From Cradle to Rebirth
What Is My Life Purpose?
This is a question that has been on my mind for as long as I can remember. In the early periods of my life, things happened in a pre-defined way. From preliminary school, to high school and university, it seemed as if every year I knew what to expect, so I didn’t worry too much about the future.
During those years, I went through a variety of different experiences, trying to fit into society and find my identity. As a son of Polish immigrants, born and raised in Holland, I have had the opportunity to learn about two completely different cultures.
Early Childhood, Primary School
I say opportunity, but this is not always how I have seen these experiences. On the contrary, I saw it as a curse, struggling to accept my differences, which began in preliminary school. Instead of embracing my roots, I started to reject them, trying to conform to what I thought society and my peers expected from me.
This led me to alienate myself from myself.
Somewhere between the ages of 8 and 12 I remember standing in front of a mirror at home telling myself things like “You are ugly” and “I don’t want to live; what’s the least painful way to die?” Fortunately, the thoughts of pain and death always prevented me from doing something stupid.
I was wondering things like “Why do we live, if we will die anyway?” and “What is the point?” It did not help that I got bullied at school for being different, coming from a different culture and not knowing how to stand up for myself. In the first years of preliminary school, I remember being very ambitious, always doing my best, being the fastest in completing exercises, and always getting extra assignments from the teachers in order to fulfill my ambitions.
At some point, this started to change. I don’t remember when exactly, but I started getting depressed and the fire in my heart was diminishing: I was losing my childhood innocence, being confronted with the realities of this world.
These kinds of experiences are not, by definition, a reason to get depressed or have a negative outlook on life. For one reason or another, I chose to be affected by them in a way that caused me a struggle that lasted for many years. Since I did not have the right tools at that time to cope in a way that would build resilience, my life fell into a downward spiral.
Fortunately, I somehow managed to get through preliminary school in a way that allowed me to have the freedom to choose whatever high school I wanted to go to. Pressured by my outside environment, I chose the highest level of education, not really considering what I wanted. This was not a bad choice at all as it allowed me to have complete freedom in my educational choices.
Challenges of an Adolescent
High school started and so did puberty. I was always one of the youngest in my class, though I aged pretty quickly, which I believe has been enforced by my “negative” experiences. Due to these experiences, I have often chosen the rebellious and recalcitrant path. Wanting to conform and get the approval from my friends and peers, I did things in order to get the full attention of the people around me. Since I did not know how to give myself this attention, seeking it outside of myself seemed like a good way to get the approval I was so desperately looking for.
Not only had I been rebelling in class by pissing off my teachers, but I also started to use and abuse cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs. On the one hand, I thought this would get me the approval of my peers as well as older “cool” kids, but it also gave me the opportunity to shut my mind off so that I would not have to be confronted with my dark and confrontational thoughts.
On numerous occasions and at a way too young of an age, I crippled the development of my brain by indulging in alcohol in ways where the next day I would completely forget about what had happened the night before. Having a personality that easily gets addicted did not really help either.
High School: No Place for Studying
During the six years of high school, my grades started to decline at a steady pace. On the one hand, I am lucky to have been born with an above-average intelligence, which meant that homework was kind of non-existent in my world. Why would I do homework when I could just be a hedonist, indulging in pleasure and rebellion with my friends? I would pass the exams anyway, not always in the most wholesome ways.
In the first years of high school, my grades were top, the level of education wasn’t that challenging for me yet. With an incline in difficulty and me putting in the same amount of effort, my grades started to decline year by year. If high school would have taken a year longer, I would probably have had to redo the last year. On the other hand, maybe this would have shaken me up to an extent where I would have gotten my shit together.
Anger or Pain?
I thought high school was a period of my life that I really enjoyed, being the center of attention (though often the wrong kind of attention,) joking around in class, being rebellious, getting adrenaline rushes by breaking the law, smoking weed, drinking alcohol, and always pushing my limits. Only later did I realize how these experiences were the effect of stuck anger (or even rage), bitterness, resentment, and a hatred towards life itself. I was not living, I was surviving, preferably with as little conscious experience as possible.
Year after year of suppressing the pain I encountered, not knowing what harm it did to my body and soul, I started to become an emotional wall. My heart was hidden behind layer after layer of thick, black tar. I alienated myself from my emotions completely, and the only way I knew how to experience my emotions was through my mind. Well, I thought I was experiencing them, but I was pretty far from okay.
