ‘the external’…

“The veil is thin these days,” they say.

That’s the reason why I’ve decided to give this piece a go….

There might be something behind the veil that wants to be revealed (and that lays beyond my intellectual abilities).

What I understood during an online event with Thomas Hübl on collective trauma recovery is that my healing IS my union with my ancestors.

I do not only inherit the pain but also the resilience of my forefathers and mothers. And this resilience is what I recover.

I am ‘life incarnated’. I am resilience. The willingness to push through. Life wanted to live through me.

It is something I felt all the way. Every purge, every cry feels like a dissolution of barricades, a removal of debris that blocks my connection to source.

As I mentioned many times before – this can look different to every single one of us who consider themselves on a healing journey – the path. My tool is crying, yours could be something completely different.

Nevertheless, the more I see and the more I converse with the souls I am meeting on the way, the more I sympathize with one common idea:

Healing is the freeing of hidden resources – resources that have been a part of us since generations.

Healing is something that can only occur ‘from the inside out’.

What does that mean?

We have to have a conversation with ourselves in order to be able to respond to life. If we learn to communicate with ourselves, we eventually find out about our needs. By responding to our needs, we regain our response-ability to life.

And responding to life is in one way or another re-connecting with our ancestors. <3

What we discover within ourselves is not a concept of life. It is not a world-view. It is life itself if we let it. It is not the answer to a question. It is not our purpose. It is trust itself. Again – it is resilience, our innate power to move on.

And when I say power I don’t mean force. I’m talking about the subtle energy flow that keeps us alive…

Healing is the freeing of long-forgotten resources. It is receiving what is here for us anyways. Resources that are brought to us by our ancestors.

Healing is also the rediscovery of joy. The joy of being alive – our greatest resource.

 

Befriend Your Mistakes Reloaded

There is a subtle realization triggering my mind. It is around accepting mistakes.

What happens if you catch yourself making or having made a mistake? Are you committed to camouflage it? Do you stick to an old story of ‘being a failure’? Or are you willing to learn? Are you open to receive the lesson that is being placed in your way?

This is so sensitive, so subtle.

There is a thing about admitting mistakes… They can drag you down. Or they can lift you up.

The thing about that, and that is a hypothesis, is: Our reactions to perceived failure are conditioned.

What’s the cure for that? It just dawns on me now. It is my own recipe for (self-)reinvention that I discovered during a deep personal crisis: Do it differently! Go the other way – wherever that is…

Well, to be accurate here: The first step is to become aware of the automatic pattern. To shine the light on the reaction to ‘mistaking’.

What’s the first thought when you understand that you made a mistake? Do you feel ashamed? Do you blame yourself? Is there even shock? Paralysis? There might be a trauma present.

Or are you owning it? Are you ready to move on and learn from it? If so, great, go on.

If you are struck by self-doubt and resentment. I got you covered:

In this case a question to ask could be: “When in my life did I first feel that ashamed/afraid/worried?” “What made me feel that way and is that thing present in my life right now?”

Another question could be: ”In which way does it serve me to feel or think that way? Does it serve me at all to feel or think that way?”

If you reach a point where you are able to ask these or similar questions: Congratulations! In my experience awareness is the first step to change. It is already “the change”. Actions will follow.

A full-on awareness of a “self-alienating” pattern will leave traces in your way of thinking. It will leave a strange taste. The knowing that “there must be a better way” – a way that is more aligned with who you are – sneaks into consciousness.

And this is the starting point of a new you (and me).

It is uncomfortable.

Resentment comes up. Sadness about the harshness of your inner judge. Grief about the energy that you have wasted. And that is totally fine. More than that: It is part of the process of befriending your mistakes and transforming your life.