Furthermore, I learned that through verbal expression I could hurt others, sometimes intentionally and sometimes completely unaware of the effects my words had. I honed my verbal skills into a craft of hitting the other person in places where it hurt most. In this way, I would externalize my pain, living in the illusion of dealing with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong, but at that time I did not realize it. Hell, I did not realize much, my life was basically an unconscious train of automatic behaviors.
Craving for a Rolemodel
My family situation did not help either; I had parents who either fought or ignored each other. We had pleasurable moments too, and I do love both of my parents, but the memories I have “chosen” to remember are mostly dark and unpleasant (our memories are selective and unfortunately untrustworthy, hence many eye witness testimonials do not have much credibility, see for example this article if you are interested in this subject).
Having parents with opposite parenting styles, authoritative versus permissive (you can read more about different parenting styles here), I was caught between a strict parent, enforcing rules and punishment, and a parent where boundaries were non-existent and I could do whatever I wanted. This confusion created ambivalence, which added more fuel to my already fiery, rebellious teenage years. The lack of harmony and balance within our family circle made me alienate myself from myself even more. The layers of black tar around my heart grew thicker and started to block even the faintest rays of light pouring out.
Adulthood Has Begun, or Has It?
So here I was, a lost teenager about to reach adulthood, not knowing what to do with his life, just finished high school. Being skilled in maths and the sciences I did not give much attention to what I wanted to study. I just took the natural course of continuing the family tradition. I ended up studying Applied Physics in Delft, which was something completely different than what I expected.
Where physics in high school was fun, doing nice experiments and mostly rebelling (what I thought to be the fun part), Uni was on a completely different level. Not only were you expected to be serious about what you were doing, but we also dove into the material straight away, with full force.
A force I had not dealt with before.
Suddenly in just a couple of weeks we had summarized 6 years of mathematics. Not doing any homework was not an option anymore. Fast forward 3 months and, despite a lot of resistance from the Homefront, I quit and started searching for something else. I ended up doing some standardized personality and interest tests, which did not really help me, other than telling me that I have some interest in business and should explore a study in this direction.
From Science to Business
Next year, new city, new chances: Business Administration in Rotterdam. I ended up studying with some friends I knew from high school, so sticking with this study for longer than three months seemed like a reasonable option. I mean, being surrounded by a familiar environment made rebelling, playing hooky, and partying a lot more convenient. I liked some subjects in the study material, but I wasn’t really fascinated by them. Mostly, I found the curriculum boring and did not enjoy the topics that much.
Fast forward to the end of the second semester where I took a course about Social Psychology. This was actually the first topic that I really enjoyed studying and following all of classes for. It reminded me of some body language books I read during high school, a subject by which I was also fascinated. I was triggered by the class, but not enough yet to switch studies. Then, as luck may have it, I failed the binding recommendation by missing one point. I tried writing a letter to get a pardon so that they would allow me to continue into the second year, but fortunately they rejected it. I did not see it as something fortunate at that moment, on the contrary, I was feeling resentful and hated the university for rejecting me.
From Business Back to (Social) Science
There I was again, facing another conundrum. The Social Psychology course was still fresh in my mind though, and this triggered me to search in the direction of social sciences. Psychology caught my attention and for the first time I was actually quite excited to start a new study. So I did, a new adventure was about to begin.
New year, new city (Leiden this time), new chances, and as a Freshman, I quickly discovered that finally I had come across a study where (most of) the subjects actually interested me. I was still not over my rebellious phase, so I was not really a diligent student, but again thanks to my nature, I managed to get through my Bachelor without putting in too much effort. Since I also enjoyed a substantial amount of the subjects included, studying did not always really feel like studying anymore.
As with my previous educational experience up until that point, I was creative in finding ways to pass exams, practices, and assignments in ways of least resistance. Some would call it laziness, procrastination, and just being a bad student. Frankly, I would describe it that way as well (though it definitely also required a certain amount of creativity).
In the previous year I managed to move out of the house (or better said, houses, since my parents were divorced and I could not make a decision where to live, so instead I was just roaming back and forth, one week here, another week there). I had an opportunity to live with three high schools friends in a student complex not too far away from my University. This was not really conducive to studying, but definitely conducive to messing with my physical and mental health even more. I had a lot of fantastic experiences and learned a lot from this period in my life, but I was still fighting myself without even knowing.
Adulthood: Now for Real?
During my Bachelor Psychology I had chosen to follow the path of Social & Organizational Psychology. There were two Masters I could choose from, either Social & Organizational Psychology or a fairly new Master called Economic & Consumer Psychology. I had chosen the latter as I was drawn to its novelty and the interesting research that was being done in the field of Neuropsychology.
This Master really got my attention, the subjects were interesting, and I actually started to enjoy studying and learning new things. This was a revelation for me; I hadn’t had this experience since I was about nine or ten years old. Since then, studying and learning new things was always a struggle for me, as it was something that I was supposed to be doing because people (parents, school, society) said so.
I have never been a person who does things just because other people say so (the military would not have been happy with me). I want to know why I am doing what I am doing. But since my intricate questions as a kid drove adults crazy, I was usually silenced with statements like “just because” or “because I say so.” The rebellious part of me created the “not studying” attitude, what I thought was a chance to get revenge on my parents, society and the whole world. It was the only thing that made me feel like I was in control of at least some part of my life.
Tough Without, Crumbling Within
From an early age I lacked resilience and coping mechanisms to develop a healthy and balanced mental state. My self-esteem was extremely low, I was facing depressive periods during most of my childhood, adolescence and early childhood and struggled with a variety of anxiety issues. I had not developed healthy techniques to face challenges in my life. Instead, I had chosen to suppress my fears and create the typical masculine image seen in your average Hollywood blockbuster.
To some (or maybe most) I appeared to be a confident young man, being the center of attention, acting all tough and “macho.” Unfortunately, these were only signs of my insecurities, fears and suppressed emotions. I was facing my own demons on a daily basis, either dumbing myself down with one of my addictions – not only limited to substance abuse – or obsessively ruminating on negative thoughts, enforcing the downward spiral I had now been facing for more than half of my life.
After years of suppressing, running away from problems, not wanting to grow up and getting lost in mindless activities, during my Master I fell in what was probably my biggest depression up until then. I was facing the end of my study, which meant that finally I needed to grow up and start making decisions by myself. How should I do that? I had absolutely no idea, as I was never faced with adulthood before, despite already being 24 years old. I was a typical case of a young adult with the Peter Pan Syndrome (I recommend this book if you are: 1) a male facing similar issues like me 2) a female having a partner facing similar issues like me or 3) you are just interested in the subject).
One evening during the early days of 2012 I was talking to a friend about a long bicycle journey he had made in search for his own self. Suddenly, I got this intense feeling of clarity and I knew at that moment that I needed to get away and make a (spiritual) journey myself. It was the first time in my life that I was absolutely certain about what I needed to do. So certain that on the same evening I decided that no matter what, I would book a ticket to a remote place, where I would start the journey to my inner-self.
I knew I had to book my ticket as soon as possible, as undoubtedly “rational” arguments from myself and others would try to stop me from taking the journey. I also knew that I would get a lot of negative opinions from my direct environment, going away for a couple of months would mean I could not meet the expectations people had of me.
I see this as a pivotal moment in my life, where I started to finally explore things closer to my true nature, instead of chasing shadows and expectations that I could never meet anyway.
Within a week of that night, I had booked a ticket to Nepal, and I would leave within a couple of months. This was the first solo journey I would take and I was both excited and anxious. So far, I had only been travelling with family and friends, apart from some day trips. Facing this new challenge made me feel doubtful, and especially in the beginning, my mind would drive me crazy. This huge change would mean that I would have to give up on many familiar things; change is not something I was particularly fond of.
Leap of Faith
When booking my ticket, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to be back in August, which gave me a little more than two months. To challenge myself more I decided not to plan my journey ahead of time. Inspired by my friend who faced a similar ‘existential crisis’, I knew that I wanted to follow at least one retreat in a Buddhistic monastery (you can read his story here).
Since there were waiting lists to take courses, I had to book these in advance, being the only things I had planned upfront. The first retreat
I had planned my journey so that I would be finished with my Master thesis and the only thing left to do when coming back to Holland would be my internship. I figured I would worry about that when I was back home again.
In the months before my journey began, I started to prepare myself (and my environment). During this period, I had also stumbled upon a couple of 30-day challenges that I wanted to try. I think those were the times when these kinds of challenges started to get some traction, where the whole internet/blog “be positive” movement was at a peak. The first challenge was a 30-day cold shower challenge. Not that fun, though highly beneficial for a multitude of reasons.
If you have not heard of Wim Hof, a.k.a. the Iceman, then I highly recommend you read about him to see what the human body is capable of (or watch this video) . Taking cold showers is nothing compared to the other things Wim has achieved (running a marathon, barefoot in only boxer shorts, in the middle of Siberia (if you don’t know Siberia, it’s basically winter 365 days a year over there).
Since I started to see immediate effects, I incorporated the cold shower rout
ine into my daily life. For one and half years, I was taking only cold showers, feeling a dramatic improvement in my general health (and not catching colds anymore). Nowadays I still take cold showers, though it is more a 50/50 division, as I also do enjoy taking steaming hot showers.
No Porn, No Masturbation
The second 30-day challenge I did (I believe I started doing them at the same time), was a no-porn-no-masturbation challenge. As a young teenager, I discovered – what I thought of back then as – the wondrous worlds of online porn. Back then, there were no streaming sites, so everything needed to be downloaded discretely. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocent activity also quickly became an addiction for me, to the point where porn and masturbation would be intertwined with each other.
The negative effects this had on my life would only amplify my depressions, anxieties, and low self-esteem. In addition, I started objectifying women and developed unnatural perspectives of how sexual interactions between men and women should be.
For those who have never watched porn (good for you), most of the time what is being shown there is not what happens when you get involved in a sexual relationship in real life. I did not realize that many of the problems I had were born out of this addiction.
I was so grateful to have stumbled upon this knowledge: my eyes were finally opened.
Since this is still a taboo issue and sex is not something that is often openly discussed or talked about, I decided to share my experience and write a blog post about it http://highexistence.com/how-porn-rewires-the-brain-is-porn-bad-for-you/
Due to the powerful porn industry, there are many articles online denying the negative effects of watching online porn. This is nothing new, as every big lobby wants to protect their own interests. However, from my personal experience I can tell that quitting porn was one of the best decisions in my life. I experienced significant improvements in my sexual experiences, started looking at women as human beings instead of only objects of lust, and my energy levels increased significantly.
To be clear: this challenge is not about quitting masturbation. However, in order for the effects of quitting porn to be effective, it is wisely to do this challenge where you don’t masturbate and don’t watch porn at all. After you have completed this challenge, it is fine to get back to masturbating, though not advisable to start watching porn again.
For me, I extended this challenge up to 94 days, as the effects I was feeling were immediate and really beneficial. There are some periods where the urge to masturbate and/or watch porn are high, but you can distract yourself in one way or the other.
The next challenge I started was not a 30-day challenge, it was a challenge I decided to take on for an indefinite period of time. This particular challenge actually started when I was already in Nepal. It was the day before I started my first meditation retreat in Kopan. During dinner, I drank my last beer and decided I would just take a break from alcohol for a while since I would not be allowed to drink alcohol in the monastery anyway.
Fast forward to 2018 and my indefinite break of alcohol has not been interrupted yet. Before I entered the monastery, I was highly abusive in my alcohol consumption. Going into the monastery was not the reason I quit, it was just a circumstance that helped me make a decision I wanted to make anyway. Apart from alcohol, I have been experimenting with other substances, from psychoactive plants to recreational drugs like ecstasy. Fortunately, I have not gotten into the destructive habits I had with alcohol.
There have been times when, in hindsight, I indulged in them more than I wanted, but at the same time they also gave me the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons. And so did alcohol, although in the beginning it was hard for me to see it like that.
Therapeutic Benefits of Mind-Altering Substances
Nowadays I am mostly interested in psychedelics, as I have discovered there are a lot of therapeutic benefits, where the scientific research on these subjects has risen exponentially over the last couple of years. The benefits experienced by these medicine are truly amazing. From immediate to long-term effects in treating PTSD (MDMA) as well as quitting cigarettes cold turkey (Iboga), or even improving the last moments of terminal patients’ lives (Psilocybin).
I, too have experienced amazing improvements to my mental health. In addition to that, my spiritual horizons have been broadened immensely and my life purpose has become even clearer.
In Love with Nepal
Back to Nepal, 2012. During my first 10-day meditation retreat I learned about the different Buddhist schools, as well as a variety of meditation techniques. If I remember correctly, we were with a group of approximately 70 people or so. Different ages, different cultures, different countries, very diverse. I have met many wonderful souls and I am still in close contact with some of them. What is maybe even more interesting is that a woman in this retreat introduced me to her friend, who would turn out to be my internship supervisor a couple of months later!
A perfect example of one of the many synchronicities I experienced. Close to the end of my stay in Nepal I went out to dinner with some friends and the subject of my internship came up. Jokingly my soon to be supervisor said that maybe I could do an internship at her organization, an NGO called CWIN, an organization standing up for the rights of children in Nepal.
I did not give it much thought at first, but during the next days I started to seriously consider this option. Having received positive feedback after proposing this idea to my university supervisors in Holland, I was back in Nepal sooner than I would ever have expected.
This was only one of the many synchronicities that started to “magically” happen during my two months in Nepal. One of the things I learned in those two months, partially due to my meditation retreats, is that when you let go of expectations and you just go with the flow of daily life, everything is going to be okay.
Sometimes we worry so much about the future, walking around immersed in riots of fragmentary and discordant thoughts (I love this quote by Lynne McTaggart, in her book The Intention Experiment) we forget to focus on the present moment. One of the first books I read about ‘living in the present’ is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. If you are new to this subject and it is something that evokes your interest, I would recommend starting with that book.
There was a period of approximately two weeks between my first and second retreat and I decided to travel and see the country a little bit. Some of the other people of the retreat stayed for a longer period as well, so we continued meeting each other at various places in Nepal.
Ten Days of Hel…. ehh, Silence
The day of the start of the Vipassana retreat had finally arrived and I thought I had prepared myself well enough mentally. I figured that since I had managed to get through the first retreat relatively easily, this one would not be that challenging either. I could not be more wrong. Ten days in complete silence, without any physical or eye contact with other people was already hard enough. On top of that we were waking up at 04:00 in the morning, meditating for ten hours every day. This was not something I could have anticipated, at least not at that point in my life.
On the third or fourth day I had my first breakdown. Sitting on my meditation cushion in physical and mental agony, anger was building up continuously as I couldn’t quiet my mind or find a comfortable position to sit in. My anger suddenly turned into sadness and I started crying, letting go of so many suppressed emotions. What a relief! My second breakdown happened within the next two or three days. Both these times I seriously thought giving up and leaving the retreat. Fortunately, I did not.
Due to the prolonged sitting, I was having various pains and aches all over my body. At some point the pain in my back started to become really intense. One of the things we were being taught was to not give the physical and mental pain too much attention. It was explained by a phenomenon they called impermanence: everything in life is constantly changing. Whether we experience a pleasurable or an aversive experience, this too shall pass.
Then something fascinating and unforgettable happened. To rid myself of the pains and aches I would normally switch my body position in some sort of way. Wanting to experientially understand the phenomenon of impermanence, one day I decided to sit with the pain and let it be as it came. At some point, the pain started turning into extreme warmth, and within a few seconds it completely disappeared!
It felt as if the pain got absorbed into the ground.
The doubts and frustrations I had were slowly turning into hope and faith. The experience of pain dissipating from my body, without switching position, allowed me to look at the retreat in a more open-minded way. It definitely helped me to get through the rest of the days and started to make me doubt my paradigms about how the human body works.
Back in Asia, Internship and Beyond
As I mentioned before, I got the opportunity to finish my study in a wonderful way: doing my internship in Nepal. In October 2012 I was back and spent three wonderful months doing my internship, enjoying Nepali culture. After finishing my internship, I decided to travel for a while ending up in Myanmar where I stayed in a monastery for another 2.5 months. The meditation techniques I learned there were focused on integrating meditation and mindfulness into my daily life.
A couple of evenings per week there were discussion sessions where we could ask the teacher questions around our meditation experiences. I found this very helpful, as it helped me understand what I was doing during my meditations. If you don’t know what you are doing, the meditation experience can seem to be quite abstract and intangible.
One of the teachings that really stuck with me, was when the teacher explained how the experiences in the monastery are ‘just the beginning’ and the real work starts when we get back home. That made a lot of sense to me, as I was not planning to stay in meditation centers for the rest of my life.
What was the point if I could not integrate the experiences in my life back home?
New Challenges: Integration Back Home
From the moment I first ended up in Nepal, the journey into my heart had started and my spiritual and personal development helped me get out of the downward spiral I was stuck in. Following this spiritual path did not immediately solve my challenges. In fact, in the beginning it brought more challenges. Not everyone in my (direct) environment was as enthusiastic about the changes I was going through as I was.
Navigating this path meant that I needed to let go of my past. This also meant that relationships and friendships I had were about to go through transformations. I started to make changes in my social environment, which meant leaving behind people who moved in different directions, directions that were not resonating with the path I had chosen.
Coming back from my journey with a lot of enthusiasm and fresh energy, I found it difficult to deal with these challenges. Although my self-confidence had gotten a boost, I was not prepared for this. I assumed that the people in my direct environment would understand and accept “the new me”. Having a fresh perspective on my life, I was still in search of how to integrate the “new” and the “old” me.
Clarity and Confusion
The spiritual path gave me a lot of benefits, but at the same time it created confusion within me. I was struggling to accept the Western way of living. In Asia, I had seen and experienced happiness in ways I could not have imagined. A family of 12, living in a one room cabin, being the most generous people I had met in my life, smiling, laughing and enjoying the day from moment to moment.
How could that be?
Throughout my whole life I had learned that in order to be happy, you have to have material possessions, you have to make a career and you have to follow the rules of western society. Leaving behind all the things that I had been learning for 24 years about how the world works, how I should be, and how people are, was not easy at all.
From Eastern to Western Therapy
Still battling with confusion, depression and anxiety in 2014 I decided to go into therapy, where I had the opportunity to learn a Western approach to my spiritual and personal development. Studying psychology gave me theoretical knowledge about myself, but applying this knowledge into practice was something I did not know how to do by myself. Following a professional course of therapy has given me the chance to integrate the theoretical knowledge.
During the course of these 2.5 years I dove deeper into the core of my being, peeling off the layers of suppressed emotions, fake identities and negative behavior patterns. I experienced a lot of resistance and was going through intense periods of denial confusion. The retreats in Asia were really beneficial, but at the same time I caught myself applying the tactics of spiritual bypassing.
Over these years I started to see a pattern in my resistance to change. The techniques my mind had mastered in order not to change. One of the key things I have learned in all these years is to approach myself with an attitude of humility and little expectations. I noticed how I would always have an answer ready, stubbornly holding on to predefined concepts and arguments.
This was something that was holding me back a lot, as I was not open to ingesting new information, being stuck in a pattern called the confirmation bias. I listened to the things I wanted to hear, whilst filtering out the things that I did not like or agree with.
Personal & Spiritual Development: Check. Professional Development: ?
After graduating in 2013, I was exploring what type of career would fit me. When I got back from my travels, I got a nice opportunity to work at a software start-up. I stayed there for two years, followed by a couple of other temporary jobs that made me realize I was looking in the wrong direction. I found this frustrating but eventually I realized that I was actually narrowing down the area in which to continue searching.
Defining What I Want: Ideals and Passions
I have always been drawn to helping people in one way or another, helping to create a new world, and making a change for the better. From as early as I can remember I had these huge dreams, envisioning myself as a president. For many years these dreams have lost their liveliness, laying dormant deep within me.
After years of personal growth, I finally feel these dreams are coming back to life again. I believe we live in a world that could be better for everyone. When we learn to integrate the individual with the collective, when we understand that we can learn more about ourselves, about the world, about life and about existence, we will be able to transcend and ascend into the next level of human consciousness.
Our Western society is driven by individual competition, putting ourselves in front of everything else. It is a big waste of potential, as the whole is more than the sum of its part. Working as a collective, where we understand that we can focus both on individual growth as well as collective growth, the progress we all make will rise exponentially.
Due to false paradigms, incomplete thinking processes, and a continuous indoctrination by the media, most of us believe that we live in a world of scarcity and competition is necessary for survival. I want to help raise awareness that these ideas are incomplete and every single day its flaws are coming to the surface.
I believe we literally are the creators of this world and are in control of a lot more than most of us realize. Sometimes I ask myself rather ‘simple’ questions, which have helped me tremendously in understanding the flaws of the information coming to us. If we live in a world of scarcity, then how come there is so much more of everything than 100 years ago? More people, more food, more technology and more materialistic possessions?
I do not deny that natural resources have been used to transform them into synthetic materials. However, we keep getting more efficient, our economies are growing towards circular economies, whilst at the same time creating an abundance of resources.
On the other hand, we are living a self-fulfilling prophecy of perpetuating drama and negativity, feeding the individual and collective sorrow. Why do we keep on focusing on negative news? Why do we accept swearing, killing and fighting in our blockbuster movies and tv shows, but prohibit or limit the amount of (physical) love? Why do movies and tv shows teach us that whenever we face a problem, we should get a drink? Whenever we face a marital crisis, we should take a drink? Whenever we meet our friends in discomfort, we are being offered a drink?
When I started paying attention to these ‘little’ things, it blew my mind how we are our own creators of sorrow, despise, addictions, contempt, envy and hatred. A wise man (I believe Einstein) once said: “You cannot fix a problem thinking in the same ways it was created”. I believe this applies in the same way to our ways of perceiving this world. When we continuously focus on negative things, whether it is in movies, reality shows, television or media, we will keep on creating and reinforcing the negativity that is supposedly happening around us.
Changing this perspective, changing my behaviors as well as changing the information outlets I let into my life, helped me to see that the world is not as bad of a place as I thought. There is plenty of love and happiness around us, the problem is that no media outlet takes the time or effort to broadcast it. And the media outlets who do so, do not get in any way the attention the mainstream media gets.
“Be the change you want to see in the world”
What helps me distance myself from negativity is to refrain from talking about it, thinking about it, watching or listening to news broadcasting these energies, or discussing the subjects with others. It sounds so simple, because it really is. You make a choice every single day to what information you expose yourself.
Trusting The Path: Music
Since the start of my personal and spiritual journey in 2012, I feel that each year I have come closer to what I would say my purpose in life is. In 2017, I experienced an interesting but unexpected shift in, what I thought to be, my hobby: making music.
A few months into 2017 I got an unexpected call to play at a new festival in Amsterdam. Due to my vast online presence on Soundcloud, I discovered that the podcasts I made were listened to by a significant audience abroad. Then there was the call: a couple of workers of a bar in Berlin enjoyed listening to my podcasts at work and one of the guys turned out to be part of the organization of the festival (another synchronicity).
Excited and anxious at the same time, I took this opportunity of what turned out to be a year full of wonderful experiences. Not long after that, I get a call from the owner of a French label. They were about to start a new concept of parties and felt my sound fitted in perfectly. A couple of months later and I am playing at a beautiful venue with the shadow of the Eiffel tower falling upon me.
What started as a hobby, a long time hidden passion, turned into a way of living. Now, anno 2018, the opportunities for me to develop myself as a musician are growing even more. I decided to dive deeper into this world and have taken on the challenge of creating my own productions.
Breaking The Illusions
Throughout my whole life, I have enjoyed talking to people and listening to their life challenges. Listening to others always came naturally to me, which probably is the reason it took me a while to discover that this is the path I want to follow in my professional life. Working is something I must do, at least, that’s what I thought.
How could something that came so naturally to me, then become my work? It took me a while to realize that work does not have to be something that one must do to survive and make a living. I started to realize that what I consider to be work, can at the same time be something that I love doing. In fact, I believe it even should be something that I love doing, as it takes such a huge amount of time in my life.
For a long time, I believed that life has to be strenuous and dissatisfying. That in order to achieve something, we must persistently suffer, putting in arduous work that we despise doing. In the last couple of years, I tried to conform, searching for work in fields that were either close to what I had studied, or close to what would make a “good living.” These efforts were futile, as I was constantly facing dissatisfaction and resistance from doing things that I did not really want to do.
Trusting The Path: Serving Others
Around the same time when life pushed me towards music, I also decided to follow the path of what I enjoyed doing my whole life: listening to people, helping them, inspiring them and showing them the way to move forward in their lives to reach the fulfillment they are seeking. Henceforth: Innsights.
With Innsights, I want to raise awareness so that we can make a shift towards a new collective consciousness, not bound by the limits and chains of continuous suffering. I want to integrate my life experiences, my knowledge and wisdom in a way wherein I can help individuals and corporations understand themselves on the most profound level of being. What I truly wish is that when you come into contact with me and my teachings, you will feel as if you have done all the work yourself, as if you have given yourself all the answers.
To some of you, this may sound strange. You might wonder what role I play if you are the one getting the insights to move forward. I want to help facilitate the awareness needed to get to the point where you will be answering your own questions. I know how painful and challenging the path to your inner self can be: I hope reading this blog post has helped you understand that.
Personally, I have experienced that the answers and insights that stick with me for the long term are the ones that I have found out myself. However, I have been grateful to have had many wonderful teachers who have showed me the ways, helped me achieve a certain level of awareness, and guided me in the right directions. This has been done in a multitude of ways, either by their oral advice, their own experiences or insights or reflecting to me that which I did not want to see.